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Maggie Kramer's Profile

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The Mission Restaurant (PHX)

Very excited. I hadn't even heard of this place but it made the #1 new restaurant of 2008 and the menu looks spectacular for any budget. Looks like somewhere I won't get complaints from any of my family to go. :-)

There were some pretty great names on the list, the only ones I haven't been to are The Mission, Prado, Amarone and The Deli and I love the other six (although I think Roka Akor is a little overrated.

The pix on this look amazing, really sexy! So happy to see Phoenix really grow up over the last several years.

http://thedish.freedomblogging.com/20...

I'm gonna see if we can get New Years reservations.

Dec 24, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Where to find high end cheeses and cured meats (PHX)

Hi, we live in the EV, but my husband works up in Arcadia. We're constantly trying to find places to find high end soft cheeses - Humboldt Fog, European creamy cheeses - and really awesome cured pork and beef products (Prosciutto, Coppa, etc). Currently we just hit AJ's but am somewhat disappointed in their selection. We also stop by LGO on 40th St - they have a few good ones.

Are there any other REALLY great delis, or high end small markets where we can get this kinda stuff?

Thanks so much!

EDIT - For that matter, what restaurants have the best cheese or meat plates? My GF's and I like to stop at Caffe Boa (Tempe) for cheese & meat, and sometimes I drag my neighbors or husband to Cork (Chandler) for cheese and wine. I recently heard Quiessence (sp?) had a great cheese selection but am unsure if this is at the restaurant or sold retail?

MK

Nov 02, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Liberty Market (Gilbert, AZ)

Excellent, we've been seeing it and waiting for it to be done! Do they serve wine?

They should bulldoze that empty building (last was grainbelt) and create a parking lot! :)

Oct 17, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Mesa, AZ - Is Chef H still open?

We were going to hit this place this weekend, just called about liquor he said they don't serve alcohol. I asked if I could bring some in and he said - "No, we don't allow alcohol, I don't want alcohol". I guess I'll try it for lunch.

OK, just called back for hours and clarified - I asked specifically if I could bring a bottle of wine and he said, "Yeah, sure." I do hope they realize they need a special license for that. Gonna try it!

Oct 13, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

98 South Closed???

My husband's company had a party at Serranos (ack) on Arizona Ave and we stopped in a few places to wash away the horrible aftertaste :) - Chandler was packed, very young crowd. We ended up going to El Zocalo for 2 margs then saw some live music at San Tan Brewery. Seemed like everyone was talking about 98. People told us it would reopen in a couple months, that people were already bidding on it. I think one of the bartenders at Zocalo was from 98 South but couldn't be sure. And if he was - not sure if he came over after 98 closed or before.

Anyhoo ... also saw a sign for a pizza place going where Babycakes was, and an Irish Pub is going in where there used to be a wine and cheese shop, right in the middle between 98 and the brewery. Fun stuff going on down there!

Oct 13, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

98 South Closed???

Went to have some Thai food at lunch today, overheard that 98 South was closed. Walked by and sure enough it was - oy, the economy!!! I think that place was going a little downhill but it was still busy whenever we went.

Oct 08, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Fun and interesting dining near the Valley Ho?

I would second Fine's Cellar. Wonderful wine list - although was a bit bummed to be served a room temperature red last week. :-( Excellent food, though.

Trader Vics is fun for drinking - great cocktails. We used to hang out at the one in LA quite a bit!

That was pretty funny chowmix, this place could use a little humor sometimes! :-)

Sep 01, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Review: Tandoori Times Indian Bistro - Scottsdale, AZ (w/ photos!)

Alright that's it - we're going Wednesday night! These reviews have me somewhat excited. To be honest I've avoided this place because most of my Indian friends just said it's ho-hum, ok food and a little less than ok service.

I have some family coming in from overseas next month and hopefully this will be the place to take them! Some are vegans, I assume they can accommodate them.

On a side note, seth, I have read many of your reviews. I have so much admiration for people who take so much time and energy to review every morsel on their table, take detailed notes and report back. I have tried to to so, but never have the time to do full-fledged reports (or after that second glass of wine ....). My husband can't understand the mentality of critiquing every aspect of every restaurant, then writing about it - he just likes to enjoy a night out and either "like it or don't like it", I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I remind him that its people like yourself and so many other "foodie bloggers" that do all the grunt work for us. :-) So thanks!!!!

Aug 17, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Binkley's vs. Kai

I went by Binkley's last Friday night and was intrigued at the menu, would really like to try it. However, my husband took me to Kai a couple Fridays ago and I'd have to say if its a special occasion - this would be your spot. Much more memorable with the location. He surprised me and got a room, summer rates - and we'll never forget it. I know the entire night cost us around $850 - room, dinner, a couple cocktails after - and breakfast in the morning.

