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Everything posted by estherschindler

  1. YES! That's it! I never went there; my husband did, once, and said the service was remarkable in its terribleness. I'd be interested in hearing what you think of Ibiza.
  2. It must be the summer heat. In the evening, I want something delicious, but I don't want a lot of it, and I'm often too wiped out to cook. So, in the last few weeks, I've gone to two Tapas restaurants -- both of which were second visits. I didn't take notes, so forgive my faulty memory. First, where these places are: Ibiza is in downtown Scottsdale, on Scottsdale Road right at Stetson. It shares a messy parking lot with Kyoto (which is a great Japanese restaurant for lunch, but that's another thread). At the moment, it's hard to get into Ibiza because Stetson is torn apart, but I assure you it's worth it. Tapino is in the Agua Caliente gaggle of shops at Shea and 90th Street, behind Sushi on Shea and Claim Jumper. You'll remember the building when you see it, as it has an Italian restaurant that had been there for at least ten years. (Not that I can remember its name at the moment, but old time Scottsdale folks will be sure to remind me.) Both of these are very good restaurants, but they have different moods. Ibiza is casual. The wait staff is breezy, the tables shoved close together. Which isn't to say that Tapino is cold and formal, but it's a more studied casualness, with wine boxes and candles and a gorgeous wall-of-wine next to the bar. The service is very friendly, however; we asked about an unfamiliar wine on the list, and the waiter didn't know the answer. "I'll get you a sample," he offered, which I appreciated. If these were women, Tapino would be wearing makeup that's put on perfectly; Ibiza might wear only a hint of lipstick but still look wonderful. The wine list in both places is good; each has ten or fifteen wines by the glass. (From my single visit to Postino, it's the winner in that area, with quite a few more choices.) Tapino has a wine list worth reading, though, and they clearly put a lot of attention on the non-obvious selections. They also have wine flights, for which I have an unnatural weakness. During their 5-7pm happy hour (when all wines by the glass are $5, a smokin' deal), we tried a wine whose correct name I can't remember, but which we're already calling Herb Belushi, the missing Belushi brother. Good stuff, and I hadn't even heard of it before. Ibiza had some nice choices in the wine department, but it's definitely in the #2 position here. Foodwise: well, frankly, they're both great. And while this isn't bargain territory, I think they each give a good value for the money. At Ibiza, last week, three of us shared gazpacho; paella; shrimp wrapped in bacon; a delicious chicken-something in phyllo; and something else I don't recall. Those descriptions make the dishes sound rather dull, but each was done exceedingly well. The paella was simply awesome, with a perfect balance of ingredients and *perfectly* done calamari. I didn't peek at the bill (my brother-in-law was paying) but I think it was about $70. I'm the only one who had wine. Dinner last night at Tapino consisted of soft-shelled crab, parmesan-crusted fried artichokes (these were awesome), and pulled-pork empanadas with mango (I think) salsa. We also indulged in a combo dessert with apple beignets, berry crumble, blood orange creme brulee, and chocolate lava cake. Dinner for the two of us -- including those $5 glasses of wine -- was $51 before tip. As I said, this was a second visit for each restaurant. I don't recall all the details of our previous menu -- but these were probably typical. Tapino also has full sit-down entrees, by the way, which sound marvelous. Assuming that I can ever get past the tapas section of the menu to try them.
  3. I'm swooning. What great options!
  4. For more future reference (such as it is)... The original Nick's, on 100th Street and Frank Lloyd Wright, didn't have a liquor license. They were very BYO-friendly; if they had a corkage fee, it was so low that I don't remember it. I haven't been there in a few years, so I don't know the current state of affairs. Nick's now has two or three other restaurants. I've been to the one on Pima and Pinnacle Peak several times, and I know they do have a wine list. I can't speak to the list's quality, since I only visited at lunchtime. I've since moved to another neighborhood, where there's another brand-new Nick's (at Tatum and Shea), but haven't yet visited it. Good Italian food, too. Casual, red-checked tablecloth place, with friendly wait staff. Get anything that includes their homemade sausage. It was worth the trek when they were out at 100th Street, and I'm glad to have his cooking nearby.
