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Moo Shu Pork (PHX)

Nee House on Tatum and Thunderbird.

Aug 22, 2013
Leanne in Phoenix

Tableside Guacamole

Sol Cocina in North Scottsdale. While It's technically not tableside they do have three very tasty guac options.

Aug 22, 2013
Leanne in Phoenix

Pretty darn good BBQ at Tom Thumb Market and Bistro

I'm not sure if anyone has posted on this place yet, I know they were just reviewed in Phoenix Magazine as a top new restaurant, but WOW this place blew my socks off. Great BBQ, a great spin on a cubano sandwich, and great wine selection all in a auto wash/gas station. Who knew? Prices are very reasonable given the high quality of food. One cubano, one pulled pork, basket of fries with aioli and two drinks 27.00 bucks.

I was also super impressed by the wine selection. Not too many places outside of Sportsman’s carry one of my favorite wines from Napa Turnbull. There were quite a few other eclectic wines in the mix at a very fair price point.

Give it a try if you're in the North Scottsdale area, you won't be disappointed! I'm already dreaming about their habanero BBQ sauce...

Mar 01, 2013
Leanne in Phoenix

Recommendations in London [moved from Phoenix board]

[NOTE: We've moved this discussion from the Phoenix board at -- The Chowhound Team]


Have reservations at Dinner and St. John's but after that nothing else. Staying in Victoria and one dinner will be with friends in Brighton. so looking for three more nights. I suppose I should probably use my resources and troll the UK board! Too funny about your nephew- good brews can tend to do that to you!


Jun 03, 2011
Leanne in U.K./Ireland

NOCA, PHX. Uncertain to return


Thanks for the reply.

We will probably re-visit NOCA again sometime soon. I just hope they can get the issues between service and food in sync and soon.

I have talked to many friends who visited NOCA in the early days of opening and months after and had nothing (like yourself) of high praise for it. Perhaps we will start again with the sandwhich shop, then dinner in a few months.

I myself will be traveling in London and Prague for business and won't have much time to dine out in PHX so we'll see what plays out.

However, before I leave, I will write to Eliot. Even though it was a very brief encounter he seemed extremely genuine and interested in his business.

P.S. Got any good rec's in London or Prague? Love your reviews and respect your taste....:-)



Jun 03, 2011
Leanne in Phoenix

NOCA, PHX. Uncertain to return

It’s with much trepidation that I post my comments on two separate dining experiences at NOCA. I know that the restaurant is well liked and repeatedly praised as some of the best dining in Phoenix. I have been out of the Phoenix dining scene for the past three years as having two kids close together will do that to you!

I have been looking forward to re-entering with my first meal being at NOCA and am sad to say that I was just underwhelmed with both dinners for different reasons.

The first dinner that we had was just my husband and I. We arrived promptly for our 6:00pm reservation and were offered two seats at the counter, which we grabbed. We love to watch the controlled chaos of a great kitchen in action. We both knew that we were going to go the Chef’s tasting route with wine pairings as this was a special occasion (hubby’s 40th birthday). We decided that before our ordering that we wanted to enjoy a glass of champagne and asked our server if he would be ok with that as we didn’t want to take up space if they needed to turn our spots quickly.
He said no problem, to take our time and then mentioned he would go ahead and take our order anyway and hold onto it while we got us our champagne. Perhaps this was our mistake by consenting, as the next thing we knew we had our lobster rolls, no champagne and no wine pairing.
The space was filing up quickly so when we stopped eating to try and get the attention of either server, or manager they all seemed to be back at the bar. At that point two different servers brought us champagne and our wine pairing and looked at each other with the recognition that something went amiss since we had four glasses in front of two people and half eaten food. We got an apology about the timing and at that point I figured they would correct the issue. The Lobster rolls were fantastic, served with I believe duck fat fries. A very solid dish and I would eat this again and again. I should clarify that we added this as an addition before our proper starter as we couldn’t resist and so glad we indulged
Our first starter came without any issue; we still had our wine pairing that was selected for our dishes. My husband had the mussels which were great and I went with a field salad with beets and goat cheese. Salad was decent, nothing stood out that would make me order it again. I should have gone with my 1st instinct and ordered the soup which smelled wonderful.

