Panda King Express – Chinese Takeout

September 26, 2009 at 12:04 am | Posted in Food, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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<UPDATE: This is now known as Tasty House…I have not tried it since the name changed>

If you live in North Phoenix – you should definitely call up Panda King Express (602-548-8108) for some chinese takeout when you aren’t in the mood to cook or drive. Delivery areas are from 35th Ave to Cave Creek and from Thunderbird to Pinnacle Peak. The place is located at 1512 W. Bell Rd, if you want to stop by instead. But hey, delivery is a buck plus tip – so just call…

All of the standard chinese fare as most Americans know it is offered at a reasonable price.  You can order anything one of three ways – Small or large (denotes size of container and comes with steamed rice) or in a combo which includes fried rice, egg roll and crab puff. You can substitute noodles for rice for a dollar more.

I can’t say enough good about this place…delivery is fast (seems to always be the same guy – owner maybe?) and the guy that answers the telephone is knowledgeable of the products and efficient.

Food is excellent. The egg rolls are crispy and golden brown (2 per side order) with a soft floral taste which I assume comes from five-spice-powder. Skip the wonton soup and order the Wor Wonton Soup. Totally worth the extra 3 bucks as it packs in beef, shrimp, snow peas, carrots, zucchini, some type of choy and other goodies bathed in a simple tasty broth.

The dishes like shrimp and snow peas are flavored elegantly. Those of you that prefer your chinese in szechwan, mongolian or hunan style will appreciate that the dishes are spicier as time goes by. It’s not a full on frontal assault of your palate, but a building crescendo of flavors.

According to my menu, the only way you can get duck is in fried rice…which seems a bit odd. If they have it for rice, they must have it for other things, right? Maybe I’ll ask if they can do a Peking duck for Christmas this year, as I love that for a holiday meal. Of course, I know they better require 24-72 hrs notice, otherwise they aren’t doing it right. Oh, I’ve been known to spend the days before that holiday with bike pump and fan in hand hanging a duck on my own screened in porch. Mmmm mm good.

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The Codfather – British Fish n’ Chips

September 21, 2009 at 11:48 am | Posted in Food, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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The Codfather is another great strip-mall find! This one is on 16th St. &  Bell.

It’s an interesting style of joint. Seems to be part take-out, part sit-in, part pub, part mini-grocery. You can run in and get some fish n’ chips to go, or sit down and have them bring your order to you on real plates, with your ale in real pint glasses (16oz not imperial pints). There’s even some gaming in an adjoining area. Billiards, anyone? Continue Reading The Codfather – British Fish n’ Chips…

Thee Pitts Again

August 10, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Food, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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The name seems to be the real clue here…

Here’s my review form YELP! Because, it’s not really worth writing about again…

8/10/2009

Saw it on DDD. Guy steered us wrong here. I had ribs and brisket in order to give them a fair shake. Neither worked for me. Service was way slow on a Saturday around 8pm. Ribs were cold, as was brisket. Brisket was smokeless, as were ribs. Sauce I wouldn’t buy even if it was at the dollar store.
I won’t return. Rather drive to Honey Bear’s.

Less than 1 Star.

Pizzeria Bianco

August 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Food, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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Pizzeria Bianco.

Voted by Food Network as the Best Pizza in America! I’m not going to go into a long speel here, that’s been done by so many all over the web. I’m sure you already know that it’s very small, you can’t order “to go” and you have to wait a long time for seating.

Luckily, you can mill around next door at a tiny little upscale beer/wine bar that serves everything from good wine to premium, “real sugar” soda pops.

There are no “misters” to save you from the searing heat while you wait in line. There is some shade provided by trees. You can grab a drink at the bar and sip it while waiting in line. You might as well keep your tab open when you go in the first time for refreshments, you’ll be back before you get seated…I’m almost positive.

Ok – the review!

Food is excellent. Handmade mozz, super-fresh everything on your hand-made/wood-fired pizza. You’ve heard all this before. It is top-notch! Don’t get me wrong. But is pizza and apps for 4 worth $125 when you have to wait for over an hour, maybe more? What if that hour costs another $50 in beverages? What if that hour is outside in 115 degree heat? That’s a personal decision you have to make.

