Category Archives: Forking Thoughts

Random Forking Items of Interest

Where the Fork I Ate in Las Vegas

 

Vegas is a place like no other. It’s sort of like Disney Land but Micky had some botox and Dumbo ain’t so dumb and sells souvenirs for more than peanuts.

You can land the finest in clothes and jewelry.

You can stay in the highest end hotels.

Everywhere you go it’s a show.

You can find and see all kinds of things that’s only in Vegas. HONEST to GOD…We were in an elevator with an Elvis impersonator who was disabled and on a scooter. (dressed as an older Elvis in the white jeweled jump suit) He was drunk with a large can of beer that he accidentally spilled in the elevator.

There’s booze, gambling, prostitution, weed, a mob museum.

For about a week every year Las Vegas gets spaced out with the Star Trek Convention.

Vegas is a busy crowed place filled with people from all over the world.

Vegas can be insincere and is artificial.

BUT The FOOD is mostly so GOOD! Not just good. If you hit the right spots FORKING GREAT!

Over the next week or so I will be writing about the places I ate at while in Las Vegas.

Here is a sneak peak of what’s to come.

Just a taste!

Table Ten Las Vegas

In The Venetian

In the Venetian

Don’t worry about the calories. Everything stays in Vegas.

The Forking Truth

 

 

My Forking Thoughts on Hershey’s NY Cherry Cheesecake Bar

 

Hershey’s is one of the largest manufacturers of chocolate in North America. They’ve been manufacturing affordable chocolate since 1894. People of a certain age might remember the jingle from TV commercials that went……”Hershey’s the Great American Chocolate Bar”……..Until now I haven’t come across much in the way of unusual or weird flavored food in the Hershey’s Brand until now. Here is Flavor of New York Cherry Cheesecake bar embedded with crispy cookies. New York is famous for many foods but one of the New York Specialties is considered to be Cheesecake.

I open up the bar.

It doesn’t smell appetizing.

It smells like a combination of cough syrup laced with something I remember from my childhood……..my Mom’s cedar Closet with moth balls. (I don’t think people have cedar closets or use moth balls anymore)

It also doesn’t look appetizing.

Looks like a skin disease …….. maybe… chicken pox.

I bravely taste a pip.

It’s very sweet like canned frosting.

It doesn’t taste natural at all… It really doesn’t taste like any kind of food.

It taste like how it smells……Very Sweet…..main flavor is cough syrup…..laced with cedar closet moth balls.

feeling something gritty…..

Yuk…the lumps taste like crumbs of cough syrup.

My mouth feels very greasy now.

YUK! THIS IS FORKING AWFUL!

I don’t think any person in the whole wide world can enjoy this…….

Poor Milton Hershey would be turning in his grave if he could taste this bar with his name on it.

I have no understanding of how such an awful tasting product could have been manufactured.

NOT WORTH A FORK!

NOT WORTH A FORK!

My Forking Thoughts on the Hershey’s NY Cherry Cheesecake Bar.

Your taste and experience may or may not differ……(but I FORKING doubt it)

The Forking Truth

The Chicken Fajita Salad Battle Glendale AZ Popo’s VS Phoenix AZ Carlos O’Brien’s Mexican Food

 

This is a well matched battle. The competitors are two established local Sonoran Style Mexican Restaurants that have two or more locations. For the most part they offer a similar menu. I do note the Carlos O’Brien’s is a new location for the Local small chain but this company has been in business for over 20 years so I feel they are free game to battle. Both competitors are located in North Phoenix or what locals call the Way North.

Ladies and Gentlemen……. In the Phoenix corner is Carlo’s O’Brien’s Mexican Restaurant.

The Set up is-The Fajita Style Chicken Salad- Fajita Style Chicken, salad, cheese, tomatoes, guacamole and sour cream $13.95

The chicken is moist, a little greasy and nicely caramelized. The tomatoes are unripe and the iceberg lettuce is very plain. This is a very plain salad…..very very plain. My guacamole was forgotten but latter arrived. It was a small side of mashed avocados with non-detectible seasoning.

Pros-

nothing is burnt.

nothing is spoiled.

I didn’t get sick after eating here.

Cons – This salad is very uninspired.

Suggestions –

Alert the public that this salad lacks any seasoning or flavor.

Consider changing the recipe or your order if you are a customer.

and now Ladies and Gentlemen!

In the Glendale corner is Popo’s Fiesta Del Sol.

