Food & Wine


Matt’s Big Breakfast

Matt’s Big Breakfast

Visit Date:  March 18, 2012

Phoenix, AZ

Cost: $8 – $10

Matt’s is located in downtown Phoenix.  It is as tiny as this picture implies.  When they are busy, (like a Sunday monring), you add your name to a list and wait outside on chairs and benches on this corner, but on both of my visits it was worth the wait. (Since I wrote this post over a year ago – Matts has moved. Right down the street to a bigger location. But the food was just as good.).

Entree

The Chop & Chick

Food Description:  A Pork Chop with Scrambled Eggs and Home fries.  Yes, I ordered a side of bacon. The DDD episode said they had slab bacon that they ordered in “special” from a local butcher.  Plus, who can pass up bacon.  So I went for the pork overload.

 I order another side dish, this Toast with homemade preserves.  I’m not a bread fanatic, but for those of you who are, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.

 Rating:  8.5      –    The only thing stopping me from giving it more, is the simple fact that I couldn’t order everything I wanted to try.  I did go back the following month and had the Belgian Waffle.  It was equally good.

Menu – Click on the link to see Matt’s full menu.  They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and it truly is a good way to start a Saturday or Sunday morning.

 

Matt’s Big Breakfast

801 North 1st Street

Phoenix, AZ

(602) 254-1074

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Giuseppe’s

Visit Date:     March 16, 2012

Giuseppe’s on 28th

Phoenix, AZ

My Cost:   $  About $25.00  (that’s what happens when you wait too long to blog, you lose receipts.  lol)

Giuseppe’s was the first DDD I visited when I was on my Stay Cation, back in March.  I had a full meal, including an appetizer, with plenty of leftovers to bring home.

Entree

Bolognese Ragu

Food Description:  Fresh homemade pasta, with a rich 7 meat sauce.  It was good and filling.  (It tasted even better the next day, though I was wishing I had saved more.)

My Rating:  7     (At least one for every meat – lol)

Giuseppe’s has an extensive Italian menu, and I picked the Bruschetta for my appetizer.  Of the 7 choices (that number seems to be a repeated theme), you can choose 4.  Making that choice was hard.

Though, I finally decided on, #1 – Fresh Tomato with Fresh Basil, #3 – Creamy Gorgonzola cheese, honey, #4 – Prosciutto, fig and goat cheese, and #6 – Chevre (goat cheese) and marinated sun dried tomatoes. (Pictured in that order).

Giuseppe’s is located in a strip mall in central Phoenix.  I arrived around 4:30 p.m. right before the dinner crowd started.  Good thing, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten a seat.

It is small inside, and they have a take out window as well.

But they make good use of space, and have a good wine selection as well.

Giuseppe’s On 28th

2824 E. Indian School

Phoenix, AZ  85016

(602) 381-1237

While in Rockland, I found Fiore’s.  As the sign says the sell Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars.  Now I never gave my olive oils much thought past whether it was Virgin or Extra Virgin, and maybe the quality of one brand over another.  Well, unfortunately those days of blissful ignorance are gone forever.

I walk in and all the outer walls are lined with these small metal barrels.  I hear a voice asking me if I’d been here before.  When I say no, the lady says, “Well, you know this is a tasting bar.”

She then tells me how the store is divided into sections.  Red or dark Balsamic Vinegars are first. Then White Balsamic Vinegars, in the next section.  Followed by 2 walls of Olive Oils, plain in the first section and flavored in the second section.

I started with the Whites.  My first sample was the Summer White Peace.  Oh my . . . I could have just pour a glass and drank it.  I moved on to the strawberry, and the grapefruit.  They were just as delicious.  The flavor of each one was so pronounced that there was no mistaking the fruit it was flavored with.

I then moved to the Reds.  My friendly clerk was back, and she encouraged me to try the vinegars that were aged 18 years, as opposed to the standard 12 and to compare the difference.  Of course like anything that is aged, wine or beef, the older the better.  Well I fell in love with the Vanilla.  It has a rich deep flavor, that I can’t wait to experiment with.