  5. These are all wonderful. Thank you! Chefzadi, is the School open for lunch?
  6. Phoenix has gotten hot. So I've booked us a weekend getaway trip in mid-August. We'll be staying in Pasadena and doing artsy things like touring the Gamble House. I purposely chose a cheap hotel, so I could justify one blowout meal. Mostly, though, we lean towards your basic cheap eats -- especially ethnic. For instance, when I was last in Pasadena a few years ago, we really enjoyed a Thai restaurant next door to the model railroad store. Your basic good Thai, priced for mere mortals. Any recommendations? For either a fancy meal or general good stuff within a short drive? We will have a car, and we're flying into Burbank, but I'm sure we won't want to drive far. I did find a link to the dumpling restaurant, in an earlier eGullet message; that sounds wonderful.
  7. I guess it's an amusing visual pun - but it doesn't seem like a really swell dessert (i.e., not one to die for). Was it? How about the apricot tart? Robyn ← The Luna Pie was wonderful, but with a week's worth of hindsight I think it was partly the presentation. I'm not sure what the raspberry sorbet was, other than delicious -- and a great foil for the "homemade mallomars." Also, the wine served with it was a perfect match... not that I can remember what it was, anymore. Not after all those other glasses. However, I'm still having dreams about the lobster risotto.
  8. It's been a while since I saw the movie, but I do recall that Babette used up her entire bucket-of-money in preparing that meal. What do you think it'd cost to put together the equivalent feast? (Of course, that character was in a different era, and everything had to be shipped in. But it's still an interesting contemplation.)
  9. Roxsand is gone. I believe Vincent's is there. (I've never been.)
  10. First, you just GOTTA tell us about the world pastry forum. Can lurkers show up? There are a few good options near the Desert Ridge Marriott. In the huge shopping center across the street -- you can walk -- is Malee's, a Thai restaurant so elegant that you'll be sure it can't be good. They have excellent panang, and if a good choice at dinner is the spicy crispy pla. (For some reason, at lunchtime it's merely good.) In the same shopping center is the Grilled Experience. They're okay-to-good at most things, but they do an _outstanding_ job on BBQ ribs. The sauce has coffee in it, and something else that's irresistable. Also, there's a fish restaurant that looks as though it might be part of a chain (it isn't); its menu items are good (I have a weakness for their tequila shrimp appetizer) but the chef's specials are nearly always the best choice. Not that most people would come to Phoenix for fish, but it's a nice, affordable, casual place. Also a good destination for a bunch of people who want to talk over a beer. Should you wish to jump in a car, a little further afield are the Persian Room (on Scottsale Road, at Princess drive), which has lovely ambiance, wonderful kebabs, and *huge* portions. (The two of us split the appetizer plate and one kebab combo, and always bring leftovers home.) Just a little further south, in the huge shopping center at Scottsdale Road (where Bell Road turns into Frank Lloyd Wright), is Cantina Laredo, top-notch Mexican food that experiments a bit. For a place more elegant -- where you can be sure the wine list will be worth discussing -- you might try Zinc Bistro at the Kierland shopping center. (It's just a little bit south on Scottsdale Road; you'll see the weird mosquelike building that's the local Cheesecake Factory. Zinc is in the middle of that little "village.") I've only been there once, and it was a little pricey, but I've sworn I'll go back. It's the kind of restaurant that makes ordering macaroni and cheese *homey* rather than boring. Places to avoid: the Mexican restaurant at the Desert Ridge shopping center. It's not bad, but it's not good either. Loud place, blah food, and somehow it's always crowded. If you have someone in your party from outside the southwest, they'll be sure to vote for Mexican; this is NOT the place to take them.
