May 30, 2010

Sopp and Truscott Bakery in Silver Plume, Colorado


In "downtown" Silver Plume, Colorado
The Sopp and Truscott Bakery is reason enough to circle Silver Plume, Colorado on your map (exit 226 on I-70, about 45 minutes from Denver) as a place to stop. It doesn't have to be a long stop, but it's definitely worth the trip.
Silver Plume is a tiny town that appears to be stuck in time. But it also holds a secret treasure family run food stop - The Sopp and Truscott Bakery. They have several types of really great breads, cookies and other baked goods. And they make sandwiches at lunch time, which are perfect to eat at their picnic table or on their front porch swing.
Sopp and Truscott  is located on the dirt road known as Main Street, you'll think you must be going the wrong way but I assure you, you're not. The address is 486 Main St. It's only open 7a-5p Thursdays thru Sundays right now. You can call for more info at:  303-569-3395.
There is other stuff to stop in Silver Plume for. You can catch the historic narrow gage railroad The Georgetown Loop near by.
Check out the slide show of photos of the beauty of Silver Plume and of the Sopp and Truscott Bakery.

May 28, 2010

Profile: The Broadmoor – Penrose Room in Colorado Springs, Colorado


Profile: The Broadmoor – Penrose Room
chef bouquin
Penrose Room Executive Chef Bertrand Bouquin
Photo Courtesy: The Broadmoor
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Bertrand: We are the only Five Star Five Diamond restaurant in Colorado. Plus, we also have a unique setting in the fact that you can see both the mountains and city from opposite sides of the restaurant.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Bertrand: In the Southwest corner of the restaurant, we have a Demonstration Kitchen offering as many as 20 guests the opportunity to interact with me while I cook. 


Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Bertrand: My specialty is fine dinning food. This is what I have been trained to do throughout my career.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Bertrand: The guests really enjoy the classic fine dining experience at Penrose Room. The food, service and the music – they all tie together to make a truly classic experience.
My favorite thing (beside the food!) is the location of the restaurant.  We are located on the top of the South Tower at The Broadmoor. It is the absolute best view in town. I like to come up here in the morning and just look out over the city and the mountains – it is very peaceful!
Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Bertrand: We just started a new winter and I would love for people to try the Chesapeake Bay Crab Salad with Carrot and Grapefruit Jelly. The Lamb Saddle stuffed with Fennel and Dried Apricot is also something that I think people will really enjoy.

Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Bertrand: I highly recommend taking people to Garden of the Gods. It is the perfect place to go on a walk, hike, sightsee or just relax and have a picnic. The views of Pikes Peak are incredible and with the red rock formations in the background, it is really amazing.

May 23, 2010

Profile: Himalayan Grill in Flagstaff, Arizona

Profile: Himalayan Grill
  • Dennis Poudel, Owner
  • 801 South Milton Road Unit A, Flagstaff AZ
  • Open 4 years
  • himalayangrill.com (They've got coupons on their website too!)
  • Facebook
profiles
Himalayan Grill in Flagstaff, Arizona
Photo by Himalayan Grill
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Dennis: We offer one of the most tantalizing and flavorful cuisines in the world, the foods of India, Tibet and Nepal. Experience perfectly grilled tender tandoori chicken, flavorful lamb and tasty curries that are rich and creamy. Enjoy fresh vegetables in flaky samosas and fragrant, delicate naan bread. We welcome you to explore rarely offered fine Himalayan cuisine and we will look forward to seeing you again and again

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Dennis: Very unique, warm place, friendliest staff, wonderful food.
* Winner of Best Indian Food in Best of Flagstaff 2007, 2008, 2009
* Winner of best Ethnic food in Best of Flagstaff 2008, 2009
* Winner of Best Lunch 2009 in Best Of Flagstaff
* Winner of Best Family Own Restaurant 2009 in Best Of Flagstaff

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Dennis: Award Winning Indian food - Curries and Tandoori Dishes. Delicious varieties of food from Tibet & Nepal.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Dennis: Best food, best service and very warm environment to have a great fun with family & friends.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Dennis: We keep upgrading and adding new dishes for our customers to enjoy new things. Also, we are constantly adding unique stuff to our decor.

