Natalie Miranda

  • Blogs

    November 24, 2014

    10 Best Places for Tamales in Metro Phoenix

    Tamales are a tried and true Mexican dish, with South American versions making their way onto the metro Phoenix restaurant scene, as well. There's nothing quite like unwrapping a steaming corn husk with the tips of your fingers and finding moist masa stuffed with either spicy beef made with red chil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 16, 2014

    Fruit Lover's Paradise at Frutilandia

    We spin the globe and search for otherworldly spots to expand our eating horizons around the Valley. The Place: Frutilandia

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2014

    Tres Leches Cake Turned Into a Shake...But Only Until Sunday

    Hopdoddy, the fast-casual burger restaurant and bar in Scottsdale has taken two things we love, the milk shake and tres leches cake, blended them together and presented heaven in a cup. If you would like a serving of your own, be sure to get there by Sunday before their drink special ends.

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2014

    Hit and Miss at Acapulco Pasteleria y Antojitos in Central Phoenix

    When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few item ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2014

    Flan Battle: Puerto Rican Latin Bar and Grill vs. Los Burritos

    It only takes five ingredients to make flan, and the round custard with a rich caramel flavoring is usually all that is needed to polish off any fine Mexican dinner. Occasionally, custard isn't everyone's dessert of choice, but when prepared right, the texture can be the best part. We headed out t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2014

    Mejico vs. Fuego Bistro: Seafood Chile Relleno Battle

    Any well-made chile relleno is just as good modest as it is dressed up. Stuff it fat with cheese? Perfect. Fill it with bright vegetables and a choice selection of meat? We're good with that, too. But those who don't consider Taco Bell Mexican food know the breading is just as important as the chili ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 3, 2014

    Nopales for the Masses: A Mission to Bring Cactus to Valley Diners

    Monika Woolsey is on a mission to get Phoenicians to eat more cactus. As the proprietor of Hip Veggies, a business in the process of becoming a nonprofit, she is Arizona's most vocal nopales advocate, making it her goal to introduce people from all walks of life to the cactus food and reintroducing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2014

    Helpings Cafe in Phoenix Serves Good Food and Opportunities

    Since April, Valley residents have been eating for a good cause at Arizona's largest homeless shelter. Helpings Cafe is located at UMOM New Day Centers on Van Buren, where trainees from the shelter go through a six- or nine-week training program to gain work experience.

  • Blogs

    August 6, 2014

    5 Best Places in Metro Phoenix for Shaved Ice

    Banana splits and sundaes are so last year. Now it's all about the shaved ice. Choosing one or more flavors for whatever mood you may be in, topped with a splash of cream couldn't be sweeter. Go for the fruit flavors if you're craving that refreshing taste, or birthday cake or cotton candy flavors i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2014

    10 Best Ethnic Markets in Metro Phoenix

    The best part of traveling is indulging in food we've tried to imiitate at home. But let's face it: How many of us really have the time or funds to get to our dream locations? Luckily, we don't have to pull out those dusty passports to get a taste of India or Japan. Phoenix is full of convenient eth ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 15, 2014

    Burger Battle: Hopdaddy vs. Paradise Valley Burger Co.

    Nothing beats a juicy burger, on a perfect bun with melted cheese, and the oils dripping off the burger. We put Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Paradise Valley Burger Co. in the ring to see who takes the prize in the battle of the burgers. In This Corner: Hopdoddy Burger Bar The Setup: Hopdoddy is a burg ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 10, 2014

    5 Places to Eat and Drink in Huntington Beach, California

    Surf City, USA. Sun, sand, and pretty awesome little restaurants: Huntington Beach draws tourists from all over the world, and many times, the big-name places, like BJ's or Fred's Mexican Food, will welcome you with a long wait for a table. But no need to worry. We made our way up and down Main S ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 3, 2014

    10 Best Hot Dogs in Metro Phoenix

    There are few dishes that demonstration our country's regional differences as well as the hot dog. This All-American dish has been personalized and adapted by nearly every major city coast to coast with regionally specific toppings ranging from mayonnaise and beans (Sonoran Dog, anyone?) to ham cook ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2014

