Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty Last Night at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival

Categories: Chow Bella

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Alissa Irei
Scottsdale Culinary Festival's annual Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty event brings together style, sustenance, and spirits in one rollicking bash.

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival's Eat, Drink, and Be Pretty fête is arguably more about seeing and being seen than it is about eating -- Be Pretty, Drink, and Eat might be a more apropos name. It's the sort of event that doesn't favor any foods too messy or cumbersome; if you can't eat it without smearing your lipstick, you probably won't find it at the party. But while the food wasn't of the no-holds-barred sort you'll see at, say, the festival's Burger Battle, neither did it disappoint.

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Cakes and Ribbon Bakery Serves Up Sweet Tres Leches Cake and Cupcakes

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Natalie Miranda
Cakes and Ribbon Bakery

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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Corazon Mexican Cocina in Central Phoenix: Homemade Horchata and Chilaquiles Off the Beaten Path

Categories: Chow Bella

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Natalie Miranda
Corazon Mexican Cocina

Several members of the Chow Bella team noticed a now brightly painted Mexican restaurant, Corazon Mexican Cocina, and sent me to investigate.

Before the facelift, the spot was known as Altamar Mexican Grill and still operates under the same owners. We approached with the question: Truly authentic Mexican food, or another wasted attempt at finding treasure in an unexpected spot?

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5 Things to Know When Traveling to Cooking Schools Abroad

Categories: Chow Bella

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Kate Crowley
The Blue Elephant Cooking School is a fancy place to learn to cook in Bangkok

Having traveled abroad recently for a series of cooking classes, it became apparent to me that there are some things to "know before you go."

Here it is, stuff you should keep in mind as you book a trip of a lifetime to learn how to cook native cuisine in the country of your choice....If you want to keep your dignity and your digits.


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5 Things Your Server Really Doesn't Want You To Do

Categories: Chow Bella

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Wikimedia Commons
If you treat your server kind, you'll get served just fine.
Everyone who plans on ever dining out should be forced to serve, at least for a month or two. Then maybe folks would have a little more compassion for the fine ladies and gentlemen who take care of them from the greasy spoon diners to the upscale steakhouses. While we don't expect y'all to rush out and do a stint of serving for empathy's sake, we do have some suggestions on what you should never do to make the restaurant scene better for servers and you alike.

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Laurie Notaro's Clean Your Plate (Then Take a Picture of It) Club

Categories: Chow Bella

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Laurie Notaro
Diner cheeseburger, after.

When my meal arrives, whether I'm patronizing Waffle House or a restaurant with real tablecloths, that signals to me that it is time to eat. That's the green light that lets this little cow know it's time to feed.

But in some people, that gene is apparently mutated and signals to them that it's time for a photo shoot.

I've been dinner companions with these people, those who move the plate for the best light, change the filter and the lens to capture the image pristinely -- all while the rest of us look on, mumbling "not fucking again" under our breaths while our food sheds its ripeness as we wait for the Cecil Beaton of grilled cheese sandwiches to call it a wrap.

When I was in fifth grade, I made my first tomato sandwich -- Wonder bread, tomatoes, mayonaise and salt -- that spurned a lifelong affair with tomato sandwiches that continues to this day. I once had a filet mignon at Harris' that was so lovely I couldn't stop humming. A burrito at Casa Reynoso can inspire the same reaction, if not augmented by a tiny little dance. But oddly, I do not have photographs of these dear friends, nor would I have a desire to turn the pages of my Meal Photo Memories Book back to that tomato sandwich to gaze longingly at it 35 years later, even if I did.

Why? Because I'm an asshole, but I'm not that asshole.


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Maya's Farm CSA Accepting Applications Now for Spring Season

Categories: Chow Bella

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Heather Hoch
Rosa Bianca Eggplant from Maya's Farm
There's no need to run all over town just to get your hands on fresh, local produce. Not when you can sign up for a CSA, or community-supported agriculture.

Maya's Farm, a small enterprise run by Maya Dailey within The Farm at South Mountain development, offers CSA members a weekly allotment of fresh, hand-picked, certified organic produce. The spring CSA season starts Friday, April 11 and Maya's Farm is accepting applications now.

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5 Childhood-Inspired Desserts In Metro Phoenix

Categories: Chow Bella

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Alissa Irei
St. Francis' PB & J dessert is too pretty to hide in a brown bag.

Rent, insurance, student loans - adulthood isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Sometimes it's nice to revisit an easier time, when happiness was a stack of Oreos and a glass of milk after school. OK, anyone who thinks childhood was that simple doesn't really remember it. Still, it's nice to indulge in a little nostalgic noshing every now and then, and Phoenix-area restaurants make it easy with their fun twists on kid-inspired classics.

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Sazón Bachata: The Caribbean Comes to Grand Avenue in Phoenix

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Natalie Miranda
Pollo salteado con vegetales

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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Chipotle Quesarito, Quesadilla-Burrito Hybrid: Secret Menu Item Worth Trying

Categories: Chow Bella

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Alissa Irei
At 1,290 calories, this Chipotle quesarito packs a caloric but delicious punch.

The first time I ordered a quesarito I felt like I was knocking on the door of an underground speakeasy, sheepishly half-whispering the magic word across the counter. At first it seemed I'd gotten the secret handshake wrong, as the pretty young Chipotle employee stared at me impassively while I shifted nervously from foot to foot. I started to stammer out some qualifying explanation, half-tempted to change my order and slink off, burrito in hand and tail between my legs.

Perhaps the elusive quesarito was just an urban foodie legend after all. But she interrupted me, clearly annoyed.


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