Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Daily Eats Review: Citybakery Arcadia Farms Phoenix

Friday, May 13th, 2005

First impressions last the longest…My impression of Citybakery will last a lifetime. A week ago in my email box, among 100’s of emails, spam, personal and business emails I received a very pleasant invite from the Bentley Gallery to welcome Arcadia Farms’ new Citybakery to Bentley Projects. The invite read “stop by on Wednesday May 11 for trial run/free lunch.” Who could resist such an invite?

Bently Projects I not only stopped by Citybakery, I lingered for a long time because the atmosphere is made for lingering, musings, and sensuous desires. What a surprise and architectural thrill the entire Bentley Projects Complex is! In all of my years of living and traveling to some of the finest cities in the world, I have never experienced a perfect combination of complimentary economic venues and values, which dazzles the senses the soul as Bentley Projects provide.

From a stroll through Bentley Gallery with it’s modern showcase of art wonders, to the literary works of the Poisoned Pen, and topped off with tasty fare from Citybakery. This new effort to migrate businesses to lower downtown Phoenix is going to work. My compliments to the business mastermind, which made all of these linkages possible. Bentley Projects is a truly a Phoenix business masterpiece!

Citybakery Phoenix Upon entering Citybakery I couldn’t help myself from comparing the layout to Rose Cafe in Venice Beach, California. You have the option of dining inside or at the outside patio separated by French doors. I love the crisp and colorful interior with lovely undertones. Did I mention there is plenty of parking in the complex!

Lunch at Citybakery was marvelous. I ordered the Tart & Salad. The warm tart is a delightful combination of white corn, string beans, tomato, roasted peppers and artichokes with a mixture of goat and smoked mozzarella cheese. The fresh mixed green salad was topped with almond slices and raspberry dressing was the perfect component. The best for last was new dessert addition to the menu: the cupcake. You know cupcakes are in vogue! Citybakery’s cupcakes burst of thick delightful chocolate frosting and tasty vanilla cake though very yummy was slightly dry.

Citybakery AZ Tart & Salad Citybakery AZ Cupcake

Arcadia Farms founded by Carolyn Ellis got her beginnings in Old Town Scottsdale. The lovely Lisa Giungo is the managing partner of the Citybakery and creates a very pleasant atmosphere.

As I sipped the delicious apricot tea, I thought to myself “I got more than my “free lunch” I found divine inspiration in downtown lower Phoenix at the Bentley Projects!”

My rating: this is a five star! be sure to note this is “The Place” to be in Phoenix.

Citybakery opened Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4 pm, Saturday 7am-3pm, “First Fridays” 6-9 pm
Located: 215 East Grant Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004-2629
Telephone: 602-253-7200

Eating Concrete

Thursday, May 12th, 2005

So so results with my first try, but I was undaunted. “Laugh at me if you will,” I muttered to myself, thumbing through the pages of Carlean’s book, “I will indeed create something that I will enjoy eating!”

There, on the very same page, a seemingly inviting recipe, “Golden Chicken and Mushrooms.”

4 to 6 chicken breast halves
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4-5 medium potatoes, cut into one inch thick chunks
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed golden mushroom soup

Add onion to sprayed slow cooker. Top with potatoes then chicken. Stir soup and spoon over the chicken. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.

Another Sunday cooking day. Since this one actually required some advance preparation, I had higher hopes. Onion diced, potatoes sliced into one inch thick disks, I stirred it all in and began my wait.

Eight hours later, it smelled pretty good. I tried it. Kinda bland. Potatoes were rather gluey. Had I not cut the potato small enough?

I refrigerated the rest, little realizing that it would shortly congeal into a tasteless rubbery mass with the consistency of concrete.

But-I had made it. So I would it eat it. Until it was all gone. My Moroccan girlfriend, Hasnae, begged me, “Je te prie cherie, ne mange pas cela!” (Please darling, don’t eat it!) But somehow, I had a compulsion to take my evil spawn back into myself, for after all, had I not created it? Some bizarre loyalty to myself as a cook took over. So after the fourth day and my final spoonful of the brownish glop, I heaved a massive sigh of relief and thought hard about whether Ms. Carlean truly offered the right path to cooking nirvana.

