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blair_houghton's Profile

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Jack Daniel's "Unaged" Rye

it's got "rye" in the name, and i've been a rye guy since before ryes were hip (meaning i was drinking them in 2005).

it has the aroma of band-aids, and tastes of pancake batter.

frankly, it's not worth the attempt. and it's hideously overpriced for underprocessed booze.

it's junk. i dumped the rest of the bottle in the sink, with prejudice. save your money. not worth even the curiosity factor.

Apr 28, 2013
blair_houghton in Spirits

Tacos El Gordo - On the Strip

i'm sitting there now, looking those up on my phone. a vampiro is a taco wrapped in a quesadilla. mula means mule, but i can't find a decent reference to it as food. something about a side with a burrito. the pork adobada is different from what I'm usedto. the meat on it's own seems a lot like chinese sparerib meat, but it works fine in the taco with the green sauce and garnish. my favorite is still the adobada at taco nazo next to the REI in tempe.

Sep 01, 2012
blair_houghton in Las Vegas

Pomo Pizzeria - Scottsdale

Fascinating, and heartening.

Reading their Rules page suggests it's not a terribly high bar they set:

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bell...

I would bet that several places in town could qualify if they changed minor things like the counter surface they work the pies on. Anywhere with a wood fire is an easy-in. I doubt Grimaldi's would give up the coal (nor would I want them to). Bianco or Nello's could make the transition and get an interesting selling point, though. Not like Bianco needs another one...

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Nello's
1806 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282

May 10, 2010
blair_houghton in Phoenix

It's PHX. Who brings the heat?

First thing I thought of was Los Dos. Always a good time.

Most recently I got the Street Tacos at Z'Tejas in Chandler and asked for the Blair's After Death Sauce (no relation) they keep behind the bar. Did the trick. I'll often order the Pork Chile Verde and an extra serrano, then chop the peppers up and mix them in.

May 10, 2010
blair_houghton in Phoenix

What is the single best restaurant in Phoenix?

Now there's a quantum-mechanical question if there ever was one.

There are large variances in what the kitchen and dining staff are like on a given night, in what an individual's tastes are like on a given night, and in tastes between individuals, even sitting at the same table, and even in what "best" means. You're taking a hundred-variable formula where any of the terms can be weighted in any way and has a variance that may encompass orders of magnitude, then asking what's the sum, and saying that - that "bestness" - is the sole determinant.

And aside from that classical statistical stuff, you get the foodie uncertainty principle, and its inexorable effect: The moment you identify the best, all the followers go there and it stops being the best. Fame * Bestness < Constant.

That said, I'm digging on FnB recently. Don't tell anyone.

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FnB
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

May 10, 2010
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Grimaldi's - Peoria Park West

Still true.

May 10, 2010
blair_houghton in Phoenix

You Can't Afford This Coffee Maker

$11k for a robotic demonstration of the French Press method?

And you have to waggle a spatula in the grounds while they steep?

Boshemoi.

"There's one born every minute."
- Everyone who ever quoted P. T. Barnum

Sep 22, 2009
blair_houghton in Features

PHX report: Roaring Fork and Zinc Bistro

Jeebus. I need to get a new staff.

Sep 13, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Scottsdale Sugar Bowl closing?!?

The Pink Pony, however, is toast.

Sep 13, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

PHX report: Roaring Fork and Zinc Bistro

You guys, to keep me apprised of major world events. Isn't that how this works?

Sep 12, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

PHX report: Roaring Fork and Zinc Bistro

When did he leave? Why didn't someone call me? What do I pay you people for?

Sep 10, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Most Overrated Dishes

Gonna disagree here. That piece of meat brings a ton of flavor and has to be cooked that way to be tender; and done right it's nearly spoonable. Have you tried the one at Roaring Fork? I had it last weekend. I want to do it again this weekend, but that'd be too much.

Sep 10, 2009
blair_houghton in General Topics

Most Overrated Dishes

Have you tried them in chipotle?

Sep 09, 2009
blair_houghton in General Topics

Most Overrated Dishes

Souffl├ęs are great when properly executed.

It's Lava Cake that I wish would go the way of the Jell-o mold.

I wonder if Vongerichten gets a royalty for every one Domino's sells...

Sep 09, 2009
blair_houghton in General Topics

Most Overrated Dishes

Use less, or use it on more powerful stuff.

I put it on eggs. In the right quantity, it's a nice balance.

Sep 09, 2009
blair_houghton in General Topics

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

Did I mention I got a bottle of Page Springs ECIPS 2007 on my first trip to Total Wine and wow is that nice and deep for a young red? It wasn't what you'd call cheap at $30 or 32 a bottle, but if all that depth turns into levels of complexity in the rack it'll be a bargain as it gets some years on it. I honestly liked it more than the Opus One I had a few weeks ago (but I'd been tasting champagnes just before the OO so my palate wasn't exactly fresh; color your interpretation of my review accordingly).

