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Chart House, McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale?

Perhaps if I had a taste for what culinary cool was in 1988, I'd head to Chart House, but the last time I was there (circa, 2005), everything about the place just felt so tired. Our table was half-set with silver when we sat down. Our server seemed either untrained our disinterested. And the salad bar offerings were a far cry from Chart House's Hey-look-there's-caviar-next-to-the-croutons heyday.
Show me a restaurant outside the Pacific Rim with an Aloha theme, and I'll show you a menu that's serving up tired, coconut-battered, sesame-seared and macadamia nut-crusted tripe in a dining room that time forgot.
Don Ho? Hell no.

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Chart House
7255 E McCormick Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85258

Jul 21, 2010
cabbageking in Phoenix

Scottsdale's Uncorked, Tapino, Armitage- which one to try?

Big Space. Big Lease. Big recession. Small wonder.

Dec 07, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Scottsdale's Uncorked, Tapino, Armitage- which one to try?

Tapino closed months ago. FYI.

Dec 03, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Corned Beef Hash Phoenix

Corned beef hash. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....Try this: Corned beef brisket is wonderful smoked. Crusted with coarse black pepper, paired with slow-roasted onion (roast in 275 degree oven or smoker, foil-wrapped with bay leaf and chili oil) and pan-fried diced red potato & rosemary. Good stuff.

Aug 25, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Best Traditional Buffalo Wings in Phoenix?

Red Devil (McDowell, west of 32nd Street): Best-kept wing lover's secret in town, hands down.

Jul 31, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Is Richardson's/Rokerij jinxed? (Phx)

Richardson Browne will be back. Anyone familiar with his Rokerij's up-from-the-ashes story knows that. And look for Richardson's redux to become a Gastronomic Godfather II: one of those rare instances of the sequal surpassing the original.
Rest assured, folks, nothing inspires Browne as much as adversity. This will light another fire under him, creatively speaking.

Jul 19, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE LUNCH SPOT FOR 30

Disregard all the alarmist concerns over serving a group of your size. Thirty people are no big deal. It's the dead of summer, in a decidedly down restaurant economy. Lots of places would not only love to cater to your group, but have plenty of space to serve you and serve you well. Carlsbad Tavern (New Mexican-inspired menu) and Uncle Sal's (homespun Italian) come to mind (both at the intersection of Hayden and Osborn roads.

Jun 16, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Sick of the restaurant bottled water ripoff. Finally, someone is doing something about it

My mother had her Orwellian moments. When I was a boy back in the '60's, she'd punctuate her high-cost-of-everything-beefs with a prophecy that, one day, we'd have to hand over hard-earned dollars just to buy water.
"They'll tell us it's somehow better to get us to buy it," she predicted. If you can hear me, mom: Here's to you (raising my liter of Fiji). For the record, you were right about lots of things.

Apr 05, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Anyone have updates on past Hell's kitchen winners?

Just curious: I'd sure like to hear how past winners on Hell's kitchen have gone on to thrive (or not) in Ramsay's restaurants. Prior to the show's third season, I passed through several preliminary rounds of the show's casting process armed with precious little professional cooking experience. Point being, I was left with the distinct impression that the show was looking more for real characters than true culinarians, so I'd like to hear how the last chefs standing from prior seasons have fared to help prove my theory either right or wrong.

Mar 29, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

new waiter blog worth browsing

Mar 25, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

new waiter blog worth browsing

Well, the blog is "Waiter Confidential," found on the Phoenix New Times Chow Bella site. Sorry about the link.

Mar 25, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

new waiter blog worth browsing

There's a guy out of Phoenix doing a blog diary of his front-of-the-house experiences in the food business. The subject matter ranges from industry specific to social commentary. As someone whose spent many years in the business, I can tell you it all rings true from a personal experience perspective. If you've walked in food & beverage shoes yourself, it's worth a read.

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

Mar 25, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Do you wash your hands? You will after this

If you want to read a handwashing-related, restaurant horror story, read "Whiz Kid," written by a waiter in Phoenix who writes a blog diary for a local weekly there.

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

Mar 25, 2009
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Any current thoughts on Rokerij ?

While the happy hour small plates prices are hard to pass-up (five bucks a pop!), resist the urge to go completely cheap and have the roasted garlic plate: A soft-roasted, whole clove of elephant garlic served with pecan-roasted chiles and peppers, slathered in some of the house's signature sauces, and served crowned with bubbling Asiago and crostini. As good a dish as has ever been served in this town, I assure you.
To wash down whatever you wind up eating, ask for the close-out list of bottled wines. If you know your stuff, you can often find quality at an absolute steal. Charcuterie platters (two sizes) are also a nice share. If you bite on the dinner for two special ($36), go with either the porterhouse or the entrecote (a bone-in prime rib). 20-plus ounces each, and with two salads, sides, warm baguette & herb butter, and a shared crock of crisp-edged, buttery mashed potatoes, it's a bellyful at a bargain price no other staek joints come close to matching.

Feb 14, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

Sea Saw being pulled from our prandial playground?

