Florencia Pizza Bistro

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Florencia Pizza Bistro is one of those locally owned neighborhood eateries. Ahwatukee has a lot of these little hidden gems because most of them are located in strip malls. This one has been around for quite some time and resides next door to the popular Melting Pot. They offer three types of pizza – Traditional, Olive Oil (Garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Mozzarella Cheese with no tomato sauce) and Pesto (Basil Pesto Sauce with no tomato sauce). You can create your own with toppings (over 40 topping choices) or choose from one of their popular specialty pizza creations. Some of the names include the Snow White, Pomodora, Valentinos, Winchester, Clevenger, Malanzane, Bo-Be and the Green-Eyed Chicken. There are many more creations to choose from and they have vegetarian options as well. The dough is house made and their pizzas are thin-crust. I’m more of a thick crust person myself but actually found their thin crust quite enjoyable. They also have panini, calzones, salads and sandwiches if pizza is not on your radar. Their appetizer menu is not incredibly large but they have a nice variety to choose from. I got the mozzarella sticks and felt they were just average. We ordered the Clark’s Classic pizza which consisted of pepperoni and chicken marinated in buffalo sauce. I was a little worried the sauce would soak through the thin crust and make it soggy but it actually held up (even eating it as a leftover the next day). There is a small bar area to the side where you can order a glass of wine or beer. The owner is a Wildcat fan (boo…) and they’ve had fun fundraisers in the past during the annual ASU/UA football game to benefit the local high schools in the area. It wasn’t very busy when I visited but service was pretty good.

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Mozzarella Sticks

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Clark’s Classic

“Duel in the Dessert” fundraiser 

Florencia Pizza Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Pizza People Pub

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I’m really bummed to see another local favorite closing it’s doors. Pizza People Pub has been operating out of this location across the Phoenix Public library since 2013. They have a great story of a family owned business starting out of a food truck and eventually opening their own restaurant. Their menu consists of their signature made-from-scratch 10 inch artisan pizzas and a variety of pub favorites like wings and their always popular mac & cheese. I always got a kick out of some of the pizza creations that they have (and the names) – Date Me, The Hulk, Testosteroni, Popeye, Fun Guy, The Hottie, etc. Even though I love their pizzas, I usually came here to try one of their many mac & cheeses. Some of my favorites have been the Smokey Paprika Mac, the Jalapeño Mac and the Truffle Mac. They load their mac & cheese with lots of cheese so they are nice and gooey. I wish they had a mac & cheese flight so I could sample them all. I stopped in tonight to have a last meal here before they close shop. I enjoyed hearing my bartender share stories of how much he enjoyed working here. It’s always sad to hear of local restaurants going out of business. I wish them the best.

  • – since I wrote this post, new owners have given Pizza People Pub a new lease on life and are keeping things the way that made Pizza People so popular. They will be re-opening in August!

Pizza People Pub 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

Craft 64

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I finished up the May version of Arizona Restaurant Week at Craft 64. We got a big group of us together to enjoy a fun food night out in Old Town Scottsdale. Main St is home to many great patio restaurants (and art galleries) and Craft 64 is one of the newest additions to the area. They have delicious artisanal wood-fired pizzas along with a great selection of craft beers and wine. Started by a partnership of experienced local owners, Craft 64 has become a local favorite. They make their own mozzarella from scratch everyday and use organic flour and other products from local farmers. The have over 30 local beers on tap and a great outdoor patio area with strings of lights for decoration. We had a wonderful time and received great service from our waiter who educated us on some of their beers.

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They had a great selection to choose from for Restaurant Week. I went with the Wood Fired Eggplant Parmesan, their delicious Sausage Pizza and the yummy Nutella Indulgence for dessert. Because we had a large party, we ended up mixing and matching our dishes so we could get a sample of everything.

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Wood Fired Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce

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Sausage Pizza

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Nutella Indulgence

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Tiramisu

My waiter recommended the Pie Hole Porter Nitro – a local beer from Historic Brewery Company out of Flagstaff. What a great tasting beer! I have really been enjoying learning about and tasting new craft beers. Arizona has been coming out with nice local beers from different regions all over the state.

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Pie Hole Porter Nitro

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Craft 64 on Urbanspoon

Serious Pie & Biscuit

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Serious Pie and Biscuit, located in the bustling South Lake Union neighborhood, is a multi-storied building brimming with delectable pizzas, buttery biscuits and a very serious bar. Biscuits are topped with everything from fried chicken and gravy to seasonal jams. Our bar features 22 rotating taps and 60 bottles and cans. The pizza? Deliberately browned crusts are topped with things like housemade charcuterie, foraged mushrooms and imported cheeses.

I love the South Lake Union neighborhood (located at the tip of Lake Union) in Seattle. While looking for a bite to eat, I stumbled upon Serious Pie & Biscuit. I had sampled some food at their Belltown location some years back on a food tour. Known for their amazing pizza pies, this location combines both their pizzas and breakfast. Their pizza crusts are both light textured but full of flavor and cooked in a 600 degree stone-encased apple wood burning oven. Chef Tony Catini came from the Serious Pie location in Virginia and now serves as head chef over all the locations in Seattle. Because it was early, I went for “the Zach” – a homemade buttermilk biscuit with fried chicken, a fried egg, bacon and smothered in tabasco black pepper gravy. Wow – the biscuit was fresh and delicious and the gravy was amazing. Serious Pie definitely ranks up there as one of my favorites in Seattle.

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The Zach

Serious Biscuit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Manhattan

NYC1I will never forget the first time I visited Manhattan. I had my first taste of New York when I stayed over briefly on my way to Boston in 2006. In the summer of 2009, I walked out of this exit at Penn Station for the first time and was completely overwhelmed by the fast pace and the tall buildings. Listening to the taxi cabs honking and the sounds of sirens bouncing off the buildings, I remember telling myself how beautiful this place is. I’m a native of Arizona and New York City is a completely different animal to us newbies. I ate my first slice of NYC pizza at Spinelli’s Pizzeria and caught my first glimpse of the Empire State Building. I returned later that year with my girlfriend and we had a wonderful time exploring the city. We visited Lady Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, MOMA, Canal St and saw Phantom of the Opera. NYC has a special place in my heart and this time I’m excited to spend a good of my week here for various art and photography projects and events.

My first trip to New York City – 2009

My return trip – 2009

After a great time in Philly, I headed on over on an Amtrak to New York City. I’m a huge fan the Amtrak. It’s comfortable and convenient. I was able to get some photo projects done on my few hour trip to Penn Station. I spent my first hour just walking along Fashion Ave and taking in sites of the Empire State Building, Macy’s, Madison Square Garden and other iconic buildings. I was surprised on how easily I knew my way around. My my first destination of the day was the Chelsea neighborhood for some foodie adventures.

2013

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Inside the Amtrak to NYC

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Penn Station

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Broadway St

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Nelson Tower on 7th Ave

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Macy’s

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Empire State Building

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Penn Station Subway

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Madison Square Garden

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Fashion Ave

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NYC Food Carts

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Mustang Sally’s

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NYC Grafitti

Jimmy and Joe’s

IMG_1289Jimmy and Joe’s Pizzeria is a fairly new establishment here in the valley. Family owned, they have a fun story of how they came about. They have a simple menu, great customer service and they donate 10% of their profits to charities. I came here with a group of friends before a concert and really enjoyed the pizza. We got the Popeye (spinach, basil, garlic, feta, tomato and mozzarella) and I can’t wait to come back and try some of their other menu items.

Jimmy and Joe's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon