Chow Bella

Chow Bella's Top Phoenix Food Stories of the Week

Every week, there's a cornucopia of new 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.

Postino, Windsor, and Churn Owners to Open Two More Concepts

Upward Projects, the group comprising Craig DeMarco, wife Kris DeMarco, and Lauren and Wyatt Bailey, hasn't officially released the information yet, but I've learned that the owners of Windsor and Churn and the three-restaurant mini-chain, Postino, are planning to open two additional concepts in the north Central Phoenix area.

The first, in the former Aiello's East Coast Italian Dining (which, according to Joe Aiello, may be relocating to One Lexington in Midtown) will be a yet-to-be-named neighborhood Mexican joint with no announced opening date.

The second, as I reported in March, will be in the historic Al Beadle building at 5210 North Central Avenue (just north of Camelback Road) and will open late this year. Named for the modernist architect who worked in Phoenix in the 1950s, the building originally housed the First Federal Savings & Loan Bank. Bailey told me the team is in the process of coming up with ideas for what the new restaurant will be (there's a rumor it might be pizza), and have agreed to used the word federal in the name given the former building's occupant.

Stay tuned for details.

-- Laura Hahnefeld

Masters of Wine: The Test

Who knew you could go to school to become a "Master of Wine"?

Well, you can, and this past week a record 98 students took the test to obtain their Masters of Wine, trying to join the mere 298 worldwide who currently hold the title. The test involves comprehensive wine theory (writing four papers) and a rigorous practical exam (three blind tastings over three days). If they pass both areas, the candidate has to submit a dissertation to the board of education for The Institute of Masters of Wine.

Subject matter is said to include everything wine-related -- questions could pertain to soil types, grape growing, winemaking, selling wine, marketing, and everything in between.

Check out a few of the questions that were on this year's test.

-- Brian Reeder

Daniel Malventano to Open Cafe Daniel in October at 32nd and Lincoln

After four years away from the food business, Daniel Malventano, who formerly owned the elegant Daniel's Italian Restaurant on Camelback near 44th Street, will soon be back in action. If all goes as planned, he will open Café Daniel at 32nd Street and Lincoln on October 1.

This go-round, Malventano is forsaking high-end dining for casual, familiar Italian cooking done exceptionally well -- or as Malventano puts it, "the best rendition of the basics."

At the heart of his neighborhood, European-style café will be a spectacularly pricey seven-foot, 6,900-pound wood-burning oven, from which will emerge wood-roasted meat, poultry, fish, pizza and house-made bread, including daily-changing focaccia, rustic Tuscan bread, sandwich rolls and ciabatta.

Check out what you can expect to find on Cafe Daniel's Menu.

-- Nikki Buchanan

Ten Favorite International Markets in Phoenix

When you're roaming the aisles of your local chain supermarket, it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for -- especially if that something happens to be purple yams, Asian stink fruit, Russian black bread, or Turkish coffee beans.

Unless you consider 45 feet of chips and soda interesting, American supermarkets are B-O-R-I-N-G.

When we're in dire need of a little grocery adventure (or we need to find that one special ingredient), we like to get our foreign fix from these 10 Valley markets.

See the full list of our favorite international markets.

-- Shannon Armour

Mark Tarbell Dishes on Why Local Coffee Is Overrated and Shares the Best $9 Bottle of Wine

Mark Tarbell is known around Phoenix as the soft-spoken, supremely gracious host of his namesake restaurant and the down-to-earth oenophile who's written a wine column for the Arizona Republic for years. We don't necessarily consider him a chef (though he was trained as one) or a baker (though he worked at Clear Flour Bakery in Boston, which sold bread to the city's best restaurants).

Beyond that, Tarbell's a music-loving, celebrity shoulder-rubbing Renaissance man who realized what he wanted early on and bought a one-way ticket to Europe after high school, landing a culinary apprenticeship at the Sonesta Hotel in Amsterdam.

The experience was typically abusive, he says, but he hung in for a year before moving to Paris to take wine classes at l'Academie du Vin and talk his way into La Varenne, where he earned a culinary diploma a year later.

After another two years in Paris, Tarbell moved back to the States to work as sous chef at Vintage Wine Bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the idea of opening his own wine bar some day.

Read the full interview with Mark Tarbell.

-- Nikki Buchanan

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Eric Tsetsi
Contact: Eric Tsetsi