The set up is – The Chicken Fajita Salad – Fajita Chicken, Garden Salad with the grilled onions, bell peppers, avocado, scallions, tomatoes, cheese, olives served in a flour tortilla bowl. $10.99

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cheese on Side ( and a s/o of guacamole given to me off my husband’s plate.)

The chicken is moist and nicely seasoned. I received lots of fresh avocado, tomatoes, olives, grilled peppers and onions over mixed greens. The salad is flavorful and very hardy.

Pros- The salad taste good.

It’s a salad that I most likely won’t make at home so it’s a treat.

I don’t feel the least bit deprived ordering a salad.

The salad cost about $3.00 less than from the Phoenix competitor.

Con’s- This salad is a gut buster.

It’s impossible to eat the whole thing and leftovers turn to a soggy mess.

The Verdict

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cheese on Side ( and a s/o of guacamole given to me off my husband’s plate.)

Glendale’s Popo’s Fiesta Del Sol Mexican Restaurant – It’s a much better tasting flavorful salad bursting with thoughtful ingredients and priced at about $3.00 less.

I do note that EVERY FORKING THING is subject to change and your experience may or may NOT differ.

The Forking Truth

 

 

 

The Bottega Panini from Bottega Pizzeria and Ristorante Glendale AZ – Worth a Fork

 

I recently tried a Panini from Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante in Glendale AZ.

This Bottega Panini was unbelievably scrumptious…..so I felt the need to mention it.

It isn’t a conventional beauty but starts with a unique but delicious flavorful thin bread pocket with a seasoned crust that is a little rich with oil, seasonings and a little hard cheese.

That seasoned bread is just so tasty and different. It hits the top of your mouth then your juices flow and sets the way for things to come. Inside are thin strips of creamy brie cheese, sweet fig jam, melting juicy pear slices and flavorful walnuts with a little welcoming bitter pop. All together this combination is exciting. It’s a perfect marriage of sweet and salty with flavors in-between. The walnuts cut threw the creamy and sweet fig jam….the pears are sweet but act as sandwich filling. You won’t find anything that taste just like this anywhere else. The sandwich so flavorful and not a boring sandwich at all.  The sweetness of the fig jam lacing everything feels kind of naughty….almost dessert like….It’s almost too sweet …but then you have the brie cheese, walnuts and that special seasoned bread pocket that brings on the savory to make it balanced ….. so good!

It’s just a Forking Delicious Sandwich!

Among the tastiest sandwiches I ate all year!

By the way……

Pictured above is only a half sandwich with a side salad off the lunch menu. A better value would have been to order the whole sandwich because the whole sandwich is only 1-2 dollars more and came with the same salad. I would not have been able to eat both pieces at one time but I would have had another sandwich I could have enjoyed latter.

This is what a whole sandwich platter looks like.

A few other foods we enjoyed at Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante on previous visits were…..

Certified DOP Margherita Pizza

Hand made really amazing Trofie al Pesto Pasta

www.BottegaRistorante.com

Everything pictured I tried and it was Worth a Fork!

Worth a Fork! Among the best that you can get in Glendale AZ

Everything is subject to change and your experience may…or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

My Forking Thoughts on Lay’s Everything Bagel Potato Chips

 

The Lay’s Million Dollar finalist winning flavors for the  “Do Us a Flavor” Contest varieties are now out in stores for us to try!  I was pretty excited to try out the Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese Kettle Cooked Potato Chips from Lay’s. Everything Bagels are so bold with flavors. Those bagels are crusted with onions, garlic, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. All them flavors really wake you up and I thought that this would be a very easy flavor to pull off.

I start by opening the bag and take a whiff.

It smells like something fried.

It smells a little bit like fried onion rings.

I smell a slight sourness……

I pour some chips on to a paper towel.

I notice that the chips are very small and came from tiny potatoes. Many of the chips are folded and some are sprinkled with poppy seeds.

These chips are greasy. My paper towel is getting oily.

They are very crunchy with some potato flavor.

They do have some sort of flavor that’s similar to buttermilk with a hint of onion.

Almost ranch………..Almost Onion Dip……….some sort of cheese flavor?

Some chips are almost flavorless and some have stronger flavors.

I don’t get any sesame seeds….I don’t get that burnt onion taste…I don’t get the pops of garlic either.

Some of the chips taste almost a weird buttery flavor with poppy seeds…like a poppy seed crunch with a slightly tangy buttery dip-like like product.

Not so good………Not horrible…….disappointing!

1/2 a Fork…………

Crispy Taco and Fried Green Tomato are also out for a limited time.

Give them a try if your up for it!

