Chino Bandido

IMG_2659 (2)

 

Confused by the meal pictured above? You have every right to be. It’s a mix of Chinese and Mexican food! There are a couple locations throughout the “Greater Phoenix Area” (put in quotations because everyone not born in Phoenix knows that Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe, etc don’t really matter. It’s all Phoenix to us!) and it is quite an interesting experience.

Chino Bandido’s most popular plate option is the combo: you get two meats (burrito or quesadilla style), rice, and beans for about $7. On top of that you can choose refried beans, spicy black beans (what I had, try them. They are delicious), rice, or a variety of fried rices.

What I ordered was suggested by the delightful and knowledgable waitress Fizz (at the Tempe location. GO VISIT AND SAY HI!). She recommended the Emerald Chicken quesadilla with the Jade Red Chicken, white rice (because fried was a dollar extra and I’m cheap) and the spicy black beans. It was delicious. The Emerald chicken is a ginger and scallion seasoned chicken and it was delicious covered in cheese and sandwiched in between crispy quesadillas. I also suggest you spread some black beans on with every bite, it gives it a lovely kick. The Jade Red Chicken is sort of a Sweet and Sour style chicken and it was tender and reminiscent of classic American style Chinese food. All in all I enjoyed the meal, and I had leftovers, too!

The best part, however, may be the fresh daily baked Snickerdoodle cookie that comes with the meal. It’s soft and chewy and honestly one of the best snickerdoodles I have tried. Doesn’t happen often at quick service restaurants, but here it is amazing. They make the dough and bake the cookies on site so it’s fresh and tasty!

If you need more reason to go check out this unusual food combo here is a picture of their mascot. He is adorable (if a bit racist):

 

Now go! Enjoy and marvel at the taste sensation! And again, if you go to the Tempe location say Hi to Fizz!

Jason’s Deli

Ah, Jason’s Deli. It has been a family favorite for a good decade now. And the reason we like it so much is because it is quick, simple food but with quality flavor and craft. You can order pick-up or pop on in for a sit-down meal and enjoy everything from the salad bar to turkey wraps to salmon sandwiches to baked potatoes to soup!

And don’t forget the complimentary ice cream cone at the end of your meal!

The Jason’s that we always frequent, across from the Tucson Mall, has that fun and quirky cafeteria feel to it – it’s open and the furniture is normal black tables and plastic chairs. There really never was much decoration (till lately when they added some AZ spirit-filled black and white wall posters of various locations across Tucson) except for the red and white color theme.

But it was always pleasant and comfortable and clean. And the food has always been enjoyable. My longtime order is the turkey wrap with swiss (heated) and a side of fruit. The wrap is never dried out and they fill the sandwich with enough meat and cheese to make it worthwhile. Also the fruit dip. I have to rave about this creamy concoction.

From what I can tell from my exacting scientific taste experiments (aka, eating it in insane quantities and with zealous delight) I have deduced that this dip is made out of… magical ingredients! I really haven’t been able to tell. I’m guessing it’s either cream or a thinned out cream cheese with vanilla and some brown sugar. But there is this zing to it that I have only ever been able to describe as alcoholic. Whenever I asked though, I would get a different answer. So it very well may be an alcoholic fruit dip (or the dip may be nearly entirely comprised of vanilla extract – which if you ever look closely enough is 41% alcohol. That is a LOT.)

In either case I always enjoy the dip more than the fruit and use the strawberries, grapes or melons they give me to swipe every last drop of deliciousness off the plastic container it comes in. And then you have to lick clean something THAT good.

I’m sure by now, though, you are wondering what the pictured sandwich is! And that would be the Wild Salmon-wich featuring guacamole and chipotle aioli sauce on focaccia. It was really good. I was even able to not think about the fruit dip waiting for me for a good half a sandwich. The salmon was flaky and not overcooked, it held together nicely. And the sandwich was very flavorful and fresh. Exactly the type of thing I like to order – that which I would not have the patience or ingredients to make.

So next time you drive by a Jason’s Deli. Go ahead. Take a pit stop and refuel with some quality deli(cious) food!

JiST Café

In Downtown Little Korea there is a brand new and very trendy café. The menu is very simple and Japanese inspired, and you can tell the ingredients are local and caringly picked. JiST is the name of the game.

The menu ranged from Oatmeal with quinoa to the fluffiest pancakes ever to Chashu with 6 minute eggs.

I ordered the The Hangover Cure – an omelet with tender and easily shredded beef short ribs, a rich gravy-like sauce, and a cheddar cheese, with a side of breakfast potatoes perfectly seasoned and cooked with sautéed peppers and onions and a coffee cake.

You can sit inside or outside on the patio and enjoy the view. And they have a self-serve water service right next to the register. The inside was really neat – one wall red brick, the facing wall a geometrical puzzle design of wood pieces, and plants everywhere. On the ceiling are those jointed desk lamps attached to the posts

Korea Town food times! Bento Man is an awesome little quick…

Korea Town food times!

Bento Man is an awesome little quick serve place right around her corner. I had the Chashu (pork belly) Miso Ramen and it was some of the best ramen I’ve had! T. and L. tried the Shrimp Tempura Udon and the Chicken Teriyaki. Everybody was really thrilled with their food!

The dumplings are from a Korean Mall a few blocks away from T.’s place. We were the only non-Asians in the entire shopping center, but the Korean servers were so nice. The lady who manned the booth we ate at was super sweet and utterly excited to know we white girls liked kimchi. And for 6 bucks we got 12 sizeable dumplings, slices of some sweet yellow vegetable or fruit, what we determined was probably a cauliflower and veggie purée and a side of dipping sauce.

Anybody know what the sides were called and made of? Let me know please!

Guisados – The Best Tacos in LA

T. is very lucky because her roommate is a foodie and knows many other foodies who give epic restaurant recs.

First, I need to tell you that the every restaurant we’ve been to has been set up the same way – there is a counter for ordering your food and then a separate dining area. Sometimes the food is delivered to you and sometimes you pick it up from a second counter. But we have yet to eat at a traditional restaurant with servers taking our orders.

Which I actually don’t miss that much at all.

This was the first place we experienced the new set up. Guisados has a variety of very tender and delicious fillings for their soft corn tacos. Anything from pollo con mole to chicharrones to queso to pescado. EVERYTHING. So, presented with so many options, I picked the sampler plate and then we all sat in the porch seating behind the kitchen.

Pictured above, it comes with 6 2in tacos in the flavors of your choice. I chose Calabacitas, Pollo con Mole, Tinga de Pollo, Chuleta en Salsa Verde, Cochinita Pibil, and Chorizo. And they brought out a side of spicy cream sauce, as well.

Everything was very succulent and bursting with flavor. Each bite carried a spicy warmth and every filling was unique and different. My favorites were the Tinga, the Pibil and the Calabacitas, but none of them disappointed.