Standard & Pour [3,] Henderson NV

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Standard & Pour

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Coffee

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Classic Bloody Mary, Cucumber Lime Bloody Mary

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Complimentary Mini Muffins – Zucchini, Raisins

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Yogurt & Granola – House Granola, Seasonal Fruit, Greek Yogurt

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Tenders & Waffle – Cornflake Chicken Tenders, Cheddar Jalapeno Waffle

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Muffins & Gravy – Honey Habanero Corn Bread Muffin, Chorizo Red Eye Gravy

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Ricotta Toast – Seasonal Fruit, Honey, Cinnamon Toast

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Bacon & Egg Polenta – Crispy Lardons, Poached Eggs, Green Onions

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Whiskey & Beer Pancakes – Bourbon Maple Syrup

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Fat Elvis French Toast – Banana, Peanut Butter, Bacon, Pain Perdu

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English Muffin Sandwich – Two Eggs, Bacon, Cheddar, Hash Brown, Basil Aioli

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Patty Melt – White Cheddar, Caramelized Onions, Sourdough

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Real Big Muffin – Housemade Almond Blueberry Lemon Muffin

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Open for just over four months, early struggles finding footing in Henderson reported by trusted sources, Standard & Pour launched Brunch service on Sunday and if the fully booked reservations, loud voices and broad smiles are any indication it seems Cory Harwell and team may have a big hit on their hands.

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Built on the theme of Mimosas, Muffins & Marys, the latter done up in grand fashion with a large communal table converted into a build-your-own bar containing over twenty Vegetables, Pickles and Condiments plus three-dozen or more styles of Hot Sauce, it was as a party of four that 2/3 of the fifteen-plate menu from Chefs Harwell and John Courtney was tasted, all but one dish exemplifying the duo’s commitment to quality at a great price.

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Arriving minutes prior to 1:30pm, much of the crowd having already died down but several middle-age Ladies still lingering, loudly, over bottomless Mimosas, it was with warm greetings from General Manager Ed Tracy and AGM Chelsea Anderson that the afternoon got started, a complimentary basket of Zucchini Muffins from Chef Courtney by-way-of-his-mother-by-way-of-her-mother served warm, moist and lightly sweetened disappearing even before drinks were ordered.

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Told that the early hours had been a challenge, short staffing and CES both adding to an underestimation of Henderson’s love for Brunch, it was with two distinctly different Bloody Marys that the ladies investigated a wide-range of housemade and store-bought accoutrements while the guys focused on Cocktails and Coffee, bottomless pours of the latter for $3 no less a deal than the endless Mimosa or Bloody option for just six-fold more.

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Originally opting for just nine a la carte plates, but prompted to add the Yogurt & Granola when five-straight came over the pass, it was with the tangy Parfait of over twenty ingredients including Ancient Grains, Cherries, Nuts, stewed Apples and Honey plus two plates that the meal got underway, John’s stint at Yardbird paying dividends with “Tenders & Waffle” that improves on the Waffle with more Cheddar and crispness while the Muffins & Gravy continue further South with lightly sweetened Cornbread Muffins topped in Red-Eye Gravy bolstered by Chorizo and Coffee with stewed Red Beans used to thicken it.

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Breaking between larger courses for two slices of Ricotta Toast, the charred Cinnamon Sourdough glistening with Honey atop housemade Cheese, Pears and Blueberries, the next round came as four plates including Pancakes that unfortunately fell flat as a result of too little leavening plus a really hot skillet, the Fat Elvis French Toast incidentally served on what would have been the King’s 82nd birthday literally right up my alley with Bananas, Peanut Butter and Bacon spread over ‘Lost Bread’ baked, dipped and fried again.

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Amused by Coutney & Co’s decision offer creamy cubes of Cornmeal with briny Bacon and poached Eggs, no watery Grits to be found, the “English Muffin” Sandwich was an equally inspired idea with an almost-weightless Bun made in-house from Muffin mix supporting sunny-side Eggs, two types of Pork plus aged Cheddar and Hash Browns, the Basil Aioli adding an herbal linger that was almost as subtle as the spice-infused Russian Dressing served on a juicy Patty Melt.

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Generally not one to overdo it on Breakfast Potatoes, though the crispy nuggets served with both Sandwiches saw several at the table picking at them as the meal lingered on, it was with a broad smile that John explained the Streusel-topped showstopper entitled “Real Big Muffin,” nearly two-pounds of Lemony Almond Batter that bakes up tall, proud and lighter than expected with a whole lot of fresh Blueberries bursting at its center.

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Far better than the majority on day one, the Pancakes needing a bit of work and long delays for Coffee both noteworthy while more housemade Pickles on the Bloody Bar would also be nice, Standard & Pour’s Brunch is poised to be a big thing in an area slow to embrace new concepts, and hopefully the sort of thing that will spark interest in locals to further investigate an even more impressive dinner menu.

RECOMMENDED: Muffins & Gravy, Yogurt & Granola, Bacon & Egg Polenta, Fat Elvis French Toast, Real Big Muffin.

AVOID: Whiskey & Beer Pancakes.

TIP: Open 4pm to Close Monday through Saturday, Brunch from 10am to 3pm Sundays. Photographed menu prices subject to minor tweaks.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

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Standard & Pour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Breakfast, Coffee, Cornbread, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Henderson, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pancakes, Pork, Standard & Pour, Standard and Pour, Waffle, Waffles

Beer Park, Las Vegas NV

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Beer Park

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Ball Park Michelada – Budweiser, Clamato, Lime, Chili Salt rim

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Soft Braided Pretzel – Bass IPA Cheese Fondue

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Mac & Cheese Egg Rolls – House-smoked Bacon, three Cheese Blend, BBQ Sauce, Chipotle Ranch

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Gilroy Garlic Fries – Fresh chopped Garlic, Parmesan, Parsley, Black Pepper Baconnaise

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Smoked Chicken Drumsticks – Budweiser brined, Hot Sauce, Blue Cheese, Celery Leaf Slaw

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BBQ Platter – Beechwood smoked Ribs, Beef Pastrami, Budweiser Brined Turkey Pastrami, Stella Artois Cidre Pickles, White Bread

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Onion Rings – Beer battered, BBQ Sauce

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Sweet Potato Fries – Cinnamon Sugar, Maple Aioli

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Backyard BBQ Dog – Bacon wrapped Bavarian Sausage, Baked Beans, BBQ Sauce, Potato Salad, Crispy fried Pickles, Stella Artois Cidre Pickles

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Kahuna Cowboy Burger – Pretzel Bun, Candied Bacon, Pineapple, Jalapeno, BBQ Sauce, Swiss Cheese, Stella Artois Cidre Pickles

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Although all but the upper echelon of Las Vegas restaurants contain at least one television, several of them dozens more, rare is a place that delivers the triple-threat of showing sports with in-game volume while also serving good food in a family-friendly environment, 2016’s Beer Park at Paris happily filling that gap while simultaneously proving that more sometimes *is* more.

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Located on top of Hexx and sponsored by Budweiser, access to the rooftop found just outside the Chocolate factory up an elevator or flight of stairs, Beer Park promises the concept of Backyard Barbeque at an affordable price point, the al fresco space specked with games, televisions and several options for seating or standing plus heat posts or misters as the weather dictates.

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Headed by Hexx’s Matt Piekarski and Pitmaster Eddy, the menu taking the same approach as downstairs with long brines and slow roasting for all the Meats, plus hand cut Fries, Sides, Pickles and Sauces made from scratch, a visit to Beer Park begins with a quick check-in at the hostess booth followed by seating at picnic tables with built-in Ice chests, panoramic views of the Bellagio fountains on one side and 10,000 square feet of fun, including three-dozen Beers on-tap, to the right.

