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Written by Craig Outhier & Pavle Milic Category: Amuse Bouches Issue: October 2016
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Pav on Juice: Eric Glomski

A monthly look at Arizona wine with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.

Eric Glomski doesn’t need a lengthy introduction – the Page Springs Cellars founder is arguably the best-known winemaker between here and the California border. When I first started drinking Arizona wine, Glowski was one of very few who were making balanced and quality-driven wine in our state. Now the Arizona native is one of many, but I’m still dying to know what his bucket-list wines are.

PAVLE MILIC: Why did you decide to build your winery in Page Springs instead of Willcox or Sonoita?

ERIC GLOMSKI: The tangible reasons centered on the climate, soils, water supply and the proximity to potential winery guests. Less tangible but as important influences had to do with where I wanted to live, where I wanted to raise my kids and what place spoke to my soul.

PM: You are considered one of the pioneers in the Arizona wine conversation. Who did you reach out to for guidance and mentorship at the beginning of your winemaking journey in Arizona?

EG: In Arizona, the most important figure in my life with regard to wine and art in general is Dick Landis, who lives in Prescott. Dick is an artist and gourmand in his mid-80s. He comes from a generation of sensualists and lovers of landscape and learned under the mentorship of the infamous Frederick Sommer – who ran with the likes of Ansel Adams and Max Ernst. Dick taught me how to make apple wine and has continued to act as an artistic inspiration by reminding me to pay attention to my senses.

PM: Other than the wines you make, what other wine from Arizona are you loving right now?

EG: I just recently had a 2014 Chateau Tumbleweed Verdelho that was delicious. Not overly cloying or complex, just pure, focused and juicy. I had a Pillsbury co-ferment of Syrah and Viognier recently that I thought was classic – just the right amount of fruit intertwined with stone fruits from the Viognier and a brambly, earthy-spice that I would hazard coming from the wild ferment. The Burning Tree Colibri Vineyards Mourvèdre is also just killer!

PM: List your three “last supper” wines.

EG:  It would open with an older Chablis, probably Fevre Les Clos, the best white I have ever had in my life; and then move into a 1989 Angelus, the best red wine I have ever had in my life; and end with a ‘76 d’Yquem, the best dessert wine I have ever enjoyed.

Eat with Your Eyes: Name Change

When you achieve a little notoriety in the dining business, you tend to see just how small the world really is. Exhibit A: The handful of successful Valley food start-ups that have had to rebrand mid-stride to avoid copyright lawsuits from companies that claim the same name. See if you can tell which three of the following rebrands are real, and which are fake.

Original Name
Fate Brewing  
Homeboy’s Hot Sauce
Luncha Libre
Santos Lucha Libre Taco Shop
Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup
Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers
New Name
McFate Brewing
McHomeboy’s Hot Sauce
Taco & Dilla Parlor
Most Wanted Taco Shop
Freakin’ Aye’s Enchiladas & Soup
Warm Beer & Chips

Mouth/Off: Huitlacoche

Barrio Café Gran Reserva
Mercado Y Carniceria Cuernavaca

1301 W. Grand Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-2777, barriocafe.com
2931 N. 68th St., Scottsdale, 480-423-5552

The Overview: We’ll admit it: We’ve got smut on the brain. Corn smut, that is – the purplish, mushroom-like fungus known to flourish on poorly ventilated ears of corn. Known as huitlacoche in Mexico, and as “Mexican truffles” here in the States, the rapacious organism is prized for its earthy flavor and succulent mouthfeel.

Fungus vs. Fungus: Not exactly a fair fight, pitting fine dining newcomer Barrio against a grungy combo convenience store and lunch counter, but we couldn’t resist a corn-smut showdown. Surprisingly, Barrio’s smut – massed in a lip-smacking demi-glace over marinated rib-eye ($42) – is a bit more hard-core than Cuernavaca’s, where you’ll find it chopped and sautéed in a perfect, abuela-made quesadilla ($6.50).

The Winner: Sorry to lean on the old cliché, but we’re all corn smut winners here – whether you’re dining on white tablecloth or on a folding table next to the mercado’s Coke fridge. Barrio’s rib-eye is a grander, more ennobling showcase of the delicacy, but hey – the ‘dilla is delish.

The Tip Line
The hottest restaurant trend in the Valley? Nonprofit eateries. Following in the footsteps of Catholic Charities-run The Refuge in Phoenix (4727 N. Seventh Ave., 602-265-1725, therefugeaz.com) and Street Cafe and Coffee Lounge in Scottsdale (10435 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-607-2733, streetcafeaz.com) comes The Joy Bus Diner from Valley activist Jennifer Carroway (3375 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, 602-595-5884, thejoybusdiner.com). Proceeds from the restaurant – which has a Snooze-style breakfast and lunch menu – benefit its namesake charity, which delivers free meals to cancer patients.

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