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HeatmiserAZ's Profile

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Carnitas Burrito?

I am searching for a pork carnitas burrito made the way I like it, which is, in order of importance:

1. CRISPY. I am looking not just for braised or roasted meat but meat that has then been cooked again so that it gets crispy around the edges, you know, like real carnitas. The high heat needed to achieve this also melts all the fat. What a bummer to have big hunks of unrendered fat in your burrito.
4. CHOPPED. I hate the places that leave big hunks of meat that take up a quarter of the burrito.

The closest I have found is the "homestyle" carnitas burrito at Senor Taco in Fountain Hills, oddly enough. They also put in some guac and pico de gallo if you want. It's not really that crispy but there's no unrendered fat and it's well seasoned and chopped.

Mar 07, 2010
HeatmiserAZ in Phoenix

New Ethiopian restaurant in Phoenix?

Yes, silverbear is correct. it is called the Nile Cafe and it is Middle Eastern, not Ethiopian.

I went there for lunch a few weeks ago. The owner is a nice, enterprising young man but I fear for this place. The space itself is awkward, with a small seating area and a spacious kitchen area in the back. It seems like they could have cramped the rear and made the seating area more comfortable. The coffee and tea machines were sitting dry and the menus we were given were incomplete and dirty.

The food, however, was decent. The hummus varieties were all very good. I had the chicken shwarma pita and it was OK. The owner seemed to be very proud of the meat but it tasted like slightly above average cooked chicken breast to me. I did enjoy the drink cooler full of a variety of bottled drinks all for $1.00. Most places charge $1.50 to $2.00 for these types of drinks. With Matt's Big Breakfast down the street charging out the wazzoo for refills of honey lemonade or $4.00 for 8 ounces of apple cider, $1.00 for 12 ounces of Syrian mango juice might as well be free.

A tip to the owner: please do your accounting in the back. Taking up one of the four tables in your place with your laptop for business work is just a bit peculiar.

Nov 17, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Kasha's Closed - Tempe

I drove past Kasha's on Elliot this morning and noticed the "AVAILABLE" sign outside.

As predicted, the place didn't last long. Looks like we'll have to wait another generation for someone to provide us with the classic BBQ, bakery and gelato combination we have all been looking for.

Seriously, let's hope something more interesting and viable appears in the spot soon.

Aug 19, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Horchata in Phoenix

I've only had horchata in 6 or 7 places around town but the horchata at Ranch Market is the best I have found. There are different styles (more or less cinnamon/ thicker vs. thinner) and everyone has their own preferences, but Ranch Market makes it the way that I like it. One key thing for me is that they serve it with plenty of ice. I like my horchata quite cold. Tradiciones, the restaurant attached to Ranch Market uses the same horchata, I assume, but they don't put nearly as much ice in it and I don't like it as much.

Jul 21, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Gelato!! (Tempe)

Yes, you know people are trying to cash in when you see places like Kasha's in the old Atlanta Bread Company space on Elliot.

The sign reads "Bakery, BBQ...and Gelato".

Jun 30, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Phoenix

Pho Sapa (Tempe): I would have liked to review it

I noticed the "Grand Opening" sign out in front of Pho Sapa on Kyrene at Elliot and decided to drop in Friday night to pick up a couple of entrees for dinner. Business was brisk; the restaurant was probably 40% full when I walked in and continued to get more crowded, reaching about 80% full in about half an hour. I was happy because I live in the area and am always excited about new dinner options and I want this place to do well.

I ordered a couple of standard entrees and some rice-paper rolls along with a beer to sip as I waited for my food. The place was clean and well lit, with an interesting ceiling and a gurgling water feature. The food coming out of the kitchen smelled great and the customers seemed happy. At this point, I had no reason to believe that this wouldn't be a great find and a nice Friday night dinner.

As I waited, I began to notice that patrons that had been getting attentive service were suddenly looking around for their waiters. Drinks were going unfilled. I was noticing people who had been there before me who still had not received any food. The hostess was becoming flustered and kept apologizing to me about the wait. At this point, it had only been about 15 minutes so I wasn't irritated in the slightest.

