Tag Archives: casual

July 22 – Boca Taqueria

Boca Taqueria

1674 N. Higley Rd., #101
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
Phone: (480) 306-8690

Organized by: Sarah and Bill

It was quite a small group for July with just 5 DDs. Much of our group was traveling or had family events going on so it was a small group of Fred, Karna, Ann, Bill, and Sarah.

We tried a local taco place that opened a second location in Gilbert. The place is fast casual where you order at the counter and they serve you at the table, but don’t worry the quality doesn’t seem rushed. There is a great happy hour every day until 6pm with some good drink and food options.

Portions are plenty for the full plates or you can get some good a la carte options if you aren’t famished. The Macho Nachos (pictured below on left) are a big plate of nom noms with plenty to share with friends. The enchiladas are tasty and the during the fall you can get the Green Chile Pork ones with a butternut squash sauce. It is really tasty and quite unexpected. Ann tried the seafood enchiladas with green sauce. The flavor was good even for a non-seafood loving person as myself! We also tried the tilapia and chimichanga, served enchilada style.

The margaritas are cool and refreshing or they also have a small but good selection of beers on draft. The atmosphere is light and super casual. It’s a great place to stop by for a quick bite or grab some take-away. According to their website, they also have a food truck and offer catering options as well.

It was a fun and casual night with our small group of peeps. Good times on a hot monsoon night.

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Posted by on 07/22/2017 in Latin


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Attack of the Angry Crabs – January 2017

Angry Crab Shack

8253 E Guadalupe Road | Mesa, AZ | 85212

480-373-5855 |

Organized by: Fred and Karna – January 2017

What is an angry crab, you ask? Well the crab isn’t so angry, but the spices you can add to this seafood boil is what gives the restaurant its iconic name. It all started in a small shop in Mesa and has exploded into six locations around the Phoenix area, some of which also offer BBQ dish options.

The atmosphere is always very casual. I mean, you literally dig your food out of a bag with your hands while wearing a bib. So trust me, you cannot be underdressed. Patrons are also encouraged to leave their mark on the walls and the tablecloth is a piece of butcher paper to soak up all the cajun spices and butter that might seep out of the bag during your devour session.

Everything is flown in fresh daily and sold at market price so don’t be surprised if they run out of clams early. That is a fan favorite and Jenn can really get down in the dumps if she don’t get her clams. J Some of our group are regulars here and even call themselves the AC crew. But the crew isn’t for everyone because they like to go hot. I mean real hot. The kind of hot that makes your neck sweat and your insides cry. That doesn’t mean that you can’t join in, just don’t make the mistake like I did and grab a sausage or corn piece out of their bag…J

As a non-crustacean person, I was excited to try the BBQ options but that was a bit of a let down. We have so many BBQ options here in Phoenix so the bar is set kind of high and I don’t think AC makes it. The po’boys are okay but the bread is so…bready. Seems like a 3:1 ratio on bread vs. filling with every bite. I think I will keep to the chicken fingers and onion rings, gumbo, or coleslaw.

Beers are good and oysters are big, fresh, and cheaper than other seafood places. They have a variety of tasty cocktails that are served in mason jars and some local craft brews on tap. They do have wines available, but it’s not the best selection. I say skip the wines and go with the good beers or the great cocktails.

Whether you like a good boil bag or prefer to get one of the other menu items, make sure you come here with friends. Half of it is the food, but the other half is the fun experience with your peeps.

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Posted by on 01/21/2017 in Cajun, Seafood


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June 11, 2016 – Kagie Wine Party

Another year and another summer tradition of the Kagie Wine Party! We missed seeing some of our DDs because of summer vacation travels, but we also introduced some new friends to “wineapalooza”.

Great food was there as usual with all the guests making some really tasty dishes to share to support Pat’s super secret and tasty meatballs. 😉 I especially loved Ann’s caprese on a stick. It was a toothpick with bite size mozarella, cherry tomato, and basil leaf all drizzled with balsamic. Perfect little bite size and refreshing as well.

This year there was a good representation of Australian Shiraz along with the regular tastings of Cab Sauv, Merlot, and white varietals. Cheese selection was extensive with lots of choices including the delectable Brilliant Savann.  

Until next year,


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Posted by on 06/11/2016 in theme party, Wine Bar


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May 28, 2016 – Old Town Tortilla Factory

Old Town Tortilla Factory

6910 East Main Street

Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Organized by: Fred and Karna

Fred and Karna took the reigns again this month and organized dinner at the Old Town Tortilla Factory in Scottsdale. The restaurant is located in a very cute 75-year old adobe home. You enter through a huge flagstone patio surrounded by lots of pecan trees. Needless to say, the patio seating is amazing!

