Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 22-26: Phoenix!

This will be a fairly large post with a lot of photos, since I'm compiling all of my trip to Phoenix in a single post - lot's of pictures, and lot's of general reviews of places my friend took me to.

There were a few photos I didn't get - one on the second day of the trip of some fish tacos, another of a few vegetables my friend's mother cooked up, and another of a meal on Friday, mainly because we were eating outside and I could not get a picture that wasn't too dark without using flash (and we were in a fairly crowded place, so I didn't want to draw a lot of attention to our table).

Day 1
 Breakfast was more or less a pack of mini donuts I grabbed from the gas station while my friend, who drove me to the airport, was getting gas. I suppose I didn't get a photo of that either, but in case you're wondering - they were chocolate.

We left for Denver at 8:00 in the morning, arrived at DIA at 10:30, and my flight got into Phoenix around 2:30. So, I was pretty hungry by the time he picked me up.

He took me to Fez, which has an 88% rating on Urbanspoon. We ordered some spicy hummus as an appetizer, and we both ordered black bean burgers.

The black bean burger was excellent - it came with goat cheese, onions, and tomatoes.The goat cheese really made the burger, too (of course, I'm admittedly a huge fan of goat cheese). 

The hummus was good too, except it was loaded with chili powder - to the point there was way way way way too much. They probably could have put about half of the amount of chili powder in the hummus and it would have been fine. It was still good, especially with the warm pita bread - but there was definitely too much chili powder (and it wasn't really that spicy, either.)

Overall, I did enjoy the atmosphere, and the place was neatly decorated. But it did feel a bit overpriced (of course I'm young, so that's a relative term), and of course the hummus was just okay. But I would go back there, especially because there were a few other menu items I would have loved to have tried.

That night, before we met another friend of his, he took me to Raising Cane's, where we split a large basket of chicken. I had never heard of Raising Cane's before, and assumed it was maybe a southwest chain....until I saw a location in Fort Collins yesterday. Whoops.

You see those things of fry sauce? There were five of them given to us with the platter, and my friend used four of them. I didn't even use a whole one. 

My friend insisted that this place was better than Chick fil a, but honestly...I just thought it was okay. It was fast food. Though I did enjoy the toast (which we substituted for cole slaw, because neither of us really cares for cole slaw). I would return to Raising Cane's if I had to...but I would generally prefer Chick-fil-a or another similar option.

The next day, my friend had to work, and his mom took me out for a few hours. I ate some fish tacos for lunch at Rubio's. was okay. This is one of the meals I failed to get a picture of, though I did find the menu item online.

I love fish tacos, but again, this was just...okay. I felt like the batter on the fish was pretty bland, as was the fish itself. Even the sauce had very little taste. I got two avocado corn fish tacos, shown above.

My friend's mom cooked up some green chilis, mushrooms, and cauliflower later on, which I ate as a snack.

Later, my friend and I went out for taco's at America's Taco Shop, which has a 90% rating on urbanspoon. We both ordered Carne Asada Burritos and coke. The carne asada burrito was excellent.

The next day, while he was at work, I ended up walking to Thai Hut. Thai Hut was interesting, because although it was a Thai place, the building they're located in used to be a diner. Moreover, the outside has a red roof that somewhat resembles an old dine-in Pizza Hut. Thai Hut has an 88% rating on Urbanspoon. Though what's particularly notable about the place - they were really fast. I ordered Yellow Curry chicken for lunch, which came with soup and a spring roll. The soup and the spring roll were probably out to me not even 2-3 minutes after I placed my order, and my curry chicken was out to me very shortly after. And best of all - it was all delicious.

That night, we had dinner at Delux Burger. Delux interested me for many reasons - first off, they're a "gourmet burger" place located in a strip mall next to a Safeway - not the kind of place you'd expect to find "gourmet" anything, in my experience. In addition, they also sold both burgers and sushi - an unusual combination of foods. Though the best thing about it, in my opinion, was their beer menu - after having less-than-optimal luck at finding new beers to drink (which I'll discuss more in depth at the end of this post), I was excited for an opportunity to try some beers that can't be found in either Wyoming or Colorado. My friend ordered a White Rascal from Avery Brewing (after I encouraged him to branch off from only drinking Stella), his date ordered a Milk Stout from Left Hand, and I ordered Kilt Lifter from Four Peaks Brewing.

