I have so many memories here at the Phoenician going back to high school days. They have been going through some renovations and Mowry & Cotton is their fancy new casual restaurant geared to draw in both visitors and locals. This was one of those fun dress-up Yelp events that incorporated the beautiful views of the Phoenician resort. Mowry & Cotton has a large open patio with amazing décor (the growler wall was a nice touch). We were given the story behind this place from the GM. He mentioned that it is named after George Mowry and James Cotton – two businessmen who opened one of Phoenix’s earliest drinking establishments. We were treated with their signature drink (called the Washington & 1st) from their awesome bartender who worked his butt off for us. It was a blend of commerce gin, St Germain elderflower, blackberry, lime & bitters. I got so caught up with my drinks and the conversation at my table that I forgot to check out the food samples they prepared for us. The seafood was gone when I got there, but I did get to try some of their flatbread pizza. The Wild Mushroom and the Chicken Pesto were both pretty flavorful. But I didn’t miss out on desserts. They had these awesome Lemon Meringue, S’Mores and a Peanut Butter Bar samples that capped off the night. I enjoyed mixing it up with some long time Elites and enjoyed meeting some of the new ones. The best part was the awesome gifts Mowry & Cotton gave us – a choice of a cutting board, a branding iron or an apron. All three were pretty killer. Thanks to our Yelp staff for always being amazing and treating us Elites to a fun night. Read my full post about Mowry & Cotton here.
This was the perfect Yelp Elite event to start off the new year. Especially after two months of holiday parties. Fresh Millions is a fast-casual “eat healthy” concept food chain that has endless combinations available from their menu. They offer lunch or dinner entrées that include made-to-order gourmet salads with a variety of mix-ins, hot bowls, soups, and grilled paninis. They first opened in 2015 and locations have been popping up all over the Valley since then. People love choices these days and Fresh Millions allows you to choose what you want on your entrée. You basically order on one side of the stainless-steel counter, pick your toppings, pay at the other side of the counter and take your food to a table. For bowls, you choose your base (brown rice, noodles, spinach, romaine, etc), a protein (chicken, shrimp, steak, tofu), a sauce (basil pesto, Thai peanut, green curry, etc) and four mix-ins. You can even go half-and-half base and do rice and romaine/spinach. The cooks will mix and sauté up your creation and you can watch the magic happen right over the counter as they are an open kitchen. For the little ones, they have a healthy fresh kids’ menu. If you are in a hurry and don’t want typical unhealthy greasy fast food, this is the place to go.
We had a Yelp Elite event at Fresh Millions to celebrate their grand opening location in Gilbert. I love these events that introduce me to new places around the Valley. I also love getting more acquainted with my fellow Yelp Elites as these are the people with the most knowledge of where the best eats are in the Valley. We were given sandwich and salad samples and able to create our bowl. For dessert, we had a table full of yummy cookies to choose from. This was a fun event and I look forward to a return visit.
Well … my rookie year of being a Yelp Elite is officially behind me. This event was a great way to kick off the new year for all of us Yelpers that got badges for 2017. This was also my first time checking out Bevvy and they did a great job of hosting us. I grew up in Scottsdale and can’t believe how much this area has changed over the years. Bevvy is in the heart of the downtown area. They are a neighborhood gastropub run by Evening Entertainment Group (RnR, HiFi Kitchen + Cocktails) and one of the only licensed off-track horse racing betting pubs in AZ. I really enjoyed their spacious patio area, leather booths, wood-paneled walls and the variety of TV screens and yard games throughout the bar. My only knock is that they are the headquarters for the New England Patriots during football season. I attended quite a few Yelp events last year and made a lot of new friends. So this event for me was about getting reacquainted with everyone and congratulating them on their 2017 badges. It was nice to see most of my Yelp family all under the same roof. They had Yelp backdrops for us to take photos in front of and Yelp Geofilters for us to post on Snapchat. Props to the photo booth guy for killin’ it as always, to Chandon for the champagne, to Bevvy for hosting and providing bacon popcorn and of course to our awesome Yelp staff for the fun evening out!