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Bringing along one youngster and his mother for the Raiders and Texans, temperatures hovering at 45°F navigated by a pair of heaters, it was moments after seating that metal Solo cups were filled with water and menus were presented, the nine-year-old quickly gravitating to a jumbo size version of Connect Four and later entertained by oversized Jenga bricks.

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Dining with the sky overhead, volume pumped-up and big screens visible from every angle, it was after brief greetings from the kitchen that a young, yet forgetful, female server took an order in two segments, Chef Eddy taking liberties to arrange an off-menu Barbeque Platter that more-or-less deconstructed two Sandwiches and presented their peppery Beef and Beer-brined sliced Turkey with a rack of dry-rubbed, smoky, falling-from-the-bone Pork Ribs.

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Given the choice to sauce options to taste, the lightly sweet BBQ Sauce better filling personal tastes than the House-Made Goose Island Mustard, sharable snacks included a soft Pretzel with Beer Cheese alongside crispy sliced Spuds beneath a mountain of Garlic and Pork-studded Mayonnaise while three spicy Chicken Legs again spoke highly of the man behind the smoker with Blue Cheese dipping Sauce provided to quell the heat.

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Smiling at the Macaroni, Cheese and Bacon-stuffed Egg Rolls, a seemingly goofy idea that nonetheless works far better than the bar-favorite nuggets that frequently become too greasy, course two consisted of generously portioned sides of Onion Rings and Cinnamon-Sugar Sweet Potato Fries plus a ‘Dog and Burger, the former a snappy artisan Sausage from Colorado served Sonora-style under a mountain of barbecue fixings while the Medium-rare patty ground on-site found itself equally well-topped in candied Bacon, diced Pineapple and Jalapeno sluices plus BBQ Sauce and melted Swiss Cheese on a pillowy Pretzel Roll more than capable of standing up to the heft.

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FOUR STARS: Docking half a star for a server whose twice fumbled orders before being corrected and another for offering absolutely zero desserts despite the obvious quality and talent directly downstairs, Beer Park is arguably the best place in Las Vegas to catch a game with the whole family while also offering good food at a fair price for tourists looking for a place to enjoy the Strip views and the Bellagio fountains from a privileged vantage-point.

RECOMMENDED: Pastrami, Chicken Pastrami, Smoked Chicken Drumsticks, Gilroy Garlic Fries.

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AVOID: N/A, though the Burger and Sausage may be a little over-the-top for purists and more timid tastes.

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TIP: Obviously a desirable location for events such as the “BIG GAME” or NCAA Tournament, those looking for seats are encouraged to consult the restaurant website for the appropriate forms and contact information.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.beerpark.com

Posted in Beer Park, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Pink Box Doughnuts [2,] Las Vegas NV

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Pink Box Doughnuts

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Raised and Glazed

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Chocolate-frosted Raised

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Sweet Potato

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Samoa Raised

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Maple-Bacon Bar

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Orange-Pecan Croissant Doughnut

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Frosting-filled Birthday Cake

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Buttermilk Bar

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Cinnamon Crumb Buttermilk Bar

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Chocolate-dipped Cheesecake

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Croissant Doughnut

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Raspberry Jam-filled Sugar

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Chocolate-dipped Custard

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Cinnamon Churro Longjohn with Dulce de Leche

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Triple Chocolate Cake Poomoji

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At first an anomaly in Las Vegas, the 24/7 Doughnut shops on both coasts inexplicably never flourishing in this city of neon lights and three shifts, Pink Box Doughnuts on West Lake Mead Boulevard can now be said to have withstood the test of time while also expanding Westward, even as outside competition has continued to arrive.

Without argument Sin City’s first purveyor of Artisan Doughnuts, ideas like Figs & Blue Cheese, Peanut Butter, Bananas & Bacon or S’mores dating all the way back to 2013, owner Roberto Armanino has continued to innovate while spreading the word via Social Media of his latest creations as recently as the New Year, his humorous riff on the “Poop Emoji” sparking smiles and plenty of likes, persons attending early January’s CES placing large orders while business on Saturday prompted this local to do the same.

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Still not the critical darling of Downtown’s import Donut Bar, even though Pink Box has continued to tweak its technique and produce a superior product at less-than-half the cost, it was just past 7:30am that I entered the Pink Box Doughnuts’ northwest location to collect a total of nineteen items – fifteen different tastes ranging from a classic glazed ring to three Cinnamon Churro Longjohns drizzled with Dulce de Leche.

Taking the Doughnuts elsewhere for indulgence, the small-shop a madhouse of boxed-orders and delivery drivers making their way to The Strip, it was over a course of several hours that tastes of all but a simple Chocolate-dipped ring were enjoyed, the yeasted-Doughnuts seeming a bit less ‘doughy’ than prior while Cake-based choices remain universally great.

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Having visited various Pink Box outlets at least half-a-dozen times in the past, the soft Sweet Potato, Buttermilk Bars and Cheesecake filled pockets always done right, Saturday’s treats also included a Custard-piped round that held up well without becoming soggy like many Bismarcks while the Croissant-Doughnut hybrids have finally achieved a level on par with PRESS or Ace, the translucently sugared version picture perfect in its lamination while the Orange Glaze topped with Nuts should be considered by those looking for a more unique taste.

Taking inspiration from the world around them, a Raised Samoa with sticky Caramel, Chocolate-shell and Coconut Flakes enough to make any Girl Scout proud, the pink-Frosting-filled “Birthday” goes one step further by actually putting Cookies in the mix while the Cinnamon Crumble atop a Buttermilk Bar takes a classic to the realm of fried Coffee Cake – an idea whose time has definitely come.

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Happy to see seeds in the Raspberry Jam-filled Sugar Doughnut, no goopy gel here, Pink Box’s Maple-Bacon Bar presents less greasy than others in the area while the grand-finale of a crispy, Churro-topped Longjohn and the Chocolate Cake beneath Mousse, Shell and Candy Eyes were each as tasty as they are photo-friendly, though the hybrid’s Dulce de Leche drizzle makes it one of the sweetest breakfast pastries around.

FIVE STARS: Judged on a different level than the Sidecars and Blue Stars of the world, prices at Pink Box Doughnuts typically less than half, Las Vegas remains fortunate to have Roberto and his crew leading the way in terms of fried novelties on both sides of the city even as the local Donut scene continues to blow up.

RECOMMENDED: Cinnamon Crumb Buttermilk Bar, Frosting-filled Birthday Raised, Sweet Potato Cake, Samoa Raised, Triple Chocolate Cake Poop Emoji.

AVOID: Cake options remain better than Raised, but the gap has narrowed greatly from earlier days.

TIP: 24/7 both in Summerlin and Henderson, eyes on Instagram for specials. Thin Mint reportedly coming soon…

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.pinkboxdoughnuts.com

Pink Box Doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pink Box Doughnuts, Pork

Melt, Phoenix AZ

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Melt

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Samples – Drunk’n Nut, Arizona Sunrise, Wine n’ Cheese

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Single Churro

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Single White Chocolate Raazz with Sprinkles

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Triple – Cap’n Crunch, Drunk’n Nut, Twisted Delight

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No doubt playing the Instagram-era plating game by way of Chinese take-out containers complete with Cookie, Central City’s Melt takes Phoenicians on a flavor-trip by way of housemade Ice Cream with a texture somewhere between hand-dipped and soft serve presented by clerks who try entirely too hard to be funny.

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Located in a converted former-home on 5th Street, this odd style of makeshift dining space familiar to locals but a bit disconcerting to visitors given signage posted along a low fence, those entering Melt are immediately bombarded by high decibels of Punk and bad puns paired to samples, a limit of three almost a point of pride even when the shop was otherwise uncrowded.

