Posts Tagged ‘mojito’

Imposter

I have a confession to make… I’ve been impersonating a food blogger. I don’t know how it happened; I don’t cook well, I have no education in gastronomy, I simply like to eat and tweet. This has somehow afforded me the opportunity to attend various media events and grand opening celebrations and it is now time to fess up and tell you all about it!

Deseo

Let’s start with an event at Deseo at the Westin Kierland resort. The location is down a beautiful staircase and we all started the evening in the cocktail bar with a muddling class, learning to make mojitos.I’m not much of a mojito fan, as the lime and mint can often overwhelm my gringo taste buds, but the staff here muddled the mint so gently and kept the simple syrup so simple (and less syrupy) that they were quite light and refreshing. They also made us some berry mojitos to throw a different twist on the classic. I could imagine sucking quite a few of these beverages down by the pool any time. They also treated us to some popcorn drizzled with truffle oil, a little-known foodie trick to keep things interesting. After the muddling class we were escorted to the counter in the dining room for a ceviche lesson with renowned chef Douglas Rodriguez. After watching the creation of three different ceviches and sampling all of them, I was quite impressed with the fact that each had an incredibly unique flavor. I do have to admit that I was disappointed in the lack of avocado, as I like the buttery contrast to all the acid, but the rainbow ceviche was amazingly fresh and delicious.

Our event at Deseo continued with a dual-entree of steak and sea bass with a couple of sides. The steak was good, but the fish was the star of the evening for me. I cannot begin to describe the perfect, buttery, crisp crust on this piece of fish and the tender belly that just melted in my mouth. The night was topped off with a tasty dulce de leche dessert. In all fairness, we were treated like absolute royalty and to experience even half of this would probably put a serious dent in anyone’s wallet. The Miami-style Latin cuisine is not something that often interests me, but I will visit Deseo again because of their unmistakable mastery of seafood.

The Herb Box

Let’s move on to the media grand opening event of The Herb Box location on the Scottsdale Waterfront. These local darlings have taken over the former Estate House and done a great job turning it into an exciting, welcoming, yet casual dining atmosphere. With an amazing cheese selection, unique wine list, and decadent red velvet macarons, we had a great introduction to the place. The owners are friendly people who are obviously passionate about utilizing fresh ingredients and bold flavors. What excites me most about The Herb Box is the market concept they’ve incorporated at the street level, where you can stop by and pick up a sandwich, salads, bags of their light and crispy plantain or sweet potato chips, some artisan cheese, and/or unbelievable baked goods. There are even some soon-to-be-stocked wine shelves at the market to provide everything you need for a romantic evening at home at a convenient pickup location. Fingers crossed for some Arizona wines to make the inventory!

Sunshine Moon Peking Pub

Moving on to perhaps the biggest surprise, Sunshine Moon Peking Pub. An odd name, for sure, but you have to respect a guy who names a restaurant based on a line out of his young daughter’s mouth. Again we were treated like royalty, with personal visits from the owners and chef and a never ending delivery of food and wine. But I was blown away by… wait for it… the perfectly medium-rare pub burger with a runny egg, caramelized onions, and kewpie mayonnaise all piled on top of a super-soft brioche bun. Yes, you heard correctly, someone has successfully combined a Chinese restaurant with a pub and mastered an awesome burger. The wings were also very well cooked with a well-balanced pineapple glaze over evenly crispy and meaty chicken. A solid Mongolian Beef dish started the entrees off right. In fact, we tried almost everything on the menu and it was all damn good. The Orange-Peel Chicken was a bit of a sodium bomb for me, but it was a favorite of others at the table, so I’d recommend trying it to decide for yourself. The Shrimp in Lobster Sauce was a special treat, with a sauce that might as well have been made from egg drop soup. Don’t be too thrown off by the menu reading black beans, as they only sprinkle a couple throughout the dish and I wasn’t really able to discern why.

Another great dish at Sunshine Moon was the “Soft Egg, Soft Noodle.” This puppy was a bowl of perhaps the best noodles I’ve ever had, with incredibly flavorful beef, and the fried egg on top just threw it over the moon. Did I mention dessert? Classic rainbow sherbet and a dish of fried ice cream with cream cheese and strawberry sauce. A “kind of deconstructed strawberry cheesecake,” as described by the chef (who is quite yummy in his own right). The evening was one of those rare moments when you think to yourself “this is a good day… good day indeed.” The endless array of amazing dishes, the bottomless glasses of wine, the comfortable atmosphere, and most of all, the incredible company of friendly faces made for a truly memorable night. Is it traditional, authentic Chinese food? Probably not. Is it a gourmet stop on the Scottsdale culinary roadmap? Nah. Is it quality ingredients with good flavors, plentiful portions, and convenient takeout? Absolutely, and I’m a big fan.