Hanny’s Experience

He Said

 

Another great reuse project. This time the old Hanny’s department store was converted into a upscale/swanky restaurant. Coming from the same owner’s as AZ88, you can see the similarities in style. An upstairs DJ, hidden from view unless you know where to look. But this location has some quirky oddities. So let’s start with the weirdest part. From the first time I went to the last, there is a freaky display that you must experience for yourself. All I want to say is go downstairs and take a look around.

The next thing you must experience is the odd sensation of standing on the clear floor in the old elevator and looking up and down. A little disorientating but give a good idea of what they did to reuse the place. And next you need to go to the bathroom, a mirrored “changing/dressing room” hallway. It reminds me of a clown house. But I love it!

The menu is on the small side. I am a fan of the salads and flat bread pizzas. But if you are feeling more like an appetizers, I enjoy the prosciutto wrapped shrimp. I look at Hanny’s as the place I like to go for a small bite and a well made cocktail when downtown. They make a mean Old Fashioned. It has become my go-to-drink every time we visit Hanny’s.

She Said

 

I keep finding myself back at this Downtown Phoenix hot spot. Converted from an old department store with the same name, Hanny’s takes you back to another time. Though it has a modern new feel as you walk in the door you quickly see remnants of the past like the Christian Dior- Nino Curruti-Pierre Cardin-Polo sign that hangs in tribute to what the building was before.

The prosciutto is a specialty here and the bartenders slice a fresh slab of it right there behind the bar. The flatbread pizzas are tasty. My favorite is the Prosciutto Di Parma-three Italian cheeses plus prosciutto… how can you go wrong? The Beet salad is another “go-to” item for me. Red and gold beets, arugula, red onion and goat cheese. Good salad.

The drinks are always well-made and go down easy! The bartenders are eager to mix up whatever you desire and trust me, it won’t disappoint. I can’t forget to mention the carnival-like attractions: The  glass floor elevator, the fun house bathroom mirrors and the mystery downstairs (if you are brave enough.) Shhhh…don’t report back to your fellow diners…make them go down to investigate themselves!

 

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The Arrogant Butcher Experience

He Said

 

I’m not gonna lie, this guy here is a big fan of Sam Fox. I’m also a big fan of downtown revitalization. So when Fox expanded his empire to CityScape I jumped for joy. Now that I got that full disclosure out, let me tell how I really feel about the Butcher, as I fondly refer to it.

The location is fantastic, close to light rail stops and the downtown entertainment district, and a short walk to the convention center it is ideally located for both locals and visitors to the valley. Sitting outside on the patio is my favorite on some of the beautiful days we have here in Phoenix. But the inside is well designed with enough ambiance and noise to give an energetic feel but not so much that I have to yell to my table mates.

Without fail I must have the crispy rock shrimp. I don’t care for the peppers portion of the bowl but I could sit and eat the shrimp all day. I do try to branch out and try different menu items, especially the daily specials. One of my favorites are their ribs. Great flavor and tender, but be warned you have to go early to get them as they frequently sell out. It seems that someone always gets the turkey sloppy joe in my group and is covered in sauce and a big smile. I will get to it some day because this has become a staple in my restaurant rotation.

She Said

 

Located on the corner of 2nd and Jefferson Street, Arrogant Butcher is apart of the newer project CityScape. The striped awnings, cute outside patio seating and a retro arrow sign that glows “Arrogant Butcher” really give this place a downtown feel.  The huge windows and tall ceilings makes  the interior open, airy and inviting.

The staff is alway friendly and usually chat about what events are going on in the city that day. They have a stellar beer, wine and cocktail list. I love the “pink drink’ and they mix mean Old Fashioned.

The menu has a great variety of comfort food. The“charcuterie’ section of meats and cheeses is a great choice for a starter. For an appetizer the crispy rock shrimp ROCKS! Its crispy breaded shrimp with a kick, served with a creamy aioli sauce. I love this app so much I have ordered seconds! The sloppy Joe is delicious, but be careful those are jalapeño peppers on there! The sweet potato tortellini is flavorful and filling! Its the perfect dish to have on a cool Phoenix day. The beef short ribs stew is very tasty and hearty. I love going in this place all year round and can always find something to fit what I’m in the mood for. They have daily specials and I am dying to go on a Thursday for the fried chicken and honey biscuits…it WILL happen soon!