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Trying to make conversation about the product, flavors like “Arizona Sunrise” that are not especially obvious described with a snarky response before finally yielding “like a Creamsicle” it was with small tastes of savory Wine n’ Cheese plus a riff on Humphry Slocombe’s “Secret Breakfast” that decisions were made, though not before the young man chastised one in the party for adding Sprinkles that “taste like chalk.”

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Getting past the service, or lack thereof, including an unwillingness to sell a friend less than a full pound of Chamoy Gummy Bears, further tastes of Melt confirmed a semi-soft texture quite unlike most modern-day Artisans while flavors trended sweet yet not “sugary,” the Churro essentially just Vanilla with a bit of Cinnamon while White Chocolate Razz was even milder, and thus quite different from the yeasty Cereal Milk flavored Cap’n Crunch or “Twisted Delight” of Strawberries and Balsamic.

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https://www.facebook.com/meltphx/

Melt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Ice Cream, Melt, Melt Phoenix, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Vacation

La Barquita Restaurant, Phoenix AZ

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La Barquita Restaurant

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Chips and Salsa

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Refried Beans and Guacamole

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Birria with handmade Corn Tortillas

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Shrimp Ceviche Tostada

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Chicken Mole with Beans and Rice

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Molcajete with Elote, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Peppers, Green Onions, Ranchero Cheese

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Cinnamon Churro, Cream Churro

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Small, family owned and completely “authentic” per trusted sources, La Barquita Restaurant on East McDowell Road played host to New Years Day brunch for a group of three, the “Help Wanted” signs posted both indoors and out pointing to service issues that would be experienced in terms of drink refills and dirty piles of plates left to languish on nearby tables, though the food brought forth from the kitchen was across-the-board great.

Best described as unassuming, the low-slung and festively decorated space widely considered a hangout for nearby immigrants of southern Mexico, it was at a sturdy four-top in direct view of a television showing NFL action that the group was seated, several “signatures” pointed out by menu pictures from a list entailing everything from Goat to Hamburgers, thus ensuring a “safe for all tastes and ages” sort of approach.

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Focused on old family recipes, the plating and service assuredly secondary to flavor, it is with a bowl of small, warm Chips alongside mild Salsa that patrons are greeted, the Horchata in a big cup sweeter than many versions, but nonetheless handy for quelling the heat if one decides to ask for some of the La Barquita’s spicier stuff.

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Owned by Jose Garcia, a Native of Jalisco who came to The Valley by way of Los Angeles, a meal at La Barquita is best experienced as a large group willing to partake family-style with a sense of adventure, a crisp Corn Tortilla topped in U-30 Shrimp and diced Tomatoes proving light and vibrant with Cilantro and Avocado while the steaming plate of Birria presented classic Goat Stew complete with bones and ready to be loaded onto handmade Corn Tortillas topped with Lime, Onions, Refried Beans, Guacamole or intense housemade Hot Sauce.

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Waiting briefly for the second part of the order, a two o’clock arrival at “the little boat” still finding the place packed with families speaking in Spanish, round two offered a half-chicken mostly deboned beneath a dark blanket of semi-sweet Mole, the earthy notes not meeting approval from a typically adventurous nine-year-old, but well suited for sharing amongst fans with a craving while the three-legged stone bowl offered a treasure trove of textures and flavors including paddles of Cactus, three types of Meat and squeaky grilled Cheese in a smoky sauce comprised of Serrano and Poblano Peppers plus Garlic and Tomatoes.

Not reinventing the wheel with dessert, though no Tres Leches is to be found, a sweet finish was served in the form of two Churros, the Vanilla Cream-filled version light, crisp and tasty while the eighteen inch rod of Cinnamon, Sugar and Dough was almost completely soaked through from too much time in the oil, a lone misstep from a place now in business for over a decade turning out delicious and affordable plates of authentic Mexican food.

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https://www.facebook.com/La-Barquita-Restaurant-118515174829992/

La Barquita Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Dessert, Food, Glendale, La Barquita, La Barquita Restaurant, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Vacation

Lux Central, Phoenix AZ

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Lux Central

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Cold-brew Coffee

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Lux Friand

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Strawberries and Cream Scone

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White Chocolate Raspberry Muffin

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Blueberry Corn Muffin

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Cinnamon Coffee Cake

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Pecan Banana Nut Bread

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Dutch Pancake with House-whipped Cream and Berries

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Recommended by a well-traveled Las Vegas Chef, the hip vibe and Coffee program cited in addition to a substantial number of house-baked goods, it was just past nine on a rainy New Year’s Day that three visitors settled into a couch of pink leather at Lux Central, the house already more than 3/4 full with a growing line as a middle-age DJ spun shoegaze intermixed with other mid-tempo tunes.

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Generally open 6am to Midnight, the late night leading to 2017 allowing staff to sleep in a bit, those arriving at 4400 North Central Avenue on 01/01/17 consisted of all ages and genders with a lean towards Millennials, a hirsuit young Barista taking orders from the line and passing them on to a colleague in order to expedite traffic while a team of clerks gathered pastries and generated tickets for orders requiring preparation from a postage stamp-size kitchen in the back.

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Focusing mostly on Quick Breads and American classics, glamour-shots of David Bowie and Chewbacca contributing to the décor, it was after slow perusal approaching the counter that a sizable order was formulated, a total of six pastries presented on five plates with twenty-minutes quoted as the wait time for a $9 Dutch Pancake.

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Not in any rush, the leisurely morning a welcome change of pace from days prior, it was with self-gathered silverware that a tasting got underway, first bites of the Strawberry Scone trending sweeter and softer than the British staple while the Raspberry Muffin was minimally different in texture, the small chunks of White Chocolate simply replacing pockets of melted Butter in the former.

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Smiling at the $1 Friand with a cursive “L,” essentially a Hostess Cupcake made dense with better Cocoa, Lux Central’s Coffee Cake as well as the Banana Bread do an admirable job of negating Phoenix’s dry-air by dialing up the wet ingredients, the Blueberry Corn Muffin also showing well with what seems to be a 1/3 each ratio of Butter, Berries and Cornmeal.

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A bit compromised by crowding, a lack of table service requiring diners to be attentive to their name being called out from a kitchen nearly 30-yards away from the door, it was precisely nineteen minutes after ordering that the high-walled Pancake was collected, a crisp rim surrounding no less than four types of fresh Fruit plus a sizeable dollop of hand-whipped Cream that made any thoughts of Syrup unnecessary.

www.luxcoffee.com/

Lux Central Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Breakfast, Coffee, Cornbread, cupcake, cupcakes, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Lux Central, pancake, Pancakes, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Vacation

Beckett’s Table, Phoenix AZ

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Beckett’s Table

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Parmesan and Onion Rolls, Rye Rolls, Sweet Butter

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Locally Milled Super Creamy Grits & Schreiner’s Sausage –Mustard Jus

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Becketts Original Grilled Cheese – Pancetta, four Cheeses, roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup

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Beckett’s Table Signature Fork Tender Short Ribs – creamy mashed Potatoes, sauteed Veggies, Red Onion Demi-glace

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Pork Osso Buco Confit – roasted Garlic & Black Pepper Spaetzle, Butternut Squash, Golden Raisin Pepita Gremolata

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Kid’s Cheeseburger and French Fries

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Bacon Cheddar Biscuits – Apple Butter

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Wood oven roasted Bacon Biscuit Stuffing

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Chocolate Dipped Bacon S’mores – house-made Marshmallow, Caramel whipped Peanut Butter, Graham Cracker

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Award Winning Fig & Pecan Pie – Beckett’s original Citrus Zest Cream Cheese Ice Cream

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Exiting Glendale early, The Buckeyes warranting neither applause nor a battle with traffic when laying an egg at the Fiesta Bowl, it was at Beckett’s Table that consolation was found as the East Coast celebrated 2017, an a la carte three-course meal served with no price hikes by smiling servers from a Chef whose comfortable American cuisine continues to do Phoenix proud.

