Helio Basin Brewing has become one of my favorite local breweries. Their slogan is Quality Crafted in Phx. They took residence in an old pool hall that I used to hang out at in Arcadia. Helio Basin is founded by Mike Conley and brewmaster Dustin Hazer. Chef Tamara Stanger creates the amazing food that is served here. It’s the perfect pairing of top quality brews with simple but innovating food. Many of the dishes here have some sort of representation of Arizona in it. For beers, their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. I think my favorite thing about this place is the sense of community they have created here. They have a few large tables for large parties and have the ability to open up the patio for outdoor events. From talking to many guests that I sit next to, Helio Basin had become a popular neighborhood favorite. I came here for their one year anniversary party with a buddy and my son. I ordered a beer flight got a nice variety of beers as my selection. The Robust Porter is one of my favorites. Chef Tamara put together some delicious roasted pig tacos with banana cornbread and Sonoran rice. We had a great time and enjoyed our beers and food. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and definitely check out their great happy hour and Taco Tuesdays!
I came here for a Local First AZ promoted dinner with the brew masters. I was surprised Helio Basin is taking residence in an old pool hall I used to hang and drink cheap bad beer at. It’s definitely great to see an upgrade in the beer being served at this location – lol. I had blast hearing the stories from the brew masters of how this place came about and how they make their beer. You can tell these guys know their stuff and are very passionate about serving a good beer. In fact their slogan is “Quality Crafted in Phx”. Not only do they serve good beer, but the food is phenomenon. Chef Tamara Stanger just recently won the Devoured Culinary Classic excellence award for her smoked bison taquito. About thirty of us were served a four course dinner with a beer paired with each dish. Their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. Both were very clean, crisp and delicious. But I think the Robust Porter was my favorite. It’s not too heavy and full of flavor (a nice blend of chocolate, caramel and coffee). My favorite courses were the Palo Verde Torte and the Blueberry Tamarind Pudding. Each dish was beautifully presented and had some sort of representation of Arizona in it. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and worth another stop. They have a great happy hour and I hear Taco Tuesdays is a must. Check them out!
So I didn’t get the full experience of Pizza People Pub as I had to grab my pizza to go. But this popular food truck is now housed in a great location off of Central next to a light rail stop. I love the art decor and the many couches to sit on. They have some great specials and happy hour prices. I always get a kick out of some of the pizza creations they have (and the names) – Date Me, Seoul Fire (Kimchi pizza – gotta try this), the Hulk, Cut the Cheese, Fun Guy, the Hottie, etc. Tonight I tried the Testosteroni and can see why it’s a popular choice. I’ll be returning to try some of their mac n’ cheese and wing selections.
So I woke up in the middle of the night and was feeling adventurous, so I packed up and drove to Pacific Beach. I was dreading the AZ heat and was desiring the cool breeze of the beach. I stopped in for breakfast at a long time favorite of mine – Kono’s Surf Club. They serve very large portions of breakfast and lunch, and have the daily specials written out front on a chalkboard close to the boardwalk. There is also a great coffee cart that is just past Kono’s to the north. They only take cash and there is always a bit of a line to wait in as it is a local favorite. I relaxed on the beach and rollerbladed some and then grabbed some shrimp tacos and a Red Trolley Ale for happy hour lunch at the Green Flash.
Switch Restaurant & Wine Bar is a contemporary lunch and dinner restaurant located in the heart of downtown Phoenix just off the light rail path. With its beautiful spacious modern decor, Switch is a nice relaxing place to eat or stop in for a drink. They also have a great patio area with some unique artwork. Their menu is influenced by American and European cuisine and they use fresh seasonal products that allow them to ‘switch’ up their menu from time to time. Switch is known for their popular ‘Ombre speciality drink (a spicy jalapeño pineapple vodka cocktail) that is very popular with regulars. I had the Switch House Burger (9 oz of angus beef with goat cheese, crispy onions and Canadian bacon) and found it fresh and delicious along with a great tasting Sangria. The staff was very friendly and I look forward to stopping in again sometime.
A late night hang-out I love is BJ’s. They have a good happy hour with half off their mini pizzas, $2 off appetizers and $1 off their award-winning beer. It’s always a nice little place to chill with a buddy to watch ESPN highlights. One of the few chain restaurants I enjoy. They have good pizzookies too!
Tonight I visited the Sushi Room in Chandler. Head chef Joseph Chun just recently opened this new establishment next to his widely popular Living Room restaurant next door. The Sushi Room menu carries traditional sashimi and rolls, but with a European influence.
I ordered three rolls off their specialty roll menu. The K.I.G includes jumbo shrimp tempura, spicy crab, cream cheese, topped with spicy tuna and jalapeños. The Truffle Steak contains asparagus, avocado, cucumber, shrimp, topped with seared beef, truffle aioli and fried onions. And the Chandler roll is a roll with spicy tuna, spicy crab, avocado, masago, romaine lettuce, wrapped in soy paper with spicy aioli. All three were delicious. My buddy ordered a butterfish plate with asparagus that was absolutely amazing. There’s a great atmosphere to the Sushi Room as this local area has become a hot spot for Chandler residents. The happy hour has great prices and I look forward to trying this place out in the future.