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Author Archives: The Double D's

About The Double D's

We are a circle of people representing many different career paths – ranging between engineering, banking, real estate and everywhere in between – who cherish good food, fun times, and the company of great people.

Shimogamo

2051 W Warner Rd #14 | Chandler, AZ | 85224

http://shimogamoaz.com/ | 480.899.7191

Organized by: Jenn

Somehow we have missed this gem of Japanese cuisine that has been sitting right in our backyard for 16 years! Luckily Jenn saved us from ourselves and brought us all to try what Bill said was “the best sushi he has had”.

Now I am not a sushi fan but I can appreciate good quality when I see it. The restaurant was small but comfortable and intimate. The food and service quality was premium and the flavors were wonderful. There is a really nice square table in the back that sat our group of 10 very comfortably. Down side is that there is no restroom but they are working on that.

We arrived during happy hour and took advantage of some of the specials on rolls and the crispy fried Gyoza dumplings. Many have their favorite but I did hear murmurs of delight for all of the options. Jen enjoyed the Crazy Roll because of the soy paper instead of seaweed. The Tsunami roll with no rice was another good option and Bill and Jenn really loved the Big N’ Spicy with a nice jalapeno and sriracha sauce on each bite. Karna enjoyed the Las Vegas roll but the table winner was the Tuna Belly followed by the octopus and eel.

Not being a shellfish or sushi fan, I opted for one of the entrees. The grilled black snapper is not what you would think from an American fish house. This time, I chose to have mine served Panko breaded and lightly fried. The entrees also can come in a bento style with a small salad, miso soup, potato salad, and rice.

We washed the tasty treats down with some sake, beers, and wine and finished up the night with some of the desserts. Jen’s winner was hands down the chocolate pudding with 85% cacao and mascarpone. It was not overly sweet and very creamy. There was also the green tea ice cream, the tempura ice cream which – yes – is lightly friend, and the baked cheese cake.

As always the companionship at the table is the best part of the evening with each dinner club meet up but this place was certainly deemed a winner that is worth a repeat visit!

Fried black snapper entree
 
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Posted by on 02/23/2020 in Japanese

 

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Hidden House – Sept 2019

Hidden House

159 W Commonwealth Ave | Chandler, AZ 85225

480.275.5525 | https://www.hiddenhouseaz.com/

Organized by Pat and Fred

Hidden gem alert!! This 1939 historic house in Chandler has been renovated to be an oasis of food and drinks in the middle of a busy downtown Chandler district. Owned by the same team that runs The Brickyard around the corner, this place steps away from the tapas style of Brickyard and moves into the easy relaxed dining realm. The original house is still there and hosts a cozy indoor dining room environment, but then it opens to a backyard patio space with an outdoor bar and open-air seating. Beyond that is the place, we were calling “the barn”. It looks to be a new build but gives the feeling that it could have been an old converted garage, barn, or small hangar. With the garage doors open, you get the cool breeze of the day but are shielded from the sun or other elements. This made for one of the most relaxing dinner atmospheres!

For apps we tried the Confit Wings, Shishito (aka Russian routlette) peppers, and the popcorn shrimp. The beet salad was flavorful but personally, I like to have larger chunks of beets. The shaved beet slices weren’t “beety” enough for me. 🙂 The cocktails were delicious and plentiful in options of well-done classics with some new twists, followed by some great wine options.

The entrees were delicious and well put together. The Hangar Steak was tender and topped with a mushroom cream sauce that was not heavy but rather full of flavor with tastefully chopped chunks of mushroom. The Ribeye was both a beast in size and flavor with a mushroom risotto and a truffle demi glaze. The charred Brussels sprouts were also a big win with a gojuchang sauce (yum-o-tastic) to give it a kick plus shallots and bacon for a grown up twist to this once despised veggie.

For dessert, we tried both the flourless chocolate cake and the green tea crème Brûlée with some coffee and espressos. Honestly, I was expected a strong green tea flavor on the custard but instead it was very smooth, mild, and 100% enjoyable.

If you are looking for a place for a classy dinner but without the fuss of the overpriced fancy restaurants, Hidden House should always be on your options list.

Great dinner + great drinks + great weather + great company = 100% win for Double Ds dinner club.