Conceptualized as an honest kitchen built on the idea of family and friends, its 2010 opening seemingly far longer than just a little over six years ago, Beckett’s table was formed as the result of two couples with a passion for food, beverage and the city they inhabit, most of the ingredients brought in from no more than thirty miles away while Northern Arizona’s growing number of Wineries become more and more prevalent on a sizeable drink list.

All blonde wood and bricks with a open kitchen in the rear, a style familiar to many modern-American kitchens, it was moments prior to a nine o’clock reservation that the party checked in with a doorside hostess, a quick path past several well-dressed locals seating three at a square table with a good view of the pass, Chef Justin and his team working diligently with more attention to detail that rumors have suggested, a nightly special of skewered Pig Trotters unfortunately just sold-out, though the menu still presented plenty of choices.

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Dining with one wide awake youngster and his mother, a bargain glass of Sparkling Wine starting the night’s celebration, it from a friendly middle-aged woman that a basket of warm Bread was delivered, the cheesy Onion Rolls quite nice while dark Rye Rolls were event better, particularly as a means for sopping the leftover Sauce from a bowl of creamy Grits, grilled Sausage and light notes of Mustard.

Unable to ignore one of several self-designated signatures amongst the starters, “Beckett’s Original Grilled Cheese” served crunchy with a smooth center alongside piquant Tomato Soup made for dipping, entrees arrived shortly thereafter with “Beckett’s Table Signature Fork Tender Short Ribs” and a sizable hunk of confit Pork Osso Bucco, the competition for which was richer essentially a toss-up, though tilted in favor of the Beef as the buttery Potato puree seemed more decadent than the springy Garlic and Black Pepper Egg Noodles.

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More than a little surprised by a generously portioned Cheeseburger and French Fries from the Kid’s menu, a decision to double down on Bacon Cheddar Biscuits and oven-roasted Stuffing made from day-olds proving well worth it as each set a high-standard for American Holiday staples, dessert saw deconstructed Peanut Butter, Bacon S’mores that would have benefitted from housemade Graham Crackers presented next to nothing short of a brilliant idea, the “Award Winning” Pecan Pie with a Fig Jam base made all the more enchanting be a lightly charred Crust and a tangy ball of Ice Cream.

www.beckettstable.com/

Beckett's Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Beckett’s Table, Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Ice Cream, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Vacation

Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix AZ

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Barrio Café Gran Reserva

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Warm Bread with Pepper Spread

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Barrio Guacamole – thick-cut with Pomegranate, Onions, Cilantro, Tomato, Pepper

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Posole Verde – Pork, Hominy, roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Soup topped with shredded Cabbage, sliced Radish, diced Onion and served with Tortillas de Nixtamal

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Enchiladas Suizas – Imported Queso Menonita filled Nixtamalized Corn Tortillas topped with a delicate Tomatillo Cream Sauce then topped with an over easy Egg

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Torta Poblana – Spice rubbed Chicken Breast topped with caramelized Onions, roasted Poblanos then finished with a Crema de Pinon and Queso de Cabra

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Flan de mi Mami – Traditional Flan topped with Cinnamon, Pecans and Crema de Kahlua

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Tres Leches – Berries, Fresh Whipped Cream, Toasted Pecans

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Adding one more to the family of restaurants owned by Silvana Salcido Esparza, her original Barrio Café perhaps Phoenix’s most famous restaurant with an offshoot at Sky Harbor Airport and Scottsdale’s Barrio Queen also held in high regard, it was at the recommendation of a local food-writer that a party of three sat down at Barrio Café Gran Reserva, a bright white space serving upscale, modern-Mexican cuisine.

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Situated in the Bragg’s Pie building, historic signage still present outside the wedge-shaped dining room on Grand Avenue, it was with warm greetings from a slender server with glasses that the group was greeted moments before 12:45pm reservations, a sizable four-top along a wall nearest the bar offering full view of a space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows decorated in bright colors and shadowed depictions of a bucolic Latin American lifestyle.

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Without doubt a different scene from the eclectic 2002 original, and equally unlike the trendy Queen, Barrio Café Gran Reserva sees Chef Esparza focus on a more engaging concept including a tasting menu that was unfortunately unavailable on the year’s final day, a brief brunch menu instead offered alongside some of dinner’s a la carte options comprised of both entrees and shared plates.

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Beginning with housemade Bread and chilled Pepper spread, those longing for crispy Tortillas well-advised to invest in tableside Guacamole that eschews oversalting in favor of diced Vegetables served alongside Pomegranate Seeds in a chunky green puree, a sharable bowl of Posole Verde rang true with the rich sapor of Offal alongside cubed Pork and tender Hominy in a broth of roasted Tomatillo and Poblano Peppers, though the menu-promised Corn Tortillas were nowhere to be found.

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With no Mole or Cochinita available at this hour, the brunch theme more centered around Fish or Eggs, course two consisted of five Cheese Enchiladas bathed in a vibrant Cream Sauce alongside a sizable Torta Poblana, the thinly-pounded Chicken Breast picking up great flavor from Onions and Peppers plus Pine Nut Cream and mild Goat Cheese.

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Veering tradition with desserts, the Tres Leches Cake neither too soggy nor artificially sweet beneath Berries, Nuts and dollops of Whipped Cream, Silvana’s “Flan de mi Mami” comes across as a thick Custard with air-pockets almost as large as Tapioca pearls in some spaces, the addition of Cinnamon and Kahlua almost giving it a Tiramisu accent and besting previously tasted versions of the classic by several degrees.

https://www.barriocafe.com/blank-2

Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Barrio Café, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Bread Basket, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Vacation

Welcome Chicken + Donuts, Phoenix AZ

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Welcome Chicken + Donuts

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Thigh + Drum Combo with Hot Cake Donut, Korean Chili Sauce and Thai Yum Slaw

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Apple Fritter

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Basic Glaze

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Blackberry Pear Apple Butter

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Hot Buttered Rum

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Cranberry Hibiscus

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Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodle

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Missed due to a New Year closure in early 2016, and thus scheduled as a between-meal stop exactly 365-days later, Welcome Chicken + Donuts confirmed rumors of fried-bird greatness prior to the 2016 Fiesta Bowl while the glazed rounds of Dough were a more mixed experience.

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Owned by the same folks behind Phoenix’s Welcome Diner, their Southern-style Chicken Sandwich frequently cited as one of The Valley’s “must have” bites, Welcome Chicken + Donuts sees the team take on a double-fried style akin to Korean Chicken at an East Buckeye Road storefront close enough to the city to be accessible, though those unfamiliar with area may see the building surrounded by barren dirt somewhat out of the way.

Bringing a farm-to-table artisan’s touch to comfort food, purveyors such as Red Bird Farms and McClendon’s both justifying prices higher than KFC or Dunkin’, those entering WC+D after 10:30 Tuesday through Sunday are greeted by the faint smell of oil as well as sweet and savory cooking spices, the Donut case hopefully still stocked from the store’s 8am opening.

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Undoubtedly another former eatery, the counter-style ordering seeing Donuts boxed or placed in baskets prior to a brief wait at one of several booths, diners are given a choice of several dark or light Meat combos plus Ramen, Sides and daily specials, the choice of just one Thigh and a Drumstick with Sauce on the side showing evidence of a long brine and good spice mix beneath golden Batter while the Thai Yum Slaw brightened shredded Cabbage with Carrots and fragrant Peanut Sauce.