Photos courtesy Himalayan Grill
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Dennis: I love hiking around Buffalo Park. It is very easy walk and everybody should try it.

Examiner:  Anything else you want to add?
We are a small but very unique family own restaurant. We take very pride of our business. We want everybody to come and enjoy this really offered food from Indian, Tibet & Nepal.

May 21, 2010

Profile: Josephine's Modern American Bistro in FLagstaff, Arizona


Profile: Josephine's Modern American Bistro
josephines flagstaff
Josephine's in Flagstaff, AZ
Photo courtesy: Anthony Cosentino
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Chef Tony: We are located in a beautiful historic building converted from a homestead. On the National Historic Register for its architectural significance. The building is the first made with the local volcanic rock in Northern Arizona.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Chef Tony: We are one of the only, if only that has a true wine cellar. The two foot wide volcanic rock foundation provides the ideal atmosphere for storing wine.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Chef Tony: Cooking everything from scratch from our salad dressing to the ice cream we put on our desserts.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Chef Tony: The two fireplaces in the winter and beautiful flowering patio in the summer. My favorite thing is the open kitchen which the patrons almost walk into when they come into the restaurant. I love the direct interaction with the customers.


Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Chef Tony: We are going to be doing a brunch on Saturdays and Sundays this summer. I was a little hesitant to take it on but the more I think about it the more excited I become. I plan on making our jam from scratch and muffins and some other fun stuff.

Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Chef Tony: Well the obvious thing to say would be to see the Grand Canyon but to be honest I haven't been there in years. If you like the outdoors Flagstaff has got it all. On a day like today I can either go up skiing at Snowbowl or go for a mountain bike ride or hike in Sedona. We have lakes to canoe in, canyons to hike, rocks to climb and trails to ride.



*This article is part of a new travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants in the realm of Out West Food Review - Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.*

May 18, 2010

Profile: Moe's Original Bar B Que headquartered in Vail, Colorado


Profile: Moe's Original Bar B Que
  • Ben Gilbert, Founding Partner
  • Corporate home base for Moe's is 675 W Lionshead Circle, Vail, CO 81657
  • (970) 479-7888
  • 10 other locations in Alabama and Colorado
  • www.moesoriginalbbbq.com
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • 1st Moe's opened in 2001
moe's bbq
Ben Gilbert serving up a platter of Moe's finest barbecue
Photo Courtesy: Moe's Original BBQ
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Ben: We smoke all of our meats and prepare homemade sides fresh daily.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Ben: We started out by buying a 40' concession trailer, decking it out with wood siding and a tin roof and began selling Q on the side of the road. We sold out 100 consecutive days.


Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Ben: Bama-style BBQ and Southern Soul Food Sides
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Ben: Our customers love our quality food served with a slice of Southern hospitality in a lively atmosphere. I really enjoy the instant gratification I see on customers' faces when they are leaving Moe's.
Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Ben: Yes, we recently started franchising and have a new location in Fort Collins, CO with more to open this year in Tuscaloosa, AL, Huntsville, AL, Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA.
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Ben: Skiing or hiking one of our world-class mountains.











This article is part of a new travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants in the Western US.

May 17, 2010

Las Gorditas in Flagstaff, Arizona

Las Gorditas Mexican Restaurant
2900 N West St, Flagstaff AZ (Just south of Cedar in a small shopping center)
Las Gorditas is a true Flagstaff find. This mom and pop shop has been open four years. They serve Jalisco-style Mexican, all recipes of Mom Santana or recipes passed down for generations in her family.
They've done a nice job with decorating the little space in a small shopping center with traditional Mexican art and tchotchkes.
At the heart of Las Gorditas is a fresh salsa bar with six salsas all made by "mom" with  recipes she keeps so secret she won't even tell her daughter.
Guacamole salsa is an avocado infused delight. Nothing like your typical guac yet it beckons you to take another bite. Its a touch creamy but more like a typical salsa than guacamole in every way. The salsa verde is drinkable. It has a peppery taste that I swear hints to star of anise. I asked but the recipe is top secret. Only mom knows what's in there. It is sure to cure sinus congestion.
The enchiladas here are so good. The red sauce is flavorful but not spicy and they're a super bargain at $4.99 for 2 cheese with rice and beans both at lunch and dinner time. And they're mouthwatering.
The gorditas are also a treat. Fresh with nice thick masa. I like the bean and cheese one, though it's hard to go wrong with carnitas gorditas too.
Another fav of mine, the chicken tacos. Nice fresh, well seasoned and tender chicken breast diced with a little lettuce, tomato and cheese. Add some of that guaca salsa and you have a home run.

I've yet to try anything at Las Gorditas that isn't fresh and tasty. This is the place to go for top notch but low cost Mexican food in Flagstaff

May 15, 2010

Orpheum Stage Left Sub Shop

Menu board at Stage Left
Along Beaver Street downtown Flagstaff across from the municipal courthouse sits the new Orpheum Stage Left Sub Shop.
Stage Left serves what they deem "Brooklyn style" sandwiches and salads. There is a nice selection of cold and hot sandwiches from meat lovers options like the New Yorker and Meatball to veggie choices like Eggplant Parmesean and the Paisan (also known as a Caprese with some extras). All sandwiches are about eight bucks and come with a side of chips, pasta salad or potato salad. They also have kids sandwiches and soups plus a pretty nice bar for cocktails.
The interior is small but with good style, maximizing space with stools all along the perimeter. Outside seating is comfortable - a nice patio area with several tables with a view of the hustle and bustle of Beaver Street, though sitting there is pretty relaxing.
(Note to parents with babies- bring a stroller because there aren't any high chairs).
On this trip I ordered up the Eggplant Parmesean with a side of the pasta salad. My hubby went for the New Yorker with chips. Both were fresh and delish. The eggplant was lightly breaded and a tiny touch spicy, cooked just right. The bread was super fresh. The tomato sauce was tangy.
The pasta salad side was refreshing and light with a zip from red onions and peppers.
The New Yorker had top notch meats and a very nice balsamic vinegar and oil dressing. Chip choices were Lays Classics or Sun Chips.
Quality ingredients and good flavor combinations well describe Stage Left. This is my new favorite sandwich spot in Flagstaff. A must visit for sure!

May 14, 2010

Profile: Rancho de San Juan Country Inn and Three Forks Restaurant in Espanola, New Mexico

Profile: Rancho de San Juan Country Inn and Three Forks Restaurant

(Read more about this travel series at the bottom of this story.)
profiles
Owners John Johnson and David Heath
All photos in this story courtesy Rancho de San Juan
Nestled between Taos and Santa Fe, Rancho de San Juan is located on 225 acres in the Chama River Valley. The property features 12 deluxe rooms and casitas designed for comfort and relaxation, with sensitivity to detail and southwest casual elegance, highlighted by the owners' private art and antique collections.
Rancho de San Juan was recently ranked top in New Mexico for cuisine and service in Conde Nast Traveler's “Gold List” for 2009 and the magazine placed it in the top 35 small hotels in the U.S. in their annual Readers’ Survey.
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
David: We were the first Relais & Chateaux establishment in the Southwest. We are hands-on operators and see to the needs of our guest personally. We offer elegant accommodations, award winning service, fantastic views and the ultimate in a romantic setting.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
David: Rancho de San Juan is located in an area where three rivers converge. Thus the name for our restaurant Three Forks. We are the fourth owners of the property since the Spanish Land Grant in the 1700's. There are old camp sites all over the 225 acres.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
David: Providing for the needs of our guests. With so many people celebrating special occasions here, we are small enough that we can customize menus and special request so that their stay is a memorable one.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
David: The majority of our guests enjoy the quiet beauty of the rugged surroundings, no TV's, the fantastic sunsets and the gourmet dining.
Our favorite thing is seeing our guests enjoy the company and conversation of other guests. Many become fast friends and repeat clientele.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
David: The hit last year was our Passport International Dinners. They were so popular that we are repeating them again this year. We will be doing a French Connection with various regions of France, Moroccan Nights with entertainment, Seductive Istanbul with Turkish dancers, Sizzling in Sicily with folk dancers. Food for the Gods - an evening in Greece with entertainment. (just to name a few).

Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
David: The back roads to see the beauty of the New Mexico countryside, taking in the numerous fiestas, concerts and the Santa Fe Opera if time allows. We arrange for guests to visit artist in their studios, do a horseback ride with a picnic or visit the natural hot springs in the area.

