RSS

Tag Archives: cultural destination

September 19, 2015 – Cyclo Vietnamese

Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine

1919 W Chandler Blvd.

Chandler, AZ

http://azeats.com/cyclo/default.htm

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!)

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 10/11/2015 in Vietnamese

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Art and cuisine on Calle 16

Barrio Café
2814 N 16th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006
602-636-0240
www.barriocafe.com
Organized by: Janice
 

Besides being an integral part of this neighborhood in Phoenix, Chef Silvana has created a place of legend with the original Barrio Café. Although she has now expanded to Barrio Queen in Scottsdale and even offers samples of her treasures to travelers at Sky Harbor Airport, it was a treat to be able to visit the place where it all began.

Barrio Café is not big, nor is it ostentatious with a ritzy location. Instead it is in Phoenix on 16th street at the entrance of an urban neighborhood and surrounded by strip malls with local businesses. The place is decorated in art by local artists which rotates every few months, showing Chef Silvana’s focus on promoting the people in our community. In addition, the exterior is covered in clever, colorful, and creative murals as part of the Calle 16 Mural Project, which celebrates the vibrant culture and Mexican heritage of the area. (for more on this check out our Links section!)

No reservations are accepted and seating is strictly on a first come, first serve basis. This means you need to get there early if you have a large group because Barrio Café has a reputation for magic and it is only growing with every passing day.

They do have a Happy Hour with super great discounts on their margaritas and Buck any Tacos but the downside is that it is only from 3-5pm on Tuesday thru Friday.

We tried a few different margarita options such as the Flaca (skinny marg with organic silver tequila, agave, and lime); the signature Lowrider (Don Julio Blanco with lime and Cointreau), and the Sergio el Suave (Milagro Anejo with pineapple, lime, agave, cilantro, and candid jalapeno). Warning these margs are smoooooth and go down like water but they pack a punch!

We started with the Guacamole del Barrio and Esquites (similar but not the same to the signature dish of Elote). The table-side guacamole was insane. So fresh with large chunks of avocado instead of just green mash. A special seasonal treat of pomegranate seeds were also included which gave it a nice bit of sweetness. Many of us also ordered the iconic dish of Chef Silvana which is the Chiles en Nogada (roasted poblano pepper filled with chicken, apple, pear, dried apricot, and pecans topped with almond cream sauce and cilantro, queso fresco, and pomegranate seeds). This dish was delicious! The sauce was much sweeter than expected and if you tried the pepper with just the filling it had a nice soft spice that could easily stand on its own without too much sauce.

We also tried a couple different Pescado del Dia since it was wild Alaskan Halibut; Veracruz style with onion, tomato, and black and green olives; and del Mar topped with shrimp, scallops, crab, chorizo, onion and roasted poblano. Yum!

Bill absolutely raved about his Enchiladas Suizas red onion, cilantro, Mexicana crema, and topped with chorizo. He said the chorizo was so perfectly done and not too greasy. It was so good he HAD to finish it all and left with “painfully full” tummy.

Don who is our resident Mole connoisseur ordered the Pollo en Mole and tried both the sweeter black and the spicier red. Both passed the Don test with a thumb’s up! Fred K had the center cut bone-in pork chop with chile sauce. He said it was cooked perfectly and the sauce was a sweeter chile sauce, which he enjoyed very much.

For dessert we sampled the Flan de mi Mami (traditional flan topped with candied pecans) and the Churros Rellanos de Cajeta de Cabra (churros filled with goat’s milk caramel and served with vanilla bean ice cream, more caramel, and candied pecans.) Whoo – talk about sweet but rich in flavor! But I wouldn’t expect anything less from a chef that started in a family Mexican bakery.

There is live music on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, as well as on Sunday afternoon. When we were there on a Saturday evening we enjoyed an upbeat duo with a guitar (and perhaps a conga drum?). Either way, they were fun, upbeat, and they graciously sang Happy Birthday to our very own Fred S. J

There was so much riding on this visit for me because of all the great things I had heard about it already and I am so pleased that they lived up to my every expectation! I can now say that I was able to enjoy the Barrio Café experience.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 09/14/2013 in Latin, Mexican

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s Get Devoured

Today some of the DDs made it out to Devoured Phoenix Culinary Classic 2013 held at the Phoenix Art Museum. There was a bazillion different restaurants and wineries providing tastes of their creative culinary skill. The event is organized by Local First Arizona, which is a non-profit designed to promote the benefits of buying locally and strengthening our local communities. Through this organization we have uncovered an amazing community of restaurants and an emerging gastronomic culture that is putting Phoenix on the culinary map.

Being held at the Phoenix Art Museum is a nice treat because once you are finished eating and drinking your way through the event, you can walk it off by perusing the museum exhibits.  

