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Dine, cook, enjoy - that's life!

Gástro Ecléctico the open minded foodie regardless of origin, ethnicity, style, ingredients, vegan, meaty or fishy, fingers or forks, I love food: finding it; trying it; and showing it – traditional or nouveau… Bon appétit from el Gástro Ecléctico!

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La Posta de Mesilla

 2410 Calle De San Albino
Mesilla, NM
 

A Great Meal full of History!

Really enjoyable authentic and delish Southwestern/Mexican meal with an incredibly unique décor and cultural environ! Even before you walk into this captivating old Southwestern great food, you’re mesmerized by the architecture, ambience and design which immediately transports you back 150 years! On the inside, this nostalgic Southwestern Eatery shows the years of attention and interest put forth by a family who is ingrained in the not only the heritage in the décor and style of the Southwest, but family and not to mention, food! According to the restaurant’s website, ‘La Posta Compound, wherein restaurant sits on dates back to the 1840’s, and is on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The structure is Territorial Style with a zaguan leading into a patio now used as a lobby for the restaurant and displays tropical plants, birds and fish.’ It’s a fascinating historical museum like environment, where you can enjoy the traditional eats within a traditional and elaborate environ, enhancing the service, décor and typical food! We started with the traditional servings of Chips and Salsa and ordered a fabulous Mesilla Valley Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita ~ a blend of Sauza Blue 100% Agave Silver Tequila, muddled cucumber slices and jalapeños, fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Served in a margarita glass incredibly and artistically rimmed with local honey, crushed pecans & green chile salt… this is highly recommended. It was served and a huge Margarita goblet, which lasted me throughout the dinner! My Wife had the Sangria ‘Rita: A delicious marbling of our fruity sangria and a frozen La Posta ‘Rita’. For dinner I decided on a meal that would incorporate a good chunk of the House’s offerings with their La Posta Combination Plate which consists of a Folded Taco, a really well prepared Chile Relleno and a fabulous Green Chile Enchilada with ground beef served with terrific refritos beans and rice; My Wife decided on the Combination Plate #2 including an excellent Rolled Red Enchilada, a very good Red Chile con Carne, 2 Rolled Tacos, frijoles, Mexican Rice and slaw. I might add, the prices of the delectable entrees were incredibly modest, considering both the amount of food served, and the location’s size as well as highlights experienced. La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant is definitively a must visit for anyone, hungry or not, interested in ‘living’ the Old Southwest in the present, as well as enjoying the Old World’s history today. We hope you can enjoy La Posta as much as we did! Bon appétit!

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D.H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro

 1720 Avenida de Mesilla
Las Cruces, NM
 

Best Eatery/Winery combo!