My Urbanspoon Prime days are long gone. Urbanspoon’s new company Zomato is a joke here in the U.S. So I started using Yelp as my food app for my foodie adventures. After a year of posting reviews on Yelp, I got this message earlier in the week from the Phoenix community manager. A few days after getting the message, I became a Yelp Elite. I’ll be honest with you, I had no idea what it meant at first. But I guess it means that I’m one of the top notch reviewers in the Valley and I get into some of the cool Yelp events. I’m honored and excited for this new adventure with Yelp! Read my reviews!
Hey there, Travis T.!
I’ve got brilliant news for you today — because those fingers of yours keep pumping out super detailed, funny, tip givin’ and informative reviews, it looks like you’ve been nominated to join the Yelp Phoenix Elite Squad! You clearly embody the spirit of Yelp with your enthusiasm, positivity, constructive honesty and useful funny cool-ness, and we’d like to formally invite you to join the Yelp Phoenix Elite Squad!
As a member of the best and brightest on Yelp, you’ll be invited to exclusive parties, where you’ll rub elbows with some of our city’s most prominent movers and shakers. Plus, you’ll get a snazzy badge on your profile so everyone can see that you know what’s up! All you have to do to keep your name on this VIP list is to continue penning those compelling reviews and stay active on the site.
So what do you say? Wanna be part of the PHX Elite? I hope you do. Because the sooner you join, the sooner the fun begins. Talk to you soon and if you have any questions, fire away!
Follow this link to find out more about why it’s neat to be Elite. We look forward to meeting you outside of cyberspace!
Phoenix Community Manager
What is a Yelp Elite?
Today is a sad day. Zomato officially transitioned Urbanspoon into Zomato. They acquired them back in January. I’ve been using Urbanspoon for a few years now and ended up becoming a Prime. I initially used them to time-stamp my restaurant visits for this blog and to help keep me organized. But after I became a Prime, I started to build community with other fellow passionate foodies. I personally put many man hours into posting photos, writing reviews and editing mis-information about different restaurants on Urbanspoon. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly a big fan of this new platform. But Zomato is continuing to keep my reviews, photos and will let me use the spoon back feature for my blog. I have decided to transition to Yelp (not a huge fan either) but will occasionally use Zomato when I can. Thanks for the good memories Urbanspoon and for getting me out trying new places to eat.
Long Live the Spoon!
From Wikipedia: Zomato’s intention, based on information from its CEO, Deepinder Goyal, as reported by John Cook of GeekWire, is to give the company “a nice footprint” as it expands in preparation to “battle industry heavyweight Yelp.” Goyal is reported to have said: “‘The biggest challenge and most fun part of this move, however, is the fight we’re going to be picking with Yelp, … [i]n the market they have dominated for so long. After all, like Mark Twain famously said, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Zomato reportedly will integrate the Urbanspoon app and Web site over the next few months [of early 2015], “meaning the Urbanspoon brand will be phased out.”
From Zomato Blog: Needless to say, the road ahead is a long one, and there are big challenges to overcome. For one, we’ll need to ensure that Urbanspoon’s website and app are integrated into Zomato smoothly over the next couple of months, without sacrificing the usability or utility of either. Urbanspoon has built vast legions of faithful followers over the years, and we’ll need to work extra hard to ensure that the finished product is one that users and merchants alike will love and enjoy using.
Sadly, Zomato alienated the Urbanspoon Primes and they all faded away to other food apps. I’m not sure what the future will hold for Zomato, but they ended laying off tons of U.S. staff members after their start and thus far have not replicated what Urbanspoon did here in the U.S. Zomato may be big overseas, but Yelp continues to dominate the market here in the States. There is a Facebook group for former Prime members (pending approval) if you ever want to connect with us.