Top Five 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.

My 103.9 DJ Monti Carlo Dishes About Her Life Before, During and After Master Chef

I'm in love with Monti Carlo. And if you've listened to her lighthearted patter on My 103.9 or seen her emoting on Master Chef or met her in person (in which case, she gave you a great big hug, guaranteed), you're probably in love with her too.

You see, Monti -- who got her stage name from Dwight Douglas, the guy who discovered Howard Stern -- is what you'd call "irrepressible." And since her stint on the third season of Fox's Master Chef -- the wildly popular TV show in which amateur cooks compete for a $250,000 grand prize -- this ivory-skinned, ruby-lipped sweetheart is definitely on a roll.

Her honesty and expressiveness on Master Chef landed her a gig as morning show DJ on My 103.9 this past June. And as of this week -- when Master Chef: The Ultimate Cookbook hit the shelves -- she became a cookbook contributor, her recipes featured alongside those of Master Chef judges and other contestants.

Check out the full interview with Monti Carlo.

--Nikki Buchanan

What's the Best Way to Send Food Back at a Restaurant?

We've all been there: hungrily taking the first bite of our food at a restaurant when -- uh-oh -- something's not right.

How to get the food you're paying for back on the right track without pissing off your server, the kitchen, or all of the above? Here's what Valley chefs and restaurateurs recommend as the best course of action.

--Laura Hahnefeld

Your Rice Is NOT Trying to Kill You (But Some EPA Standards Couldn't Hurt)

It often seems like our food supply is becoming progressively fraught. There's pink slime in our beef, ammonia in our pink slime, arsenic in our apple juice and now, arsenic in our rice. The last emerged from a recently released Consumer Reports study that showed that our rice and related rice products have "high" levels of arsenic when compared to our drinking water standards or other staple products like oatmeal.

Eclipsed only by cyanide in terms of poisonous name recognition, arsenic really seizes the public's attention. It is after all, a killer of kings and a favorite of murder mysteries. But, as is often the case in public health, the situation is a bit more complex than, "Your rice is trying to kill you."

So how worried should you be?

--Ando Muneno

Bacon Apocalypse: Bacon Dishes We'll Miss from Five Metro Phoenix Restaurants That Do Bacon Right (Assuming the Bacon-Apocalypse Really is Coming, God Forbid)

Got a freezer? Like, a big one? If so, you might want to stock up on bacon and other pig products pronto before the world-wide shortage on all things porcine hits your wallet.

Bad enough that it'll cost an arm and a leg just to set a couple of strips of cured and salted pork belly next to your morning eggs. But what happens when our favorite restaurant dishes, accented with crispy bacon-y goodness, start costing a small fortune?

Here are a few of the bacon-centric specialties I don't ever want to live without.

--Nikki Buchanan

Five Favorite Peanut Butter & Jelly Creations in Metro Phoenix

Hey Chow Bella friends, guess what time it is? It's PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!!!!

Valley chefs have come up with some pretty creative ways to incorporate two of our favorite sandwich staples into some sweet and savory dishes. We've got five awesome PB&J creations ranging from waffles to a decadent burger.

Check out who made our list.

Also see the full peanut butter and jelly slideshow.

--Shannon Armour

Don't forget to check out Chow Bella's continuing list of 100 Tastemakers.

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