Short Leash Sit…Stay Experience

He Said

 

What started as one of the valley’s most popular food trucks has grown into brick and mortar with a location in the hip and trendy Roosevelt Row. One what one would call a spur of the moment decision I decided to make the short drive downtown and finally check out what has become an institution. It has been months since I began craving a Short Leash dog and every opportunity to partake in it has ended in disappointment. First time I attempted I was literally the last person in the line before they ran out of dogs. It was a cruel joke that the universe decided to tease me with. The second time was just recently when I was sure they would be at the Street Eats food truck festival. I mean over 50 trucks and the one I really wanted wasn’t even there, go figure. So with a restaurant now we can all get our craving satisfied when we want to.
I sometimes wonder if the weather affects my experiences. Well if so, then this experience was off to a great start. I sat outside because it was beautiful and while pleasant inside I will always take outside while I can. The service was quick and I don’t know why but the way I was greeted made me feel at home. “Hi, please sit wherever you feel most comfortable” Most comfortable, what a fantastic way to tell me to pick my table. I looked over the extended menu, much more than you are going to get out of a truck visit and made some final decisions.
I would start with the Corn Dog Bites. They come on a stick and each dog was just big enough for about 3 bites. I was thinking this would be the perfect way to get your dog on if you were going to choose something else on the menu than the large dog selections. So I only had a couple and took the rest home for a treat later on. I wish it had come with something other than mustard, but that’s just me. Everyone else thinks yellow mustard is a perfect combo with a corn dog. So for my main event I had the Lady dog and while I originally asked for a Brat my server recommended I get the polish sausage instead as it complimented the flavors better. Who am I to argue with someone who sees people eat dogs all day long? She was right. Spot on, really. I don’t think a brat would have meshed well with the grilled onions, chipotle crème cheese, and fried pickles. Now even when I read it, it sounds like a hot mess. But the honest to goodness reality is that it mixes very well together. There was a kick from the chipotle, and to my surprise it was cooled off by the sweet fried pickles. I have always had dill pickles. But it was fantastic. I was happy I only had 2 dog bites. Of course we cannot forget about the Naan bread. I mean the fluffy goodness of this dough is enough to make me want to wrap myself up in one and drift off to sleep. This is exactly what I need to do after eating this meal. You will leave full and happy.
All that waiting paid off. Count me in as another satisfied Short Leash addict.

She Said

 

Roosevelt Row New Downtown Phoenix is the epicenter for arts of all kinds in the metro area. Handmade crafts, music, and food of course! As I was walking back to my car after a show at The Nash (local and national jazz venue) I spotted the restaurant. The place didn’t catch my eye at first. The signage is definitely minimal, though their name is in the window- Short Leash Hot Dogs. Before this permanent location you could only indulge on these dogs from one of Short Leash’s food trucks around Phoenix.

The inside of Sit… Stay is modern, simple, almost industrial, but cozy. Grey with orange accents, stainless steel tables, and school-house style chairs. I was impressed by their array of unsuspecting combinations, the most impressive being the Sunny. Probably the fanciest hot dog I’ve ever eaten let alone heard of. A combo of prosciutto, fruit, greens, goat cheese, and a chicken hotdog on warm naan (pita like flatbread.) Each bite was a wonderful mix of flavors! The rest of the menu includes odd appetizers such as Scotch Eggs and Funnel Cakes, to salads and entrees. Though I only had one dog, I thank Short Leash Sit…Stay eatery for making me a believer in hot dogs as comfort food once again.

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Battle Of The Bartenders

WSWE spent Sunday afternoon Downtown Phoenix at Devour Phoenix’s 5th Annual Battle of the Bartenders. Eight local restaurant bartenders were present at Crescent Ballroom showcasing their mixing skills. Arizona Distilling Co. sponsored the event featuring their Copper City Bourbon and Desert Dry Gin.