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With both fellow-diners completely in love with the fried Bird, requests for more quelled by the reminder of two full-meals to come, Welcome’s raised Donuts unfortunately failed to achieve the same high marks thanks to a dense, wheaty base that unfortunately comes across doughy unless filled with Fruit Compote while Cake choices trend only slightly better, the Hot Buttered Rum almost textured like a Buttermilk Bar with restrained sweetness to smooth Frosting overlying the ring below it.

www.welcomechickenanddonuts.com

Welcome Chicken + Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Phoenix, Sccottsdale, Vacation, Welcome Chicken + Donuts, Welcome Chicken and Donuts

Ollie Vaughn’s, Phoenix AZ

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Ollie Vaughn’s

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Ham and Gruyere Croissant

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Almond Croissant

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Ricotta Pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup and Fruit Compote

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Carrot Cake

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Nutella Roll

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Pecan Bar

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Chocolate Croissant Pudding

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Chocolate Banana Walnut Bread

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Continuing to show signs of a dining scene on the rise, several artisan bakeries moving step-in-step with flourishing Wineries and organic Produce grown in the northern part of the State, places like Ollie Vaughn’s were virtually unheard of as little as four years ago, the high hipster quotient tolerable thanks to the good service and even more impressive products.

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Small and easily passed by, signage along East McDowell Road blending into a background of street art and a disheveled gallery next door, parking is readily available in an adjacent lot with entrance immediately tempting patrons with baked goods, additions added throughout the day as the small restaurant transitions from Breakfast to Lunch.

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Best described as a full-service Coffee Shop, the focus on well-sourced Beans and scratch-cooking evident even before perusing a small menu, it was with wide-eyes that a party of three perused glass cases and pedestals, a total of seven items from Quick-Breads to Viennoiserie selected and offered warm in addition to one made-to-order plate from the kitchen.

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Locally owned and operated, the 7a-3p hours making Ollie Vaughn’s an ideal workday stop for both downtown denizens and those on the outskirts, it was on intentionally mismatched plates that each selection was brought forth individually by a young man with big spacers, bright hair and pointed fingernails – all items presented with a brief description mere moments before tucking into the toasty Ham & Cheese Croissant as well an Almond version that were each chock-a-block full of bold flavors without compromising the shattering exterior integrity.

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Receiving the plate of Pancakes more quickly than anticipated, a pillowy Ricotta base and Fruit Compote impressing even skeptics, more good bites were found in a coiled Nutella Roll that surprisingly allowed the spread to dry into a Brownie-like core at its center while the dark mound of Croissant Pudding was as moist, dense and rich as expected with Chocolate slightly melted by a quick rewarming trip to the oven.

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Not particularly sold on the Carrot Cake, too much sweet and not enough spice beneath a dollop of Cream Cheese Frosting, both the Pecan Bar and Chocolate Banana Walnut Bread fared far better, the former going light on Brown Sugar filling while doubling-down on Nuts and a buttery Crust while the latter is weighty and well-advised for sharing even though pockets of Dark Chocolate Chips and bitter Walnuts ensure that no two bites are exactly the same.

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www.ollievaughns.com

Ollie Vaughn's Kitchen and Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Bread Pudding, Breakfast, Croissant, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Ollie Vaughn’s, Pancakes, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Vacation

Tratto, Phoenix AZ

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Tratto

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Hard Cheese, Fennel Salami and Olives

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Farinata with Olives, Lemon and Rosemary

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Italian Loaf, Focaccia, Whole Wheat Bread with Olive Oil

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Kobocha Squash Casoncelli with Brown Butter, Sage and Aceto Balsamico

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Meyer Lemon Pappardelle with Lamb Sausage and Rapini

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Olive Oil, Lemon, Parmigianino-Reggiano

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Marsala Braised Pork Shank Alla Milanese

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Tiramisu

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Apple Crostata with Crema

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Opened by Chris Bianco in May, the space next to his Town & Country Pizzeria hoping to learn from mistakes of the short-lived Italian Restauant of years past, Tratto sees the Chef and his team embrace the same sort of modest elegance that has defined Bianco as one of the most prominent American culinary voices for decades, the all-white décor just the first indicator of the beauty of simplicity in an era defined by excess.

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Larger than it appears from the outside, though still seating no more than forty-five persons when accounting for the bar, those fortunate enough to make a reservation at the dinner-only spot are greeted on entry by pleasant smiles from a modest podium, seats serenaded by light music and tight, but not *too* close to one another as servers purposefully navigate the floor.

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Featuring garage-door style access to the exterior plus a patio, the al fresco season longer in Arizona than elsewhere, it was with a menu of just ten choices that diners were presented, one nightly special plus two desserts more well-culled than limited, tables of four or more wisely encouraged to order and share one of each plate.

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With Chris himself not present this evening, but the kitchen assuredly still in good hands, it was with small nibbles of Cheese, Olives and Salami that decisions were debated, three styles of house baked Bread arriving minutes later with a layered dish of Olive Oil.

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Doing best to sample the seasonal menu’s highlights, the Produce undoubtedly top tier but Salads too filling for two adults and a child, Tratto’s Chickpea Farinata proved to be the meal’s low point with a base that was crisp but too oily beneath briny Olives, the follow-up of two handmade Pastas showing the same quality recalled from Bianco’s previous location next-door as the light Citrus ribbons stood up boldly to Lamb Ragu while envelopes of tender Squash were picture and palate perfect in a shallow pool of Brown Butter, Sage and aged Balsamic.

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Electing for the nightly special contorti of steamed-whole Cauliflower alongside a meaty Pork Shank in Marsala Gravy, the comforting flavors of the latter nicely paired to something light, snappy and fresh, desserts are offered by description only with two flavors familiar from years before offered – Mama Bianco’s Tiramisu a dense sponge rich with Espresso and liquor while the hand-formed Crostata continued the rustic theme with rough edges and a dollop of freshly whipped cream.

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www.trattophx.com

Tratto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Bread Basket, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Italian, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Tiramisu, Tratto, Vacation

Maria’s Fry Bread and Mexican Food, Phoenix AZ

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Maria’s Fry Bread and Mexican Food

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Tortillas and 3 Salsas

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Bean and Green Chili Tostada

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Carne Asada Fry Bread Taco with Beans, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cheese, Red Chili, Green Chili

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Sopapilla with Cinnamon, Powdered Sugar, Honey

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Doing a poor job of investigating Phoenix’s diverse Mexican dining scene during a short residence, the variety of fare and region-specific styles truly impressive in retrospect, it was to Maria’s Fry Bread and Mexican Food that the GPS was directed on Friday afternoon, the family-owned restaurant on East Thomas proving to be as good as rumors suggested.

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Open for just under one year, the lack of a website or answered-phones making the storefront with a Drive-Thru the sort of place best visited without a lot of research, it was half-passed one that a party of three entered the former Burger Joint, an expectedly ethnic décor speckled by oddities such as octopus vases on the counter or Barbie and Ken on a swing hanging from the wall.

Dining with Spanish-speakers, though the staff was English-fluent, it was after brief perusal of a short menu that an order was placed, one large Horchata in a Styrofoam cup presented with complimentary Chips and three housemade Salsas ranging from mild Tomatillo to what the server described as “inedible hot.”

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Waiting mere moments for plates from the kitchen, a few other diners previously present enjoying their Food, it was with all three plates presented at once that the small table was flooded, first bites of a crispy Tostada with refried Beans and Green Chili impressive in the range of its flavor and downright irresistible to a friend who reminisced of where she had previously experienced the smooth yet spicy taste.

