I started Arizona Restaurant Week off with a bang by eating at Southern Rail Restaurant. I had the pleasure of dining at award-winning Chef Justin Beckett’s restaurant Beckett’s Table during Restaurant Week in 2012 and really enjoyed that experience. I recently sat in on one of his cooking demos and was looking forward to eating at one of his establishments. Southern Rail is his most recent kitchen that opened in 2014. Located inside The Newton (former home of The Beef Eaters) and right off the Valley Metro light rail path, SR has become a popular dining destination for Valley foodies. The Newton is a mixed-use concept space where you can shop, read or dine. In addition to Southern Rail, there is a Changing Hands bookstore, Southwest Gardener and First Draft Book Bar.
Southern Rail is a beautiful restaurant with lots of open space. It has an open kitchen and a large size patio/bar area. Its rustic-style, nostalgic decor that gives off a warm, hospitable feel. The food has an American Southern theme to it with flavors inspired by dishes from Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi. They also have an award-winning wine list along with a selection of local craft beers. With the Restaurant Week menu, you have the option of choosing from three different menu items for each of your three courses for dinner. Because it was my first time, I went with some of their signature dishes. The cup of Gumbo Ya-Ya for appetizer, the Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin for my main course and their delicious Red Velvet cake for dessert. Also included was a local beer (I got one my favs – San Tan Kiltlifter). I was met with great service and enjoyed every bite.
Gumbo Soup Ya-Ya
Cider Brined and Slow Roasted Pork Loin
Red Velvet Cake
Southern Rail was a wonderful culinary experience for me. The Gumbo soup was full of flavor and delicious. The Pork Loin was nice and tender and you can’t go wrong with the Red Velvet cake. I’m a huge fan of Chef Beckett and his influence on the growing food culture here in the Valley of the Sun. I highly recommend either one of his restaurants. I look forward to stopping in again on the popular Fried Chicken nights on Wednesdays.
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.
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.
We played around more with shutter speed in my next assignment for ART142 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. This assignment was called time shots. Basically we experimented with both freezing the object in motion by a faster shutter speed or blurring the object by slowing down the shutter. The shutter speed is the valve that controls how long the light flows through the lens and onto the image sensor. The smaller the aperture, the longer it will take a given amount of light to flow through the funnel and the longer the required exposure will be. This was a fun assignment and it usually requires a trip-pod. I took some of these photos of the Valley Metro light rail around ASU campus.
I’ve become quite the traveling photographer recently!
Ncounter was open by TC Eggington’s Tom Roker and his wife Kathy. TC Eggington’s has already won many awards in the past 20 years and this newest establishment will be no different. It is located right in the heart of Tempe on Mill Ave right next to a light rail stop. A great hang out for students, Ncounter uses fresh foods and is open for both breakfast and lunch. I enjoyed my plain n’ simple breakfast along with a great cup of coffee. Ncounter has a great atmosphere and feel to it and I like that it is located right in the middle of Sun Devil country.