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5 Best Bites & Dishes of 2013

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For over two years, Valley chefs and restaurateurs have been responding to questions about food, service, the restaurant scene, customers -- pretty much anything -- that I've had on my mind for a weekly post we call Bites & Dishes.

For 2013, I've rounded up five of the best topics, those that sparked discussion, provided insight into the Valley's cooking scene, and made us smile.

Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

See also: Food and Drink Trends for 2014 as Predicted by Valley Chefs

Is Yelp Fair to Restaurants?

The rating site Yelp has been accused of removing or hiding negative reviews for companies that advertise, having users who abuse the system by blackmailing restaurants, and was once called a "forum for uninformed morons" by Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern. Valley chefs had a few reservations about Yelp as well.

Is it Ever Okay Not to Tip?

Rudeness? Not receiving food? Inattentiveness? I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs whether they thought it was ever acceptable not to leave a tip. They had a few things to say -- and so did readers.

20 Things No One Told You About Being a Chef in Phoenix

Most of us are familiar with the less-glorious aspects of being a chef: the long hours, the time it takes to get to the top, and (ouch!) the aches and pains. But what about being a chef in Phoenix makes cooking here so distinctive? Valley chefs let us in on some things we may not have thought of.

Favorite Local Products from Valley Chefs

Get ready to start shopping -- from produce, cheese, bread, meat, adult libations, and other foodstuffs, these of-the-moment local picks from Valley chefs might be your next procurement.

10 Bizarre Diner Requests Asked of Valley Chefs

From unusual menu modifications, to questionable preparation techniques, to downright bizarre uses for chocolate, Valley chefs and restaurateurs told tales of taking special orders to a whole new level.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Phoenix® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

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