February 27, 2009

Best sugary breakfasts on the go in Flagstaff

(This story, written by me, originally appeared in the 2/26/09 issue of Flagstaff Live!)

Man does not live by health food alone. Some days you need
that sugary sweet taste of a good donut or pastry to start
the day off right. Luckily, Flagstaff is a great place for
sweet-toothed folks to live and love (eating). Here are a few
places to find that perfectly sweetened morning sunshine for
your mouth …

Malone’s Bakery and Deli
1490 S. Riordan

Wanting the fresh, sugary goodness of a donut for breakfast
on a fine wintry morning? Malone’s is where you want to go.
They make the best homemade donuts in town in several
varieties—glazed, chocolate, maple and cake. Homer
Simpson would definitely approve!
Also on the menu are lots of other sweet morning treats like
Bavarian cream horns (quite a sweet punch and, I would
argue, more of a dessert but still good anytime of the day),
long johns filled with Bavarian cream (and my husband’s
fave sweet treat in the whole city), muffins, apple cinnamon
burritos, cinnamon twists, cinnamon rolls, pecan coffee cakes
and more.
If you’re looking for variety with great taste, this
is the stop to make.

Village Baker
1421 S. Milton

The Village Baker isn’t just for bread loaves anymore. When
they opened their new location behind Strombolli's, they
added an array of scrumptious breakfast pastries. The fresh
fruit Danish is fabulous and my fave. They also serve up
cinnamon rolls, cheese Danish, and apple, mixed berry and
cheese strudel. And if there’s a particular something you’re
craving and can’t find anywhere, Village Baker will custom
make anything you want with just a few days notice. You can
call them for details on custom orders at 773-9310. I’ve
never had anything here that wasn’t top of the line, so you
really can’t go wrong.

It’s About Coffee: The Factory
2620 N. Steves Blvd. (in Kachina Square)

This coffee house is also known for its fab cinnamon rolls.
They claim to be the best in Flag, and they are indeed quite
tasty. They’re ooey and gooey and you’re going to need to
get plenty of napkins. Be sure to ask them to heat it up for
ultimate enjoyment. The icing is a sweet, cream cheese-
style that really tantalizes the taste buds when warm. It’s
About Coffee also bakes up muffins. Both, of course, are a
fine choice with their coffees.

Macy's European Coffeehouse, Bakery and Vegetarian
14 S. Beaver

Macy’s is a Flagstaff must for good food and good-for-you
food. Even their sweet treats aren’t all bad for the bod with
such items as the vegan almond tofu Danish. The most
popular sweet breakfast treat on their menu is the almond
cream cheese Danish. It’s not what you’d call health food,
but it is magically delicious. Other breakfast sweets include
scones (which I personally favor), muffins and berry Danish.

Café Espress
16 N. San Francisco

Café Espress is another good choice for indulging that
morning hankering for something sweet. They bake up such
goodies as cream cheese Danish, turnovers, muffins and
bear claws. Of particular note are their turnovers and bear
claws, which are as popular as they are tasty. I personally
vote bear claw as the way to go here. Mmm.

February 12, 2009

Flagstaff's Finest Dining Establishments

(*Note: This story first appeared (also written by me) in Flagstaff Live! on February 12, 2009*)

Romance (and snow) is in the air these days. Celebrate it at Flagstaff’s finest dining establishments, where the atmosphere compliments the mood of love and the food is elegant and decadent. The menus vary with the season to bring you the freshest ingredients possible, so sample the flavors of the season of love.
It’s hard to go wrong at any of these three restaurants, unless you’re looking for a bargain. The fab food and ambiance come with a price to match, of course. But at least you’ll leave satisfied, so go ahead and treat yourself.
If you go at lunchtime to either Josephine’s or Brix, you can still get great food but at slightly more wallet-friendly prices. Just something to keep in mind, but who can put a price on love?