$20 got you in and a bookmark passport to guide you through the event.  The passport was stamped off after each cocktail to manage the one sample per person guidelines. Megan Finnerty from The Arizona Republic & AZCentral.com emceed the event keeping us entertained through the two rounds of competition and votes. The crowd, when done drinking, summited their bookmark passport to vote for “Crowd Favorite.”

There were 350 drinking attendees who were cheerful and friendly as they weaved their way thru the crowd to hit every table at this drinking spectacular.  I was anxious to get my drink on and start sampling these imaginative adult beverages. So, with passport in hand I headed over to my first table…

Maizie's  We started at Maizie’s. Evan Gibbs was offering a new take on an Old Fashion. Smooth and flavorful with hints of cinnamon gave this classic drink a spicy and modern twist. Smokey and sophisticated!

 

The Gladly  Next was the crew from The Gladly, Citizen Public House and R&D. Richie Moe is known for his creative cocktails and I was excited to try the AZain Fusion which included Oolong Tea infused Desert Dry Gin, DaiDai (an Asian variety of bitter orange), ginger syrup and lemongrass topped with lemon and mango foam (which looked a bit like an overeasy egg.) Refreshing and made me think of summertime! Moe won for “Best Presentation” and “People’s Choice.”

 

Kazimierz  Kazimierz’s Ryan Richardsons wanted his cocktail “The Tom Ford” to be fashionable. This drink was Copper City Bourbon based with fruits, cactus juice and topped with soda water. Light and dashing!

 

Clever Koi  Clever Koi was our next table where Joshua James was mixing up a “Love Oolong Time.” Oolong Tea infused Copper City Bourbon, DaiDai (an Asian variety of bitter orange), Asian herbs, lemon and habanero. Multilayers of complex flavors!

 

Phx Public Market  Phoenix Public Market’s Jax Gonzales (the only female contender) was mixing up a “TNT.” This Tamarind Whiskey Sour had  a nice combination of flavors. Traditional hints from the bourbon mixed with the sugary sweet & sour flavors of the Tamarind fruit. Her pinwheel garnish made the “TNT” the most visually appealing. It was an inventive take on this ol’ favorite.

 

Windsor  Windsor’s Manny Pena was offering a gin based drink with subtle fruity flavors. Though this cocktail was mild, it was appealing. Calling it No. 56, the pink drink included an ice cube with carrot stems frozen within for a hint of green. Pena took home the win for “Best Garnish.”

 

District  Matt Tobey from District American Kitchen was slinging a barrel-aged bourbon drink that was strong and smoky with a sweet undertone. This sipping drink was enjoyable but really packed a punch!

 

The Parlor  The Parlor’s Michael Allmandinger was mixing up a “Parlor Star.” This WAS a star with thyme-infused Desert Dry Gin, grapefruit bitters, Génépi (a liqueur similar to absinthe) and topped with egg white and an artistic design. This unique drink took the win and Allmandinger was deemed “Bartender of the Year!”

What a GREAT way to kick-off Arizona Cocktail Week! For more information and upcoming events go to http://arizonacocktailweek.com/

Taco Guild Experience

He Said

 

