Friday, July 26, 2013

DPOV – A Different Point of View – A wondrous view of desert valley.



 
Where else can you obtain a view of the desert valley and food to accommodate the atmosphere add a few drinks and you have DPOV.  Located high up on the mountain it allows a different perspective of Phoenix Arizona.  This massive view of a restaurant is at the Tapaito Cliffs Resort.  Although it advertises as a family restaurant I find it more a romantic spot to celebrate a special occasion. 

The menu favors more of the meat variety but they can accommodate vegetarians.  For starters if you love pork then the Crispy Seared Berkshire Pork Belly would be a prize.  The pork is tender and moist and the chef here makes it sweet with roasted fig stuffed French toast and a caramelized peach reduction.  If clams are your thing then I recommend the lobster porcini broth and focaccia.  The clams are well shucked and lobster broth brings a creamy richness to the dish.

I always try to have crisp inventive salad to get my palette energized.  The chef has quite an imagination that works.  The Heirloom Tomato “Carpaccio” was an Italian’s dream.  It was made with Italian olives, artichokes, ricotta salata and a roasted pepper sherry dressing to kick it up a notch.  The Blueberry and Rocket Argula reminded me of a dream I once had in the Roman countryside.  Fresh blueberries, of course a smidgen of Arizona goat cheese, Marcona almonds, shaved organic beets and a sweet Cabernet Lavender Vinaigrette. Those are just a small sampling of what the chef has in mind when he elevates simple rabbit food to the next level.

Entrees come in all sizes from trout and chicken to a fresh hanger steak.  Recommendations and hats off to chef for the Vanilla Brandy Poached Maine Lobster served with Perigord Truffle Raviolis, charred summer squash and smokey lobster Buerre Blanc.  Just the right amount of truffle made these raviolis to die for with the sweet taste of lobster.  You may wonder how you can get fresh seafood in Arizona and I was wondering the same thing but it works.

Grilled Cedar River Filet Mignon was beyond tender.  What made this so special was the watercress horseradish crusted, white bean Truffle puree, summer greens and crispy seared sweet corn polenta.  The polenta was divine and moist paired with the white bean Truffle puree it brought the Mignon to the next level.

Let’s talk dessert and I mean dessert.  My favorite was the “Turtle” layered Ganache, pecan caramel and chocolate cream with butter pecan sauce.  Just roll me out the door.  It was by far the best dessert I had to date.  The Chocolate Hazelnut Brown Butter Brownie was good but it just was not the Turtle.

My hat off to Executive Chef Anthony DeMuro and Executive Sous Chef John Panza for making dishes that sang to me “eat me eat me”.  The food was fresh and so was the thought behind the dishes.

The staff was friendly my only negatives were there lack of selections for vegetarians they need to eat to and the prices.   Granted it was not al le carte which was a nice surprise but you do feel compelled to order an appetizer and a salad to begin with so that just adds to the overall price.   Like I said before this is not a family establishment it’s an event you want to share with that special someone.  So 3.5 Forks up.  You cannot be the view.

Located at: 11111 North 7th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85020
Reservations: 1-800-947-9784 open for dinner only Tuesday – Saturday.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

SCRAMBLE – The perfect breakfast joint.



Healthy choices brought to life.  Scramble is a mix of healthy breakfast and lunch but if you’re a meat eater do not be discouraged as Scramble can mix the impossible with the possible. 

Try the Meat Lovers Scramble a combination of eggs, apple wood bacon, cured ham, sausage, and Monterey Jack Cheese.  It’s just not about the healthy choices you can make but the fresh choices you can make. 

The Vegan Veggie Scramble is fabulous and perfect beginning to a hot Arizona day.  Made with firm tofu, squash, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, red onion, bell peppers and served with a sweet potato hash.  It was full of flavor.  It is amazing how much flavor there is in fresh vegetables and herbs. 

Is spicy more your thing? Then gobble down the Southwest Breakfast Burrito.  It is made with spicy chorizo, jalapeño cream cheese, cheddar, avocado and egg.  It hits the spot for heat.  Make sure you have a cold glass of water or milk to calm down the taste buds. 

Yes this place is even open for lunch.  You can order anything from Turkey Club Sandwich to BBQ Chicken Pizza.  99% of the menu is less than $8.00 so eat up and rest in this delightful establishment.  The staff is helpful and friendly.  Beware of the wait time because don’t be surprised by the line out the door but it moves fast. 

