Category: Amuse Bouches Issue: October 2017
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Food Scene: Presidential Food Tour

We know one thing: He didn’t eat at Barrio Café. But President Donald Trump’s dining arrangements during his August 22 visit to Phoenix are otherwise a mystery, and sources at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia – where he stayed – were mum on whether or not he dined in the resort’s signature restaurant, Prado. Other presidential supper spots were better publicized.

• Bill Clinton: Poncho’s Mexican Food in July 1999
During his second term, the embattled commander-in-chief visited this Downtown diner, where his likeness currently graces the wall.

• George W. Bush: Tee Pee mexican food in January 2004
On a nationwide tour touting home ownership, President Bush went old school, getting cheese enchiladas with rice and beans.

• George W. Bush: Dick’s Hideaway in October 2004
On a return visit to the Valley to debate Democratic challenger John Kerry, Dubya dined on Richardson Browne’s legendary turkey-stuffed enchiladas.

• Barack Obama: Macayo’s Mexican table in August 2009
Covering all constituencies, the Nobel Prize winner had the beef, chicken and shrimp platter.

Fall Alert: AZ Taco Festival 
October’s must-visit food event? Our vote goes to the Arizona Taco Festival – if only to see if Cave Creek’s Wandering Donkey and Valley food truck International Truck of Tacos can defend their respective Grand Champion titles. Oct. 14-15 at Salt River Fields.



Photos by Angelina Aragon; Courtesy Pavle Milic;

3 Best Places to Eat This Month: New Fall Food
“Restaurant within a restaurant.” That might be the best way to describe the new small-bites program at Prado (see below), one of several exciting tweaks in the Valley food scene this autumn.

1. Tapas at Prado: Mosey up to the chef’s table at the flagship restaurant at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia for shareable, Spanish-Moroccan bites like blistered cauliflower with lemon vinaigrette and wood-fired lamb with pesto. 
4949 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, 480-627-3200,

2. Cajun fare at Southern Rail: Through November 26, the uptown restaurant ventures into Cajun territory with its porch-friendly Jazz & Jambalaya series on Sunday evenings (5-8 p.m.). Pairs nicely with Chef Justin Beckett’s M--Tu barbecue menus. 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-200-0085,

3. New everything at Pedal Haus: Looking to decode notoriously fickle campus-area food preferences, the Tempe bike-themed brewpub is unleashing a “scratch-cooking”-inspired menu featuring shareable flatbreads and veggie-friendly poutine, among other elevated gastropub favorites. 730 S. Mill Ave., Tempe, 480-314-2337,


Pav on Juice: New Somm in Town 
A monthly look at Arizona wine with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.

You’ve probably enjoyed a glass of wine or two at Postino WineCafé in your day – and if so, you’ve benefited directly from the expertise of Brent Karlicek, who programs the wine for Postino and other Upward Projects properties (Federal Pizza, Joyride, Windsor). In July, Karlicek passed the advanced examination by the Court of Master Sommeliers, becoming just the second master somm in Arizona. No trivial feat, that. It’s a lot of hard work. There’s a theory test that includes questions like:
“What is the maximum harvest yield for all Austrian wines with vintage and/or variety on the label?” 

I got a chance to speak to Karlicek about his wine love.

Photos by Angelina Aragon; Courtesy Pavle Milic;

PM: When did you become enamored with wine? can you describe a memorable wine experience that got you hooked?  
BK: Early in my appreciation, my family sent a bottle of Domaine Les Cailloux Châteauneuf du Pape for my birthday. The wine overwhelmed me with this explosion of rock, spice and fruit. I planned a trip around visiting those vineyards soon after, and wine has been an amazing lens through which to experience the world ever since.

PM: Ok, feet-to-the-fire question: list your top three ‘Last Supper’ wines, both local and nonlocal.
BK: 1) Trimbach Riesling, Clos Ste. Hune, Alsace. Striking focus and minerality, [and] the wine stays on your palate for days. 2) Ferrando Nebbiolo, Etichetta Nera, Carema. Ethereal aromas, substantial yet silken tannins, pure class. 3) Page Springs Cellars Mourvèdre, Colibri Vineyard, Arizona. Rich concentration of fruit, tobacco, game and rock – a fireside favorite.


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