Postino Wine Cafe

Ok my foodie friends! Time for another one of my FAVORITE local eats. Today I’m going to talk a little about Postino Wine Cafe. If you are wanting a little fun and funky atmosphere, some amazing small bites or unique and fresh entree options, and of course a glass of wine or two… this is your spot!

While this brand is growing and more locations are popping up throughout the valley, my favorite is still the Arcadia branch, located on Campbell and 44th Street. I think the reason I tend to go to this location is because it truly has the local, quaint feel that I love in a restaurant. With an indoor/outdoor vibe, wine bottles throughout the seating area, and a unique menu that has a little something for everyone, I could spend hours here people watching and enjoying a local, fresh bite to eat.

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Now, what makes their menu so unique? Besides the fact that there are plenty of healthy gluten-free, vegetarian, or health conscious options, their pick-4 bruschetta board can truly make anyone get excited for their food to come. Talk about options! I remember the first time I sat down with a friend and she asked if I wanted to split the board, I couldn’t understand why she was so excited? Now, having tried a variety of their choices I see why she had the reaction she did.

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Each flavor combination is better than the next…. seriously! With options like Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jam with Goat Cheese, Ricotta with Dates & Pistacios, and not to mention the variety of seasonal options available, how are you supposed to choose just four?! If you choose to check out this local favorite, I beg you to try this board. I promise (well… I am 99.9% sure) that you will fall in love with the unique flavors that this cafe has been able to create.

If you enjoy a glass of wine, obviously they offer a variety of choices, as well as a few local and craft beers. This is a charming and cute spot for a relaxed date night or just a night out with the girlfriends! I brought a friend here during her visit last month, and I think she was entirely pleased!

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I just want to leave this post with something a little personal about me and my transition through “healthy eating”. When it comes to eating out, I thoroughly enjoy trying new things and new places. Obviously I love eating local, but something that has changed a lot with me over the past few years is the types of foods that I “allow” myself to eat. I quote that, because over the past few years I have adapted a better concept of being “balanced” with my eating. I have learned that if I want to try something that may have a few more calories than my typical salad or bun-less veggie or turkey burger, I should not hesitate to do it!

It is OK to enjoy the experience of trying new foods or eating out at one of your favorite restaurants. One special meal will not ruin your health efforts! Something that I do to help me moderate my portions when we are eating a special meal or trying something a little more calorie dense is split the meal with my husband. Bless his soul that he has become more open to doing this with me so that we can enjoy these experiences together and both get to try something new! If he really doesn’t want to split something (there are those times when his appetite is bigger than I can keep up with!), I will usually stop eating the second I feel sensations of fullness and box up the rest of my meal for leftovers. It is that simple! I hope you can use some of these tips to help you do the same and enjoy your experiences with eating out and trying new foods!


Chestnut Fine Foods & Provisions

Happy Sunday everyone! I am so, SO excited to start sharing more in this section of HHK! For those of you who know me personally, you know that trying new restaurants and diving into the culture of wherever I am living is so important to me. Trying local restaurants, cafes, or even checking out local farmers markets is something that truly helps me accept where I am living and feel at home.

When I was living in Columbus, OH during my undergraduate career at Ohio State University and for a short time after graduation, I truly fell in love with everything that the city had to offer. For me, studying to be a dietitian did not only mean I cooked healthy meals for myself, learned about Medical Nutrition Therapy, and worked to make connections with patients or clients to help them achieve whatever it may be nutritionally they needed; I embraced everything that it meant to be in a profession that is centered around food. This meant that a lot of my free time was doing just that; exploring the different side of “eating and being healthy” by learning more about eating local and embracing the food market in the city I called home.

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Now that I live in Phoenix, this is something that has really helped me once again expand my interests and feel of fulfilled as a dietitian and someone who simply enjoys living a healthful and happy lifestyle. Food culture is everywhere and eating local has become something that is even more important to me as Jeff and I have started to build our family here in AZ one paw at a time (sorry, no babies just yet!). I enjoy shopping at local food/farmers markets and preparing wholesome, nutritious meals for myself and my husband. I want to support local restaurants and cafes that source foods locally and work to keep the Phoenix food culture unique, hip, and ever-changing.

That brings me to talk about Chestnut Fine Foods & Provisions (finally, right?!)! Some people take brunch as the opportunity to sip mimosas (or maybe a little more than sip) and socialize with others in the fun and fabulous Scottsdale scene of Arizona. While this is fun on occasion, brunch is something that I actually value as time spent with my husband that we normally don’t get.  Because of Jeff’s hectic work schedule, I thoroughly enjoy the moments where we can share an early meal, soak up some sun, and really relax on a Saturday or Sunday.