Call me Chicken Little, but if there's truth to the buzz that Chef Nobu's days in Scottsdale's Old Town are numbered, then we might just be feeling that first ominous drop in the deluge of restaurant closures about to rain down on our local dining scene.
Granted, there's undoubtedly a domino-effect dynamic at work here, given the Waterfront's woes in general and Peter Kasperski's launch of a new restaurant fleet into a perfect storm of spiraling economics.
Still, if a restaurant that's enjoyed the kind of stratospheric success Sea Saw has can't weather the doom and gloom, maybe the sky really is falling.
If the end is near, Lord, please; don't let my last meal happen in a drive-thru.

Feb 10, 2009
cabbageking in Phoenix

New Year's Day menudo and other morning after cure-alls

Menudo's a tried-and-true hangover treatment I'm told, so I'd like some suggestions on where to find it in Phoenix. While we're on the subject, though, I'd love to hear whatever anyone might have to offer with regard to food and/or beverage cure-alls for overindulgence.

Dec 26, 2008
cabbageking in Phoenix

The Pain in Spain Lies Mainly in Their Brains

Anyone catch an episode of that insipid PBS show starring Mario Batali and Gweneth Paltrow? Accompanied by some foodie friends, the two tool around Spain in search of simply sublime sustenance. My God. All these two do throughout every episode is dish out uncomfortably unclever one-liners about the life Epicurean while convening mutual admiration society suppers wherever they go.
While Paltrow annoyingly overseasons her lines in the show with the word "amazing" (contributing little more to each episode than great drinking game potential), Batali's bloated corner of the conversation goes for the verbose at every turn of the table talk, cramming cheesy puns and efforts at profundity down our throats in heaping helpings.
It's TMZ meets the FoodNetwork, plain and simple. Click.

Oct 20, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Arizona Restaurant Week -- the case of shifting menus

While I don't believe there's a bait & switch conspiracy behind situations like these, I'm convinced over-ambitiousness can be a culprit. Signing on to participate well in advance of such events, restaurants can be too quick, I think, to submit elaborate menus, and slower to see- in some cases- that the dishes they intended to dazzle the dining public with at a discount simply don't make dollars and proprietary sense.
On the other hand, perception is reality. If you're baiting the promotional hook with saffron-scented paella, don't try to reel me in with salmon and pilaf. That's just penny-wise and PR foolish.

Sep 24, 2008
cabbageking in Southwest

True Taqueria in Phoenix Area?

Zinc Bistro chef/partner Matt Carter has announced plans to turn the former site of Union Bar & Grill (Old Town Scottsdale) into something along those lines. And rest assured, Carter's got the chops to deliver whatever he sets his mind to. Knowing him and his pedigree as I do, I'm hoping for something akin to the street taco scene you find in places like San Diego, where vendors chop their crispy barbacoa on well-seasoned woodblocks right under their customer's noses, and serve their wares wrapped in grill-scored tortillas adorned with little more than a squeeze of fresh lime, shredded cabbage and cilantro.
Hurry up, Matt, I'm freakin' hungry.

Aug 26, 2008
cabbageking in Phoenix

"Waiter Rant:" best-seller, bust, or somewhere in between?

thanks

Aug 22, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

"Waiter Rant:" best-seller, bust, or somewhere in between?

Looking for input on this year's front-of-house tell-all: Reviews, perspectives, sales facts, figures, projections, etc.. And if anyone can point me to some quotes by the author, the critics, media, noteworthy readers, etc., I'd be most appreciative.

Aug 22, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Good business dinner in Mesa,AZ area

The Landmark (Main at Extension). Classic, almost retro-chic American menu (pot roast, chicken Kiev, Swiss steak, etc.). For your purposes, they offer private dining and boardroom facilities. Star of the show is the "salad room," where you'll find ultra-fresh greenery with all the fixins' and from-scratch soups and sides that stand toe-to-toe with grandma's best recipes.
I'm a Phoenix restaurateur and working food writer. This palce charms my socks off. Solid food. Unintrusive, professional service. FYI.

Aug 15, 2008
cabbageking in Southwest

PHX: Birthday Suggestion

No brainer. Richardson Browne's beautiful private dining room at Dick's Hideaway. Candlelight twinkling on burnished copper tabletops. Play your own music. Plasma screen. Private restroom (heck, your own shower if you're feeling saucy).
If you're looking to score serious relationship points, pal, that's your venue.

Aug 14, 2008
cabbageking in Phoenix

When is chile season in the southwest?

No reason in the world why you can't use Anaheims. Toss them in olive oil. Char them. Bag them (to steam off skins) until they're room temp. Peel, seed, end of story. Your chili will be fine. Do you add a touch of sugar to finished product to balance heat?If not, give it a try. Works wonders.

Aug 14, 2008
cabbageking in Southwest

When is chile season in the southwest?

Late summer, early autumn. Not quite there yet, friend.

Aug 14, 2008
cabbageking in Southwest

"Waiter Rant:" Be careful when pointing fingers, pal.

