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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.

Chef Salad Highlights: The Smart, Funny and Sometimes Provocative Comments Our Local Chefs Made in 2012

Ask any chef: Food- and restaurant-related TV may provide drama and entertainment (although even that is questionable), but it sure as hell isn't based in reality. Feet ache, ceilings leak, employees call in sick, the health department shows up, grease traps overflow, food prices skyrocket, stoves catch on fire, customers skip out on reservations, Yelpers yelp and the restaurant critic invariably shows up on the day something catastrophic has just happened. Not that a chef would be caught dead whining.

They're a hardy lot, these lifetime members of the Suck-It-Up Club. And we've gotten to know them a little better -- both as individuals and as professionals -- here at Chow Bella this past year, where they've candidly shared their thoughts about everything we've asked them. Here are the year's Chef Salad highlights of 2012.

--Nikki Buchanan

Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony in Phoenix: A Different Kind of After Dinner Drink

For most of us the ceremony of drinking coffee means brewing a pot of joe in the morning and sipping it over the daily news, or more likely as we run out the door on our way to work.

But in Ethiopia a coffee ceremony is one of the most integral parts of community life. The hours-long process takes the coffee bean through its full life cycle of preparation and the good news is, you can get the experience right here in the Valley.

At Ethiopian Famous Restaurant and Coffee you can catch the unforgettable aroma of roasting beans on Saturdays and Sundays between 5 and 8 p.m. The ritual can take anywhere between one to three hours and involves washing, roasting, smelling, brewing and enjoying three servings of traditionally prepared strong coffee. We sat in on one of the recent ceremonies. Here's a slideshow and video of the process.

--Lauren Saria

New Brewing Company Moving Into Former Rio Salado Brewing Site in Tempe, Will Produce Line of Beer for Scottsdale's Papago

More brew in the news -- and this time, it's got some Huss behind it.

Huss, as in Jeff Huss, formerly head brewer of the Chandler location of BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, and now, president and brewmaster of his own company, Huss Brewing. Estimated to open in mid-2013, Huss Brewing will be located in the defunct Rio Salado Brewing site (located off Priest Road between Guadalupe and Elliot) in south Tempe.

To start, Huss Brewing will produce and package two lines of signature beers: One for itself and the other in partnership with Papago Brewing in Scottsdale. Here's the full story.

--Laura Hahnefeld

Street Eats Food Truck Festival Is Set for January 12 and 13 at Salt River Fields

If you love local food trucks, Food Network, or Man v. Food on the Travel Channel, here's an event for you.

Next weekend, January 12 and 13, Phoenix New Times presents the Street Eats Food Truck Festival at Salt River Fields. There will be 30-plus Arizona food trucks and five out-of-state trucks -- and more. Special guests Chef Geoffrey Zakarian and Adam Richman will be in attendance, and the event will include five bars, a VIP experience, the Un-Wine-d Lounge, live music by School of Rock, three eating contests, and a kids' zone.

See the complete details here.

--Dominique Chatterjee

Metro Phoenix's 2012 Restaurant Openings and Closings

A year is a tiny eternity in the restaurant industry and 2012 was no exception. We saw plenty of new players step onto the field, old favorites make their exits, and some of those new players fail to make it work before the ball dropped on 2012.

In an effort to keep things organized, we've listed everything in reverse chronology and listed openings and closing separately for clarity.

See the complete list of 2012 openings and closings.

--Ando Muneno

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