Josephine’s Modern American Bistro
503 N. Humphreys
Josephine’s is the kind of restaurant that catches your eye from the moment you drive up. With its dark, volcanic rock columns and beautiful, inviting stone patio, it’s a romantic setting anytime of the day. The ambiance increases in the evenings with twinkling lights draped around the historic building. Josephine’s is my favorite fine dining establishment in Flagstaff. They’ve got a unique blend of flavors, as well as variety, and a comfortable atmostphere. The modern menu features bold and flavorful combinations to delight both the eye and the stomach. Josephine’s proclaims on their menu to be free of “ethnic constraints,” instead blending “ingredients and techniques from many different cultures.” This is the place to go for flavors that will dance through your mouth, popping with originality in their combinations.
For dinner on Valentine’s Day they’ve got a special menu, which you can check out on their Web site, along with their everyday lunch and dinner menus.

Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar
413 N. San Francisco
Brix is anything but everyday, not that you wouldn’t want to eat here everyday if your bank account could stand it. The food is fantastic. So fab in fact that Condé Nast Traveler named them among the top 95 restaurants in the world in 2007. That’s a pretty good rec if I’ve ever heard one.
Brix describes themselves as “a casual fine dining restaurant serving seasonal, farm focused, contemporary American cuisine.” The food is fresh and fanciful, but the place is still relaxed enough to wear shorts at lunch in the summer without getting dirty looks. Still, it’s chic enough to serve as a great spot to go and enjoy vino with or without the food.
They too have a special V-day menu for l’amore. You can check it out, along with their everyday lunch, dinner and wine menus, on their Web site.

The Cottage Place Restaurant
126 W. Cottage
The Cottage Place is a romantic little house with food to compliment the atmosphere, Valentine’s Day or not. They’re only open for dinner Wednesday through Sundays, so no getting in on the delightful menu at lunch for a little less dinero. But this is a place worth saving up for. Your taste buds will thank you for sure.
The menu includes everything from classic filet mignon to more unique creations including hazelnut encrusted pheasant breast, forest mushroom ravioli, and chef tableside specialties for two like rack of lamb and chateaubriand.
They have a special Valentine’s Day menu from Thu, the 12th through Sat, the 14th, but reservations are already booked full on V-day. Cottage Place also offers a different kind of fun evening out for a date with specialty cooking classes. You can check their Web site for info on when they are offered, as well as peruse their menu.

Japonais, Je t’aime
Wanna take your sweetheart somewhere upscale but not overly fancified? Check out these great Flagstaff Japanese food gems.

Sakura Sushi and Teppanyaki
1175 W. Rte. 66, inside the Radisson Woodlands Hotel

Karma Sushi Bar and Tapas
6 E. Rte. 66

Hiro’s Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant
1312 S. Plaza Way

February 4, 2009

Szechuan Chinese Restaurant

By Angele Sionna

The Food (taste/flavor/quality of food & drinks)
>>>= good, but not great

The Atmosphere (environment, wait staff, comfortableness)
xxxx= comfortable

Price (what to generally expect to pay per person per entree)
$$                 $10

Value (what you get for your money)
**** = worth it - you won’t be disappointed with what you get for your money

Wanna break from the Mexican choices in Sedona (though there are several good ones)?

Check out the Szechuan Chinese Restaurant off 89A in the 2nd shopping center on the right after you pass the two traffic circles in the crossroads area of town.

The dinner menu is pricey for Chinese but normal for Sedona at about $11 for most dishes. The do have a lunch special menu which looks more reasonably priced at about $8 per person, but comes with soup or salad plus an eggroll and fried wonton. Do note the menu says they charge $4 for splitting a plate.

They do have a $5 plain noodles dish that is perfect for kiddos and plenty to share. Portions on the regular dishes aren't generous enough to split. One entree is truly for one person, unlike other Chinese restaurants. But the taste is great.

We ordered the Orange Chicken and the Chicken with Broccoli and both were great. By far the best Chinese in Northern Arizona. I'm glad we found this place. We'll definitely be back. I only wish it was located in Flagstaff, which is badly lacking in good Chinese.

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