The next dish was to be our Primi, we both requested the squid ink fettuccine which was great. The problem was again our wine pairing did not come out, we had to request it and then no priority seemed to be put on the request as the pairing showed up as we were almost finished- dropped off by another server who we didn’t recognize.

The next snag we ran into was a 15 minute delay in our mains as the kitchen fired the wrong dish for me. I would have expected that they re-cook a fresh fish for my husband but instead they kept it warm. This misstep resulted in my husband’s fish being a bit over and my dish seemed rushed to be put on the plate as it was now the height of service. We did get a apology from the manager, who delivered our mains.

We were waiting for Desert and a I believe a man who was Elliot Wexler stopped by and said thank you for coming, I was about to say something about our overall experience and he was pulled in another direction and then gone for the evening.

Our initial server reappeared offered us dessert and with selections made we waited.. and waited.. and waited some more. When we approached the manager he said he would look into and came back and told us our again he was sorry but our desserts were sent to another table. At this point, I was so disappointed with service we requested the bill, ate our dessert, and wanted to pay to leave however waited another 10 minutes for our check to be run.

I approached the manager and let him know that the food was great, however the missteps with service and wine service were something I was not expecting as so many people had great things to say overall about NOCA, especially the service. He again apologized curtly, gave us our shortbread and we left… underwhelmed. Please note, that I did not expect a free dinner, or anything to be gifted to our table, I merely wanted to feel like I was heard and perhaps shown some empathy, neither occurred.

I am not one to discount a restaurant for one bad experience. So this week, when selecting a place for a business dinner, I choose NOCA. We had 6:00pm reservations and when arrived we were greeted warmly, and seated immediately. Menu’s presented; we ordered drinks and perused what to have. I will say straight away that our server was great, she checked in on us often and everything except bar service was timed appropriately (I am not sure what is up with their bar!) We ordered three starters, three mains, and three desserts.

The starters were: Burrata, fried clam slider and pork belly. The burrata was fantastic, the clam slider was sent back (something I very rarely do) and the pork belly disappointed.

For our mains we had filet mignon, scallops, and rotini with Berkshire pork. My rotini was very salty, the scallops were done very nicely and the steak was cooked properly and the bean ragout served with it was tasty. Deserts were fine. Overall a decent dinner, however again I was underwhelmed.

This time at the creativity and flavor profiles of the dishes. I really want to like NOCA, and perhaps we will give it a third shot and have a winning combination of both service and food, but for now I am off to try other places that I have missed in the last few years. If asked if I would recommend NOCA, I would say sure, but with some caveats in place to be sure.

3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Jun 03, 2011
Leanne in Phoenix

Fun post: Fav dishes at Rokerij/Richardson's?

I love the Roasted Garlic Plate ( just be sure everyone with you eats some!) Will also concur with Firenza00... The Carne Adovada is crave worthy.

May 24, 2010
Leanne in Phoenix

Where to buy Espelette Pepper in Phoenix


I have a recipe that calls for Espelette Pepper, I have substituted Smoked Spanish Paprika before, however I really would like to try and find Espelette that is calls for. Anyone know where one might come across it? I have tried AJ's and come up short.



Feb 05, 2010
Leanne in Phoenix

Dining Alone in Miami- Needs Rec's

Thanks Blind Mind, Sra Martinez sounds right up my alley, love Spanish tapas!

Dining Alone in Miami- Needs Rec's

Hello Florida Chowhounders.

I am coming into Miami for work Wednesday the 3rd and leaving Friday the 5th... I know.. right in the middle of a little thing called Super Bowl.. Anyway, this will be my first time in your city and need some help.