Examiner:  Anything else you want to add?
David: New Mexico is truly the Land of Enchantment. There is so much to see and do that one trip will not cover it all. Once New Mexico is in your blood you will return again and again. Slow down and enjoy life !




This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 13, 2010

Profile: Fournos Restaurant in Sedona, Arizona

Profile: Fournos Restaurant
profiles
Ivan Flowers, Chef/Owner of Fournos in Sedona
Photo by Robert Schmeirer
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Ivan: That every dish is cooked by the chef himself...Guests receive 5-star cuisine in a casual, intimate atmosphere.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Ivan: I have a secret stash of wines, so always ask what OTHER wines are in the building!
Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Ivan: Declectic cuisine. My first priority when cooking a dish is to always make it delicious. Additionally, the dishes he creates are a fusion of Italian, French & New American, thus eclectic.

Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Ivan: It is really all about the food. For not only the guests but for me as well.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Ivan: The spring menu & the ever changing boutique wine list.
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Ivan: Oak Creek Canyon. It is an unexpected oasis in the middle of Sedona. Canopy of trees, flowing creek and of course, spectacular Red Rocks.








This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 10, 2010

Profile: The Squeaky Bean in Denver, Colorado

Profile: The Squeaky Bean
  • Maxwell Mackissock, Chef
  • 3301 Tejon St., Denver, CO 80211
  • 303.284.0053
  • thesqueakybean.net
profiles
Exterior of The Squeaky Bean in Denver
Photos courtesy The Squeaky Bean
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Maxwell: The unique thing about the Squeaky Bean is the casual, laid back ambiance.  We work very hard to avoid pretentiousness on any level.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Maxwell: Something that not everyone knows about the Squeaky Bean is our farm stand that we have every Thursday during the growing season.   We are in partnership with a farm in Longmont, Colorado called Aspen Moon Farms.  The farmer Jason Griffith comes to the restaurant on Thursdays and sells the same beautiful produce that he sells to us, right on our patio.  I love it and more importantly the neighborhood loves it.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Maxwell: I always have a hard time answering this question since we don't necessarily cook a specific ethnicity of food.  I come from French heritage, and grew up cooking Italian.  That said I probably use Mediterranean flavors and techniques more that anything else.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Maxwell: I feel that patrons really appreciate the fact that we do three services everyday.  It can be hard to find interesting food before lunch time, and we try hard to give that to our neighborhood.  Come in the morning for great coffee and a party, then come back for dinner for a totally different experience.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Maxwell: We are beginning the process of expanding our kitchen.  We are very limited with the equipment that we currently have.  Hopefully in a few months the kitchen will be completed and we can take the food to different levels for all of our services.

Interior of The Squeaky Bean
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Maxwell: A great day in Denver would be to rent Beach Cruisers and ride all over the city eating, having fun, and seeing the sites. Denver is really easy to get around on a bicycle with a great network of bike paths, and bike lanes.  At night go to Red Rocks Amphitheatre and see a show.  It is my favorite music venue in the world.