She then encouraged me to try her newest vinegar, Espresso.  I’m thinking coffee flavored vinegar . . . hmmm.  But again, WOW, this was beyond good.  So, I ask her what would I use this on.  (Cause I’m pretty sure that just pouring it in my hand and licking my fingers is not it’s most practical use.)  She says have you tried it with the olive oils. . . . . ?

. . . . . Of course I haven’t, I’ve been too busy drinking vinegar.  She then begins to mix the vinegars I seem to like the best with different olive oils for me to taste.  One that could be paired with all of the above vinegars was this Blood Orange EVOO.  Again, she is good – because the different pairing bring a whole new dynamic to the flavor.  She begins to tell me how I can use the different combos on  — Salads, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, cheeses.  By now I’m taking notes, (and pictures) of my favorites.

The shop bottles your picks right there when you buy them.  They come in 3 sizes, and good thing for me they will ship them.  I returned on another day, to have a equally nice and informative clerk.  I try a few more get more ideas as well as information on the shipping process.  I promise to come back right before I leave to finalize my purchases and the shipping.

small & medium bottle

When I go in Sunday morning, on my way to the bus station and home, the Espresso that had just arrived on my first day in the store (I went back 3 times before I left Rockland), was sold out Sunday when I was buying and leaving.   I was heart broken —  when they lady, who gave me my tour on my first day (I unfortunately didn’t get her name – though she turned out to be the owner), comes out and says, “Oh, I think there’s enough in there for one small bottle.”  And she went in the back to I guess “literally” Scrape the Barrel.

I spent $80 on oils & vinegars on my last day in Rockland.  I got 4 vinegars and 2 oils, and they shipped them back to AZ for me.  My six bottles arrived well packaged and in one piece.  So I am a happy camper.  Be sure to look for the creations that come from this purchase.  I already know I’ll be ordering more.  : )

Sam LaGrassa’s

Visit Date:  August 1, 2012

Sam LaGrassa’s,

Boston, MA

Cost:  $11.70

Entree

Chipotle Pastrami

Photo from Newenglandology

Food Description:   Chipotle Pastrami – Even though I had to eat it on the run, it was very good.  Lots of meat, good bread, and the honey mustard sauce really did make the sandwich stand apart from any other good pastrami sandwich.

Rating: 8.5

Sam LaGrassa’s

44 Province St

Boston, MA  02108

(617) 357-6861

If you are in Downtown Boston, and are looking for a good sandwich, I highly recommend SLG.  Check out their to-go Menu, which I ended up using instead of the sit down experience I was hoping for.  (You’ll have to read the Boston entry to hear about that.)

Point of Reference:  Even though this is the 6th DDD I’ve visited this year, it is my first entry.  : (         But I am on track now!    I have a format for the entries and I will be adding 1 – 5 in the next few weeks.  So stay tuned and thanks for your continued interest in where the roads of my travel life lead. . . . .Later  

. . . . . . .So now let’s fast forward to about February 15th and look at how those Travel Plans are progressing.

Charlotte, NC

The first trip of my 2012 travel year, I am affectionately calling my East Coast Road trip. I going to do this one European style, with my back pack, no hotels,  just friends, family,  buses and trains.   I’m starting in Charlotte, where I have friends. I began to search the internet for things to do, place to see, and D-D&D’s to eat at, in Charlotte.

Some of the interesting things I found was a cooking class in March at Mimosa Grill.  I found 4 potential D-D&D’s to visit.  DISH – for the Salmon Patties, Landmark Restaurant – for the Spinach Pie, Cabo Fish Taco – for the BBQ Mahi Tacos, and BBQ King – for BBQ Fried Chicken.

Childress Winery, is north of Charlotte in Lexington, NC.  I always love a good wine tour, and I figured on my way north to Washington, this would be a good place to stop.

My Daughter lives in DC, and is a wine lover as well.  So that part of the trip I’m leaving to her.  She can show me around her new city. If not it’s the capital!  It’s been a few years since I last visited, but of course there is plenty of the obvious tourist choices to see.  My only requirement is that I hit one D-D&D while there.

Then we plan to drive or catch the Mega Bus up to Philadelphia – the city of her birth, and one I haven’t been back to in over 20 years.

