Tag Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Happy New Year 2016

To all our friends and subscribers we wish you a very happy 2016.  May the new year be filled with happiness and prosperity for you and yours based on your notion of the meaning.

For our first blog of the New Year we decided to re-post some of our favorite articles and postings from 2015. If you are a new subscriber you may be reading some of these postings  for the first time. If you’ve been with us for awhile, thanks for giving them a second read.

2015 In Review

From our family to yours


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Fast Food Fandango


Pima Raod

McDonald’s is such a fixture in America that we pretty much take it for granted. Ya get hungry, ya stop, get a burger, fries, a drink and off you go. What could possibly be worth writing about?

Recently, McDonald’s introduced their Sirloin Burger. Guess what? It’s worth writing about. This burger comes in three varieties: Lettuce & Tomato, Bacon & Cheese, Onion & Mushroom. All three are very good.

The Onion and Mushroom was a real surprise. Not something you would expect from a fast food joint. Very tasty. My personal favorite? Bacon & Cheese! 1/3 of a pound of good quality meat, well cooked on a nice bun. It was so filling that the fries seemed to be overkill. But who can resist McDonald’s fries?

As an afterthought, we decided on some dessert (as if we needed it). Two Dipped Ice Cream cones and coffee for under $5.00. The soft vanilla ice cream was covered with a crunchy chocolate dip in a wafer cone. It ain’t gourmet but, pretty darn good.

So sue me, I like McDonald’s.


Scottsdale & Shea


It has been a very long time since I visited Arby’s, mostly because the menu was so limited. My, oh my how things have changed. The menu was almost deli like.

Our first thought was to order something on a King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll. These items were sold out this day so we went to plan B and ordered a couple of deli sandwiches.

Kathy ordered a Reuben Sandwich. This was more than you would ever expect and pretty close to New York deli. It was on marbled rye bread filled with freshly sliced corned beef, melted Swiss Cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Very, very good!

I had the Smokehouse Brisket on a roll.  My sandwich was topped with smoked gouda, crispy onions, mayo and BBQ sauce. This was not something I would usually order but, the picture looked good and I wasn’t sorry for my choice. Yum!

Both sandwiches came with tasty Arby’s Curly Fries and a large drink and really good service, all for under $20.  This was pushing the fast food price envelope a little but, well worth it.

Burger King 

Burger King
Scottsdale & Thunderbird


Breakfast at Burger King, who knew? Not me.

There were plenty of things on the menu but, once we cast our eyes on the Hot Cinnamon Rolls we stopped reading the menu.

The Otis Spunkmeyer Cinnamon Rolls are made with warm dough filled with cinnamon and topped with cream cheese frosting. If you are on a diet and counting calories, your diet just got shot to hell. These were so good that I almost went back for another order. Discipline prevailed.

Four Otis Spunkmeyer Cinnamon Rolls  and two very good cups of coffee, around $10. What a deal!

Peace, health and prosperity.

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Martini Madness

The Best Of The Best

Writing this post was so much fun that we really had to apply some strict discipline in order to keep it professional.

Before heading over to Maui for a while, we decided to sample some of what Phoenix/Scottsdale has to offer. What could be more fun than sampling Martinis and sharing the recipes?

Our first stop was the Soul Cafe in North Scottsdale. This is already one of our favorite spots and the perfect place to start our bar tour.

Soul Cafe


April 10, 2015, Happy Hour

The atmosphere is laid back and down to earth. The staff is friendly and casual. Sheila, the owner, stopped by for a few minutes to chat. The very excellent bartender, Conor, was kind enough to share the recipes of the drinks he recommended. Thank you, Conor!

1.  Hot Marilyn

Cut strawberries

Muddled Jalapenos

Mint & lime flavoring to taste, a few drops are sufficient (you can muddle fresh mint with lime rinds if you don’t have flavoring)

1/2 oz Strawberry Puree

1 1/2 oz Skyy Strawberry Vodka

Muddle the jalapenos (and  the fresh mint with lime rinds if you’re going to use them)  in the shaker, add ice, vodka , mint, lime and puree. Shake, strain and pour. Float the sliced strawberries on top and add a sliced jalapeno to the rim.

2.   Coconut Martini 

1/2 oz Vanilla

2 oz Coconut Vodka

Splash of pineapple juice

1/2 oz Cake Vodka

1/2 oz of heavy cream or half and half, depending on your taste

Toasted coconut

Pour the liquids over ice into a shaker. Spin the rim of the martini glass in simple syrup and dip the sticky rim into the toasted coconut. Shake, strain and pour.

This is a high octane drink! It is so tasty that you can easily down three of them before you even feel the first one. Eat something with it.

Onward and upward!

Roy’s Desert Ridge


April 15, 2015, Happy Hour

Next on our list is Roy’s Desert Ridge at the J. W. Marriott Hotel. Back in January we posted an article on Roy’s cuisine. Now it’s time to comment on their drinks.

We started going to Roy’s in Hawaii when the first one was opened in Hawaii Kai on Oahu  in 1988 and were thrilled when one was opened in Phoenix .

