Central Bistro Experience

He Said

 

Coming Soon!

She Said

Recently, Central Bistro hired Executive Chef Chris Mayo and launched a brand new menu. The previous menu focused on French and Italian dishes while this new menu has a modern American theme and has dishes inspired from all over the world.  Items like farm fresh salads, oven baked fish and premiere steaks await.

We went for dinner and the restaurant gave off its usual inviting vibe. The bar sits just off the entrance and the buzz of bar patrons gives a lively feel. The spacious dining room is dimly lit and you never feel too close to other diners. We were excited to look over Chef Mayo’s new menu and quickly found eye catching options. The Homemade Burrata got our mouths watering and our friendly waiter assured us it was an excellent choice. The presentation was beautiful, the sphered Mozzarella sat atop a bed of fried Brussel sprouts with a bit if fresh apple and finished with Calabrian chili marmalade and rosemary breadcrumbs. This starter was a little piece of heaven! The cheese was so milky and creamy while the Brussels sprouts were crisp and salty. The julienned apples gave a hint of tartness as the Calabrian chili marmalade spiced up the dish. All of these flavors and textures fused together made a delightful starter.

Next was a new spin on a Central Bistro staple, Drunk Bread. The previous Drunk Bread was day old crusty bread with Swiss fondue and white wine. Now, prosciutto, apples, hazelnut and honey have been added making this an irresistible item on the menu.  I could smell the bread arriving at the table as it sizzled in a skillet. The tangy baked cheese smoothers the bread as the salty prosciutto, crisp apples and rich hazelnut are so decedent it is hard to stop yourself from devouring this dangerously good small plate. Resisting eating the entre dish, we agreed my dining partner would get the rest boxed up and throw some sunny side eggs on top of the Drunk Bread in the morning for sinfully good breakfast.

For an entree I went a little untraditional and got the wood fired mussels. Arriving in a cauldron (just the way I prefer) the mussels were steamed open to perfection as they bathed in a white wine and herb broth. White beans were a pleasant addition as they were mild enough not to change the flavor of the broth but gave a bit of heartiness where you could ladle it up like a soup with the runaway mussels. Crusty bread accompanied the dish and balanced the rich seafood. I sufficiently enjoyed my entree as I lapped, dipped and sipped this pot of warm goodness.

After this scrumptious meal, I can’t wait to go back and try MORE of the creative new menu at Central Bistro!

Read ourListingon this restaurant now.

Pane Bianco Experience

He Said

 

Drive too fast and you might miss it. Tucked almost behind Lux coffee is an off shoot of the infamous Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco. Using a focaccia bread that they wood fire just as they do their pizza crust is just the start on this great mostly sandwich shop. I say mostly because while they do have fantastic sandwiches, you can also get some fresh salads and for dinner the selection includes some antipasti, typical Italian restaurant choices like lasagna, and of course the best pizza in America. To entice you even more, the wait is typically a lot less than the flagship Pizzeria Bianco in Heritage Square. On our lunch visit we were seated right away.
There are a lot of outdoor picnic style tables if you feel like grabbing a sandwich from the to-go section of the shop. Perfect option if you have a short lunch break or are heading home and want to pick up some dinner. If you require a bit more service there is more traditional dining inside. It has a warehouse feel to it with very high ceiling and gives you the impression it has been around forever. The bar is beautiful and kitschy along with the furniture for the tables. Some are the bench and table configurations perfect for a large party or there are a few normal tables and chairs. No matter where you sit you’ll be warmly greeted and told about the days specials, if you can’t remember they are up along the bar on a chalkboard.
It is a small menu especially during lunch but the ingredients are such great quality that you won’t care. On our trip I took the sandwich special which was mozzarella, basil, and prosciutto with a drizzle of olive oil. So simple but you will crave it even after finishing off the large sandwich. I wish it was closer to my house so I could stop by and pick it up for lunch every week. It was also accompanied with a slaw that was just as enjoyable. I don’t particularly enjoy slaw normally but this was a great combination of flavors that pair well with the bread from the sandwich.
I expect soon to return for dinner because each time I have visited for lunch I begin craving the pizza or large plate of the day (especially when I see it is a lasagna). If you happen to be downtown and want to have a casual high quality lunch or dinner this is the place for you. But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the cravings that will begin the moment you walk out the door.

She Said

 

Located off Central Ave next to Lux, this quaint, charming extension of the Bianco group gives off a friendly neighborhood feel. Rustic exterior and interior with a subtle country Italian vibe. The establishment is divided into two sections Dine In or Take Out, arrows will direct you to your preferred entrance.
We went for lunch and decided to dine in. Big wood tables, white furnishings and white walls give an open airy feeling without losing the cozy family-style atmosphere. I had heard and read wonderful reviews about the sandwiches. The menu is small and simple for lunch but dinner has an extended menu with antipasti, pasta, pizza and chef’s nightly choices. For lunch on this particular day I chose the House made Mozzarella Sandwich. Local heirloom tomato, basil and mozzarella served on focaccia bread that is baked in wood-fired oven on premise. A simple, straightforward sandwich crafted to perfection. The earthiness of the tomato and basil combined with the mild creamy mozzarella on mouthwatering artisan bread was outstanding. I had to slow down or I would have devoured the sandwich in seconds. A complimenting side slaw comes along with the sandwich rounding out the lunch. I indulged and got dessert which was vanilla bean rice pudding and again I was impressed with how a simple dish could emulate so much flavor. They took the complexity out and let the natural flavor of the vanilla be the forefront, I was savoring each spoonful!
Simple done right is what you’ll find at Pane Bianco. I must agree with the other reviews, this lunchtime delight was one of the best sammies I’ve had!

