Jonathan McNamara

  • Blogs

    August 10, 2011

    Biscuits and Sausage Gravy Battle: Harlow's vs. Over Easy

    Jonathan McNamara​The outside is floury to the touch but radiating heat -- a clue to the fluffy, golden inside. Cut one open, held in your palm like a shucking oyster, and slather in the butter in those precious seconds before the warmth fades away. Of course, by then, the goodness will have ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2011

    Is Sing High Chop Suey House Crave-able Chinese?

    Jonathan McNamara Wor Mein at Sing High Chop Suey House.​Every town has a handful of sketchy restaurants. Often it's the joints that look the most questionable that hold the secrets of culinary enlightenment. Then again, they might hold nothing more than a one-way ticket to whatever you stu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2011

    Foreigner and Journey at the Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, 7/24/11

    Jonathan McNamaraForeigner ​Night Ranger, Foreigner, and JourneySunday, July 24Ashley Furniture HomeStore PavilionIn all my years attending concerts at this pavilion (under its myriad names), I've never seen traffic like what we waded through before the Foreigner/Journey concert. Cars were still b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2011

    Erik "The Red" Denmark Chomps 29 Hot Dogs at the Nathan's Famous Qualifier in Tempe

    Jonathan McNamaraThe aftermath of Saturday's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Qualifier at Arizona Mills Mall.​Next time you prepare to chow down on a plump, all-beef hot dog, ask yourself this question: how many can you eat in ten minutes? Two? Four? If you think that kind of lazy eating is goi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2011

    Slideluck Potshow: Why Potlucks Are for Freeloaders

    photo by Jonathan McNamara At the Icehouse for Slideluck Potshow​In 2000, Seattle-based photographer Casey Kelbaugh invited a few of his creative friends over to watch a slideshow of their artwork while enjoying some homemade dishes, potluck style. The result, Kelbaugh says was part art, pa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2011

    Friedman Recycling Plant Fire in South Phoenix Visible from Downtown

    Jonathan McNamara If you were wondering what you were seeing -- and smelling -- this afternoon... It was a fire at the Friedman Recycling Plant at 35th Avenue and Lincoln Street in south Phoenix. Billowing smoke was visible for miles as firefighters hosed down bales of blazing paper from ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 4, 2011

    Payton Curry Pops Up at the Welcome Diner

    Jonathan McNamara ​Thanks to Chef Payton Curry, life has returned to the beloved Welcome Diner, which sat sad and empty on the corner of 10th street and Roosevelt for far too long. The infamous chef kicked off the first night of his three-month pop-up project to a packed house -- and a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 29, 2011

    Camelback Inn Cooks Healthy with the Chia Pet

    Jonathan McNamara​Last week, Sprouts Wellness Restaurant and Juice Bar at Camelback Inn introduced a new "Cooking Nutritionally Smart" workshop series hosted by executive sous chef Brian Archambault and featuring beverage director Trudy Thomas' organic cocktails. "Healthy? Organic? Oh, no," ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 16, 2011

    Caramelpalooza 2011: A Sticky Situation

    Jonathan McNamara​Last Friday, locals craving a sugar rush lined up in the parking lot of Smeeks at Central and Camelback roads for Chow Bella's second Caramelpalooza event. The judging is over, and a favorite was selected by both the audience and a judging panel -- Essence Bakery's deliciou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2011

    Caramel Porn: Caramelpalooza 2011 in Photos

    Jonathan McNamara The caramel offering from Danielle Morris, Cork.​Looking for more sugar? Check out our slideshow from Friday night's caramel tasting at Smeeks.