In a fitting send off to tax day, what better place than the bar at Roy’s? The atmosphere of the bar, restaurant and grounds are as close to a Hawaiian resort as one can get without actually being in Hawaii. The bartenders, Robert Holditch and Kenny Carlson were great and the restaurant manager, Chris Karkoski was very gracious and informative.

1.  Roy’s Hawaiian Martini

This is Roy’s signature martini and the recipe is for a batch that serves six. If you’re going to serve this at a party, it needs five days advance preparation prior to serving and believe me, it’s worth it!

1 Ripe pineapple

2 Cups of Skyy Vodka

1 Cup of Malibu Coconut Rum

1 Cup of Stoli Vanil

2  oz of simple syrup

Slice the pineapple into one inch pieces and store the slices in a gallon container. Thoroughly blend the Skyy Vodka, Malibu Coconut Rum, Stoli Vanil and the simple syrup. Pour the mixture over the pineapple slices. Let the whole thing sit at room temperature for five days to infuse the flavor. When it’s time to serve, pour over ice, shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple leaving the skin on the wedge. Yum!

2.  1988

Roy Yamaguchi opened his first restaurant in Hawaii in 1988. This drink is in honor of that day.

1 1/2 oz Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka

1/2 oz Patron Citronge Liqueur

1/2 oz Soho Lychee Liqueur

1/4 oz Pomegranate juice

1/4 oz Fresh grapefruit juice

Shake, strain and pour. Drop in a whole lychee to complete. Some of the brand names may be hard to find, if so, use common sense substitutes.

Moving right along. Continue reading Martini Madness

July 2015

Okay, okay. In the last blog I indicated that I wouldn’t be posting again until after Labor Day. Well, as I am writing this (June 18th), the temperature in Scottsdale is 115 degrees (but it’s a dry heat, yeah, yeah, yeah) and the streets are mostly deserted. So, who wants to go outside anyway?

Old Town
Old Town Scottsdale

Over the course of a few days, we decided to do a summertime sampling of some fast food joints to see what’s new, read Fast Food Fandango for the lowdown.

You can also find a great summer recipe for Baked Chicken that’s pretty easy to make.

And as always there are a few Jokes & Stories from readers and from around the web. Feel free to contribute by email at:   [email protected]

In This Month’s Issue

Have a great summer!


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The Mission

One Of The Things That Make Scottsdale Such A Cool Place

The nice thing about having visitors is that you get to do things that you don’t usually do. Recently we had some family visit from the East Coast and before getting here they made a reservation at The Mission in Old Scottsdale.

Guacamole being made table side at The Mission
Quacamole being made table side

Now we have always been meaning to go here but, just never got around to it. Too bad for us! Great place. The menu is extensive and unusual. The food was very good Nuevo Mexican and the table side Quacamole outstanding.

The atmosphere in the dining room was a little dark but, the bar was big and bright. If you’re single, this looks like a good place to mingle and meet.

Dinner for two with drinks and tips $140-$150.

Tom and Nicole we will see on Maui!

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Mama’s Fish House

One Of The Jewels Of Maui

If you live in Hawaii or have ever visited Hawaii and you haven’t heard of Mama’s Fish House then you need to get out and about a little more.

Situated just off the Hana Highway past Paia, it doesn’t look like much from the road. But once you drive down to the place you immediately know it is something special. When I was a Hana tour guide I would always take my guests down the road for a visit and if they asked, I gladly made a recommendation.

The scenery is breathtaking, especially at sunset and just walking around the grounds makes the trip worthwhile.

The menu is quite extensive and varies based on what is being taken from the sea. Not only do you know where your catch was made, you also know the name of the fisherman who caught it. But, seafood is not the only thing on the menu so, check it out.

No question about it, this is a tourist destination. But, you will also find plenty of local business people here as well, especially during lunch. Everything on the menu for both lunch and dinner is quite good and the staff is very, very knowledgeable when it comes to helping you choose.

How much does it cost? Hold your breath! Dinner for two with drinks and tips will cost between $250-$325. Is it worth it? Absolutely! And when the angels call your name it won’t matter anyway.

Adjacent to the restaurant is a nifty little inn which I will review at a later date.

Olioli and spread the aloha!

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Dining at Roy’s

As of this posting we have been dining at Roy’s for more than 26 years. I always wanted to write a little something about this great restaurant.

In December of 1988 Kathy (the creative force behind our business) was working for a PR firm and this new restaurant in Hawaii Kai on Oahu was a client. So, we got to attend the opening. We never looked back. Since then, we have been dining here for just about every special occasion that came along and often times just ’cause we felt like it.

As fate would have it, Roy opened a place on Maui and in Scottsdale, AZ, so we were always able to go here whenever.

Master Chef Roy Yamaguchi
Roy Ymaguchi

Roy Yamaguchi’s uncanny ability to match flavors is akin to a virtuoso composer writing a remarkable score.

A few of our favorites are the Blackened Ahi, Short Ribs, the amazing Crab Cakes, when available and of course the Chocolate Lava Cake. The Hawaiian Martini is outstanding.

Dinner for two will cost between $175 and $225 with drinks and tips and hanging out at the bar will cost about $75 for drinks and pupus.

Always a great experience!

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