This Winery and Bistro is probably one of the best eateries/winery combos my wife and I have encountered since moving out west from Virginia five years ago, or even before! Lescombes, formerly known as the St. Clair Winery, with its unique décor, amazing layout, fabulous comfort, great food, fantastic wine selections, exceptional atmosphere, terrific service, leaves little to the imagination, as you experience it first-hand. We began our visit by taking advantage of their wine Flight selections to taste the widest variety of D.H. Lescombes’ wine offerings possible, including their Six for Six Flight, a second Flight was FREE using Yelp’s app offer when checking in, and a third Flight, the Six for Six Signature Flight (lotsa wine!) – fab ways of checking out a wide assortment of wines available. Our favorites ended up being their Brute; Cabernet Sauvignon; Rose; Merlot; and Pinot Gris. We followed with our dinners of an extremely well-prepared and delectable rendition of Calamari for starters prepared in a salted and peppered panko plus grated parmesan and lemon, with a terrific subtly pronounced basil aioli with sriracha slightly sweet chile mayo. As a main course I had the fabulous house-recipe of Pasta New Mexico perfectly sautéed chicken breast with extraordinarily discerning and fresh Hatch green chile with tender linguini topped by a delectably smooth cream sauce that included sun-dried tomatoes and provolone cheese. The chicken was very tender, and the Hatch Chiles preparation and seasoning was unique to itself… worth having again, and again! . My wife had the Pecan Crusted Trout with local Mesilla valley pecans paired with risotto and vegetable medley. Although not the best ever had, it was tasty and well done overall, except for a discerning slight excess of oiliness! Completing an excellent dinner with a desert consisting of an amazing house-made Apple Crisp with Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream plus Ghirardelli caramel sauce. Our being somewhat of wine connoisseurs, and having relocated from a State that offers so many vineyards, incredible wine selections, as well as extraordinary amounts of fine and delicious grapes, and easy to go wine tasting often – we have been surprised… no, really amazed that the Southwest has so many worthy, up-and-coming wineries, making day outings, day trips incredibly enjoyable doing picnics (when the weather is cool), wine tastings, touring or just plain relaxing. As you well know if you’re a wine lover, wine is very subjective and varies from one’s own palate and preference. Due to rather diverse variances in each experience, or try to compare one winery, vineyard, grape or wine to another, I have developed a method in scoring that will give both the occasional novice, wine taster or the most sophisticated connoisseur a bearing on each establishment visited, based on our single, or sometimes multiple visits to each location. My guiding principles are: 1) beauty of location and its scenery [Scored 5.0]; 2) the establishment’s appearance and ambience [Scored:5.0]; 3) the owner/operators’ attention to their customers and hospitality [Scored:5.0]; 4) activities, events and/or meals, munchies, and/or entertainment [Scored:5.0]; 5) wine selection, quality, taste and varieties [Scored:5.0]; and 6) heavily weighted on our taste [Scored:5.0]; as well as 7) value, consistency and price of the product [Scored:5.0]. None of the aforementioned are in any particular order of value. The scale being 1 the worst, 5 the best and recommend as regular patrons. I must add an additional score to consider this a well above average dining experience too! Eating, dining, ambience, presentation, value and taste: [Scored:5.0]; Our overall assessment, score, pro/cons are: mostly very, very favorable, with a wide variety of not only great food, excellent wines, with an extraordinary environ to enjoy it whether at the bar, bistro or outdoors – it’s terrific! . The Vineyard, Winery, Wines and Restaurant scores an extraordinary 5.0+! Pics to follow… All Said, you must check it out. Bon appétit from Rick el Gástro Ecléctico!

Calamari; Pasta New Mexico; Pecan Crusted Trout; Apple Crisp

 

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Black Angus Steakhouse

 2770 W Chandler Blvd
Chandler, AZ
 

Continuously Strives to please the customer - GOOD CHOICE!

I tend to hesitate when visiting big box local or national chains – I flinch at the predictable robot-like staff, factory dish and production! This patron’s opinion of dining in such eateries many times validate my fears, and prove to be a somewhat unpleasant experience! Although I obviously don’t pretend to have tried everything on Black Angus’ menu, what limited helpings I and those with me do have, may show that their food preparation, cooking and attention to detail and quality, do not always hit the mark, although the service is good, it appeared to me overall to be short of exquisite! I am sure you’ll find other Black Angus’ that may be better elsewhere as I have, and urge you to do your homework if you really want a worthwhile experience, but the overall attentive service and quality of the dishes here was very, very good and well worth returning. Prime rib was excellent, Tips were very, very good as were Au gratin potatoes although somewhat on the thick side, green beans with bacon were well above average, and the sautéed mushrooms with Onions and Tri Tips with Baked Potato, cooked and presented as requested – yet dessert of Peach Cobbler left a lot to be desired of. Big box or not, this is one of those we keep returning to because they are consistent, and are continuously striving to do well and please the customer. See you soon Angus! Bon appétit!

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Abyssinia Restaurant and Cafe

 842 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ
 

Excellent Ethiopean Cuisine!