  11. Be sure to get there in the late morning. The Farm has really awesome sandwiches, and a great pecan-lined lane for picnicking.
  12. It's been around for some time, I understand, but I finally got to Postino -- 3939 E Campbell (south of Camelback, for those peering at a Phoenix map). Wow, what a lovely place, especially for that hard-to-quantify "I want something, but not a big meal." Postino, which is in the old Arcadia post office, is a wine bar with noshes. We had a great antipasto plate ($12, if I recall correctly), with olives, a cold bean salad, salami, goat cheese, bread, dried cranberries, nuts, and probably a few other things I don't remember. They also have a great-looking cheese board as well as bruchetta: you pick four choices (from a choice of eight or ten), for $10. Our dessert was a cross between a raspberry creme brulee with a chocolate cookie crust; maybe that sounds a little weird, but it was wonderful. The service was friendly, too. One of my friends didn't like the wine that had been recommended, and they swapped it out for another one with no complaints. This place is perfect for a summer evening, when you're hungry but don't want much, or when you want a spot to sit and talk with friends. My only complaint is that it isn't closer to my house!
  13. I'll be interested in the answers you get. I haven't found a really GOOD farmer's market in years.
  14. What are you looking for? Maybe I can help. (I'm in Scottsdale.)
  15. It really is a casual town. Realistically, for a "nice" dinner out you'd be just fine in Dockers and a polo shirt. There are only a handful of restaurants in Phoenix that would refuse you service if you were dressed in cutoffs and sandals. And I'm not even sure about those. I'd provide more restaurant recommendations, but I haven't had any amazing discoveries since the earlier threads that were mentioned.
  16. Tee Pee has been around forever - I remember it being a popular place back in the early 80s, when I first moved here. And I think it'd been around "forever" even then. I never cared for it. They are (or were) well known for their souffle-style chile rellenos, but <shrug> they never did anything for me. Our new "neighborhood Mex" is Cantina Laredo, at Scottsdale Road and Bell (in that huge shopping center with Lowe's and Trader Joe's). It's upscale, which is always a little scary for ethnic food... but they do a great job. For example, tableside-made guacamole seems a bit pretentious (oh dear, have I found myself at Garcia's -- all presentation, no substance?) but it's the best guac I've ever had in a restaurant.
  17. I'm delighted to be a homeowner, at long last. I'm painting the rooms with non-rental colors (such as bright blue), I've installed a serious closet system, and we've emptied and are re-filling the diving pool (all 25,000 gallons). Among the things I love about the house is the large yard and mature landscaping -- which includes two citrus trees. At least one is a graft of multi-fruits, but most of it is lemons... and they're all ripe. We can make lemon meringue pie, but that only uses two or three lemons. So does chicken roasted with lemon and herbs (there's a huge rosemary bush in the front yard). I can make Moroccan preserved lemons (and maybe give some of them away to my more adventurous friends). But that's still going to leave me with a lot of lemons. Any suggestions for recipes that use lemons? LOTS of lemons?
  18. Oh, bummer. I really liked that place and intended to go back. Next time around, I may have a different list. We're buying a house at 56th Street and Thunderbird -- dangerously close to that Sur La Table -- so I expect to find a whole new batch of neighborhood joints.
  19. We did ask Leo... in particular, we asked Leo if there was any dish that "it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without." Apparently there isn't. In answer to someone else's question, he does eat cheese and eggs; in fact, he'll eat fish if he's in a restaurant with paltry veg options. Despite the delicious list of ravioli and lasagne dishes here, I want to add something with protein to the menu. God knows we have enough starch, with two kinds of potato and two dressings. At the library yesterday, I picked up a copy of the above-recommended Deborah Madison book (thanks again for the suggestion!). Although the squash gallette does sound good, we're leaning towards another recipe we found therein, with walnuts, brussel sprouts, baby red onions, and fennel. The walnuts add protein, and it's more veggies on the table. (I'd probably cancel the glazed onions in that case.) On the other hand, that chestnut Christmas pie sounds awfully good, too. Knowing our idea of compromise, we'll probably end up making BOTH. (All this for five people...)