We started with the “award winning” margaritas that seemed a little watery and light on flavor. So we decided to change it up to a bottle of wine…at a Mexican restaurant with 120 tequilas. Not a good sign. Instead of tortilla chips like most Mexican restaurants, the Tortilla Factory provides warm homemade tortillas with butter. Rightly so. This was a interesting twist and the tortillas were pretty tasty.

From the starter menu we got a few orders of chips and salsa fuego and the much anticipated Chorizo Fundido. I was quite disappointed that it was light on the Chorizo, but heavy on the Fundido.

For dinner, the Red Chile Pork Chops was nicely presented and had good flavor. The green enchiladas with chicken, cheese, and tomatillo sauce was also good. Overall, I would say that the food was okay but I probably wouldn’t come back just for that. The best part of the dinner was certainly the ambiance of the beautiful patio!

We opted not to order dessert and instead part of the group walked down the block to the Hotel Valley Ho for cocktails and dessert. The Valley Ho has been a Scottsdale landmark since 1956. The hotel was renovated in 2005 and brought back to its modern 60’s vibe. The ZuZu lounge had a fun design of 60s modern bar stools, minimalist couches with clean sharp lines and yet still looked comfortable and soft. Since we were there at night, there was a soft red glo giving everything a fun artsy vibe.

We opted to sit outside at the Cafe Zu Zu taking full advantage before the Arizona weather kicked into full gear. When first sitting down, I made the mistake of asking the hostess how long the hotel had been open knowing that it was a landmark but not much else. The young girl sheepishly looked at me and said “I really should know this, but I don’t.” Yes dear. You really should.

After a rousing discussion of Scottsdale vs. Gilbert socialites, we delved into libations. I tried the Bourbon Smash which was Maker’s Mark, muddled lemon, mint, simple syrup, club soda, and lemon peel. Someone else tried the Blackberry Mule of vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and blackberry and Tony went with a Manhattan.

For dessert, we tried the Raspberry Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie, and Caramel Macchiat”Oh” Cheesecake. The cocktails and desserts were delicious and were a nice ending to a fun evening of heated political discussions and lots of good times and laughter.

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Posted by on 05/28/2016 in Mexican


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April 23, 2016 – Flo’s

Flo’s Tempe

788 E Baseline Rd

Tempe, AZ 85282


Organized by: Karna and Fred


In April, we visited one of the three locations of Flo’s, a local Arizona restaurant opened in 1997 and focused on spicing up your experience with Asian cuisine. Their motto of “Traditions with a twist” illustrates that there will be plenty of recognizable dishes but with some twists to wake up your senses.

We made our place on the back patio and, even on this windy day, it was a really comfortable setting with the added bonus of twinkle lights. We certainly enjoyed the San Diego type weather before the Arizona summer rears its ugly head.

As with almost every dinner, we started with cocktails. Ann ordered a Pomerita-Florita, made with tequila, triple sec, pomegranate syrup, lemon juice, sweet & sour, and soda water. To cut down on the sweetness, she ordered it without sweet & sour and it was still plenty sweet and probably more refreshing. Well done Ann! We also ordered some beers like Kiltlifter and the Japanese beer, Asahi, which is similar to a Heineken and a few bottles of Riesling. Just out of curiosity, we also ordered a taster of the Hakutsuru Plum Wine. Yes, it was just as sweet as imagined, but this was different. It was a thicker, more fragrant sweetness. Sound crazy? The best way I can describe it is to say, imagine the difference between drinking the juice of a plum versus the empty, hollow sweetness of a processed candy.

Never one to shy away from apps, we tried the lettuce wraps, potstickers (chicken, pork, and veggie versions), and the spicy wontons. The spicy wontons were hands down my favorite of the night! Shrimp and pork wontons served in a chili oil plus a soy and vinegar sauce. Nom nom nom! The lettuce wraps were a nice surprise as well. Unlike the drier versions that you find at PF Chang’s and Pei Wei, the lettuce wraps are covered in a tasty sauce. Be careful of using the red chile sauce, it carries a yummy but spicy kick!

Kelly and Tony ordered the Hot and Sour Soup, but little did hey know that they would receive a cauldron! Entrees included Thai Fried Catfish and Chile Sauce; Katsu Chicken, which is panko breaded chicken on egg-fried rice with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds; Yellow Curry Chicken; and Yuxiang Pork, a twist on an imperial dish with bell peppers and onions. The sauce on the Yuxiang was surprisingly sweet considering it was on the “spicy China” side of the menu. Perhaps I needed to order it with more spice? The Spicy Orange Chicken was delicious! If you have ever been to Panda Express, do not make the mistake of thinking this is the same. Instead, think less bread and more flavorful sauce.

