Monday, April 28, 2008

Recent Eats

It's been a pretty slow past few food weeks, but here are some highlights...

Culver's has opened a couple stores recently in the Valley. One is somewhere in Mesa and the other is in our neck of the woods, at Deer Valley Rd and 19th Ave. So far I've been twice. Once on their opening last Thursday and again on Sunday with Tara. Service Thursday was laughable and about what you'd expect on opening day. The counter staff couldn't run the ordering system without their trainers and I could order stuff (relish) that they didn't actually have yet. Still, my burger wasn't bad. The fries ranged from floppy to a couple crispy ones. Definitely nothing remotely special. I got a concrete (frozen chocolate custard with a couple mix-ins) but that was a bad idea after the double burger. I barely ate half of it.

On Sunday, Tara and I stopped in. The original plan was for her to get a burger and some fried cheese curds (it's a Minnesota thing). After that, we were going to go to the new Lee Lee Supermarket in Glendale and I planned on getting something at a Vietnamese place called Pho-Licious across the street. Well, her bacon burger arrived with no bacon but an extra meat patty. I took it back and the manager said he couldn't take it back, but he'd get me some bacon, OR he'd make the correct burger and we could keep the wrong one as well. I opted for the second choice, since it would be a waste just to toss a perfectly good burger. So I got a free meal, just not what we'd planned. Tara liked the burger, but the cheese curds were breaded, so not the ideal way she likes them . The GOOD fried cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair have more of a tempura-like batter. These were more like the fried cheese you'd get as an appetizer at an Italian joint or something. Not bad, but not the good stuff. They also didn't come with any type of sauce, which they needed.

After lunch, we headed to the new Lee Lee's at 75th Ave and Cactus. The long-time Chandler favorite opened the West Valley outpost on Thursday. It's in an old Albertsons (and you can recognize the layout as such) but it's definitely an Asian market. It doesn't seem quite as extensive as the original location, but it's still a great addition to the West Valley food scene. The shelves aren't quite fully stocked yet, but it's coming along. The in-store restaurant is still being finished but a small snack bar is open. Even though it's about 13 miles closer, we rarely find ourselves on the West Side, so we'll still make the trek to Chandler. The original location is only a few miles from Vonhanson's Meat Market, where we go all the time. Tara liked the new store, but I prefer the original for some intangible reason.

Even though I wasn't very hungry, we crossed Cactus so I could try Pho-Licious. The restaurant has a very nice interior, with granite table tops and a cool ceiling. Tara really like the interior treatment. She wasn't hungry and also isn't a fan of Vietnamese food, so I just opted to get an order each of spring rolls and egg rolls. Like a lot of Vietnamese places, service is somewhat brusque, but unlike most of them, it was also not very good. We weren't given any plates or utensils to eat with, despite one of the waiters just sitting in a booth zoning out and a waitress cleaning the table and floor near us but not noticing. I ended up going over and basically grabbing them myself. I did enjoy the food, though. The basic shrimp and pork spring rolls were fresh and had good flavor. The egg rolls were fried to a dark brown and once cooled, were very good as well. I wished they had a bit more filling, though. Still, they met my craving and for $7.00, the various rolls made a good snack.

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