Eatin’ in Phoenix

October 15, 2011 at 11:53 PM Leave a comment

Jeff was back in Phoenix and since his last visit, a few new places popped onto the radar. Michele did not join him, but his trusty co-worker was willing to try what we had unearthed.

The temperature in October is much more humane and people were out and taking advantage of alfresco dining. The Greenhouse is located in Kierland Commons, an outdoor shopping plaza with a number of upscale retailers and some national chain restaurants. The Greenhouse is part of the Fox Restaurant Concepts group that runs a number of nicer eateries in the area. As Jeff and his co-worker drove around the somewhat confusing plaza, we asked some shoppers for directions. “You’re not going to eat their, are you?” one of them asked. “You should look at the menu before you go in. Some of the food is weird.” After a few glances at the exciting menu, both Jeff and his friend agreed to go in. Clearly these Phoenicians were of the McDonald’s or Applebee’s variety because the offerings were very exciting.

Jeff had expected to order the bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin, but the waitress mentioned the short ribs were remarkable and his mind was changed in an instance. Good thing, because they were indeed fabulous. This is not a dish Jeff orders often, but when prepared well, it is great. Served over whipped potatoes with caramelized onions, it was perfect meal for a perfect evening. His dinner companion ordered the pasta with spinach, tomato and shrimp and raved about it for two days. Yes, we are going to eat there and perhaps again, if back in Phoenix.

The real treat of the trip, however was Barrio Café. This was some of the best Mexican food Jeff has had the pleasure to eat. Guacamole is prepared tableside with pomegranate, cilantro, onions and other goodies, mashed into fresh avocados and served with hand made tortilla chips. It was excellent. Jeff then had the Posole Verde soup, not because he needed it, but because it sounded so darned good and guess what? It was! Pork, tomatillio and hominy were topped with fresh cabbage, radishes and onions. This was a remarkable version of this classic Central American soup. Finally, for an entrée, Jeff could not resist the Cochinita Pibil, slow-roasted pork with a collection of Mexican spices, sour orange and salsa. The pork melted in your mouth and the spices and salsa were added in a way that turned the dish into a sensation. Despite being WAY too full, Jeff scraped every dish and washed it down with his favorite Mexican food accompaniment, Negra Modelo beer.

Upon entering, Jeff’s friend and co-worker read the introduction in the menu. It indicated that for the last two years, Barrio Café has been a James Beard award finalist and Phoenix Magazine has awarded it “Best Mexican Restaurant” in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He wondered out loud what happened to 2010 and 2011 and then noted the copyright of the menu was 2009. Without question, this has to be the best Mexican food in any year.

“You’re not going to eat their, are you?” Yes ladies and we hope may others sample the Greenhouse and Barrio Café. Unlike those pedestrian ladies in the parking lot, we enjoy good food and think anyone with functioning taste buds will enjoy this food. We’re sure you will.

http://www.foxrc.com/the_greene_house.html15024 North Scottsdale Boulevard #100 Scottsdale, AZ 85254 480-889-9494

http://barriocafe.com/ 2814 North 16th Street Phoenix, AZ 85006 602-636-0240

Entry filed under: Eatin' Out of Town. Tags: , .

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