I had a tasting w/wine, he ordered a few things a la carte with cocktails. The bill was about $450 with tip - and was a culinary expedition!

More than Binkley's - but if its a VERY special occasion - the whole package at Kai made it very well worthwhile. The next time he screws up I'm going to make him take me to Binkley's though. :-)

Aug 10, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

New Latitude Eight Thai Grill in Chandler

Hi ziggy, the service was good on Saturday. Much better than the last two times. I agree about the reservations for two people!

yamalam - off the top of my head - Anise, Cyclo, Pho A Sen (sp?), Da Vang - a couple more, one in LeeLee's. Didn't like Anise, Cyclo was good until the health inspection, Pho A Sen was nice but no liquor (good for lunch), I didn't really like Da Vang and the one in LeeLee's was terrible. I recently heard of one across from LeeLee's (not Anise) that is supposed to be higher quality so I might try to hit it this weekend.

I'm hungry now, time to find some lunch. :-)

Aug 01, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Review: Little Rangoon - Scottsdale

I'm at the office and no time for a multi-paragraph review but I wanted to drop a note for the weekend crowd - I really like this place! Of the 5 things we ordered, four were excellent and one was very good. Some of the curries will remind some of Indian curries - just toned down a bit. Very savory food.

If you like curry, just ask for some of the stronger curries.

Great little spot, relatively inexpensive and definitely worth a trip!

Aug 01, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Cyclo Vietnamese, Chandler AZ

So we just visited Cyclo for lunch last week, apparently the place had just been renovated. Excited by the BYO. Had a seafood soup that was really nice - the herbs were really fresh (wish there would have been a little more, though). We ended up bringing in a half bottle of red, but it sat in the car too long and spoiled, LOL.

Had the Vietnamese coffee at the end, reminded me of my girlfriend's parents - who always used the strainer, was a real jolt of caffeine!

The one complaint we had was for a newly renovated place, it could have been a little cleaner. The dishes were greasy and the floor was sticky. And we just read on another blogging website that they had some issues with a health inspection (some pretty major ones). It might not be within the UA of Chowhound so I won't post it - but I'd look it up on the county website (EV Tribune also has this info) before going in there again. Some of the violations DO pertain to food quality, icky.

Jul 30, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Sunday Chow Faves in PHX?

I'm not sure if Lon's still does their brunch in the summer, but we've been there a couple times for it in the fall and it's wonderful. Been a little while, though.

Anyone know of a good dim sum place?

Jul 30, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Pizzeria Bianco - Obnoxious!

We've never had bad service at PB. A little slow sometime, but always great service and obviously amazing food.

I met the owner at Pane Bianco on Central (my favorite sandwich in Phoenix), and he was EXTREMELY nice. We actually just had a nice conversation about the weather and the light rail project and didn't say who he was. A couple customers later told me, the guy couldn't have been nicer.

Hopefully they get this resolved for you, I'd probably be put off as well. There is always Cibo not too far away!

Jul 27, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

New Latitude Eight Thai Grill in Chandler

No cocktails this weekend yet. :-( But there was a 45 minute wait so we went next door to "Urban Tea Loft" and had a tea martini while we waited. :-) They had a full bar of liquor but said the cocktails were delayed until next week due to the bartender not showing up.

Read the Republic article and saw the Channel 3 segment so we decided to hop back over on Friday. The wait was too long so we went back Saturday. Wait was 45 minutes, we were headed to 98 South to grab a drink but there was a band playing at Urban Tea so we stopped in, nice little tea joint. They ended up getting us a table in about 25-30 minutes.

Based on the Republic and Hombre's reco - we had the fish cakes and yes they were plump and tasty. The review said these are the fishcakes by which all future fishcakes will be judged, LOL. They were out of squid (and Ahi) so I didn't get to try the S&P Squid, went with the duck salad - can you say YUM! We had a Reisling which was really nice - we weren't too daring so we had the Panang and Pineapple Fried Rice. We mentioned to the server that the review said the only complaint was the beef was a little tough, she said they converted all the beef to flank steak - and it was awesome. The PFR was also awesome, I wasn't expecting it but there was a slight curry flavor. I grew up with Indian food and I love curry, it was a great surprise.

The keg on the Santan Hefe ran dry just before we got there so the hubby had a Thai beer and I had a Reisling. He's not very adventurous with food, it took me 5 years to get him to like Indian and now he loves Thai food, yay!

They said they've pretty much been full since Wednesday night and they take reservations - 2 and above which is cool. We're going back this week try the cocktails.

Still looking for a great Vietnamese place (upscale, top notch ingredients) - if anyone knows of any - I've tried about 6 or more - please LMK!