I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. The book and the blog are two different things. I have read his blog postings. You're right: He has his moments when his opinions of the dining public and the human social animal in general are kinder and gentler. The book, on the other hand, is highlight film of his more scandalous and sensational musings. After all, it's called "Waiter RANT," is it not? Definition of rant? "An extensive and enraged discourse or complaint." Sorry, folks, Waiter may have given vice and virtue equal time in his blog, but he's just dishing (and selling) the dirt in his book, and doing a disservice to a hard-working corner of commerce which, quite frankly, deserves better.

Aug 01, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

"Waiter Rant:" Be careful when pointing fingers, pal.

I watched the previously anonymous author of "Waiter Rant" being interviewed on The Today Show this morning. I'll give the guy his due for writing down his "story" to make a few (million) bucks, but there's a ring of falseness and hypocrisy to it, folks. Basically, he's transcribed every after-work bitch session from the business: Service staffers don't like being whistled for, under-tipped, and called names like "Chief" or "Sport." No shit. But from spitting in food to tableside farting as tactics of revenge, I'm Sorry, this is not only old news, but a doubtful regurgitation of age-old, industry urban myths.
The truth is, out in the open, this guy comes across as the malcontent found on every floor staff in the restaurant universe. Most of us from the business know better. Part of true service professionalism requires an ability to rise above one's pet peeves and the faults and foibles one perceives in the public at large. But not this guy. He lies and tells customers their credit cards are no good, costing his bosses (no doubt) losses to their businesses by his inexcusable, renegade behavior. Simply put, he's no better a human being than those he complains about. As someone who's suffered the misery of staffers like him, I'm guessing he's the kind of guy who missed work for lots of dubious reasons ( tummy-aches and ficticious aunt's funerals), and was not above suspicion of under-tipping his bartenders and busboys. What'ya wanna bet? Now that his cloak of anonymity has dropped, it would be interesting to learn more about him from his former employers, co-workers, and customers, don't 'ya think?

Jul 31, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Dinner in the Phoenix Scottsdale area

Any foodie who visits Phoenix without a taste of one of Richardson Browne's three Phoenix restaurants (Richardson's, Rokerij, Dick's Hideaway) is truly missing something. All three line 16th Street in North Phoenix (about a twenty-five-minute drive from where you're staying). Both Richardson's and the Hideaway share a New Mexican-inspired menu of red meat, seafood, pasta, pizza and traditional Santa Fe dishes (posole, green chile, carne asada, etc.), while Rokerij is a protein pit (steaks, chops, Osso buco, lamb and more) which also offers a few highlight dishes from its spicy, sister restaurants.
I say (and I'm a Valley restaurant owner and working food/restaurant writer), start with a few shared, preliminary courses at either Richardson's or Dick's Hideaway- don't miss the roasted garlic plate, by any means (available at all three restaurants), the pasta Heidi, or the chile rellenos- and then head up the street a few blocks to Rokerij for some red meat (but start with a drink in the sultry, downstairs lounge).
I'm sure the folks at the front dest of your hotel can get you directions. It's worth the drive. Make sure you call for reservations. I think Richardson's number is: 602-265-5886.

Jul 17, 2008
cabbageking in Southwest

Redundant Phx Reviews [moved from Southwest board]

Nikki called Luc's like she saw it, but there's less and less room for objectivity butting up against profitability in publishing these days. Print publishing (newspapers, magazines) is the last dinosaur of the new information age. Publishers limping along with this mortally wounded medium can ill afford to offend advertisers in the face of dwindling accounts and subscriberships.
On the bright side, Nikki has landed at the Arizona Republic and is penning the "Everyday Dining" coverage for the paper. She's told me she's happy to be eating outside the box again (in smaller, proprietary and ethnic places), and is entertaining the possibility of a web site where she might continue to call the culinary scene as she sees it.
As for Phoenix Magazine, a little full disclosure here: I went looking for some writing work when I learned of Nikki's departure, but to no avail. Honestly, though, and while I've crossed swords with her in the past, Ms. Sweet's a real pro, and knows her stuff. Provided her new bosses let her do her thing, she's a voice Phoenix foodies can continue to reliably lend their ears to. As to the rest of the freelance stable the magazine is going forward with, let's see what they have to say. Given the subjectivity of taste inherent to food writing and restaurant criticism, a diversity of opinions and perspectives might eventually prove that three or more talking heads are better than one. If, on the other hand, PM's new prandial posse manages no better than the same old round-up of advertorially air-brushed places and faces, that will be horse shit, plain and simple.

Jul 17, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News

Redundant Phx Reviews [moved from Southwest board]

As someone who's worked as a food/restaurant writer n the Phoenix market, I agree; the food editorial in this town is becoming far too incestuous and in-bred. There are only a small handful of "critics" left, chasing the same handful of restaurants, too many of which are new, high end, or the ventures of celebrity chefs and proprietors. And while the food press pays lip service to the need for showcasing smaller yet no-less-worthy operators, editors and publishers demand the more obvious loyalty to advertisers that's demonstrated through the lack of diversity we see.

Jul 17, 2008
cabbageking in Food Media & News