By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
Max & Myrl's Chill Pad, a funky little Caribbean gem at Central and Thomas, has closed because of the death of its chef-owner, Bert Sylvester. Sylvester, 51, suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm New Year's Eve.
It's been a rough few months for the Valley's Caribbean chefs -- in November, Myron "Bubba" Stephenson, chef-owner of downtown Phoenix's popular Caribbean and Creole restaurant Chez Bubba's, died from coronary complications after a kidney transplant.
Max & Myrl's opened in February next to Durant's. The brightly painted place quickly became a favorite for its jerk chicken, fiery shrimp sandwich, Creole red beans and rice, rum-flambéed bananas Foster, and chocolate plantain tart.
Max & Myrl's (named for its owners' dogs) was Sylvester's second restaurant. The first was the Caribbean Exchange in Phoenix, opened after he interned with Jacques Pepin in France. He also worked as a chef for Carnival Cruise Lines.
After days of "agonizing deliberation," it was "time for all of us at Max & Myrl's to say goodbye," says Sylvester's life partner and restaurant co-owner Patty Coughlin.
While Max & Myrl's is no more, Stephenson's family is still running Chez Bubba's on First Street south of Roosevelt. They have since opened a second location at Heritage Square, Seventh Street and Monroe.
Bone Appetit: Whatever my personal feelings are toward bringing pets to restaurants (I'm all for it), the Maricopa County health department feels differently. During its December inspection of Mickey's Hangover, a popular restaurant and bar near the Galleria in downtown Scottsdale, inspectors cited the owners for a violation of the health code. According to the report, a department worker discovered a dog hanging about with its owner in the dining area.
Asked how it felt about being booted, the dog said, "Ruff."
Crème of the Crop:Here's a convenience store that puts Circle K to shame. La Crème Deli at 108th Street and Via Linda in Scottsdale looks like a standard soda-and-slush purveyor, but the selection astounds. Hungry? Grab a great, prepared-to-order sandwich made with Block & Barrel meat -- perhaps turkey breast, pepperjack cheese, lettuce and tomato on rye -- for only $3. Thirsty? Alongside the Budweiser, there's Blue Moon beer, a Belgian wheat white ale; Napoleon Courvoisier Cognac ($79.69); and Patron Tequila Añejo ($56.99). Other treats include cigars, Nanci's frozen yogurt, fresh fritters, sticky buns and cinnamon rolls, and those stop-and-go staples, Sugar Pops and Lucky Charms cereal.