Excellent Ethiopean Cuisine! By far, the best we’ve found in the Valley! If you’ve never had the extreme pleasure of enjoying a traditional Ethiopean meal, then this by far is the restaurant to begin your journey into the cuisine… it is astounding. I would venture to say, that the Zegeye Family’s offerings should be the level at which Valley of the Sun Ethiopean restaurants should be measured by. We thoroughly enjoyed everything we had. We started with Asmara Beer and fabulous Ethiopean Honey Wine. As appetizer, we enjoyed a wonderful rendition of the Sambussa, a green lentil, green peppers stuffed pastry. I started with their tasty Green Lentil Soup of green lentils, onions, carrots and spices. To best avail ourselves of multiple tastes, we dined with the Abyssinia Signature Platter sampler with Doro Wat, lamb tibs, spicy beef, white peas, lentils, tickle gomen, chickpeas and fosolia (green beans). I cannot but express how tastefully done and the tenderness of each of the incredible servings offered on this platter. This is a must eatery for Ethiopean food lovers, or if you’ve never had Ethiopean, the place to try it out for the first time! By far our place to return to. Congratulations to the Zegeye Family for both sharing their heritage and their kitchen to those of us in the Valley.

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El Berraco

 2960 North 1st Avenue
Tucson, AZ
 

Fabulous Seafood & More!

Simply… sophisticated and elegant! Simply… unique! Simply… a place to go for excellent, elegant, unique with fresh, flavorful and exceptional seafood. Once you’ve acclimatized to the fascinating Captain Nemo exterior and the water world-steampunk interior décor, and enjoying a Spanish Guitarist in the background ensconcing musical notes into the ambience, you’re invited into a fantasy aesthetic yet an authentic seafood experience, and not only the service and attention (our Waitress was extraordinary and informative), but the eating here is fantastic – especially if you truly love seafood and fish, this a place for you! Deciding on having dinner here we first quenched our throats with Draft Corona Lites, Pacifico Drafts and a fabuloso House Margarita, and a great rendition of their Moscow Mule. Their Fresh Oysters seemed to have just come from the seabed, and perfectly prepared and displayed not to mention, delectable. El Ceviche Route was superb, bringing an often overwhelming, over indulged prep and overcooked dish to the point of oceanic mouthwatering prominence – not to mention its generous serving. The Fish del Dia (fish of the day) – Red Snapper Entrée was meticulously prepared and delectable at every bite. La Marisquera Entrée sautéed in white wine including clams, calamari (squid for you landlubbers), octopus and mussels – an impressive Southwestern take on Bouillabaisse! My dish, El Octopus Entrée, has no words to best describe it! If you love a well prepared Octopus like I do, you will appreciate that there are few and far between places – coast to coast, that can boast an ‘Excellent Octopus’. Perfectly cooked to amazing tenderness, yet slightly charred on the grill to boast a sweet-salty background to its taste… astonishingly unexpected yet loved! And finally, we wrapped things up with their Miti Miti Desert, a semi-traditional flan untraditionally touched with coconut and Dulce de Leches – Wow! Our experience here needs broad attention. The Restaurateur and Chef need kudos for their remarkable, unique and amazing presentation giving us the desire to return very, very soon!
Bon appétit at El Berraco fellow fish or shellfish lovers from a Connoisseur and Aficionádo of that Gourmét!

Dinner: Corona Lites; Water; Pacifico Drafts; House Margarita; Moscow Mule; Fresh Oysters; El Cevich

 

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Rancho 7 Restaurant and Lounge

 111 E Wickenburg Way
Wickenburg, AZ
 

Much cleaner better Wickenburg eats available!!!

Dust, dust, dust everywhere! Furniture, décor… it all looked like it had not been cleaned in ages! Mediocre at best is what I can call their bar sampler, yet the house wine was good and the cold beer were great! Considering there at least 32 other eating establishments in town, any one of them will probably do better. Sitting and eating here regardless of how great the staff was, it needs some serious cleaning. No appétit for this Gourmét!

Appetizer Sampler

 

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The Dhaba

 1872 E Apache Blvd.
Tempe, AZ
 

This Punjabi is a Must Have!