Some cities make churches into night clubs, but here Phoenix turned a church into a taco restaurant. It has to be the oddest idea and yet almost strangely appropriate. We realized we were seated in what was once the entrance to the church and up along the walls were pews. The detail is quite enjoyable and makes for good table discussion on your first visit. If you are seated in the main section you will notice it is quite loud due to the high ceilings. But that also makes for a fun and festive atmosphere.
The service was quick and knowledgeable about our options. Very accommodating to our requests, even making us a fresh guacamole without the jalapenos. We needed to cool things down after tasting the complimentary chips and salsa. It is very hot! I had to stop after just 2 chips, but the guac was a nice smoothing mixture with a hint of lime. I have had better chips but everyone else at the table thought they were very good chips, so it just goes to show we all have our preferences.
Their cocktail list is interesting and as I experienced, very refreshing. I started with the Time Machine, with organic rum, lime and lavender bitters. It went well with our order of tacos and just when I thought it was the best drink on the menu, a new recommendation was provided. The gentleman’s agreement was hands down the table’s favorite drink of the night. As my partner would say, “It’s dangerously good”. It’s the kind of drink you could swig down like Kool-Aid. I won’t ruin the surprise and tell you all the ingredients, taste it for yourself and then look at what’s in it. I think you’ll be surprised.
The tacos come al-a-carte but if you order 3 you do get a free side. Our recommendation is the off the cob corn. Just like when your mom cut the corn off your cob when you were younger. As our table enjoyed their trio of tacos, I ordered 2 having enjoyed too much of the guacamole. As it turned out I think I ordered 2 of the best on the menu. I had the Guild chicken and also the Molida lamb taco. You can get your tacos in either a flour, corn, or lettuce cup. I went with the lettuce for the chicken and the corn for the lamb. The lettuce was nice because it allowed you to taste the true star of the taco which is the ingredients inside. The only downfall is that the lettuce broke open and quickly became a mess. For me the corn (which is their default) tortilla is the way to go. My Molida lamb was so moist and flavorful and the blue cheese went really well with the lamb. I am not a big fan of blue cheese so the fact that I enjoyed it on this dish is a true compliment. The sweet potato haystack added a nice sweetness and crunch to the taco as well. All in all, I’d come back for that lamb taco anyday.

She Said

 

Well, I can cross eating in a church off my list! Yep, Taco Guild is housed in a refurbished historical church. This holy restaurant sits on the corner of Osborn and 7th Street.  As you walk in, colorful murals and stained glass seem to draw you in. Taco Guild is beautiful with gorgeous chandeliers, exposed wood ceilings and fitting religious decor. A huge bar sits at what use to be the “alter” area of the church and was packed, lively and kickin’. We were seated at the opposite end of the restaurant in which was once the foyer of the church. This was a nice spot because we could look out onto the entire restaurant.

Just like any traditional Mexican restaurant, chips and salsa were immediately brought to our table. I enjoyed the chips but I did add just a pinch of salt to them. The salsa has quite a kick so be careful!  We started with The Fresh Made House Guacamole and opted out on the jalapenos since “He”s mouth was already burning from the salsa. It was fresh, traditional and of course a great starter to share with friends as you enjoy your drinks.

The menu is on the smaller side, but I like that when you know what you are there for… Tacos!  The Tacos are a la carte but if you decide to order a trio, you receive a complimentary side. Our waiter was extremely friendly and helpful as we narrowed down the taco choices.  I ended up choosing the Grilled Seasonal Vegetable, Yucatan Shrimp and Urban Bean Coffee Braised Beef tacos. I never would have guessed but the veggie was my favorite out of the three. Many layers of flavors with the peppers, veggies and delicious jalapeno hummus. It was filling but not in a heavy way.  The beef came shredded and was very tender with caramelized onion, mango jicama relish and a nice salty Cotija cheese. Every few bites I could taste a subtle earthy richness of the coffee hints. The shrimp tacos were meaty and light with green cabbage slaw and an avocado cream. I always get flashes of the beach when enjoying any seafood taco. They all come in corn tortillas but you can ask for flour or even lettuce for a healthier option.

For a side I got the Grilled Corn “Off” the Cob. Its dressed with a tiny bit of habanero butter but they really let the natural taste of the corn and smokiness of the grill to come through. It was the perfect side with my tacos.

Go and enjoy Taco Guild and have a “heavenly” experience of your own!

