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  • Article

    Pox Populi - Odds are against the few good bites

    The classic rock jams filtering through the stereo system at the Yard House in Desert Ridge are hand-picked at the corp's Irvine HQ by none other than The Founder himself, Steele Platt, whom I imagine as a dead ringer for The Architect in The Matrix ...

    by Stephen Lemons on January 26, 2006
  • Article

    Tandoori Tummy - Feast of clay

    I was home alone, meditating in the buff after a particularly sweaty yoga workout, when he appeared to me in a blaze of glory: the four-armed, elephant-headed Hindu deity Lord Ganesha, that potbellied avatar of wisdom, success and prosperity, revered...

    by Stephen Lemons on January 19, 2006
  • Article

    Valley Vixen - Ho still needs a few new tricks

    Like Scottsdale really needs another Ho, one more glamour gal about town who lives to slink sexily through Valley nightlife, turning heads, breakin' hearts and bleeding wallets dry. And yet, the newly revamped Hotel Valley Ho, with its recently compl...

    by Stephen Lemons on January 12, 2006
  • Article

    Beggar's Banquet - Sticking a fork in 2005

    Selective amnesia and creative revisionism run rampant this time of year, like social diseases in a pre-penicillin bordello. I can't frown too much upon my comrades in criticism for wanting to repress the negatives and stack up the positives in their...

    by Stephen Lemons on January 5, 2006
  • Article

    The Razor's Edge - New Caribbean spot is all over the map

    Anyone remember Uptown 713, that ghastly excuse for a grub-ateria that once occupied a little shoebox-size space behind Apollo's Lounge, near Seventh Street and Bethany Home Road? Believe me, it's not worth remembering. The only reason I haven't comp...

    by Stephen Lemons on December 29, 2005
  • Article

    Christmas Carumba - Owners can't spell, but man, can they cook

    It's as if jolly ol' Saint Nick himself laid a massive Yule log right in front of my Xmas fir with a missive ordering me to burn, baby, burn. Sure, this time of year, most good little boys and girls are having sugarplum dreams of iPods and Xboxes, bu...

    by Stephen Lemons on December 22, 2005
  • Article

    Pig Pickin' - Right on 'cue

    George Miller keeps the good stuff in a jug behind the counter of his small, nine-month-old Carolina-style 'cue joint, Restaurant 28, in a Glendale strip mall on the southeast corner of 51st Avenue and Olive. If you tell him you hail from the Old Nor...

    by Stephen Lemons on December 15, 2005
  • Article

    Lady of Spain - Tapas-notch

    When it comes to dining, or any other aspect of existence worth writing about, I consider myself simpatico with Ray Milland's quip in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend, where he riffs off a line from Thoreau, stating, "Most men lead lives of quiet desp...

    by Stephen Lemons on December 8, 2005
  • Article

    Oh, Fenix Fair - Standards done well

    What am I to do with a restaurant so studiously unambitious as the still-neonatal Fenix Eatery and Bar, ensconced in the small, dowdy "Arcadia Village" shopping center at 40th Street and Camelback Road? I hear the rabble crying to me like they did to...

    by Stephen Lemons on December 1, 2005
  • Article

    Crane & Q - Bob and Bobby McGee's

    The ghost of Bob Crane led me to Bobby-Q, though the star of the '60s sitcom Hogan's Heroes didn't stick around to help me eat my ribs. I should explain that Crane's brutal, 1978 homicide in a Scottsdale apartment complex has always been a subject of...

    by Stephen Lemons on November 24, 2005
  • Article

    Iron Chef - Maybe the Valley's best

    Cave Creek might as well be the dark side of the moon as far as this city mouse is concerned. I know, I know. It's scenic and all that crap, but in my book, any area so lacking in streetlights is the sticks. And as I wend my way up through the blackn...

    by Stephen Lemons on November 17, 2005
  • Article

    Spice War - Not just mad about it

    According to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Anubis, the jackal-headed judge of the underworld, weighs the hearts of men against the feather of truth and justice. As long as the organ does not tip the scale, the deceased is granted immortality. But if...

    by Stephen Lemons on November 10, 2005
  • Article

    Hat Trick - About as Moroccan as Mo Rocca

    For some, the word "fez" might conjure up romantic images of the ancient Moroccan city of Fez with its walled medina and medieval mosques, the setting for Paul Bowles' brilliant, intricate novel The Spider's House. Others might picture my hero Sydney...

    by Stephen Lemons on November 3, 2005
  • Article

    Short Loin Legends - Too much at steak

    Regarding the fleeting nature of human achievement, I'm reminded of the words of that controversial icon of early cinema, director D.W. Griffith, who once stated, "Movies are written in sand: applauded today, forgotten tomorrow." Some movies more tha...

    by Stephen Lemons on October 27, 2005
  • Article

    Mercado Madness - Meanwhile, back at the Ranch

    I've had it up to here with work, so I've decided to phone in my column from the thriving Mexican city in which I'm vacationing. I'm seated on a long, brown and green picnic table with clusters of Hispanic families and couples, all speaking so fast i...

    by Stephen Lemons on October 20, 2005
  • Article

    Nighthawk Noshes - Beyond the diner

    If Gotham is the city that never sleeps, then culinarily speaking, Phoenix gets all its beauty rest and then some. The primary complaint I hear from freshly unpacked twenty- and thirtysomething transplants concerns the lack of late-night nosheries. A...

    by Stephen Lemons on October 13, 2005
  • Article

    Dragon Catcher - Chow yum

    Super Dragon, I know, sounds like one of those fantastic drawings Jon Heder does while portraying ultra-nerd Napoleon Dynamite in the flick of the same name. You know, like Napoleon's "liger," a cross between a male lion and a female tiger that, acco...

    by Stephen Lemons on October 6, 2005
  • Article

    Tortas Gigantes! - They fill your pan

    I have been to the mountaintop, and, yes, I've eaten it, because that's just the kind of guy I am. The edible pinnacle of which I speak is as formidable as Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, and while devouring it, I felt like the food-critic equivale...

    by Stephen Lemons on September 29, 2005
  • Article

    Hurts So Good - They'll Thai you up

    Unless you have a tongue made of cast iron and a mouth lined with ceramic tiles, the clear noodle salad at Sala Thai Restaurant on 32nd Street, a quarter-mile north of Shea Boulevard, should set your gob ablaze like Los Angeles during the riots, and ...

    by Stephen Lemons on September 22, 2005
  • Article

    Chain Gang - Hunger's not so bad

    Are all restaurant chains doomed to suck eggs like Old Yeller? Not necessarily. It's hard to find fault with a Chambord margarita from Z'Tejas, for instance. And I do occasionally get a craving for an In-N-Out burger or a roast beef sammy from Arby's...

    by Stephen Lemons on September 15, 2005
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