  20. That sounds great. Recipe, recipe!
  21. That gallette has the right sound to it -- I'm afraid the leek-mustard tart (wonderful as it is) would be too creamy. (In previous years, we've added up the butter in the meal... and usually hit 4 or 5 pounds of it.) I'm off to the library to check out that book *again.*
  22. We won't have a big crowd for Thanksgiving this year -- only 5 or 6 people. One of them, however, is a fairly strict vegetarian. We'll deep fry a small turkey for the rest of us (it'll be our first turkey frying experience), and we'll have plenty of side dishes, but I do want something that's "main dish" enough for Leo and side-dishy enough for us. Frankly, the turkey is the visual centerpiece but it takes up only a tiny percentage of plate space. We've been mostly veggies at different times, so our friend doesn't have to worry. (Some years ago, a friend reported that it was common to be a houseguest at dinner and hear, "We knew you were vegetarian, so we made a chicken!") I've been looking at the fresh corn timbale or asparagus timbale from the Greens cookbook. I've also made the leek-mustard tart on multiple occasions, though I'm not sure about throwing another "pie" onto the table. And years ago, in our most Moosewood days, we used to bake acorn squash with apples and herbed ricotta cheese. But I feel as though there are better options that I haven't yet considered. For what it's worth, the other certain elements in the meal include an appetizer plate of mixed salads; ginger-sweet-potato souffle, cranberry-ginger chutney (that's already made!), a stovetop mushroom gravy, a turkey-stock-based gravy, and bread dressing (in which we'll use veggie stock). Probably mashed potatoes, though we haven't decided in what way to experiment with it. Cipollini onions glazed with balsamic vinegar. And we'll make 3 pies for 5 people, along with homemade ice cream. (So far. Our idea of compromise is "let's make both.") So: what would you make for the vegetarian?
  23. I live at Troon North, so I know the restaurants in the area pretty well. Or some of them -- quite of few of them are more expensive than I can afford. Also, I tend to go out to eat at mid-day, as I work at home and want to get out of the house every so often. That eliminates several places from my roundup that open at 5:30pm. But they're probably the ones you're most interested in for the "nice place" with your brother. Your first option is to dine at Mosaic or Sassi, both of which are right near your hotel. I've been to neither but have heard good things about both. Sassi just got a mention in the "top 25 new restaurants" in Phoenix magazine. If I recall correctly, from the write-up, they're best at appetizers and desserts. There are two neighborhoods nearby, each with a clot of restaurants. The first is at Pinnacle Peak and Pima. On the northeast corner is an expensive steak restaurant (Masters? something like that), a new but well-regarded restaurant in what used to be Oceana (I don't recall the exact nature of the place, but noted to myself that it sounds like it's worth trying), and an upscale Italian restaurant called Pane and Vino, or something like that. We went to the Italian restaurant for lunch once; very good, but pricey for what you get. If you're going to do Italian, though, I'd head across the street to the southeast corner of PP/Pima. Nick's is simply excellent, with homemade pasta and sausage, casual but elegant surroundings, and... well, we go there for lunch every couple of weeks. I've never had a bad meal, and have had several great ones. On the northwest corner is Michael's, another upscale restaurant. Again, I've never been, but I've been told that it's absolutely wonderful and that you pay for it. OTOH, right across the courtyard is a spot you don't want to miss: Ted's Cafe is a breakfast-and-lunch spot that might be worth a drive if you were staying somewhere else in town. Funky fun decor, with homemade everything. They have a different breakfast quiche every day, great gaspacho at lunch. The only downside is that service can be very slow, particularly on weekend mornings... but if you're on vacation you won't be itching to go off and do errands the way I usually am. The other gaggle of restaurants is at Scottsdale and Pinnacle Peak Road. Jalapeno's is a decent Mexican restaurant, fine for a local lunch, but