Your experience may or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

My Forking Thoughts on Guy Fieri Original Salsa

 

Salsa is a tasty dip made from fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeños, spices, cilantro and vinegar and or lime juice. I usually prepare my own but I can’t all the time so I need to pick up a jar every now and then. I do find that most jarred salsa is awful and doesn’t taste like salsa. So I am on the hunt for jarred salsa that taste ok.

I decided to try a jar of Guy Fieri Original Salsa. Guy Fieri is a Restauranteur, Cook Book Author, Food Network TV Host and Television Personality. He gives the impression on TV that he knows something about food…especially bar grub so I thought I’d give his salsa a try after being on the hunt for a long time.

I open the jar and it doesn’t look like salsa. It looks like jarred spaghetti sauce.

Salsa from a Mexican Restaurant near me looks like this. The salsa pictured below is bright and fresh tasting with chunks of real tomatoes, hot peppers, fresh cilantro and garlic.

So I go and take in the aroma of Guy Fieri’s Salsa before I taste it.

WOW it smells like cumin……….. we are talking Donkey Boats of Cumin.

Then I go to taste it.

It taste kind of GOOD but in a spaghetti sauce laced with lots of cumin kind of way and not like salsa……. This salsa lacks that fresh salsa taste and texture….it’s more like cooked down tomatoes  with lots of cumin and some cooked vegetables.

It does have a little heat and some other flavors but it’s very heavy with and mostly CUMIN.

I guess “Flavor Town” is mostly flavored with cumin.

Lets see what the bottle says.

Lets take a better look at the ingredients.

Oddly it does taste better than most of the other jarred salsas I tried….It’s good but in a weird way…….because……………. it doesn’t taste like salsa to me………. (to me) It’s  salsa that taste like spaghetti sauce flavored with cumin.

Your opinion may or may not differ from mine.

Go and try it and see what you think.

The Forking Truth

Special Event Tomato Dinner at Cafe Bink in Carefree AZ was Worth a Fork!

 

Cafe Bink is a less formal version of Binkley’s Restaurant. Binkley’s Restaurant is very formal – created by James Beard Nominated Chef Binkley who has formerly worked at Chef Thomas Keller’s famous Restaurant – The French Laundry in Napa California. Talented Chef and Partner Chef Justin Olsen leads the kitchen at Cafe Bink in beautiful Carefree Arizona.

Cafe Bink is a small sort of classic looking restaurant with an outdoor patio that overlooks mountains and the desert.

View from window

Cafe Bink offers a small but quality menu whatever time of day you visit them. They are also well know for their legendary Belgium Fries that are twice cooked and come with three dipping sauces.

I got an email about the Tomato Dinner and I knew it would be something special so I made my reservation and went.

They started us off with a Welcoming Snack of Tomato Tartare , Beef Tartare, Toasted Bread  and Commanderie Bargemone Rose 2015.

The Tomatoes are amazing. My photo does NOT do justice.

The finest local small sized tomatoes painstakingly have had their skin and seeds removed and are cut into the smallest cubes. The cubes are about the size of pencil points.Who does such a thing? Even if I try I doubt I can make micro tomato cubes from tiny skinned and de-seeded tomatoes. You gotta have some serious knife chops and craziness to do such a loving dish for a dining room of strangers to just gobble it up.  The very tiny tomato cubes are simply dressed with balsamic, basil and cheese but are powerful with delicious flavor. The beef tartare was nothing to sneeze at either but the tomatoes were more special.

The next course was Heirloom Tomato Salad.

The Heirloom Tomatoes were combined with avocado, pickled ginger, Thai Basil, coconut milk, cashews, jalapeños, lotus root and tomato yuzu granite. Ooooh this plate was magical….every bite was a different flavor. I don’t know what they did to every thing to make it taste that good. It’s like they did something to every ingredient to make it taste better……than it really is……Just magical….I wish this could be on the menu…even if it was only a special once in a while. Very VERY first rate…..this dish would fit in at the finest restaurant anywhere. This plate was served with Unparalled Sauvignon Blanc 2015.

The next course was called Confit Tomatoes and came with a tuna lasagna, haircut vert and olives.

The tomatoes look almost like strawberries garnishing the plate but for sure are no garnish and are delicious slow roasted and are very naturally sweet and very rich with concentrated tomato flavor. We also received a small but enough rich and creamy Tuna Lasagna. the lasagna is served cold…..but seems right that way. The olives and haricot vert marry together well with everything and Spanish Paprika just adds a finishing touch and completes the dish. Chateau Campuget Red Blend 2015 was served with this plate.

