Jackie Mercandetti

  • Blogs

    November 25, 2014

    Franco's Italian Cafe in Scottsdale: Classic, Sophisticated, and Delicious

    I rarely eat in Italian restaurants. Raised on basic Italian fare, I'm put off by menus featuring chicken parmigiani and "gourmet" versions of pasta fagioli (peasant food, made with white beans and macaroni in a watery tomato broth, but invariably Italian-­Americanized with veal and a half­-dozen ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 18, 2014

    At Southern Rail in Phoenix, Chef Justin Beckett Does Southern Fare with Finesse

    At first glance, there's plenty about Justin Beckett's Southern Rail to suggest it's going to be just another pileup of overworked dining trends. There's the rustic­-meets­-Steampunk décor, the open kitchen, the communal table set with mismatched flatware, Homer Laughlin diner ware, and dishtowel ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 4, 2014

    Barbecue at Astor House in Coronado: Hit and Miss -- and Hold the Sauce

    I rave so often and so loudly about Tuck Shop, my friends believe I'm an investor in the popular restaurant. And I dine so frequently at Vovomeena, the staff and I are on a first­-name basis. But I admit to having abandoned Astor House, a smallish eatery in the Coronado neighborhood that's operated ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2014

    But First, Dessert: Casa Filipina is Great With Sweets And The Savory Side is Worth Exploring

    I've been eating it my whole life. I know the truth. Filipino food isn't sexy. There's little glamor in a reddish-brown stew of bitter vegetables in garlicky shrimp paste sauce or a whole fried fish that stares at you unblinkingly as you separate bits of meat from its skeleton. This food doesn't ma ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2014

    Mejico in Central Phoenix Delivers Well-Prepared, Northern Mexican-Inspired Fare

    If the crowds at Mejico Cocina Mejicana are any indication, there's room for another Mexican restaurant in Phoenix. And if the well-­prepared, northern Mexican-­inspired fare there is a guarantee, this cool, contemporary restaurant, opened in February in the old Linda's space, ought to be around ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 14, 2014

    Chef Bernie Kantak's The Gladly: Neat New American Cuisine

    Anyone waxing melancholy about the loss of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse either hadn't eaten there during the sad year before that venerable steakhouse was shuttered, or who has yet to dine at The Gladly, which moved into Ruth's longtime location late last summer. Even if the owners of Scottsdale's award- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2014

    Gertrude's at The Desert Botanical Garden

    I was determined, while dining at Gertrude's, not to be distracted by the chatter of tourists seated at tables on either side of mine at this Desert Botanical Garden hotspot. Fortunately, the food on Gertrude's recently redesigned menu was mostly so dreary, it was impossible to think of much else. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 1, 2014

    5 Best Places to Eat and Drink This Week in Metro Phoenix

    Second Story Liquor Bar Today Tonight Second Story Liquor Bar in Scottsdale will be offering a sneak preview of the restaurant's newest menu, Episode 4. The event will be available to a limited number of guest and will be "a playful and mysterious underground dining experience." The dinner include ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 19, 2014

    Breaking the Cyclo: After 12 Years, Cyclo in Chandler Could Use A Fresh Start

    Entering Cyclo for the first time, you'll notice one thing before anything else: owner Justina Duong. On a recent summer evening, she's wearing a flowered maxi dress, dramatic false eyelashes, and a hip pixie cut. Her elegance appears effortless, like she's a guest herself. She immediately starts ta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 18, 2014

    5 Best Places to Eat and Drink This Week in Metro Phoenix

    Romeo's Euro Cafe Tuesday, August 19 Every third Tuesday of the month chef Romeo Taus of Romeo's Euro Cafe in Gilbert hosts a special dinner event with three courses and three wines for $30. This month's event features Asian Calamari Salad with cilantro tangy citrus sesame oil dressing and spicy ca ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2014

    5 Best Food Neighborhoods in Metro Phoenix

    We love our Valley dining scene but it's impossible to deny that there are certain parts of town with more to offer than others. That's not to say there aren't plenty of great restaurants, bars, and breweries that lie outside of these five geographic areas, but these are the places with more to offe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 8, 2014

    Love Shack: Angry Crab Shack in Mesa Delivers Seafood by the Pound

    Originality is dead. It is a universal truth that we have come to accept, whether it be with regard to Hollywood's inability to produce anything but sequels and remakes, fashion's predictable cycle of "what's old is new again" or restaurateurs who seem to latch on to a popular idea and perpetuate it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2014