  • Blogs

    March 14, 2011

    Caramelpalooza 2011: The Results Are In

    Jonathan McNamaraYes, that's a peanut butter and jelly caramel. ​The competition got sticky Friday night at the second annual Caramelpalooza, co-sponsored by Chow Bella and Smeeks. We're not sure of the exact head count -- beyond the fact that the line wrapped around the block -- but we do know th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 10, 2011

    Chaka Chaka Just Keeps Getting Better

    Jonathan McNamara​A little birdie (okay, Facebook) told us that our new favorite lunch spots, Chaka Chaka, added a few more items to their already fabulous, yet small, menu. We paid our favorite chef/comedian, Charlie Blonkenfeld, a visit this week to try out the new eats. Just as ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 9, 2011

    Valentine's Day Showdown: Comfort Food from the Thrifty Cook

    Jonathan McNamaraCyndi Coon prepares meatloaf.​Yesterday, Wynter Holden AKA The Virgin Cook gave you a Valentine's Day menu built on ease of preparation and maximum effectiveness...ahem...outside of the kitchen. Today, we're all about comfort foods courtesy of The Thrifty Cook. These thrift ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 8, 2011

    Caramelpalooza 2011: Deadline Today!

    Jonathan McNamara One of last year's sweet entries. ​Thinking about whipping up a batch of candy for Caramelpalooza 2011? Better think quick: The deadline for entering our sweet contest is today, Tuesday, February 8. Chow Bella and our friends at Smeeks candy store are at it again, co-spo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2011

    Caramelpalooza 2011: Who Wants to Make Some Candy?

    Jonathan McNamara Tammie Coe's 2010 caramels. ​Has it really been almost a year since we stood in the parking lot of Smeeks -- sticky and sweaty from a night of caramel tasting/swooning -- and swore we'd never eat sugar again? Indeed it has. And we have one thing to say, Phoenix: Br ... More >>

  • Culture

    January 20, 2011
  • Blogs

    October 5, 2010

    Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Rhythm Room Last Night

    Jonathan McNamara​Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Rhythm Room October 4, 2010 It's sort of rare when a mosh pit is possible but not inevitable. You know, when a band could inspire a little knock-push-bounce action but it isn't necessarily a forgone conclusion.Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, who played P ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2010

    Foodies Like Us Serves Up a Whole-Roasted Pig at Sassi

    Jonathan McNamaraOne of two whole-roasted pigs served at Sassi last night. ​Some things are undeniably good. Our piggy friend in the picture above? He's one of them. The smell coming off this guy seeped straight through the walls and out into the air surrounding restaurant Sassi as we approach ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 6, 2010

    Brownie Showdown: And the Winner Is . . .

    Jonathan McNamara​I can't believe I went out and ate lunch before our blog meeting the other week -- the day when a bunch of Chow Bella contributors showed up with brownies. What was I thinking? And yet, somehow I found room to try them all, complete with a big cup of milk that made everyth ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2010

    MF Tasty at Welcome Diner

    Jonathan McNamara Mexican Coca Cola BBQ pulled pork sandwich with avocado and hand-cut sweet potato chips.   ​Sitting at Welcome Diner this afternoon, we asked the folks behind MF Tasty, a monthly "secret" dinner (or in this case lunch) held at a different location each time, what the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2010

    Salsa Showdown: Breakfast Taco Salsa

    Jonathan McNamara Now where are the breakfast tacos? ​Real cooks can't stay out of the kitchen. That's why four of Chow Bella's regular contributors have concocted four different types of salsa just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Check in next week to see who won the showdown. Now, someone pass ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2010

    Coachella from Behind a Lens

    Jonathan McNamaraCoachella 2010​A seething, primal mass of humanity jockeys for position in front of the main stage as the Indio sun beats down on Coachella 2010. They have moved beyond the point of patience and civility. Their shattered minds have but one thought as they claw toward the front of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2010

    BBQ 101: From Novice to Slightly Less Than Novice

    Jonathan McNamaraBrisket in the early morning.​There is a point at which night turns to day. It's barely visible to the naked eye, but in that smallest of moments while the moon is still full and the sun casts its first fires across the sky, a transition happens. I know because last Sunday a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2010

    Nile Theatre Scheduled to Re-open In May

    Jonathan McNamaraFans gather outside the Underground/Nile Theatre in Mesa back in February.​Did I call it or did I call it? I might not be able to predict the lottery numbers or who's gonna win American Idol every year, but I was definitely on the money with my prognostication that PHX concert pro ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2010

    Battle of the Dishes: Caramelpalooza Edition

    Photo by Jonathan McNamara​ ​Last Friday, locals descended on the parking lot behind Smeeks to snag free caramels at our first-ever Chow Bella event, Caramelpalooza. Meanwhile over at Frances, a handful of judges including Chow Bella reader and haiku poet Jackie Porter, New Tim ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 29, 2010

    Caramelpalooza in Photos

      Jonathan McNamara​Our own Jonathan McNamara put together a delicious slideshow of images from Friday night's caramel-coated festivities at Smeeks. Check it out. (And winners are posted here.) 