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Donovan’s Steak & Chop House Experience

He Said

 

This steakhouse has been in Phoenix since 2005, but it resembles a classic new york steakhouse  We walked inside the big wooden doors into the darkly lit lounge area where we were greeted by the hostess. Checking in for a reservation we walked over to the mahogany bar and took a seat for the happy hour martini special. We enjoyed our generous pour martinis and listened to many regulars that have been coming for years discuss their day with the staff. We noticed lockers by the bar where it appeared regulars stored their own personal wines under lock and key to be enjoyed at their table upon their return. It reminded me of Durant’s downtown Phoenix with those in the know coming back time after time as if it was their second home. That’s always a good sign.

When our reservation time came due we were escorted to our table and introduce to our server. Our server explained the menu and the specialties of the house which included prime USDA steak. I went with the surf and turf filet mignon and a king crab with garlic mashed potato. The King crab came out temperate but succulent and enjoyable, the garlic mash was a bit surprising as no garlic could be identified. It may be my love for garlic has limited my ability to taste it in small quantities but I was pretty sure that there was no garlic in these potatoes. I begin to think that ordering a seafood tower probably would’ve been a better option as my dining companion ordered the lobster that melted in my mouth with its drawn  butter. Who would’ve thought going to steakhouse I might have found one of my favorite seafood restaurants.

I saved the best for last. Without any prompting from our server I had noticed the bread pudding on the menu and had to take it for a spin. It was amazing and probably the best bread pudding I’ve ever had. It had a caramel sauce different from your typical bread pudding and the bread was I’ll bet was freshly baked in the kitchen and cut and drenched in the sauce but just enough time to soak it up without becoming mushy. If I could I’d have it again right now.

It’s important to point out the amazing prompt service that we had the entire dinner. We had our main server to explain the menu and food and take our order, but we also had others that attempted to continually clean the table after every course, refill our drinks and ensure that we had every utensil possible. Checking in from time to time to insure our meal was being enjoyed. I also overheard other tables receiving the same prompt and courteous treatment making me feel that this is the standard of service at the restaurant.

While Donovan’s isn’t my favorite steakhouse I wouldn’t  mind returning for some more seafood and definitely some more of that great bread pudding, throw in a dirty martini and the great service and you have yourself a solid steakhouse in the valley.

She Said

 

A traditional city steak house. As you walk in the low lighting, rich dark wood and jazz playing softly in the background instantly makes you feel like you’ve been transformed to New York City. The hostess was very pleasant and directed us to the bar where we started. I ordered a dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives (my favorite!) The oversized and overstuffed olives were so good I ask the bartender for more. The happy hour specials are awesome and it wasn’t surprising that the bar was filled with regular visitors that the bartender knew by name AND by drink. When we got to our table I noticed right away the attentiveness of the staff, they are at your beck and call in an unobtrusive way. I ordered the surf and turf special- filet with a lobster tail. The Australian lobster tail was my favorite part of the meal, it was meaty and fresh. Donovans is known for their seafood tower and I wished we would have ordered that, I guess I’ll just have to go back during happy hour! We finished the meal with bread pudding for dessert. This is exactly how bread pudding should taste. Cubed freshly baked bread soaking in a delicious rum caramel sauce, pure decadences!  Donavans is label a steakhouse but I walked away talking about the friendly staff, seafood and dessert. After experiencing those you can easily see why people would want to be regulars here!

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AZ88 Experience

He Said

 

This staple in the valley has long been the place to go when you were craving a Martini. Did I say Martini? I meant massive martini! The art form the servers have of being able to carry this large completely filled to the brim drink is mind boggling. Each and every visit I wait for the spill or the crash of glass and am always disappointed as I imagine they must have gone through some sort of training for the drink delivery alone. I would be remiss not to mention the bar tenders who are both attentive and efficient at keeping the bar moving. If the bar looks busy just give them a wave and they will find a way to get you what you are searching for or recommend something you don’t realize you are craving yet.

