5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in November

Categories: Saria, Top Lists

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Lauren Saria
If there's one lesson to be learned from last month's best bites, it's that a dish doesn't have to be big to make a lasting impression. Whether we're talking about a side plate, an appetizer, or a simple pastry, sometimes it's the smallest morsels that make the most powerful memories. The best eats and drinks I got to try in November include the stunning seasonal plate pictured above and couple dishes from two top new spots.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

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11 Things We're Grateful For in the Phoenix Food Scene

Categories: Saria, Top Lists

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Kholood Eid
Located just off the freeway, Singh Farms is hidden in plain sight.
Saturday Mornings at Singh Farms

It's impossible to overstate how wonderful it is to spend a Saturday morning at Singh Farms in Scottsdale. Located on Thomas Road just east of Loop 101, this farm practically hides in plain sight. Venture inside a desert oasis full of fresh produce, eggs, and bread. The setting is nothing short of magical and you're welcome to wander the grounds, visiting the chickens and horses, provided you stay on the path and don't trample the plants.

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5 Best Things I Ate and Drank in October

Categories: Saria

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Lauren Saria
Baby octopus from Forge Pizza
Though we're already charging into the month of November, I have to admit I'm still reeling from the drama of last last month. Saying good-bye to some well-loved spots -- including Noca, The Local, and soon, Petite Maison -- made October seem at times like a never-ending slew of bad news. Looking back, however, it was also a month of some really great eats. This list of top food and drinks includes some new finds from favorite spots and a selection from one of the many new restaurants to open last month.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

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Let's Face It, The Commercial Kitchen Is Still A Boys' Club

Categories: Saria

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Seabamirum/Flickr
Next month some of the Valley's top women chefs will gather in the kitchen at Chrysa Robertson's Rancho Pinot restaurant to cook food and to make a stand, to show everyone that great, talented women chefs exist. And furthermore, that they deserve to be recognized.

It's not the first time Phoenix's female chefs have banded together in a show of force. But this dinner is slightly different. It's a response to a slew of collaborative dining events around town that have failed to showcase the talents of women chefs.

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10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in September

Categories: Saria, Top Lists

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Lauren Saria
Last month we released Best of Phoenix 2014, recognizing some of the best restaurants and bars in the Valley. Many of the most memorable things I ate and drank in September come from places included in the Food & Drink section of the issue though some dishes are from new spots around town.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

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10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in August

Categories: Saria

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Lauren Saria
Nocawich's pistacho and sour cherry doughnut.
Many restaurants are getting ready to reopen for the fall season, which means we can get ready to see a whole slew of new fall menus. And while I'm excited to see what's coming down the bend, I'll be sad to see some of my favorite summer dishes fall off menus until next year. This month's best eats and drinks is an eclectic mix of cuisines including a very special loaf of bread (well, at least if you're a bread nerd like me) and some fried chicken that's certainly worth waiting for.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

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5 Most Irritating Things About Restaurant Menus

Categories: Saria

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Marcin Wichary/Flickr
Excessively large menus lead to "The Cheesecake Factory Effect."
When it's well-written, a menu is your map to a restaurant experience. It tells you what kind of food to expect and how much it's going to cost. It might even give you a little insight into the chef and his or her vision for the restaurant. When it's poorly put together, a menu can be incredibly frustrating, annoying, and eye-roll inducing. Here are the five most irritating things about restaurant menus

May you never have to experience them yourself.

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10 Best Things I Ate and Drank in July

Categories: Saria

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Lauren Saria
Ramen burger from Bitter & Twisted
I know summer is supposed to be the slow season for restaurants in this town but I can tell you I didn't notice anything slow during last month's dining excursions. A few of the items that make it on July's list of the best things I ate and drank are special creations that do a great job of showcasing just how incredible our dining and drinking scene has become. Not all are available on the restaurant's regular menu but I guarantee they're worth the wait if/when you do get the chance to try them again.

I hope you get to try some of it for yourself soon.

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5 Best New Metro Phoenix Restaurants of 2014 -- So Far

Categories: Saria, Top Lists

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Lauren Saria
A two-meat plate from Little Miss BBQ
If the first half of 2014 is an accurate indication of how the rest of this year's going to go, then we're in for quite a delicious ride. We've welcomed more than a few hot new dining spots to the scene, some of which didn't quite make this list but just need time and a few tweaks to become true top-notch spots for Valley diners.

Some of the places that top this list of the best new restaurants so far take a cue from the current dining trends, while others deliver classic cuisine done remarkably well. All of them play a part in making the city a more delicious place to dine with every passing year. In no particular order, here are five of my favorite restaurants to open so far in 2014.

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The Downside of Counter Service

Categories: Saria

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Jackie Mercandetti
The Market by Jennifer's tried a counter service model but switched after realizing it just didn't work.
Not so long ago, counter service was reserved for cafes and bars and coffee shops, places where you would order your drink or sandwich and then take a seat at whatever table you liked. At more traditional restaurants with longer menus and more expensive food, you could pretty much always expect to have a waiter.

Increasingly, that's less and less true. I understand that the fast-casual dining trend might be bringing better food to more people, and I agree that's a good thing. But I do think there's a downside to the change: counter service.

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