Monday, March 16, 2009
This is the Chorizos Rancheros plate at the Bisbee Breakfast Club, and it is the most beautiful scramble plate I've ever seen. Look at the collections of scrambled egg and salsa that grow forth through the mass of cheese like moss on some heavenly terrain where breakfast foods grow from the ground. (Don't laugh, I have dreamed of such a place.) Gasp at the island of chopped avocado perched lovingly at the top. Sigh with delight as you discover the bits of chorizo lodged inside, like little nuggets of deliciousness. Yeah, it was really good. The BBC decor is bright in the morning hours, with a storefront that faces the direction of the old mine. Inside, it's like a honkytonk bar designed by reforming young urbanites. The place has wonky hours, open from 7-12 on weekdays and closed Tuesdays. But if you're waking up from a stay at the Shady Dell or on your way back from an early morning visit at the Cochise County Jail, it's the perfect breakfast stop.
The Savory Spot is hip and humble, run by a pleasant group of hippies with ample reading material (stacks upon stacks of GQs, Vanity Fairs, and Spin!). The true test of a good breakfast place is the quality of its home fries, and the Spot's don't disappoint: they're a tad peppery and crusty, and just soft enough on the inside. The over easy eggs were prepared perfectly. The sausage was decent, not spectacular, but I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to pork. The Spot also has a complete dinner menu, which I expect I'll be checking out soon; it's just down the road from the court house.
You suck. Seriously.
No more pussy footing around it. You're just not really all that great. Yeah, I know, I eat your food frequently because you're the only restaurant open in downtown Tucson at ungodly hours, but I'm through pretending that I like it. Really, the only reason most people eat at the Grill is for the tater tots, something I can handle quite ably myself with a bag of Ore-Ida and an oven.
Ohh, but then I would miss out on the vaunted atmosphere, a.k.a. the deafening noise from the Red Room next door (technically part of the Grill itself) and the snooty tattooed waiters who are more interested in talking to their friends than checking on my damn order.
Let me further note that of all the times I've had beers at the Red Room, they've all been shit. Maybe I just suck at picking good beers, because I tend to go by novelty names and oddball countries, but I'm inclined to blame you. Word to the wise, dear reader: Croatian brewery workers secretly pee in their beer.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Here's an aphorism that will serve you well, and that sums up my thoughts on Harvest succintly: don't ever go to a well-regarded restaurant and order the beef stew, especially at lunch, and especially on a weekend.
Harvest is located a block from the Oro Valley Town Hall complex on La Canada, and sits in a shopping mall with an awe-inspiring view of the mountains. Harvest's schtick is that it uses all locally-grown ingredients, with a menu that shifts every season (having opened just this past November, it's about to undergo its first such shift). In cases where there are no locally-grown or raised items available -- fish, for example -- they are obtained through economically sustainable means. (See the whitefish BLT, for example.)
We had two appetizers: the brie plate, with seasoned fruit chutneys, roasted garlic, and Arizona grapes, and the Harvest empanadas filled with beef, figs, olives, egg, and served with a side of chimmichuri sauce. Both were fantastic. The empanadas were delicate, light, and yielded with the sweetest pillowy softness. The whitefish BLT was stellar as well, with perfectly cooked fish and some of the tastiest bacon I've ever sampled.
But the beef stew, pictured above, was a disaster. Made with butternut squash and green chiles, I had trouble discerning the flavor of either, and found myself reaching for the salt and pepper with each bite. The tortillas served as accompaniment were dry and unexciting. The beef was turgid, rough, and not at all appetizing. I imagine this dish was probably cobbled together from a previous night's leftovers. And the portion was surprisingly small for $13, given that Feast regularly serves a similar stew with much larger portions at a similar price (not that I was clamoring for more when I had my plate taken away).
I'd like to try Harvest again for dinner. But as for the stew? Never again. Unless I'm at Feast.
Open-faced whitefish BLT with Lake Superior whitefish, toasted baguette, sweet potato chips, and homemade tartar sauce. From the lunch menu at Harvest Restaurant in Oro Valley. Mini-review to follow.