A word of warning, it seems like ALL of Phoenix comes out to this event and it is wall to wall people. The beer tent opened 30 minutes prior to the food tasting so naturally everyone piles in there and begins with the marathon drinking. Thankfully they did have some desserts available to sample or else we probably would all be a little closer to hammered before we even hit the food.

Below are some of the great places we experienced:

JJ’s Brownies: Chili and Cinnamon fudgy brownies topped with sea salt and caramel drizzle – decadent taste with a spicy kick that hits you in the back of the throat later. http://jjsbrownies.com/
Citizen Public House offered a duckling ham but be careful about asking what that is, they may respond with “it’s a duckling that’s been hamed”. oh yeah? well this is a dish that is just ok http://citizenpublichouse.com/
Tuck Shop (with next door neighbor Astor House) never fails to deliver and today they had a TuckRib which is a boneless rib sandwich on a soft roll topped with red onion and pickle. Delish! http://www.tuckinphx.com/
The Windsor (which is a new place for me) served a beer braised pork with chorizo hash. O.M.G. can i have another?! This is definately a place we are going to have to try. http://www.windsoraz.com/
Federal Pizza (part of the North Phoenix restaurants corridor with Postino’s and Windsor) served a refreshing cocktail of grapefruit and ginger beer as well as a short rib ravioli topped with a mushroom au jus. Definately a winner with many and another place on the list to try. http://federalpizzaphx.com/
Caduceus Cellars was on site and we sampled both the (unavailable) 2009 Nagual de la Naga which is a fantastic blend of Cab and Sangiovese and the Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra, which is a red blend of Petite Syrah, Syrah, Cab, and Viognier. https://caduceus.org/frontpage/
House of Tricks (one of our local favorites in Tempe) offered a foie gras taco, which I am told was very tasty, and duck pasole that had a delicious green chile flavor that was not overpowered by duck. http://www.houseoftricks.com/
Pig and Pickle is a new player in town just recently opening in Scottsdale and serving an amazing pork shoulder tostada with ginger aioli and topped with an unexpected homemade kimchi. The spice of the kimchi was not too overpowering for the port and instead gave is a nice punch. There was also an Elvis dessert of peanut butter with chocolate which was okay, but why eat that when you can just savor the pork tostada a little while longer. http://pigandpickle.com/
Bliss Re-Bar had a bacon meatloaf which I was told was quite good but it takes a lot for me to try a meatloaf. Maybe next year I will take the plunge. http://blissonfourth.com/
Short Leash Dogs was an unexpected treat for me. I have longed to try this mobile gourmet hot dog eatery but can never seem to be in the right place at the right time. Apparently today was my day because I was able to sample their bratwurst on a pretzel roll with saurkraut and german mustard. They also offered a crispy dog made from Schreiner’s jalapeno cheese brat and served in a crispy tortilla. yum! The food truck revival is on a roll! (get it..heh heh) http://shortleashhotdogs.com/
Atlas Bistro is a local BYOB with an intimate dining room but a staff that is passionate about what they do. Today they treated us to blistered watermelon radishes from Duncan Farms with a triple brie with peppercorn crust and raisin mostarda. So good it required a double visit! http://www.atlasbistrobyob.com/
District Kitchen offered a mac n’ cheese chorizo with snack cheese puffs on top. The cheese puffs were a little strange but the mac n’ cheese was good. http://www.districtrestaurant.com/
Gallo Blanco Cafe was a special treat since I have heard rave reviews of this local gem. We were treated to very tender goat tacos. http://galloblancocafe.com/
Beckett’s Table served up a super delicious deep fried deviled egg with a spicy aioli sauce. Not something that sounded tasty but ended up being a hit (with most of us). http://beckettstable.com/
Relish Burger Bistro which is located in the Phoenician had a winner with deviled eggs served with pork belly on a skewer, which will find their way to the menu this spring and tacos in a crispy shell that I was told were very good  http://www.thephoenician.com/relish-burger-bistro/
Santa Barbara Catering hosted some samples inside the museum’s cafe Palette such as the sausage and peppers (I’ve had better), a Dulce de Leche Twix Bar that was really too sweet, and a pork belly ruben with ale mustard. The pork belly sandwhich was good but their offerings today were a little disappointing as we have been at events catered by Santa Barbara before and the food has been fantastic. http://www.santabarbaracatering.com/
The event was packed and I am sure I missed some of the places we tried but with so many options, it is to be expected! We walked, ate, and drank our way through everything and ended up stuffed, tipsy, and slightly overdone from the sun. Even so this is a terrific sampling for the burgeoning foodies in AZ and not an event to be missed!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Windsor
 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , ,