I got invited to this Super BowlPre Party at Helio Basin Brewing. The event was put on by azfoodie and sponsored by Vienna Beef. Pure Peru provided drinks for us and you can read about them in my post. This year Vienna Beef is celebrating their 125th anniversary. Vienna Beef was born in 1893 and is Chicago’s first-choice hot dog. It was first introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago by Austrian-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany. They opened their first store a year later in 1894 and business takes off. Hot dog stands start popping everywhere and Vienna Beef becomes a part of Chicago’s community and culture. The famous Vienna Beef hot dog is eventually dubbed “The Original Chicago Style Hot Dog” (recipe below).
The Phoenix area is known for it’s large population of Chicago natives. Most of them visit because we are home to the Chicago Cubs’ spring training facility. Others visit to escape the cold windy winters. We have many Chi-town favorites like Portillo’s, Geno’s East and Giordano’s to choose from if you want a taste of home. I have many friends here from Chicago and they have introduced me to many things that make up the culture of the Windy City. Chicago style dogs are definitely one of them.
Hello Basin Brewing Co.
In addition to playing some fun patio games to get us hyped for the big game on Sunday, we got to eat some great food prepared for us by Helio Basin’s Chef Tamara Stanger. She incorporated some Vienna Beef polish sausage into one of the dishes. The food was amazing as always and of course we got have some of Helio’s great beer. You can read about my adventures at Helio Basin in this post. We were given jars of toppings so we can make our own Chicago style dogs at home. I rounded up my evening by taking some fun goofy photos with props in a photo booth with my fellow Instagram foodie community.
Below is the recipe on how you can make you own Chicago style dog! I made my own version of it with the toppings that were given to me by Vienna Beef.
I have visited Shake Shack in Boston, Chicago and now Phoenix. Shake Shack got their start in 2004 in NYC and has expanded to over 130 stores in under 15 years. Sometimes when these restaurants explode like that they lose some of the qualities that originally made them so great. I actually had a nice evening at this location. This Shake Shack is in the downtown Phoenix Uptown Plaza which is becoming a little mini foodie paradise with all the killer eats moving in. I went with my go-to item the SmokeStack burger. You can’t go wrong with a burger topped with cherry pepper relish, applewood smoked bacon and yummy ShackSauce. They use 100% all-natural Angus beef and are served on a non-GMO Martin’s Potato Roll. I love the crinkle fries and got mine with cheese sauce on it. Shake Shack makes a killer burger and the shakes and concretes are pretty amazing too. Tonight I got great customer service and lots of welcoming smiles from the employees.
We had a wonderful time at Chelsea’s Kitchen. It’s been on my bucket list to dine here for some time now. First of all, I love the atmosphere and overall feel of this place as you walk in. It’s designed to look like a one-story ranch house, with a peaked roof, a huge porch, and a large patio area out back with a brick fireplace. Chelsea’s Kitchen is part of LGO hospitality (a group of restaurants that puts a modern twist on American comfort food operated by founder Bob Lynn) and is located in the beautiful Arcadia district. They specialize in big, flavorful portions and create their dishes fresh daily. There are several locations throughout California and Arizona (I’m a frequent visitor to La Grande Orange). We started our night out with some of their fancy cocktails. I’ve been on whiskey kick and got their Old Fashioned (the drunken cherries were a nice add) and my date got the Diego Rivera. I heard so much about their awards winning Short Rib Tacos and couldn’t pass them up. The braised meat was delicious and tender and there was plenty to eat. My date is from Mexico City and she had their Seafood & Jidori Chicken Paella. It was a nice blend of chicken, shrimp and clams and she loved very bite. The service was excellent and the experience was definitely was worth the wait. They have complimentary valet parking and reduced prices on their happy menu. They also have $12 endless mimosas on Saturday afternoons.
Flats Handcrafted Flatbreads is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Their signature sign and closeness to Centennial Olympic park draws you in if you are a pedestrian passing by. Chef Robert Puerto opened this handcrafted flatbread restaurant and artisan juice bar in downtown Atlanta last year. They have several choices of healthy, handmade panninis and flatbreads to choose from. Some of them have their own unique name (like Italian Stallion, Casablanca or Ole Faithful). Flats is also a juice bar and they have a variety of juice blends consisting of simple ingredients. I came here early and had an Egg Delicious flat that was pretty good. One thing I like about his place is that they have a partnership with JDRF. I’m always a big fan of restaurants that give back to the community.
So I stopped in here while visiting from Arizona solely because of GD’s Instagram feed and their appearance on the “Great Food Truck Race”. I will admit the vibrant colors of their food photos was what reeled me in. GD Bro Burger got its start in 2013 as a food truck from a couple of buddies with a passion for food. They are known for their gooey cheese stuffed burgers with raspberry brioche buns that are topped with items like mozzarella sticks, kalbi poutine and kettle-cooked chips. It wasn’t too packed for my first visit here. I didn’t get the greatest service from the cash register guy (he walked away for almost 2-3 minutes and just left me hanging), but one of the food handlers at the bar made up for it with his warm and friendly attitude. I ordered the Juan & Only burger and pizza fries and the food came out in a reasonable time. I love lots of toppings on my burger, so the Juan & Only was the perfect choice for me. It had a nice blend of spiciness to it and I really enjoyed the abundance of avocado slices they top it off with. The pizza fries were good, but not anything to write home about. If anything, they made my photos look more appealing as a side item. I was bummed that the shake machine was down as I was hoping to try one their cool looking creations that I always see on their IG feed. I ended up getting one of their pineapple orange refreshers instead. The menu prices are comparable to any other food truck prices. Overall, I would say I had a pretty good experience here as I really enjoyed the creativity they put into their food and the overall cleanliness of the restaurant. Hopefully I will get an opportunity to stop in again in the future and try some of the items I missed out on.
GD Bro Truck started up in 2013. Two years later they made an appearance on season six of The Great Food Truck Race. That same year they opened a restaurant in Santa Ana one in Long Beach the following year.
I really enjoyed my first time at Central Bistro. The restaurant itself is very spacious and clean and is located in the Biltmore area. One of signs that tips me off to good restaurants is when there are regulars that come in (with smiles) and the staff immediately welcomes them by name. I felt like there was family all around me. They have a killer happy hour with some good deals – $1 oysters and half off pizzas were a couple that stood out to me. All the staff members were very friendly but my bartender (Katie) rocked it tonight. She was quick, friendly, informative and was training someone at the same time and didn’t miss a beat. It was clear that the people there appreciate her. I have 10 years in the restaurant business and was quite impressed.The drunk bread was super delicious as was the risotto. Highest praises to this place and I will be stopping in again.
Just recently we got Five Guys here in the Valley. Now another mid-west burger joint has made their way here. Steak ‘n Shake started in Illinios in 1934 and has been serving up burgers all over ever since. Known for their signature steak burgers and shakes, Steak n’ Shake now has a location on Tempe’s historic Mill Ave. I’ve always enjoyed visiting them when I traveled to Missouri and pretty excited to see them open one up here. The only disappointment is that we got the ‘signature’ restaurant which doesn’t include all the menu items from the original. I came here with my buddy Jeremy before ASU’s home opener and my steak burger hit the spot.