Top Five Phoenix Food 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. So, here's a recap of some of the top stories from the week that you may have missed.

10 Best Things I Ate in August

Summer may be taking its sweet time saying good-bye, but the good eats served up on [New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld's] plate for the month of August seem all but a blur.

From dishes like heady asparagus at one of my favorite new restaurants, to food truck pho, to a handful of a.m. eats perfect to start your day with, here are ten of the best things I ate this month selected from reviews, first-time visits, and places I've popped into just because.

It's not a countdown, it's a collection. And I hope it inspires. Enjoy.

- Laura Hahnefeld

Red Hut Coffee in Phoenix Making a Stir Even Before Grand Opening

Red Hut Coffee, located on the northwest corner of Seventh Street and Roosevelt, is brand-new to the neighborhood -- and already facing scrutiny, backlash, and a boycott after a Facebook post by owner David Marsh.

On August 21, Marsh posted a photo on the Red Hut Coffee Facebook page with the caption "Spending the day hanging with friends at Red Hut! After this many 'non coffee' drinks, these new friends could use a nice cup of Red Hut signature blend coffee . . . black!"

The photo, which later was deleted, showed Marsh lying on the ground giving the camera a thumbs-up in front of two presumably homeless men, who appeared to be sleeping.

- Laura Armenta

August Restaurant Openings and Closings in Metro Phoenix

Last month saw the closing of the one and only Saladworks in Arizona, but we welcomed two new pizza outlets and one Chandler neighbor bar and grill. Plus, fall is just around the corner and that means a whole slew of new eateries to look forward to. For now, here are the goodbyes and hellos from last month.

- Lauren Saria

10 Most Chef-Anticipated New Restaurants in Greater Phoenix

The Gladly, the new American restaurant from Chef Bernie Kantak, Andrew Fritz, and mixologist Richie Moe (Citizen Public House), opened last Saturday, making it the latest of several anticipated restaurant openings in the Valley this year.

With five of the best restaurants of 2013 (so far) making my list last week, and several more still to come, which ones are Valley chefs most excited about? I asked a few of them and this is what they had to say.

- Laura Hahnefeld

In Defense of Red Lobster and the People Who Eat There

Olive Garden is the poster child for corporate restaurant mediocrity. Dumbed-down food posing as "authentic," catering to the masses with sodium and fat-laden gruel.

Its corporate sister, Red Lobster, is slightly less offensive to many but hardly considered destination dining among the culinary cognoscenti. These corporate behemoths thrive, earning shareholders a tidy profit while dotting the American landscape with a sad but certain comforting sameness.

But this is not a story about why Olive Garden should be stripped from our malls, or why your shame from being seen at Red Lobster by your food nerd friends is somehow justified. I'm an egalitarian lover of food and, in my mind, Olive Garden and Red Lobster are gateway drugs -- an often necessary first step toward a more enlightened appreciation of food.

Read the full story here.

- Eric Schaefer

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