Food for Thought

Cocoa-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin

2013-01-31 | Food for Thought | Recipes

Let’s face it … going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day can be a hassle, and usually a very expensive one. This year try a new, adventurous, chocolate-themed recipe for your entrée, such as this cocoa-encrusted beef tenderloin. Not only will it deepen the flavor of the meat you are serving, but it will also raise the stakes for next year’s Valentine’s Day!     Ingredients: 1/2 cup full-bodied coffee, finely ground   1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder   1/2 teaspoon mustard powder   1 tablespoon ground ginger   1 tablespoon paprika   1 tablespoon ground clove   1/2 tablespoon brown sugar   1 tablespoon ground cumin   1 tablespoon garlic powder   2 tablespoon kosher salt   1 tablespoon cracked black pepper   4 8-ounce filets of beef tenderloin       Directions: Mix all ingredients except beef together and store in an airtight container.     Rinse beef tenderloin under cold water. Cut ends so they are flat edges. If there is any membrane on the meat,... More

Old Town Cottonwood - Vineyard Wine Bar

2012-07-09 | Food for Thought | Culinary

    On our trip to Old Town Cottonwood this weekend, we stopped into the Vineyard Wine Bar, which turned out to be one of the highlights of our entire day. The bar is large and breezy, upscale with a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The menu is casual and inventive. Ingredients are locally sourced – many of them VERY locally sourced, as in, from across the street! There are a surprising number of small, locally owned cottage businesses in Old Town Cottonwood. This is part of its charm. I will be dreaming about the pizza (pictured) we enjoyed for a very long time. A thin sourdough crust with just the right amount of topping: smoky gouda, thinly sliced apples and arugula with a lemon mist – the stuff dreams are made of. Watch for ImagesAZ’s August issue to see what else we discovered in Old Town Cottonwood – you won’t want to miss it!     Vineyard Wine Bar 1001 N. Main St. Old Town Cottonwood 928-634-2440... More

Add SOL Mexican Cocina to your list …

2012-06-28 | Food for Thought | Culinary

Add SOL Mexican Cocina to your list …   of favorite brunch places. The restaurant in Scottsdale Quarter just opened in March of this year, and they recently integrated brunch into their repertoire. SOL Chef Deborah Schneider seems to have mastered Baja-inspired cuisine, and has now applied it to breakfast and brunch items. Their menu is filled with colorful, well-thought-out dishes featuring vibrant flavors that will tell your tastebuds that the weekend has arrived and it’s time to celebrate! Our two favorite dishes on their menu of masterpieces? Crab and Shrimp Cakes Benedicto (crisp fried crab & shrimp cakes topped with poached eggs & chipotle-orange hollandaise sauce, double-smoked bacon, avocado & refried black beans) and Souffle Carlotta, which Chef Deborah accurately describes as “French Toast on steroids.” Do not even think of leaving the restaurant without ordering this for your table. It is a rich and creamy version of bread pudding spiked with Patron... More

Burger Battle winner announced!

2012-04-20 | Food for Thought | Culinary

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival’s newest event introduced just this year, the Burger Battle, was held tonight (Thursday, 4/19) at Scottsdale Stadium. The winning entry was a creation by Zinburger in the Biltmore Fashion Park on Camelback. The bodacious burger is their namesake, “Zinburger,” and rightfully so. It features mounds of Manchego Cheese, Zinfandel Braised Onions, Morel Mushrooms and House-made Mayo. Stop by Zinburger, and you can be the judge won’t be disappointed! Other entries featured a multitude of “outside of the box” ingredients – everything from Peanut Butter to Lobster and Quail Eggs. Two words for anyone involved in the Burger Battle this evening: Burger Wasted!  ... More

