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  • Article

    Dip Shtick - Traditional fondue at The Melting Pot

    It had been too many years since I'd indulged in fondue -- that fun and fatty composition of cheese, oil, broth, wine or chocolate heated to bubbling in a tabletop cauldron, then plunged with any variety of breads, fruit, vegetables, meats and cakes....

    by Carey Sweet on July 13, 2000
  • Article

    Taco Shell Shock - Downtown Phoenix dining hasn't gotten much respect, historically

    Tee Pee Tap Room, 602 East Lincoln Street, Phoenix, 602-340-8787. Hours: Lunch and dinner, daily, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. On game nights, restaurant remains open one hour after game ends. Downtown Phoenix dining hasn't gotten much respect, historically...

    by Carey Sweet on July 6, 2000
  • Article

    Greece 'n' Go - Can Tony Makridis find the right talent?

    Won't some caring chef please come to Tony Makridis' rescue and take over his long-awaited Cafestia coffee house, pastry shop and bar? The owner of Phoenix's much-loved Greekfest has been teasing us for more than five years about the "any day now" op...

    by Carey Sweet on July 6, 2000
  • Article

    When Plush Comes to Shove - The Velvet Room

    Some pretty funky history is happening in downtown Scottsdale these days. Since the opening of The Velvet Room in late March, the Old Town neighborhood has been jettisoned back to the 1940s and the "Golden Age of Jazz." The supper-club concept has be...

    by Carey Sweet on June 29, 2000
  • Article

    Later, My Check - Where do hospitality employees go for good food when they'redone with work?

    Where do hospitality employees go for good food when they're done with work? Many restaurants close at 11 p.m. on weekends. Nightclubs don't kick patrons out until 1 a.m. And resorts never shut their doors. What's a starving late-shift staffer to do?...

    by Carey Sweet on June 29, 2000
  • Article

    Big Fish, Mall Pond - Hapa Sushi Lounge

    Given perfect hindsight, most of us would have been a whole lot smarter when we were 12 years old. To this day, I dearly wish I had been. At this tender time of my life, I was living in Japan, land of gorgeous gardens, show-stopping fashion and some ...

    by Carey Sweet on June 22, 2000
  • Article

    Bottle Fatigue - No more "Chardonnays that taste like baseball bats"

    Chef Gregory Casale of Scottsdale's Gregory's Grill has corked his bring-your-own-wine policy. The three-year-old restaurant will be closed the month of July as Casale tours Napa Valley wineries and meets with local purveyors to select what he calls ...

    by Carey Sweet on June 22, 2000
  • Article

    Mill Rut - Monti's La Casa Vieja

    If you've ever toured the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, you'll feel right at home at Monti's La Casa Vieja in Tempe. Picture hunkering wooden walls, patch-painted but inescapably old. Imagine yawning galleries hung with portraits of ancient, macabre...

    by Carey Sweet on June 15, 2000
  • Article

    Waiting for Gourmet - Valley diners search for variety

    Since the Arizona Center opened in 1990, Valley diners have been poised, fork and knife grasped firmly in hand, waiting to pounce on the many culinary wonders promised by downtown's then-developers and politicos. Coupled with the Mercado, the center ...

    by Carey Sweet on June 15, 2000
  • Article

    Taco Bellwether - Mangos Mexican Cafe

    One of my best resources for reviews of one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-way restaurants is word of mouth. Usually, these places don't have the funds for elaborate marketing or benefit from having a big-name chef backing them. So when a friend mentions Mang...

    by Carey Sweet on June 8, 2000
  • Article

    Noon Pie - Not offering lunch makes perfect sense for some high-end restaurants

    It's been several months since the hugely popular Pizzeria Bianco stopped offering lunch, yet my phone still rings with hungry diners' lamentations -- and speculations. Perhaps chef-owner Chris Bianco has gotten too big for his pizza pans, callers pr...

    by Carey Sweet on June 8, 2000
  • Article

    Italian Nice

    I grew up in a condiment-free household. It's sad, but true. Our house was in a salad-dressing-free zone. Sauces were used only if they were imperative to the construction of a dish, and even then, sometimes not. Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, barbecu...

    by Carey Sweet on June 1, 2000
  • Article

    Nibbles 'n' Bits

    TV Dinner: There's no question that sizzle sells, but when is a menu recommendation just so much bravado? I applaud when a good restaurant earns media recognition, but I'm not sure that being told by a server to order a dish simply "because it has be...

    by Carey Sweet on June 1, 2000
  • Article

    Sprig Deal

    My dining companion is messing with my head, or, should I say, my palate. He swears there's lemon in the complimentary pre-dinner plate of iced watermelon we're enjoying at the Green Leaf Cafe.I pluck another chunk of fruit, but there's no lemon flav...

    by Carey Sweet on May 25, 2000
  • Article

    Pre-Fab Fixe Dinner

    This past weekend was the 81st annual National Restaurant Association's Restaurant & Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, the largest industry gathering of the year. More than 2,000 exhibitors pitched their products in almost 900 restaurant-related categorie...

    by Carey Sweet on May 25, 2000
  • Article

    Sake to Me

    Most of the people who showed up at a recent sake tasting hosted by the Japan America Society of Phoenix knew what many Americans apparently don't: Good sake should never be served hot."The only place in the world you'll get hot sake is here in the U...

    by Kathleen Vanesian on May 25, 2000
  • Article

    Razziberto's

    By the time you read this, chef Erasmo "Razz" Kamnitzer will be packing up his pots and pans and getting ready to shutter his eponymous Razz's restaurant as he does every summer. From May 20 to September 1, the popular eatery goes dark as Kamnitzer a...

    by Carey Sweet on May 18, 2000
  • Article

    Date Shake

    Dating is an evil practice. It forces people who barely know each other to spend awkward hours suffering through dinner and a movie, a night at the theater, or a weekend trying to find their way home from a foreign country that doesn't even have the ...

    by Carey Sweet on May 18, 2000
  • Article

    Dunk Food

    Basketball isn't really my game. To the extent that I'm a sports fan at all, I like football and baseball. I'm really a movie buff. The signature snack of my pastime isn't peanuts or Cracker Jacks, but popcorn. As appalling as ticket and concession p...

    by M.V. Moorhead on May 18, 2000
  • 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
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