Chow Bella

New York Transplant Maxwell Jeffries Proclaims Himself Phoenix's Food Expert. We'll Let You Watch His YouTube Videos and Decide for Yourself.

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What, you may well ask, is this golden guy up to? Is he trying to capture 15 minutes of fame for his bucket list or does he have something else up the sleeve of his Hawaiian shirt?

One local restaurant owner who prefers to remain anonymous says Jeffries came to her restaurant claiming that he worked for KAET, the local PBS television station, and that he knew Howard Seftel, critic for the Arizona Republic. He wanted to give her a positive video of her restaurant. She passed on the offer, guessing that he wanted a free meal in the bargain.

The videos are fantastically long (11 minutes in one case) but so kitschy and completely over-the-top that it's almost worth killing the better part of an hour to catch the theatrics. Jeffries speaks in Hindi, adopts the accent of an Indian-speaking English (think Apu at the Kwik-E Mart), and bursts into an Italian love song.

Jeffries also has filmed a couple of wildly quirky rants. including one on the service at The Cheesecake Factory, complete with dining tip number 28, which he claims will be part of his forthcoming book, Thirty-Six Ways to Survive the Restaurants in Phoenix, Arizona.

In the Ray's Pizza video, he calls Glendale a "culinary wasteland" (not too far off there, sir) and swears you can't get pizza this good at Domino's, Pizza Hut, or Pizzeria "Blanco." Now, there's a local expert for you.

In two of them, a huge narcoleptic hound dog named Archie (who's clearly heard it all before) sprawls across Jeffries' lap as he pontificates from his recliner, saying of his dust-up at Cheescake, "I'm Maxwell Jeffries and I'm pissed."

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Nikki Buchanan