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Chestnut is a local brunch and lunch restaurant that is only open mornings and early afternoon. It is located right in the center of fun and funky Arcadia on Camelback and 44th street and is never a disappointment! Their breakfast menu is one of my favorites, with variety of options including egg dishes, gluten-free pancakes, and some of the most decadent waffles you have ever seen! Chestnut features several local producers, such as one of my favorite cold brew coffee brands, Mama’s Cold Brew. With an eclectic, charming atmosphere, this spot tends to thrive with locals for a quick breakfast, lunch, or even a cold brew and pastry to go. If you are looking for a quite, yet pleasant and unique experience this is definitely a place for you!

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What is my favorite thing on the menu?

Well, that’s a hard question for me to answer, but I think I could narrow it down to 2 options. The Morning Bibimbap Bowl is a healthy blend of quinoa, sauteed kale, sriracha, and green onions with 2 poached eggs on top. Uh, can you say delicious?! My second favorite is the Banana Bread Pancakes made with a combo of walnut flour, oats, and bananas that is served with maple bacon and candied walnuts. Both of these choices are gluten free and leave me feeling satisfied and happy for the morning! Below is the Bibimbap Bowl!

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If you are a Phoenix local or just visiting for the winter months, I would highly recommend you try this especially sweet brunch spot! I have attached a link to the website above in the first few paragraphs to help get your taste buds watering!

 

Thanks for reading as always and happy Sunday !


A Taste of Austin, TX

Although this is not local, I thought I  would help you plan your next trip to Austin, TX! My husband and I just returned on Monday, and when my coworkers asked me what we did one of my first answer was always, “Well…. we ate a lot!”. Austin was fun, eclectic, and full of food experiences. From traditional Texas barbecue to food trucks galore, there was a little bit of everything. We definitely ate our way through the city and tried just about everything… with the exception of a donut that was at the top of my list (I’m still a little upset about that one!). Here were a few of my favorites… I hope you try them out if you ever find yourself in this fun and funky city!

Lunch:

Iron Works Official Texas Barbecue

If you are looking for good Texas barbecue, definitely add this little gem to your list. Nothing fancy, but just what we needed after a morning of hiking trails in what seemed like 100% humidity. Jeff and I tried a sampler, which allow us to pick 3 meats and 2 sides. We chose lean brisket (you have to ask for it lean!), beef ribs, and pork sausage with a side of creamed corn and coleslaw. DELICIOUS. As you can tell from all of my other posts, I’m not really a meat person, but this was literally heaven on a bone. The coleslaw was super simple but very crunchy and fresh next to the meats. It can be found in the heard of down town Austin!

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Dinner:

Moonshine Patio Bar and Grille

Talk about the cutest little restaurant ever right outside of downtown Austin. It is within walking distance to 6th Street but is tucked away just far enough that you can enjoy a few cocktails and some of Austin’s finest food outdoors without a peep. Pimento cheese with salted pretzel sticks started out our meal (I think pimento is common in Texas? Please correct me if I’m wrong!) and was full of flavor but not too heavy. I got a simple side of green beans and Jeff and I shared a decadent mac and cheese with green chilies and chicken. Don’t get me wrong, I have had plenty of green chile mac and cheese in Arizona, but this dish had a little more of a southern comfort flare than what I was used to. The patio was peaceful and the drinks were fabulous (my husband took a liking to Deep Eddy’s Vodka while we were there). This was is definitely a must for a relaxing evening outdoors!

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Breakfast/Brunch:

Olivia

If you want a tasty, local farm-to-table brunch, this is your spot! Located on South Lamar Blvd, this little eclectic little restaurant has something for everyone. With a simple, yet versatile menu this spot gets crowded fast, so make sure you make your reservations ahead of time! Although we didn’t try the mimosa trio (which looked fantastic) we did get our serving of locally fresh foods with a fantastic presentation. I had quiche filled with fresh veggies and a little bit of prosciutto which came with a simple garden salad. It was light, flavorful, and the perfect start to our morning! If you like things hot there are multiple local hot sauces or chile verde’s to try (I mean a lot!). Definitely add this little gem to your list!