I wouldn't tell you to go out of your way for it. Jade Palace is relatively new, your basic neighborhood Chinese restaurant, with good standard stuff; I'm really glad it's there, but it won't be much different from what you'll find at home. There's also a sushi restaurant in the same shopping center; oddly enough, I've never gone to it. (It replaced a juice bar that I used to _love_, and I haven't forgiven fate for taking it away. Isn't it silly how we can be about location loyalty?) Around the corner, at Miller and Pinnacle Peak, is a great, _great_ Thai restaurant, Thai Pan. It's not fancy enough to qualify for the big dinner out with your brother... unless they didn't realize it was there (plenty of people don't) in which case they'll be grateful to you for the discovery. Very inexpensive, nice decor but in the formica-table theme, marvelous curries. When I have people visit from out of town, I'll often take them to one of two restaurants in Cave Creek: the Horny Toad, for BBQ, and El Encanto, for Mexican food. El Encanto's food is good but not blow-you-away awesome; on the other hand, it has a beautiful little duck pond in the courtyard which makes the ambiance lovely. Neither of these are especially expensive. If you drive just a *little* farther away, to Tatum and the 101 freeway (about 10 miles), you'll find a whole other gaggle of restaurants. For a special dinner, though, I'd probably go to Roy's, which is inside the Marriott hotel. I haven't been to THAT Roy's, but I've loved the couple of meals I've had at its sister restaurant, farther down into Scottsdale (at Indian Bend road). Definitely pacific rim fusion cuisine. Fancy without being stuffy. Great food. Near Kierland Commons are several upscale chain restaurants, including PF Chang and The Cheesecake Factory. There's a good "special" Mexican restaurant on the south end, too -- you get to it by walking by the Sur La Table store (assuming that you're capable of *walking by*, which I am not) and past the wine bar. The fancy-looking fish restaurant got an "eh" review from Howard Seftel in the AZ republic so I haven't tried it. That should be enough to get you started. :-)
  24. Let's see. Oceana is no more, so scratch that off your list. (It was near my house. I kept intending to go....) Pizzeria Bianco is indeed a wonderful pizza. I confess that I'm not sure what the fuss is all about, but then I've never been a pizza connoisseur. Certainly a great pizza, though. I haven't been to the others, except Christopher's. Given a choice, I'd follow the recommendation for Los Dos Molinos at South Mountain instead, but I'm a cheapskate who likes Mexican food. Other good Mexican (not necessarily hole-in-the-wall) includes La Parilla Suiza (two in town: one at 35th Avenue, the other closer to Scottsdale next to Paradise Valley Mall) and Manuel's (a local chain -- the one closest to me is at Via Linda and 90th Street) and Z'Tejas (at Tatum and Shea -- best for lunch, when the prices are very reasonable). These are more "neighborhood Mexican," the Phoenix equivalent of an Italian red-checked-tablecloth joint. As I live in very north Scottsdale, it occurs to me that we don't have too many holes in our walls. For somewhat finer dining, I might head to the Persian Room (on Scottsdale Road, just south of the 101 freeway and north of Bell Rd/FLW). Wonderful kebabs, and their "everything" appetizer platter is not to be missed. They make their own yogurt and pita bread, which gives you an idea of the attention to detail. And they do something different with their Persian ice cream that I haven't been able to figure out, though I'm willing to consume a few quarts in the name of scientific inquiry. For upscale stuff: Based on an egullet recommendation, I had one absolutely awesome meal at Convivo about a year ago. I haven't checked it out since - at 16th Street and Glendale (or thereabouts), it's a hike from where I live - but I'd go back there in a flash.
  25. Actually, 4 pounds isn't all that much, especially if you cook something with them and freeze it (like a stew). If you're going to have it shipped all that way, why not 10? I don't know these folks at all, but this place and this place seem to ship-- though they don't mention overseas. I wonder if you CAN, or if (as a plant product) it's not permitted?
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