I’m going to say something unpopular. Bloody Marys are the worst. Tomatoes suck, celery sucks and there’s just something weird about spicy drinks. But I must say that I am glad that Hash Kitchen has made the big bucks off of having an incredible Bloody Mary bar. Why? Because it has enabled them to expand out to Chandler for their latest Grand Opening. And because I got to snag a bunch of the meats and cheeses from the Bloody Mary bar to decorate my beer. It may be frowned upon normally, but at the Grand Opening anything goes. As expected, the bacon was the best.
Where I come from, microbreweries are known to have good food. But, as I have learned, many parts of the country (perhaps all except Oregon?) are much newer to the micro or craft brewery concept and have focused much more on the beer than the food. Arizona, though, while new to the union and pretty new to brewing seems to have struck the right chord. Perhaps it’s because there are so many damn people here from Michigan, but whatever the case I was eager to get myself a non-media meal at SanTan Brewing Company ( you can check out the media one here).
I’ll be the first to admit that long ago I wrote off Kona Grill as a generic bar and grill kind of spot with reheated food for yuppy types. Yet, when my coworkers and I ventured out for lunch one day and found ourselves at Kona Grill in Chandler, I didn’t protest because it still deserved a fair shot and who would I be to not give it one?
Indian Fry Bread has a tragic, complicated history. Yet, it has also grown beyond that to shine a somewhat positive light on the Native Americans of the Southwest as the bread has made its way beyond the reservations. The Fry Bread Truck is proudly sling the bread around the Valley of the Sun with some interesting twists.
I am a big fan of all you can eat Korean BBQ. After, what kind of a horrible person wouldn’t be a big fan of that? But, since moving to Phoenix I’m pretty much down for Korean in any way I can get it, even if I have to pay for individual dishes. Thus, when I had the chance to pay a visit to Gogi, a Korean spot in Chandler I jumped on it.
It is a very rare occasion in which I make a meal out of fries. It is even more rare that this happens at a Greek restaurant. Yet, when Pitta Souvli in Chandler offered up a special called Chipotle Gorgonzola Cheese Gyro Fries, I couldn’t resist. There was just one problem: nowhere in the description of the fries were tomatoes mentioned. And yet, as you can tell by the picture to the left, there were obviously tomatoes involved.
Being in the media has its advantages. Case in point: getting to check out the menu and beers at SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler. For this event, SanTan wanted to highlight beer pairings and the normal menu without any specials, but also showed off the backroom where the brewing is actually done. Unlike other breweries I’ve been to, we were encouraged to bring a beer along for the tour, and that beer was the StrataBlaster IPA, part of the brewery’s pilot series and a great place to start.
I went into Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers expecting to get some cold beer and a cheeseburger. And pretty immediately, I knew this would not be the case. It started with a delay to my beer because they were out of what I wanted. That was fine, because places run out of beer all the time and so I went ahead and ordered a new one. But then, I was told that it was Monday and that meant $12 build your own mac and cheese with basically whatever the hell you want in it.
Like in LA, food trucks are a thing in the Phoenix area. And it makes much more sense here because everything is so damn spread out. Pasadena spoiled me. But I digress. The good news is that my office is all about bringing food trucks in every month (not for free, of course) to mix things up and to keep us from driving literal miles to the nearest food. This last time, it was Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse, serving up BBQ.
In all that time I lived in Pittsburgh, it became apparent that hot dogs are super important. And it’s not just about the classic Dirty O or D’s Six Pax & Dogz, which is one of the hot dog spots ever. It’s about all the liquor stores that are allowed to sell booze because they also sell hot dogs because of stupid Pennsylvania alcohol laws. Yet, there’s no real signature hot dog. Enter: Wimpy’s Paradise in Chandler, Arizona.