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.
The Valley should thank its lucky desert stars that Jeff Kraus, the man behind ++Experience++ and the currently defunct Truckin' Good Food truck (named one of the nation's "Top 10 Most Influential Food Trucks" by the Huffington Post), is putting his innovative spin on French cuisine brick-and-mortar style.
His new eatery, Crêpe Bar, in a strip-mall on the northwest corner of Elliot and Rural roads in Tempe, opened almost two weeks ago. And if you've got a hankering for the luscious thin pancakes with various toppings or fillings, you'll find them done differently (and deliciously) at this stellar shop. Read the full first taste at Crepe Bar here.
The list of food styles for Tempe's new Desert Roots Kitchen reads like a global grocery list: American, Asian Fusion, Brazilian, Caribbean, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Thai, etc.
But the new breakfast and lunch spot, which opened Monday at 414 South Mill Avenue (Mill and Fifth Street, in the former home of In Season Deli), mostly prides itself on healthy, fresh fare with an emphasis on local ingredients.
Those of us who've subjected ourselves to the painfully bad acting on Food Network's Mystery Diners have suspected from the get-go that the so-called reality show is completely scripted.
Now Dwayne Allen of The Breadfruit takes us one step closer to unraveling the mystery behind this embarrassing farce, which has made a half dozen of our local bars and restaurants (not to mention the people who run them) look so woefully clueless we wonder that any of them have managed to stay in business five minutes.
Here's what he told Chow Bella in a phone interview, after noticing that the Big Earl's Goes Wild episode (which features a Big Earl's Greasy Eats bartender and her shocking shenanigans) had a familiar ring to it:
Allen received a phone call from Food Network, which set up the Mystery Diners show as a partnership with Bon Appetit -- a detail that definitely perked him up and got him listening. Get the scoop on Food Network's Mystery Diners.
Stephen Jones dreamed of being a football star until an injury took him out of the game. But these days, instead of throwing the pigskin, he's more likely to cook it as the executive chef at the recently opened Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails. Influenced by his grandmother and a chef uncle at an early age, Jones grew up in the kitchen but never considered cooking as a career. That changed the day he simply decided that attending culinary school made sense for a guy with his predilections.
He signed up for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California and while helping in the kitchen at a charity event, worked alongside Michael Cimarusti of Water Grill.
Cimarusti was so impressed with the student's humble, head-down approach that he offered him a job. Jones worked at Water Grill through culinary school, moving to Las Vegas to find a position at Nobu after graduation. He later jumped to Bradley Ogden, where his good friend worked, before following that same friend to Chicago and MK.
Read Nikki Buchanan's full chef interview with Blue Hound's Stephen Jones.
Toss the gin and tonic. And don't settle for a mediocre margarita. We've got 11 fresh summer cocktails that will have you dreaming of July all year long (really). Bottoms up.
Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.