Monthly Archives: March 2014

Forking Thoughts on the 2014 Check Please Arizona Festival at City Scape

The sold out event was a gathering of  about 30 Independent owned restaurants featured on the popular Check Please Arizona TV Show. You were able to sample whatever treats they prepared along with water, wine and or beer. Chef demonstrations were also a feature. The tickets varied in price and ran between $25-$60. for the SAME TICKET depending if you purchased early or waited for an online deal.

Hard as a Rock Asian Meatball with Soggy Pesto Tortellini

Hard as a Rock Asian Meatball with Soggy Pesto Tortellini

In my Forking opinion it sort of went like this.

There were a few restaurants that really went out of their way to leave you feeling good about their restaurant.

Citizen Public House/Gladly

Citizen Public House/Gladly

The Citizen Public House/Gladly put out a three piece spread of their famous Chopped Salad. Kimchi on Tuna and this really Great Cashew Curry Brownie.

Flavors of Louisiana

Flavors of Louisiana

Flavors of Louisiana also put out a delicious 3 piece spread Gumbo something with Shrimp and really good Peach Cobbler.

Iron Chef Winner Place (You Know Who!)  generously put out Really  fresh really good Oysters and also made Sloppy Joes. Honestly I thought I was eating something from Costco when I tasted the sloppy joe. The beef was very salty and could have passed for a mix. But what was even worst was the what seemed like cheese whiz on top of the beef. The FORKING TRUTH is that I couldn’t tell if it was Cheese Whiz or a sauce he made to taste like Cheese Whiz. WTFork. I don’t think the Iron Chef Guy made this, Maybe he let his dishwasher have a spin at cooking.

This Vegetarian Sandwich didn't taste good.

This Vegetarian Sandwich didn’t taste good.

It was nice that some people cooked vegetarian but the sandwich pictured above didn’t taste good. FORKING TRUTH!

Pulled Pork from a Steakhouse

Pulled Pork from a Steakhouse

I thought it was strange for a Steakhouse to serve Pulled Pork. WTFork.



Durants made NY Strip Steak Sliders with Crispy onions But the sandwich was cold and seemed strange and kind of disgusting all that cold hard fat and stuff from the meat. I enjoyed Durant’s Tomato Salad and the Chocolate Dessert was OK.

Cucina Tagliani

Cucina Tagliani

Cucina Tagliani’s  Chocolate Cake was much better than Durant’s and their Meatballs were better than another I tried from someone else.

I don’t recall what restaurant put out wine braised beef. It was flavorful tender and good but it came with almost raw rock hard Brussels Sprouts that became projectiles in the massive crowd of people because the fork couldn’t penetrate. Flying Brussels Sprouts doubt many made it to be eaten.

Hob Nobs

Hob Nobs

Hob Nobs made a really good Roast Beef Sandwich.

The Vig also made a really good Roast Beef Dip Sandwich.

Both the Hob Nobs and The Vig Roast Beef Sandwiches were better than from the really good Iron Chef competitor place. FORKING TRUTH! (That doesn’t seem right…there’s an order you know)

Forking Truth BAckground 1


They were pouring many wines. I tried the Franciscan Wine I didn’t like it but I thought it was drinkable. I tried to drink two other wines and they sickened me so I had to toss them out. I was afraid to try other wines I was afraid that they were from Walgreens. I looked up the one brand on the web something called Living Tree and I couldn’t find it on the web.

It’s hard to feed masses of people away from a working kitchen.  Not the most impressive food festival but it was a hell of a lot better than  That Other One on the far West Side.

Home Oven Crispy PIZZA Hints

Home Made Pizza

Home Made Pizza

I think everybody likes Pizza.

I think the recipe for pizza is pretty basic. I don’t measure pizza dough and just go by how it feels as I move along. I start it by about a tablespoon of sugar and a pack of yeast in a very large bowl. I add a few cups of 100-110 degree water to the bowl and let it sit maybe a 1/2 hour till it gets really foamy. I then dump in bread flour and mix it up and then add 3 Glunks of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and about a tablespoon of Kosher Salt (I hate regular table salt) I add flour and hand mix till it feels like pizza dough, roll in a ball, cover with plastic wrap and proof in my oven till in rises. I punch the dough down and let it rise one or two more times.

To get a crispy crust in my oven for me it’s a two part process. I stretch out my pizza dough on a pizza pan that’s brushed with Extra virgin Olive oil and either corn meal or semolina flour at 475 degrees. The pizza cooks for about 5 minutes. I flip the pizza out (so the bottom is up on my pizza board, top the pizza. (home made sauce slightly thickened with tomato paste for the right pizza taste and my blend of pizza cheese, mozzarella, mild provolone and sharp provolone, a pinch of seasoning of fresh ground salt, pepper, oregano, basil and a micro pinch of garlic and a spray of extra virgin olive oil across the cheese.

Now this pizza goes onto a pizza stone at 475 degrees for around 5-6 minutes. It’s best to get your oven as hot as possible for the pizza but I find that 475 is the best temperature because your pizza stone can crack at 450 degrees but I find if you keep them oiled 475 works fine.

Pizza is whey good and that’s the Forking Truth!Forking Truth BAckground 1


These are little tiny things that are from the watermelon family called Tindora. I think they taste like sweet cucumbers and I like them raw in salads. I read that often they are served fried in Indian dishes and also read that they are great for your health.



Henry’s Private Kitchen Mesa Arizona (Taiwanese Cuisine) Closed NOW Re-Opened

Have you ever eaten Luffa?



Like as in luffa sponge?  Well I have!

Luffa is light and delicious and is really a squash that’s kind of light with almost a cucumber taste but more substantial than a cucumber.  This luffa was in a silky chicken based sauce.

I also tried the classic Taiwanese Dish called Three Cup Chicken.


The Three Cup Chicken was moist and very flavorful but full of many tiny bones and was hard to eat not because of taste but because of all the very tiny bones broken all threw it. The recipe is based on One Cup Sugar, One Cup Soy Sauce, and One Cup Vinegar along with garlic, ginger and Thai Basil.

I liked Henry’s Kitchen but not as much as possible because of all the tiny broken bones in the chicken and also their 200 item menu is written in Chinese and I had to order off the American Menu of 38 items. Hopefully soon they will offer the 200 item menu translated!

Henry’s Private Kitchen is Destination Dining. You go here if your looking for Taiwanese.

As of 5-24-14 Co-Owner Henry Left Henry’s Private Kitchen. Future is uncertain. Sadly Henry’s Private Kitchen only opened for two month’s has closed.

7-2-14 Henry’s Private Kitchen has Re-Opened without Henry and has opened with a new menu. The name of the restaurant is expected to change.