A little background on me: I live in Phoenix, Love most ethnic cuisines and have a adventurous palate. What I get a lot of in Phoenix is Mexican cuisine, Indian and Thai. What we obviously don't have being in a desert is an ocean, even though most restaurants fly in fresh daily, for me it's just not the same.

Love Sushi, Love Fish, Love Spice. What should I not miss? Looking for Dinner on Wed, and then Breakfast and substantial Lunch on Friday. Have Car, will travel, not looking to spend a fortune but not necessarily eating on the cheap(but sometimes those are the best places!)

Thanks for your help!

Dinner for one tonight- Staying in Financial District


I have my meals planned out for most of my trip except for tonight. I arrive JFK at 5:00 and taking car service to hotel which is the Gild Hall on 15 and Gold street. I have no aversions to subway travel, taxi or just plain footing it around. I am interested in eating some great Korean, Middle Eastern or Chinese ( all foods not covered in my next night of dinners) As mentioned in my subject line, I will be dining alone, budget for dinner is 50 without drinks.

Oh one last request please.... sheepishly hangs her head... Can you please educate a west coaster on what side of the city (East or West) the Financial District is located in. In trying to map out subway routes it seems to be consistent stating "from the East or From the West side of town" Or is my barometer so far off it's actually North/South.

Thanks NY chowhounder's for the help.

Dec 01, 2009
Leanne in Manhattan

St. Francis (PHX)

Looking forward to trying St. Francis this Wednesday. Not sure I would bring my two boys here for dinner (terrible two's and all), but a quick glance at the online menu noticed cheese pizza and a green salad offered at no charge under the "kiddos" section. Nice touch. I am thinking the fig/goat cheese/arugula pizza will be ordered!

Oct 12, 2009
Leanne in Phoenix

Best Things to Eat in Phoenix

Green Chili Cheeseburger- Richardson's/Dicks Hideaway
Garlic Plate- Richardson's/Dick's Hideaway
Pot Roast- Phoenix City Grill
Nicole's Favorite Extra Crisp- Spinatos
Red Curry Chicken, Thai Hot- Thai Lahna
Ooey Gooey cupcakes- LGO/Tammi Coe
English Muffins- LGO/MJ Bread
Calamari Salad- The Cove
Table Side Guacamole- Barrio Café
Hamachi Collar – Kampai

Jul 30, 2009
Leanne in Phoenix

What food find still haunts you - that you had once and haven't found since?

What a wonderful thread..

Paris 2000 Gare de l'Est train station. After a fiery argument in more than adequate French with the bathroom attendant who was not willing to take my 5 francs to use the facilities, I came upon a sandwich stand. I was going to be arriving in Luxembourg at an off meal time and knew I would need something to hold me over until dinner.

My train was leaving in 5 minutes so I grabbed a tuna sandwich on a baguette and a can of Kronenbourg 1664. That tuna sandwich still haunts me to this very day as one of the best I have ever had. I can't re-create it, it was plain, the baguette was crisp on the outside and doughy on the inside and washing it down with a cold beer on a fast moving train was purely celestial

Jun 11, 2009
Leanne in General Topics

phx: are there any non-chain kitchen stores left?

What about Kitchen Classics on 40th Street and Thomas. I am not sure if they are a chain but this is the only one I know of in Arizona.

May 04, 2009
Leanne in Phoenix

A quick Stay in Tucson, AZ- Two good Meals

Last week I went down to Tucson for the night to attend the AZ technology conference. I was down on a Monday night and staying at the Hotel Arizona. I knew via their website that Cafe Poca Cosa would be closed on Monday and I guess I will have to make another trip down for them.

Arrived around 1pm and needed a nosh to get through to dinner. We parked the car and walked out of the Hotel and down to Congress where we came upon Cafe Milano. I wish we had this in Phoenix, I would be there all the time. The owners are obviously from Italy, a husband/wife team. I had a caprese panini and a glass of wine and could have sat on the patio all day sipping wine and people watching, however they close at three to prepare for dinner. Everything was fresh and service was spot on. I would love to try all their panini and homemade pastas.

