Online Nominations Are Open Now for the 2015 Ripe Awards

Categories: Chow Bella

Courtesy of Awe Collective
The winners of the 2014 Ripe Awards.
For the first time in the three-year history of the Ripe Awards, a local culinary accolade given out by the Phoenix Art Museum's Men's Arts Council, the public is being asked to nominate chefs and bartenders "whose innovative creations demonstrate the unique culture of the Phoenix dining scene."

The annual awards aim to recognize Phoenix's "freshest" culinary talent. Past winners have included chefs Matt Carter, Jesse Hansen, Justin Beckett, Danielle Leoni, and Gio Osso (2014), as well as Bernie Kantak, Josh Hebert, Charleen Badman, Greg LaPrad, and Silvana Salcido Esparza (2013).

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The Joy Bus Seeks Volunteers to Help Deliver Meals to Cancer Patients

Categories: Chow Bella

Courtesy of the Joy Bus
Joy Bus Founder Jennifer Carraway
Since its inception in 2011, the Joy Bus, a local nonprofit organization, has distributed more than 1,600 meals to Valley cancer patients. However, even with 12 rotating volunteers, there still are not enough people to deliver all the requested meals.

"It has been a difficult three and a half years," writes founder Jennifer Caraway in an e-mail. "I am unsure how other nonprofits do it, but there seems to be a lot of begging involved."

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Sa Bai Modern Thai: Happy Hour Report Card

Categories: Happy Hour

Evie Carpenter
The Gingerpear martini was on point flavor-wise but needed better execution.
The Spot: Sa Bai Modern Thai
4121 East Thomas Road

The Hours: Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Perfect for: Satisfying that Thai craving at nearly any waking hour.

Interior: The sign outside of Sa Bai Modern Thai explains that the name means "to relax" in Thai. Surprisingly, this free-standing restaurant right next door to a self-serve car wash has created a rather calm, low-key atmosphere.

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Nawaz Indian Cuisine Serves Solid, No-Frills Indian Cuisine in West Phoenix

Categories: Cafe Reviews

Jackie Mercandetti
Though it may not be the Valley's best Indian restaurant, Nawaz has plenty to appeal to fans of Indian cuisine.
One hopes that Nawaz Indian Cuisine, way out in the suburbs on West Dunlap Road, can limp along until the light-rail line reaches the restaurant later this year. Nawaz isn't the best Indian restaurant in the Valley. But this casual Indian eatery has plenty of options to appeal to fans of authentic Indian cuisine. Nawaz offers a variety of appetizers and entrées, from vegetarian sautés to chicken curries. Main dishes are more than reasonably priced, and service (one orders at a counter, and food is delivered) is friendly enough.

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The Chandler Craft Spirits Festival Featured Local and National Distillers -- Plus Free Breathalyzer Tests

Categories: Hooch

Shelby Moore
Spirits are high as attendees try out out spirits.
It was a normal Saturday evening in Downtown Chandler, save for the 2,000 or so who lined up for the return of the Chandler Craft Spirits Festival on April 25. Dr. A.J. Park was full of spirit -- and spirits -- and we tried everything craft, local, and ridiculous.

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5 Best Restaurants in Arcadia Right Now

Categories: Top Lists

Evie Carpenter
The Stand's "hecho in Arcadia" burgers are a neighborhood staple.
With its central location between Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix and an abundance of upscale homes, it's really no surprise that the Arcadia neighborhood has become one of the Valley's best dining spots. There are plenty of people in this part of town that love to eat and drink, and plenty of others who are willing to drive here to frequent the many restaurants and bars.

Whether you're looking for an upscale dinner option or a local restaurant that serves food on the go, Arcadia has an option that will fill the bill.

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Kari Spencer of the Micro Farm Project on How to Grow Food in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Now Growing

Courtesy of The Micro Farm Project
Kari Spencer gives us a primer on desert food production.
Master Gardener Kari Spencer is well-versed in the challenges of growing edible plants in the desert. Spencer teaches Urban Farming at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and is founder of The Micro Farm Project. Her home is a functional urban food oasis, complete with goats, chickens, and turkeys. We spoke with Kari about challenges common to Phoenix-area gardening, how to control pests (without any yucky chemicals), and upcoming events for aspiring urban farmers.

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Lost Abbey Red Poppy: One of America's Best Flanders Red Ales

Beer: Red Poppy
Brewery: The Lost Abbey
Style: Flanders Red Ale
ABV: 5 percent

In Illa Brettanomyces Nos Fides reads an eight-foot sign hanging over the entrance to the barrel room of The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, Calif. It's a Latin phrase that, translated precisely, means "in this place we have faith in British fungus." Less literally, it means "in wild yeast we believe," which is a fitting mantra for one of the most celebrated brewers of sour ales in the U.S. Inside the barrels contained in that room, billions of yeast and bacteria cells are churning, changing the liquid inside to sought-after sours like Cable Car, Veritas and Duck Duck Gooze. Because Brettanomyces and other funky strains take so long to impart their most unique aspects onto a beer, many of these barrels won't see the light of day for years.

Some of them, however, are open now. It's Red Poppy season.

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Songbird Coffee & Tea House Is Now Open in New Location on Third Street

Categories: Now Open

Lauren Saria
The new freestanding coffehouse is located at 812 North Third Street.
Since opening in July 2012, Songbird Coffee & Tea House has been located inside the monOrchid Gallery on Roosevelt Row. The coffeeshop occupied a 675-square-foot corner space inside the gallery, but a number of causes (including issues with the landlord, limited parking, and a desire to expand) led owners Erin and Jonathan Carroll to relocate earlier this year.

The new Songbird Cofee & Tea House can be found at 812 North Third Street, about a tenth of a mile south of the former location.

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

Categories: Events

Sake Master Yuji Matsumoto will unlock the secrets within these sake barrels.
Kabuki Restaurants
Tuesday or Wednesday, April 28 or 29

If your idea of sake involves an accompanying beer and $3 happy hour maki rolls, then Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto could teach you a thing or two. Fortunately, Japan-born Matsumoto has made it his life's mission to spread sake culture throughout the United States. Matsumoto will be in town this Tuesday and Wednesday at the Tempe and Glendale locations of Kabuki restaurants to host a two-hour class, sharing his knowledge as the first Master Sake Sommelier recognized in the United States. Matsumoto will showcase his spring sake selections, with varieties such as Hakutsuru and Mio Sparkling, both alone and in specialty sake cocktails. The $20 admission includes samples of sake, shochu and beer, along with small bites and appetizers from the Kabuki kitchen. Class starts at 6 p.m. Visit the Kabuki website for more information.

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