Daily Eats: Food News

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

How much junk food? District looks for answer, by Heather Woodward
“How much candy, soda and other junk food should be allowed at high schools drew sharp comments from parents, students and doctors at an Olympia School Board meeting Monday.”

Detroit Ponders Taxing Fast Food to Shrink Budget Deficit - USAgNet
“In an effort to curb a possible $300 million budget deficit, Detroit, Michigan, wants to impose a two percent tax on fast-food sales. If passed, the tax will add $0.10 to every $5 meal.”

Dumb Government Department: Detroit Mayor Proposes Fast Food Tax, by Joe Gandelman
Hold the pickle, hold the bun, hold the mayo; will special orders still get taxed?

In the interest of odd sightings in food: George Bush Cheeto
Would that be considered a very cheesy cheeto?

Update on Finger Food Ick Ick:
Finger finder wouldn’t hand over the digit
“The North Carolina man who found a finger in his gourmet ice cream refused to return it even though it possibly could have been reattached to the hand of the employee who lost it.” by David Pescovitz

Other blogs blogging about Finger finder wouldn’t hand over the digit

Festive Dedication of Renovated Historic Phoenix Building

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

Barry Kluger extended an invite to me for the dedication of Larry Lazarus’ restored historic 1921 building on 420 West Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. I was appreciative of Barry giving me the chase to get back into the swing of life and meet the people of Phoenix. At late I’ve been taking care of my mother, who suffers from both polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis, and volunteering with the National Medical Research Foundation, founded by Joan and Edward Reiter, to find a cause and cure of these painful and deadly diseases. It felt great to be out in the world again, thank you Barry!

Barry a wonderful escort and well liked introduced me to Larry Lazarus, a prominent distinguished attorney involved in the ADL. Barry and I toured the newly remodeled building designed by Richard Loope. You can’t help to look at the beautiful wide plank floors or notice the impressive safari motifs and nuances throughout the building. As we were leaving to join the party outside, Don Henninger, publisher of the Business Journal, stopped Barry to catch up. The Business Journal is a very comprehensive resource of local business news.

Outside under the big white tent we chatted with several of Barry’s associates. He also introduced me to Attorney General Terry Goddard, Mayor Phil Gordon, and several other statesmen. Mayor Gordon is an impressive man, deep voice, firm handshake and defined eye contact. Coincidentally, Mayor Gordon and I are separated by 2 degrees from my friend Andre Bormanis. Governor Napolitano was suppose to be there, but probably was held up with state budget meeting.

It was a wonderful turnout and Larry Lazarus certainly knows how to put on a party. Among the handshakes and pats on the backs there were bits and bites being nibbled from Mexican fare and sips from margaritas. To top off the evening festivities the Phoenix Police Choir gave a marvelous performance.

” Party hearty . . . fun with e-mail . . . phone home” by John Stearns
Napolitano, GOP leaders agree on proposal, Associated Press
Michael: Napolitano’s Budget Compromise

Lunch with Barry Kluger

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

Courtney made an email introduction to Barry Kluger for me, the newly appointed co-chair of Arizona’s Governors Commission on Film and Television, brilliant PR maven, serves on the board of ADL, and featured writer for column in Arizona Woman called “Life { Male Call”. Barry kindly invited me out to lunch at the Orange Table, a lovely eatery located in Scottsdale’s downtown civic mall. Greeted with a big smile, firm but not overwhelming handshake, handsome and strong features, I instantly liked Barry.

Barry is an ex-New Yorker like me, who lived and worked in Silicon Alley’s new media industry. Besides the lovely Ms. Pulitzer, we have several people in common which was among the many topics discussed over deli sandwich and mozzarella salad topped with tuna salad served at Orange Table.

Sitting outside among the lovely orange trees that grace the patio setting of the Orange Table, on a sunny warm Wednesday afternoon. Barry shared with me his life story, the transition from New York to Scottsdale, day to day with life with Hope, his wife, loss of his dear daughter, and the politics of living in the greater Phoenix area.

Barry is a loving, caring, intelligent, socially conscious, and committed member of society. Also very creative as shown in his most recent article for Arizona Woman entitled, “When a Man Loves a Woman, He Cooks”. Barry extols “the Passion of the Crust” for Hope in hopes of her appreciation. As Anais Nin illustrates in her short story “In Favor of a Sensitive Man”, I found those prescribed ingredients in Mr. Barry Kluger. An unusual note about Barry he enjoys diet soda by adding Sweet ‘n Low to it.