    5 Flavored Iced Coffee Drinks You Won't Be Embarrassed to Order

    I know, that headline is a bit harsh, but seriously. If you can hold your head up high holding a dulce triple caramel frappucino with whip and chocolate sprinkles, you're stronger stock than I. However, I'll readily admit a love of flavor when it isn't just a bunch of syrup. Thankfully, there are se ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2014

    Five Places to Eat in Southern California: San Gabriel Valley Edition

    This time of year, conversations at Chow Bella staff meetings tend to turn to who's eaten what and where. With the summer travel season in full swing, we bring you Food Tours, our writers' suggestions of what to eat and drink out of town. California is the land of the plentiful -- plentiful in its ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2014

    Homemade Tortillas at Menuderia Guanajuato on McDowell in Phoenix

    Menuderia Guanajuato has stood in the same location between auto shops for years on McDowell Road near 24th Street. It's a humble building with no fancy artwork or signage outside. In fact, the only element that causes the building to stand out is the lime green paint and the iron bars covering the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 12, 2014

    Tacos Sahuayo vs. Tacos Chava: Taco Truck Take Down

    Taco trucks serve up some of the best tacos we've had, and it's always a thrill to pull up to a random truck and scope their menu to see what they have that the last truck didn't have. Phoenix has a seemingly endless supply to choose from for those late-night cravings for fresh Mexican food. We too ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2014

    La Grande Orange vs. AZ 88: The BLT Battle

    The BLT: bacon, lettuce, tomato. It is a classic American sandwich that is just as good plain as it is dressed up with sauces and extra toppings. According to the Big Apple, the BLT stemmed from the Bacon Mit Tomato sandwich, which was named for the New York City subway line circa 1936. The BLT as w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2014

    10 Signs You're A Phoenix Foodie

    Don't worry, you don't have to be a Valley native to be considered a true Phoenix foodie. It's not how long you've lived here that gives you real culinary cred, but things like knowing where to find edible seafood and when it's peach picking season. Or knowing that a restaurant with Schreiner's saus ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 21, 2014

    Prickly Pear Sorbet Battle: Sweet and Spice at Taco Guild and Gertrude's

    Prickly pear has made its way onto drink and dessert menus in a growing number of restaurants. And you should be glad they it has. Prickly pears are the fruits on what are commonly referred to as prickly pear cactus, or nopales in Spanish. Taco Guild and Gertrude's at the Desert Botanical Garden b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 20, 2014

    JamRock Cafe and Grill: Goat Curry and Bread Pudding in Downtown Phoenix

    When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few item ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2014

    Mexican Sushi: A Trend We Hope Doesn't Stick

    Mexican sushi. That's one fusion we never thought would exist and one we're not too sure we want to stick around. Apparently it is a thing, since there are at least two spots in metro Phoenix that craft the rolls. Señor Sushi on Indian School and 43rd Avenue and Taco Kissi on Bethany Home are t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2014

    Gorditas Battle: El Ranchero vs. Gorditas El Tio

    Devouring a "little fat one," known as a gordita, is one of the joys of life. They resemble arepas or pupusas, and are filled with meat, cheese, onion, and sometimes cabbage, all stuffed in a thick tortilla. We did the dirty work and tried gorditas at Gorditas El Tio and El Ranchero to see who mak ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2014

    10 Best Places to Eat and Drink Cactus in Metro Phoenix

    You drive by prickly pear cactus everyday in the Valley. But chances are you didn't know every part of the plant is edible, and chefs around the Valley are making use of the Arizona native in their restaurants. We're not just talking about prickly pear margaritas, either. (Though there's a very go ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 18, 2014

    Chilaquiles Battle: La Tolteca vs. Pepe's Taco Villa

    Crispy fried tortilla strips smothered in sauce that makes the nose run, covered with cheese, a fried egg and chicken. We're talking chilaquiles. The Mexican breakfast dish -- which is perfect for any time of day -- makes us want to rewind our meal just to savor the flavors once again. Finding a s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2014