  • Blogs

    December 10, 2009

    Z Tejas Unveils Winter Menu

    Jonathan McNamaraCitrus Flank Steak. There is spinach in there...somewhere.​We walked in to Z Tejas expecting a Winter menu full of heavy, comfort foods. Stuffing your face with carb and fat-laden dishes is why we celebrate the holidays, right? What we found instead were dishes that provide th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2009

    Welcome Diner Survives Destructive Car Crash

    Jonathan McNamaraLocal kids observe the destruction at Welcome Diner.​Just one day before this weekend's First Friday celebration, Welcome Diner was hit and partially destroyed by a car and truck that rocketed toward the local eatery after colliding with each other at the corner of 10th Street ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 24, 2009

    Stuffing Showdown: Weight Watchers Stuffing with Sage and Chives

    Jonathan McNamaraSometimes stuffing can be delicious and good for you.​From now 'til Thanksgiving, we'll be sharing various stuffing recipes -- all tested and taste-tested first-hand by Chow Bella contributors. On Thanksgiving Day, our "celebrity judge," New Times food critic Michele Laudig, will ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 20, 2009

    Stuffing Showdown: Hot Italian Sausage Stuffing With Thyme

    Jonathan McNamara Where is my fork!?​From now 'til Thanksgiving, we'll be sharing various stuffing recipes -- all tested and taste-tested first-hand by Chow Bella contributors. On Thanksgiving Day, our "celebrity judge," New Times food critic Michele Laudig, will weigh in with her favorite ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 11, 2009

    Ra Sushi's New Dishes

    Jonathan McNamaraRa appetizers.​Let's just get this out of the way: Ra Sushi is not Japanese cuisine. Not proper Japanese cuisine anyway. That being said, it can be delicious as I found out at a new menu tasting at Ra Sushi in North Scottsdale last night.

  • Blogs

    October 22, 2009

    New Against Me! Record Will Be Called "White Crosses"

    Jonathan McNamara​I've been excited about the new Against Me! record since we got to hear half of it at the band's stellar Kia-sponsored show at The Icehouse a little while back. Now, it has a name: White Crosses. Bitch Vig (Nevermind, Siamese Dream, etc.) produced the record, which was finished i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 12, 2009

    Tempe Farmer's Market In Photos

    Jonathan McNamaraAngie Dutton, Art Wong, and Diana Perrone, staff members at Tempe Farmer's Market​It seems that Tempe is hopping these days. First we announced a new bar, then a new burger joint and now a brand-new, daily farmer's market. We poked our noses in and checked the market out. What di ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2009

    First Taste: Smashburger in Tempe

    Jonathan McNamaraThe "All American Smashburger" with "Haystack Onions."​ The first thing you should know about Smashburger, the new burger joint that opened today on College Ave. in Tempe near the ASU Fulton Center, is that there are several items you won't find on the menu. No, I'm not talkin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2009

    Iron Chef 2: The Duel in the Desert Pits Mel Mecinas Against Payton Curry

    Jonathan McNamaraChef Mel Mecinas plates his final dish as time runs out. ​Allez-Cuisine! Whether you're viewing the uniquely Japanese original or Iron Chef America, the concept of pitting culinary greats against each other in a timed cooking battle has been proven time and time again to resu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2009

    Twestival Local Phoenix Raises Money for St. Mary's Food Bank

    Jonathan McNamara​ Last night, local twitter-users gathered at the Aloft Hotel in Tempe to socialize, try great food from local businesses as donate money to St. Mary's Food Bank during Twestival Local Phoenix. Twestival started as a Twitter-based meet-up but has grown into an event that benef ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2009