Next we get Tomato and Leek Tart paired with Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Parmesan, Broccolini and Smoked Tomato Bernaise.

.

The Tenderloin is simple, succulent, juicy and cooked to a perfect medium rare and topped with a piece of broccolini.  The Tart contains Tomatoes Cheese and Leeks and has a delicate thin tasty crust. On top of the tart is this very flavorful smoked tomato bernaise sauce.  The sauce is very rich, smooth as silk and flavorful. The careful amount of smoke shows the restraint and skills the chef has. The tart had a careful balance of flavors. It was a joy to devour as it was so delicious! Offering Red Blend 2014

Dessert was Vanilla – Tomato Cheesecake with basil -lime sorbet, pine nut crust and chantilly cream.

It’s odd and different but works and really was delicious….It creamy, rich, flavorful and tasty… It taste like cheesecake……I also really like the basil – lime sorbet because it’s light as air and is the flavor my mouth is craving.

They finished up the evening with Bing’s Coffee (with Irish Cream) Nut Froth.

It was an amazing dinner to remember…The Food, The Expert Wine Parings and the incredible service. I sure hope that magical Heirloom Tomato Salad and the Incredible Tomato and Leek Tart become some sort of summer special on the Cafe Bink Menu sometime again.

The Special Event – Tomato Dinner at Cafe Pink was CERTAINLY Worth a FORK!

www.CafeBink.com

Worth a Fork! You will travel across town to go here!

Everything is subject to change and your experience may or may not differ.

The Forking Truth

You aren’t always going to agree with Food Critics……………. Falafels

 

Falafels are deep fried patties or balls made from chickpeas, fava beans or both. They usually are flavored with fresh parsley, scallions, garlic, cumin and coriander. The best falafels are said to have a crispy exterior and a moist flavorful interior.

Recently a professional food critic from a local magazine wrote that the above falafel was the best falafel in all of Metro Phoenix. I kept reading this over and over because I thought I was seeing things….because………My experience did differ to say it mildly as possible…..While I found that the falafel pictured above had a desirable crispy exterior the interior although fluffy and slightly dry was mostly tasteless and totally lacked fresh herbs and any flavors a falafel traditionally has. The falafels I tried only tasted like  sesame seeds. Honestly I thought these Falafels were among the worst I ever tried anywhere.

I’ve had not all the Metro Valley has to offer in falafels but I tried more than a few so it’s not like I’m a falafel virgin.

The above fresh herb falafel is green inside and is fresh with flavor. This one didn’t have the crispy exterior but it had great flavors and didn’t leave any grease in my mouth. A few I tried not pictured here were greasy. This came from a place no longer open for business in Scottsdale.

The Falafel pictured above rates very high on a popular review site. I don’t remember if this one had any crunch but I remembered that it lacked flavors. You can see this one lacks herbs. I remembered I never wanted to go back. This one came from the Arrowhead area…not sure if this place is in Peoria or Glendale.

The above Falafels were seasoned well and were herby with a great crisp exterior. These were among the best that I tried in Metro Phoenix because of the flavorful interior and the crispy exterior.

Solid good crunchy Falafels from my favorite falafel fast food kind of place in Tempe.

This Falafel hasn’t won over any love from Professional Food Critics yet but it is among the better with a crisp exterior, and a moist fresh herb flavorful interior. Also the Eggplant dip from here was delicious with lemon and smoke. Got this one in Scottsdale.

Here’s another Falafel from a newer restaurant in Phoenix. It’s an decent Falafel….Not my favorite but not bad and OK.

Here are falafels from a newly opened place in Scottsdale. They have the correct flavors but have like a really weird soft wet meatball texture.

Back to the professional Food Critic’s pick…”Best in Metro Phoenix”….(????????????)

It’s a fact that I don’t know if the Food Critic got the same thing I tried pictured above from this same place. (As you know experiences may differ…..) The Professional Food Critic wrote for all of Metro Phoenix to see that the above Falafels are the BEST that Metro Phoenix has to offer…….

Is it possible that the recipe has changed????? ……..Is it possible that almost tasteless dry falafels are the best?????

I don’t FORKING know!

The Forking Truth is……..You aren’t always going to agree with food critics.

REMEMBER EVERY FORKING THING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE and your experience (or my Forking experience) may or MAY NOT differ.

The Forking Truth

Bonus Edition * Forking Weird FOOD Related News

 

Photo via www.MSN.com

Over the past few weeks we had a bunch of Forking Weird Food Related News Stories.