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Moving on to two Fry Breads, the word Sopapilla used to describe a plain disc served with Honey, Cinnamon and Confectioner’s Sugar meant to be dressed to taste, the second selection was served folded with the puffy Shell light and virtually oilless around tender house-braised Beef plus bright vegetal flavors , Beans and Cheese.

https://www.facebook.com/Marias-Mexican-Food-and-Frybread-473926582791365/

Maria's Frybread and Mexican Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Maria’s Fry Bread, Maria’s Fry Bread and Mexican Food, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Vacation

Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix AZ

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Little Miss BBQ

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Sliced Fatty Brisket, Pulled Pork, Jalapeno Cheddar Grits, Ranch Style Beans

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Spicy Pork + Beef and Onion Sausage, Bone-in Pork Ribs, 1lb Beef Rib, Coleslaw, Potato Salad

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Smoked Pecan Pie

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Said by many to be Texas-standard, words rarely thrown-around lightly by respectable sources, it was minutes past 10:00am that the car was parked a stone’s throw from Sky Harbor Airport, the line at Little Miss BBQ already twenty-deep and soon to swell well past two-hundred before the restaurant’s doors opened up.

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Spawned from the world of Competition BBQ, one of the owners’ Austin-roots infusing the team with passion and perspective no different from the Franklins and Muellers of the world, Little Miss BBQ represents the dream of Scott and Bekke Holmes – a Pitmaster with a culinary degree and his wife who has helped both as inspiration and in the kitchen.

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Opened in February of 2014, patrons and accolades flooding the industrial storefront ever since, a trip to Little Miss BBQ will be immediately familiar to those who’ve dined at Texas’ best, the wood piles rimming the parking lot ready to be loaded into an offset smoker straight from Texas, the laminated outdoor menu promising everything from sliced Brisket, pulled Pork and Turkey to jumbo Beef Ribs.

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One-upping many from the Lone-star State by making their spicy-Sausage on-site, samples whetting appetites as a young server circulated the line a few minutes before their eleven o’clock opening, it was precisely as the minute-hand reached 12 that the line lurched forward, several far-back letting out a small cheer even though they would spend yet another hour in anticipation.

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Perhaps a bit more packed than usual, the week between Christmas and New Year’s plus a Fiesta Bowl crowd making a long weekday lunch more accessible to some, it was on approach of the counter that the crowd watched meats unloaded from the smoker get wrapped in foil or butcher paper, the moist Protein again revealed by Chef Holmes in a slow and methodical manner as orders are placed, each tray or plate lined and tared as he smiles and thanks fans while handing out small bites and occasional burnt-ends to those most fortunate.

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Keeping the menu simple, Meats by the pound or combo-plates featured alongside four Sides, classic Condiments and one Dessert, it was to a grand tally of $54 that nearly four pounds of Barbeque plus one of each side was taken to an indoor table, glasses of water filled from an outside cooler with three housemade Sauces ready in waiting.

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Struck by the humble vibe, but not about to waste anymore time before tucking into the Fatty Brisket that Scott’s knife had glided through like Butter, comparisons to Aaron Franklin immediately became apparent as the peppery bark gave way to pure decadence, the prime-grade Beef more than juystifying its cost, as does the sizable Cow Rib with such a deep ring of smoke that it barely adhered to the bone beneath it.

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More impressed by the warm sides than chilled ones, spicy Grits as smooth as they get while Pinto Beans are upgraded by a substantial amount of Meat, Little Miss BBQ’s pulled-Pork and Spare-Ribs are also as good as the majority found outside Kansas City, the latter slipping cleanly from the bone with each made even better by the restaurant’s Tomato-based Hot Sauce while Bekke’s Pecan Pie made a believer of even someone who claims not to enjoy such things, the smoked top-layer of Nuts helping to mellow a Maple and Brown Sugar Jam bottom.

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www.littlemissbbq.com

Little Miss BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Dessert, Food, Glendale, Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix, Pork, Scottsdale, Vacation

Original Breakfast House, Phoenix AZ

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Original Breakfast House

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Lemon Cream Scone

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Morning Glory Muffin

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Brioche Cinnamon Roll

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Strawberry Pop-Tart

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Chicken-fried Chicken, Country Gravy, Fried French Toast, Scrambled Eggs

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Triple Berry Pancakes

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Making way to Phoenix for a second consecutive Buckeyes’ Fiesta Bowl, this time with two others to share in the fun, Breakfast on Friday was finally enjoyed at Original Breakfast House, the North-Central eatery somehow missed during nearly 18 months of living in the Valley of the Sun.

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No doubt growing up a lot in intervening three years, a handful of Artisan Bakeries and Hip Brunch joints cropping up throughout the Metropolitan area, Original Breakfast House is located on N. 32nd Street and, although only born in 2011, the feel is much older – a Californian transplant achieving his goals in ownership by drawing a diverse crowd interested in the restaurant’s comfort food classics.

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Built on the ideals of good ingredients, smiling service and a 70’s roadside décor, it was just past eight in the morning that a party of three was seated at a comfy booth near the entry point, more than half the tables already full with everything from elderly men to school-age children, the Bakery case and a Specials board each within eyeshot and offering no shortage of temptation.

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Opting to dine in two-rounds, a total of four baked goods and two plates from the kitchen decided to be more desirable than the rest, items from the counter were presented re-warmed and partially melting, the Brioche Cinnamon Roll not as springy as some and more like Cinnabon while the Morning Glory Muffin was moist, dense and pleasant with a whole lot of Carrots and natural sweetness in the base.

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Pleased by the creamy Lemon Scone, though less-so by a Poptart whose shell was unfortunately thicker and even more mealy than the Kellogg original, a stack of Triple Berry Pancakes with $1-supplement Pure Maple Syrup was par for the course with bursting berries both inside and on top of them while the Chicken-fried Chicken with Country Gravy and a slice of fried French Toast was worthy of highlighted-status as the Bird was crisp and juicy while the Bread was golden on the outside with its center Custard-soft.

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www.obhphx.com

Original Breakfast House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Arizona, Breakfast, Dessert, Food, French Toast, Glendale, Original Breakfast House, Pancakes, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Vacation

KoMex Fusion, Las Vegas NV

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KoMex Fusion

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Chips and Salsa

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Fusion Burrito – Chicken with Mexican Rice, Green & Brown Onions, Pico de Gallo, Cilantro, Lettuce

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Fusion Flauta – Bulgogi plus Cheese rolled in Flour Tortillas & deep fried plus fusion Guacamole

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Fusion Slider – Bulgogi plus Mayo, Lettuce, Onions, Tomato, Korean Hot Sauce

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Orange

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A locally owned institution, the “Korean, Mexican, American” concept proudly promoted on outdoor signage, it was finally on Thursday that KoMex Fusion proved interesting enough to investigate, a two o’clock in the afternoon arrival finding several menu-options unavailable even as the restaurant seemed sorely lacking for patrons.

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Officially location number two, the North Decatur original spawning a sibling spot in late 2013, those entering Komex Fusion on South Buffalo are promptly greeted by a server/hostess standing at the kitchen-front podium, a sprawl of tables laid-out right and left with a bar showing sports providing alternative entertainment to the overly-loud IHeartRadio soundtrack.

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Asked whether dine-in or to-go, the choice to stay followed by a gesture to sit anywhere one likes, it was with menu and water soon in hand that choices were debated, the idea of Mexican Meat-market owners spinning Asian suggesting a little from each column, though the decision was immediately nullified when the server announced they were “all out” of Noodles.

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Essentially removing 1/8 of the menu, a suggestion that “Fusion Fries” could somehow replace Fettuccine a bizarre one indeed, it was instead Mexican and American that tastes trended, a three-item order tallying just over $17 after tax and tip.

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Happy that single tastes of several items are available, no up-charge compared to larger plates, lunch began with a Fusion Slider featuring marinated Beef atop a soft Bun with traditional condiments and Korean Hot Sauce, the heat actually quite mild just as it was when rolled in a crispy Tortilla with a dollop of chopped Avocado.

