10 Top Picks for Arizona Restaurant Week, Fall 2014

Categories: Top Lists

BAT Gnocchi 2.JPG
Heather Hoch
Rancho Pinot's hearty sauce sticks to your gnocchi and your ribs.
With so many restaurants participating in this fall's edition of Arizona Restaurant Week -- which runs from Friday, September 19, to Sunday, September 28 -- it can be hard to tell where your dining dollars will be best spent. Thankfully, we're here to dish out some suggestions. Some of the restaurants on our list are top Arizona dining destinations where your dollar will go farther during the event than at any other time of year, while others are newcomers to the local dining scene.

At any of the 10, you'll want to make your reservations soon -- many will be booked up entirely by the time the week hits.

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The Bakery PHX Shines with Mini Pies and Potato Knishes

Categories: First Taste

Heather Hoch
Calling all pie lovers: It's time to go to The Bakery PHX!
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).

Restaurant: The Bakery PHX
Location: 1528 East Bethany Home Road
Open: About a month
Eats: Baked goods
Price: $1 to $10

Heather Hoch
The Bakery PHX is not a trendy cupcake shop, though the bright, simple interior and handwritten signage are modern and stylish. It's also not a traditional spot, as it serves both freshly baked sourdough bread loaves as well as the shop's take on the Twinkie, which actually looks more like a Ho Ho on the outside.

Instead, it's somewhere in between. And it works.

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Blog Comments to Expect When You Post a Recipe Online

Categories: Wake Up Call

Melissa Wiese/Flickr
Beware: Even the most straightforward recipes are up for debate when posted online.
Looking for a laugh this morning? Well, The Toast made a list of the types of commenters who put their opinions on recipes online. From the shameless substituters to the chronic oversharers, the list of comments is hilariously accurate. If you've ever tried to share a recipe of your own creation online, you definitely know what this blog is talking about.

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Huss Fresh Magic: Wet-Hopped Beer from South Tempe

Zach Fowle
Beer: Fresh Magic
Brewery: Huss Brewing Co.
Style: American-style Pale Ale
ABV: 5.7 percent

A hop picked right off the vine is a beautiful thing -- conical, verdant, wonderfully fragrant.

See how pretty?

But a vast majority of the hops brewers use to make beer don't look like this. While prized for their vivid, green aroma, fresh hops (also known as "wet" hops, since the just-picked cones are about 80 percent moisture) are quite unstable. If baled and shipped along normal channels, they'll quickly develop mold and cheesy off-flavors. So most hop-growers will first dry their hops by circulating hot air through them -- a process known as "kilning" -- which drops the moisture content to around 10 percent and preserves the hops for shipping.

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Pig Face Dumplings from Clever Koi: 100 Favorite Dishes

Heather Hoch
An enduring favorite on the ever-changing Clever Koi menu.
Last year we marked the hundred day countdown to Best of Phoenix by sharing some of our favorite food folks' "Personal Best" lists. This year we're bringing back our list of 100 Favorite Dishes. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email lauren.saria@newtimes.com.

8. Pig Face Dumplings from Clever Koi

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

Categories: Events

Evie Carpenter
This week The Gladly is celebrating one year of business.
The Gladly
Today through Thursday, September 16

Now through Thursday The Gladly is celebrating its one year anniversary by thanking customers with a few sweet -- and savory -- deals. All week the restaurant will be giving dine-in dinner guests one $1 Original Chopped Salad per table, as well as a complimentary anniversary dessert of chef Bernie Kantak's choice for two people to share during both dinner and lunch. The celebration will also double as the debut of The Gladly's updated look, which includes bold-patterned wallpaper and new furniture and accessories in the dining room and bar.

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How to Brew a Chemex the Cartel Coffee Way

Categories: Chow Bella, Grind

Zaida Dedolph
Jenny Vaughn adds coffee to the Chemex.

A Chemex is a way of brewing coffee that is one part art, one part science, two parts swank. The hand-blown glass brewer was invented in the early 1940s by a chemist who wanted to create a method for making coffee that was both sleek and effective. At first glance, you might think this was a flower vase.

But the Chemex's thick paper filter and Jessica Rabbit-esque figure are designed to brew a clean, articulate cup of coffee. In recent years, specialty coffee folk have rediscovered this beautiful brewer. Its functional beauty has allowed it to stand the test of time; it serves as a visual representation of transparency and cleanliness of both cafe and coffee.

Bonus story: legend has it that Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, the likely mad scientist slash total baller who invented the device, drove a Cadillac with a little gold Chemex hood ornament.

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Silvana Salcido Esparza on Barrio Queen: "I'm Proud of What I Did"

Categories: Chef and Tell

Lauren Saria
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza
Silvana Salcido Esparza
Chef, Owner
Barrio Cafe

If you haven't been paying close attention, then the past few weeks may have been a bit confusing in regard to what exactly James Beard Award-nominated chef Silvana Salicido Esparza is and isn't up to these days. So first, let's clear up a few things.

As of mid-August, Esparza no longer is part of Barrio Queen in Scottsdale, which also means she's no longer a part of the second Barrio Queen location that will open in Gilbert. And those plans she had for a fast-casual spot on the west side? Those are shot too. Yes, she did help design a burrito concept for the Arizona Mills Mall food court, but it's not under her control now that it's open.

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Chris Bianco to Judge Game Day Chef Challenge -- Here's How You Can Enter

Categories: Wake Up Call

Game Day Chef Challenge
Suzanne C. of Arizona entered this chicken sandwich recipe made from Chevron-bought ingredients.
Here's a Chopped style challenge for you: go to your nearest Chevron or Texaco station, find some ingredients, and make a tasty creation worthy of a chef's palate. Well, if you're not a pro chef already, here's your chance to whip something up that Chris Bianco will taste. The Chevron Game Day Chef Challenge is a competition in Arizona, California, Washington, and Oregon where home cooks create dishes using gas station fare all for a big cash prize.

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How to Make Computer-Created Ivorian Bourbon Punch

Categories: Last Call

JK Grence

There's a decent chance you're familiar with Watson, IBM's artificial intelligence computing project. Its most noteworthy public appearance was a few years ago on the classic quiz show Jeopardy!, where it beat the tar out of the game's two best human players.

More recently, the team of people in charge of Watson have turned to culinary pursuits. At SXSW in Austin, IBM ran a food truck with Watson as the executive chef.

To get Watson to come up with a dish, Watson's handlers enter three things in something of a game of culinary Mad Libs. They give Watson a region of the world, a feature ingredient, and a type of dish.

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