New Orange Shrimp

2012-02-18 | Food for Thought | Culinary

If you haven’t tried the new Orange Shrimp dish at Dara Thai Café, then run, don’t walk to the Safeway Plaza this week, and order this scrumptious dish! Large, fresh shrimp fried in a light batter with a side of their delicious orange sauce, which is light and flavorful and definitely stands out from the crowd. This dish is served on a bed of sweet potato fries. Pair this with a Thai Iced Tea and finish the meal with a serving of their sweet, creamy sticky rice, and you have one memorable meal! Thanks for your quality food and consistency, Dara Thai. We are lucky to have you in the community.  ... More

Simple Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

2011-10-24 | Food for Thought | Culinary

Ever since my daughter Sophia picked her own pumpkin with her Girl Scout troop this year, she has been begging to make toasted pumpkin seeds. Here are some recipes that you can try during gourd season with your clan!   Simple Toasted Pumpkin Seeds   Ingredients   Seeds from 1 large pumpkin, rinsed and dried 2 tablespoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper   Directions   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.   Scatter pumpkin seeds onto a sheet pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for about 7 minutes, until light brown and crispy.       Brown Sugar & Spice Toasted Pumpkin Seeds   Ingredients:   1 cup pumpkin seeds 1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil 1 tablespoon brown sugar, or more, to taste 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon allspice   Directions: Rinse seeds well and get as much of the pumpkin pulp off of them as possible. Some of the small pieces are going to... More

Phoenix Cooks Experience

2011-09-04 | Food for Thought | Culinary

A wonderful time was had by all at Phoenix Cooks yesterday! Don’t be fooled by the martini glasses – the girls were eating Tuna Tartare prepared by Sushi Roku in Scottsdale. My favorite dish was lobster mashed potatoes, served by Mastro’s Steakhouse – big chunks of lobster tail embedded in creamy mashed potatoes and made-from-scratch gravy.   If you want a chance to spend an unforgettable day tasting the best of what the top restaurants in the Valley have to offer, put Phoenix Cooks on your calendar for next year! More

The Carefree Station Grill & Bar

2011-08-29 | Food for Thought | Culinary

If you haven’t found your way over to the hidden gem in the middle of Carefree called “The Carefree Station Grill & Bar” you now have another spot to add to your list of places to check out. We went last weekend with good friends, and enjoyed every morsel of food that was served. Dishes were obviously put together with much forethought given to taste and pairings. Just when we thought that the parade of decadence was over, the Haleakala Pie was wheeled out. Named after the giant volcano on Maui, this tower of treats featured a macadamia nut-strewn chocolate volcano filled with molten chocolate. Covered with rich macadamia amaretto ice cream, toasted coconut, whipped cream, and erupting with flaming rum. What a treat after a long work week!   Carefree Station Grill & Bar: 7212 Ho Hum Road, Carefree, AZ 85377; 480-488-8182... More

What is the best thing you ever ate?

2011-07-21 | Food for Thought | Culinary

  Watch the Food Network this weekend to hear ultimate foodie Alton Brown claim that the best thing HE ever ate is the ice cream at “Sweet Republic,” right here in the Valley! It is no wonder ...if you have not tasted the ice cream at Sweet Republic (9160 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale; than you have not yet tasted ice cream. The owners use all natural and local ingredients, toppings are hand-stirred, fresh baked, and made from scratch. There are no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or hydrogenated oils in any of their products. Imagine asking for marshmallow topping on your sundae, and getting a handmade marshmallow that is toasted with a blow torch in front of you! This place is a real find. Tune in to The Food Network this weekend – you might even catch some familiar faces from Anthem!   Show times: Friday, July 22nd @ 10:30PM Saturday, July 23rd @ 1:30AM Sunday, July 24th @ 6:30PM  ... More

Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket

2011-06-15 | Food for Thought | Culinary

We have been customers of Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket for years now, where we have enjoyed buying fresh meat, live seafood, exotic fruits, and imported specialty spices. We will go out of our way to get the delicious dinner rolls that they sell by the bag there. But imagine our surprise when my husband, who is a Bolivian native, discovered that they have many of the South American groceries that he misses from home! In fact, they regularly stock groceries from countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Jamaica, and Holland, and they are categorized in the store by geographical area – sort of an “Epcot” experience for the grocery shopper! While you are there try the Chinese restaurant, Hope Kee, inside the market – a Hong Kong-style café that serves Cantonese favorites such as beef chow fun, shrimp dishes, noodles, and pork chops!   7575 W. Cactus Road, Peoria; 623-773-3345;  ... More

Truck on over ...

