25 degrees Fahrenheit is a bit cold for me, 25 degrees Celsius is the typical San Diego day that I miss so much, but as any Chef knows, 25 degrees as it applies to meat is the difference between a medium rare and well done burger.
A few days ago I had a mediocre burger at Lush Burger in Scottsdale so when my trusty pal “Mikey” suggested we drop in and have a burger at 25 Degrees in City North I was a bit reluctant. After spending some time at the bar with the menu and cheerful staff, I realized my reservations were unfounded.
Getting rite down to it, I ordered Bacon wrapped Dates ($8) as an appetizer and we all know my feelings vis a vis anything prepared with bacon and/or butter. Along came a plate of crispy bacon wrapped around sweet dates stuffed with both bleu and marscapone cheeses. Without the need of dipping sauces they were delicious, I could eat somewhere in the neighborhood of ten thousand of these little bits of sweet, salty, creamy tastiness!
So many burger joints get the fries wrong but not 25 Degrees, the 50/50 fries were on point! Skinny as fries should be, these hot little burger sidekicks shared a carton with their sweet potato brethren and arrived hot and full of flavor accompanied by garlic parmesan and spicy aioli’s (couldn’t get the Chef to tell me what was in it though I suspect red bell pepper and cayenne). The fries arrive before your burger so that you can judge them on their own merits.
25 Degrees’ raison d’être is the humble hamburger ordered either by number (as we Americans have been conditioned to do) or in combination with any of three meats, thirteen cheeses, fifteen extras (including jalapeno bacon and Hatch green chiles), and/or fifteen sauces. My order was ground sirloin prepared medium, topped with stinky Red Hawk triple cream cheese (from Cowgirl creamery), crisp bacon (again, my love of this salty culinary necessity is well documented), and Hatch green chiles.
Few things are better in my opinion, than a juicy, properly cooked burger. This one had great meaty texture and was quite frankly huge! One thing stood out, the Red hawk cheese is very fragrant but if you can get past the olfactory assault you will find a tangy, rich cheese with a creamy texture that ties the other toppings together superbly.
If your in North Phoenix and in the mood for a great burger, a cool atmosphere and a tall glass of Sonoran draft root-beer, make it a point to stop by, have a seat and ask for General manager Courtney Cowan. Tell her Tony sent you!
I Have a healthy, nearly full term food baby that Chef Becky Windels & The Herb Box restaurant are responsible for! This quaint little Bistro/cafe’ Located on Market Street in Scottsdale’s uber chic DC Ranch Area, is a gift to the culinary world. Having happily enjoyed several of their sweet baked offerings, I decided to give the lunch menu a spin, what followed was a lesson in how to do food right!
Shortly after being seated by a cheerful, smiling hostess our server Maria dropped by to take our drink order and let us know what the day’s specials were. After looking through the menu I settled on the Rosemary Steak Ciabatta sandwich prepared with charred onion, watercress, white cheddar cheese and a Dijon mayonnaise. A side of the Smoked Gouda Mac N’ Cheese with crispy Rosemary breadcrumbs and an order of Crisp Fingerling potatoes sprinkled with sea salt and served with a side of house made red pepper aioli.
While all of this food might be a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach, I simply couldnt resist trying a little of everything. After a short wait, the food arrived and I was certain I’d made great choices. The Steak sandwich was cooked to order, a little short of medium on the softest ciabatta roll I’ve had, piled high beside it were sweet potato chips dusted with curry powder (why have I never had this before?)
Biting into the sandwich, I experienced the carefully crafted mix of flavors and textures that a great chef strives to achieve. The steak was juicy and well complimented by the rosemary, crunchy watercress for added texture and the tanginess of aged white cheddar, all nicely brought together by the Dijon mayo. The house made sweet potato chips are brightened and brought to life by a deft sprinkling of curry powder making you want to eat more than you should (yes, they sell them to-go and I have a bag atop my fridge for a late night snack!)
Let’s talk Mac N’ Cheese. I’m going to say it… The Smoked Gouda Mac at The Herb Box is simply the best I’ve ever had! Creamy cheese and al dente’ pasta topped with crunchy rosemary breadcrumbs made this my new favorite dish. Yes, I know, everyone has a favorite Mac N’ Cheese but forget about them! Try this dish and you will be sold! (I didn’t forget to order a portion to-go…I know what’s going on at 2 AM when I have the munchies!!)
What’s a steak sandwich without potatoes? Yup, ordered them! A tasty side of smashed, crisped fingerling potatoes served with a delicious red pepper aioli disappeared just as fast as I could dip and eat! (I can see dropping in for any one of the items I’ve mentioned so far but together they are DANGEROUS!)
okay, clearly I was done eating and in need of both the check and a pillow but enter Maria again who eagerly suggested I try the pistachio ice cream sandwich cookie. Never one to ignore the recommendation of a foodservice professional, I agreed that I should have one and what came next was wrong in so many ways I’m almost at a loss for words.
Now I’ve never had pistachio ice cream though I’ve always heard it was tasty but this was extraordinary. My mouth and taste buds were assaulted by the flavors of almond, pistachio, strawberries, blackberries and a delicious thick creme’, the crunch of the cookies was the perfect counterpoint to the cold soft ice cream and the fruit just completed the sensation. Think that was the end? Try again, the dessert case beckons with such a variety of scrumptious looking treats that must be seen to be believed.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a BIG fan of The Herb Box and Chef Becky’s Cuisine, if you haven’t had the opportunity to visit, make it a point or I assure you, you’re missing out!