In the beginning of the month we had the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest where 70 Hot Dogs and buns were inhaled by Hot Dog Eating Champion Joey Chestnut.

A $10,000. Edible Pizza Bikini can be made for you from the Villa Italian Kitchen. (I don’t know if any where sold?)..

The Phoenix New Times reported a story about Cream Cheese Topped Tea and Fruit Drinks that are a thing in parts of Asia and are found here in Mesa AZ.

I saw on TV Watermelon Selfies…you balance a wedge of watermelon and try to place it under someone’s face so it looks like they are wearing a watermelon wedge.

I think I came across at least three different pizza related sneaker stories. One was a phone sneaker that dialed Pizza Hut and the others were Pizza decorated sneakers.

But the one story that’s burnt in my head is the Guy Fieri (Food Network Host and Restauranteur) Swimsuit. It can’t Forking be unseen.

Guy Fieri’s Face printed on a $49.00 Swim Suit.

Photo via www.MSN.com

It can’t Forking be unseen.

Forking Weird Food Related News.

The Forking Truth

www.MSN.com

www.FoxNews.com

www.CBS.com

PhoenixNewTimes.com

KTVK

 

 

The Forking Truth is that some Dining Experiences are NOT Worth a Fork!

 

A grilled chicken sandwich from somewhere in Scottsdale AZ

The Forking Truth is that not every dining experience will be drool worthy.Actually some dining experiences are NOT Worth a Fork! Recently I had a grilled chicken sandwich from somewhere in Scottsdale. The bun was squashed and hard…maybe stale? The chicken also seemed like it had all the life in it squashed out and had a weird texture…..like the snap of a hot dog and also had a burnt taste too. Even the pepper didn’t taste good because nobody rinsed off the can flavoring. I was hoping I’d enjoy the side dish from this particular place….

Well I almost enjoyed the side dish of potato salad…..It did have a nice flavor but the potatoes were very over cooked and mostly got all mashed. I had maybe 4 marble sized pieces of potato in this salad with a few hard lumps of egg. It was like a cup of cold mashed potatoes with a few lumps.

BAHHhhhhh!

In the same week I went to a small sushi restaurant in Peoria. The sushi was very average so it didn’t seem blog worthy. This particular sushi restaurant offered Korean Style Fried Chicken. Ummm you sure don’t come by that all the time! We ordered some Korean Style Fried Chicken and when it arrived I thought it looked Scrumptious and Amazing!

It DID look scrumptious and amazing. But when I took a bite I found that under the very crispy crust was almost cold chicken that was oddly very dry and chewy….WTFork! How the Fork did they come up with that? Cold dried up chicken with a nice crispy crust….

Here is another non-drool worthy plate I had in beautiful Carefree AZ. Chewy meat, SOUR  onions and what looked like pond slime….This plate I couldn’t stomach and I was afraid this food for myself and I thought it could make my dogs ill.

This was not drool worthy. It was more like Forking Puke Worthy.

Early this year I had a pizza from somewhere in Peoria. The Crust was burnt tasting and also was hard like a rock. You can see the burnt threw the crust. This was not drool worthy either. I actually felt sick after this………

I ordered a fried fish somewhere in Phoenix.

My fish was fried to a crisp and most of the flesh was crunchy. My crunchy fish was topped with a couple fistfuls of salt with what seemed like a 1/2 a jar of jarred garlic mixed with some mushrooms. I also was blessed with a slice of unripe tomato, oily lettuce, porridge like rice and oily soggy fries. Nobody asked me how it was as they did the usual drop and run.

We took out some food from a new Fast Food Restaurant in Glendale…is it is Peoria? The Chicken was almost good but it was my luck that who someone careless salted the chicken lost the lid on the salt container and the chicken was coated in enough salt to melt a snow covered driveway. The rolls were pillowy and might have been mixed with yoga mats. The Mac -N- Cheese tasted like margarine and chemicals. WTFork knows what they did to the potatoes. The potatoes were very  heavy and tasted like they have might have contained wall plaster……..Well it’s fast food….you get what you get….my bad.

I guess the least drool worthy food I tried came from a food truck….Look at the picture…No words are needed. My apologies should you have nightmares or gain a fear of food trucks. Only God knows what stories the grease that roll was fried in can tell…….

Close up of Corned Beef Wild Buckeye Roll

The above were all….

NOT WORTH A FORK!

The Forking Truth is that some Dining Experiences are NOT Worth a Fork!

Your experience may or may not differ and everything is subject to change.

The Forking Truth