Who knew after going for years for the atmosphere and the drinks that I would find one of my favorite burgers in the valley. The au pouive I has become my go to burger when I am feeling the need for some well-cooked but slightly different tasting than just a regular burger. This burger is marinated in a burgundy and cracked pepper sauce that is just amazing to the taste buds. I get it plain or an occasional slice of cheese and continue to comment that it has such flavor why would you want to add anything else? There is another version, the au pouive II, but I find it a big too much and only on a rare occasion will I venture into change. The rest of the menu is as delightful as I have sampled many of my friend’s plates, but it always comes back to the burger.

So walk into the all-white glass box, have a seat at the bar, order a dirty vodka martini and an au pouive, and get ready to start the night off right.

She Said

 

Its hard to say anything but good things about this personal favorite of mine. An Arizona staple since 1988 the food is not only delicious but also consistent. The modern interior is swanky in a clean and basic way. They switch up the artwork seasonally featuring local artists. The roomy outdoor patio overlooks the greenbelt of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall and is divine to sit at on a beautiful AZ night.

My go-to entrée is the Burger Aupavre II. Rich with peppercorn bacon and blue cheese, this oversized burger is worth every messy bite. The waffle cut fries are delicious on their own but I like to add a side of romulade to dip them in just for a guiltier pleasure. The AZ88 Chicken Sandwich is famous in its own right. It is dressed with spicy buffalo sauce and also comes with those delicious fries. If your in the mood for a snack or light meal the Gallettes are a great choice. The simple crisp flatbread with bacon, caramelized onions & black olives is quite a tasty treat.

I can’t forget to mention the bar at AZ88s. The friendly bartenders mix delicious drinks and give off their own energetic vibe. The bar is a fun place to drink AND order dinner. The scene becomes livelier after 7:30. So kick back order Moscow mule or a specialty martini and don’t forget to look up….yup that’s a DJ up there!

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The Parlor Experience

He Said

 

It’s an old hair salon. Phoenix is such a new city with a policy of tearing down to build bigger and better. So it thrills me to find local restaurateurs who can take a building and turn it into their dream while saving the history. In fact in the hallway to the bathroom you will find pictures of what it looked like when it still functioned as a hair salon.

Walking you first realize the nice outside patio with ample shade for the summer and a fireplace and heaters for the winter. I’m a huge outdoor eater so patios are important to me. I almost always sit outside when visiting the parlor.

The pizzas are more than enough for one person or if you are not that hungry you can easily share one pizza. I have to recommend the Yukon Gold pizza. I think the idea of potatoes on a pizza at first sounded crazy, but after one bite I was glad I made the choice. But as subsequent visits proved, you can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas. Thin crusts and quality toppings you won’t be disappointed.

If you feel like something else the salads are also enjoyable. For me, I enjoy Mozzarella en Corrozza the most, as it combines two of my favorite things…mozzarella and Prosciutto. The service is usually on top of things even during the busy times. In fact I even enjoy sitting in the bar area with a group of friends and commandeering one of the wooden tables. You get full service and it is a very lively atmosphere. Plus if you sit by the window you can look at the fresh herbs they grow outside.

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She Said

 

Located off of Camelback near 24th Street you could easily miss it if it wasn’t for the glowing red sign that simply says “The Parlor.” A converted 1960’s hair salon is now a great dining experience. The atmosphere is lively and welcoming gives the vibe of a casual neighborhood hangout.  A nice variety of wine and beer is sure to quench any thirst and the bartenders are happy to help with any libation decision.

Just off the entrance you will notice an adorable garden. The Parlor grows fruits, veggies and herbs onsite exclusively for their dishes (which explains why everything tastes so darn fresh).