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on 09/23/2019 in American

 

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Curry Corner – July 2019

Organized by: Kelly

1212 E Apache Blvd | Tempe, AZ | 85281

480-894-1276 | currycornertempe.com

July turned out to be a busy travel month for most of the DDs so we only had 7 or the 14 meet up this month for dinner, but that just makes it more intimate. LOL

For this dinner adventure, we stopped by a local Indian/Pakastani restaurant that we saw highlighted on an old episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Without that episode, we may have continued to keep driving past this place. It is hidden in a corner shopping strip next to a corner market (really a liquor store) and a tattoo shop. Some of the other shops look abandoned and some of the windows are covered up not giving it the feeling that this is a lively area. Add to all of this that it is hidden behind some light rail tracks on Apache and you might see why this place can be missed.

We have been to Indian restaurants before but this one definitely had some new dishes to try and new spice flavors to experience like Afghan Boti which was onions and chunks of chicken in a spicy jalapeno sauce. We also tried the cheese Naan, which was ticker and doughy. I think I prefer the classic or garlic Naan instead.

Another thing I noticed about this place is that it felt like you were going to your friends house for dinner. Just picture their parents are in the kitchen cooking while their brother and sister are setting the table and bringing out food. They may have run out of things on the menu without giving you a heads up, like the Tandoori wings, or they could be out of another vegetarian dish and decide instead to bring you Paneer Marsala. Ha! Sorry Ann. We were kind of at their mercy.

The food we did get was good and I can see why this place gets busy. There were plenty of young families and students coming in to eat but their take-out business was also hopping.

One side note- they do not serve alcohol and it took a couple of tries to get the soda we ordered or get water refilled. However, with no alcohol on the tab, we had one of our cheapest tabs ever at $15/person. 🙂

As a big fan of Indian food, I enjoyed this place for the new flavor offerings and dish variations that it introduced me too. 

 
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Posted by on 08/19/2019 in Indo-Pakastani

 

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Virtù Honest Craft – May 2019

Virtù Honest Craft

3701 N Marshall Way | Scottsdale, AZ | 85251

Located inside the Bespoke Inn

virtuscottsdale.com | 480-946-3477

Organized by: Ann and Jay

Mixing it up with a Sunday Brunch! May 2019 was a busy month with lots of the DDs heading off for globetrotting adventures, so we decided to mix it up and have a Sunday brunch. What a great idea and a nice twist to our normal routine.

We visited Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale, which has been on my list to try for some time. We have been to Chef Gio Osso’s place in Gilbert (Nico Heirloom Kitchen) but haven’t had the chance to try this place yet. Virtù (which translates to virtue in Italian) feels like a world away from the vibe of downtown Scottsdale. Tucked away in a boutique hotel, the restaurant occupies small inside tables and the tree covered patio at the entrance.

The day we visited, it was a warm and sunny day with a gentle breeze. We sat inside just next to some French doors to the patio that allowed for some breeze while shielding us from the sun. It was almost magical how quickly I felt transported to a countryside villa.

The menu can change frequently, there are no set menu items but if you are a fan of octopus and “polpo” is on the menu, you should try it. Other than fish, I have an aversion to all things seafood but when I was told that Chef Osso’s was marinated in corks to make it tender and almost like a steak texture, I had to try it. My husband loved it and I will admit that it was unlike any octopus I have tried before. It did not taste fishy or chewy, rather it was extremely tender and well worth the try!

For brunch this Sunday, we enjoyed some wonderful cocktails, champagne, and beer options and followed it up with mouthwatering dishes. There was a risotto with chorizo and eggs, an apple cinnamon French toast that was so decadent and sweet that it was more like a desert and shared by all, a breakfast sandwich for grown ups paired with fresh and delicious coffee, and a fresh omelet paired with crispy and yummy bacon.

The magical brunch visit was topped off by Chef Gio Osso photo bombing our group picture. What a way to kick off a busy vacation month for the DDs!

