Back exploring food and more in Boston and Cape Cod

If you’ve followed this blog for a few years you would’ve seen a post or two from my visits to Cape Cod. Well I’m back for another visit by way of Boston for the week to escape the Arizona heat. After my first 3 days I have enough to tell you about from my morning in Boston to the days on The Cape.

Breakfast in Boston

I flew into Boston early Saturday morning and was greeted by my friend who re-located from Phoenix to the Boston area 20 years ago. It was pretty early so we decided to head into the city to wake up and made our way to the newly built Seaport District along Boston Harbor. On the south-side of downtown Boston the Seaport District is full of high rise office and apartment buildings, restaurants and attractions. The big attraction for us was the Harbor Walk that led us towards Boston’s North End for breakfast.

Italian market in Boston’s North End

The North End is Boston’s “Little Italy” neighborhood full of narrow streets lined with Italian markets and restaurants. We made our to Theo’s Cozy Corner for breakfast on Salem St. The small cash only breakfast joint serves up traditional breakfast fare at good prices. Eggs, pancakes, etc and good portions Theo’s was full of neighborhood regulars and a few of us outsiders looking to start our day. My friend and I both went with corned beef hash with 3 eggs, home fries and toast. A good choice leaving us both satisfied.

No trip to the North End is complete without a stop at Mike’s Pastry for cannoli for a my mid-morning snack. We also stopped into a traditional Italian market for sliced prosciutto and other meats and fresh bread.

After a walk back along the harbor to the car we headed to the south bay so I could continue down to the Cape.

Saturday and Sunday on the Cape

For years my family has been spending a few weeks every August in Harwichport which is on the south side on Nantucket Bay on a part of the cape that is considered Mid-Cape. A cute town we venture to restaurants to get our fill of fresh seafood. Whether it’s $1 oysters for happy hour at The Port or trying to find the “Best” lobster roll we have our favorites and are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try.

By the time I arrived in mid-afternoon Saturday I was ready to get my fresh seafood feast going. My nephew, brother-in-law and I went across the street to The Port for the $1 oysters from Chatham and Wellfleet. The week before I hear they polished off 90 oysters during one sitting but that wasn’t going to happen on this day as the restaurant was shorthanded with shuckers and we weren’t the only ones there for happy hour. 48 oysters were good enough to satisfy us on this day.

Oysters at The Port in Harwichport

Most days on the cape are lazy with a later start than had I been home in Arizona. Sunday morning started out foggy(the weather, not me) but by late morning the sun was out we’re off to Bank St. beach for a little sand and sun. After a few hours on the beach it was back to relax and decide where to do dinner. We decided it was time to get lobster rolls so we made our way to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis. Sesuit on the north side of the cape about a 15 minute drive from Harwichport. Like other “seafood shacks” on the Cape and in New England, Sesuit Harbor Cafe offers fried, broiled or raw seafood. Place your order, find a table outside and wait for the servers bring your food. It’s fast casual before fast casual became a restaurant trend.

Lobster rolls for most of us were served with fries and cole slaw, my nephew went with half a broiled lobster. All were happy as we sat among the sea gulls, marina plotting our next move. We saved room for desert and made our way for homemade ice cream at Schoolhouse Ice Cream in Harwichport.

Sunday or Monday its all the same

When you’re on vacation all the days run together and you realize the work week has begun when the weekenders head back. Not us as Monday has us sleeping in, getting coffee and starting the day. After coffee and my morning walk I made my way to Brew’s Coffee Bar & Beer Garden for breakfast. Disappointing as they stopped serving many of the breakfast sandwiches I remember from 2017.  Only 4 choices to choose from that we’re pre-made and warmed up. My egg and bacon burrito was good but not really worth the $9 I paid for it.

Lunch had me craving fried oysters so I drove down the road to the Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport. The place has been around since the 1950s and had the old school drive-in feel. Seafood, burgers, hot dogs and more, my fried oyster craving was fulfilled.

Oyster roll at The Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport

After a lazy afternoon walking off my lunch and visiting with family it was time to think about dinner. My nephew and I were on our own and debated which pizza place to go to. The debate was George’s or Ember Pizza and Wings. Ember won out since we’ve never been so we decided to try their coal fired charred pizza. Getting their early before the dinner rush we ordered boneless Buffalo wings which were chicken tenders tossed in Buffalo sauce. Not my idea of wings and going forward I will always order bone-in wings.