I give it 3.5 forks up oh heck with it let’s just give it a straight up 4 Forks.  The rest of the world watch out because Phoenix is catching up in the food department.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Old Ebbitt Grill – A DC Landmark



Food and history collide in this old world watering hole.  Established in 1856 it is originally a boarding house.  It is Washington DC’s oldest pub.  The likes of President McKinley is said to have lived there during his tenure in Congress, and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt and Warren Harding wetted their whistle their at one time or another. 

Through the years the bar may have changed location but never lost its original style.  Teddy Roosevelt supposedly bagged the boar’s head located on the main bar. 

The Old Ebbitt Grill serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It still serves a full bar selection of traditional spirits.  You never know who you may be sitting next to for lunch.   The wait can be up to 45 minutes so be sure you have time to savor your dish at these prices you do not want to dine on the run.

 

 The Sautéed Seafood Salad includes a wide variety of seafood including mussels and calamari tossed with roasted red peppers and Portobello mushrooms.  The mussels were some of the best I have tasted, not gritty but well cleaned and fresh.

Looking for something heartier then I recommend The Good Burger made with jalapeno-onion marmalade.  The meat was freshly grinded and made to order not pre-cooked like some establishments to get you in and out quickly.  That is perhaps why the wait is so long everything is made when you order.

There is something for all tastes for instance the Margarita Shrimp Tacos to the French Dip Sandwich you cannot go wrong.  The dinner menu is more upscale with Grilled Rib eye Steak to Cape Cod Day Boat Scallops with citrus-mustard vinaigrette.  Don’t forget about dessert where you can have sugar rush with the Peach Melba Jar, poached Peach Melba sauce, vanilla ice cream, blackberries and whipped cream served in a mason jar.  Yes it is too good to be true.

I give it 3 Forks Up.  It is pricy and there is a wait no matter what day of the week so come prepared.  The food is splendid and it is one of those places you have to go to just to say you have been there for history’s sake.  I recommend that you go for drinks and appetizers to save some of your hard earned dollars.  Washington DC is known for its food but I find it quite pricy to eat out.

 Located at 675 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.








Monday, July 1, 2013

Kramer's Book Store & Afterworks Café – Is it a bookstore or Café?



Sometimes you can have good food mixed with a good read.   Barnes and Noble may have the secrete to a good cup of Joe but Kramer’s tops it with its invigorating menu for all discriminating tastes.  This place is smart as you wait for a table you can peruse the bookstore of real books not the kind you read on your Nook but real paper and type. 

This place stays open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturday the rest of the week it is open till 1am.  The food is not your usual late fare of hamburgers and fries but something a bit more ecliptic.  Wednesday through Saturday nights there is live music from local musicians.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting not trendy so no matter what your style is there is nothing to hold you back from engaging in the food and festivities.

 The food is inspired by the music which plays an ecliptic mix of gospel to good old time rock and roll.  The food is the same mix from New Orleans style to hip vegetarian dishes. 

If you come for weekend brunch be prepared to wait ½ hour but its well worth it.  Sample the Eastern Shore Crab Omelet made with generous portions of sweet Jumbo Crab drizzled with lemon hollandaise sauce.  If you’re looking for something sweet the Banana French Toast will be to your licking.  Yes I said licking. Pan-fried Italian bread soaked in egg batter stuffed with sliced bananas served with homemade fruit compote.  The warm walnut syrup is light and not overwhelming.

If you want something heavier then I recommend the Butternut Squash Ravioli or Fettuccine New Orleans made with shrimp, julienne chicken and andouille sausage.  The St. Louis style pork ribs are meaty and sweet.  Better yet try something totally out of the box with Gary’s Jamaican Curried Goat.  When I said this place is ecliptic I meant it. Nothing on the menu is straight TV dinner style.  All dishes are kicked up a notch to please the picky eater but there is something for everyone.

I didn’t even tell you that the bar is a mixologist's day dream.  If you can think it up they can mix it up from the old fashioned Hot Butter Rum to the Strawberry Basil Mojito.  I have been a mojito kick lately so don’t mind me just give it a try.  Remember this place serves food 24 hours a day on weekends so after your night on the town you can stop by for some energy burning yummies. 

I am not going to kid you this place can be pricey.  I dare to stay that all food items are in the double digits but its well worth the price.  The staff is friendly and helpful.  The food is down right delicious.  You have to try it once as where else can you read a book and tie one on that being your food bag or a drink or two before heading home and calling it a night.  This place rates 3.5 Forks Up.  The price is the main drawback for me. If I was one of the rich DC lawyers or politicians I would give it a 4 but my pocket book will not allow me.

Located at 1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20036