Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anamia's @ Coppel

This appetizer plate was good for a meal, and a few left over take home treats for the next day. I am hoping to join the tradition of using this as a stop over when going or returning from the airport.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pho Bistro

Vietnamese bistro. Love the pho. Ordered shrimp, crab. (7) The wait staff is good, and they allow us to stay for hours and chat. This is a must do when I visit my sister.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rise No. 1 - A Salon de Souffle

Rise is a lovely little restaurant, tucked away in a plaza off of Lover's Lane and Inwood. French bistro focusing on souffles. We started with a selection from the Pour commencer section of the menu and ordered Marshmellow Soup (9). A lovely tomato basil soup, with puffy balls of white cheese on top, broiled to make them look like toasty marshmellows. Pesto and a little basil oil are dribbled on top for a great finish. It was wonderful.

For the main course we ordered two savory souffles and shared: Sun-dried tomato & Pesto Chevre (14) and Crabmeat & Boursin (20). They had two totally different tastes, and complimented each other.

For desert, we shared two items off of the Sweet Souffles section: Chocolate (10) and Grand Marnier (12). The souffles arrived and the waiter pierced a hole in the top and poured wonderful warm chocolate sauce in one and a white Grand Marnier on the other. Soooo good. Topped it all of with a nice French press coffee.

Marvelous meal and very good service. There were many French items for sale throughout the store. The waitress said that about 95% of what you see if for sale; if you like it you can buy it! We met the owner and she said that they are opening additional restaurants throughout the country. Try one if it opens in your area.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chef Lendy

New arrival on the chef scene. Chef Lendy prepared incredible fajitas and yummy Key Lime pie for desert.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

La Bocca and a play

ASU Alumni offered free tickets to see "Sunday in the Park with George". I decided to accept the two tickets and take the Light Rail to Tempe for dinner and a show. I had several ideas in mind for the pre-show meal, but we walked past those choices, pulled on by new adventure. We crossed the street to go to a sushi restaurant, only to discover that it had closed. As we stood looking up at the darkened restaurant windows, we spotted a new restaurant. Well, new to me. I had eaten in the "sandwich shop" when I had classes in the engineering classrooms as ASU. The outdoor seating looked very inviting, but the interior drew us inside.

La Bocca, billed as an "urban pizzeria and wine bar", is far from a pizza joint. We were seated right away and approached immediately by Matthew, our guide for the night. He explained the menu, and proudly pointed out that many of the items used locally produced items. Several of my favorites were prominantly placed on the menu: Schreiner's Sausage (shout out to Nancy and the family!) and Queen Creek Olives. The menu was simple, easy to read, but VERY hard to make a choice because everything sounded so yummy. We decided to start with a home made cocktail called Clean Slate Martini {Gin, Cucumber} $7 and Septima Malbec, Argentina 2007 $8 (but at "relaxed pricing of $4). The Clean Slate Martini was incredible and destined to be a summer favorite. The Malbec was smooth and yummy.

We then had to make a choice on the food. We decided to start with bruschetta planks {$12}. We had to choose four out of the six offerings and while we picked four, we decided that we would have to return to try the other two. (Roasted tomato, pesto & parm and roasted artichoke & peppers would have to wait for our return.)

The plank that we selected had wonderful tastes with every bite. There was definitely some moaning going on at the table! Pictured below in order from left to right:

queen creek olives & ricotta
caprese with fresh pulled mozzarella
norwegian smoked salmon & mascarpone
prosciutto, fig & mascarpone

We snacked on the brushetta and then decided on a pizza. Again, not an easy task, and we finally selected bocca trio ‘ crushed san marzano tomatoes, pepperoni, genoa salami, schreiner’s “sicily” sausage, mozzarella & fontina, queen creek olives {$13}. The taste was incredible. The toppings were distinct and the sauce was extremely tomatoey tasty.Of course, Matthew is paying a tremendouse amount of attention to us and sharing all of his knowledge and enthusiasm about the food. I asked if they were going to feature any dishes with Schepf Farms peaches this month, since this was THE TIME to pick them. Matthew brought Peter over to the table to chat about the peaches, and I clued him in on my experiences at Schnepf Farms for the Peach Festival. There is timing to consider (before the huge crowds arrive) and the weekend that the EarliGrande peach orchards are open. That is a MUST and is worth all of the effort to get these particular peaches.

This is Matthew and Peter. Two fun guys who made the dinner a great experience. I now feel like part of the family, and that type of ambiance is not easy to get on a first visit. After some great conversation about local restaurants and the sights of the area (I sent Peter and the family to Rock Springs for pies), desert was served and there is absolutely nothing better than a warm brownie topped with Mary Coyle ice cream. OMG (and that is a great name for this desert!) for two ‘ a decadent house made ghirardelli triple chocolate espresso infused brownie cooked in a hot skillet and served with mary coyle vanilla bean ice cream {$7}

By the way, did you notice the prices? This was so wonderful and so wonderfully priced that it deserves a trip on the Light Rail to come to the restaurant alone. From what I have seen so far, this is a place that is worth spreading the word about.

After that wonderful dinner, we walked down to the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre at ASU to watch "Sunday in the Park with George". A Sondheim musical, this was just another reminder that there is so much to do in the city and a lot of talent.