Arizona Taco Festival 2014 at Salt River Fields Offered Lots of Hits and a Few Misses

Categories: Fun

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Jeremiah Toller
The 2014 Arizona Taco Festival was like heaven for taco lovers.

The 2014 Arizona Taco Festival took place this past weekend at Scottsdsale's Salt River Fields. There was enough sun, tacos, and booze to go around for the two full days of festivities, with tacos coming from every type of establishment from food trucks (including Traveling Monk) to casual bars (such as Dos Gringos) to higher-end trendy Mexican staples (like Distrito).

In the name of research, we tried (at least) one taco from every vendor who had tacos available on Saturday afternoon, and some definitely stood out from the pack. Here are some of the things we took note of between tortilla-wrapped bites.

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Phoenix Barista Harlin Glovacki Qualifies for US Barista Championship

Categories: Grind

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Jules Tompkins
Harlin Glovacki placed fifth in this year's Southwest Regional Barista Competition.

Harlin Glovacki of Nom de Plume Coffee Roasters made Phoenix coffee afficionados proud last week by taking fifth place in the Southwest Division of the Big Western Regional Barista Competition. Achieving a top-six placement qualifies him to compete at the national level in February's United States Barista Championship in Long Beach. This is particularly impressive considering that it was Harlin's first time competing in the regional competition.


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The Pig's Meow Beer & Wine Bar, From the Owner of the Whining Pig, Is Now Open in Arcadia

Categories: Now Open

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Lauren Saria
Heads up, Arcadia, there's a new bar in the neighborhood and it comes courtesy of an experienced crew from some of CenPho's favorite drinking holes. As of Wednesday, October 15, the Pig's Meow, a beer and wine bar owned by Greg Malkin of The Whining Pig, is open for business.

The cozy spot is located at 3730 East Indian School Road, in the space formerly occupied by the Poor Little Rich Girl consignment boutique.

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LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Categories: Pie Social

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Hayden Harrison
LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market

Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fifth annual Pie Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one through a quick Pie.Q. quiz to test their baking prowess.

Today: LaDawn Driscoll of Liberty Market

About a year ago when LaDawn Driscoll became the head pastry chef of Liberty Market, her life came full circle. Her parents lived on Page Avenue -- close to where the old grocery store was located.

"My mom used to walk me in my stroller to go shopping when this was an actual market," Driscoll says. "Little baby LaDawn was in here. It's just crazy."

Her mother taught her the home cooking basics, which led to a love and career of baking. Now she bakes her mother's banana cream pie for customers along with an array of other desserts. She applies her creativity to every bite.

Driscoll said she's excited to bake for Pie Social and has her pie picked out, but as a past participant she's even more excited to get her own mouthful.

"It's a gorgeous day downtown and people eat pie," Driscoll says. "I only got two pieces last year. This year I'm bringing more help so I can eat pie and they can stand behind the table."


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What Is My Halloween Candy Alter Ego? A Flowchart

Categories: Flowchart

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Illustration by Claire Lawton
Click on the image (or right here) for a full-size version.

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5 Best Healthy Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

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Lauren Saria
Charleen Badman's tomatoes topped our list of 100 Favorite Dishes this year.
Last month Phoenix New Times celebrated the cream of the crop with our 36th annual Best of Phoenix edition. Here are our top picks for healthy/specialty restaurants in metro Phoenix.

Best Vegetables: FnB
They don't call her "the veggie whisperer" for nothing. Chef Charleen Badman really does have the magic touch. In fact, we once took a tomato-hating friend to her restaurant, FnB, and watched in awe as our dining companion devoured a whole roasted beef steak. "I've decided, if Charleen cooks it, I'll eat anything," she declared. And we agree. From tender eggplant and foraged mushrooms to her famous braised leeks, we have faith that Badman can turn even the most hated of vegetables into something remarkable. This year, we discovered that her vegetable thumb doesn't just work in the kitchen. At her home garden, the chef coaxes a stunning array of vegetables and spices out of the ground. We promise, you've never seen such a lush planter box in your life.


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3 Best Places to Eat and Drink This Week in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Events

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Miracle Mile Deli/Facebook
Miracle Mile Deli
Tuesday, October 21

This Tuesday the Phoenix institution, Miracle Mile Deli, will launch its new breakfast menu. The restaurant's breakfast service will feature made-to-order dishes such as Challah French Toast, Latkes Benedict, Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, and Pastrami Hash. Other classic breakfast options will include Lox, Onions, and Eggs; Super Nova Lox and a bagel; and Plain Ol' Pancakes. Breakfast will be available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., after which the familiar lunch menu -- including the famous Straw Sandwich -- will become available. For more information check the Miracle Mile Deli website.


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The Science of the Salty Dog

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

The other day when I was behind the stick, one of my guests ordered a drink that I haven't made in a while, a Salty Dog. It's one of those basic drinks that you learn early on as a bartender, then almost never make because hardly anybody orders them anymore.

It's a variation on the Greyhound, a highball consisting of nothing more than vodka and grapefruit juice. The ingredient that turns a Greyhound into a Salty Dog is easy enough to figure out: salt. Specifically, it gets salt on the rim of the glass, just like on a Margarita.

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NovemBEER Is Back! Get Exclusive Presale Tickets to the First NovemBEER Festival Now

Categories: Events

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Misha Popovikj/Flickr
November is just around the corner -- wait, where did the time go!? -- and you know what that means? Beer.

The month-long NovemBEER is New Times' annual celebration of craft beer and this time around we've got something big to announce. In addition to a series of style-focused beer tasting events, we'll also be hosting the first ever NovemBEER Festival on Saturday, November 22.

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Forge Wood-Fired Pizza at Union at Biltmore: Cauliflower Pizza and Olive Oil Soft Serve

Categories: First Taste

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Lauren Saria
Cauliflower Pizza (under a blanket of arugula).
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

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Lauren Saria
Inside Forge Pizza
Restaurant: Forge Wood-Fired Pizza
Location: 2502 E. Camelback Road
Open: Just over a week
Eats: Neapolitan-style pizza
Price: About $20/person

There's certainly no shortage of places to get a pizza around town these days. There's not even a shortage of places to get a remarkably good pizza (see: here, here, here, and here). We can't say when it happened, but somewhere along the way, Phoenix became a place to find pizzas of all shapes, varieties, and levels of quality.

The latest pizza place to join the pack comes to the Valley by way of northern California and has two sister restaurants in Bay Area. The third outlet can be found in the shops at Union at the Biltmore Fashion Park, taking over the space most recently occupied by Short Leash Short Lease. It's not likely to change the way you think about pizza but makes a nice spot for an al fresco lunch.

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