Sadly, we didn’t get to try the Peking Duck which is on the “hidden treasures” menu and needs to be ordered 24 hours in advance. For dessert, we enjoyed the Chocolate Won Tons, which were little crisp pastries filled with chocolate ganache and a tasty wrap up to the night.

Overall it was good, but there were plenty of intriguing dishes that we just didn’t have the chance to try. I guess it just means we will have to go back. 🙂


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Posted by on 04/24/2016 in Asian fusion, Chinese, Thai


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January 30, 2016 – Guru Palace

Guru Palace

2048 E Baseline Rd

Mesa, AZ 85204

Organized by: Tony and Kelly


Have you ever had those times that a mistake turns into a great thing? Well this is one for Kelly and Tony. One day they accidentally ordered from Guru Palace for take-out instead of another Indian restaurant close by. This turned out to be a happy accident and became their new favorite place for Indian cuisine!

Guru is a nice place hidden away on the side of a strip mall but has plenty of tables and a large bar. It didn’t seem to be too busy this Saturday evening but you could see the take out traffic was quite heavy.

For appetizers we started with Veggie Pakoras and (my favorite) Samosas, which are potatoes, peas, ginger, and spices stuffed inside crispy crusts. Yum!

Naturally, we had plenty of Naan but looking at their super convenient online ordering menu, I didn’t realize that there were so many other kinds of breads we could have tried!

Kelly and Janice ordered Vegetable Korma and Kelly added a little chicken. I must say this veggie dish was delicious! It had just the right amount of spice in the yogurt-based sauce.

For the first time, I tried Chicken Biryani, which is basmati rice with boneless chicken, nuts, herbs, and spices. The nuttiness of the rice was a perfect blend for these spices and I think I found one of my new favorite dishes!

Some of the guys went full heat and ordered Lamb Vindaloo high on the heat scale but we had plenty of Indian beers to wash it down such as Taj Mahal and Kingfisher.

It was so nice to find an Indian place closer to home than The Dhaba. Great find Tony and Kelly!

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Posted by on 01/30/2016 in Indian


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December 18, 2015 – Salty Sow

Salty Sow

4801 E Cactus Rd.

Scottsdale, AZ 85254


Organized by: Ann and Jay

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the DDs!

We celebrated the end of 2015 with an homage to our love of all things bacon! Salty Sow is another restaurant expansion from Austin, TX that is making its second home in Phoenix right behind

We sat at a great large community table right next to the open kitchen which gave a great viewpoint of watching the magic of Chef Brady Cohen in action. On a fun side note, Chef Cohen was recently named on of Marie Clare’s most eligible bachelors check it out here!

Even the cocktails have a nod to little piggies like the CurlyTail with tequila, serrano, cilantro, blood orange, and smoked salted rim, or the Smokey Sow Martini made with Tito’s (of course!) stuffed bacon and cream cheese olives, or my favorite the Salty Sow’r with Copper City Bourbon, agave, lime, and tamarind.

First of all they have happy hour every day from 4-6:30 so make sure you get there early and take advantage of some of the $5 noshes. Do not miss the Truffled Deviled Eggs, the Duck Fat Fries, or the Crispy Brussel Sprout Leaves. We ever ordered a second round of a few of them because we couldn’t get enough!

Next on the must order list are the Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms (insert foodgasm) or the Farm Salad which is not your ordinary salad. Instead it has bacon lardons, pork belly, 110-minute egg, avocado, roasted beets, mushrooms, frisee, baby spinach, radish, and goat cheese croutons lovingly covered in a white balsamic vinaigrette. Oh my!

We wrapped up the night saying good bye to 2015, happy birthday to Don and Ann, and happy retirement to our favorite English teacher, Karna.


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Posted by on 12/18/2015 in American


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September 19, 2015 – Cyclo Vietnamese

Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine

1919 W Chandler Blvd.

Chandler, AZ

Organized by: Fred and Karna

September brought us on another foodie adventure but this time over to Asia. Cyclo vietnamese is an awesome gem with the best kind of feature, BYOB. This place is small but cute with modern décor. Being able to bring in your own drinks sure does help keep the cost down and is another fun surprise to see what everyone is going to bring.

Cyclo is a small place run by a very animated owner who is not shy with dishing out the sarcasm but who has a zest for having a good time. Water is served to everyone with chopped up fresh fruit for a tasty and refreshing twist.

For starters, we had the spicy garlic green beans and the spring rolls (both regular and vegetarian). For entrees, we tried a variety of dishes like the Hanoi Rice Vermicelli, a broth with veggies and meat and rice noodles that you add together for a tasty soup. I was super proud that I ate everything with chopsticks, never mind that I wanted to avoid the wrath of the owner by asking for (gasp!) a fork. J

We also had the spicy crispy lemongrass chicken, mixed grill, and chicken with bok choy. There was also a great crisp rice crepe filled with shrimp, pork, sprouts, and served with large pieces of red leaf lettuce. The lettuce is used when eating many of the dishes almost like a tortilla.

