Every week, there's a cornucopia of Phoenix food news, features, and reviews to report here at Chow Bella. If you're like most people, you probably just don't have the time to get to all of it. It's kind of like those burgers at Old Town Whiskey; it just won't all fit in your mouth ... or in this case, your day. So, here's a recap of some of the top stories from the week that you may have missed.
It's been a fun three-year run, but Charleen Badman and Pavle Milic are pulling up stakes on Stetson Drive. They're moving the tiny restaurant that's won countless local awards, a nod for their dreamy leeks dish in Food & Wine and the undying loyalty of veggie lovers everywhere -- a couple of streets over to Craftsman Court. That's right.The soul of their first wildly successful restaurant and Baratin (the little wine bar no one knows how to pronounce) will soon collide.
Why the move? Cheaper rent and a chance to have all the businesses (AZ Wine Merchants, Bodega, Baratin and the new incarnation of the former FnB) under the same roof, which cuts down considerably on schlepping.
It's likely you've already heard about the Grey Lady's utterly brutal review of Guy Fieri's latest concept restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, planted deep in the beating heart of Time Square. Pete Wells' review delivers a burn so hard it could put astronauts into orbit around Mars. Out of a possible 4 stars, Wells rated Fieri's effort with no stars and an additional notation of "poor."
Well, Fieri couldn't let the New York Times flame broil his latest creation on the national stage, so he red-eyed it out to New York in time for Thursday's Today show. He and his signature hair tried their best to explain away the four consecutive horrible experiences endured by the New York Times reviewer.
Kevin Binkley, chef owner of Binkley's Restaurant and Café Bink, has been planning to open an in-town restaurant for some time now. He'd found what he thought was the perfect location last summer, only to have the deal fall through. Now he's found another one -- in Central Phoenix -- that he's very excited about.
The deal isn't signed yet, and when I talked to him, he promised to tell me more when he could. He recently called to let me know that Howard Seftel at the Arizona Republic had gotten wind of it and called for details, which Binkley gave him. His new restaurant -- if it all shakes out -- will be housed in the space currently occupied by Sophie's Bistro.
Binkley will be open some time in February (by Valentine's Day, let's hope!).
We've spent the last year in the laboratory putting Phoenix under the microscope to reveal hundreds of specimens of the best culture, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining, and nightlife the city has to offer. And we're finally ready to publish our results. Nerd alert! Now presenting Scientific Phoenix.
Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Scottsdale: Orange Table
Chef Elizabeth Meinz dishes up hearty, top-notch morning fare at this cheerful neighborhood spot practically hidden away in the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza. Popular breakfast items include bananas Foster French toast and red flannel hash with corned beef, roasted beets, and potatoes, but flapjack fans should make sure to order up Meinz's killer jalapeño and pecan pancakes. See the full Best of Phoenix 2012 entry and download the app here.
--New Time Staff
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 items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Central Bistro Location: 3160 East Camelback Road Open: Just over a week Eats: Foods of Italy, France, and Spain Price: Between $11 and $30 per person Goodbye, sushi. Hello, Euro fare.
Zen 32, the former sushi spot at the northwest corner of Camelback Road and 32nd Street, truly is no more -- not even a scrap of the place exists. Completely remodeled, the new space, which opened a little over a week ago, is now the home of Central Bistro, an upscale casual restaurant courtesy of restaurateur German Osio and chef Andrea Volpi, who also own Local Bistro in North Scottsdale.
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Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.