Since my nephew doesn’t eat anything green most vegetables were out so we went with the Meat Lovers Pizza. Topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni and meatballs the thin crust pizza was good and service was good too. Time for a walk and a relaxing Sunday night before we start another day on the Cape.

Check back for more eating adventures and exploring for the next few days. For more images of my trip follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

 

 

 

Birdgang Travel Club partners with BBQ Island for tailgate cooking lessons

Football season is here and tailgaters are saving their parking spots for cooking and pre-game partying. The Birdgang Travel Club will be out and about psyching up Cardinals fans up for 2019 season. The NFL team has high hopes after drafting first taking QB Kyler Murray. One of the Birdgang’s first event is at BBQ Island in Tempe for a “Tailgating 101” cooking class.

Saturday August 24th the class will teach fans to cook brisket stuffed jalapeño poppers, smoked chicken wings and more.Birdgang Travel Club

“We started Birdgang Travel Club as a way to show our dedication to the Red Sea across the great state and beyond. It’s been so much fun putting events together, celebrating with friends and making new ones each season,” said Tyler Vasquez, Co-Founder, Birdgang Travel Club.

Space is limited for “Tailgating 101” that goes from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the BBQ Island Tempe 1715 W. Ruby Dr. #105 85284. Tickets need to be pre- purchased for $50 or $45 for 2 or more.

More Birdgang Travel Club events

The die hard Cardinals fans are planning to hit the road with the team a couple of times this season. Reservations are being taken for road trips to Oct. 24-28 to New Orleans and Nov. 7-11 in Tampa Bay vs former head coach Bruce Arians.

Home games they huddle up at Majerle’s Sports Bar in Chandler before busing out to Glendale. The safe ride option offers breakfast buffet, a tailgate lunch and a ride to & from the stadium for $65. Tickets to the game and alcohol are not included. Fans are welcome to bring beer and alcohol for the ride over to the game. Tickets need to be pre-purchased.

“We started out as a small group of friends that would travel to away games but found it to be very expensive in small groups and quickly realized that by traveling in larger groups we could save a ton of money and have a lot more fun! So, we started Birdgang Travel Club as a way to take some of the work and expense out of individual travel planning. Now, after four years of traveling as a group, we are booking 200-300 fans at a time and are able to pass along an amazing experience and savings to our members,” continued Vasquez.

Rick Bronson to open coffee bar & speakeasy on High Street.

Things are perking up on High Street with the announcement of The Stir and Gin and Reel opening later this year. Comedian and entrepreneur Rick Bronson is behind the “old school” coffee shop and speakeasy concept. If all goes as planned with construction coffee, cocktails and conversation will begin in September.

“The Stir and Gin and Reel is unlike anything in the North Phoenix/North Scottsdale area,” says owner and proprietor Rick Bronson, who also owns Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy on High Street. “I take great pride in creating concepts with environments that encourage the spirit of human connection as it once existed and that people long for today.”

Coffee, cocktails and food.

The Stir will be serving coffee beverages, coffee cocktails, food and ice cream daily at 6 a.m. Enjoy a “Kick in the Pants” made with cold brew, rum, cold brew liqueur, Mexican Coke & cream or a Coffee Old Fashioned.

For breakfast or lunch diners can enjoy pastries, sandwiches and salads including the BBLT(bacon, lettuce, tomato and turkey). Small plates at the bar will include Deviled Eggs, Lobster Canapes and a Caprese Salad. Boozy milkshakes and alcohol-less ice cream treats will also be available.

At 3 p.m. Gin and Reel opens if you can find the hidden entrance at the back of The Stir. The intimate speakeasy will have the atmosphere of Old Hollywood with vintage photos, directors chairs at the bar and black & white films playing. Prohibition era cocktails like the Manhattan or Sazerac will be served until 10 p.m. weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends.

The Stir and Gin and Reel will be at 5415 E. High Street, Suite 103. Phoenix 85054.

Morning Squeeze lets kids eat free until August 31st

The kids are out of school and if their not at camp one way to keep them happy is to feed them. Feeding them all summer cad add up so Scottsdale’s and Tempe’s Morning Squeeze is letting kids eat free all summer.

Until August 31st kids 12 and under can eat for free during breakfast or lunch, no purchase is necessary. The offer is good Monday – Friday and is for dine-in only.

Morning Squeeze
Egg My Way with bacon and potatoes. All photos courtesy of Morning Squeeze.

Choose from Mouse Pancakes, French Toast Sticks with maple syrup, 1 Egg My way with bacon and potatoes or Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French fries.