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Live & Local

live and local

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater

Scottsdale is bringing the food and music

scene together for the second annual

Live & Local, presented by

GoDaddy.  Scottsdale Civic Center Mall

will host the event on Sunday, November

9th at 5pm. Enjoy music from local artists for an

evening filled with unique food, music and fun!

More Info: Live&Local

 

 

ROCK STAR CHEFS

  • Barrio Queen
  • Southern Rail / Beckett’s Table
  • Binkley’s
  • Kincaid’s
  • Paul Martin’s American Grill
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House
  • SumoMaya
  • Bistro on Wheels Food Truck
  • Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails
  • Cholla
  • Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers
  • Foosia Fresh
  • Petite Maison
  • Taggia
  • The Grind
  • The Standard
  • Tom’s Thumb
  • Tryst Cafe
  • Kelly’s at Southbridge
  • Chase’s Diner
  • Pink Pony
  • The Melting Pot
  • Passport Coffee & Tea
  • C3 Kitchen
  • San Tan Brewery
  • Salty Senorita
  • Union Barrel House
  • Wildflower Bread Company
  • White Chocolate Grill

GOOD LIBATIONS

  • Dozens of wine samplings by Arizona’s finest vineyards
  • 3 Amigos Tequila
  • Sleepy Dog Brewery
  • Roger Clyne Mexican Moonshine Tequila
  • Prescott Brewing Company
  • Mudshark Brewery
  • Mother Road Brewing Company
  • Four Peaks Brewing Company

Forge

 

IMG_2719ForgeThe latest addition to The Union Shops at the Biltmore Fashion Park is the unique and stylish Forge Wood-Fired Pizza. WhereShouldWeEat.com was invited for a sneak peek and taste of Forge’s creative menu and a look at their custom designed space. Let’s just say all of our senses were very pleased by the end of the night!

The completely renovated space now houses soaring ceilings and a custom rolling steel window wall that gives the perfect indoor/outdoor feel making it effortless to mosey out to the comfortable patio. A large inviting bar sit at the center of the restaurant and it is hard to miss the huge imported Valoriani wood burning oven that sits right off the bar. Subtle touches like a vertical rope “wall”, steel gas pipe beer tap and hand burnt wood all showcase the industrial theme. Between the friendly staff and warehouse rustic charm, Forge oozes an urban feel with a relaxed vibe in the heart of the Biltmore.

We were seated at the bar and which gave executive chef Jeff Amber a perfect center stage to describe each dish as we were served. Now to the best part… the food!

Cheese Curds

We started with the crispy cheese curds that were accompanied by a homemade simmered-to-perfection tomato sauce. The curds were the perfect delectable comforting treat to kick off the meal.

 

Baby Octopus

Next was the baby octopus with mashed potatoes, aioli and bread crumbs. The octopus was prepared beautifully and combined with the mashed potatoes was equally amazing in taste and texture. We will be back for more of this gorgeous starter!

 

IMG_2723

Arugula Salad with radish, croutons, grana and topped with an anchovy lemon vinaigrette. Light, refreshing and a nice dose of greens before pizza.

 

Romaine Babes

Romaine babes with soft eggs, Deviled ranch dressing and breadcrumbs. Bold, flavorful and addictive, I couldn’t stop eating this salad!

Pizza! Each wood-fired pizza was unique and savory in their own way. The crust was perfectly thin with a slight crunch and just the right amount of leopard-like wood fired spotting.

Mushroom Pizza

Mushroom: Mushrooms with house made sausage, onion, garlic and thyme. Fantastic blend of mouthwatering ingredients that made a rustic but comforting pie.

 

Pepperoni

Pepperoni: Homemade tomato sauce, Zoe’s pepperoni, red onion, castelvetrano olives and jalapenos. The quality of the meat shines through as the heat of the jalapenos give this pepperoni pizza a bonus spicy zest.

 

Three Cheese

Three Cheese: Mozzarella, ricotta, garlic, red onion, lemon dressed arugula with a sunny side egg in the center. The creamy cheeses are a decedent and rich as the arugula adds an earthy balance, but the egg steals the show as you dip each slice into the runny yolk!