How would I rate lunch at the Orange Table?
Food is fresh, tasty and crisp, dining host warm friendly and playful, topped with a wonderful place for deep discussion. I give Orange Table 5 oranges for being a great place to do lunch!

Other Resources:
“In Favor of a Sensitive Man”, Playboy, 1974
“In Favor of a Sensitive Man and Other Essays”, by Anais Nin, A Harvest/HBJ Book, 1976

Daily Eats Reviews Durant’s

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

You walk into Durant’s through the kitchen. It’s buzzing with excitement as lunches are being prepared for the business crowd. From the hussling of kitchen business, you walk into the dimly lit dining room, no windows to speak of. Picture this an old time speakeasy, red walls dark furniture with Mafia undertones, very smokey, glamorous blondes dressed in Chanel suits sitting across from tall dark and handsome in pinstripes well sort of like that.

As I was lead to my table I wondered what deals were being made in the dark? Was life and death be negotiated? Was Durant’s of the same legacy steakhouses as New York’s infamous Old Homestead where you chewed your steak quickly for fear of what may happen or Delmonico’s where you strained to hear some inside trading tips?

Jack Durant, the founder, speaks of Durant’s as “Good friends, great steak and the best booze are the necessities of life.” I wanted to put his motto to the test and met Tavis Logan there for lunch. Travis, new Regional Event Chairperson of Phoenix Ryze was introduced to me via the brilliant marketing maven, Andrew Kraft the orginator of NYC Ryze. Ryze, by the way, is a business networking club founded by Adrian Scott. Travis is an impressive connection maker, who is also president of 99AZ, another business networking club, which I will check out on Tuesday evening.

As I hankered to overhear what conversations were being had at Durant’s, to my surprise the lunch crowd was loud and festive drinking what’s on tap not the usual martini-guzzling crowd I’m use to. My focus immediately drifted back to my table. Lunch was far from dull with Travis we chatted about a wide variety of subjects including my favorites: anything-New York City and quantum physics. In between bites of my delightful cheeseburger cooked to perfection, Travis surprised me with when he asked if I saw the film, “What the Bleep Do We Know?”. An awesome film about quantum physics. We also chatted briefly about Dr. Joe Dispenza and creating your day. All in all we had a powerful discussion over a lovely casual two-hour lunch.
How do I feel about Durant’s: I think Travis would agree lunch was excellent. Though I could do without the second hand smoke, which steals from the true flavors of beef, and spoils my hair and my lovely expensive suit.

I rate Durant’s 4.5 slabs of free ranch beef – I would have given a full 5 but I am a stickler for smoke free dining. Hey if the Old Homestead and Delmonico’s in NYC are cigar and cigarette free and still cranking in the green, so can every steakhouse in the US. Trust me smell is the best part of eating a good piece of steak and second hand smoke doesn’t add to the flavor.

Other links:
My Ryze page

Swedish Meatballs, yah

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

I don’t know about you, but dining with a Frenchman in a Swedish restaurant is right up my alley on Cinco de Mayo!

And, I’m not an expert, but I do know a good meatball when I taste one. And the Swedish Meatballs at Smorgas Chef were “not-too-shabby.” L’interieur du restaurant was classically Scandinavian–sparse, clean, bright. Blond woods, steel fixtures, and chandeliers made from blue-glass bottles lent a cheery and “not-too-stark” feeling.

My dining companion had the Scandinavian Seabass Tajine (an Ocean-farm raised Chilean Seabass simmered in a Moroccan clay Tajine with champagne prune and sun-dried tomato sauce). I had the Rack of Lamb (no sauce).

While Christian, a cigar-smoking, wine drinking, flirtatious Frenchman, was chatting up with the proprietors, I finished my food. It was a delightfully forgettable experience. [Note to self: bring book next time].

From their website: “Smörgås Chef Restaurant was founded by chef and designer Morten Sohlberg and investment banker Min Ye. Prior to founding Smörgås Chef, Morten and Min founded Inc. – the world’s largest online design school headquartered in SOHO New York.” Interesting creditials. Gives new meaning to the idea that you really can recreate yourself in NYC all the time.