With a dog friendly patio, the restaurant is one of the more popular Scottsdale restaurants and has been serving breakfast and lunch since 2013. Your dog even has it’s own Tail Wagger’s menu to order from.

The restaurants are open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Morning Squeeze is located at 4233 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and 690 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, 85287. Visit their website for more information.

Matt’s Big Breakfast announces Scottsdale for its next location

With 4 locations around the valley Matt’s Big Breakfast has announced that its 5th location will be in Scottsdale. After teasing and getting feedback from customers on social media the southwest corner of Scottsdale Rd & Thunderbird will be the new location. When it opens this fall people will line-up for one of the iconic names on the valley’s breakfast scene.

“Scottsdale was hungry,” said Matt Pool, owner and namesake of the most important meal of the day. “Local fans have even submitted suggestions on vacant spots for us to take over!”

This will be the eateries first franchised location taking on the atmosphere of the neighborhood. The menu, fundamentals and culture will be staying the same.

Matt’s Big Breakfast has received national attention with mentions in the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Eater. An appearance on The Food Network also helped put them on the national map.

Matt's Big Breakfast
French Toast

Relying on locals at Matt’s Big Breakfast

Sourcing ingredients from local purveyors customers in Scottsdale can expect sweet and savory dishes from Griddle Cakes to Salami Scrambles. The Big Butter Burger is a favorite of many and pays tribute to Pool’s Wisconsin upbringing.

“One of our main priorities is to avoid growing simply for the sake of growth, and to instead let it happen organically, and with the right people taking the reins of each new restaurant we open,” said Pool. “While this new location may have minor stylistic differences from existing Matt’s restaurants, guests will get to enjoy the same quality, consistency & superior service that they’ve come to expect from the Matt’s Big Breakfast family.”

Since opening in downtown Phoenix in 2004 the eatery has opened in Tempe, Arcadia and Sky Harbor Airport.

“We’re thrilled to add a Scottsdale location to the Matt’s Big Breakfast family,” Pool said. “Local fans will find everything they love about Matt’s at the new location – they just don’t have to drive as far now to enjoy it.”

For more information about Matt’s Big Breakfast checkout their website.

Keep cool with the “Pie of the Month” at Chase’s Diner

Chase’s Diner in Chandler is featuring a “Pie of the Month” for the hot summer months. Customers can get some relief from the triple digits from May 1st – August 31st with one of our favorite deserts.

During the month of May customers can enjoy a slice of Key Lime Pie. Peanut Butter Crunch is on the menu in June and July offers a cool refreshing Lemonade Pie. The featured pie in August is Chocolate Mint Creme.

Lemonade Pie

Grab a slice after your meal for $4.29 or take a pie to go for $13.29.

Chase’s Diner is at 2040 N. Alma School Rd. Chandler 85224. They’re open daily at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat.

Tempe Public Market Cafe to close in May for a re-model

Popular eatery Tempe Public Market Cafe will temporarily close Monday May 6th to make some changes. The cafe will become a full service cafe and preparations are being made.

“We are committed to keeping in line with the look and feel of this close-knit area,” said Dave Chamberlin, president of Tempe Public Market Café. “When you are relaxing on our patio or if you’re getting a bite with friends and family, we want you to feel like you are at your second home.”

When the restaurant re-opens in early June customers will notice more tables, high top tables on the patio and  plans for a projector. Inside they will have new menu options along with full-service brunch and dinner. Other changes include community tables replacing booths, a new lounge area and an expanded retail area. The retail area will allow for more merchandise, sauces and products from local vendors.Tempe Public market Cafe

A new pastry case will entice customers with sweet treats and new tiles and murals will add color to the decor.

Local artist Gennaro Garcia has been commissioned for the murals both inside and out. Garcia is known for vibrant murals around Phoenix and is popular with other restaurants.

“The work we are doing at the restaurant is all with the community in mind,” said Chamberlin.

Valued employees will be offered jobs at the company’s headquarters and at its sister restaurant Ghost Ranch during the closure.

Tempe Public Market Cafe is at 8749 S. Rural Rd. Tempe 85284. For more information visit their website.

 

I spent my Spring Break eating my way through Salt Lake City

Most people spend their Spring Break heading to beaches or somewhere exotic. I spent my Spring Break road tripping to Salt Lake City to explore the city and food scene. I enjoyed meals at locally owned restaurants based on the recommendation of my friend who has spent the last year living in the area.

