I have been so busy this fall and winter, but still made time in between cheering kids on at swim meets both in Texas and in AZ to experience some interesting eats. I have grouped them together to give you a snapshot of the last two months. As always, feel free to add a comment or message me with any questions, or ideas for places to hit in the New Year, 2019 (hard to believe!). xoM
Burger Fi is an American fast-casual chain focusing on all-natural hamburgers and fries that first opened in 2011 in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. In this world of expanding fast-casual concepts, what sets Burger Fi apart from its competition?
First of all, you could point to their environmentally conscious interiors: the picnic and four-top tables are made from upcycled milk jugs; the red chairs are made of upcycled Coca-Cola bottles; and the interiors feature wood panel walls made from Number 2 southern pine lumber, the most renewable timber available.
Plus, they have an eye toward philanthropy: for a limited time, $1 of the proceeds from the sale of the Steakhouse Bleu Burger will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help end childhood cancer. This means you can give back while indulging on double natural angus beef patties, Danish Bleu Cheese and cracked pepper bacon that is topped with cabernet onion marmalade and steak sauce.
Lastly, Burger Fi offers plant based burgers as a menu option: in 2017, the chain partnered with Beyond Meat introducing a vegetarian/vegan burger patty called the “Beyond Burger”. Made from proteins derived from peas and other plants, the burger has no cholesterol, which was perfect for moi on my restricted diet. Whether choosing meat or beyond, it was fun to check out this new concept whose corporate culture emphasizes the environment and sustainability.
In Phoenix, we have two locations, both on the east side in Mesa and Tempe.
927 E University Dr, Tempe, AZ
1939 S Val Vista Dr #105, Mesa, AZ
On October 10, Owner-Chef Cullen Campbell debuted Bar Pesce in the same space off Indian School and 36th he opened 6 years ago as Crudo. Bar Pesce features a new menu combining elements of South American, Japanese, Vietnamese and Italian cuisine. Chef Campbell continues to focus on handcrafted, farm fresh ingredients, but with a celebration of the global community in which we live. Hubby and I enjoyed a wonderful meal, starting with two crudos, a Blue Fin Tuna with avocado, nori and horseradish, and a Swordfish Belly with leche de tigre, a Peruvian citrus marinade. Other standouts were the Crab Bahn Mi Roll, a Cioppino seafood stew in a kombu dashi and the Squid Ink Risotto with Uni that was, in Hubby’s words, “otherwordly”. I was blown away by Memphis native Chef Campbell’s talent for creating unique flavors and combinations. My wish for the New Year is that y’all get out to try some of them.
3603 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe
If you haven’t been to Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe to eat Justine Dachel’s scrumptious and creative gluten-free menu, then you need to drop what you are doing right now and make your way to Thomas and 40th Street. Chef and Owner Justine Dachel is Arcadia born and bred, and her energy and passion for changing the way you think about gluten-free food is nothing short of inspiring. The brunch menu is over the top, with Braised Chickpea Chilaquiles, Hot Chicken and Waffle Sandwich with Fried Eggs, and Chorizo Hash just to name a few. Wash it down with bottomless mimosas and bloodies and you will never again think that “gluten-free” is a naughty word.
4041 E Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ
Fellow Osteria & Pizzeria
The duo behind Clever Koi and Across the Pond, Nicholas Campisano and Joshua James, have opened their fourth concept in the Skysong Complex in south Scottsdale, Fellow Osteria & Pizzeria. You can tell from the name that it is an Italian concept, but Fellow is not your stereotypical pizza joint. The interior is sleek, modern and sexy, and the menu is elegant and tasteful. Grab a glass of Italian wine and sit back and enjoy an octopus or arancini appetizer, some house-made pasta stuffed with Swiss chard in brown butter, or perhaps share a prosciutto and mushroom pizza or Niman Ranch steak. Saluti!
1455 N Scottsdale Rd Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ
Free-Form Yoga at Mountain Shadows
While I have taken a couple of the Sipping Seminars offered at Mountain Shadows, I had been really itching to take the time to attend one of their sunset free-flow yoga classes, which take place on the outdoor lawn every Thursday from 6 to 7. This class is complimentary, y’all, and what better way to end your day than with a little salutation towards majestic Camelback Mountain. And to cap that off? Enjoy happy hour in the bar with $5 drinks. Namaste all day.
5445 E Lincoln Dr, Paradise Valley
The Crêpe Club
Crêpe Club closed its Biltmore location at the end of last summer and has recently opened in the food court at Scottsdale Fashion Square across from Five Guys. Perfect for a break from shopping…c’est chouette!
7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ
Hot on the heels of being crowned Grand Champion of the 2018 Taco Festival, Chef Hinojosa debuted his seasonal menu at CRUjiente, with tasty dishes such as papas fritas, charred octopus, a 36-hour beef short rib taco, a garlic roasted mushroom taco with guajillo butternut squash purée, and the return of the seasonal cinnamon margarita. CRU is my go-to for margaritas, tacos and watching the Spurs games…viva!
3961 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ
‘Tis the season for seasonal menus, and Sandbar Mexican Grill was no exception. Specialty cocktails such as the Merry Mule, Holiday Tamales and Turkey Tinga Tacos in a beachy outdoor sportsbar filled with twinkly lights make for a festive destination any time of the year.
7200 W. Ray Rd., Chandler, AZ
21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix, AZ
Café ZuZu Showstopper Shake
My post wouldn’t be complete without the monthly Show Stopper Shake from Café ZuZu at the Hotel Valley Ho. The December shake marks my 12th shake, and it has been a joy shooting them year round. The White Chocolate Vanilla Gingerbread Shake has white chocolate and gingerbread ice cream, vanilla whip cream, almond spice cake donut, white chocolate dipped pirouette cookies, green and red merengue kisses, gingerbread men and a mini gingerbread house. This shake will put anyone in the holiday mood! Merry Merry to all! xoM
6850 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ
All photos by Marci Symington for texAZtaste.com.