Does anyone out there remember Hop's at the Biltmore? Back in the day my brother used to work there and they had the best beer. (he also worked a stint at Karsh's Bakery and brought home kikel and mondel bread mmmm all the time). By the way, Simply Bread is selling kikel and model bread now at AJ's Fine Foods. Good to know!
Also another place I think of from time to time was Pop's at Scottsdale Fashion mall. Their dinner rolls had amazing crust (they might have been C Steele?) and they had a lemon cake that was to die for. I think I cried when they closed. And then there was Lunt Avenue Marble Club that had an amazing thick crust pizza with crumbly Italian sausage and I suspect they used buffalo milk mozzarella because of the way it melted. Mmmm. Slice of Sicily makes a pie similar to Lunt but you have to order it 2 hours in advance.
I digress...at Hop's they brewed their own and I remember their blonde ale was especially refreshing and delicious. They also did great appetizers. One I remember in particular was a black bean spread served with little french bread "toasts" and a tomato tapenade. My brother told me the chunky tomato mixture was cooked slowly in the oven to make it more concentrated. I suspect it had rosemary in it, the flavor of the tomatoes with the black beans was so yummy.
Jason and I were reminiscing about Hop's last night over dinner at Manuel's and he remembered they had these amazing soft pretzels they served with a cheesy sauce. I remember recently seeing a Postino's menu online that said they are serving soft pretzels as an appetizer, with a cheese and I told him that we need to go and check this out, post haste. Another reason to go to Postino's is that they offer a board of bruschetta and a bottle of house wine for $20 on Mondays & Tuesdays after 8:00 pm. That is a major steal. The salami they use on their pesto and salami bruschetta is of really good quality, and the artichoke spread is delicious, as well as the cannelli bean spread - I think they are cannelli beans at least. Jason likes their brie and apples...I am not a fan of cheesy food (except for pizza) so they are all about him.
It is not unusual in my family to plan a meal while eating a good meal, so that's what happened last night; it reminded me of family holidays, often that take place at my aunt's. On Christmas she makes a chicken cacciatore with spaghetti, she is quite the chef. Then she makes cannoli for dessert (I helped her make the shells last year on her pizzelle maker, they had cinnamon in them and were very crispy). Typically when we have Christmas at my aunt's, we plan Easter at my Mom's and talk about the meal - never mind that it's several months away. We muse about a Honeybaked ham, rye bread and pasta salad with lots of veggies. Boy, that sounds good. That meal planning from the Hamilton gene, it didn't skip a generation when it comes to this kitchen wench.
Happy reminiscing/eating/planning your next meal.