Monday, September 18, 2017

In memoriam: Ed from Yuma

I found out this morning that my Yuma food mentor, Ed Davis, aka "Ed in Yuma," aka "Ed Dibble," passed away this weekend.

I first met Ed via Chowhound, back when it was a very simple, online foodie bulletin board. Yelp and Instagram didn't exist, so random people from around the world posted thoughts and suggestions about what and where to eat on this discussion group. Being new to Yuma in 2006, I figured I should check out the food scene, and the only person posting on a regular basis from Yuma was this guy, "Ed Dibble." I am embarrassed how long it took me to figure out the humor in his handle.

I followed Ed's posts religiously. If he suggested a place, I would try to find it. I didn't find them all, but most of the ones that he suggested (that are still around) are now long time favorites.

Since there was no way to direct message someone on Chowhound, I had to hint on posts a few times that I'd like to meet Ed someday. I thought maybe I'd just happen to run into him at some point. Since I work with KAWC, Yuma's public radio station, I'm not hard to find, and Ed started dropping hints on his posts that he knew who I was.

Then, during one on-air pledge drive, Ed actually came to the studio! AND I WAS ON THE AIR! NOOOO! I missed my chance!

Luckily, our mutual friend, Ellen, knew I was stalking him, and graciously set up dinner to connect us. We had a grand time meeting Ed and Tina, and I continued, after that, to stalk his food posts, through his blog.

I am truly sad that I never got to have dinner with Ed at his favorite Chinese restaurant, Yummy Yummy. And that I never got to cook for him to make him some of my favorites.

In his honor, here are my favorite Yuma restaurants that were originally from Ed's list. And I will make it a point on my next trip to try some new places and write about them.

I hope you're having a great banquet, wherever you are now, Ed. Godspeed, and bon appetit!

Coconut Curry Shrimp at River City Grill
River City Grill
600 W 3rd St Yuma, AZ

One of the nicest restaurants in Yuma, and owner Nan Bain is a huge supporter of public radio, particularly our station, KAWC. We've been eating here since our first visit to Yuma and have really eaten everything on the menu. My favorites are the roasted red pepper and tomato bisque, the coconut curry shrimp, the tequila snapper, and the pistachio crusted salmon or chicken. They are also a great option if you need vegan or gluten free options.

Previous post for River City Grill here.

Tacos y Mariscos Juanita’s
SW Corner of S Avenue A & W 8th St Yuma, AZ 85364
Juanita's Campechana

Juanita's has the very best seafood cocktail in Yuma. Hands down, end of conversation. I love the campechana, which is the "everything" seafood cocktail, including shrimp, scallops, oysters, octopus and squid, and sometimes conch, depending on the day. The broth that the seafood rests in is the most delicious part. Add a little hot sauce, and it's a perfect meal on a sunny, but not too hot, day. Juanita's is a semi-permanent taco truck--it has a sign, outdoor seating, and rest rooms, but the truck drives home at the end of the day. It's also only open during daylight hours, because there's no outside lighting, and hours vary during the summer months. It's helpful if you know a teeny bit of Spanish, although on the weekends, the young man who typically is there expediting orders and busing tables can help with translation if needed. Bring cash.

Cheese crisp at Los Manjares de Pepe II
Los Manjares de Pepe II (Foothills Location)
11274 S Fortuna Rd, YumaAZ 85367

I used to go to the original location on 8th Street every trip for the Pepe Special, a tomatillo stewed pork. I still love the Pepe Special, but now I get it at their Foothills location, because it's 1) closer to the station, and 2) a little better, I think. Located at the very end of a strip mall, around the corner from the main stretch of the mall, this tiny restaurant produces excellent Mexican food. I am a big fan of the carnitas dinner as well as the cheese crisp, which I think is the best in Yuma.

The Patio at Desert Hills Golf Course
1245 W Desert Hills Dr, YumaAZ 85365

The restaurant at the Desert Hills Municipal Golf Course, worth the trip. The jalapeno margarita is incredible, and favorite starters are the chicharron, the bacon wrapped shrimp and the stuffed medjool dates. Ed's post is much more detailed than mine, with good pictures, since I can't find mine.

Thanks for some great meals, Ed.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Favorite Places in Flagstaff, Arizona

Yes, I know, I live here and I have yet to post my favorite places in Flagstaff. But since I'm on the road about 200 days a year, I guess that's to be expected! Lately, I've crossed paths with a few people from other communities asking for my recommendations in Flagstaff, so here they are!

34 S. San Francisco
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
My favorite restaurant(s) and my home away from home in Flagstaff. My (out of date) review is here. They have three properties--Tinderbox Kitchen is a small, higher end dining room, The Annex is a creative cocktail bar with great food, and the Tourist Home Urban Market is a breakfast/lunch place with a small deli. Fantastic food and impeccable service all around. General Manager Kevin Heinonen and his team are practically my extended family in Flagstaff!

6 E Route 66
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
This is a higher end sushi place, kind of Scottsdale meets Flagstaff. In addition to sushi, I go for the tonkotsu ramen.