This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 9, 2010

Profile: Prescott Brewing Company in Prescott, Arizona

Profile: Prescott Brewing Company
  • John and Roxane Nielsen, Director of Brewery Operations and Director of Business Operations
  • Located in Historic Downtown Prescott on the North Side of the Courthouse Plaza
  • 130 W. Gurley Street, Suite A, Prescott, AZ  86301
  • www.prescottbrewingcompany.com
  • Established March 15, 1994 by the Nielsens
profiles
John and Roxane Nielsen, Owners of Prescott Brewing Company sitting in front of the brewery inside PBC
Photo courtesy: Lewis Marketing
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Roxane: We’ve always taken the “made from scratch” philosophy from the brewery to the kitchen and have designed our menu at PBC to include as many “made from scratch” options, made with fresh ingredients, as possible.  PBC has always been committed to developing our own original recipes, each with their own little twists, that translate into an eclectic menu that can only be found at Prescott’s Hometown Brewery.  All of our breads and rolls are baked from scratch daily, along with our desserts, by our expert bakers.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Roxane: PBC is the first operating brewery to brew in Yavapai County since before Prohibition. It was preceded by the  Arizona Brewery of 1864, originally located just steps away from where PBC is on Gurley Street, sharing a building which was also occupied by the Territorial Legislature; and the Pacific Brewery on Whiskey Row during the same time period. Both of these early breweries ceased to exist around the turn of the century, as best we can find out. PBC still remains the only brewery in Prescott and only one of two in Yavapai County, the other being Oak Creek Brewery in the Yavapai County section of Sedona.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Roxane: Our true specialty product would have to be our beers. All our flagship beers and approximately 45 specialty beers have been personally designed by owner and Brewmaster, John Nielsen, over the last 16 years.  And, he’s won 25 national and international awards for many of them. With respect to food specialties, our menu is so large and varied that no one thing really stands out – except maybe to bring attention to our fish & chips, which has always been our number one biggest selling single menu item.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Roxane: PBC has truly become a gathering spot. It attracts people of all ages. Our patrons can always find someone interesting to talk to. The bar area is fun, friendly, lively and entertaining. Our motto is “fun and friendly – brewpub style!”  People come in and there’s almost always someone they know. Our regular patrons feel a sense of belonging and have truly taken “ownership” of “their pub.” 
Our favorite thing is watching people have fun, families uniting over good food and good beer, non-alcohol drinkers enjoying one of our made-from-scratch old-time fountain sodas. I’ll never forget one Mother’s Day there was a group of 12, encompassing 5 generations within the family, all spending their family time at our restaurant.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Roxane: We do a new menu every April and October, keeping the core menu items that have been so successful over the years, but also incorporating new ideas. We start developing thoughts and recipes for new menu time several months before that menu is due to come out. Our brewers are always introducing new beers as well, especially with the palate for different styles of craft beers growing and changing.  Belgian Dubbels & Triples are becoming very popular once again and we’ve had fun introducing those styles to our loyal guests.  We began canning our most popular beer, Liquid Amber Ale, last summer and it is being distributed throughout the Phoenix/Tempe areas. We’re in the process of design the exterior of the can for our Ponderosa IPA, our award-winning India Pale Ale that we hope to begin canning this spring/summer.  Why cans you ask?  Cans are the wave of the future for the microbrewing industry. They protect the quality of the beer better, no sunlight reaches the product, product does not deteriorate due to oxidation, the cans are recyclable, one can pack them in, pack them out, take them river-rafting…just a whole host of why the modern can is gaining in popularity with microbrewers.
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?

Roxane: We always recommend visitors make sure and spend some time at the Sharlot Hall Museum. It’s a whole outdoor campus full of many buildings that were saved and moved from within Prescott to the campus at various times throughout history, such as an original one room school house, the original Governor’s mansion, etc. It truly gives a sense of history and a sense of Prescott throughout the ages. Life-like mannequins and true old west surroundings. The museum campus holds events depicting what life in Prescott was like for the early settlers and their families in a way that gives people a real sense of the old west.

And, don’t forget [Prescott is] surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest and BLM land, suitable for hiking, camping, four-wheeling. We have 5 lakes for fishing, several public golf courses, a beautiful downtown plaza that has no “Keep off the Grass” signs, a thriving downtown art and antiques areas. Bluegrass Festivals, Oktoberfest Festivals, Antique and Arts & Crafts Shows on the Square/plaza, real old fashioned 4th of July and Christmas Parades, the list goes on and on. Prescott is the perfect get-a-way weekend when time is short, even more perfect when planning a week long trip. Many people use it as their home base for further exploration of Northern Arizona.
This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 8, 2010

Profile: Diablo Burger in Flagstaff, Arizona

Profile: Diablo Burger

Read my most recent review of Diablo Burger HERE
profiles
Photo courtesy Diablo Burger
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Derrick: We serve 100% local, grassfed beef from the Diablo Trust Ranches, the Flying M and the Bar T Bar, who have ranched outside of Flagstaff since the late 1800s.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Derrick: We are housed in a circular structure, made of 16" rebar-inforced concrete, that was originally built to support a parking ramp leading to a roof-top garage.  If any place in Flagstaff is bomb-proof, it's probably Diablo Burger.
Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Derrick: Great-tasting, affordable & healthy burgers -- served with killer fries, shakes, beer & wine.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment?
Derrick: The whole sustainable food thing served with a hip & fun vibe.
Examiner:  What's your favorite?
Derrick: Connecting local food producers with a community and visitors that value the landscape of the Colorado Plateau.
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Derrick: Experience the unique and authentic vibe of our Arizona mountain town... downtown, on the peaks, and all around.

