VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen spices it up in Tempe

Restaurateur Ron Lynch is no stranger to opening restaurants having opened over 100 Tilted Kilt’s across the country.  Having left Tilted Kilt, Lynch has opened VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen. The restaurant on Elliot Rd. near Costco serves up Cajun, Creole & Caribbean cuisine.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Jambalaya. Photos credit Janet Zhou-Wilt

“We are excited about our location and have really put a lot of work into this menu,” said owner and founder, Ron Lynch. “If there’s one thing to know about Cajun food it’s that the dishes have to be just right. Our patio will be a place for families to people watch, sip some custom blended ice teas, porch wines, nitro cold brew coffee or a craft beer and enjoy a nice bowl of gumbo or jambalaya.”

Lynch brought with him James Heyl to prepare the menu full of savory and spicy dishes. Heyl brings with over 25 years of restaurant experience. Dishes include Po’ Boys, gumbo, red beans & rice and pan roasts from the restaurants steam kettles.

The bright yellow 3,150 square foot restaurant is decorated with murals of late night jazz players dancing on piano keys. Dark wood floors and brick walls adorn the inside of the fast casual restaurant.

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen official grand opening

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is now open but will have an official grand opening on Thursday May 16th at 11 a.m. That day a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tempe Diablos. The 501-c non-profit civic organization enhances and promotes the Tempe community. In 2018 the Diablos donated $900,000 to Tempe area charities for scholarships, teacher awards and needs based services.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Pork Po’boy

“The recipe for a great restaurant is incredible food and drinks, a perfect location and rich atmosphere,” said Lynch. “VooDoo Daddy’s has all of that and more. We couldn’t be more excited for this launch.”

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is at 1325. W. Elliot Rd. Suite 106 Tempe 85284. The restaurant is open Sun. – Thurs. from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. & 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. For more information see their website.

Scottsdale restaurants gear up for Russo & Steele auto auction

2019 starts relatively quick here in Scottsdale with many of our valley’s activities kicking off. Before the PGA and MLB take the stage car enthusiasts flock to Scottsdale for 2 weeks in January. Russo & Steele start the auction season off on January 12th at Salt River Fields then Barrett- Jackson returns to north Scottsdale.

Whether you’re on your way to the auction or just bid on your dream car you need to eat and there are plenty of local restaurants on the way.

All photos courtesy of Kassidy McDonald & Evolve Public Relations

Local eateries near Russo & Steele

Within a few miles there are plenty of Scottsdale restaurants to feed all appetites.

Babbo Italian Eatery– 8840 E. Talking Stick Way. Scottsdale, AZ 85250

Fired Pie at Mountain View 9619 N. Hayden Rd. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Ph. 480.948.0808

Pomo Pizzeria Scottsdale8977 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Fired Pie at Fashion Square Mall. 7014 E. Camelback Rd,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Ph 480.874.4203

Hash Kitchen– 8777 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253.

U.S. Egg- North Scottsdale- 7119 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale 85253

Headed to Barrett-Jackson

Some of the same restaurants have location further north and can accommodate those heading to Barrett-Jackson at Westworld.

Grimaldi’s at The Scottsdale Quarter.- 15147 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale. 85254

Twin Peaks– 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale 85260

BLK Live– 7301 E. Butherus Dr. Scottsdale 85260

Fired Pie at Raintree- 14740 N. Northsight Blvd. Scottsdale 85260.

Fired Pie at Zocollo Plaza– 15425 N. Scottsdale Rd. 85254.

 

 

 

 

FREE food as Thai Chili 2 Go opens its first Phoenix location

Local fast casual Thai Chili 2 Go is off to a quick start in the new year as they race to open their first of several Phoenix restaurants Jan. 5th 2019. It’s the seventh location for the popular restaurant and will open at 2750 W. Dove Valley Rd. Phoenix Suite 180.

For the grand opening on the 5th, the first 100 people will get a FREE entree and dumplings. Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai and Red Curry are popular dishes to choose from.

“It’s been a great pleasure to watch the success of our East Valley locations, and now we’re recognizing and answering the demand for traditional and delicious Thai food in the north valley market as well,” says Owner Akshat Sethi. “We began our expansion into this area with our Scottsdale location in the Promenade and are thrilled to see that this market continues to support the need for more Thai Chili 2 Go locations.”

Through Jan. 31st guests get a FREE dumpling appetizer with entrée purchase and get 2nd entrée at 50% off. All locations are open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Thai Chili 2 Go offers dine-in, to-go, delivery via UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub. Find a location near you and orders can be placed here.

 

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.

I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman  at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.

He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.

Naked BBQ

Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.

Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.

After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd  Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.

The meats at Naked BBQ

The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.

Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.

Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).

Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.

Sauce it up

If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.

