Five Awkward Moments in the Phoenix Food Scene, 2011


Well, folks, 2011 has come and (just about) gone and we're left to chew the fat. It was a year filled with great new restaurants and some fun moments -- and some awkward ones, too. Let's look back on a few high low points in what's now Phoenix food history.  

In the grand history of OOPS moments, this one ranks high. What happens when the most popular restaurant in town learns it never really had an operable liquor license in the first place? BYOB summer, baby! FnB was back in full force by fall with its famed line-up of Arizona wines and a couple well-placed, quirky cocktails (our fave: the Sundowner, made with Aperol and sparkling wine) but even after a nice buzz we're still left wondering how a place run with such attention to detail let that one slide.  
More awkward moments after the jump.

This week the local food community's abuzz with Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's two new Old Town Scottsdale eat-/drinkeries, but in July talk was all about how her plans to expand the Barrio Cafe empire to Gilbert went bust. Sounded to us at the time like the landlord simply found a bigger name. Tacky, dude!  

We don't just love Payton Curry's cooking, we love the fact that this guy speaks his mind -- something far too rare in these parts. But things did get awfully honest awkward this summer when Curry shared his reasons for leaving Tempe's Caffe Boa. Some might call it TMI. We called it darned entertaining.
The namesake owner of Tina's Ethiopian Cafe (and her disciples, or at least, that's what the comments are designed to suggest) really lost it when our critic offered some gentle, constructive criticism of Tina Tamrat Hildebrand's latest effort in Gilbert. The original post, frankly, isn't where the really good reading is located this time; the comments section had the entire local food community (and, to be honest, the entire New Times editorial staff) hootin'.

We were all over it when Chris Curtiss called to say he was leaving his fancy-shmancy job at Noca to work at a friend's non-profit. Um, not so much. Turns out, Curtiss quickly got a better offer and pretty much dumped that gig to develop a new menu for (excuse us while we yawn) for Fox's new North location on the outskirts of Arcadia.  
Awkward. Tacky. Sad.
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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at