The 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City we knew we’d have to stop for at least one meal on the way up. Heading through Page and past Lake Powell into southern Utah you don’t have a lot options once you cross the border. Most meals were under $20 with a couple just above.

First 24 hours in Utah

We decided to stop for dinner in Kanab and pulled into Big Al’s Burgers Drive-In. Kanab is the main route as you head from eastern Arizona to the national parks of southern Utah and points north. A nice little town before you head up the back roads towards I-15. Big Al’s is exactly what you’d expect, burgers, fries, shakes and a few other drive-in favorites. I went with Double Rustler Burger value meal, a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Friendly service and made to order food made for a positive first impression of the Utah food scene. It was also my first experience being asked if I wanted “Fry Sauce”. Expect to be asked for this mayo ketchup combo in Utah when ordering fries and other fried foods. I declined as I prefer only ketchup but did taste my friends sauce. It was exactly what you’d expect.

After we made our way through the canyons and over the mountain pass into the night and a snowstorm we arrived late in the night at our destination.

After sleeping in and eggs and coffee at my friend’s place for breakfast we made our way for a mid-afternoon dim sum lunch at Cafe Anh Hong. In a small strip mall full of far east restaurants Anh Hong wasn’t the traditional dim sum restaurant. No ladies pushing carts full of dim sum delicacies but a picture menu under the plexiglass table top. Tell them what you want and everything is made to order. Many dim sum favorites to satisfy your dim sum cravings.

A late dinner was a homemade 24 hour sous vide short rib over risotto prepared by my host was so good I had to mention it.

Breakfast & lunch in Salt Lake City

Waking up the next morning we made our way to the Draper location of La Barba Coffee. Considered one of the if not the best coffee in SLC we sat there sipping our coffee pondering where to go for breakfast. Sipping on a Guatemalan drip coffee I paid more attention to it than I normally would a cup of coffee, it was good cup.

Desiring a breakfast burrito we drove to Taqueria El Gallo Loco in Sandy. I went with Chorizo burrito which was a little light on chorizo for my liking. My friend went with a bowl of Tripe thoroughly enjoying it. We ordered the Flan for dessert (yeah at breakfast) and glad we did, it was topped with toasted coconut and was so good. The owner and our server were friendly and offered good service. I’d give them another shot at a Chroizo burrito.

A mid-afternoon lunch had me desiring an Italian deli sandwich and my friend knew right where to go. We made our way to the 15th & 15th location of Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli where I went with The Caputo. Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone and all the fixings. They dress it with balsamic vinegar as opposed to red wine vinegar which was an interesting choice. Served on an artisan roll I’d come back again. Check off Italian deli off my list.

Enjoying the neighborhood that Tony’s is in we went across the street to Sweetaly for a cup of gelato. It hit the spot after my meaty sandwich.

Park City here we come

With the ski town of Park City less than an hour away we headed into the mountains for lunch. It’s “Mud Season” in Park City so some restaurants close down for a few weeks. We found out the hard way when we wanted to grab a bite to eat at High West Distillery & Saloon. We wound up the brew pub of Wasach Brewing with brunch in full effect. Sipping on an Apricot Hefe with my Wasach burger made for a tasty Park City experience. The Wasach burger is made with buffalo meat and topped with a spicy Cajun remoulade.

I vetoed lunch a Tekila for the brew pub but my friend highly recommends it.

In case you’re wondering dinner at friend’s house back in SLC for homemade corn chowder and cake.

Final day in Salt Lake City

A lazy Sunday morning had us getting a slow start and finally motivating in early afternoon. We picked up a friend and decided to head for something new to me.

A couple of doors down from dim sum was Kungfu Hotpot where I experienced Hotpot cooking for the first time. A pot of mild and spicy boiling broth we filled it with beef, pork, mushrooms, vegetables and more letting it cook to our desired temperatures. The All-You-Can-Eat restaurant had us ordering more piles of beef, greens and seafood balls until I threw down my chopsticks and said “no more”. An interesting experience I’m not sure I could find in Phoenix.

Just a few miles from downtown SLC we made our way to Temple Square to see the gardens, the state capitol and the University of Utah. One last stop before we headed to my friend’s place for the night, Dolcetti Gelato. The Blueberry Balsamic & Rosewater treat to finish my foodie visit to SLC hit the spot after the spicy hotpot.

SLC looks to have a great restaurant scene as I scanned local magazines and websites. Locally owned restaurants and several chains I’ve never seen before looked interesting. I hope to return one day to eat my way through more of what there is to offer. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City on a Sunday be aware that many restaurants aren’t open, even those you’d expect to be including coffeehouses.

