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Chow Bella's 12 Most Popular Phoenix Food and Restaurant Stories of 2012

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Can we all agree that we should sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of 2012? If you're like us, you probably need a refill of eggnog and a shoulder massage. While you're sipping that nog, and enjoying that massage (whether imaginary or real) come with us on a tour through the most-read stories of the year -- from breastaurants to sketti. Enjoy your holidays and gird your loins for 2013.

See Also: - 9 Best New Restaurants in 2012 - Chow Bella's 9 Most Dramatic Moments in the National Food (and Drink) Scene in 2012


Twin Peaks "Breastaurant" Opens in Scottsdale, and We're There for the Scenery, Er, Food

By Zachary Fowle

I am a man, and as a fairly typical representative of my gender I enjoy certain things. A large glass of beer. Sports games on high definition TVs. And, of course, breasts, both of the edible chicken and ogle-worthy human variety.

That said, I've never been a frequent visitor to breastaurants, the establishments that cater to these basest of desires. This is for a couple reasons. First, anyone who's lived in the Valley for a while has never wanted for views of scantily-clad ladies, so to mix arousal with a meal always seemed excessive.

​In the same vein, a restaurant that focused on the size of its servers' assets would inevitably pale in comparison to one that hired its staff based on skills and experience with food service. When eating, the food is the thing of import, and no amount of spectacular boobs can make up for a shitty chicken wing.

Read the full story on Twin Peaks in Scottsdale and check out the slideshow here.


Fast Food Chains Stop Using "Pink Slime" and A Quick Look at Your Blood After a Burger

By Shannon Armour

If you haven't seen this picture already, it's your (un)lucky day. It's the dreaded "Pink Slime" -- mechanically separated chicken cleaned with ammonia hydroxide, And according to Internet reports early last year, your McDonald's chicken nuggets were made out of the pink paste.

It turns out that McDonald's nuggets have actually been pink slime-free since 2003 when they switched over to all white, non-mechanically separated chicken parts, but the Golden Arches' burgers still contained a beef variety of the "pink slime." And Burger King and Taco Bell were using the mechanically separated beef, AKA "Finely Textured Lean Beef Trimmings" in their menu items as well.

Get your fill of the pink slime debate here.


Laurie Notaro's Eight Food(ie) Terms Past Their Expiration Dates

By Laurie Notaro

Some people, such as readers of Eatocracy, followers of multiple food blogs, and Food Network devotees, consider themselves as inductees in a special club of "culinary provocateurs" who rise far above the standard chewers of mealtime. So much to the point that as any exclusive rank, they've invented their own language, like twins who didn't eat each other in the womb, or a feral Jodie Foster living secretly in the woods.

Chicka, Chicka, chickabee.

Anyway, here are the most horrific examples of Foodiespeak, gathered from all sources.


11 Things to Eat and Drink Before You Leave Phoenix

By Amy Silverman

Skipping town? You're not alone. Arizona State University's graduation takes place this week -- and once summer hits in earnest, it won't just be the mortar-boarded crowd escaping this Easy Bake. Here's Chow Bella's Bucket List for food and drink in the Valley. Have a favorite we've missed? (Because we could have gone on and on.) Leave it in the comments.

See the full list of must-eats in the Valley here.


Fast Food Dump Continues at Seventh Avenue and McDowell, and It Stinks

By Laura Hahnefeld

For those of you lamenting downtown's lack of exciting restaurant choices, please direct your attention for a moment to an arguably more disturbing development going on at ​the intersection of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road -- an intersection that touches the F.Q. Story, Willo, and Encanto-Palmcroft historic districts -- and take a long, deep breath.

Smell that? That's the stench of the fast food dump developers are continuing to take in what could have been one of many different and more interesting solutions of what to do with this historic district intersection. In this case, favoring several national fast food chains over independent restaurant owners as a way to define "progress."

Are you a fan of the fast food dump? Check out the full debate here.


