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  • Article

    Star Struck - Bunny versus duck

    This summer, I saw an amazing performance of the national anthem before a D-Backs game. The singer was a young boy with a graceful voice that made me think, "This kid's gonna be the next Luther Vandross." When he hit the highest note, I know I wasn't...

    by Michele Laudig on October 5, 2006
  • Article

    Resto the Story - Latin mess

    "Urban. Latin. Sexy. Chill." That caught my eye when I checked out the online menu for Ticoz, a self-described "resto-bar" that opened last month on Seventh Street, just north of Camelback, in the same strip that houses tiki treasure trove Go-Kat-...

    by Michele Laudig on September 28, 2006
  • Article

    Royal Feast - Dim sum of its parts

    Chandler used to strike me as a mild-mannered commuter 'burb that wasn't so different from other booming parts of the Valley a young population like Tempe, a historic downtown area like sprawling Mesa, and the upscale aspirations of a junior Scotts...

    by Michele Laudig on September 21, 2006
  • Article

    Crabby Chic - Reeling in a big one

    If middle-school kids work at all, they might mow lawns or deliver papers to earn a few bucks. My first job was a little more unusual. Almost 20 years ago, I worked at my parents' seafood shop, spending hours picking shell from piles of crabmeat for ...

    by Michele Laudig on September 14, 2006
  • Article

    Mex Appeal - Bet this Ranch

    "This is cooool!" I almost blurted that out loud the first time I visited Tradiciones, a new Mexican restaurant at the Phoenix Ranch Market. From the parking lot, it doesn't look like much, but soon I found myself in a Mexican courtyard with benc...

    by Michele Laudig on September 7, 2006
  • Article

    D.I.Y. Dining - Auto da pho

    If you can't make something from scratch, customizing it is the next best thing. When I bought a new car, I could hardly stand to drive it until I got some new rims. If I get bored with my wardrobe, I start doing wacky things with accessories, or...

    by Michele Laudig on August 31, 2006
  • Article

    Thai Me Up - Siam what Siam

    It's not hard to figure out why college students and ethnic restaurants go hand in hand. One demands food that's a cheap, quick, and tasty alternative to instant ramen, and the other is happy to accommodate. So the pickings near the ASU campus are pr...

    by Michele Laudig on August 24, 2006
  • Article

    Dance Flavor - Can't spin these platters

    Multitasking is nothing new to downtown businesses, especially when it comes to nightlife. Think of Modified Arts (an art gallery/music venue), the OnePlace (an alternative church/music venue), or the Paper Heart (an art gallery/bar/performance space...

    by Michele Laudig on August 17, 2006
  • Article

    Sweet Success - Euro 'kay

    Going out to dinner with my Uncle Jim feels like performance art. Uncle Jim's encyclopedic knowledge of food comes from years spent paying his dues as garde-manger, sous chef, kitchen manager at a variety of upscale eateries. He hasn't worked...

    by Michele Laudig on August 10, 2006
  • Article

    G Spot - No more whining

    A few years ago, I moved to a historic district near downtown Phoenix, figuring that the best way to support the city's renaissance was to live here, shop here, and eat here, frequenting the small, locally owned joints that dot the landscape. But the...

    by Michele Laudig on August 3, 2006
  • Article

    Fair Trade - Something old, something new

    When I was a kid, I could not wait to become an adult, and my grandparents' themed cocktail parties fueled my imagination. Not that my memories are based on actual experiences, mind you. These glitzy poolside affairs never included children. Instead,...

    by Michele Laudig on July 27, 2006
  • Article

    Big Mouth - Land of the falling expectation

    The expectations game can be as dangerous for restaurant owners as playing mumblety-peg with a 10-inch, razor-sharp Bowie knife. If you roll into town telling all and sundry you're the bee's knees, pour $1 million into your eatery, and brag that your...

    by Stephen Lemons on July 20, 2006
  • Article

    Harry's Taco - A theme within a theme

    Pink Taco is to Mexican grub what the House of Blues is to soul food, or P.F. Chang's is to Chinese. Each of these spots doles out eats for yupper middle-class, gringo palates. So if you're expecting either a gourmet meal or an authentic ethnic dinin...

    by Stephen Lemons on July 13, 2006
  • Article

    Organ-icky - Tea for none

    The late '70s. California. Macrobiotic cooking. Wacky New Age cults. Jogging. Yoga. Tibetan Buddhism. Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt. Uri Geller. Wheat germ. Meditation. The Esalen Institute. UFOs. Patty Hearst. Est. And my own personal fashion icon,...

    by Stephen Lemons on July 6, 2006
  • Article

    Tofu U - A very strange enchanted soy

    I wonder if Damon Brasch could do for veganism what American Apparel founder Dov Charney has done for generic clothing: make it sexy as all get-out. Brasch is the owner of Green, New American Vegetarian, a purveyor of vegan comfort food on Scottsdale...

    by Stephen Lemons on June 29, 2006
  • Article

    Iddly Ain't Piddly - The pleasures of no flesh

    There's been no love lost between myself and those belonging to the Valley's veg-head clan. And I'm a big enough man -- literally as well as figuratively -- to admit that certain prejudiced perceptions of the vegan/vegetarian tribe have heretofore in...

    by Stephen Lemons on June 22, 2006
  • Article

    Paradise Regained - Kebab's your uncle

    Why have I been skipping around the office, of late, humming Iron Butterfly's heavy metal classic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as I go? Have I been doing peyote again? Swallowed a bag of 'shrooms, followed by a tab or three of X? Yahweh, no. My drug of choic...

    by Stephen Lemons on June 15, 2006
  • Article

    Fisherman's Boos - Throw this one back

    A humongous Pop-Tart. That's what this marionberry cobbler -- named for a type of blackberry, not the erstwhile mayor of D.C. -- reminds me of, from its gooey, purplish guts, to its crust, which, like Kellogg's toaster pastry, turns soft after a litt...

    by Stephen Lemons on June 8, 2006
  • Article

    Guinea Piggery - The little bistro that should

    There are a barrel of jackasses out there in foodie land who insist I'm never supposed to visit a fresh grubbateria until it's survived six months or so, and to these jackasses, I say: Eat my ragged Speedo! My five-year mission as your Captain Kirk o...

    by Stephen Lemons on June 1, 2006
  • Article

    Sun City Thai - The satay after

    I used to loathe doggie bags, mainly the way they stink up the sedan as you're motoring home with half a curry fermenting in the back seat. But I've learned the trick of rolling down all four windows on the trek home so that the breeze blows back any...

    by Stephen Lemons on May 25, 2006
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