To see pictures of my trip to SLC follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix now offers weekend brunch

The new location of Taphouse Kitchen at Shea & 32nd St. has started serving weekend brunch. The brunch menu offers classic breakfast favorites and cocktails. Taphouse Kitchen favorites including Fish Fry Everyday Baby !!, their Signature Burger and more are available at brunch. Brunch is available on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Taphouse Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Taphouse Kitchen

Here are a few highlights from the brunch menu.

  • Eggs Benedict. Sourdough, smoked turkey, poached eggs, guacamole, smoked tomato, hollandaise sauce
  • Croque Monsieur. Sourdough, ham, gruyère, béchamel sauce
  • French Toast. Challah bread, cinnamon, vanilla bean crème brûlée, fresh berries
  • Pastrami Hash. Shaved pastrami, TapHouse taters, two sunny side up eggs, whole grain mustard hollandaise
  • Grilled Cheese. Sourdough, mushrooms, fontina, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, fried egg
  • Biscuits and Gravy. Cheddar biscuits, jalapeño sausage gravy, two eggs any style
  • Simple Breakfast. Two eggs any style, TapHouse taters, toast, choice of bacon or sausage

Brunch Cocktails

  • Mimosa. Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Orange Mango
  • Sangria. Seasonal red or white
  • THK Bloody Mary with local Paddington vodka
  • Strawberry-Peach Bellini
  • Basil Grapefruit Gimlet
  • Cucumber Press

Pizza at Taphouse Kitchen

The Phoenix location also serves “forno” style thin crust pizza. The handcrafted pizzas come with traditional pizza toppings including Meatball, Pepperoni and a White Pizza.

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix is at 3131 E. Shea Blvd. 85028 and in Scottsdale at 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd #108 85250. For more information go to their website.

Step up to the plate! Spring Training food & drink deals around Phoenix

It still feels like winter around the country but the boys of summer have arrived in Phoenix for spring training. The 2019 season shouldn’t disappoint nor will the food and drink deals Phoenix restaurants are offering fans. Don’t trash those Cactus League game ticket stubs too quickly because they will score you a food and drink deals at your favorite restaurant.

Here’s my line-up for this years food and drink deals.

Original Breakfast HouseStart your day loading up on 5 new breakfast meals for just for spring training. Chile en Nogada Omelette, Steak and Portabella Mushroom Hash, Shrimp and Grits, Cajun Andouille Sausage and Gouda Scramble  and Tres Leches Pancakes. No ticket stub needed. Original Breakfast House is at 13623 N. 32nd St. Phoenix 85032.

Arcadia TavernSame day game day ticket stub from any team will score you a draft beer for a penny! 4801 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 85018.

Cider CorpsCubs and A’s fans take your game day ticket stub from one of the Mesa stadiums for $1 off  a pint of cider. On March 14th all pint are $3.14 for National Pi Day(ticket deal not available this day).  Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson Mesa 85210.

Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

DorianFirst select glass of wine, bottle of beer or well cocktail for $3 with same day game ticket. 7419 E. Indian Plaza Drive, Suite B Scottsdale 85251.

FOUND:RE Phoenix HotelNeed a place to stay when in town, check in with the Play Ball Package and receive 10% off standard room rate, a bucket of beers and peanuts & Cracker Jacks. Reservations good from Fed. 22nd – March 28th. FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003.

Urban MargaritaFree steak, chicken or carnitas taco with same day game ticket from any game. Urban Margarita is at 6685 W. Beardsley Rd., #180, Glendale 85308.

Urban Margarita.

Starlite BBQAll day happy hour pricing with same day ticket stub starting Thurs. Feb. 21st. for 1 drink or food item outside normal happy hour times. Starlite BBQ is at 7620 E Indian School Rd #101, Scottsdale 85251.

Thai Chili 2 Go- All 6 Phoenix area location will trade you your same day ticket stub for a FREE drink or order of Thai Dumplings. See website for a location near you.

Thai Chili 2 Go dumplings

Fired Pie- Score 10% off all pizzas when you dine-in after the game with same day game ticket. Find one of their 19 locations near you at http://firedpie.com/

Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants- Show your ticket stub and get a FREE Famous Cheese Crisp. Over 20 Happy Hour food and drink deals are priced $3-$8. Steal 2nd and take 3rd with that deal. Available at all 8 locations around Phoenix. http://www.macayo.com/