 

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

True Food Kitchen Experience

He Said

 

The start of the New Year always sends people in a frenzy for healthy eating, at least for a little while. But in this case True Food Kitchen has become part of the regular rotation and it doesn’t hurt that I can feel good while dining out. Yet another successful concept from Fox, this time he teamed up with Dr. Andrew Weil to plan and build the menu. It doesn’t focus on calories or fat grams per say as you won’t see any of that information on the menu. Instead the doctor focuses on healthy eating and food combination that keeps you strong and healthy. Now the first part I totally agree but the latter is a matter of opinion. Some people are perfectly happy with the size of the portions and to be honest it’s probably what we should be eating. But if you are starving and looking to splurge this is definitely not the place you want to go. Instead when I feel a little guilty about what I have been eating or just need a natural pick me up I think this fits the bill completely. While they do have some bigger it’s such as a turkey burger (that is very tasty) it just will never be my choice for a gut busting adventure.
So what do you get from a place like this? For starters it’s a great open concept restaurant with ample outdoor seating and windows, no matter which location you go to it will have the same look and feel. The signature Fox service with a smile from the eerily similar looking servers. Fox does this very well without it being in your face obvious. Let’s just say they all fit a mold of sorts. With that said they do provide outstanding friendly and courteous service. It’s by far the one thing I love about every Fox restaurant, it’s been perfected. So what about the food you ask?
Everything we had was delicious, even the Kale salad which can at times be not so tasty to me. As stated before the portions can be on the small side especially in the appetizer area but my stomach thanks me afterwards when I am not rolling out of there. We started with the edamame dumplings with truffle oil. There were about 4 or 5 on the plate and while delicious it merely put a ding in my rumbling stomach that was looking for something a bit more satiating. It didn’t help that we all shared on serving so I fought the fork fight and won and extra dumpling. I moved on to the quinoa burger with a side of sweet potato hash. This proved to be an interesting choice, while both servers we talked to recommended it, they also warned me it wasn’t really suitable to pick up. “Just dig right into it with your knife and fork”, I was told. That I did and it was delicious. The quinoa was actually the “bun” of the burger with the meat being avocado, tzatziki, cucumbers, feta, hummus, tomato and butter leaf lettuce. It did in fact fall apart but mixing it together was perfect and it was visually appealing. A Mediterranean type mixing of flavors which is of course a favorite cuisine of mine was made even better knowing it was doctor approved.
While I didn’t try any of them it should be noted that they also carry the line of pressed juices Fox recently released. In addition to the juices, the “elixirs” are tasty and also promoted as a way to fix some of your ailments. I tried the Medicine Man and it was quite refreshing if not a bit tart, with cranberry and pomegranate. If you just like the taste of their “elixirs” and want to make it an adult beverage there is the option to add a little alcohol. Everything in moderation, right?

She Said

 

Coming Soon!

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Where Should We Eat for Valentine’s Day?

 

Nobuo at Teeter House (Downtown Phoenix)

$100 per person includes 5 course meal including mini chocolate mousse cake for 2 from Arai Pastry.

 

Roka Akor (Scottsdale)

Thursday Feb 13th – Sunday Feb 15th Roka Akor is offering a Prix Fixe Menu for $107 or $151 with upgrades.

 

Tuck Shop (Phoenix)

Feburary 14th and 15th Tuck Shop is offering a three course Prix Fixe Menu for $67.

 

The Gladly (Biltmore)

3 course Valentines Menu featuring Chef Bernie’s favorite dishes for $55 per person.

 

The Breadfruit (Downtown Phoenix)

4 course Valentine’s Menu for $65 per person, $80 with cocktail pairing.

 

The Vig (Arcadia)

A mix of couples and singles. Prix Fixe Menu, live music and giveaways!