 
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Posted by on 05/06/2019 in Italian

 

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Blue Adobe Santa Fe Grille – Mar 2019

884 E Williams Field Rd | Gilbert, AZ | 85295

480.306.8050 | blueadobegrille.com

Organized by: Sarah and Bill

Wow – I am really slacking at keep up with our food adventures! I guess it isn’t as bad as last year where I am missing most of 2018! I am making a mid-year resolution…is that a thing? I mean, why wait another 6 months to turn something around, right? That is just called trying to justify procrastination. Ha! Ok, I am making it a thing (trumpets sound). By royal(-ish – not really but I always dreamed of being a princess) decree, I declare the time for mid-year resolutions is now. ☺

So now to talk about food…in March we visited Blue Adobe Santa Fe Grille in Gilbert. This is one of their two locations and while the owner might have gotten started with the original in Mesa, it is not related. Similar but not the same. Seems like this stretch of road in Gilbert is getting a healthy and tasty dose of New Mexican cuisine since La Ristra and New Mexican Grill are not too far away from Blue Adobe.

If you have never had New Mexican food — 1) you are insanely missing out and 2) it is not to be confused with Sonoran style Mexican food found in Arizona. In my opinion, the flavors are completely different. Green and red chilies play a big part in the dishes and sometimes ARE the dish. Oh and let’s not get it twisted, these are not your local commercial grocery chain of canned chilies…these are fresh, roasted, and spicy chilies that have the potential to kick you in the face and then whisper sweet nothings to your taste buds at the same time. There are some of my favorites like posole, a soup made with roasted pork and hominy or carne adovada, simmered roast pork in red chile sauce that just melts in your mouth. And since New Mexico is the 2nd largest producer of pecans in the country, pecan-grilled or pecan-smoked meats are also common. In addition, blue corn is also highly represented in tortillas, chips, corn bread, and many other ways.

The margaritas at Blue Adobe are good. Had better, but good and the service was quite slow on the night we were there. Granted, I know we are a large group so I always try to take that into consideration but this time it seemed slower and more distracted than normal. The dishes were good and represented the classics but we are tough critics since some of our friends are from New Mexico and it is hard to compete with Aaron’s home-cooked posole and red chili beef. 😉

 
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Posted by on 03/07/2019 in New Mexican

 

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All Pierogi Kitchen

February 2019 | Organized by: Karna and Fred

All Pierogi Kitchen & Euro Market

1245 E Baseline Rd | Mesa, AZ | 85202

480.262.3349 |https://www.allpierogi.com/

My first pierogi adventure! This hidden gem with flavors from the Ukraine and eastern Europe is in a shopping strip at Alma School and Baseline. I can’t count how many times we have driven past this place and had no idea the tasty wonder that was hidden inside.

The place is comfortable and casual and gives a feeling of stopping by a local place for a quick bite cooked up by your neighbor’s grandma in the back, but yet is welcoming and inspires you to relax and just hang out while catching up with friends.

For appetizers we tried the salad sampler plate which included some mixed salads, a potato salad that includes peas and carrots, and rainbow salad which is made with shredded beets, pickles and small crispy french fries.

I had no idea that there was such a variety of dishes based on beets and pickles. Not everyone was a fan but I was so excited. Beets and pickles are two of my favorite things and they were in so many of the dishes!

We tried the red borscht (with beets of course) and the smoked kielbasa dill pickle green borscht. Both were quite tasty and so not what we expected. The pierogis and kielbasa were so fresh and flavorful but don’t be worried, the portions are plenty so you will certainly have enough.

We also tried the cabbage rolls both the beef with tomato sauce and the pork with the mushroom sauce, which was definitely the winner of the two. I assumed red cabbage salad would be similar to rot kohl that I have enjoyed in the past but this one was different and left me “meh”.

Make sure to leave room for the fruit pierogis and honey cake for dessert. Yum! And don’t miss an opportunity to stop by the attached market to pick up some fresh sausage, cheese, or other treats.

To seal the deal on this wonderful experience, we also had the benefit of some live music from the cutest musician cranking out some well-known tunes on an accordion. It was such a fun foodie adventure and a nice return to the drive for food exploration that started the Double D’s oh-so-many years ago. Well done Karna and Fred!

 
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Posted by on 02/22/2019 in Polish, Ukrainian

 

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Flying Basset Brewery

January 2019 | Organized by: Jenn

Flying Basset Brewery

720 W Ray Rd | Gilbert, AZ | 85233

480.426.1373 | https://www.flyingbassetbrewing.com/

Cheers to 2019 and cheers to celebrating our love of all things puppies and beer! This casual brewery celebrates our floppy eared companions and offers a good selection of local beers as well as their own tasty creations.