Then the wheels came off. The couple eating next to me were joined by another couple who arrived late. This couple wanted pho but they were told, "We are out of pho". Out of pho at Pho Sapa on Friday night at 7:30 PM? OK, its their first Friday in business so I wasn't too surprised. This couple had a small child and when they didn't receive any food or see the waiter again for 30 minutes they took off. I had been in the place 45 minutes now and had teamed up with the other "to go" orders to figure out what was going on. Most of the staff was huddled in the back looking flustered and puzzled. The young hostess was visibly stressed and very apologetic but she pretty much told us it was going to be another half hour to an hour until the food was done. The other "to go" groups and I pulled the plug and voided our already processed credit card orders.

I walked out of the restaurant after more than hour and no food. One of the other guys I left with said he'd be back next week to give them another chance. I think the place needs a month.

I'd love to hear about any good experiences.

Jun 30, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Where is the best sushi in Phoenix area?

I'm going to have to say Shimogamo, although they have definitely slipped over the years. My favorite chef there bolted to start his own place in north Phoenix. It was written up in the New Times this week. I would like to give it a try but it is quite a haul from Tempe.

May 21, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

New Chinese on 7th St (PHX)?

Driving back from lunch at Pane Bianco, I thought I glanced a new Chinese place on 7th St., near Thomas perhaps?

Has anyone checked this out? I am on the lookout for good Chinese in central PHX.

Mar 19, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Downtown Phoenix for Dinner

The fact that anyone has replied to this question at all speaks volumes about what has happened to downtown PHX dining over the past few years.
Cheuvront is the wine and cheese cafe referred to above.

Mar 08, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

phx: Rancho Pinot - Not mentioned much. Why?

Rancho Pinot is one of our favorite places.

Their Nonni's Chicken with a glass of Caymus Conundrum is one of my favorite Saturday night dinners. We used to go once a month until the baby...

Mar 01, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

VinciTorio's, Tempe - Part Un

Wow. I am so disappointed. My wife and I were going to try Vincitorio's this weekend. Your review sounds exactly what I expected of the place just looking at it from the outside but a previous thread here and a review of their website had me thinking it might be tolerable. Oh well.

I will concur with the thought that this particular part of Tempe really needs a decent restaurant. I was at Bunna Coffee this weekend and they told me that the Croissant place at Rural and Elliot was moving to the corner spot of that strip center where Flowerama used to be. I hope that increased visibility drives more traffic to the area which overflows to Bunna. We need all of the independent shops with character we can get down here.

Feb 26, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Tempe - looking for a suggestion

I second Blue Nile. I prefer it over Lalibela. This will satisfy your two requirements.

Feb 21, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Bunna Coffee in Tempe

Yes. In fact, it is only two or three doors south of Pleasant.

Feb 21, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

Bunna Coffee in Tempe

I had a great experience at Bunna Coffee on Sunday. It is a "fair trade" independent coffee house on the NW corner of Rural and Elliot. I wanted to post about it here because it is easy to miss and I want it to succeed as it is the only worthwhile place I can walk to.

My wife got a frozen drink and I got a standard latte. Our drinks were good and the cheese danish I got was good as well. The service was friendly and knowledgeable. These guys are passionate about coffee and know how to prepare it well. The shop itself is beautiful with plenty of comfortable seating and free Wi-Fi. You walk inside and the whole strip-mall-vibe melts away. This place could pass for Seattle or San Francisco.

If your morning commute takes you down Elliot Rd, give this place a shot as opposed to the Starbucks down the road.

In an ideal world, the vacant spaces next to these guys would fill up with more high quality independent businesses, adding a much needed kick to the dining options in this area. A pub like the Roosevelt without the craftsman home would be a start. I can dream...

Feb 20, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest

The Roosevelt Tavern

I went to the Roosevelt last night for a beer after work. I agree with the positive comments here. I love the space and the beer selection was outstanding. I also appreciated that they have plenty of non-chilled glasses for those beer snobs like me who prefer their beer at a temperature where it can be tasted. The service was also excellent.

The one problem I have is that the place doesn't open until 5. This is a bar. In the downtown area of a major city. They should be opening at 4 at the latest. We got there at 4:50 and were standing in front with about 12 other people. They didn't open the doors until 5:10. Perhaps they should open earlier on Friday and Saturdays if the 4 PM everyday would be too much of a hassle.

The PHX area has the worst pub scene I have ever come across in a major city. We finally get a place worth bragging about and it doesn't open until 5.

Feb 17, 2007
HeatmiserAZ in Southwest