When I went to ASU back in the day, there was mostly fast food on campus. It’s nice to see some delicious eats coming to campus. Yelp gave us Elites a chance to dine at one of The Crepe Club’s locations. I love the story of this place about three brothers coming from Syria to attend ASU. They got their degrees and then started up a crepe cart on campus. It became so popular that they opened their own restaurant at the Biltmore. Recently they opened up this permanent location right next to Old Main on ASU campus. I got two mini crepes so I could try both a sweet and savory one. The creme de lemon was nice and warm and I enjoyed the delicious lemon aftertaste. The chicken florentine is packed with flavor – grilled chicken, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and mozzarella cheese. Super good! This location has a walk up window with an outdoor patio area with tables and shading. I got a nice visit from Maria the operations manager who offered me a yummy macaroon. The Crepe Club is a nice addition to my old digs.
I grew up in Tempe and remember when Islands was at this location and then it sat empty for some time after it closed. But is looks like Tempe finally found a winner in Pedal Haus. It is a locally owned brewpub that features handcrafted European-style beers along with a Belgian-American gastropub menu. They opened in 2015 and just recently went through a renovation. They have some pretty creative dishes like brisket argue pasta, lobster mac & cheese, tempura-fried cheese curds and moules frites. You can’t miss this place because it is huge. They have three bar areas with an enormous patio (with cornhole) and beer garden. I was first introduced to Pedal Haus on a food tour of Tempe last year and happy to finally make a return visit.
I started my day off with the Bavarian pretzel which comes with sides of beer cheese, stone-ground mustard and a maple butter. The pretzels are shaped liked a baguette and come served warm and soft. The maple butter was a pleasant surprise. Then I got the Green Chili Bacon Burger which is a pretty good-sized burger loaded with all types of flavor. I’m an ale guy and enjoyed their amber ale for my beer choice. One fun fact that I found interesting is that they recycle heat in the brewing process. The steam (which is typically lost) is distributed to a hot water tank that warms up the next batch. They have a killer happy hour that offers reduced prices on their appetizers and beer. Like many of the new breweries opening up, they are pet friendly, so feel free to bring your dog.
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.
While attending a film screening of Elementsat FilmBar for Devour week, all in attendance received a Bite Box. These wonderful little boxes of Arizona-made goods were a small sample of the Bite Boxes you can subscribe from Bite magazine. Bite Boxes share goods handpicked by local chefs and artisans. The Elements movie showcased six local chefs and they each contributed something to the box we received.
Devour week is the biggest week of the year for foodies living in Arizona. Throughout the week are events leading up to the big culinary classic. This event is in its second year of existence and was one that intrigued me. FilmBar hosted a movie screening by local filmmaker Andrew Gooi and presented by Food Talkies, Devour Phoenix, Bite and Local First Arizona. The movie is called Elements and it showcases six local chefs here in the Valley using elements from nature in their crafts. Chefs Brian Konefal of Coppa Cafe (Earth), Akos Szabo of Match Cuisine / FoundRE (Fire), Derrick Shields of The Farm at Agritopia (Air), Julie Meeker of Mother Bunch Brewing (Water), Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar (Smoke), Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (Ice) were the featured chefs. Each installment was filmed individually and collected together for this movie. We got to listen to each chef talk about their craft and heard comments from director Andrew Gooi. We were also given a Bite Box to help enhance our senses for the film.
Director Andrew Gooi
Local Chefs featured in Elements
Food Talkies also has a series of films on coffee cultures in different cities called Coffee Run. This is the one that showcases the growing coffee scene here in the Valley.
Last year I visited Grand Central Market for the first time. I’m a huge lover of marketplaces that showcase today’s newest food adventures. Toward the end of my day, I saw this huge line of people waiting for a sandwich from a place called Eggslut. I had heard of this place before on a food show and made the connection. I made it a point to come back someday to try one of these delightful breakfast sandwiches and see what the hype is all about. Today I’m in LA and took a stroll down to the marketplace to jump in line with everyone.
I don’t think it is a mistake that this place is called Eggslut. It’s risqué, sexy and it grabs your attention. A West Hollywood food truck converted to a restaurant (and owned by chef Alvin Cailan), Eggslut showcases their love and passion for eggs. They only use cage-free eggs in their menu items (cage-free hens have shown to produce more of an orange color to their yoke due to the abundance of greens and insects in the birds’ diet). In 2014, Eggslut was named one of the top 10 new US restaurant’s by Bon Appétit. Being located in the heart of LA’s foodie scene (Grand Central Market) has been the perfect start for their first endeavor as a restaurant.
Cook preparing some Sluts
Their signature menu item is the Slut. It’s a coddled egg served over a potato purée in a glass jar and served with slices of baguette. My wait time was approximately 45 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t horribly long and I enjoyed people-watching the marketplace and observing the cooks do their thing at the grill. Because it was my first time eating here, I went with their popular Fairfax (eggs, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha mayo on a brioche bun). I would say it took about ten minutes for me to get my sandwich after ordering. I was also fortunate enough to get a seat at the counter. The Fairfax is freaking amazing! The cage-free eggs are really light and fluffy and the flavors of the sriracha mayo and onions really come together nicely. I hope someday to try the Gaucho sandwich too (seared wagyu tri-tip steak and eggs on a brioche bun). So is Eggslut worth the long wait? For me, I didn’t mind because I planned a couple of hours into my day to eat here. Even though the sandwich was outstanding, it still only took me a few minutes to eat it. So it really depends on the person and their day. For any die-hard foodie out there, definitely make a stop here someday in your lifetime.
So I’m driving from Arizona to California and I pass by a sign in Indio that says one of the top five reviewed restaurants on Yelp in the U.S. is at the next exit. Being a Yelp Elite, I gave in to my curiosity and grabbed lunch at TKB Bakery. They began in 1991 when three kids went door to door selling their mother’s frozen cookie dough. Years later, those same kids now operate TKB Bakery & Deli (The Kids Business). The deli is a popular stop for many of the cars passing through and the company supplies many large grocery chains. The outside of the restaurant wasn’t much to look at when I first pulled up. But the inside had a spacious seating area and friendly people taking your order. I went for the Reuben Stud-er (similar to a classic Reuben sandwich with hot pastrami and coleslaw). Other popular choices include The Trump, the Mexican Meatloaf and the Chicken Chipotlé sandwiches. I gotta say, that was one pretty damn good sandwich. The jalapeño bread on the cart next to me had me salivating too. With as many trips I make to Cali, I’m pretty sure this won’t be my one and only stop here. Good story and a nice find!