After kicking around the downtown area and walking to a quaint little area off 6th street and fourth ave where we had a pre-dinner drink, I had convinced my work fellows to eat at the spanish tapas place Casa Vincente, DIOS MIOS! They were closed as well on Mondays. So our walking led us to a Mexican restaurant El Minuto Cafe. Nothing fancy, but really good Carne Seca and I have to say Seth Chadwick would have LOVED the cheese crisp, I dare say it was up to his standards :-)

The conference the next day was a bust, but glad to have traveled down as the meals made the trip.

Apr 23, 2009
Leanne in Southwest

phx - whats the best thing you ate in the last week?

The mozzarella tomato pesto gallette at Switch. Light, Flakey and filling.

Mar 31, 2009
Leanne in Phoenix

where do you think has the best creme brulee in Phoenix?

I believe it's part of the Mastro Family now but Drinkwater's Steakhouse on Camelback and Goldwater. They have a lovely creme brulee.

Feb 18, 2009
Leanne in Phoenix

Pre-Made Turkey Day Dinner @AJ's- Phoenix

Thanks for all the feedback (good and bad). For better or worse I put my order in to AJ's. I will report back after Thansksgiving on how the meal went. Now if only I could wiggle my nose and the dishes would be done.......

Nov 18, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Pre-Made Turkey Day Dinner @AJ's- Phoenix

Due to time constraints i.e. read kids, family, life etc.. Am contemplating ordering a pre-cooked Thanksgiving Dinner from AJ's. Has anyone had any experience with these types of meals from years past? We typically cook all our meals and love to cook the "big holiday" meals and experiment with seasonal ingredients etc.. however with a 20 month old, a 4 month old and the in-laws I just don't think I can face it this year. Any feedback would be great so we can prepare ourselves for what to expect.

Thanks in Advance and Happy Holidays.


Nov 17, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Advice for Sctsdl Culinary Fest Virgin- Scottsdale AZ

Hello All,

The hubby bought us tickets for the grand tasting this Saturday and being this will be our first time to one of these events I was hoping to get some advice from those who had been before.

There is a lot going on in for guest speakers such as Ming Tsai, Stephanie Izard (Top Chef), Jaques Pepin, Kevin Binkley etc.. all which I would love to see, however with each performance being scheduled every hour on the hour I am wondering how one has time to eat and sample the wines. Looks like we will have to be choosy in who we decide to see so that we are able to sample all the yummy eats. Any advice for tackling this event?


Oct 21, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

NEW Culiver's Butter Burger of Mesa

So had lunch today at Culvers Deer Vallley. Ordered the # 4 basket which is the butter burger with cheese, side and drink. For me, I don't get it, I wasn't impressed. Maybe I had an off day there. There was no glisten to my dry bun, burger was so salty I could hardly stomach it and fries were limp. I'll try it again in order to give it a fair shake (no pun intended) but overall not so impressed. I know lot's of hounds love this place, I am missing something?

Jun 25, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Favorite White Pizza? (PHX)

Spinato's Margherita is a white pie and to die for.

Jun 09, 2008
Leanne in Southwest - best of?

Can I type two words please after seeing this list.... PINK PEPPER????? Seriously? That must be a typo right? Tell me it is? I worked at Trader Joe's while in college in what seems like a thousand years ago and while they have some healthy food- top health food store???

May 16, 2008
Leanne in Phoenix

Phoenix- Ticoz- Closed??

Looks like the marquee is down and all the signs outside, same with Jade across the street. Anyone know the scoop? I really liked their Mojitos and Hummus/Guacamole.

May 16, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Romantic La Jolla Dinner- Are these places on the right track?

Wow, Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. We look forward to some great dining. I will report back!