    5 Best Restaurants in North Phoenix Right Now

    When it comes to the north Phoenix part of town, the question isn't whether there are good places to eat, but whether or not you can make time to get to them all. There's a lot of square mileage that constitutes this part of town, but whether you're from the neighborhood or just passing through, the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2014

    5 Best Restaurants in Arcadia Right Now

    There are plenty of reasons for food lovers to like the Arcadia neighborhood -- the central location, the ranch-style homes, the plentiful citrus trees, and of course, the plethora of dining and drinking options. There's no shortage of places to grab a bite or a cocktail in this Phoenix neighborho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2014

    5 Best Restaurants in Peoria, Surprise and El Mirage Right Now

    Head west of the Loop 101, hit the US 60, and you're in the north West Valley. And while it's not the hottest or hippest part of greater Phoenix, the cities in this neck of the woods -- which include Peoria, Surprise, and El Mirage -- have more than a few restaurant gems to offer hungry diners. You ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2013

    10 Chinese Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in Metro Phoenix

    Whether you burned the holiday ham or simply aren't celebrating Christmas at all, we know there are plenty of people out there looking for alternative dining options this Christmas Day. And you're in luck. Because there's a whole slew of Chinese restaurants open all over the Valley. Calling ahead fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 11, 2013

    13 Best Ethnic Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

    Looking for something a little different to eat? Well, Chow Bella is here to help. We spent the past year scouring the Valley to find the best ethnic restaurants. Here's a list worth saving for when you're looking for some great ethnic cuisine, no matter where you are in metro Phoenix.

  • Blogs

    December 10, 2013

    20 Best New Restaurants of 2013

    The good news is that, in 2013, as most of the country was transfixed by the shenanigans of the now-infamous Amy's Baking Company, we eye-rollers in the Valley were being treated to a crop of new restaurants more focused on well-prepared food than overcooked reality. From big-name chefs and restaur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 29, 2013

    8 Best Neighborhood Pizzerias in Metro Phoenix

    There's nothing better than a pizza after days of stuffing yourself with Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers. You're in luck, because Chow Bella spent the past year scouring the Valley to find the best pizzerias. Here's a list worth saving for when you need a great pizza, no matter where you are in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2013

    5 Best Restaurants in Sunnyslope Right Now

    The best restaurants in Sunnyslope, at the moment, are as eclectic as the neighborhood itself. Bordered by 19th Avenue to the west, Cactus Road to the north, 16th Street to the east, and Northern Avenue to the south, they're a casual and modest bunch, capturing flavors from Mexico, Poland, Italy, a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 8, 2013

    8 Best Neighborhood Mexican Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

    There are few places in the states where you can find the quality of Mexican food that Phoenix has. We spent the past year putting together a list of the best places for authentic Mexican cuisine for this year's Best of Phoenix® edition. What follows are the eight best neighborhood Mexican restau ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 5, 2013

    5 Best Restaurants in South Phoenix Right Now

    For those who think South Phoenix is food-starved when it comes to great restaurants, think again. At the moment, the five best restaurants in the area feature farm-fresh produce, luscious meats, and organic grains -- many locally sourced -- in boldly flavored, scratch made dishes that are deceptiv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 15, 2013

    5 Best Restaurants in Tempe Right Now

    What do the five best restaurants in Tempe look like at the moment? They're a diverse lot, decidedly plain in appearance, c'mon-in casual, and just plain cozy, offering a variety of dishes that take inspiration from places across the globe. You might find ingredients such as ground turmeric, Moroc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 30, 2013

    10 Best Things I Ate in September

    Another month, another look back at the best things I ate during September. From dishes like my new favorite carne asada taco, to magnificent Mediterranean eats, to a killer lasagna my dining companion likened to the work of the devil, here are ten of the best things I ate this month selected from ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2013

    9 Favorite Bars and Restaurants for Watching Football in Metro Phoenix

    They always say the best seat in the house for watching sports is on your couch, but unless you (or a very generous friend) have invested a couple hundred bucks in NFL Sunday Ticket, you're going to need to find a comfortable place to watch the majority of the next few months' games. There's nothing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2013

    5 Things To Eat and Drink This Week In Metro Phoenix

    Just because the weekend is over doesn't mean you have to starve. Here are a few things to put in your mouth this week in the Valley. National Root Beer Float Day There's no reason apple pie should be the only treat to get credit for being "All-American." Root beer is just as patriotic. Did you ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 4, 2013

