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Tag Archives: Local First Arizona

March 12, 2016 – House of Tricks

House of Tricks

114 E 7th St

Tempe, AZ 85281

480-968-1114

http://www.houseoftricks.com/

Organized by: Jen and Don

House of Tricks is a well-known oasis in the middle of the bustling Arizona State University campus. Surrounded by trees, this little 1920s bungalow has a fire pit, bar, and open patio seating making it perfect for a quiet and tasty retreat.

Robert and Robin Trick opened this fine dining restaurant way back in 1987. I am sure they have seen so much change with how ASU has grown around them.

The seasonal menu changes regularly and they are known for using only the freshest ingredients from local sources.

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Posted by on 03/12/2016 in American, Wine Bar

 

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January 24, 2015 – Tuck Shop

Tuck Shop: neighborhood comfort food

2245 N 12th St Phoenix, AZ

602.354.2980

http://www.tuckinphx.com/

Organized by: Ann and Jay

 

In 2015, the DDs will celebrate 5 years of dining shenanigans! 5 years, people! I think this is a testament to the amazing group of people that we have. Love them all 🙂

Since we are at a milestone year, we did a little reminiscing by going back to an oldie but a goodie, Tuck Shop in Phoenix. The first time we visited this cozy home of deliciousness 3 years ago was after seeing it on an episode of Check Please Arizona. Now a few of us have made this a frequent haunt but we haven’t been back as a group since. It can sometimes be scary to revisit a love from the past because time and memories have a way of exaggerating our feelings, but today’s trip did not fall prey to that possibility.

The first time we visited was the first time I had experienced the gentrification that is happening in the historic Coronado district of old homes being turned into cozy dining places. I remember feeling like a behemoth the first time. Like some giant trampling around a quaint village and trying to fold myself into a small cube in order not to disturb other diners. Since then, we have visited many different locations that are “creative” with the limited space they have and I was pleased to see that Tuck Shop this time seemed roomy and welcoming yet intimate. Funny thing is that they didn’t change, I did.

Luckily the food hadn’t changed and was just as delectable as I remembered. As usual, we started with some cocktails such as my personal favorite the 12th&Oak, made with a dangerous mix of Southern Comfort and orange liquor. It is just sour enough for me and just sweet enough to make you forget that this should not be consumed in great quantities – if you plan on being upright tomorrow. We also really enjoyed the French75 that is made with bubbly, a rum cocktail, and a ginger mule. Muah!

Then we moved onto some appetizers that obviously included a few orders of cheese curds. This almost seems like an unwritten law when visiting Tuck Shop. Made from local dairy farmers and beer battered, they are light and creamy yet rich with taste. We also had the parsnip and potato poutine but this was not one of my favorites. I like my poutine to be a little messier. A little more sinful. The poutine at Tuck Shop was too clean. Too well behaved. The Fontina Sticks of cheese with panko & walnut crust were good but a little light in flavor however the sweet pear sauce was a nice touch. The Stuffed Medjool Dates with Schreiner’s chorizo, melted gruyere and dressed arugula was delish. The chorizo was a bit spicy but having it as the surprise middle of the dates made for an amazing balance of spicy and sweet.

For the main dish we had quite a variety of fantastic options. There was the Eggplant Parm which is not the standard dish you would imagine; the citrus-brined chicken (and a hint of honey) paired with white-cheddar waffles and green beans; the Pine AZ Spiced Steak dry rubbed and served with parmesan lentil mashed Yukons; and the red beans & rice made with fresh linguisa sausage and topped with a skewer of grilled creole shrimp.

There was also the Ropa Vieja Chili with corn johnnycakes, cojita cream, and super fine sweet potato haystacks. It had had a flavorful spice and even a green olive surprise. The roasted Brussel Sprouts with white wine, mustard cream, and crushed almonds were such a delight. The magicians at Tuck Shop turned something that is a childhood nightmare and made it into the stuff of dreams. Some of the guys also ordered the Meat and Three special which tonight was tender lamb shanks with tortilla soup and a Yukon Gold potato stuffed with bacon. Result = fantastic!

For dessert, we ordered both the chocolate bread with hazelnut frosting and the pear tart in a French pastry crust with homemade whipped cream. The chocolate bread was good but was a little dry and improved greatly when we tried it with the whipped cream. The pear tart was amazing and the crust was buttery and flaky. I typically don’t like whipped cream because it can taste empty and soul-less but this whipped cream was the real deal. You know, the kind that is rich yet delicate and mixed with the flavor of mom’s kitchen and sprinkled with Christmas.

Our trip down memory lane was not a scary episode and Tuck Shop made sure that they served up a dose of the magic that made us love them 3 years ago. The only thing missing was the rest of our group who couldn’t make it or else it would have been a perfect evening.

 May the roof above us never fall down and we friends below never fall out. – an Irish toast

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Posted by on 01/24/2015 in American

 

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December 20, 2014 – Urban Vine

Urban Vine | Kitchen, Hops, Grapes
2201 N 7th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006
602.258.5149
http://www.urbanvinephx.com

Organized by: Sarah and Bill

This month we stopped by another cute restaurant that has taken up roost in an old house in the Coronado District. Like many others that we have tried before, space can be limited so fitting in a large party can make for a cozy and creative evening. The appetizer and main dishes were tasty while desserts sadly left us unsatisfied but the company made up for the loss.

We enjoyed the annual wine exchange and Jenn got a little competitive with some bourbon but in the end she won and was able to share it with her dad over the holidays.

Cheers to a 2014 that passed too quickly and a 2015 that hopefully brings great things for all the DDs!

 

group Mustard Pork Chop Pan Flashed Mussels with Grilled Sourdough dd 5 dd 6 7th St Jumbo Lump & Backfin Crab Cake Yuma Date Meatloaf

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2015 in American

 

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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!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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