Our service was good. Our food was excellent. We only had to run to the parking meter once. We arrived about 20 minutes too late to get first seating. We learned – go EARLY. Perhaps go when it isn’t 115, although I suspect more people will be willing to brave the line when it isn’t 115.

Yeah, we’ll go back. But I think we have to try Grimaldi’s before then…

Chicago Gyros – Phoenix, Arizona

May 20, 2009 at 11:46 am | Posted in Food, Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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Chicago Gyros – Exceptional Greek & Chicago Style Cuisine – Chicago Gyros.

Here’s another gem for you foodies in the Phoenix area! I was going to start by saying its in a strip mall across the street from another fave of mine, Roberto’s – but I just realized I haven’t blogged that one yet…

This one is on 7th Street and Union Hills. It’s clean, well lit and serves up awesome food.

We ordered 2 meals – a gyros platter and a kifta kabob platter. Both come with a pretty large salad consisting of lettuces, tomatos, greek olives and some cucumbers with skins decoratively removed. They are dressed perfectly with what I am guessing is a house made vinaigrette and are presented very stylishly, albeit they do come on a traditional “cafeteria plastic tray”. Salt and pepper are in shakers on the tables.

The kitchen staff seemed pretty knowledgeable about timing as our salads were served up first, and ample time was allowed for us to enjoy the salads for their aesthetics as well as their fresh, crisp flavors before they called our order number to let us know our dinner plates were ready.

My gyros plate had what you would expect, nice freshly shaved gyros meat consisting of lamb/beef and well seasoned alongside some tomatos, onions and french fries with just one serving of tzatziki sauce (you may want to order a couple of extras). The pita was thicker than that which was served with the kifta. The kifta plate substituted a yellow rice that was fluffy and tasty in lieu of the fries.

Beverage selections consisted of Coca-Cola products at the fountain, Gatorade, Fuze, a fruit-infused  brewed iced tea or a bottled yogurt drink. Drinks are not included with the plates, but are included with some “meal deals”.

Service was friendly and efficient.  It was a Sunday night, and right around 8pm the counter person walked over and turned off the OPEN signs in the windows, without making us feel as if we were being rushed to leave.

We enjoyed the place, and I’ll definitely return – although it’ll be hard to decide on whether to stop here or cross the street to Roberto’s…as I love their carnitas!

Dinner @ an Iron Chef Victor’s

April 13, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Restaurant Review | Leave a comment
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Mark Tarbell is a legend around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. He has been for a long time. For the last couple of years, that legend has grown since he stomped Cat Cora on Iron Chef America.

I haven’t been in his place, Tarbell’s in quite some time…perhaps 7 years. Two events made me decide to head back out there and see what was up nowadays. The first one was the fact that my girlfriend and best friends were itching to head on down and battle the crowd at Pizza Bianco to see if it deserved the accolades it was receiving. The second was a Twitter message announcing a replay of that famed Iron Chef episode on the Food Network. I figured, we better strike before the iron gets too hot again with a bunch of FN groupies heading down there. (Those two things plus the fact that 1/2 the reviews from people on Citysearch said bad things about the staff and management at Pizza Bianco were enough for me to singly swing the tide and put Pizza Bianco off until another day).

So…we ventured to the Biltmore area…and a look of despair fell across the faces of my cohorts as I had them pull into a strip mall. The fact that Sportsman’s Fine Wines was in that strip mall didn’t seem to offer them too much hope… Continue Reading Dinner @ an Iron Chef Victor’s…

Jasper’s Peak Bistro – Cajun Food in Scottsdale

March 25, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Restaurant Review | 1 Comment
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Ah yes – yet another restaurant discovery for me. This one came to my girlfriend’s attention via a recommendation from a friend of a friend, rather than our usual Food Network network!

We hit this place up around 6pm on a Tuesday, which is a good night to go, as all bottles of wine are 1/2 off. In addition, if you get there before 7pm – apps and beers are on “happy hour” special. That means beer runs around 4 bucks, and apps are 1/2 off. The place starts to pack them in right around 7ish, so getting there early is nice.

Since it’s located in North Scottsdale – it is tucked away in the corner of an upscale strip mall, anchored by a Fry’s Signature store. That’s par for the course in that territory.

The food leans toward Cajun, although there are some hints of the Southwest on the menu also. Continue Reading Jasper’s Peak Bistro – Cajun Food in Scottsdale…

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