Palcohol: Powdered Alcohol, Made by a Phoenix Resident, Is Not Going to Happen

Categories: Wake Up Call

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Robert S. Donovan/Flickr
Neat, rocks, and powdered? No thanks, Palcohol.
We try not to be snobby about booze. We've had our fair share of flavored vodka-based cocktails that taste pretty good and have definitely fallen victim to a wide array of lemon drop, Washington apple, and other shots. But Mark Phillips, the Phoenix resident behind Palcohol, took things too far. His powdered alcohol was recently approved by federal regulators -- which made the news -- and then the decision was reversed. That made the news, too. We have to admit that we're a little relieved.

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Bad Water Brewing and Craft Beer's Real Quality Problem

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Beers: Saison and IPA
Brewery: Bad Water Brewing
Style: Saison, IPA
ABV: 6 percent, 5.5 percent

Imagine, for a minute, that you've traveled back to the first time you tried craft beer. You've spent most of your legal drinking age years (and maybe a few before) throwing back cans of mass-produced lager created to ferment as quickly as possible with as little flavor as possible, but your friend convinced you to try out this new local brewery down the road. Reluctantly, you tag along, fork over what seems to you an outrageous price for a glass of beer, and take a sip. It's thin, overcarbonated, maybe a little metallic. Not bad, per se, but not very different from what you normally drink, and way more expensive. Back to the mass-produced stuff you go.

During his remarks at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Craft Brewers Conference on April 8, Brewers Association president Paul Gatza voiced concerns that, with many new brewers entering the market with little experience and inferior product, the scenario above could become common.

"With so many brewery openings, the potential is there for things to start to degrade on the quality side, and we wouldn't want that to color the willingness of the beer drinker to try new brands," Gatza says. "If a beer drinker has a bad experience, they are just going to go back to companies they know and trust."

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James Fox of Bootleggers on the Barbecue Trend in Phoenix

Categories: Chef and Tell

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Lauren Saria
James Fox, executive chef of Bootleggers
James Fox
Executive Chef
Bootleggers (Phoenix, Scottsdale)
www.bootleggersaz.com

It's taken a while, but if you're a fan of slow-smoked barbecue, then you're probably already aware that we have a solid selection of 'cue joints in this town. There are the standby options like Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ in Cave Creek, but also newcomers to the scene, including Bootleggers, a "modern American smokehouse" that opened its first location in North Phoenix about a year ago.

You could say that Bootleggers was the first sign that Phoenix might be on the right track to joining the list of cities across the country currently experiencing a revival in interest for barbecued meats. And now with the restaurant's second location open in Scottsdale, we're pretty confident in saying that we're well on our way.


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Paquime Street Food of Mexico in Sunnyslope: Tortas Paquime Goes Fancy, Fast-Casual

Categories: First Taste

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Lauren Saria
Beef flautas from Paquime Street Food of Mexico.
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
Paquime Street Food of Mexico
Restaurant: Paquime Steet Food of Mexico
Location: 17 East Dunlap Road
Open: About three weeks
Eats: Mexican
Price: Less than $10 a person

If you're already a fan of Tortas Paquime, the mini-chain of five restaurant that specializes in the Mexican sandwiches, there's a good chance you're also going to like Paquime Street Food of Mexico. The restaurant is the newest concept from the Paquime restaurant family and while the menu will probably look pretty familiar to Tortas Paquime fans, it's about the only thing that will.

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

Categories: Events

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Courtesy of Cuttlefish
Cash in on Cuttlefish's new daily specials.
Cuttlefish
Monday, April 21

Scottsdale's seafood-centric Italian restaurant, Cuttlefish, has introduced a new lineup of daily specials, available five nights a week. On Monday nights diners can enjoy a 1 lb. char-grilled Maine Lobster and Linguine Nero Fra Diavlo for just $25, while Tuesday brings 40 percent off all wine bottles. Thursday's deal will be a three-course tasting menu dinner for two for $49 and on Sundays the restaurant is offering a fish fry for $15. Cuttlefish will also have live music on Wednesday and Thursday nights. For more information visit the Cuttlefish website.


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Sushi Ken vs. Posh: Chow Bella's Ultimate Battle of the Ramen

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Evie Carpenter
Things are getting down to the wire for this ramen battle bracket. There have been some upsets, like Republic Ramen beating out fan favorite Umami, and there's also been a disqualification due to T.Spot closing shortly before it was set to battle against Posh's ramen. This week Posh will try to prove its stuff by going up against Sushi Ken, an Awhatukee joint known well by many local ramen lovers. The winner will go up against Hana in the finals to determine who serves the Valley's best bowl of ramen.

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10 Best Places to Eat and Drink Cactus in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Top Lists

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Natalie Miranda
Queso Fundido with nopales from Asi es la Vida.

You drive by prickly pear cactus everyday in the Valley. But chances are you didn't know every part of the plant is edible, and chefs around the Valley are making use of the Arizona native in their restaurants.

We're not just talking about prickly pear margaritas, either. (Though there's a very good one on this list.)

Nopales are the flat pads of the cactus, and prickly pear, or tuna in Spanish, is the bright purple or red oval fruit that grow on the cactus. They can be found in pretty much all Mexican grocery stores. But if you'd rather leave the dirty work to someone else, we've got you covered. Here are our 10 favorite places to eat cactus in Phoenix.

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How To Make Cold Brew Coffee

Categories: Grind

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Heather Hoch
Look, ma! I made my own cold brew, and you can too!
Last week, I told everyone just how much I love cold brew coffee. From the unique, smooth flavor to the higher caffeine content, cold brew is pretty much the only way I get my mornings started. However, I also mentioned that my favorite cold brew at Cartel is $3.75 per 16 ounce cup so I wanted to see how much it would cost to make my own cold brew at home. While there are more expensive toddy systems and Oji systems out there, you really don't need a lot more than a container, some ground coffee beans, water, and time.

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Chipotle Is Raising Prices and You Let It Happen

Categories: Wake Up Call

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Courtesy of Chipotle.
That burro is about to cost you more.
They brought you the top secret quesarito and made veggie folk happy by releasing Sofritas tofu and now that you're hooked on new menu items, Chipotle is going to raise prices for the first time in three years. According to the Associated Press, the chain will introduce new menu boards in all its locations with higher prices.

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How to Make a Jungle Bird Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

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JK Grence

Sometimes behind the bar, you have your own personal trends. Take, for example, this week's cocktail. A year or two ago, I got on a streak of making this drink for almost everyone I knew. I sang its praises far and wide. But somehow, it never made it into Chow Bella.

Then last week some friends and I were talking shop. Someone asked if I had heard of the Jungle Bird cocktail. They said I'd like it, that doesn't take itself too seriously but has a sophisticated side. I found the recipe in my library and immediately remembered that I'd made scores of these not too long ago.

I'm glad I dusted off my archives. The Jungle Bird cocktail is a damned fine drink.


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