2011-05-18 | Food for Thought | Culinary

To Whole Foods on Raintree in Scottsdale on Thursday, May 19th to sample some of the best foodtruck fare that Phoenix has to offer! There will be eight foodtrucks present, including Sweet Republic (see my recent post on this Valley sweet spot) Short Leash Hot Dogs, The Phoenix Cheesesteak Company, Bella Strada, Beet StrEat, Carte Blanche Gourmet Tacos, Torched Goodness, and Jamburritos Cajun Grill Express. Take the opportunity to taste some truly unique food, and support local charities at the same time. The food court will be open from 11AM to 1:30PM. See you there!... More

Sweet Republic Ice Cream

2011-04-03 | Food for Thought | Culinary

The Food Network visited the Valley of the Sun once again last week and taped an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” with Alton Brown. The show includes a spot at the locally-owned Sweet Republic ( Artisan Ice Cream at 92nd and Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale. The Sweet Republic is truly a Valley gem. Small, batches of handmade ice cream are made with organic and local ingredients, including flavors such as Real Mint Chocolate Chip, Honey Bleu Cheese, Strawberry Buttermilk, and Lime Basil Sorbet. A variety of toppings are available, including bacon brittle, handmade marshmallows that are hand-toasted in front of you with a blow torch, and sea salt flakes, just to name a few. We took the kids on Saturday night for a special treat, along with some special friends. Look for the episode on the Food Network sometime this summer – you will even spot some Anthem neighbors there! Summer is looking sweeter by the minute!... More

A “must try” alert in Anthem ...

2011-04-02 | Food for Thought | Culinary

If you haven’t been to Café Aroma for their “German Swedes” make it a point to stop in soon for their “German Swedes” plate. These are light, tasty crepes filled with tapioca and dusted with powdered sugar – unbelievable! They also serve “Italian Swedes” which are served with chocolate chips. Diners can order their “Swedes” with loganberries, or a choice of fruit.   It served as a great place to enjoy great food with a great friend yesterday (I won’t tell you how long I stayed because it would be embarrassing. Let’s just put it this way ...I should have pitched a tent there, or just stayed for lunch!)   One more reason to love Anthem in the mornings!... More

The smoky scent of BBQ is in the air this Saturday ...

2011-03-25 | Food for Thought | Culinary

Photo Credit: Michele Celentano
The smoky scent of BBQ is in the air this Saturday ...       If you are a fan of BBQ (and who isn’t?) follow your nose this Saturday to two fiery festivals for some of the best BBQ in the state. Yes you read it ...TWO major BBQ festivals on the same day in the Valley! The Arizona BBQ Festival, a competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society will be in Scottsdale. Samples of the competing BBQ are available. Food and drink tickets are $2 each, and there is a $10 admission fee. If you are interested in some top shelf beverages to wash down the BBQ, pay an extra $10 for admission to the “Whiskey Row” tent that will offer dozens of bourbons, whiskeys, and single malts.     Haven’t had enough BBQ? Head south to Chandler where they will hold the Great America BBQ & Beer Festival, which isn’t a competition but rather a conglomeration of some of the state’s best barbecue restaurants and caterers, all in one place. A $10 ticket buys access to 25 barbecue... More


2011-03-20 | Food for Thought | Culinary

If you have been looking for a good excuse to indulge in cupcake calories, look no further! This Tuesday, March 22, Sprinkles is hosting a benefit for the Japan earthquake and Pacific tsunami relief efforts. “Red Cross Red Velvet” cupcakes will be on the menu and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the relief efforts! Run down to the Scottsdale location (4501 North Scottsdale Road at Camelback, across from Fashion Square) on Tuesday and purchase a box of cupcakes for a good cause. Now that’s what I call “sweet”!    ... More