Apr 22, 2008
Leanne in California

Romantic La Jolla Dinner- Are these places on the right track?


The hubby and I will be visiting La Jolla this weekend for a much needed break away for the kiddo. We have friends in the area, however Sunday we are looking to have a nice romantic dinner for two. I did a search and this is what I came up with

Georges Ocean Terrace- Probably out since open table says no reservation available on Sunday 4/27



I know this list is short, so if there is a stand out place that we are missing please chime in.

Here are some basic's about us and requirements for our dinner. We are from Phoenix, Arizona so please no Mexican themed.

I am pregnant with our second but really a non issue I can work with most menu's.

We love seafood, asian, new american classics, french bistro and FRESH, FRESH, FRESH ingredients.

Would love ocean view, however if the food is first rate and no view, we'll take the food.

Our price point is roughly 45 per person not inlcuding drinks.

Staying at the Grand Hyatt La Jolla, have car will travel.

Thanks in advance.


Apr 21, 2008
Leanne in California

Phx- Taste of India or Cuisine of India

Thanks everyone, It looks like Taste of India it is. It's pretty close to work.

Feb 01, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Phx- Taste of India or Cuisine of India

Hi All,

I did a search on Indian Cuisine on the board and unfortunately got all posts that had the word Indian or Indian School in it so needless to say not very helpful.

Can anyone recommend the two following restaurants for lunch/dinner?

Taste of India on 16th street and Bell


Cuisine of India on 29th ave and Bell.

Looking for a lunch spot today and the general craving in the crowd is Indian.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Feb 01, 2008
Leanne in Southwest

Pho Avina- Phx- Review

Based on a few recommendations I had lunch at Pho Avina twice in the last two weeks and thought I would share my humble opinion.

The first visit I arrived at 11:30, there was not much of a lunch rush yet so plenty of open tables to choose from. The interior was extremely clean and the staff very friendly. I was given a menu which was around 5 pages deep with lots of tempting dishes to choose from but I was here for one thing and one thing only Bahn Mi! I put down the menu and looked up at the board of sandwiches and choose the number six, grilled pork bahn mi. When my server approached to take my order I was ready. One order of spring rolls and number 6. " We have no bread" was the reply I got.... shattered, crestfallen even my craving for Bahn Mi was shot down. She apologized and said she would put my spring rolls in while I looked for something else. I decided on Pho with special beef and meatballs.

Everything came out at once; since the pho was steaming I went for the spring rolls. They were good, a bit to warm for my taste as I like my spring rolls pretty cold but decent.

The Pho was good as well, I am sorry to say it didn't knock my socks off but that could've been because my heart was really set on Bahn Mi.

I was pleased to see that they offered boba tea, so I placed my order for soursop boba and 16.00 bucks later was out the door. A little pricey for my usual lunch but I did have a lot of food. I was also told by my server that they would have bread next week so I made a mental note. BTW the boba soursop was out of this world!

The second visit I met my hubby for lunch and we were both excited to finally try Pho Avina's Bahn Mi. we arrived at 11:15 in hopes of tasty sandwiches and no so luck..... once seated I inquired about the bread and was told in the same manner as last time " No bread today" another disappointment. Hubby had the Pho, I had a rice plate with grilled pork and we shared an order of spring rolls. The spring rolls arrived this time considerably warmer than last time. I passed on mine and the hubby ate both. He said the same thing that they are good but need to be colder. Rice plate was good and hubby enjoyed his Pho.

Overall Pho Avina was good, not great in my mind. I know a lot of people of the board really like it but such it is with food... it all comes down to a matter of personal taste.

Pho Avina
4920 W. Thunderbird Rd
Glendale, AZ 85306
M-Th 11-9:00pm
Fri-Sat 11-9:30
Closed Sundays

Bahn Mi is advertised as available for lunch M-F 11a-3pm

Jan 24, 2008
Leanne in Southwest