Top Five Phoenix Food and Restaurant News Stories of the Week

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.

(Huh?) Jose Garces' Old Town Whiskey in Scottsdale Shutters to Become Hotel Event Space

Old Town Whiskey, celebrity chef Jose Garces' upscale saloon inside The Saguaro hotel in Old Town Scottsdale, has shuttered to be used as event space for the hotel.

What? No. Why?

The decision is a curious one given that Old Town Whiskey, which opened in November 2011, was the hotel's only lounge (and a cozy one at that) offering a unique selection of more than 100 varieties of whiskey in addition to some decent bar bites.

Get the full scoop here.

--Laura Hahnefeld

15 Metro Phoenix Restaurants to Visit During Spring

Spring Training is almost upon us, which means winter is officially over and it's time to break out the shorts. This right here is the weather we Phoenicians live for, the reason we endure five hellish months of summer and severe cases of cabin fever . . . just for the few all-too-brief months of balmy, orange blossom-perfumed weather perfection we're now approaching.

But you can't play golf and watch baseball every minute, can you? Well, can you? I mean, you have to stop and eat some time. But eating can be a pleasant form of recreation too. With food-as-fun in mind, we offer 15 great metro Phoenix that prove we're more than golf and baseball and hiking and other PE-related stuff, 15 restaurants that put us on the culinary map. Dig in.

--Nikki Buchanan

First Arizona Portillo's Opens Next Week in Scottsdale

Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, char-grilled Maxwell Street-style Polish sausages, cake shakes -- it can only be Portillo's, the Illinois-based restaurant chain in business since 1963 and beloved by Chicago transplants throughout the Valley.

And next week, Arizona gets its first one.

--Laura Hahnefeld

Top Five Phoenix Food and Restaurant News Stories of the Week

What to Eat with An Oscar Nominated Film: A Dinner and a Movie Recap

If you're still hustling to get all of the Best Picture nominees watched before the Oscars on February 24, don't starve yourself doing it. We've been pairing up dinner and movies just so you'd be ready for Oscar season. While we didn't hit all of the nominees, we got most of them and have ideas for those that we didn't try already. If you can contain yourself at the concession stand, there are plenty of tasty meals to go along with your movie outings.

--Heather Hoch

2013 James Beard Award Semifinalists Announced: Four Arizona Candidates Make the Cut

The James Beard Foundation Awards, also known as the Oscars of the culinary world, announced today its annual restaurant and chef semifinalists for 2013. As in years past, the list is gigantic, but come mid-March it will feature just a short selection of nominees.

Although Phoenix never fares as well as cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, there are even fewer candidates this year headed for James Beard Award glory: Four this year compared to seven (statewide) in 2012.

Here's who made the cut.

--Laura Hahnefeld

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