Postino for Brunch

Postino has brunch.

GO.

If it is the last thing you do, GO. And to be honest it really doesn’t matter what you get, it’s all pretty damn good.

I got the Country Toast. It’s the same bruschetta bread Postino usually uses, but with ham, dijonnaise, gruyere and an over easy egg. I swear it might be my new favorite thing for breakfast and that’s saying a lot.

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And never mind the tomato relish on the side, to be honest I only had a bite. But it’s good too…there’s just no beating out that toast. The gruyere is cooked to the point that I’m calling cheese-charred: that point where it’s not quit burned but definitely over melted and cheese becomes better than just cheese. It’s why I go for the side pieces of lasagna.

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Then there was strawberry French toast, again served on the bruschetta bread as the toast. I don’t know why I never thought to make French toast out of crusty bread, but I’ll never go back. For me the worst thing about French toast (ok, BAD French toast) is when it’s drenched in batter and sugar and becomes a badly cartelized, collapsed ball of sweet. I didn’t want a Krispy Kreme, I wanted French toast. That’s not a problem here. This was light and crunchy, not too candy-sweet and perfectly done.

Postino. Brunch. GO.

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Phx Public Market

Full disclosure: I didn’t want to go to Phoenix Public Market. I wanted to go to Food Truck Friday in their parking lot today.

Man, I’m glad we skipped the trucks cuz this place is awesome.

Having never been there we were a little confused as to what to get. Some things looked good, but I wasn’t in the mood for a mostly veggie sandwich and (for once) I wanted something other than pulled pork. Thankfully, we were strafed towards one of the best sandwiches EVER.

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No, I don’t know exactly what it is. Or what it’s called. Our waiter said it was the Special Sandwich. He said it was a house-made ciabatta roll with rotisserie bacon-wrapped pork…and I told him to stop talking and make the sandwich. So I honestly can’t give a co posts description but I do know there was arugula, olive oil, bacon wrapped pork and a delicious aioli that had a Dijon flavor with a spicy kick to it. And it was PHENOMENAL. First their bread is epic. Chewy, crunchy…it sucked up oil and pork dripping like a delicious bread sponge.

Tina got the chicken salad sandwich. Now, I though I made a pretty good chicken salad. I made it yesterday…took it for lunch. Chicken, sesame oil, mayo, hot and sweet mustard, mandarin oranges. This made that look like pig slop. I only got a bite.

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Dessert…chocolate stout cake. Think chocolate fudge cake, then add the taste of Guinness. And just for fun, throw in some of the tiniest chocolate malt balls ever on top of the frosting.

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So here’s my warning to you, Phoenix Public Market: lock up that damn cake, cuz I want the rest of it. And unless you want me stopping by every day, stop cooking that pork with bacon. And the chicken salad.

Screw it, I’m coming back no matter what.

The List — 7/15/13

I’ve been finding a lot of local restaurants I want to try…so many that I’ve managed to start forgetting a lot of them. So here’s the list of restaurants we’ll hopefully be hitting soon in the Phoenix area. If you’ve tried them, let me know.

1. Quiessence
2. The House at Secret Garden
3. Milagros
3. del Frisco’s Grille
4. Rose & Crown
5. Pomo Pizza (now in downtown)
6. TQLA
7. Kai
8. Texas BBQ House
9. House of Tricks (I know, I know…)
10. Roka Akor
11. FnB
12. The Praying Monk (peanut butter and jelly foie gras??)

Tastes so Rite

Hit up Food Truck Friday in downtown Phoenix today and discovered a new truck (to me anyway), Taste Rite. And it’s GENIUS.

I’m not a fan of fusion food. But this I different. Call this fusion comfort food…and it’s killer. First of all, there’s a secret menu, so sorry chef Darryl King if I let the cat out of the bag. By since the secret menu is t the bottom of the plate anyway, I think he’s probably cool with it.

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I had the Gorilla, which is a po’boy that’s half Big Beef Pot Roast and half smoked pulled pork with slaw. Now, I seem to remember on Food Network someone saying the po’boy is all about the bread. Lies. I don’t pay for bread, I pay for what you put in it, and I would pay way more than what I did for this. The pulled pork is served with BBQ sauce that isn’t too thick to take away the pork. And I HATE coleslaw, but this was very nice with the pork. Not once did I try to make it fall off the sandwich, and that’s impressive.

Then there’s the pot roast. Without a doubt it’s the best thing there. It’s so good it’s on more than one thing, which I saved it till now to catch those of you who read this far. HE PUT IT ON TATER TOTS.

I’ll let that sink in.

It’s POT ROAST…in GRAVY…with veggies…ON TOTS. I don’t know why genius burst of inspiration created this or how I’ve never thought I it before, but it’s like a better version of Frito pie. Taste Rite calls it gravy, but it’s not even close to that…it’s a stew.