Oddly, I wasn't really feeling either a burger or sushi, so I ended up ordering a salad with Mahi-Mahi - which I was unable to take a picture of because we sat outside, and it was dark. However, I did manage to get a picture of the fries my friend ordered for the three of us to share - which came in a neat little shopping cart basket.

Delux has a 88% rating on Urbanspoon. And while I don't think it's not undeserved, there were a few things about our experience there that I wasn't too happy with.

When I ordered my salad, the waiter asked if I wanted fish with it. Granted, I should have asked how much extra the fish would cost - but I ended up with a small piece of Mahi-Mahi for an extra $7! The salad itself was only $9 to begin with. Again, it is my fault for not asking how much the extra fish would be, but I'll also note that I did not see the option of adding extras to salads on the menu (again, this could have been completely my fault). Nevertheless, it felt a little sneaky to me.

 But the other thing that was sort of odd about our night there was the fact that our waiter seemed pretty friendly towards us until my friend's friend (date?) showed up. My friend wondered if the guy caught onto the fact that they were a gay couple - which may or may not have been the case. Though I will admit that the waiter did seem to come around to our table a lot less once our third person showed up.

Oh, and before eating at Delux, I did order a cookie at Copper Star Coffee, which probably had more chocolate chips than any other cookie I've ever eaten. (The picture quality is terrible because my phone was running out of battery and did not want to focus.)

The next day, while my friend was working, I indulged in a guilty pleasure I'd been looking forward to the entire trip - In N' Out! Behold - a double double animal style burger with animal style fries. Yum!

By the way, it took probably 15-20 minutes to get my food at In N' Out - not because they were slow, but because they were so damn busy. The only other fast food place I've seen with as many people is Chick-fil-a.

That night, we ate at Pita Jungle, where I ordered a pita pizza with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta cheese. My friend and I also got hummus as an appetizer - again. And we opted for three different kinds of hummus, which came with two slices of pita bread (we ended up needing two more, and it still wasn't quite enough).

The food was delicious, of course - but something that particularly stuck out about this place was the way they collected feedback. When they gave you your receipt, they also gave you a tablet with a few "feedback questions" about your service, the food, and the atmosphere.

And finally, after a few days out of town, I ended my trip in Phoenix with a banana nut muffin from Copper Star.

One thing I did not mention here was the alcohol (except for the alcohol I ordered at Delux). You see, my friend and I went out every night we were there, and on my trip, I learned that mixed drinks and alcohol culture is sometimes a very regional thing.

You see, on the 22nd, the first drink I attempted to order is a favorite of mine, a Redd's and Fireball, which is exactly what it sounds like - a bottle of Redd's Apple Ale mixed with a shot of Fireball Whiskey. Well, the bar we were at didn't actually carry Redd's, or any cider for that matter. So I moved on, asking what kind of beer they had - and it was mostly a mix of your "domestic beers". I finally ordered a White Russian - thankfully the bartender knew how to make that.

However, my friend's other best friend and I got to talking that night about alcohol across the country, and we especially talked about beer. He said that he didn't feel like beer was a big cultural thing around the Phoenix area, after I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (and after having that bartender list all their beers before settling on that one...oof). Of course, I'm sure that many people in Phoenix drink beer, and enjoy beer - otherwise, places like Delux Burger wouldn't serve a whole bunch of different types of beer. But another funny thing happened that night - after that same guy told me he was drinking a Vodka and Redbull, I suggested he try ordering a Trashcan, which has Redbull in it. But when he did, the bartender insisted she couldn't make it because the can of Redbull wouldn't fit in the glass. Except I've seen it done, and the can of redbull would have fit just fine in the aforementioned glass (though I didn't want to be the person who tells somebody how to do their job).

I also had a drink made for me on Friday night, a "Citrusy" drink - though I don't actually know what was in it. And when I asked the bartender what it was called, he pretty much shrugged and said it didn't have a name. (This happened after my friend encouraged it.) I've never thought of actually asking a bartender just to make something up - though this drink turned out quite good, and even my friend really liked it.

In a nutshell, that was my week and Phoenix - regarding food. Tl;dr - it was all pretty much delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Props for doing a blog on what you eat everyday this year. That takes effort, but it's do able. You'll have a lot of reviews by the end of the year. Enjoy yourself!