    Padre's Auctions Chairs to Benefit Orphanage in Mexico

    Jonathan McNamaraMark McDowell's "The Headache Chair"​Tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., Padre's Modern Mexican Cuisine will auction off a collection of artistic chairs created by Valley artists. Padre's hopes to raise $10,000 for the Children of Tapachula Mission Mexico Orphanage. New Times took a look ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2009

    Devastation 2009: Street Fighter IV Attracts the Country's Top Fighters

    Jonathan McNamaraDevastation players Nicholas Cucio (left) and Brian Valez. Valez runs Street Fighter tournaments at his Las Vegas-based game store "Game Over" and came out to support some of his hometown players at Devastation. Determined to grasp victory, two warriors step onto an airfield unconce ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2009

    Brew Review: New Dogfish Head and Other Great Brews at The Draft Magazine Craft Brew Festival

    Jonathan McNamaraVolunteers pour Steamworks Brewing's delicious beers at the Draft Magazine Craft Brewing Festival Choosing the right horse requires a lot of luck and a certain willingness to watch your already mentally-spent earnings fail to materialize. That's why I took a different gamble at Turf ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2009

    Budget Beat: The Welcome Diner

    Jonathan McNamara The Welcome Diner: Welcome!We at Budget Beat love hamburgers. Even if you've paid only scant attention to our humble blog over the past year, you've probably noticed that we like to order hamburgers when given the chance because: (a) they're a staple of American dining: (b) ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2009

    Summer Beer Quest Week Four

    Jonathan McNamara This week we checked out the beers on tap at The Roosevelt in Downtown Phoenix. How does the house ale stack up to the other Summer beers we've tried this month? Check out the slide show to find out.  Check out the updated slide show to cast your vote via e-mail or twitter.

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2009

    Summer Beer Quest Week Three

    Jonathan McNamaraSun Up's Stinger Pale Ale at Sonora Brewhouse. See this week's other beers in our slide show. As per @deonadee's request, I checked out Sonora Brewhouse this week to find their best Summer beer selections. My discoveries: Armadillo Red Ale, Hefeweizen, and Stinger Pale Ale.  Chec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2009

    The Sun Sessions: Bargrass Revival Does "Margaritaville"

    Jonathan McNamaraBargrass RevivalLast week I sent out a Twitter ( asking: "Anyone know a local band that can capture the soul-crushing pain of alcoholism, as documented in J.W. Buffett's 'Margaritaville,' in a cover?""Bargrass Revival" is what we got back, so we lined them u ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2009

    First Taste: Brio Tuscan Grille

    We tried to be good. We really did. Go take a quick step outside. Did you feel it? That's right. It's pool weather and if there's one reason we've been slogging it out at the gym day in and day out it's to enjoy this weather with preferably only two to three percent body fat. Mission failed. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 5, 2009

    Valentine's Gift Ideas from Downtown Phoenix Public Market

    Whether you love or hate Valentine's Day, you can soothe your heart and soul at Downtown Phoenix Public Market and grab a couple of nifty presents while you're at it. Many vendors also sell their goods at local stores, online, or at more than one Valley farmers' market, so check the links prov ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 28, 2009

    Spooning: Baked Corn Casserole

    Jonathan McNamaraSee this recipe in slide show form.  In this week's Spooning column, Colin Redding illustrates the results of mixing dating with kids and America's favorite starch. Think you know some corny jokes? Watch out for this one.  Yet cobs of the yellow stuff have more than humorous appli ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 12, 2008

    Lunch Bag Art

    When preparing food, one must not discount the importance of presentation. Perhaps this is the thought that has compelled the artist behind "Lunch Bag Art" to present his children with stunning, hand-drawn pieces right on their brown lunch sacks. Unfortunately, we can not know for sure. The content ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2008

    Month In Photos: October 2008

    By Jonathan McNamara Before you engage in October's major holiday, take a look back at this month's top stories and photos in this month in photos slideshow.

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2008

    Brew Review: Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter

    By Jonathan McNamara Last week's look at seasonal brews introduce us to a selection of ales and lagers that hinted (and in some cases hit you upside the face) with seasonal flavors. But there was one type of beer decidedly lacking from our selection: the porter. Every year Four Peaks introduces i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 28, 2008
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