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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Bake Like Wes Anderson's Mendl's Bakery: A Tutorial

Categories: Chow Bella

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Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.
Learn how to bake just like Wes Anderson would.
Oh Wes Anderson, you've won our hearts once again by teaching us how to recreate Mendl's courtesan au chocolate, a fictional filled pastry that takes center stage in his new movie The Grand Budapest Hotel. With kitschy designs, muted pastels, and chocolate custard filling, the pastry is as fun to look at as it is to eat. Plus, a Wes Anderson baking tutorial is exactly as adorable as it sounds.

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Soft Openings Are Out of Control

Categories: Chow Bella, Saria

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dlofink/Flickr
"Open" or "soft open"?
Once upon a time in a land without Yelp and Twitter, restaurants fell into one of two categories: open or closed. But these days, the situation has become decidedly less black and white. In recent months, I've dined at a number of Valley restaurants that have decided to open their doors for business -- but on special terms. They say they're "soft open," a phrase that used to refer to a business opening quietly to do test runs before an official grand opening date.

In theory, it's a great idea, for both the business owner and the customer. But lately things have gotten out of hand and the soft opening offenses I've seen run the gamut from slightly annoying to "Seriously? WTF."


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Arizona Aloha Festival 2014: Shaved Ice and Spam Musubi

Categories: Chow Bella, Events

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Natalie Miranda
Hawaiian shaved ice.
This weekend Tempe Beach Park is filled with food, music, dancing and jewelry celebrating the cultures of the Pacific Islands at the Arizona Aloha Festival.

Marking its 20th anniversary, there was no shortage of good food, refreshing sweets and long lines at the event Saturday. It continues today, Sunday, March 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Sweet Republic's Sky Harbor Airport Location Opens Today with 12 Flavors

Categories: Chow Bella

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Nikki Buchannan
Get your toffee banofi sundae before you take off.
There's now hope at the end of the security check line for folks flying out of Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor. Beginning at 8 a.m. today, Sweet Republic airport outpost will be slinging scoops, cups, cones, and shakes for weary travelers. If you're anywhere near Gate B5, you're going to want to get your buns over to Sweet Republic to try one (or all) of its eight ice cream and four sorbet flavors.

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5 Things to Order at Tortas Paquime That Aren't Tortas

Categories: Chow Bella

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Natalie Miranda
Paquitostitos from Tortas Paquime

The place to get your torta fix undoubtedly is Tortas Paquime -- near 24th Street and McDowell. The restaurant's inexpensive Mexican sandwiches fill every need when hunger strikes. But did you know that there are other gems on the menu besides tortas?

Just when you thought this place couldn't get any better, it does. Here are five things to try at Tortas Paquime that aren't tortas.

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