The evening was full of stellar dishes! (The leftovers were even delicious the next day.) Forge’s food will have you coming back for more and the fun atmosphere will make you want to stay! For more information visit: Forge’s Wood-Fired Pizza

T.Cook’s Experience

He Said

 

Looking back on my very first trip to T.Cook’s last night two words kept popping in my mind, service and balance. At times, I feel like restaurants are more interested in turning over tables then in indulging the guest in a truly memorable dining experience. This was not the case last night when T.Cook’s hosted us at dinner to promote their new menu and recently renovated dining space. Comfortable but classy, elegant yet relaxed, these are strange bed fellows for one restaurant to have but it is exactly how I felt enjoying dinner. It is a resort after all so a lot of the guests are on vacation and looking for this blend of an experience. Never once did I feel rushed, in fact, the pace was spot on, allowing us the opportunity to talk to one another and never go hungry. Just when I thought it’s time for the next dish they would be walking up with another beautiful presentation.
The old adage that you eat with your eyes before your mouth was nothing but true here. The organic corn agnolotti with puffy white pillows filled with a corn cream was soft and heavenly. The roasted corn provided the crunch and snap to counterbalance this delight. Least we not forget about the butter lobster sitting in the brown sugar sauce that provided just the right amount of sweet. Just when you thought it might have gone too far you bite into a melody of sautéed mushrooms providing yet another balance, this time of salt. Sharing this appetizer was difficult but remained calm and collected as we spilt the last agnolotti.
The Corn Bisque incorporated dehydrated corn and almost crunchy corn bread in a creamy white bisque. The pictures we took don’t do it justice, as everything was covered in the white wash of the bisque in a matching white bowl. It arrived with the corn and corn bread and then we watched as the bisque was poured into our bowl from individual carafes. Gone in a minute I wondered if I was overdoing the corn focus but I quickly put that out of my mind after one spoonful.
The beet salad was small and simple but our wonderful waiter provided great instructions to not eat each item separately but each forkful should be a combination of each item on the plate. A beet, blue cheese, and a peanut brittle with a little greek yogurt was a simple act of bliss. Thankful for the tip I made sure to make each bite as complex as possible. I typically am not a purveyor of beets and avoid them at all cost, but if they all tasted like this dish I might have to rethink that position.
My main course was the Colorado lamb placed on a bed of wheat berries which were mixed with eggplant, tomatoes, and feta. The lamb was cooked perfectly to my direction and instead of being encrusted or extremely seasoned this serving was simple and basic lamb. Having spent time working months in New Zealand I find myself a lamb aficionado of sorts. I have had amazing and not so amazing lamb and this was a solid beautiful piece that let me go back to the basics of just enjoying the tastes of the meat without being distracted by sauces and rubs. Given the boldness of our last few plates it was a perfect complement to the meal. We did enjoy a side of the forest mushrooms with garlic and herbs. Honestly, I could have had the full accompaniment of these mushrooms. Absolutely wonderful side that I would recommend for any dish, although definitely something I would have loved on top of a filet.
Full and satisfied we of course ordered desert. Again, at the wonderful direction of our waiter we went with the Chocolate Praline Torte with a salted pretzel ice cream and these amazing rice crispy peanut chocolate treats. It pained me not to gobble the whole plate down. My stomach was beyond stretched to the max so I controlled myself and simply savored every little bite of this desert. We joked that the crispy treats could be bagged and eaten all day. I also would have gladly taken an entire bowl of their homemade ice cream. After all of that we finished it off with a digestif. It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world but it is perfectly made to settle the stomach after such a long night of indulging in some of the best food this valley has to offer. It worked and I left feeling happier than when I arrived. T.Cook’s; Perfectly executed, wonderfully plated, beautifully described, and happily accepted by my stomach.

She Said

 

Coming Soon!

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Barrelhouse Kitchen and Cocktail Experience

He Said

 

Coming Soon!

She Said

 

It is the age of quality American comfort food and classic cocktails. Specialty eateries and taverns are popping up in hot spots around the valley. One that I feel is overlooked is Barrelhouse American Kitchen and Cocktails in Chandler. I discovered this cozy restaurant on a trip to a hardware store! Yup… it’s located between a hardware store and a video store (these apparently still exist). This place has a lot of heart and soul poured into it. The décor inside is simple but warm, with white-washed panels, dim lights, and scattered artwork on the walls. To my surprise, the owner turned out to be a mixologist I knew from months ago in the Scottsdale area. There is a happy hour from 4-6pm where the cocktails are $3 off, though I would pay full price and more for one of these works of alcoholic art. I had the Good Goddess and a taste of the Bijoux Mexicaine and my taste buds were blown away. The first was light and fluffy (egg white froth) and had a well-balanced taste of anise and black pepper. The second was bitter but complex. They have a couple drinks made with their house-aged liquor. For an appetizer, I tried the short rib with a coffee barbeque sauce over a polenta pancake. This could be an entrée if you want a small portion with heavy flavors. I was completely impressed with my main dish- the Hard Cider Pot Roast. It’s no exaggeration when I say this is one of the BEST and most exciting pot roast I have ever eaten. No need for a knife since the meat falls apart “like buttah!” In addition to the fresh green beans and the flavorful butternut squash and white cheddar casserole, the gravy was front and center. The hard cider had permeated the meat very well and the consistency of it was silky. In addition to the great meal, the staff was friendly and very attentive. My recommendation would be to go during happy hour to get an early start at tasting all they have to offer! (Also, check out their new impressive summer cocktail menu!).

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.