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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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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.

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

 

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