Haus Murphy’s – Glendale, Arizona

To some of us of a certain age and generation, the term “grandma’s food” evokes emotionally-arousing childhood memories of the foods our grandmothers would prepare. That’s especially true for those of us who no longer have those heaven-sent treasures.  Food was just one of the many ways grandma showed how much she loved her family.  Memories of grandma’s cooking sustain

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Richardson’s Cuisine of New Mexico – Phoenix, Arizona

My friend and former Intel colleague Steve Caine will forever rue the day he asked me to help him with an expense report for a business trip he made to Portland, Oregon. His itemized expense report indicated he had dined twice at Chevy’s, a middling quality Americanized Mexican restaurant which wouldn’t survive in the tough Albuquerque market.   I teased

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Fat Ox – Scottsdale, Arizona

In the Alpine village of Carrù in the Piedmont region of Italy stands the “Monumento al Bue Grasso” (monument to a fat ox).  Depicting two fat oxen under yoke, the monument celebrates the beast of burden so important to the region.  December’s ‘Fiera del Bue Grasso’ (festival of the fat ox) brings together tens of thousands of visitors who come

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DeFalco’s Deli: Italian Eatery & Grocery – Scottsdale, Arizona

My Kim usually leaves the recitation of movie or television quotes to me (apparently it’s a guy thing), but every once in a while she’ll surprise me with an utterance or exclamation she could have picked up only from the big screen or idiot box.  When we strode into DeFalco’s Italian Eatery & Grocery, she approached an employee and–doing her

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Barrio Cafe – Phoenix, Arizona

A neighborhood should never be defined solely by grids and lines on a map or by a physical area where people live.  Nor should a neighborhood be defined by areas made homogeneous by restrictive covenants.  Neither should it be defined by brick-and-mortar landmarks.  What truly makes a neighborhood is its diverse and unique characters. Some are quirky and eccentric, some are

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Tempe, Arizona

Portillo’s story is the story of the American dream, a rags to riches saga that began with a single hot dog stand opening in 1963. That single investment has blossomed into a multi-million per year chain with six different concepts and more than 40 restaurants in the Chicago area alone. The Portillo’s Restaurant Group has become, in fact, the largest

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The Turquoise Room – Winslow, Arizona

The concept of “fast food” had a far different connotation during the Southwest’s Frontier days than it does today. This is especially true if one traveled via railroad through hundreds of miles of desolate, open country. In the more densely populated and genteel east there were often several cities between most destinations. This allowed for frequent rest and refreshment stops.

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El Guero Canelo – Tucson, Arizona

Two Sonoran Hot Dogs, one with beans and one without.

If asked to participate in a word association exercise, any well-traveled foodie undergoing psychoanalysis would find it easy to name the first food that comes to mind when a city is mentioned: Philadelphia – the Philly cheesesteak sandwich; Boston – baked beans; Chicago – Italian beef sandwiches; San Francisco – sourdough bread; Milwaukee – butter burgers; San Antonio, New Mexico

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In-N-Out Burger – Chandler, Arizona

During a 2011 episode of Break the Chain, the enlightening and entertaining food-centric radio program hosted by the brilliant Ryan Scott, Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the pulchritudinous palate, made some rather unkind comments about Blake’s Lotaburger, an exclusively New Mexico institution.  I cautioned him that local listeners might show up at the radio station armed with pitchforks and torches.

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Mint Thai – Gilbert, Arizona (CLOSED)

You might assume that because of my unabashed online promotion of culinary adventures, I would be the classic prostheletizer seeking to convert to the joys of more adventurous dining all lost and wayward souls who frequent chain restaurants. Alas, when traveling with colleagues who are either pedestrian about their dining preferences (they eat to live) or are wholly resistant to trying

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Cafe Cornucopia – Bisbee, Arizona

Green chile and Cheddar Quiche with a slice of honey rolled oats bread and a cup of split pea soup

The Hollywood stereotype of restaurant critics paints them rather unflatteringly as condescending misanthropes to be feared. Those stereotypes would have you believe restaurant critics are eager to pounce on and expose the slightest imperfection.  Armed with pedantic palates and polysyllabic vocabularies overflowing with unfavorable adjectives, critics are painted as joyless beings whose quest it is to impart their misery on

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Cafe Poca Cosa – Tucson, Arizona

Stereotypes would have you believe English food and Mexican food are at the opposite end of the spectrum from one another…as different as day and night.  Those stereotypes paint English food as bland and unimaginative while Mexican food is depicted as spirited and exciting.  That makes it deliciously ironic that perhaps the foremost authority on Mexican food is an adventurous

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