1312 S Plaza Way
Flagstaff AZ 86001
This is more functional sushi--not much atmosphere, but solid food and service, easier parking and a bit cheaper. This is our family night sushi.

2308 E Route 66
Flagstaff AZ 86004
Neopolitan style pizza from a wood burning oven and good pastas. John Conley, the chef-owner, is also an all around great guy!

2320 N 4th St
Flagstaff AZ 86004
Great brisket and pulled pork, but in reality, I go for the tater tots. No, that's an exaggeration, but the tots are incredibly good.

112 E Route 66
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Go for the chilaquiles. Be prepared to wait in line.

And because I have the space...
1400 W Mars Hill Rd
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Where Pluto was discovered! Check out the newly restored Clark Telescope. Open both day and night--I suggest doing both if you have time. I adore this place, and it's not just because I used to work there. It speaks to my nerdiness.

Lots of activities here in the summer, and a great educational place to learn about native plants.

Good way to get a sense for the indigenous cultures of the region.

Out of town attractions
We have four national parks within easy driving distance: Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, Wupatki and the Grand Canyon, of course. Get an Interagency Annual Pass and you'll get your money's worth right away.

Scenic railroad to the Canyon--worth doing at least once.

Sedona is also about 45 minutes away.

Great location, and usual Embassy Suites perks.

Official "on campus" hotel attached to the High Country Convention Center.  A bit pricey, but good for those visiting campus.>

If you want the "extended GoalBusters Northern Arizona tour" itinerary, that will be in a future post!

This post first appeared on the Alice's Restaurants blog.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Favorite Places in New Orleans

Fried Chicken Platter at Emeril's
This blog is my friend Jaye's suggestion, although my colleague, Steve, is headed to NOLA later this month. New Orleans is one of those places that you must visit at least once. Here are my faves from many trips over the years!

800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
Truth be told, I was terrified that I would be disappointed with this place. So many times, you go to the celebrity chef places and the hype does not match the experience. With Emeril's, I was not disappointed. The location is beautiful, service stellar, and food fantastic.
Bone Marrow at R'evolution
August, 301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Lunch buffet at Dooky Chase

Lüke, 333 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Part of Chef John Besh's restaurant group, August is the more formal older sibling of Lüke, the louder, brighter bistro. Both provided excellent service and well executed dishes. At August, the foie gras three ways was delicious, and at Lüke, incredibly good fried oysters and raw bar.

930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Great place to get small dishes to share, like cured meats, rabbit, crawfish pie, okra, and other down home Cajun cuisine in a modern, relaxed environment. They have a lot of local brews and truly strange cocktails. Do not try the beet juice cocktail. I don't know what I was thinking.

Restaurant R'evolution
777 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Beautifully presented food, hip atmosphere and a more adventurous menu than most places in the French Quarter.

Dooky Chase
2301 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Traditional soul food from the original celebrity chef of soul food. Mrs. Leah Chase visits the dining room regularly, and while we didn't get to talk with her, we did see her hovering during the lunch buffet. Darn good fried chicken.
209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Shrimp Gumbo at Lil Dizzy's, photo by Jim Anderson
I love this place and try to visit every time. It is classic, old school N'awlins fine dining. I love the souffled potatoes, turtle soup, and any of their fish or shrimp preparations. Guys must wear a jacket. Ask for the cafe brulot at the end of the meal.
1403 Washington Avenue New Orleans LA 70130
THE place for Sunday Jazz Brunch. It's an elegant, classic, well-deserved destination restaurant. Save room for the bread pudding.

Lil Dizzy's Cafe
1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Thrilled to find this locals' place: Sunday brunch here is delicious, inexpensive, and you really get a peek into local life.

Erin Rose, photo by Jim Anderson
811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112
A great local bar where you meet REAL LOCALS! Incredibly good value on drinks, especially since you're only one block off of Bourbon Street, and not a single neon blended drink to be found. Once when we visited, we met retired twins from Tennessee heading to Texas for NASCAR and a local parish Justice of the Peace who sang Irish songs. So cool.

Cafe du Monde 
800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
This is the place where EVERYONE goes to get beignets and chicory coffee. It is a bit of a tourist trap, but that doesn't make the beignets any less tasty. Word of warning, do NOT wear black to this place. You will be dusted with powdered sugar, no matter how careful you are. Also, coffee refills are NOT FREE so be careful when the server asks you if you want a refill. And bring cash.
401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Classic New Orleans for jambalaya, etouffee, red beans and po'boys. Expect a line at lunch time--just get in line, belly up to the counter and order some down home comfort food. My first time, I got the oyster po'boy but really wanted the combo platter, which is what Jim had. Since then, I seem to repeat the po'boy, but Jim usually repeats the combo, so it's all good. Sharing is caring.

Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Yes, it's been on a bazillion travel shows, but it's still pretty cool. Hard to get a seat at the actual bar, though, so be patient.

923 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Stop here to get a muffuletta to take on the plane. (PS: Steve, the hot sauce shop is next to Central Grocery.)

This post first appeared on the Alice's Restaurants blog. All photos by me unless otherwise credited, usually to Jim Anderson because he's there eating with me.