 

Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend (Phoenix)

Valentine’s Prix Fixe Menu from 4pm-5:30pm $50 per person, after 5:30pm $60 per person. (Includes complimentary champagne pour)

The Henry Experience

He Said

 

Fox’s continual evolution in restaurant concepts finally hits their home, literally. Right next door to the Fox Restaurant Concepts headquarters is The Henry. One has to wonder if this will become a continually changing place for concepts as new ideas are tried out, or if this one is to become the next North or Arrogant Butcher. Design wise it incorporates a lot of the same looks as the other concepts, a mix of what was Modern Steak with maybe a hint of Arrogant Butcher. It tends to be a bit more upscale and walking in reminded me just a bit like a Houston’s. The service is the usual friendly and professional Fox standard. It does seem that they continue to work out a few kinks in this new establishment. I got locked into the restaurant on my first visit when trying to leave and it took 3 people to figure out how to get the doors to open. But I took that as just typical first day type jitters. Out second visit was definitely much improved and the food was beautiful.
The table was for quite a few of us and the selection was varied, including the drinks. They definitely did a great job with the drink selection, including some amazing wines (get the Spanish Blend) and cocktails that were perfect for sipping. For dinner the warm salmon salad was a winner if you were looking for healthy and tasty. Perfectly cooked salmon and if you are a Brussels sprouts fan this is the place for you. It felt like one too many items on the many incorporated the famed vegetable. But then again they do seem to be the “it” vegetable right now. The half chicken meal and I do mean meal was moist and you could easily pull apart the legs. No need for pleasantries, just use your hands and go for it. It came with 2 sides the favorite being the cauliflower polenta. Creamy and oddly had the consistency of grits right out of the pot. Served in a separate bowl and definitely plenty portion size, I ate the whole thing and could have eaten 2 more.
So the one question I still have lingering on my mind is what is the scene at The Henry? There seems to be a battle brewing, from suited up business men on obvious company dinners to hipsters enjoying cocktails, to the local Arcadia neighbors. Everyone seems to want to call it their own. My first trip I felt a little underdressed, having shown up in shorts and polo but given the wide range of people I think you can easily feel comfortable in just about any ensemble. It’s definitely not a failure given the crowds and wait times. Reservations are probably your best bet. But in the cool weather days their patio is a definite winner. Something about it made us instantly relax, throwing our feet up against the raging fire (and I do mean raging not roaring it was windy and that fire was spitting out heat like nobody’s business), and having a few cocktails it was the perfect ending to our evening.

She Said

 

This place has it all! Coffee counter, bar, lounging area, outside patio and full restaurant. When we first arrived I once again was extremely impressed by the décor. I give huge kudos to Fox’s interior designer. This place draws you in and you don’t want to leave! Dim ambience, rich wallpaper and classic pictures/painting hanging on the wall gives a luxurious, older feeling. (Reminded me of the décor at the SOHO House New York.) The crowd was quite mixed. Young professionals drinking at the bar, baby boomers scattered around at tables and young hipsters lounging on the couches.

On this particular night we were there for a birthday dinner and happen to have a large party. Our table of twelve was seated at a long table up against the side wall of the restaurant. It was a pleasant and we all fit quite comfortably.

We started with the Garlic, Kale dip. Perfect starter! Warm pitas accompanied the creamy dip. The garlic amped up the vitamin rich kale and made me think this is the new modern twist on the traditional Spinach Dip. The portion was perfect and this was a great starter to share with friends. I was starving so I claimed the last pita and scrapped the bowl!

For an entrée I decided on the Wild Mushroom Tortiloni. Well, this could be a new favorite indulgence of mine. Warm, rich and decadent! Hints of smokiness from the grilled Brussels sprouts blended with the sweet butternut squash in a buttery sauce. The plump tortiloni were cooked perfectly and filled with savory wild mushroom. I passed a forkful over to “He” and we agreed this was a splendid dish. I had a smile on my face as I finished my last bite… Happy Belly!

For dessert a few of us shared the bread pudding. Yummmmmmm. This was bread pudding at its best. The bread part is actually croissants (made in house) with warm fruit and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. If you are a fan of bread pudding you HAVE to try this one!

The food is enough to come back for, but this hot spot is fun for stopping in for a drink or a quick coffee. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.