Check out more about Flagstaff things to do and places to eat HERE.
Read my most recent review of Diablo Burger HERE










This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 5, 2010

Salsa de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate with a fiesta in your mouth courtesy of salsa.
Salsa is the number one condiment in the US. It overtook catsup a few years back and for good reason. It’s so versatile and can bounce the taste of even boring food up a notch. The best salsas are in themselves a feast of flavor. The perfect combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers and other fresh ingredients create a fiesta in your mouth worthy of celebrating this Cinco de Mayo or any other day really. Here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy salsas in Flagstaff.

Salsa Brava
2220 East Route 66
How could a story about salsa not begin with this famous Route 66 restaurant. The salsa bar is the best in town with flavors that spin your taste buds through a savorlicious journey.
Habanero pineapple, pico de gallo, tomatillo salsa verde. They have them all here and they are all done right. My fav is to combine the pico with the regular then alternate chip dips between that and the tanginess of the verde and sweet punch of the pineapple.
All are good and none give more fire than a trained mouth can handle. A must visit for every salsa connoisseur.

Las Gorditas Mexican Restaurant
2900 N. West St, Suite 4 (near Cedar)
This hidden gem family run restaurant has been open four years. It’s home to six salsas, all made by "mom" Santana. Some recipes are her own. Others have been passed down for generations from family in Jalisco.
The guacamole salsa is an avocado infused delight. Nothing like your typical guac yet it beckons you to take another bite. It’s a touch creamy with a bold flavor, much more like a typical salsa than guacamole. The salsa verde is drinkable. It has a peppery taste that I swear hints to star of anise. I asked but the recipe is top secret. Only mom knows what's in there. It is sure to cure sinus congestion. There are also three types of red sauces to boot.

Cafe Ole
121 S San Francisco
The salsa at café ole has a different edge then others in town. There’s a fire-roasted zing that drives the uniqueness. It comes off spicy but goes down so smoothly. It’s one to savor. You’ll want to add it to anything and everything on the menu. But never fear, it’ll satisfy with just chips along side a nice marg or mojito.

Criollo Latin Kitchen
16 N San Francisco
Criollo’s Latin-inspired salsas take chips and dips to a whole new level. The veggies in all three of the salsas here are all Arizona grown organically and sustainably. An order comes with all three of their handcrafted, made fresh daily salsas: pico de gallo, a tangy, tart tomatillo salsa verde (perfect to compliment fish tacos) and mesquite smoked chili with the triple threat of serranos, jalapeños and habaneros.
The mesquite smoked is surprisingly sweet at first taste but goes on to light up in the back of your mouth with spiced up smoky rich fire essence. A standout in the hot “hot sauces” of the city.

Black Bean Burrito Bar and Salsa Co.
12 E Route 66 (In the square across from Flagstaff Brewing Company)
The Black Bean is known for burritos and hand crafted salsas. The sauces here have the coolest names and range on the heat scale from mild to hotter.
The chili de arbol Red Hotty tops the scale along side Habanero Heaven (pineapple with habaneros). Next down the scale is the three star hot Garlipeno which adds fresh garlic's uniqueness. Then comes my Black Bean favorite - the tropical Mango Pineapple with fire roasted tomatoes and chipotle chilis. Rounding out the scale at the mild end are the traditional Casa Roja and Pico de Gallo plus Smoked Sweet Tomato, which feels more Italian than Mexican and is a nice change of pace for a salsa.

Also worth a mention…
Burritos Fiesta (1530 S Riordan Ranch St # 405C, next door to Bookmans) This place is always packed and has a lot of people sitting at their tables with satisfied grins on their faces. The salsa options here are just hot or mild. Both are winning choices.
Tacos Locos (2 S. Beaver St. Suite 170 on the Phoenix Ave. side of the building). Tacos Locos has several special-crafted homemade salsas, which include a salsa verde, traditional salsa and a spicy “chile de arbol” sauce.

