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  • Article

    Caviar Emptor - Gourmet of Russia

    Russian Food. Quick: What was the first thing that popped into your head? For many people, Soviet dining conjures up visions of fatty meat, greasy soups and overcooked cabbage. Of recipes born from suffering through long food lines only to find below...

    by Carey Sweet on May 11, 2000
  • Article

    Fork Chops - Life as a restaurant critic

    To draw on a line from Kermit the Frog, it's not easy being mean.Life as a critic -- be it theater, art, music, architecture or food -- is a balancing act. Critics strive to be fair while both entertaining and informing their readers. A positiv...

    by Carey Sweet on May 11, 2000
  • Article

    Sea Worthy - There's a new vegetable in town - sea asparagus!

    Move over, Awesome Blossom. There's a new vegetable on the marketing block that's threatening to steal diehard fans of French-fried onion and potato snacks.For the past 21 years, Phoenix-based Seaphire International, a spin-off of Planetary Design Co...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on May 11, 2000
  • Article

    Seasons Eatings

    Acacia at the Four Seasons, 10600 East Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, 480-515-5700. Hours: Dinner, nightly, 6 to 10 p.m. (to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday). My dining companion and I are debating whether to order wine this evening. Not whether we...

    by Carey Sweet on May 4, 2000
  • Article

    Salad Genes

    Menu writing is an art. Savvy restaurateurs go to great lengths to make their dishes sound appealing, waxing poetic about the virtues of even the commonest hamburger, meat loaf or macaroni and cheese. The more adjectives, usually, the more expensive ...

    by Carey Sweet on May 4, 2000
  • Article

    Burn, Baby, Burn

    I'm still at a loss as to why Mexico's Cinco de Mayo is such a big deal in the U.S. when it's not a big deal in Mexico. Most people I've polled labor under the illusion that the fifth of May is Mexican Independence Day. If you think that, you get a ...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on May 4, 2000
  • Article

    Arty Appetite

    Ironwood Caf, inside the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central, Phoenix, 602-252-8840. Hours: Breakfast and Lunch, Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As drivers on I-10 approach the Seventh Avenue and Seventh S...

    by Carey Sweet on April 27, 2000
  • Article

    Diners Clubbed

    It's a wonder we don't hear more news of restaurant staffers going completely postal. They've got the motives -- long hours spent on their feet, often with demanding customers, and with little control over (but ultimate blame for) the kitchen, lo...

    by Carey Sweet on April 27, 2000
  • Article

    Growing My Way

    "We want to be the Harry and David of certified organic produce. That's our aspiration," says Gina Verdugo, co-owner with Dan Wygocki of Boxed Greens Inc. Verdugo is referring to the much-copied originator of the now legendary Fruit-of-the-Month Clu...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on April 27, 2000
  • Article

    Garlic Breadth

    Va Bene Ristorante Italiano, 4025 East Chandler Boulevard, Phoenix, 480-706-4070. Hours: Lunch, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner, daily, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Va Bene owner Sasha Cosic welcomes us warmly, leading us through small cluste...

    by Carey Sweet on April 20, 2000
  • Article

    Spring Roll

    So many events, so little time, my party companion laments, digging through the stacks of announcements crowding my desk. It's April again, and it seems that everywhere we turn, there's another tempting fund raiser, festival or feast demanding our at...

    by Carey Sweet on April 20, 2000
  • Article

    Readers Digest

    The Mad Hatter must have organized the menu and set the table for the First International Edible Book High Tea. The "tea" -- and I use the term quite loosely -- was held during one of Tempe's patience-trying street fairs on Changing Hands Bookst...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on April 20, 2000
  • Article

    Hogan's Hero

    New York has its bagels, pretzels and pizza. Chicago has its hot dogs and sliders. San Francisco has its sourdough. And the Valley doesn't have its fry bread. It's a perplexing situation. While less than three percent of the Valley's 2.7 million res...

    by Carey Sweet on April 13, 2000
  • Article

    Charity Dining Haul

    Sometimes it is so simple to bash chain restaurants, and admittedly, it can be fun. They're behemoths with mass-feeding troughs. They're invisible, out-of-state corporations more concerned with the bottom line than with creative cuisine. They bombard...

    by Carey Sweet on April 13, 2000
  • Article

    Casing the Joint

    Back in 1958, when most high school guys were dreaming about cruising Camelback in a cool, two-tone Chevy, Gary Schiller was probably thinking about sausages. That's because at age 13, he began working after school as a Boy Friday at Schreiner's Fine...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on April 13, 2000
  • Article

    Quiet Riot

    Quiessence Culinary Center, 6106 South 32nd Street, 602-305-8192. Hours: Dinner, Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m., October 1 through June 1. Sometimes, you must admit, eating out can be such work. First, there's figuring out what you're hungry for. Chin...

    by Carey Sweet on April 6, 2000
  • Article

    Pantry Raid

    Why do people love to tell me about their food-provoked illnesses? Perhaps they're concerned for my occupational safety. More likely it's similar to that perverse urge we all have to tell our newly pregnant friend about a woman who gave birth to a th...

    by Carey Sweet on April 6, 2000
  • Article

    Martini Bopper

    Never has one cocktail inspired so many people to produce so many memorably bad quotes (not to mention urban myths). I'm talking about the martini, of course. You know, quotes like those slung around by Barnaby Conrad III, author of The Martini: An...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on April 6, 2000
  • Article

    Pho Speed Ahead

    Pho Bang Restaurant, 1702 West Camelback Road, Suite 14, 602-433-9440. Hours: Lunch and dinner, daily, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Our host, Lee, has brought my dining buddy the wrong soup, and he knows it. Yet, he's grinning from ear to ear, and when we ...

    by Carey Sweet on March 30, 2000
  • Article

    Spy la Mode

    You're enjoying a quiet, romantic evening at your favorite restaurant. It's just the two of you, gazing lovingly into each other's eyes. But is it? Increasingly, it may be fine to nibble on your appetizer, but not on your date's ear -- not unless...

    by Carey Sweet on March 30, 2000
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