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.
It's hard not to miss the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar when we stare into the empty windows and lifeless building on Saturday morning runs to the Public Market. And after the flurry of news that followed the closing last spring, including our report that St. Francis chef/owner Aaron Chamberlin was looking into the space, our interest was piqued.
Royal at the Market shuttered its doors in July and with this semester's influx of college students to the downtown campus, we're wondering just how much longer we'll have to wait.
According to Chamberlin, who's determined to keep things hush-hush until he's got it all nailed down, we can expect the "farm focused café" soon...but not too soon.
You wouldn't think the Teeter House -- a Midwestern-style bungalow built in 1899 -- could possibly set the proper tone for Nobuo Fukuda's modern American spin on the snack foods of the Japanese izakaya. But its age, simplicity and even the creak of its wood floors are pitch perfect, capturing the essence of wabi sabi -- a Japanese aesthetic that values rusticity, understated elegance and the beauty that comes from constant use. Painted in various soothing shades of blue and gray, the space -- a series of small dining rooms -- emotes a kind of Zen peacefulness, making it a relaxing Sunday afternoon retreat before the work week hits you like a freight train the next day.
Fukuda is famous for his omakase, an improvisational sushi bar practice whereby customers trust the chef to make them whatever he wants to, usually the best of the best . It's always a win-win -- fun for the chef to strut his stuff, fun for the guest who gets surprise after delicious surprise, each dish typically more creative than anything ordered off the menu. After Japan's 2011 tsunami made sourcing Japanese products (including pristine fish) almost impossible, Fukuda abandoned omakase for a while.
Now he makes it available every Sunday in the form of Bento Box Brunch. Take a look at Nobuo's amazing Sunday brunch.
Restaurant Week begins September 15 and runs through September 23. And while it smacks of Black Friday, Christmas in July and all the other bargain bonanzas that attract the great unwashed -- there are some mighty sweet deals out there, deals even the snootiest of foodie-ists won't want to miss.
It's definitely not too early to make reservations.
Chef and restaurateur Matt Pool's been a busy man lately.
Last week, the chef-owner of Matt's Big Breakfast, the popular breakfast and lunch spot in Central Phoenix, opened the restaurant's new and bigger location a few doors north of the original, which he says he plans on eventually turning into a takeout-only business.
And now, news that The Roosevelt Tavern, Pool's cool, unassuming pub in downtown Phoenix, won't be re-opening after its annual summer break.
Fall is in the air (hey, a girl can dream, right?) which means it's time for PIE.
Are you ready for the third annual Pie Social? Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row are looking for entries in the professional baker category of our contest -- and don't worry, as usual there will be an opportunity for everyone to make and eat pie.
We've got the date and location nailed down. Now we just need you to figure out which recipe you'll try this year....
Pie Social 2012 will take place Saturday, November 3, from 2 to 6 pm at the RO2 Lot at 2nd Street and Roosevelt.
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See the details of this year's Pie Social. --Amy Silverman
Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.