Devour Film Screening

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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 PhoenixBite 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), and 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.

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Director Andrew Gooi

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Local Chefs featured in Elements

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Bite Box

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.

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Eggslut

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Fairfax

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.

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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.

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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.

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Eggslut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nico Heirloom Kitchen

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Downtown Gilbert is continuing to add to its long row of restaurants that face Gilbert Rd. Chef Gio Osso’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen is one of the newest additions this year. It brings a modern twist on Italian fare for the casual crowd. Gio named this restaurant after his son Nico. His other restaurant Virtù has made all types of headlines here in the Valley. Nico has an open patio and beautiful decor that hangs on its brick walls. They roll their own pasta daily and have a nice selection of signature drinks to choose from. We had a large party of friends that came here to celebrate my buddy’s bday. My one buddy ordered the Virtù Octopus and allowed me to sample it. I’ve only tried octopus once and it was very chewy. I was surprised how flavorful and not-so-chewy Nico’s was. I was feeling pasta and ordered the Rigatoni. It had a delicious bold red wine pork sauce that was nicely balanced. I really enjoyed it. This was overall a great experience for myself and my friends. I expect good things from Gio Osso in the future as he contributes to the Valley’s ever-growing foodie culture.

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Virtu Octopus

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Chistorra & Eggs

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Rigatoni

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Nico Heirloom Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Holiday Favorites

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I had a lot of fun cooking up some holiday favorites this year. I love cooking traditional dishes as well as some new ones. Below are some pictures of some dishes I made.

Links to some recipes on my blog

Egg Casserole

Pork Tenderloin

Dick Clarks Corn Fritters

Cranberry Cheesecake Squares

Urbanspoon -> Zomato

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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.”

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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. 

CHEF Movie

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a movie. But after seeing the trailer to Jon Favreau’s new movie CHEF, I was hooked on seeing it. One reason – food porn. I seriously was salivating as I saw the previews. Plus I was a cook for ten years in the restaurant business and I understand life in the kitchen. Cooking for me has always been both therapeutic and a passion. This is the story of Carl Casper, a cook in L.A. who is trying to rediscover his passion for cooking. He ends up going on road trip in a food truck with his son to get his passion to make amazing food back. The film ended up being a great movie and easily one of my favorite ones of the year. In addition to having a great cast, CHEF also has a great soundtrack. I ended up going with my favorite foodie friends that I love to eat out with. My friend Kim is a personal chef and my other friend Pete is (in my opinion) the top restaurant reviewer in Arizona. He and his wife Monica eat out at different restaurants all over the valley. We had a blast and I look forward to seeing it again!

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