The Arrogant Butcher

Fox Restaurant Concepts may be one of the dominant players in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area’s dining scene, but its traditional strongholds have long been in places like Scottsdale and Arcadia. The Arrogant Butcher, located in the CityScape development, is Fox’s sole foray to date into Downtown Phoenix. Back in 2011, opening a restaurant in the city center seemed a big deal for Fox. Years later, the Arrogant Butcher is an established part of the downtown restaurant spectrum, even as more competition has arrived in the surrounding blocks. Continue reading “The Arrogant Butcher”

Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour

A saying attributed to the activist and author Jane Jacobs is that “new ideas need old buildings.” If that’s true, then the 1924 Luhrs Building seems like an ideal incubator for innovation. Among the Luhrs office tenants, that means various start-up firms. On the culinary front, the main attraction on the ground floor of the Luhrs Building is Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour. Cocktails are of course an old concept, but their revival is a contemporary trend, especially when the beverages are paired with Asian-inspired bar food of equivalent quality. Continue reading “Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour”

The Kettle Black

The idiom of “the pot calling the kettle black” has been around for centuries and always implied hypocrisy — someone criticizing another’s person’s flaws while ignoring the same failings within oneself. The more literal meaning of the phrase, however, has to do with the accumulation of soot on the surfaces of both vessels. When it comes to pubs, customers usually expect soot in a figurative sense, a sort of patina, but not a literal one. A good pub feels well worn and unpretentious, but is not the same sort of place as a dive bar or a greasy spoon diner. Continue reading “The Kettle Black”

Papa Joe’s Fish-N-Que

It seems an unwritten rule that some of the foods least likely to be recommended by the Surgeon General are found the closest to hospitals. In the neighborhood of Phoenix immediately northwest of the 19th Avenue / Montebello light rail station, Papa Joe’s Fish-N-Que confirms that pattern by existing directly across the street from Abrazo Central Campus, formerly known as Phoenix Baptist Hospital. The restaurant is about one third of a mile from the rail station, and a back route along Palo Verde Drive offers a slightly longer but more pleasant alternative via bicycle. Continue reading “Papa Joe’s Fish-N-Que”

Ocotillo

Almost every Phoenician has had some exposure to ocotillo, the desert shrub (technically not a cactus) known for its numerous spiny stalks that tower up to 20 feet high. The plant is a frequent component of local home xeriscapes, and specimens can be seen on any hike in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. In spring, vibrant red flowers appear at the end of each of its protuberances. With myriad branches growing in every direction but all leading to gorgeous blossoms, the ocotillo plant is an apt metaphor for a new restaurant in Midtown Phoenix that bears its name. Continue reading “Ocotillo”

Rula Bula

Guinness is probably rivaled only by U2 as Ireland’s most popular export. Sales of the dark brew have declined somewhat in the beer’s home country, but they seem to be growing in the United States, due in part of a campaign by the brewer to disseminate the “Irish Pub Concept” on this side of the Atlantic. Since 2000, Downtown Tempe has been home to one of these Guinness-centric pubs on Mill Avenue, just a block south of the Mill Avenue / Third Street light rail station. There, Rula Bula occupies two side-by-side storefronts in the historic Andre Building, which was originally a saddlery.

fish and shrimps combo with chips

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Four Peaks Brewing Company

The month of May not be known for much more than Memorial Day and Mother’s Day, but this week is American Craft Beer Week, a nationwide celebration of small, independent breweries. It seems the Phoenix Metro Area is home to more craft beer production in 2013 than ever before, and no celebration would be complete without recognition of Four Peaks, a pioneer of successful craft brewing in Arizona. Four Peaks has grown since its 1996 founding and now has a second production facility, but its original location remains in an historic building on 8th Street in Tempe.

fish and chips

Continue reading “Four Peaks Brewing Company”

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