If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.

Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

Ramen Hood opens serving Build-Your-Own-ramen bowls

The fast casual Build-Your-Own restaurant concepts seem to be catching more steam as Ramen Hood opened in north Scottsdale recently. The strip mall shop off the loop 101 at Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. already has a captive audience.

Ramen Hood
All photos courtesy of Ramen Hood

Guests enjoy ramen bowls made with authentic Japanese ingredients along with rice bowls and Japanese specialties including Gyoza, Karaage Fried Chicken and  Steamed Bao. Wash your meal down with the popular Asian soft drink Ramune aka Marble soda or a Japanese tea.

Why Ramen Hood?

“Ramen is one of my most favorite foods in the world. Every time I visit Japan, my first stop is finding a mom and pop ramen restaurant. The best ones are always very low-key, no frills, but always have long lines,” says James Xie, owner of Ramen Hood. “I realized there isn’t really anything comparable in Phoenix. I want people here to know what real ramen is like, and to not be intimidated in trying new styles and flavors.

Ramen bowl with tofu

Walk up to the counter at Ramen Hood and pick a Ramen or Rice bowl then add a protein(Cha Siu Pork, Tofu, etc) broth, sauce and toppings and in minutes you’ll have an Instagram worthy meal.

“Ramen can be way more exciting than the instant packets we ate in college. And at Ramen Hood, we make it just as easy to enjoy!”

“I’ve spoken to many ramen chefs throughout Japan who graciously gave me advice on combining different ingredients, as well as helped me come up with a few new ideas to create the perfect bowl of ramen,” says Xie, who has worked in the restaurant industry since he was 15. “I think it’s these trade secrets that will really make Ramen Hood stand out in the Valley and resonate with people who may not be familiar with traditional ramen.”

Ramen Hood is in the Gateway 101 shopping center at 15807 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85260. For more information check out their website.

 

 

 

It’s National Italian Beef Week at Portillo’s

Chicago foodies around the country get ready as your favorite hometown sandwich, Italian Beef is celebrated at Portillo’s the week of May 21st-27th with National Italian Beef Week.

All 50 plus Portillo’s around the country are celebrating with 2 regular Italian Beef  sandwiches for only $10.

Portillo’s Rhyme Time Challenge

In addition to the great food deal customers are invited to submit rhymes for their Rhyme Time Challenge. Known for the rhymes that staff call out when customers orders are ready such as “Number 9 it’s time to dine” or “Number 7 you’re in heaven” customers can now create their own rhyme for prizes.

Customers are invited to submit their rhymes here during National Italian Beef Week. All entries must end with the number 1-9, not already being used, no inappropriate language and must be a rhyme.

The winner will receive Portillo’s food for a year and have their rhyme used nationwide. 2nd and 3rd place winners will get a swag bag and a $25 gift card.

For more information and to find a location near you check their website.

The Bodhi is packed with healthy food & information

Fast casual and healthy eating continue  to be priorities in the local restaurant community heading into 2018 and the newly opened The Bodhi in Tempe checks both boxes.

For those looking to extend new year resolutions to eat healthy as long as possible this restaurant can help you extend it.

Steak and eggs bowl. All photos courtesy of The Bodhi

In the heart of downtown Tempe on College Ave. will serve more than the  ASU crowd with its organic vegetables and vitamin rich foods at an affordable price.

The Bodhi provides

Whether you’re building a bowl, having salad or taking a cold pressed juice on the run all ingredients are crafted for a healthy and nutritious diet with research to see which ingredients and combinations work best.

Their blog provides information and facts on nutrition and healthy habits for its customers.

521 S. College Ave #112 Tempe 85281. Full menu and more! (480)699-0409Bodhi

 

Chicken is the main ingredient Chick-In on the ASU campus

Chicken is the #1 food trend for 2018 according to Nation’s Restaurant News which is great news for the local quick casual concept Chick-In. Located on the ASU campus in Tempe, Chick-In uses chicken as the main ingredient in its Mediterranean inspired cuisine with an emphasis on authentic Israeli dishes.

Owner Yariv Elazar is from Israel opened Chick-In in May of this year with head chef Maayan Glass who wanted to bring authentic dishes of his homeland to the ASU campus.  Israeli cuisine is #3 on the list of top food trends of 2018.Chicken The versatility of chicken as a protein and its affordability are two of the reasons it placed at the top of the list released in early November.

That versatility and affordability are evident on the menu at Chick-In with an assortment of sandwiches, platters, bowls along with vegan options as well. The restaurant also keeps kosher. All meals are made fresh to order and Grab & Go salads are made fresh daily.

Chick-In is in Wilson Hall at 24 E. Orange Mall Tempe 85281. 480-665-2185.  For hours and to see the menu visit their website.