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When I was invited to North Scottsdale to try out a new casual restaurant concept called sneakybird, I immediately jumped on social media to do a little research before my visit. I discovered that this new restaurant claims to specialize in “crispy, tender and flavorful chicken that tastes fried, but never is.”  That seemed like a bold claim and I was eager to find out how good this faux fried chicken could really be. Located...

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Señor Al Pastor burger with onion strings | Photo by Nikki Buchanan  You’ve surely heard of Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers, the Arizona-based chain of neighborhood burger joints/sports bars dedicated to — you guessed it — cold beers and cheeseburgers. Well, Terry and Randy Bortin, brothers who have long been in the restaurant biz here in Phoenix, have put a fun Mexican spin on that simple, straightforward concept, opening Hamburguesas y Cervezas on First Avenue just...

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PHOTO BY NIKKI BUCHANAN For a week or two there, it seemed as if every food-friend I spoke to had recently been to Source — Claudio Urciuoli’s new restaurant in Epicenter at Agritopia — and to a person, they raved about it. Many of the superlatives zeroed in on the bread, some declaring that Urciuoli’s bread-baking chops have reached an all-time high, others gushing more specifically, as in, “Oh my God! You’ve gotta try the...

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This small, modern restaurant with an open patio and stunning panoramic views sits two stories above the gentle hustle and bustle of downtown Gilbert. Named after a North American spirit derived from a Chihuahuan Desert shrub called the sotol plant, this hotspot is introducing Gilbert to a creative cocktail menu, but it’s a lot more than a thirst-quenching cantina. The menu is also filled with imaginative dishes that not only tickled my taste buds but...

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Dom Ruggiero has two superpowers. One is cooking; the other is sniffing out dodgy restaurant neighborhoods and making them cool. Case in point: his first restaurant, Hush Public House, set in a nondescript strip mall on Scottsdale Road near Thunderbird. Before Ruggiero showed up, who headed to that intersection for a fantastic, creative meal? Ever? Precisely no one. Now, customers haul butt to get to Hush when it opens at 5 p.m. to snag a...

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Berry Pancakes | Photo by Lisa Patel Vegan & Vine, a family-owned vegan café/wine bar/market, opened in the Moon Valley area last May. I had been hearing about this newest addition to the Phoenix vegan scene for a couple months and was quite delighted when my editor asked me to check it out. Vegan & Vine, easily spotted off the main road as you drive down East Thunderbird Road near North Seventh Street, is the...