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Amused by the teensy cup of Salsa served with complimentary Chips, especially when accounting for large portions and low prices across the menu, it was next in an enormous Burrito that appetite was invested, the “spicy Pork” eschewed in favor of Chicken that was unfortunately a bit gristly, the addition of Mexican Rice an Grilled onions none-too-different from a ten-plus year recollection of Chipotle with added disappointment provided by the fact that the Korean Pancake dessert was “unavailable,” just some complimentary Orange slices to finish instead of an outsourced “Cronut Sundae.”

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TWO STARS: Understanding that specials sometimes sell-out, but never understanding the point of a laminated menu with unavailable options, KoMex success seems largely attributable to big portions and low prices, a one-and-done sort of place in a city with no lack of more delicious and authentic low-cost dining options.

RECOMMENDED: Bulgogi Flauta.

AVOID: Chicken and any expectation that the menu is accurate.

TIP: 11a-9p Tu-Su on South Buffalo, 11a-8a Mo-Sa at the Original.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.komexexpress.com/

KoMex Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Food, Komex, Komex Fusion, Las Vegas, Nevada

Jean Georges Steakhouse [4,] Las Vegas NV

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Jean-Georges Steakhouse

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Iced Tea

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Spicy Cheese Lavash, Pretzel, Walnut Cherry, Baguette and Butter

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Crispy Sushi Sampler – Salmon, Tuna, Hamachi, Crispy Rice and Chipotle Mayonnaise

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Wagyu Carpaccio – Black Truffle Fritters and Lime Salt

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Marinated Hamachi – Daikon Radish, Nuts and Microgreens

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Iceberg Wedge – Blue Cheese and Crispy Bacon

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Baby Beets and Pear – Gorgonzola, Walnuts and Herbs

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Crab Cake – Shaved Apples, Celeriac Remoulade, Flowers and Herbs

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Tomato Salad – Hearts of Palm and Coconut

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Grilled USDA Prime Filet, 100% Grass Fed New Zealand Angus Filet, Rangers Valley Australia Bone-In Dry Aged NY with Jean-Georges Sauce Collection (Chimichurri, Housemade Hot Sauce, Soy Miso Butter, Béarnaise and JG Steak Sauce)

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1/2 lb. King Crab Legs – Butter and Lemon

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Crunchy Organic Chicken – Spinach and Butter Hot Sauce

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Duck Breast – Jordan Almonds, crispy Kale, Mushrooms and Foie Gras

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Bone Marrow – Toasted Bread and Lemon Gremolata

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Creamed Spinach

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Mashed Potatoes – Crunchy Potatoes and White Truffles

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Bread Pudding – Brioche, Fontina Cheese, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Black Truffles

Double Espresso on Ice (not pictured)

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Market Apple Pie – Maple Pecan Ice Cream

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Honey Panna Cotta – Fig Jam, Macerated Figs, Petit Beurre, Lemon Gelee and Port-Fig Sorbet

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Salted Caramel Sundae – Fudge, Candied Peanuts and Caramel Popcorn

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Jean Georges Chocolate Cake – Vanilla Ice Cream

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Having dined at Jean-Georges Steakhouse as recently as October, a plan to end 2016 by revisiting some of the year’s most memorable meals bringing a party of three back sooner than usual, dinner on the Wednesday after Christmas saw Chef Sean Griffin go off-menu during a relatively slow dinner service, the four-course feast comprised of both new ideas and classics cementing Aria’s elder-statesman of the second floor as the one of, if not the best, Steakhouses in Las Vegas.

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Recently undergoing a changeup in management and the pastry department, service a little disheveled at first and at times prone to seeming a bit ‘forced,’ it was after greetings from Sean and one of the Assistant General Managers that the evening got started, menus removed in lieu of Carte Blanche with the housemade Bread Basket soon arriving full of warm temptation.

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Beginning the menu with a course of light Seafood, a good choice as later rounds grew in plates and portion, Jean-Georges Crispy Sushi Sampler continues to impress by way of its atypical temperature and complex texture, the thinly sliced Beef over Truffle Fritters an aromatic explosion of flavor while Marinated Hamachi presented the Fish fresh and snappy amidst shaved Daikon, crumbled Nuts and Microgreens with just a splash of Citrus.

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A strong proponent of organic produce from the Farmer’s Market, Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby supplying most of Chef Griffin’s Beets and Tomatoes, course two saw Salads from the past alongside classic Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese plus a substantial Crabcake beneath a “flurry” of sliced Apple, the pureed Celeriac adding a light, earthy element.

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Going all-out on entrees, a trio of Steaks cooked medium-rare showing the diversity of Jean-Georges program with each distinct in taste as well as texture, Chef Griffin additionally offered 1/2 lb. King Crab legs to the excitement of the Lady at the table while the city’s crunchiest fried Chicken found itself challenged by another Bird, the Holiday-only Duck Breast rosy and rich with seared Foie Gras and a crust of crumbled Jordan Almonds.

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Excelling again with sides, the humongous Bone Marrow presentation again drawing looks from across the room, traditional creamed Spinach found itself joined by two new dishes, the mixture of mashed and crispy Spuds topped in White Truffles pure and elegant while the Brioche Bread Pudding immediately found itself amongst the year’s best dishes with melted Cheese and fibrous Fungi beneath a veil of Tuber melanosporum.

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No longer featuring the talents of Darcee Lynn on Pastry, the menu thus unchanged since last visit, old classics still managed to justify their gastrointestinal real estate, Chef Vongerichten’s Molten Chocolate Cake again cited as sparking the phenomenon while Honey Panna Cotta and the sweet-n-salty Sundae were tasty, but no comparison to the skillet Apple Pie that remains unparalleled in the Las Vegas market.

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FIVE STARS: A rare meal in which no plate was less than reference standard, the combination of top-tier ingredients and a skilled kitchen even more prone to please than usual during a slow night, Jean Georges Steakhouse remains an under-discussed gem in a city brimming with options, a return visit for the Spring menu already anticipated, and not coming soon enough.

RECOMMENDED: Wagyu Carpaccio, Baby Beets and Pear, Tomato Salad, Rangers Valley Australia Bone-In Dry Aged NY, Crunchy Organic Chicken, Bone Marrow, Market Apple Pie (Duck and Bread Pudding, if Available)

AVOID: N/A.

TIP: Rumors of a minor renovation continue to circle, though dates remain unannounced.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

http://www.aria.com/dining/restaurants/jean-georges-steakhouse

Jean Georges Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Bread Basket, Bread Pudding, Coffee, Crab, Dessert, Foie, Foie Gras, Food, Ice Cream, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork, Tasting Menu, Truffle, Truffles

Coco Donuts (South Rainbow,) Las Vegas NV

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Coco Donuts South Rainbow

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Apple Fritter

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Blueberry Yeasted

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Strawberry dipped Cake

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Red Velvet Cake

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Chocolate dipped Chocolate Cake

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Chocolate dipped Cruller

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Maple dipped Old Fashioned

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Chocolate dipped Buttermilk Bar

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Taking a cue from Pink Box and Donut Mania, continued popularity in one neighborhood prompting expansion to another, it was midday on Wednesday that a stop was made at Coco Donuts on South Rainbow, the selection somewhat picked over by two o’clock but the quality still mostly good with severs still smiling.

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Originally visited over three years ago, the earliest days of the Summerlin location showing quality classics and a Croissant-Donut that rated well in a group taste-off several months later , Coco Donuts #2 is located in a small strip mall on the west side of Rainbow Boulevard across from Gelatology, the layout long, narrow and still lacking for decoration with fried Dough lining a countertop to left in a variety of styles.

