I had a fun evening eating and meeting new foodie friends. Two long time friends Erika and Kaylyn of Sip So Good hosted their first event at Arizona BBQ Company in Gilbert and invited me to come. This place just opened recently (not too far from where I used to live). This was a fun media event with a bunch of food bloggers and Instagram influencers. My first impression when walking in was that this place pays a nice tribute to Arizona. The decor is southwestern with a fun board listing Arizona facts and history. The restaurant itself is very simple and comfortable (great for kids!) with counter order service and a bar located to one side. The owners are longtime Gilbert residents and they opened this place to give back to the surrounding community. I was here for a buffet style dinner so I don’t have a lot of info on portion sizes of their platters, but their menu prices seem very reasonable to other BBQ restaurants. I felt very welcome here and Colette was great at sharing her passion for this place to us. Even though I came here for BBQ, I was immediately drawn to the tray of green chili bacon mac n’ cheese. I’m huge mac n’ cheese guy and I thought it was fantastic. Not too spicy but nice and cheesy with lots of flavor. We also tried their black bean and corn salad, brisket and pulled pork. These guys definitely know their BBQ and do a great job of capturing the flavors of the southwest. The BBQ comes naked as they have a condiment bar with different flavors of BBQ sauce. My favorites were the sweet and tangy and habanero sauces. Overall this was a great experience and I wish this place was open back when I had a house in the adjacent neighborhood. AZ BBQ Co. accepts non-perishable foods that they donate to a local food bank. Just another way they try to give back.
Owner and architect DJ Fernandez owns this little restaurant as well as a couple other favorite’s of mine – Tuck Shop and Vovomeena. Astor House is located within the heart of the Coronado District. This cozy house-turned-eatery (next door to Tuck Shop) is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a focus on BBQ. They smoke their beef, pork, turkey and chicken over hickory wood. I got the Combo plate (Brisket & Pulled Pork) and the yummy gooey butter cake. I had a nice experience here and enjoyed the neighborhood feel to this place.
I love it when the weather starts cooling off. For me, autumn means layers of clothes, chili and bonfires. Tonight we had a fun fellowship night of corn hole, s’mores and music. I’m very blessed to have a great group of friends to do life with and thankful for moments like this to be in community. Tonight got me excited for the upcoming holidays.
A long-time favorite of mine is Joe’s Real BBQ in downtown Gilbert. Opened in 1998 by Joe Johnston, Tad Peelen and Tim Peelen, Joe’s BBQ is a huge local favorite that continues to have lines out the building for dinner. Joe got the idea of smoked BBQ from frequent visits to Texas. He decided to house the restaurant in an old building built in 1929. With an agricultural theme, Joe’s pays homage to the farmers of the past. Joe’s uses pecan wood to smoke their BBQ and a variety of delicious side dishes to choose from. I’ve been taking my boys here for years and tonight was no different. I tried the turkey jalapeno sausage and the root beer cake. Seriously – amazing! I love coming here as many good friends of mine work here. I love the family feel of Joe’s Real BBQ and it will always be a local favorite of mine.
The hot days of summer means that we hit the pool here in Arizona. I had my Dad and nephews over to hang with me and the boys. I fired up some BBQ chicken and corn-on-the-cob for us to eat while enjoying the outdoors.
Frozen yogurt is always a fun place to go to cool off from the heat. We made a stop at the Orange Leaf for some late evening fro-yo.
I capped off my dad’s visit by taking him and my sister to one of my favorite breakfast stops – the Hangar Cafe. Great food with a great view from inside the cafe!
Rudolph Aue (Rudy) opened Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q in Texas in 1989. Now Arizona has locations. Rudy’s offers the best of Texas BBQ – brisket, sausage, turkey, ribs, chicken, and pork loin. I took my kids here for a fun evening of getting our hands dirty. So basically you choose your meat and a side or two. I went for the Baby Back Ribs, Corn-on-the-Cob, Rudy’s beans and a cream soda. It was all good and we had a fun time. I love both the Rudy’s original and sissy “sause”. You can buy them both in their store to take home. It’s interesting that they built this location in Chandler across the street from another BBQ restaurant. So I guess we will see a bit of a rivalry in the future on who serves up the better BBQ.
We had a fun potluck at the home of Mike and Amy Baumert tonight. It was a huge turnout and we celebrated Michael Hendricks’ birthday in addition to just being in fellowship together. I’m enjoying getting to know more people at my home church. We cooked up some burgers, chicken and corn on the cob and had brownies with ice cream.