Jul 27, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

PHX-- Sierra Bonita Grill-- good/bad/or just o.k.?

I've been here for lunch a few times, really like it. IIRC, its a sister restaurant of Phoenix City Grille. Agree with hohokam, I wouldn't drive across town for it - but if I lived within 5-10 miles I'm sure I'd eat there frequently. Tasty cocktails also.

Jul 27, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

(PHX) NEW! Far East Mesa - ZUSHI

This was a great review and I agree with most of it. I went in about two months ago for lunch and the place felt absolutely cold, all over the place (decor and menu), sterile - and uninviting. It seemed like they were trying to go for a Ra feel, but didn't have the budget or designer to do it. They would have been much better off creating a place half the size with the same budget.

I can't remember exactly what we had for sushi, but I was completely unimpressed. It was a slow lunch and the bartender and staff were completely in disarray. I did have softshell crab app that wasn't bad - too much batter but still pretty tasty.

I think this place will go the way of the Spanish joint next to Divine (Zocalo?), it might stay afloat due to the money in the area and lack of dining options, but I doubt they can stick around too long. The last thing I want is to see a restauranteur lose one, but I just don't see how these guys will make it. They'd need to do so MAJOR renos to make it sexy, and due to the size and layout - it will never be intimate.

I had been planning on trying it again - but based on Hippiaz' review I think I'll save my money. Unless I see a bunch of chowhounder's/yelper's reviews in a couple months that change my mine. And I hope they can turn it, because there still aren't too many sushi options in the EV and we're there for business quite a bit!

Jul 27, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Dhaba India Restaurant *new* Tempe AZ

Looking sooo forward to trying this place. So happy to see good Indian cuisine coming to AZ! Are they BYO? The menu sounds so good with beer or some big red wines!

Jul 22, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Dinner in the Phoenix Scottsdale area

Capital is great but why come here to get what you can get elsewhere. Eddie V's is nice but we locals tire of all the steak houses so it's hard to recommend it. Personally I think the loads of steakhouses here are overpriced, pretentious and not as good as other metropolitan cities (still good, but not AS good). Why not try something more "local high end" like Digestif or Fine's Cellar. Was a big fan of Sportsman's so I'm headed to Fine's this weekend at the reco of many friends. Roka Akor is interesting also but I dunno if I'd reco it over those, or See Saw.

Here is a new article with several newer restaurants in the EV - several in Scottsdale. Bourban Steak is probably my favorite steakhouse but again, Mina has other locations.

http://thedish.freedomblogging.com/20...

Keep us posted where you go and how you like it!!!!

Jul 17, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Review: Maria Maria - Tempe, AZ (w/ photos!)

This was my and my GF's take also. Food came out of service. The waitress apologized so no big deal. The food was about a "6". All things, it wasn't a bad meal, but it was far from great. The ambiance was very nice! That and the cocktails were the only things we liked.

I'd go back but wouldn't drive specifically for this. Only if we were in TMP shopping and wanted a bite and a drink. Not somewhere I'd go on a Friday or Saturday night with so many other great dining options not too far in Phoenix.

Jul 14, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Anyone visited Cork Restaurant in Chandler, AZ?

We had lunch there and it was fantastic! Great tasting meal. I was actually at another restaurant last week and they recommended half price Tuesdays. I was buzzed and we can't remember if its just wine or other stuff - gonna try tomorrow!

Also heard about a $75 tasting with Spanish wines and foods, I'll do a full review after Tuesday and that one (love Spanish wine and gooooood Spanish cheeeese!!!).

Jul 14, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Best Phoenix Thai

We ate at Thai Elephant and it was pretty good! We also just tried Jasmine and it was ok. Not bad, low prices and low quality ingredients but good for the price.

The few I'd stay away from are Mint Thai (soooo downhill), Wild Thaiger - OK for fast lunch but far from good Thai and Pink Pepper - such cheap ingredients.

Mike Thai closed. :-( Used to like it.

I don't consider Malee's Desert Ridge Thai but it's not bad. Good cocktails. Not sure about a sushi bar in a Thai restaurant though. :-)

Favorites are Swadee and Latitude Eight for sure. I also ate at one in Gilbert not far from Mint Thai (ack) and it was pretty good - it might have been Siam Orchid. Nothing fancy but the food was good.

Going to Vegas next month to get back to LOS. I don't really think its worth the "10" hype that it gets but it is really awesome. Amazing wine list. Love good wine with Thai!!!! I'm getting hungry. :-)

Jul 14, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

New Latitude Eight Thai Grill in Chandler

Got back on Saturday night and it was fun. There was a wait for a table so we went to a new brewery across the parking lot and the entire downtown Chandler was packed. Wait was only about 20 minutes - they held our wine while we were gone. The waitress said the BYO wasn't much longer but didn't have a time frame.