I always liked Philly!  It is a great city, much diversity, plenty to do, and food that is unique only to them.  Others may imitate but nothing is as good as the authentic original.

In addition to checking out some of my old haunts, I look forward to seeing some old friends, trying so new places, and reacquainting myself with the City of Brotherly Love.

I’m getting excited just writing about the possibilities – Now let’s see if I can make it happen!

We did a lot of drinking on this trip.  Starting at JFK right through to the Airport Bar in Puerto Plata on the way home.  Some we did for simple pleasure, some we did for fun, (we had some interesting drinking games), and some we did to recover from the drinking of the day before.

We quickly settled into a little routine.  In the afternoon, usually after lunch at Azuls, where we also had cocktails, we would sit at this outdoor smoothie bar that overlooked a lucious part of the property.   We were first drawn to this spot because it was the only bar that served us Grey Goose. (Jennifer and I’s Vodka of choice).

This is the second reason we went back daily.  It is a watermelon smoothie made with Grey Goose.  It was cold, refreshing and delicious.  We consumed lots of these during the week.

Now remember we had liquor in our villa as well.  The highlight drinking game at the Villa was “Circle of Death”, our cruise director, Jennifer, had prepared lots of games for us to play during the week.  But Circle of Death brought some of us close to death on a couple of days.

If we weren’t at our Smoothie Bar, it was because we had spent the afternoon at Serenity Beach.  This was one of our bartenders at the beach bar.  We did occasionally get off our lounge beds or out of our hammocks and sat at the bar to chat with our bartender.

Depending on our mood, we drank a variety of cocktails, a plethora of shots, and this bar always had an unlimited supply of Mimosa’s.

Our night time spot was the VIP Pool Bar, and our #1 Bartenders for the week Janelly & Eddie.  They took real good care of us all week.  Never let our glasses get empty, mixed up lots of new stuff to try and worked their way into our hearts.  We hated leaving them at the end of the week as much as the resort.

Our week came to an end, and we had to leave.  As we sat at the airport waiting for our flight we figured.  Hey, we were going home, it was time for the last hooray.  So as we made a meal of Pringles, and had our last Grey Goose, we ended our trip as we started it –  Just Having fun.

Good Food, Good Fun and tomorrow Good Friends!

Post 6 of 8

There are 3 VIP  Restaurants on this Lifestyles resort and we had reservation at Simply Gourmet the first night.

This restaurant was elegant, with a very attentive wait staff.  Seafood and Steak were featured on this menu.  We enjoyed are meal on our first evening in the DR. – We enjoyed it so much we went twice, that says it all.

My favorite of the three VIP restaurants was Jazz.  It had a New Orleans themed menu, featuring some cajun dishes.  But it had none of the laid back feel of New Orleans.  Jazz was jazzy!  The decor was white walls, with wispy white floor to ceiling sheers and bright royal blue accent.  There were wide comfortable chairs and sofas at some of the tables.  Soft jazz music played while you ate.  This is a great spot for a romantic dinner.   Oooh, but I’m suppose to be talking about the Food.  Any cajun or creole restaurant is judged by it gumbo.   Again we passed up trying another restaurant to eat here twice.  The gumbo was good, I ordered it both times.

Azul is the third VIP restaurant and they served lunch daily.  We didn’t find that out til late in the week.  But guess what ? ? ?  We liked it so much we went two days in a row.  Do you see a theme here.  This is reason number one that we have to go back to the DR.  We have restaurants yet to experience.  Another big plus for Azul’s was that they had excellent cocktails, and  lovely outdoor seating.  The restaurant is located in the tower which put it about 4 stories up.  The view of the property was wonderful from there.  The lunch menu was creative and delicious.  We enjoyed ourselves.

GOOD FOOD . . .  I’d have to say yes.  This was just 3 VIP restaurants.  The property has a Brazillian, Italian, Mexican and Seafood restaurants. Plus we had a good amount of our lunches at the excellent pool bars and restaurants.  I’m guessing I’m going to have to do a day on pools and beaches – and to think I started this with 3 post.  Well, tune in tomorrow for more on our Dominican Republic Vacation.

Good Food, Good Friends,  Good Fun

This is post 4 of 8

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