    5 Unique Spots for Ethnic Cuisines in Greater Phoenix

    Thanks to food television and the Internet, becoming educated on the cuisines of other countries is easier than ever. See also: - Café Ga Hyang: Fantastic Korean Food -- And It's Open Late - Old Town Sarajevo Is a Bread and Meat Lover's Dream But often, finding the restaurants that specialize in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 14, 2013

    Six Valley Food Trucks, Rated

    The Phoenix food truck craze is over. Not that we still don't enjoy food trucks. Their offerings at lower commitment levels than those of their dine-in brethren make them the most accessible and cheapest culinary adventures in town. But gone is the hype of the new. With more than 30 food trucks cur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2012

    10 (Okay, 11) Best First Tastes of 2012 in Greater Phoenix

    Thanks to hundreds of new restaurants opening in the Valley this year -- including a cozy artisan pizza shop in Scottsdale, a vegan bakery downtown, and a trio of cuisines in East Phoenix -- there was plenty to chew on when it came to First Tastes, our column of initial impressions. See also: 9 Be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2012

    Taking a Walk on the Royal Side at Hue Gourmet

    For those who want to eat like a king, or in this case, an emperor, an imperial legacy of dishes can be found in one, rather strange place in the Valley. A counter-service stand in the Mekong Plaza food court in Mesa: Hue Gourmet. Distinctive to the rest of the country, the cuisine of the Vietname ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2012

    Top Five Things to Eat and Drink this Weekend

    See also: New Times Calendar of Events Looking for something to put in your mouth this weekend? We've got you covered. Check out what's on our plate. Friday Night Mussels @ House of Tricks On September 6th, 1987 Bob and Robin Trick opened the doors to their tiny 1920's house-turned-restaurant brin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2012

    Three Restaurants (Including One from the Scratch Pastries People!) and an Ice Cream Shop to Move into Roosevelt Row's CANVAS Building

    The vacant building on the northeast corner of Third and Roosevelt streets has long been on our wish list for any kind of development, and this afternoon, we received some good (and tasty) news. According to Dr. Richard Gordan, who owns the building and lot at 1011 North Third Street, four leases ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2012

    Nobuo Will Offer Omakase-Style Bento Brunch!

    Chef Nobuo Fukuda, the James Beard winning proprietor of Nobuo at Teeter House, is poised to serve what will probably be the classiest bento boxes the Valley has ever seen. An email sent last week promises a $50 Sunday brunch, starting April 15, featuring "Omakase-style bento boxes" and a compliment ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 13, 2012

    Five Favorite Thai Restaurants in Metro Phoenix

    ​The Valley is home to more than a few Thai restaurants. Grabbing a mediocre plate of pad thai is easy enough, but finding quality Thai is another matter entirely. Below are some of our favorites. They run the gamut from an upscale Scottsdale joint to a Mom and Pop eatery closing in on its third d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 23, 2012

    10 Favorite Desserts in Phoenix

    Oftentimes, a meal out of the house isn't complete without dessert - not just any dessert, but one that's so good you'll never forget it, one that will make guest appearances in your dreams for the rest of your life. To help satisfy your sweet tooth, we're offering up our 10 of our favorite desserts ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2011

    32 Shea: An Oasis of Cozy With a Cocktail Or Two

    Jackie Mercandetti Simple yet satisfying, The OMG sandwich at 32 Shea invites guests to sit back and enjoy. ​Have you been to 32 Shea? It is a place you could easily spend a few hours. Unpretentious and as welcoming as its small menu of simple staples, the feeling upon entering, even to first- ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 1, 2011

    Sleazy? Clubby? Outrageous? Cutting Through the Rumors at Pearl Sushi Lounge

    Jackie Mercandetti​I may be, perhaps, the last person to hear of the rumors regarding Pearl Sushi Lounge & Bomber Bar in Scottsdale. The images of naked women, the sex-fueled names of its signature rolls, the magic show. Here's a taste: "Given Pearl's penchant for style over substance, it's ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 17, 2011

    The Story of El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria and The Tabletop Taps

    Jackie Mercandetti​A cantina-gone-Scottsdale? It's true. And at El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria, they've got something more unique than their surrounding providers of party-packed good times -- tabletop taps. Here's a taste: "An ingenious invention that, like Eden's apple, simply must be sample ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2011

    Perk Eatery Means Serious Breakfast Business (and Pancakes!)

