absolutely frantastic!

Jan212009; on food, restaurants

Posted on: January 21, 2009

I love food. Ok? I cannot deny my love for a wonderfully delicious meal. LizAdventure and I made plans for this Thursday, to go thrift and antiquing, as well as try a new restaurant (for us), Delux Burger. The food looks exquisite and the prices are good, which serves my two favorite parts of most of my favorite places: reasonably priced and absolutely delicious food. I’m also very partial to places with kitschy or interesting atmospheres.

One of the issues of going out to eat, for me, is my limited diet for protein. I haven’t eaten pork or beef since Jan 1, 2008. I stick to poultry and fish only. This has caused some issues in eating at restaurants, especially certain places’ use of “secret bacon” (throwing bacon in a food that does not need bacon, without putting on the menu that there is bacon in the item – I’m looking at you, Paradise Bakery and your baked potato soup). 

Here’s a list of my favorite restaurants (in no particular order), where they are, and my favorite thing on the menu. Enjoy!

  • Cuvee 928 Wine Bar and Cafe  in Flagstaff, Arizona. My sister lives in Flagstaff and attends NAU. She made it a point to take me to Cuvee when I came to visit her. The paninis are delicious, and I would highly recommend one of their specials, a turkey panini with bleu cheese and simple greens. The paninis come with a side of simple greens as well as israeli cous cous in the perfect serving size. Cuvee’s food fills you just to the point of satisfaction, instead of stuffing you to the point of nausea like many other restaurants. Because of this, you’re more inclined to eat some of their delicious desserts – some of the best I’ve ever eaten! I would highly recommend Scott’s Barely Baked Chocolate Cake – yum! The prices are great for the quality of food; between three of us, the bill came to around $40, with all of us getting a panini, sharing a dessert, and getting a fountain drink.
  • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Anaheim, California at Downtown Disney. I’d wanted to visit the Jazz Kitchen for some time when my sister, her boyfriend, one of my very best friends (Ashley) and I finally ventured there this past summer during our trip to Disneyland (favorite place in the world, hands down). I love créole style food, and Ralph Brennan really has it down pat. The Jazz Kitchen has one of my favorite atmospheres of any restaurant – I love the umbrellas on the ceiling! Every night, there’s a jazz band that plays just loudly enough to enjoy, but not so loud you can’t enjoy your company. I had the Panéed Chicken Bercy with a side of mashed potatoes and asparagus. So delicious! Dinner is pricier than lunch, obviously, but my meal was only $17. If you’re looking for the perfect place to go to get away from a long day at Disneyland, the Jazz Kitchen truly makes you feel like you’re in New Orleans.
  • Cheeburger Cheeburger is a national chain that started in Sanibel, Florida. I’ve been eating at Cheeburger Cheeburger since childhood, when my family would venture to Walt Disney World and to visit family. Now, Cheeburger Cheeburger has come to the valley – specifically, Tempe Marketplace in Tempe, Arizona. With their infinite number of burger, shake, and shake-a-soda combinations, it is impossible to get sick of Cheeburger Cheeburger. Their veggie burgers are handmade in the restaurant! Their turkey burgers are usually my choice, with one of over 50 of their delicious milkshakes. Instead of your own fries, you and a friend can choose from three different sizes, and even have a half order of fries and onion rings – yum! The restaurant is pink, too, which always makes it even better. Being there, you’ll feel like you’re stepping out of 2009 and into a 1950s beach movie! Prices are great, even if you splurge for a milkshake.
  • Pita Jungle has locations all over the valley in Arizona. I love pita. I love hummus. I love fresh vegetables and a very very vegetarian friendly menu. The California Beach club, with turkey, vegetables, cheese, and a side of the best tzatziki I’ve ever tasted, is my absolute favorite. The restaurants attract all kinds of people, from business men to families to hippies to hipsters and artists. The walls are covered in art, providing an excellent backdrop for the fresh, delicious, healthy food that comes from Pita Jungle. Don’t forget to try some of their iced tea! Prices are great and portions are huge! I always leave Pita Jungle with a doggie bag, and those are some leftovers I always eat.
  • Cafe Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona is the most expensive restaurant on my list, but it’s totally and completely worth it. Talk about atmosphere! The Valley Ho was once a booming Scottsdale hotel in the late 1950s. After years of neglect, the once fabulously kitschy hot spot became dilapidated and ended up closing in the 1980s. After sitting vacantly for nearly 20 years, an investor came in, refurbished the whole hotel without losing the 1950s flair, and instead, updating it with modern colors and a great, new, kitsch feel. Their bleu cheese dip paired with homemade potato chips are a great way to start out the meal, and their macaroni and cheese is unmatched by any other restaurant I’ve ever been to. The chicken and penne is almost always my choice. At $17, it is one of the least expensive items on the dinner menu, so I’d recommend heading there for lunch to take in the atmosphere as well as save some money.
  • Blue Wasabi in Scottsdale, Arizona. I know I said these were in no particular order, but, Blue Wasabi is my absolute favorite restaurant. Sushi is my favorite food and Blue Wasabi has the best take on it. Their comprehensive list of traditional rolls are better than most restaurants, but their signature rolls are what really sets them apart from any other sushi place. My favorites are the Bada Bing (cream cheese, roasted bell peppers, asparagus, with a garlic and balsamic glaze) and the Squid Vicious (fried calamari, chipotle mayo, cucumber, and avacado). Each roll is between 5 and 14 dollars, so bring your friends and have an amazing, inexpensive meal. I highly recommend it! 
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2 Responses to "Jan212009; on food, restaurants"

I know one piece of beef that you would like in your mouth… ;)!

I’ve been meaning to go to Blue Wasabi for a long time. Sushi is my favorite! And both of those rolls sound amazing … thanks for reminding me!

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