The ice cream sandwich explosion has taken over Arizona! I actually visited a Baked Bear in Pacific Beach years ago after a long night of partying on the beach (they actually got their start in San Diego). It was my first ice cream cookie experience and I remember telling myself we need one of these in AZ. Now we got them everywhere. This particular location is located in the heart of San Tan Village and should do massive business. It’s Arizona’s third Baked Bear location. The menu is pretty simple – pick your cookies (you can have two different types for your top and bottom), pick your ice cream flavor and a topping or two. They press it all together and you have your ice cream sandwich. They have a nice variety of freshly baked cookies to choose from including brownies. If you really want to be a champ, pick three cookies and make it a triple decker. You can also have your treat in a bowl with a spoon if you don’t want it sandwich style. The staff was great and very helpful in explaining the process. I loved their enthusiasm and energy. I’m excited for this new location and look forward to another visit – especially during our fun hot summers!
This was the perfect Yelp Elite 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.
Heritage Marketplace in Gilbert includes restaurants like Even Stevens, Farm & Craft, Clever Koi, Nico Heirloom Kitchen and candy store Rocket Fizz. Sushi Brokers is one of their newer tenants. Sushi Brokers has locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix and offers a huge selection of sushi, vegetarian fare and dishes comprising seafood, chicken and beef if you are not into sushi. They have over twenty creative sushi rolls on their menu. They also have a nice selection of wines, draft and bottle beers, sake, and a large array of imported and domestic Vodkas. Their happy hour is what makes them so popular as they discount their prices on sushi and drinks. I came here with a buddy after an evening at the neighboring Art Intersection. We ordered quite a bit of rolls and drinks. The sushi wasn’t bad but definitely pretty pricey compared to most places. I may come back again for happy hour.
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.
Provision Coffee seeks to build community through quality coffee. Founders Lawrence Jarvey and Dan Suh (along with designer Kyle Cesmat) have a passion to serve and connect with people. Provision connects with their farmers and helps with the basic needs of their communities. The coffee is roasted here in Tempe and sold through subscriptions and partnerships with local businesses and churches. I visited their full service coffee, beer and wine bar inside the Palette Collective in Gilbert. The Palette Collective is a pretty cool space with various suites that host several businesses. Most of the businesses are independent beauty salons. I’m a big fan of nitro cold brew and ordered the Southwest Sunrise. This cold brew combines a simple syrup, bitters and an orange twist. I also ordered the Havana Nights cold brew on my second visit. It is similar but adds a smokey taste to it with the smoke released from aromatic burned tobacco along with mint leaves for garnish. The combination of the favors with the nitrogenated coffee was crisp and smooth on both drinks. The coffee shop itself is nice and spacious and our barista was very welcoming. I love coffee and especially love it when there is a good story behind it. I look forward to following these guy’s journey and supporting their good endeavours.
Sal’s Gilbert Pizza Italian Tratorria is da bomb. It’s one of mine and Ty’s favorite place to grab some pizza. Family owned, their New York style pizza and lasagna are amazing!
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.