As mentioned last week, food blogging is a big deal in the Valley of the Sun. I mean, really, who wants to grill in 108-degree heat? Not us. So, we go out. And, we photograph our food. Okay, not us… But, we live for the pictorial joy the folks below bring us as they devour and imbibe the AZ fine dining scene. Here’s a redux of this week’s happenings on our favorite food blogs.
Our favorite “sometimes rude, occasionally crude, always hungry” blogger, Eric S (of Eric Eats Out) is cracking us up again. On Monday, he shared his recent dining adventure at Caffé Boa, one of many Valley restaurants seeking cuisine re-birth by hiring new “name brand” chefs. In Caffé Boa’s Renaissance, Michelangelo is Chef Payton Curry (of Digestif). Well, kind of. Maybe a watered down Michelangelo. Eric says, “All I can think is that Caffé Boa isn’t as good as Payton is capable of being.” Well, that wasn’t all he was thinking… Especially after an awkward, unsolicited peep show from the hostess.
Phoenix New Times blog Chow Bella just featured another installment of the “Why Your [Fill-in-the-Blank-Based-Upon-the-Food-Service-Venue] Hates You.” This one’s short, sweet and as hilarious as always: “Why Your Starbucks Barista Hates You.” Reason #4 (and our favorite) being the suggestion of “unique” drink concoctions. Don’t be obnoxious, coffee-people. They’ll give you Decaf.
Jess Harter of Mouth by Southwest lets us know what’s new and splurge-worthy in the Valley. Renegade Canteen opened in Scottsdale on Monday, June 14, featuring the cooking of James Beard Award-winning chef, Robert McGrath. McGrath, who was named Best Chef-Southwest for his work at Roaring Fork, “sold his interest in the restaurant” (lovin’ the PC word choice, AZ Central - way to be) “in 2006, after a disagreement with his partners about opening new branches.” McGrath is not an owner of Renegade Canteen; he is, instead, an employee (working for partners John Rosso and Steven Goodhue). “I’m good at operating a restaurant,” says McGrath, “But I suck at fund raising. I love cooking, and I get the fun part of the job.” What can we expect? Appetizers like wood-roasted chicken hash, smoked pork belly and poached egg, smoked shrimp with Tabasco remoulade and his celebrated green chile pork stew. Delightful. The main dishes include campfire-style wild salmon, blackened catfish, pot roast with ancho chiles, cauliflower-grape nut fondue with bunuelos, grilled endive and portobello mushrooms (yum, right?) and his signature burger. Warning: Roaring Fork is not ready to give up the famed “Big Ass Burger” (not that it should have to), so McGrath’s burger has been renamed. Order “Bob’s Big Burger.” It’s all good.
Pen & Fork features some surprisingly impressive images (surprising because the typical “blog photo” is iPhone uploaded and rarely artistically-composed). Food porn to the extreme. Monday, the Pen & Fork folks posted a highly informative article on the real cantaloupe – named the Charentais melon – and a frothy melon smoothie recipe. The simple, fresh ingredients include 1 Charentais melon, 1 C lowfat vanilla yogurt, 1 Tsp lemon juice and 1/8 Tsp ground cardamom. Now, look at the photograph above. And, imagine that smoothie in a chilled glass and you at the pool. In the Phoenix area, Seacat Garden’s will have Charentais at the Scottsdale Stadium Farmers Market through the end of the summer.
The culinary education continues as Fill Your Plate shares 7 Little Known Facts About Ice Cream. Some of the most unusual flavors of ice cream ever made are avocado, garlic, azuki bean, jalepeno and pumpkin. Perhaps the most unusual of all being hot dog flavored ice cream made by our own Arizona Farm Bureau Member, Udder Delights.
Preaching that life is too short to eat bad food, the (hungry) couple responsible for Bloggin’ Good Food snuck behind the scenes and into a very sweet kitchen for the blog’s mouthwatering “Behind the Food” series. Watch the video to meet Donna Gabrilson and Stacey Barnes, the charming mother & daughter toffee duo of Goodytwos Toffee Company. The perfectly dreamy shop is located in North Scottsdale (with select items sold at La Grande Orange Grocery). You’ve got to try a bag of the Salty and Sweet! Now that’s Bloggin’ Good Food!