Traveling to Phoenix for work we decided to check out the restaurant scene in the Camelback area where we were staying. Our client highly recommended Tarbell’s, an establishment that has been there for 20 years and owned and operated by Mark Tarbell, a winner of Iron Chef America Challenge.
Typically we sit at the bar, but the bar was full so we opted for a table for two. We decided this dinner would be one where we go all out, as we usually just get drinks and small plates rather than entrees. Looking through the extensive wine list I became rather excited coming across a couple bottles from Caduceus Cellars from Merkin Vineyards. We ordered a bottle of the 2009 Kitsune, a Sangiovese Grosso from Cochise County, Arizona. It was delicious! I enjoy wine, but I do not know how to describe the tastes as so many seem to, all I know is it was light and dry and went down amazingly with our meal.
Onto the meal… Our server was fantastic, she knew just the right times to check on us, without seeming to be at the table too often. After we each ordered entrees she came out with a small plate from the kitchen for us. It was candied bacon, with a slaw and a sous-vide egg on top. AMAZING flavor, I am craving it now! For my meal I had the Peppered N.Y. Strip with Au Gratin Potatoes and Creamed Spinach, which is way too much food for me, but I was in the mood for a steak. I had the rest the next morning for breakfast! Now, Todd ordered Mark’s Famous Spaghetti and The Meatball, which I had to taste as I typically don’t order red sauce at restaurants because I make my own and am a little picky. The sauce that Mark made famous was light, flavorful and inspired me to play with my own recipe at home. Unfortunately we were too full for dessert, but next time we are in Phoenix we will definitely be back!
The next night we went on a little restaurant crawl. Starting at the Arizona Biltmore at the patio bar for cocktails. Since they are the home of the Tequila Sunrise, Todd had to give it a try. I went with a delicious cucumber martini. Again, the service was impeccable, with one young lady taking care of many tables, and seemingly doing it with ease. After there we went back to Hillstone, which was right behind out hotel. They had a huge outdoor patio with fireplace, with tables equipped with air conditioning, which was crazy but I guess makes sense for Phoenix. We ordered several different appetizers, and some cocktails, enjoying the ambiance and each others company. The rounds of servers attending to our needs was incredible, and the food, drinks and service was impressive to say the least.
We fully enjoyed our entire experience in Phoenix, and especially our dining experiences. From the high end to The Stand, the burger joint that was amazing, to the sushi spot we hit with our client. Not sure whether we were lucky in getting great food and service, or if this is indicative to the area in general. Either way Phoenix won our culinary heart.