    Jackie Mercandetti​Rise and shine, breakfast lovers! If the first meal of the day is as important to you as it is to me, you'll need to check out my review of Perk Eatery in Scottsdale. These folks know breakfast -- lunch, too -- and they've got some of the best pancakes around. Here's a tast ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 27, 2011

    Cafe: El New Yorican

    Jackie Mercandetti​In my latest column, owner Alberto Rivera provides the hospitality, the food, and the explanation behind El New Yorican (pronounced Yor-ee-can), his west side restaurant of casual Puerto Rican cuisine. Prepared in the style of Créole cooking, or what the locals call cocina ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 20, 2011

    The Hole Story on Gourmet Doughnuts

    Jackie Mercandetti​Eliot Wexler, owner of the award-winning restaurant Noca in Central Phoenix, has a theory about why we're obsessed with doughnuts. "The great thing about doughnuts, in general, is that whatever culture you're from, across the world, there is a doughnut. A variation, a permu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 13, 2011

    Cafe: Bonfire Grill and Bar

    Jackie Mercandetti​Are you a meat lover? If you are, you can thank chef Matt Carter for the wood-fired cuisine at Bonfire Grill in Scottsdale. Carter consulted on Bonfire's menu, creating a selection of American dishes with hints of the extravagant, heavy on the skewers, and approachable eno ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2011

    Noca Celebrates Third Anniversary With Special Offer on Sunday and a Favorite Dishes Menu

    Jackie Mercandetti ​In addition to hiring new executive chef Matt Taylor, Noca, the force of modern American cuisine in Central Phoenix, now has another reason to celebrate: their third anniversary. This Sunday, July 31st, the Noca team will be serving the menu from their first-ever fried chi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2011

    Lee's Cream Liqueur Celebrates One Year Anniversary With Free Booze-Infused Ice Cream

    Jackie Mercandetti ​Free booze-infused ice cream treats? You had us at free. Wait, you had us at booze. Wait, you had us at free and booze. Lee's Cream Liqueur, the Old Town Scottsdale made-from-scratch, alcohol-infused ice cream parlor, is celebrating its one year anniversary by offering gu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2011

    Chef Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House Joins Chef Jon Spahr of Amaro Pizzeria for Five-Course Wine Dinner

    Jackie MercandettiAmaro Pizzeria and Vino Lounge​Chef Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House, the new restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale serving up standard American favorites with a delicious kick in the ass, will be heading North to Cave Creek to join Jon Spahr, chef and owner of Amaro Pizzeri ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 18, 2011

    Amy Martin's Perfect Food Day

    Amy Martin​Amy Martin edits the local food blog Phoenix Bites. She has food on the brain at all times and considers eating and finding favorite dishes in Phoenix her favorite sport. She loves a tidy pantry for easy cooking, her cookbooks, and pulling out her invisible microphone to rock out ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2011

    Cafe: Rock Springs Cafe and Rolling Out the Perfect Pie Crust

    Jackie MercandettiVarious pies from Rock Springs Cafe.​ Over the weekend, ABC's Nightline ran a segment on pie, which if you haven't been paying attention is the hyped "next cupcake." The usual suspects were included; Martha, pop ups, and pretty, young pastry chefs. Following the segment, we rece ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 8, 2009

    Buckeye Bearcat Vehicle Purchase Lastest Example of Federal Waste; Town of 40,000 to Buy $250,000 Armored Vehicle

    The Town of Buckeye needs a $250,000 armored vehicle like it needs another foreclosure sign -- but that's what it's getting thanks to federal largess. The federal Homeland Security department gave Buckeye a grant for the 8.5-ton Lenco Bearcat vehicle. It's supposed to arrive by May of next year, rep ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 12, 2009

    Cafe: PastaBAR in Phoenix

    Jackie Mercandetti Hungry for Italian eats? Look no further than this week's Cafe column. New Times shines some light on the corner of First and Pierce and more specifically on Chef Wade Moises' PastaBAR. Food Critic Michele Laudig on PastaBAR: The menu is streamlined, nothing tops out over $17, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2007

    Italian inspiration at Quiessence

    Jackie Mercandetti Chef Greg LaPrad and sous chef Anthony Andiario ride their vacation high with a culinary take on Tuscany. Fresh off the plane from a trip to Italy, the kings of the Quiessence kitchen have cooked up a tasty looking menu for next week's special dinner (6:30 p.m., Aug. 16, $75 pe ... More >>

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