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.
Geez, the culinary cupboard at the Arizona Biltmore is beginning to look a bit bare. Executive Chef Todd Sicolo flew the coop about a month ago to take Lee Hillson's former position at the Royal Palms. Now executive sous chef Conor Favre is leaving the Biltmore to step into Michael O'Dowd's shoes as executive chef of the entire Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.
Just as O'Dowd did, Favre will oversee all culinary functions and outlets at the resort -- including Kai, a nationally recognized, Native American-inspired fine dining restaurant, and the only one in Phoenix to have secured five stars from Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide) four years in a row and five diamonds from AAA for seven years running. It's a pretty big deal.
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.
What? Not done with your holiday shopping? Yeah, neither are we. But we've been making lists -- and checking them twice -- and we've got some suggestions for the nice people on your list. Introducing Chow Bella's Gift Guide for the Food Geek.
Aeropress Coffee Maker:
It's like a French press coffee maker but more or less self-cleaning and much more compact. Load up a filter ($5 buys 350 of them) boil your water (you're using a thermometer for optimal brew temp right? Right?), pour water over grounds, give it a quick stir and press. The company claims you'll press out a cup of espresso. That's not exactly true but you will end up with a coffee concentrate suitable for dilution and immediate consumption or for use in recipes calling for fresh espresso.
If your resolution to eat healthier this year came early, or if you're interested in supporting local farms, now is the time to join a CSA.
Community Supported Agriculture gives you a convenient, direct way to get food from farms, typically in the form of weekly "shares." It allows you to enjoy seasonal foods and enjoy a sense of community. Here's a mini list of some of the options in town.
There's no kitchen, no official signage (yet), and the long, industrial building with the green stripe probably won't be winning any architectural awards, but there's beer in them there walls, folks -- Four Peaks beer.
This past week, Four Peaks, the only craft beer brewery in the state to make the Brewer's Association's list of Top 50 Craft Breweries in the U.S., opened their third location and distribution facility at 2401 South Wilson in Tempe (just off of Broadway and Roosevelt Roads).
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Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.