The menu doesn’t disappoint either. Options are what you would expect for a bar menu but with a nice mix of their take on poutine, wings, burgers, sandwiches, and other favorites. I tried the Danish brat for the first time and it was certainly different from other style brats. It was a little blander in flavor and had a softer mealy texture but was still enjoyable. The tater tots are a must have side dish but if you opt for fries you can’t go wrong. Wings can be tricky to order because you never know what you are going to get but their After Burner Froasted Wings had a good flavor and were not as hot as the name makes them seem.

Flying Basset was another great pick and a fun evening catching up with friends.

 
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Posted by on 01/12/2019 in Uncategorized

 

Cuisine and Wine Bistro

December 2018 | Organized by: Jenn and Don

French Bistro and Steakhouse

4991 S ALMA SCHOOL RD SUITE 101
CHANDLER, ARIZONA, 85248

TEL: (480)-275-6700 https://cuisineandwinebistro.com/chandler/

Say goodbye to 2018! For our end of year party & wine exchange, we visited another location for Cuisine and Wine Bistro, but instead of Gilbert, we tried their Chandler location. There are some old favorites but some new menu creations.

I was really excited about their French Onion Soup! I love French Onion but am 100% over the large piece of soggy bread with a huge goopy slice of cheese on top. I was sooooo in love with their take on this common soup. It was more broth and onion. I was so in taste bud heaven! Atmosphere was nice and casual. Tip: Order your drinks as soon as you sit. While the cocktails are tasty, they take a while to arrive.

The wine exchange was naturally full of controversy with stealing of gifts and debate over the actual rules. We do this every year but we seem to have this same debate every year. All-in-all it was a nice evening

 
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Posted by on 12/12/2018 in French

 

The Novelist – July 2018

The Novelist – July 2018

335 N Gilbert Rd #103 | Gilbert, AZ | 85234

novelistaz.com | 602-775-5490

Organized by: Tony and Kelly

For July, we went to a restaurant inside another restaurant. The Novelist is called a speak-easy style bar/restaurant but I think that is a stretch. You can see the bar through windows on the street, which doesn’t seem to summon the vibe of a speak-easy. However, you do have to enter the restaurant from inside OHSO brewery, which can make the journey loud and adventurous.

The décor is creative with a mural on the back wall that seems vibrant and nice, but then you suddenly realize that all the décor is based on female novelists, such as J.K Rowling, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bronte. As a book nerd and female leadership advocate, that touched a certain part of my heart!

The only place they had for a group our size was a couple of large tabletops next to the bar but it felt comfortable. The food was definitively tavern style but felt upscale a notch with dishes such as Thai Steak Salad, Seared Crab Cake, a Flat Iron Steak, and Grilled Seabass. The menu also has a cute nod to the literary process with sections such as Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. J

All in all, it was a good night and certainly a place we wouldn’t mind going again. Sadly it is soooo close to another one of our favorite restaurants that if we ever venture to Downtown Gilbert, we are magically drawn across the street to our favorite haunt.

 
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Posted by on 07/15/2018 in American, Wine Bar

 

Bar Viñedo – April 2018

Bar Viñedo

7215 S Power Rd | Queen Creek, AZ | 85142

480-840-9709 | barvinedo.com

Organized by: Fred and Pat

How many times have you seen a tree in the middle of a restaurant? Well, stop by Bar Viñedo and you can add one more to your list. This unassuming wine bar delivers some recognizable favorites but stepped up a notch or 3 or 4 or 5. There are Beer Battered Pickle Chips but with chili ranch sauce, panko crusted risotto spheres with mozzarella, and smoked gouda mac and cheese bites.

For entrees, you can find a Mac and Cheese dish but it is going to come with a Port Wine Derby Sauce and Avocado Lime Cream. You will also find a grilled chicken dish, but it is going to be paired with Farfalle pasta, spinach, and a Gruyère Mornay sauce or you can get Risotto but it will be joined by some shrimp, broccolini, argula, and baby portobellos.

The wine selection was vast – it is a wine bar after all J – but they even offer craft beer options and private wine tastings if you are interested.

Relaxing atmosphere paired with good food and wine and friends makes for a wonderful evening!

 
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Posted by on 04/26/2018 in American, Wine Bar

 

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