Anyway food was great, we had a special Yellow Curry Crabcake which was really good for the price (3 for $9?) and split a coconut soup and they were excellent. My hubby had a spicey noodle dish with a nice piece of steak over the top and I just had a fresh fruit salad. His was spicier than he expected, not super hot but hot for him. My salad was wonderful.

It was fun, I talked to a pretty older lady (the same person I met, owner?) and she said business has been good. She was sweet but wasn't 100% clear when the BYO would end either. We noticed a lot of other upscalish Asain diners that night, I'm from India and we noticed a couple other ex-pats, we even know one couple - pretty funny.

Anyway, very nice place. We ran out of wine so went back to the brewery after, was really fun!

Jul 01, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Pizza Bianco. Worth it?

Its been about a year since we visited but the wait is no problem, we just sit at the Bar next door and have some wine, olives, cheese ... no problem! Obviously the food is some of the best the valley has to offer. People at Bar, Pizzeria (and Pane Bianco for that matter) are all fun - customers and staff alike!

LOL just remembered one night we double dated to a baseball game, started at the wine place - baseball game started and the hubbies went in, we stayed behind and went to the pizzeria instead. :-) They met us after the game! I think we were there for 4 hours between the bar and the pizzeria (and back to the bar). It was a blast!

Jul 01, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

New Latitude Eight Thai Grill in Chandler

Finally made it in tonight, it was packed. We got seated next to a "wine club" which seemed to consist of a bunch of wine snobs. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated, but it was worth it. We brought a bottle in and were surprised to see bottles on just about every table.

Started with a stuffed chicken wing with was soooo good. It was a very large leg/wing which was de-boned, lightly battered and fried. It was filled with something called glass noodles, minced chicken and herbs - I'm not sure what the sauce was but it was a spicey/mayonaissey sauce which was great. The "snobs" had the a big mussel dish so we added it and it was great. Not your usual PEI's - it was a wine/lemongrass/sweet broth that was great with some kind of green herb over the top.

We weren't finished with our PEI's when our entree's came out but I really can't fault them, we added the mussels after our entire order was in. When we asked for recommendations they didn't really steer us to the expensive stuff - but the noodles since they wanted to show us how the food was different, so my GF got the Pad Thai with chicken and shrimp, I still went for the Halibut. Both were excellent. The shrimp came out on skewers, perfectly grilled. The Halibut was perfectly cooked, flakey with a sweet and spicey reduction sauce on top. I asked our server what it was and she said it was a traditional 3-flavored fish sauce common for fish. Whatever it was, it was great. The Pad Thai was also very well balanced, I'm used to it more spicey though.

The wait for desert was probably too long, we had finished for 5 minutes before she asked for a desert order and the desert took about 10 minutes to wait. Not a huge deal and it was really busy for a summer Wednesday night - so we'll forgive them. I think the server and owner were the only two people on the floor all night. They seemed to have a lot of regulars in and the owner did stop by once to ask how everything was and another time to fill our waters.

It reminded me of Thai food in Seattle, so much different that Thai in AZ so I really hope people get it. I miss all the amazing upscale Thai and Vietnamese places up north and its nice to see some popping up in the valley. I'm taking my husband on Friday, I just hope they have more servers! :-)

Jun 26, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

New Latitude Eight Thai Grill in Chandler

We stopped by today and they were closed :-( but the owner was there and was very nice. She said they opened soft but business has been good. One complaint is it was kind of hard to find, the address says Boston St but they face Arizona Ave? We drove around the parking lot and finally had to ask someone. The lunch menu was in the window but we didn't see the dinner menu. Looking forward to visiting later this week!

Jun 22, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Southwest

Coffee in AZ

When I'm in Phoenix I really like Lux. Its a nice but but a few too many MacBook Pros. :-) I did like the cap though. I see you're in Mesa and I really enjoy Seattle Espresso on Val Vista and Guadalupe. A nice diversity of people especially in the EV! They use Illy and make a nice "wet" cap. Try it and LMK how you like it!

Jun 22, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix

Roka Akor - Scottsdale

I'm new to Chowhound but I tried Roka about a month ago - I thought the ambiance was a little over the top, but typical N. Scottsdale. I tried the lunch tasting and it was only $20 - wasn't too bad. Ended with a nice bowl of sashimi. Added a beer and I was out for about $32 with tip so it wasn't too bad. I will probably go sit at the bar for dinner and watch the food before I commit to a $100+ dinner.

Jun 22, 2008
Maggie Kramer in Phoenix