    Corazon Mexican Cocina in Central Phoenix: Homemade Horchata and Chilaquiles Off the Beaten Path

    Several members of the Chow Bella team noticed a now brightly painted Mexican restaurant, Corazon Mexican Cocina, and sent me to investigate. Before the facelift, the spot was known as Altamar Mexican Grill and still operates under the same owners. We approached with the question: Truly authentic ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2014

    Cakes and Ribbon Bakery Serves Up Sweet Tres Leches Cake and Cupcakes

    When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few item ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2014

    Sazón Bachata: The Caribbean Comes to Grand Avenue in Phoenix

    When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few item ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 9, 2014

    Arizona Aloha Festival 2014: Shaved Ice and Spam Musubi

    This weekend Tempe Beach Park is filled with food, music, dancing and jewelry celebrating the cultures of the Pacific Islands at the Arizona Aloha Festival. Marking its 20th anniversary, there was no shortage of good food, refreshing sweets and long lines at the event Saturday. It continues today, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 6, 2014

    5 Things to Order at Tortas Paquime That Aren't Tortas

    The place to get your torta fix undoubtedly is Tortas Paquime -- near 24th Street and McDowell. The restaurant's inexpensive Mexican sandwiches fill every need when hunger strikes. But did you know that there are other gems on the menu besides tortas? Just when you thought this place couldn't get a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 3, 2014

    Vovomeena vs. Snooze: Eggs Benedict Battle

    The world is divided into two groups of people: Those who don't particularly care for Eggs Benedict, and those who are overwhelmingly obsessed with the dish. This edition of Battle of the Dishes is for the latter. Count us among the obsessed, which is why we were thrilled with our latest assignment ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 28, 2014

    La Santisima vs. Cartel Coffee Lab: Horchata Battle

    Horchata is nothing new. It helps us take down those spicy dishes and top off a wet burrito. Made of milk, rice, cinnamon and sometimes almonds, horchata is a staple ion Mexican beverage menus, but can sometimes be too watery, too cinnamon-y, or too milky. But when it's executed perfectly, it is a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 25, 2014

    China Village vs. China Chili: Wor Wonton Soup

    With just a few weeks to go of acceptable soup weather, we've had a hankering for wor wonton. Both China Village and China Chili serve commendable wor wonton soup, so we decided to put them to the test and see whose bowl is best.

  • Blogs

    February 20, 2014

    La Barquita vs. Rosita's Place: Menudo on McDowell

    Menudo is a Mexican soup, an enticing bowl of hominy and tripe (beef stomach) made with either red or white broth. It's a well-known hangover cure. But don't save it just to bring you back to normal; it can be enjoyed when the temperature's lower or you just want a bowl of something to fill you up ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 19, 2014

    $5 Lunch at George and Dragon Pub in Central Phoenix

    At Chow Bella we go crazy for $10 lunches, so you can only imagine the excitement we felt when the sign outside George and Dragon English Restaurant and Pub advertised a $5 lunch. Once the happy feelings wore off, a bit of skepticism crept in, because how good can a $5 lunch really be? We had to che ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 5, 2014

    10 Valentine Gifts from Metro Phoenix Bakeries and Candy Shops

    Still stuck on what to get your special someone for Valentine's Day? Skip the same old box of chocolates and check out our list of locally made confections.

  • Blogs

    February 3, 2014

    Haute Chocolate at the Heard Museum

    Chocolate was the unifying factor at the Heard Museum's second annual Haute Chocolate festival, held Friday, Jan. 31. From cocktails to cupcakes -- with some Peruvian cacao thrown in -- it was a sweet evening with a few twists and even an edible fashion show.

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2014

    $10 Lunch at Gordas Baja Taco in Phoenix

    Gordas Baja Taco meets the most important criteria of Baja-style Mexican food: Seafood is heavily present on their menu, and it's fresh without being overcooked.