Mowry & Cotton

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Tonight was fancy night at Mowry & Cotton. I met up with my long time foodie friends Andrea and Merichelle in a sort of reunion night. Mowry & Cotton opened up at The Phoenician in 2007. I was able to attend a fun Yelp event here last year. It is named after two businessmen (George Mowry and James Cotton) who came to Phoenix in 1872 and opened the first fine liquor establishment in downtown Phoenix. They were trying to create more of a community feel instead of the typical saloons that were around. Chef Tandy Peterson has created a nice rustic menu of comfort food that pays homage to meals that were cooked over a fire back then. The concept here is a shared dinner menu that you mix and match with the people at your table. They have several choices of meat and fish to choose from like salmon, sea bass, steak and ribeye. They also have a variety of popular flatbreads (thin pizzas). Other choices are salads, vegetables and appetizers. They have several cocktails to choose from like their signature Washington & 1st drink (named after Mowry & Cotton’s distillery location in downtown Phoenix). They are also open for breakfast and serve brunch on the weekends. The staff wears button down shirts, suspenders and leather boots to reflect the times. For decor, there are old distillery bottle all around the restaurant that plays off the lighting that comes in to create an ambiance feel of the Old West.

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The Phoenician

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Mowry & Cotton

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Mowry & Cotton has been running a special Summer Culinary Countdown menu that includes a Bottle and Board for $25. It comes with a choice of a bottle of wine and a flatbread. We tried the Roasted Squash Flatbread and the A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris bottle of wine. For dinner, I ordered the Grilled Pheasant. It was tender and smokey and comes with lots of fixings like almonds, onions, broccolini and cherries. Others at my tabled ordered the Chicken Pot Pie, the Corn and Chorizo Dip (with Chicharrones!) and Grilled Potatoes. We enjoyed trying one another’s food over good conversation. This is a great new addition to The Phoenician. The rest of the evening was spent in The Phoenician Cactus Garden and enjoying the beautiful views of Phoenix from the lounge area.

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A to Z Pinot Gris

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Roasted Squash Flatbread

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Corn & Chorizo Dip

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Chicken Pot Pie

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Grilled Pheasant

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Mowry & Cotton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Elite Event: Cocktail Party at Mowry & Cotton

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I have so many memories here at the Phoenician going back to high school days. They have been going through some renovations and Mowry & Cotton is their fancy new casual restaurant geared to draw in both visitors and locals. This was one of those fun dress-up Yelp events that incorporated the beautiful views of the Phoenician resort. Mowry & Cotton has a large open patio with amazing décor (the growler wall was a nice touch). We were given the story behind this place from the GM. He mentioned that it is named after George Mowry and James Cotton – two businessmen who opened one of Phoenix’s earliest drinking establishments. We were treated with their signature drink (called the Washington & 1st) from their awesome bartender who worked his butt off for us. It was a blend of commerce gin, St Germain elderflower, blackberry, lime & bitters. I got so caught up with my drinks and the conversation at my table that I forgot to check out the food samples they prepared for us. The seafood was gone when I got there, but I did get to try some of their flatbread pizza. The Wild Mushroom and the Chicken Pesto were both pretty flavorful. But I didn’t miss out on desserts. They had these awesome Lemon Meringue, S’Mores and a Peanut Butter Bar samples that capped off the night. I enjoyed mixing it up with some long time Elites and enjoyed meeting some of the new ones. The best part was the awesome gifts Mowry & Cotton gave us – a choice of a cutting board, a branding iron or an apron. All three were pretty killer. Thanks to our Yelp staff for always being amazing and treating us Elites to a fun night. Read my full post about Mowry & Cotton here.

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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

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

Pizza Muffins

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Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Having lived by Florindino Pizza & Pasta for many years, I eat their famous pizza muffins quite often. My kids love them! This family-friendly neighborhood Italian pizza and pasta restaurant offers classics like chicken parmigiana, lasagna, and antipasto salads. But they are known for their large calzones and pizza muffins. The calzones can be stuff with your ingredients of choice: pepperoni, ham, salami, bacon, broccoli, black olives, pineapple, jalapenos, and ricotta. The pizza muffins are freshly baked and stuffed with your choice of pepperoni, ham, sausage, and fresh mozzarella cheese. I love coming here and love the great friendly service they offer.

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Traditional Pizza

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Floridino’s Bread Sticks with Cheese

Floridino's Pizza & Pasta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta

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Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

Best lunch specials in Chandler – I love this place! This has been a favorite stop for Chandler locals for some time. The calzones are huge and pizza is good! But the must-have is always the pizza muffins. They are amazing! I recommended a friend try them and she quoted “Pizza Muffins have changed my life!” Floridino’s has nightly specials in addition to their lunch and happy hour specials. Family nights are a great deal!

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Sausage & Olive Calzone

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Sicilian Sundae

From their website:

All too often Arizonans discuss their favorite restaurants from “back home” or what they are looking for in an eatery and can’t find in the Phoenix Valley. Floridino’s took the requests to heart and in 1996 we opened our doors with the promise to embrace family-oriented, full-service, true Italian restaurant food in Chandler.

Our menu boasts of oven-baked sandwiches, heaping salads, mouth-watering pizzas, generous portions of pasta and calzones stuffed to the brim. While that is enough incentive to give us a try, a meal at Floridino’s is hardly complete without our renowned pizza muffins or a Sicilian sundae.

2005 brought about Floridino’s unbeatable lunch specials. Starting at $4.75, the goal was to provide a full meal in a timely manner to area working people. The demand was so great, we opened a Chandler banquet facility that can seat up to 60.

Floridino’s is your local Italian restaurant that remains loyal to the community. As always, we support and enjoy giving back to community in the form of food, money and volunteer donations as well as gift certificates for raffles and the utilization of our establishment to house fundraisers.

Floridino's Pizza & Pasta Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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