Is Matt's Big Breakfast Really Worth Getting Out of Your PJs For?

Writers Lauren Saria and Ando Muneno debate the value of rolling out of bed and going to Matt's Big Breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning. Ah, the eternal question, to cook Sunday breakfast or to have somebody cook for you.

See the debate here and weigh in on the debate.


What's the Most Overrated Food of 2012 So Far?

By Laura Hahnefeld

This year, it seems like we've seen more Angus beef, truffles, mesclun greens, and bacon on restaurant menus than ever before. And despite some food trends never seeming to die out (cupcake, anyone?), are there any eats in 2012 Valley chefs and restaurateurs would dub the most overrated thus far?

I asked a few, and here's what they had to say.


Seven Hate-Free Chicken Sandwiches in Metro Phoenix

By Shannon Armour

All this talk of chicken sandwiches lately has made us hungry for one thing -- a chicken sandwich.

But not just any ol' chicken sandwich, we want a delicious, hate- free chicken sandwich that believes that everyone should have the chance to enter into a life of sitting on a couch getting fat with the person they love. A chicken sandwich that wants everyone to experience in-laws and family reunions. And, most importantly, we want a chicken sandwich from one of our fine, local restaurants.

Here are our seven favorite locally made, hate-free chicken sandwiches. Enjoy!


'Honey Boo Boo's' Sketti: We Made It, Here's What It Tastes Like. (Hint: It Will Ruin Ketchup For You)

By Zachary Fowle

If there ever was a sign that Americans are getting dumber and the apocalypse is nigh, it's the popularity of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. It should tell you something when both the Democratic and Republican conventions fail to garner higher TV ratings than the antics of former Toddlers and Tiaras star Alana 'Honey Boo Boo Child' and her family of enablers.

Now, I do not watch the show. my editor says it's highly addictive, which does not surprise -- things that are bad for you usually are. My interest lies mainly in what the Thompson family chooses to eat. The topic of food arises occasionally on the show -- over the course of the series, we've learned Honey Boo Boo has a fondness for roadkill washed down with "Go Go Juice," a blend of Mountain Dew and Red Bull -- but none of these have been as horrifying as Sketti.

We dared to make the ketchup drenched concoction. Here's how it tasted.


Federal Pizza Opening Monday, October 22, in Central Phoenix (And We've Got the Menu)

By Laura Hahnefeld

Commence drooling, pizza fans. Federal Pizza, the latest restaurant from restaurateur Craig DeMarco and his Upward Projects team, is set to open on Monday, October 22.

Located at 5210 North Central Avenue in Central Phoenix, in the historic First Federal Savings & Loan building, Federal Pizza will join three of Upward Project's other restaurants in the neighborhood: the casual and patio-awesome restaurant and ice cream shop Windsor & Churn and the wine bar Postino Central.

Here's the Federal Pizza menu.


Zagat's 10 Best Restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale Gets Some Right, Overlooks Others

By Laura Hahnefeld

Just in time for the holidays, Zagat, the restaurant review website, has compiled its list of the ten best restaurants in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Based on a recent survey of consumer-based ratings and reviews, Zagat's new list of the top 10 spots to dine in Phoenix and Scottsdale includes the expected as well as a couple of surprises. But some restaurants, sadly, are overlooked.

See the complete list here.


Screaming, Expletives, and, Eventually, Police: All in the First Night of Kitchen Nightmares Taping at Amy's Baking Company

By Laura Hahnefeld

Yelpers went nuts over the weekend -- and guess who was the topic? Amy Bouzaglo of Amy's Baking Company in Scottsdale, who apparently cooked up a storm on Saturday.

In fact, I reached out to one diner who was at Saturday night's taping of Kitchen Nightmares at Amy's. He got a very real dose of reality television -- more than he bargained for, actually.

See the full story on the Kitchen Nightmares meltdown.

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