Sep 09, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

August visit to Wynn restaurants

Hmm. Mr. Wynn hasn't owned The Mirage for years (it's now property of MGM). And it's been so long since I stayed there that I don't remember if Kokomo was there when he did own it.

Sep 06, 2009
blair_houghton in Las Vegas

How to approach restaurants about dissatisfaction

Complaints are rare, usually people just leave a low tip, grumble on the way to their cars, and don't come back.

Complaints that don't get acted on quickly are an even better motivator for a customer to go somewhere else.

I couldn't care less whether I get something for free at a place I'd otherwise like to come back to (for the food other than the thing that was bad), but it makes a big difference that they make the gesture. It indicates they believe it's an anomaly, not policy, to serve someone poorly. The lower the staff level of the person empowered to make the fix, the better.

As I said, complaints are rare, but they are certain to happen over time unless you're a 3-star restaurant staffed by robots with refrigerator-motor reliability ratings. If you see them as an opportunity to improve a relationship rather than a chance to duck responsibility, and relish the opportunity, you'll end up with a steady income from a steady stream of regulars and people who heard the place was great.

Sep 06, 2009
blair_houghton in Not About Food

If one HAD to pick a buffet in Vegas...

Oh! wait! Brainstorm.

How would you compare it to the (good years) at the Terrace Room buffet at the Phoenician?

That's the sort of thing I'd expect for $65 a seat. In fact, I may go tomorrow now I've thought of it. If it's still running. It's been quite a while.

Sep 05, 2009
blair_houghton in Las Vegas

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

I just want to know why they are Headquartered in Deming, New Mexico (about 80 miles over the border on the 8). You can't tell from the bottle that they're really Arizona wine. Or does that make them New Mexico wine made from Arizona grapes?

Sep 05, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

Evan Williams is bourbon. They make 8 brands, including two that for some reason not explained on their website are not available in the U.S.

They have a very interesting FAQ about Bourbon, though:

http://www.evanwilliams.com/about_faq...

I haven't had it, so I can't help with the question of taste, here. But I'm intrigued, so I will eventually try it. I'm not sure I'd buy a 1.75L bottle of anything as my introduction to it, even if I got rave reviews from the interwebs.

Sep 05, 2009
blair_houghton in Spirits

If one HAD to pick a buffet in Vegas...

What is the crowd like at the Sterling Buffet?

Aug 30, 2009
blair_houghton in Las Vegas

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

Go to Total Wine instead. BevMo is dead to me. TW is 4 times as big, lower in price on everything I checked, and has things BevMo has never even tried to get in stock for me.

Aug 30, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Jack Daniel's is not Bourbon.

if it is, i'm gonna pull out the bottle of germain-robin XO i bought at Total Wine yesterday and win

jack & coke, like schlitz & football, has its place in the world of comfort and propriety

of course, at the moment, i'm watching zimmern's show and quaffing a sam smith's apple cider, so it's not comfort-zone sunday

Aug 30, 2009
blair_houghton in Spirits

best pasta in scottsdale/phoenix area

Vincitorio's.
http://www.chow.com/places/31614

SW corner of McClintock and Elliot.

Fresh, fresh, FRESH pasta. So fresh you might not like it, it's almost dumpling-like.

Head-turning selection of Italian wines. Always crowded with the neighborhood crowd.

Aug 28, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

I noticed last night at BevMo that they now have a "Local Wines" rack that has a dozen or more labels on it, most from AZ, but also from the near ends of NM and CA.

Aug 27, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix

How much of a beer snob have you become?

it is that simple. but i have been around long enough to know that no matter how simple you make it, you will have to explain it to everyone who thinks they know better, and gets caught at it.

Aug 27, 2009
blair_houghton in Beer

How much of a beer snob have you become?

curling or hurling.

Aug 27, 2009
blair_houghton in Beer

How much of a beer snob have you become?

or rather you cannot understand my post until you read it as a suggestion to try something once, not to fall in love with it

Aug 26, 2009
blair_houghton in Beer

Grimaldi's - Peoria Park West

They're about the same if you're not comparing too carefully. Hot-fired thin crust pies. Bianco's runs to a little tough while Grimaldi's usually has a beautifully crispy under-surface but otherwise is normal texture. Grimaldi's toppings are more traditional while Bianco will serve you something more exotic. Bianco's is worth the wait if there's important social grease to be spread, but hand me twenty pies and i'll prefer the texture on the Grimaldi's more often.

Aug 26, 2009
blair_houghton in Phoenix