For dessert, many of us ordered coffee but it wasn’t the regular coffee we thought of. Instead, a Vietnamese coffee is brewed slowly in a metal drip cup and then mixed into sweet cream and poured over ice. It was like dessert and coffee all in one! (Note: even better when you add a splash of Bailey’s) The mango sticky rice was made with purple rice that I have never seen before. It wasn’t as sticky as normal, but was still delicious.

There was also a heated debate over the best kind of Cheetos with crunchy inching out over puffy as the winner (but I might be biased in the voting).

The best line of the night still belongs to Jenn “filter can’t fix crazy”, oh but we can try. J

Ăn ngon nhé! (Bon appetit!)

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Posted by on 10/11/2015 in Vietnamese


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August 29, 2015 – El Chullo

El Chullo Restaurant

2605 N 7th St.

Phoenix, AZ 85006


Organized by: Bill and Sarah

Tonight the Double Ds went south of the equator and traveled to Peru. Well at least in the culinary sense. This family-run restaurant in Phoenix is named after the traditional hat worn in Peru. The website describes it an accessory that was “worn by the Incas to differentiate villages, wealth, social status, and even age.”

Beverages are a tasty way to start the dinner and we didn’t hold back. Pisco Sour is a traditional Peruvian drink with Pisco Porton, lime, simple syrup, egg whites, and bitters. It is a sweet cocktail but tastes like key lime pie. Yummy! I had the passion fruit puree version called a Maracuya Sour. It was tasty and topped with possibly nutmeg for a surprising flavor. Don had the Cocktail de Algorrobina

We started our food adventure with some appetizers like the Causa Rellena, a potato cake with a chicken salad type of filling; Papa a la Huancaina, bolied and diced potatoes covered in cheese and Aji Amarillo sauce; Ocopa, a slighty spicier version of the Papa dish plus huacatay peanuts; and Anticuchos, marinated grilled beef heart kabobs served with a spicy salsa and potatoes. The group was divided on the beef hearts, although it was like sliced tenderloin some didn’t like the texture but many others loved the flavor and tenderness of the dish. The last appetizer was the Ceviche Mixto, with fish and seafood, sweet potatoes, and corn. We have some big ceviche fans in the DDs and they gave it a big thumbs up. Even with the split on the beef hearts all of the apps were a hit!

Jay and Ann reminisched about some of their adventures last year in Peru and Jay was excited to get to enjoy a Diet Inca cola again. This Peruvian soda tastes like a Mountain Dew cream soda. I am not a cream soda fan, but it was really good.

Entrees were a glorious mixture of meats, rice, potatoes, with explosions of tasty flavors. Lomo Saltado is a dish with marinated strips of tenderloin served over thick french fries and roasted tomatoes and onions. Tacu Tacu is a dish so divine they had to name it twice. You take a mash of beans and rice and cook it into a patty and then top it with scrumptious topping of tender beef or seafood, onions, and tomatoes.

As most nights, there was no room for dessert but we couldn’t leave without trying some of the Peruvian sweets. There was Crema Volteada, a creamy Peruvian cousin to flan. There was also the Alfajor, a dulce de leche cookie covered in sugar. Lastly, we tried Helado de Lucuma, a creamy ice cream with a slight coffee aftertaste and made with the Lucuma fruit. According to our server, this fruit is only grown in Peru, “I don’t care what Ecuador says!” 🙂

Dinner was delicious and it was super fun to explore a cuisine that many of us had never tried before. We all agreed that this place is a MUST to repeat. Clearly we weren’t the only fans of El Chullo, New Times was in love as well, just check out this New Times article.

Until next time – Hasta la próxima!

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Posted by on 10/11/2015 in Latin, Peruvian


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July 25, 2015 – Pig and Pickle

Pig and Pickle

2922 N Hayden Rd.

Scottsdale, AZ 85251


Organized by: Jenn

Pig and Pickle is described as “eclectic comfort food gets the gourmet treatment at this chic gastropub with late-night hours”. Really they should say, “have food, will pickle”. Want to find pickled eggs? They have it. Pickled olives? Sure thing! Pickled radishes? You know it!

But they aren’t just about giving them the pickle. There is also the pig. They dish out the pig in some many numerous delicious ways like the BLT with pork belly, ‘apocalypse sow’ pork burger, pork liver smear, pork shoulder tostadas, and the Cuban sammy … just to name a few.

This is a clever and tasty place that lives up to their own slogan – simple, humble, good.  Word.

ann at pig and pickle

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Posted by on 07/25/2015 in American


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