Chow Bella's Top Phoenix Food Stories of the Week

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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.

What Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Means for Cowboy Ciao, Kazimierz and Peter Kasperski

Chow Bella reported last week that Peter Kasperski of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz World Wine Bar filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy under Cowboy Ciao LLC on June 29th.

In the comment section of that post, readers expressed concern that Cowboy Ciao or Kazimierz World Wine Bar might be closing. We caught up with Kasperski recently to see how things were going and to ask him to clarify what a Chapter 11 means for his businesses. Things are not nearly as bleak as you might imagine. See what Kasperski had to say.

--Nikki Buchanan

Christopher Gross Dishes on Oliver Stone and Food Bloggers

Christopher Gross has earned enough awards and good press to keep two or three chefs happy. He was named one of "10 Best New Chefs" by Food & Wine in 1989, won the James Beard Award (Best Chef Southwest) in 1995 and became the first Arizona chef to earn a Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence in 1997.

He helped found the Arizona chapter of the AIWF (which he chaired) and has also chaired the American Liver Foundation's "Flavor of Phoenix" as well as Share our Strength's "Taste of the Nation." He has sat on Aspen Food & Wine panels with Julia and Jacques and cooked alongside luminaries such as Wolfgang Puck, Paul Bocuse, Jean Louis Palladin, Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, and Nancy Silverton -- to name a few.

He's a chef's chef -- the guy who works hard, plays harder and loves nothing more than breaking bread and talking shop (yes, there's drinking involved) with his friends in the business.

But he came to the culinary arts through the back door. When Gross was 13, he wanted a moto-cross bike and started working at Baskin Robbins to earn money. That job led to stint at CenPho's now-defunct John's Green Gables -- where he ascended the food chain from busboy to cook, later landing a gig at the pricy French restaurant at the Adams Hotel.

See part one of the interview with Chef Christopher Gross.

See part two of the interview with Chef Christopher Gross.

--Nikki Buchanan

Crudo Debuts $20 Three-Course Chef's Choice Dinner For Summer

If you haven't yet treated yourself to an evening at Crudo, chef Cullen Campbell's relocated comfortable and contemporary restaurant of raw seafood, handmade pasta dishes, and killer drinks by cocktail artist and sommelier, Micah Olson (Merc Bar) -- or just need another excuse to pop in -- here's a tasty bit of incentive:

From 5 to 10 p.m., every Tuesday and Wednesday evening, starting Tuesday, July 10th, through Wednesday, September 26th, diners can score a three-course chef's choice dinner for just $20.

And for those who like surprises, you'll like what Campbell's got in mind.

--Laura Hahnefeld

La Frontera Taco Truck: A Hit and a Run

Hey readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.

Coming from a completely non-Mexican influenced city (Miami), you can only imagine the thrill it is for me to be in Phoenix.

There's Mexican food everywhere. Ah, how my ancestors would be proud. It was a thrill to see La Frontera Taco Truck next on Chow Bella's list for Eating 16th Street.

So, it's a truck, but it's a restaurant. As in, it doesn't move. But it has wheels. Make sense? Check out the full review of La Frontera Taco Truck.

--Alex Rodriguez

10 Favorite Drive-Thrus in Metro Phoenix

Haven't you always wanted to have a list of awesome drive-thrus that are locally owned and operated? Yeah, we did, too. So we came up with our own list. Some require you to order ahead of time and some just need you to roll up to the window. Either way, don't forget to keep a copy in your glove box. See the full list of our favorite Metro Phoenix drive-thrus here.

--Jennifer Woods

Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.

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