The 15-year Valley resident, professional DJ and bassist for local band Elvis Before Noon is spinning at the Hotel Valley Ho this New Year's Eve. He also spins and plays regularly at AZ 88, Olive & Ivy and The Vig.
What did you eat for dinner last night? That's somewhat of a loaded question if the aforementioned night is a night off. And it was. So, I prepared bay scallops and shrimp sauteed in red wine, garlic, lemon, butter and dill, which I quickly seared and browned and added to roasted garlic and tomato basil sauce. A quick Waldorf salad as a pre-cursor and afterward, the resulting pasta dish was served over angel hair. Shiraz was the paired wine.
Favorite food: Without a doubt, steak is my favorite food. Specifically, filet mignon. This includes preparation, as well, if I am at home. I will usually prepare a marinade that consists of a beer, bourbon or wine, adding garlic, honey, balsamic, hickory seasoning and ground black pepper. If possible, I'll go for some mesquite or Jack Daniels wood chips and sear in the flavor for a perfectly medium rare finish.
Least favorite food: I'd say liver, but that just can't be food. So, generally speaking, beans. Specifically, lima and refried.
Favorite dessert: Surprisingly simple--cheesecake. Fresh. New York. Even better with berries and a drizzle or glaze. And...chocolate Häagen-Dazs ice cream. Even better impaled with a Kit Kat chocolate bar.
Favorite local restaurant and meal to order there: I believe that dining is quite often a practical necessity and other times a divine luxury. Therefore, I have a two-part answer: On special occasions, J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician is a true experience, always. From the welcoming cocktail to dessert, there's not a misstep. Their iceberg wedge salad is to-die-for, the filet awesome and bernaise sauce, heavenly. Everything on the menu I have had has been stellar. Coming down to earth however, without a doubt, Frasher's Steakhouse & Lounge is my favorite local eatery. Great service and hospitality housed within a modest environment that shrouds what is still a great Scottsdale secret. It is a privilege to enjoy their fine steak and home cooking style of sides without the whole a la carte ramp-up deal. Consistent and modest, they never disappoint.
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Favorite local bar and drink to order there: Honestly, there aren't many bars that make a cocktail "legendary" and in a "classic" manner like AZ 88. What's interesting is that the place is a bar with great food, but people refer to it as a restaurant with great drinks. Regardless, for 21 years and counting, they still embrace drinks and concoctions the old-fashioned way. Tonics and Coca-Cola come out of a bottle and never does any cranberry, lemon or orange juice come out of a gun. Their Cosmopolitan is still unmatched in the Valley. The Espresso martini? Definitive. And, what I order, the margarita, is an insider's secret because people never think of ordering a margarita inside that kind of ambience that doesn't scream Mexico or the Southwest. They should, though, because no one has AZ 88's unique sweet and sour recipe.
Favorite memory involving food: A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was quite young and in Vegas, and while in Mandalay Bay, I saw a storefront for Aureole. The restaurant had an intriguing modern art deco front, and through the window, I could see a tower of wine that was 4 stories or 42 feet high. I never forgot what I saw, and at that moment, I vowed that I would one day return to this place and wine and dine. In 2008, I traveled to Vegas to see Rush in that very same casino and made reservations to dine at Aureole. The sommelier had a computer tablet for wine selection. Servers, on pulleys and cables, "climbed" the wine tower to grab a patrons selections, like something out of Mission Impossible. The food and service was perfect and, what's more, when I told the staff about my long-time aspiration, they were thrilled and honored, giving me chocolates, memoirs and a book from the chef: Charlie Palmer's Guide to the Practical American Kitchen. It was the best restaurant experience of my life and as I cannot wait to return, I'm still using the cookbook as best I can!
Food tip or recipe to share: Like Ratatouille in my favorite Pixar film, I tend to not follow recipes to the letter; I use my sense of smell to know what to add to a dish. But as a lover of garlic, I will mention that 10 seconds in a microwave will make a clove fall right out of the peel.