The plate is all about surprises. When you’re done with you po’boy, there’s a wet nap hiding underneath. When you’re finished with that, there’s a piece if candy hiding next to your pickle (mine was a Worther’s). And hiding in a yellow truck is some of the best food truck eats I’ve ever had.

Isola Pizza Bar — San Diego

In Arizona my standard for pizza is not Pizzeria Bianco (no pizza on the planet is worth waiting in that long line, and a restaurant that popular with that long a wait that still refuses reservations just gets on my nerves…also, some meat wouldn’t freakin’ kill ya Chris Biaco), it’s Cibo. By far the best toppings, service, crust, ambience, everything.

Isola Pizza Bar in San Diego is the closest I’ve come to that OUTSIDE of Phoenix.

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We went there over Memorial Day weekend and easily got a table. It’s a long, thin restaurant that’s a cross between modern and hipster-rustic. Think a slick white bar by Ikea and lighting by Edison. It doesn’t seat that many, but they can turn them over if they want to. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to just sit there.

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We started with simple focaccia with salt and olive oil. That was the test. Everything’s cooked in the wood-fired brick oven, so if you manage to somehow nail that combination of crispy exterior crust with a bready interior, you’ve won in my book.

They won.

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We were hungry, so we each got a pizza. They’re big enough to feed a hungry person, but the right size to share if you want to. First up: clam pizza. Mozzarella, chunks of tomato and white sauce with clams. Admittedly not a combination I would have immediately ordered, but Tina picked it. And then I scarfed it. GREAT combination that I never would have thought of in a million years. Somehow the clams were not too salty with the mozzarella and the entire thing tasted like it should always have been on a menu.

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Next up: the Tre Carni. Fennel sausage, salami, pancetta, mozzarella, tomato, parmigiano cheese. Spicy, but in a good way. None of it survived. It was off that pan in no time and if I hadn’t thought I’d explode, I’d have ordered another.

We picked Isola on a whim and loved it. Now, here’s my Arizona connection to it: If you should make it to Tucson (and being a proud Sun Devil, I can’t figure out why you’d ever want to…other than maybe this), the chef and owner of Isola, Massimo Tenino, has an Italian restaurant there as well called Tavolino. That WILL happen.

Missed Opportunity at The Farm

After having breakfast at Morning Glory at The Farm at South Mountain a few weeks ago, I’m seriously disappointed that I can’t go again. It’s outside and has no air conditioning, so it closes down during the summer. Perfectly understandable, but I WANT these chicken enchiladas again.

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Everything’s farm fresh (hence, The Farm), from the chicken inside to the egg on top. In fact, the rooster responsible kept crowing at the end of the patio. I’ve only tasted this one thing, but I’m moving to the area in a few days. I’ll definitely be at Morning Glory once it opens back up.

Beckett’s Table

It’s taken a while, and the rest of our rout had gone to Beckett’s Table without me, but I finally made it there this week. Fantastic food. It’s pork, what’s not to love?

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I started with the Flinn’s Dilemma, partially because in my head I saw the sign on the arcade from Tron (yeah, I’m showing my neediness), but mostly because I like whiskey. It’s Jameson & Bushmills with muddled mint, lemonade and a sugared rim. Honestly one of the best drinks I’ve had in a long time. The only thing close to it is the Lavender Lemon Fizz at Salut (I’ll get to a review of that place eventually), but honestly it doesn’t need the sugared rim. I love whiskey and lemonade to begin with, but the sugared rim makes it too much like a mojito. But it doesn’t really matter because its in a tall glass with a small mouth, so the sugar doesn’t last long anyway.

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The appetizers. My God, the appetizers! Pancetta Mac N Cheese was phenomenal. Perfect balance of pasta and cheese with crispy pancetta.

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And a surprise: deep fried reviled eggs. Not a clue how you manage to bread a hard boiled egg with filling and fry it without it becoming a ball of liquid egg-goo, but that’s why I’m not running this place. It was paired with a hot sauce aioli that I could honestly take or leave. Not because it wasn’t good, but because the egg was that good with or without it.

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My highlight of the night…pork osso bucco with bacon spinach spaetzel. I wondered why I had a butter knife and a fork and not anything more substantial to carve this thing. Then I stuck my fork in and the osso bucco disintegrated. I tried to move the pork by the bone…not happening. The bone came out like it had never even been attached to anything. The spinach spaetzel was good, but the bacon was the highlight of that side. What made the spaetzel better was the juice from the osso bucco that asked into it.

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Finally, my birthday dessert (it was my birthday dinner). A deconstructed s’more with chocolate covered bacon, peanut butter ice cream and drizzled in caramel. PERFECT. I wanted more bacon. In fact, I would have been happy with a plate of just chocolate covered bacon! But the marshmallow was perfect, the peanut butter ice cream was totally unexpected but great in a s’more.

So, Beckett…damn good food. Serve me pork and you’ve got a customer for life!