Rating: Two Meatballs. One Fish

Six Ingredients or Less

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

First I forgot to give you the link for those crockpot reviews, so here it is:

Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter, or shall we say, the food. Crock pot kept saying “Feed me Seymore, FEED ME!” (Little Shop of Horrors”) so I had to get going!

Very important recipe criterion: simplicity. Minimal pre-preparation, little slice and dice, no multipage discussions of this or that. Short and sweet. Quick trip to the bookstore netted me this:
“Six Ingredients or Less,” by Carlean Johnson. Oh this looked favorable. I mean, six ingredients! Most of it just canned stuff that you dump in with the meat! What could be neater, what could be sweeter? My friend Abby thumbed through it and smirked. “Huh. Six ingredients. Ridiculous!” I would not be swayed.

So I chose my first recipe, thusly:

“Southwestern Style Chicken”

4 to 6 chicken breast halves, skinned and boned
1 jar (16 oz) chunky salsa, divided
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained.

Combine half the salsa, and all the corn and black beans in a slow cooker. Add chicken, top with remaining salsa. Cover and cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Makes 4-6 servings.

Just FYI, most cookers come with either HIGH or LOW settings, you can’t set the exact temp. Mine also comes with a nifty feature, auto “keep warm” so it’s not a mass of cold goo when you come home late at night.

I made a few changes, for the sake of “simplicity.” Chicken breasts, skinned and boned? No. Chicken chicken cutlets. Frozen corn? Nah. Easier: canned corn.

So one Sunday morning, I plopped all this stuff into the cooker, turned on low, and did my usual sunday stuff: watch plenty of useless TV, surf aimlessly on the web, go the gym in order to sweat copiously. Every now and then, I would look in the pot, and things seemed to be bubbling auspiciously. After an hour or two, a nice smell. I was full of hope.

Dinner time, 6 pm. I could wait no longer to sample my delicious meal. I opened the cover, and a waft of fragrant steam blew out of it. Everything looked kinda red from the salsa.

The verdict? Kinda dry. So THAT’S why I was supposed to use larger cuts of meat, not thin cutlets. Second: kinda bland. My good friend Abby and our intern Jennifer laughed and laughed when I told them that. “So how much seasoning was in there?” she asked. “Hey, it wasn’t in the recipe,” I said. More laughter.

OK. Two lessons: bigger cuts of meat, and more salt/ pepper. A lot more. Question, will I learn these lessons well or will I , in my rigid middle aged way, continue to slavishly follow simplistic recipes?

Stay tuned…

Food in the News: Finger Food ick!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005

I just can’t help myself. Ick to the in the custard, double ick to the hoax about the finger found in Wendy’s.

Finger food: the case of the custard A man in North Carolina found a finger in a container of gourmet ice cream from Kohl’s Frozen Custard in Wilmington, North Carolina. Customer Clarence Stowers discovered the digit when he dug into his chocolate desert at home. - by David Pescovitz

Mediaocrity: News Gives Public The Finger: “News Gives Public The Finger”

Despite finger, body parts in food rare

Despite Discovery of Severed Finger in Custard, Statistics Show Body Parts in Food Is Rare

Custard Finger

My question why would anyone put something in his or her mouth to see what it is?

Cooking for Lazy Gadget Phreaks

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

Problem: You’re a 40 plus year old man who’s done little more than scramble an egg, and you’re getting royally sick of fully cooked chickens cut into quarters and two slices of cheese pizza from the local joint.

Cooking? Hmm. Seems kind of labor intensive, plus there’s the fear of knives and too many ingredients.

The answer came in a web news perousal in early Februrary. Crockpots! does a convenient review of several models. Didn’t various girlfriends also mention this device? Yes they did! You just dump some meat and veggies in and some six hours later, you have tasty, tender grandma style hearty eats! Hah! Too good to be true?

I decided to find out. The Rival 3861 6 quart countdown programmable crockpot slow cooker. About $50 delivered from Amazon. Highly recommended for the price from Slate.

Two weeks later, I had in my hands a stainless steel rock of a pot, complete with removable innard. Mighty heavy. Cool touchpad buttons on it, appealed to the gadget man in me.

Recipes come next, I will share with you my trials and tribulations in trying to create edible dinners from my new gadget.