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Hand cutting each Donut and closing when the day’s batch is gone, a format similar to all but Sin City’s 24-hour joints, it was with a grand tally of $8.75 that eight selections were taken to a small inside table for enjoyment, first bites of the Apple Fritter unfortunately showing signs of sitting too long as the interior was quite soggy while a follow-up Yeasted Ring with Blueberry glaze was soft and fluffy, though the translucent lacquer’s flavor tasted very artificial.

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Personally fancying Cake Donuts to Raised ones, the Chocolate-base a bit dry but both the Red Velvet and Vanilla with shiny Strawberry frosting moist and crumbly, Coco’s Cruller showed textbook technique with custardy insides unfortunately unavailable simply glazed at such a late hour, the Old Fashioned and Buttermilk Bar also compromised by frosting with the Maple faring better than Chocolate and both bases slightly tangy, smooth and well-crafted.

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THREE STARS: Likely compromised by the time of day or a new location, dated recollection of the store on West Cheyenne Avenue painting a prettier picture, Coco is nonetheless a good choice in a neighborhood with no lack of sweets but surprisingly few Donuts, an earlier visit at a later date hopeful to show signs of improvement.

RECOMMENDED: Glazed Red Velvet, Buttermilk Bar and Old Fashioned without Frosting.

AVOID: The Chocolate base was far too dry and all but the Maple Frosting were thick and artificial tasting with a slightly waxy linger.

TIP: 6a – 7p (or sold out) on weekdays, 6a to 2p on Weekends.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

www.cocodonutsvegas.com/

Coco Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Posted in Breakfast, Coco Donuts, Coco Donuts South Rainbow, Dessert, Food, Las Vegas, Nevada

Goong Korean BBQ, Las Vegas NV

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Goong Korean BBQ

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Barley Tea

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Banchan – Fish Cakes, Kimchee, Jalapeno Radish Soup, Vegetable Cakes, Spicy Eggplant, Potato Salad, Simple Salad, Soy Noodles, Pickled Vegetables, Soy, Salt, etc.

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Chadolbagi – Thinly Sliced Prime Brisket

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Galbi – Marinated Prime Short Rib

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Hangjeongsal – Pork Jowl

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Jaengban Guksu – Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Vegetables and Hardboiled Egg

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Dolsot Bibimbap – White Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, Marinated Beef, Fried Egg, Spicy Sauce

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Tteok Manduguk – Soup with Rice Cakes and Dumplings in Beef Stock

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Not one for all-you-can-eat restaurants, especially the sort where “cooking your own food” is considered the norm, it was with hopes of dispelling such misconceptions that a seat was taken at Goong Korean BBQ on South Rainbow, two friends with far more experience at such places providing great conversation and a whole lot of education during the meal’s nearly-two hour span.

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Considered to be one of the city’s more authentic experiences, shoes removed and decorative-pads provided for seating at one of several gas-fired grilltops, those arriving at Goong during lunch hours are likely to be struck by the tranquility of a space devoid of televisions or elaborate decorations, the clean lines complimented by a light soundtrack as servers provide menus and beverages while speaking in hushed tones.

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Offering several lunch specials alongside the dinner menu, a la carte Meats as well as party-sized Combos offered alongside a variety of Soups and Rice plates, it was with both Korean and English descriptions that choices spread across several pages, the ordering deferred to others with some input as to a Rice Cake Soup and Pork Jowls that sounded particularly interesting.

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Partially familiar with the format, a plethora of small bowls and plates quickly flooding the table prior to the first Meat selection, it was with small bites tasted of each Banchan that the palate was prepared for the flavors to follow, the Fish Cakes and Spicy Eggplant particularly memorable as makeshift appetizers while choices like the pickled Daikon, Onions and Soy Noodles were better utilized with the Proteins, or at least as palate cleansers between bites.

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Turning focus now to the grill, a total of three Meats ordered with a second helping of Galbi proving far superior to the sinewy first round, those making their first visit to Goong would be well advised to order at least one plate of the thinly-sliced Chadolbagi that cooks through in under two-minutes as well as a Pork plate, the glass cases in back proudly displaying the sort of quality worth paying for as each is sliced to order in a nothing-to-hide way.

Not one for really hot stuff, even Goong’s Kimchee a bit too heated if not taken with some rice, additional plates tasted included the Cold Buckwheat Noodle Salad served with Soy and lava-red Sauce as well as the comforting Dolsot Bibimbap, a large bowl of Tteok Manduguk presented last with Salt and Pepper by a server who all but admitted gauging his table’s “whiteness” even though the overstuffed Dumplings in Beef Stock were already savory enough.

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THREE AND A HALF STARS: An enjoyable meal as much for the company as for the food, Goong Korean BBQ proved a nice introduction to a new genre, though the service did feel slightly judgmental throughout the course of the afternoon while prices trend higher than would be anticipated for several of the dinner Rice Bowls, Soups and Casseroles. Also, Mochi is not dessert…

RECCOMMENDED: Chadolbagi, Dolsot Bibimbap, Tteok Manduguk, Fish Cakes, Spicy Eggplant.

AVOID: Galbi is so heavily marinated that it loses its “beefiness.” The Soba Noodles, also, just feel like filler.

TIP: Several lunch-only deals are offered for those dining on a budget. Check Social Media for menus as there is no website.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.

https://www.facebook.com/Goong-Korean-BBQ-Restaurant-1678985592361447/

Posted in Food, Goong, Goong Korean Barbecue, Goong Korean BBQ, Las Vegas, Nevada, Pork

Aureole, Las Vegas NV

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Aureole

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Through The Pines – St. Georges Terroir Gin, Aperol, Giffard Pink Grapefruit, Lime, Tonic, Rosemary

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Focaccia, Black Salt and Butter

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Raclette Fondue – Intuitive Forager Seasonal Crudites

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Hummus, Baba Ganoush & Tzatziki – Herb Garlic Flatbread

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Black Garlic Caesar – Parmesan, Poppy Seed Tuille, Poached Egg, Black Truffles

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Roasted Beets – Goat Cheese Souffle, Onion Soil, Fine Herbs

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2014 Von Winning “Winnings” Riesling

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Lion Fish Ceviche – Coconut, Ginger, Aji Amarillo, Tempura Shiso Leaves

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“California” Crab Roll – Avocado, Puffed Rice

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Kona Kampachi Crudo – Beet Cured, Pickled Cauliflower, Citrus Crema

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Beef & Octopus Carpaccio – Gremolata, Brioche

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Fried “Chicken Oysters” – Lardo, Spinach Espuma, Lemon Butter

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Beef Cheek Potato Raviolo – Shaved Pecorino, Smoked Tomato Cream

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Turkey, Ham & Swiss Meatballs – Gruyere, Jamon Iberico, Creamy Peppercorn Sauce

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Saffron Risotto Fruitti Di Mare – Prawns, Clams, Mussels, Crab

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Veta La Palma Sea Bass – Chimichurri, Lemon

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2012 Chateau de Beaucastel Mourvedre Blend

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Sheep Ricotta Tortellini – Duck Confit, Fava Beans, Parmesan Emulsion, Black Truffles

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4x Seared Ribeye Cap & Eye – Sea Salt Soy, Mirin, Uni

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White Asparagus & Truffles – Perfect Poached Artisanal Farms Egg, Espelette Hollandaise

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Roasted Spaghetti Squash – Candy Stripe Beets, Walnuts, Vegan Truffle Cheese

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Veal Wellington – White Asparagus, Oyster Bread Pudding, Bordelaise

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Double Espresso on Ice

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Artisanal Cheeese Selection – Honey Comb, Onion Jam, Persimmon Mostarda, Apricot Puree, Huckleberries, Apple, Marcona Almonds

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Apple, Oats & Persimmon Crostata – Mascarpone Chantilly, Maple Ice Cream

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