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Tasty Local Treat — Feature: Mama’s Cold Brew

Ok… my 101st post (Uh, I know right?! When did that happen?!) goes out to my local AZ readers! I had heard many good things about Mama’s Cold Brew, a local Phoenix coffee company that appears at farmers markets and a few tasty restaurants/cafes in the area such as Chestnut (one of my personal favs) on Camelback and 44th St. After listening to a friend rave about the coffee Saturday afternoon, I decided to try it out myself.

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Anthem, AZ (Uhhh…. sorry if you don’t know where that is; I wouldn’t either except for my soon-to-be-hubby is from there) holds a wonderful farmers market every Sunday morning while the temps are still bearable. Mama’s Cold Brew makes an appearance on these mornings, so when life gives you a caffeine craving, coffee is the only fix. After heading down to the farmer’s market this morning and finally giving this tasty treat a try, I fell in love…. and I fell hard.

Not only is this coffee, it is a creamy, delicious, rich creation that just needed to be shared with any of my local foodie readers! A tasty combo of organic brewed coffee with warm, rich spices (if you love cinnamon, this is definitely for you!) topped off with a little homemade organic vanilla sweet cream creamer is the perfect start to any day (always in moderation of course… the dietitian in me speaking)! Yes, all of these thoughts are my own; no, Mama’s Cold Brew did not ask me to become obsessed with their coffee and spread the love. I’m doing it because when I find something this good, I think it needs to be shared!

Although the Anthem, AZ Farmer’s Market made it’s last appearance this weekend for the summer, you can check out Mama’s Cold Brew online or at one of the local restaurants that serves it! Hope you try it, and happy Sunday!

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Greetings From Arizona!

My lack of posting has a reason! I am currently in Arizona soaking up some sun, some culture, and some much needed time with my special someone. My food inspiration has been booming during my time here. I have a million and one ideas for recipes now when I return home. For those of you who ever decide to take a trip out to this desert paradise, I have a few restaurant recommendations for you! A few of them may be chains, but in my opinion who cares! Good food and good atmosphere is something I love, and the hot Arizona sun and surrounding cacti just add to my enjoyment!

True Food

I went here for lunch today and boy was it a treat! As a vegetarian, there were a ton of options to choose from (which is always nice) and a good handful of options for non-vegetarians, those who eat gluten free, or vegans. The menu is based off of an “anti-inflammatory diet” which was interesting, but don’t let that scare you away! The atmosphere was clean, earthy, and relaxing. From my research, other locations for this restaurant are mainly out West, so sorry East coasters! I had the Kale Crunch salad which had kale, cabbage, almonds, grapefruit, avocadoradish, and watercress with a spicy chili dressing. I also split lettuce wraps with tofu and cashews. My meal was wonderful. I would definitely go back! 

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Tonto Bar and Grill

This restaurant was located in Cave Creek, Arizona with beautiful decorations and surrounding scenery. I sat outside under warm heat lamps by a unique sculpture with trickling fountains and illuminating flames. For dinner, I had the Vegetarian Nosh which allowed me to choose from a variety of vegetables, starches, and choose a special sauce to dip the veggies in. For my nosh, I chose grilled asparagus, sautéed broccolini, sweet potato hash with corn, spaghetti squash with spinach, and a small russet potato. I also chose the roasted garlic and mesquite honey sauce. On a non-food note, I also saw a javelina! Javelinas (hav-a-lina) are wild pigs with horns that personally I think are quite cute, but many people probably beg to differ. 

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Cafe Zupas

Ok so those of you Arizona locals may laugh at me for this one, but I really enjoyed it! If you are in need of a quick, easy, and in my opinion healthy lunch, this would definitely be a great stop! My boyfriend and I ate here during our trip to Desert Ridge yesterday afternoon after shopping around, and we both found something that we actually enjoyed (which can be rare!). The menu consists of mainly soups, salads, and sandwiches. All of the salads and sandwiches are made right there in front of you, and each meal comes with a complimentary chocolate covered strawberry (what is not to like about that?!). I had their vegetarian sandwich, which had sprouts, roasted red peppers, tomato, cucumber, greens, munster cheese, and a pesto sauce on ciabatta bread with a cup of their wild mushroom bisque with shitake, crimini, and button mushrooms, both of which were excellent and light for the sunny afternoon!

Wherever you choose to travel, I hope that you take the opportunity to try something new or push yourself out of your food comfort zone a bit. You will never know if you’ll like something unless you try!

What are some of your favorite restaurant finds from your travels or vacations?