Mel’s Diner

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Kiss my Grits!

This nostalgic diner off of Grand Avenue in Phoenix claims to be the actual filming location of the old 70’s show Alice. This actually isn’t the case, but the sign (built in the 60’s for Lester’s Diner) was in the show’s opening credits. Lester’s Diner went through several name changes over the years until becoming the name of the iconic show. I’m actually a big fan of old breakfast diners and thought I’d make a stop in. Even though the staff was pretty friendly, I did notice a bit of an odor coming from the restaurant when I walked in. It was hard to ignore and made my dining experience uneventful. Mel’s serves a classic diner fare that consists of burgers, eggs and pancakes. I went with the Southern Breakfast. I enjoyed the sausage, but the biscuits and gravy were a little bland. Overall it was a fun throwback day to stop in, but not an experience to write home about.

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Mel's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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CHEF Movie

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been this excited about a movie. But after seeing the trailer to Jon Favreau’s new movie CHEF, I was hooked on seeing it. One reason – food porn. I seriously was salivating as I saw the previews. Plus I was a cook for ten years in the restaurant business and I understand life in the kitchen. Cooking for me has always been both therapeutic and a passion. This is the story of Carl Casper, a cook in L.A. who is trying to rediscover his passion for cooking. He ends up going on road trip in a food truck with his son to get his passion to make amazing food back. The film ended up being a great movie and easily one of my favorite ones of the year. In addition to having a great cast, CHEF also has a great soundtrack. I ended up going with my favorite foodie friends that I love to eat out with. My friend Kim is a personal chef and my other friend Pete is (in my opinion) the top restaurant reviewer in Arizona. He and his wife Monica eat out at different restaurants all over the valley. We had a blast and I look forward to seeing it again!

chef movie

Compass Arizona Grill

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Thanks to Groupon, Christin and I got to enjoy a nice dinner at the Compass Arizona Grill at a good price. Compass AZ Grill is a revolving roof top restaurant that sits on top of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix. The restaurant gives you a 360 degree view of the Valley of the Sun. They have a great selection of wines as well as a menu of a variety of grilled meats, roasted chicken and lamb, and seared fishes and vegetables.

View of Chase Field and U.S. Airways Arena

Downtown Phoenix

From their website: Experience award-winning cuisine and unparalleled views at our renowned revolving restaurant. Featuring a menu prepared with a contemporary regional influence, our distinctive Phoenix restaurant offers a list of highly allocated wines and is host to many visiting vintners who have chosen the Compass to showcase their most sought after vintages. Seasonal menus invite adventurous diners to return for the most current coupling of entrées and wines.

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View from inside Compass Arizona Grill

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Ribeye with Mushroom and Bean Salad

Christin got a Mushroom and bean salad made up of peppercorn goat cheese pistachio pesto and fried garbanzo. She also got an Eggplant bisque with crab and chives. I went for the Ribeye topped with tomato blue cheese butter served with roasted cauliflower. Both were delicious. We finished off the night with a Butter pecan goat cheese cake with basil blueberries and a cinnamon cookie crust for desert.

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Goat Cheese Blueberry Cheese Cake

Compass Arizona Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Week 2011

– Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to channel their inner foodie and make  reservations at Arizona’s premiere restaurants.

This week (Sept 17-25) is Restaurant week . Restaurant week is cool because if gives people an opportunity to check out a nice restaurant and eat there at great price. Each restaurant provides a limited menu for you to choose from that includes an appetizer, a main entrée and a desert. Depending on the restaurant, meals are priced at $20, $30 or 40. I personally am a big fan of this week and use it as an opportunity to check out a new fine dining experience without paying a big price tag.

What is a Foodie?

From Wikipedia…

Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy and Ann Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook.

Distinguished from gourmet. Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste , whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news. Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.

Pursuits. Foodies are a distinct hobbyist group. Typical foodie interests and activities include the food industry, wineries and wine tasting, breweries and beer sampling, food science, following restaurant openings and closings, food distribution, food fads, health fads, and nutrition, and restaurant management. A foodie might develop a particular interest in a specific item, such as the best egg cream or burrito. Many publications have food columns that cater to foodies. Interest by foodies in the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to the Food Network and other specialized food programming, popular films and television shows about food such as Top Chef and Iron Chef, a renaissance in specialized cookbooks, specialized periodicals such as Gourmet Magazine and Cook’s Illustrated, growing popularity of farmers’ markets, food-oriented websites like Zagat’s and Yelp, publishing and reading food blogs (a number of people photograph and post on the Internet every meal they ever make or consume), specialized kitchenware stores like William-Sonoma and Sur La Table, and the institution of the celebrity chef.