The spicy buffalo chicken pizza is delicious but I warn you, it IS spicy!Roasted organic chicken with house made BBQ sauce and provolone cheese topped with serrano chiles gives this pie that extra kick…don’t say I didn’t warn you! The beet salad is one of my favorites and I find myself ordering it time and time again. The fresh beets are complimented by walnut encrusted goat cheese and fennel as the tangy white balsamic dressing livens up this salad! The Grinder sandwich is HUGE. Generously piled high is a variety of Italian meats and provolone cheese on a house made hoagie. This sandwich WILL fill you up but be sure to save room for fries. Crispy thin and addictive it is hard to stop once you’ve had a taste of these mouthwatering fries!

While you are there take a peek at the vintage pictures hanging on the wall. It gives you a glimpse of what the building looked like when it was Salon De Venus. The pictures are a fun look into the past but this foodie gal is glad this spot transformed from hair/beauty parlor to The Parlor!

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Tottie’s Asian Fusion 2 Experience

He Said

 

A Phoenician originally from Laos? This has to be good. I had been hearing that a new location from Chef Tottie Kaya was just opening and having a craving for Asian food we gave this a try. In the usual Phoenix strip mall, tucked away behind trees of bamboo lays a mix between what you would expect and a completely new Asian Fusion experience.

Walking in reminded me of every other Chinese restaurant mixed with a sort of kitschy feel. Lots of bamboo and trinkets reminded me of the restaurants in Chinatown in San Francisco. We were greeted and allowed to choose our own table which being the first ones in was a wide variety. I look forward to going back when it is cool enough to sit outside as they had a nice patio area seclude from the strip mall with lots of trees and bamboo.

They automatically bring out a nice small spring mix salad with a light and refreshing dressing. I enjoyed it as I was craving some veggies. Our starter was a traditional spring roll. Maybe it’s because they make me feel like I’m being healthy but I love spring rolls with lots of veggies all wrapped up in rice paper. Tottie’s did a great job and I was thinking I could make a meal out of these. The peanut sauce was perfect and reminded me of my time in Kuala Lumpur. Chicken Satay is on the menu and trust me, it is one my list for the next visit.

Our main dish was the Singapore Noodles. I’m not a fan of too much spice and I had heard the kitchen could be heavy on the spice but this was not spicy at all and in fact I could have gone with just a touch more. The curry was not too heavy and the shrimp was cooked perfectly. I did think the chicken was a touch dry but the sauce more than made up for it.

Finally we ended with was had been recommended by just about everyone. The bananas and coconut Milk ice cream. I am at a loss for words to describe this with the praise it deserves. The bananas were fried in what to me, tasted like a fry bread of sorts, covered in honey and peanuts. Then a big scoop of this amazing dairy free ice cream, made of coconut milk. I’m convinced that the next time someone wants to go out for dessert, I will force them to Tottie’s. Trust me it’s worth the calories.

She Said

 

We went to Tottie’s on a weekday for lunch. The daily specials were displayed on a board outside and caught my attention as we walked up. The dishes not only sounded tasty but the prices seemed very reasonable, I was excited about going in.  I loved the ambience, the restaurant was filled with lots of Asian plants and decor which gives it an exotic feeling. We were greeted instantly by a friendly host and he let us decide where to sit. We chose the open/airy bar.

The waiter immediately brought us traditional Asian small salads and we decied to start with the the spring rolls. The spring rolls were wrapped in soy paper and filled with fresh vegetables, shrimp and a hint of mint. They were simple & refreshing and extra tasty when dipped in the peanut sauce they came with. They weren’t too filling and left enough room for the main course of Singapore Noodles we ordered. The Singapore Noodles were very tasty! Not too oily and just the perfect amount of spice.

The highlight of the meal was desert. We shared the fried bananas with coconut milk ice cream….that’s right coconut milk so it is dairy free!  The bananas were perfectly crispy and warm while the ice cream was cool and refreshing, a perfect combination. I was pleasantly surprised when the bill came, it was so inexpensive for all the great food we had just consumed. Great ending to a great meal! I liked Tottie Alottie!

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