*This article was originally written for Flagstaff Live's April 29, 2010 issue*

May 3, 2010

Profile: The Green Room in Flagstaff, Arizona

Profile: The Green Room
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Rand: Our establishment is not only a local's favorite bar and restaurant, but also a large music venue, fundraising mecca, and community oriented education center.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Rand: We are truly GREEN! We recycle all plastics, paper, aluminum and glass.
Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Rand: Music!!! We pride ourselves on having great music as often as possible, highlighting local favorites while bringing in acts from all over the world.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Rand: Our patrons love our community involvement. We have tons of fundraisers ranging from benefit concerts to non-profit casino nights. My favorite nights are those where we can get musicians from different bands on stage together for a collaborative jam session.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Rand: We have a new menu coming with 100% local sustainable foods. Soooo exciting!
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Rand: The Grand Canyon obviously. But also, Snowbowl is awesome and Historic Downtown Flagstaff is a treat.






This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 2, 2010

Profile: Metate Room Restaurant at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Profile: Mesa Verde National Park’s Metate Room Restaurant
  • Brian Puett, Executive Chef
  • Far View Lodge  - Metate Room Restaurant
  • Open for over 30 years
  • 1 Navajo Hill, Box 277, Mesa Verde National Park, CO 81330
  • www.visitmesaverde.com
profiles
Brian Puett, Executive Chef Metate Room Restaurant
Photo courtesy Metate Room Restaurant
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Brian: Far View Lodge is located 15 miles inside Mesa Verde NP.  Both the lodge and the Metate Room offer spectacular views, some into 4 states.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Brian: Lodge and Metate Room are located at 8250 feet elevation.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Brian: Sustainable cuisine reflecting heritage foods of the southwest and the original tribal inhabitants,
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment?
Brian:  Award winning dining and great Colorado wines list.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Brian: "Napoleon Looking West" dessert.

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Brian:  Complimentary black bean hummus with home made flat breads.

Metate Room/Photo courtesy: www.visitmesaverde.com
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Brian: Experience America's oldest history by visiting any or all of Mesa Verde's ancient sites and cliff dwellings. Who wouldn't want to visit the nation's largest archaeological preserve!


This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

May 1, 2010

Profile: 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill in Beaver Creek, Colorado

Profile: 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill

  • Reese Hay, Chef de Cuisine
  • Opened December 2009
  • Located at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, 136 East Thomas Place, Beaver Creek, CO
  • www.8100barandgrill.com
Examiner: What makes your establishment unique?
Reese: Our establishment is unique in the fact that we source local, natural and sustainable products, focusing on our Rocky Mountain Region. Working with local farmers and purveyors, we maintain the best local programs we can.

Examiner:  What is a little known factoid about your place?
Reese: The seafood on the menu is guaranteed to us fresh out of the water within 24 hours.

Examiner:  What is your specialty?
Reese: The game meats and steaks from Colorado, which are cooked on our 66 inch wood fired grill.
Examiner:  What is your patrons' favorite thing about your establishment? What's your favorite?
Reese: Our patrons’ favorite things about 8100 is the guest interaction we have here. Every guest walks past the open kitchen and gets to see right away what’s going on and they feel like they are more a part of their meal. My favorite part of our restaurant is the deck—what a view!

Examiner: Anything new on the horizon that people can look forward to trying?
Reese: We really focus on local products and cooking seasonally. We change the menu for the seasons. The spring and summer menus are where we get to have the most fun, as more vegetables and other produce are available from right here in Colorado.
Examiner:  What is the top thing you recommend visitors to your city do/see - besides your business, of course?
Reese: Getting out and exploring the surroundings. We are located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain and there is a ton of things to do, during any season.  Skiing, snowboard, cross country skiing, hiking, biking…you name it, you can try it out our backdoor!



This article is part of a travel series profiling chefs, owners, managers and people behind the scenes of restaurants, hotels and other things of interest to tourists and locals alike across the Western US. These profiles also include a local favorite thing to see or do from the person at the helm in addition to him or her sharing the local flavor of their place.

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