By far best Indian (Punjab) cuisine my wife and I have encountered in the Valley of the Sun! Taking advantage of Restaurant Week, we were able to thoroughly enjoy a both esthetic and flavorful, if not flamboyant trip to India within The Dhaba’s culinary and décor environment! The moment you arrive, you are struck by their museum-like front displaying glass encased ornaments, clothing and more such as kurtis with Phulkari – and exhibited are Indian Auto Rickshaws showing both incredible intricate hand-made design and real wear! And, the as you enter the front door, you set foot into a very traditional and very authentic environment seeming to take you back in time to Raj also known as the British India period! Keep in mind this area of the world dates its heritage and cuisine to the Indus Valley Civilization (dating as far back as 1900 BCE). This Northern Indian Cuisine which boasts Pakistani influences (Pakistan borders Punjab) drives its influence in their incredible foods. Both my wife and I enjoyed everything we tried, quite a bit. The prices are very reasonable, considering the hefty portions they dish (which in many instances will require boxes for take-home!), and the quality and adherence to authenticity The Dhaba offers. Regarding the food, starting with my wife’s white wine and I a large bottle of Taj Mahal Beer, we then took the opportunity to try starting with their: Samosa Plate (very refreshing and unique salad), freshly baked Naan Bread; my wife had the Cashmiri Chicken Tikka Masala (chicken breast marinated in traditional spices and yogurt and prepared in a Tandoori) while I had the exquisite and tender rendition of the Lamb Curry (lamb cubes with Dhaba spices) we finished off with deserts of Badami Kheer a wonderful Indian Rice Pudding, and I had the Gulab Gamun (spongy milky balls in rose syrup! As I mentioned, by far the best we’ve had in the area. Highly recommended to Aficionádos and newbies to Punjab alike! Great atmosphere, attention, service, price and quality… a very enjoyable experience – we’ll be back! Bon appétit from Gástro Ecléctico.

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West Alley BBQ And Smokehouse

 111 West Boston Street
Chandler, AZ
 

Fantastic people, music and Fab TN Q!

Fantastic… only way I can describe West Alley BBQ (WAB)! This casual, comfy and homey place does it for you hands down. If you’re a Tennessee-style BBQ lover (or not), if you love music (or not), if you enjoy courteous and attentive staff, servers, cooks, management and pit master, you gotta go here! Starting with a House Chardonnay and a Kiltlifter, we thoroughly enjoyed their fixin’s of delicious Tennessee-style Ribs, and the tender and mouth-watering Brisket was to die for – with a helping of their beans, Cole slaw and fries are great! That’s not all… their menu offerings are enough to make you think twice of what you’d like to get – extensive. Don’t forget the sauces: Tennessee Whiskey; Mild; Medium; and Hot – marvelous (I just drenched my Brisket)! This venture, fresh out of Tennessee (they’re first Valley location), bring not only great food to the table, great caring service, daily variety in music, but you feel at home inside or out! Thanx to Bardo (owner) and son Christian Brantley the incredible and endearing Pit Meister Jim Dandy (a true artist of pit) you can’t go wrong! Meeting them and enjoying their gracious and open hospitality made for a greater evening beyond the food, the music and the ambience… my wife and I so elated as we left, even danced a little at the front entrance! Now that’s a place to keep coming to… keep it up guys! Bon appétit, musiques and l’amitié at the WAB from Gástro Ecléctico!

House Chardonnay; Kiltlifter; Brisket Platter with Baked Beans and Creamy Cole Slaw; Ribs Platter wi

 

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Uncle Bears Grill & Bar

 21151 S Rittenhouse Rd
Queen Creek, AZ
 

Pop Pub not be So Pop!

For all intents and purposes, some things have appeared to changed here at Uncle Bear’s, and I’m not convinced they’re for the better! The good old Uncle has been for the past couple of years a favorite watering hole and victuals munching spot when roaming around the Queen Creek area. Something’s happened though! First off, it was clean and neat – no more peanuts on the tables, chairs or floor. The feel of canine friends lurking here and there, isn’t quite the same when it’s so spotless (only their pics show better)! I was told it had to do with patrons complaining of it not being conducive to tidiness needing to much in a clean appearing environ and, something about peanut allergies! I must confess, my wife has extreme allergies to peanuts, soy and legumes, we feel for you who have it – yet we never had an issue! Secondly, then there’s the service, its hurriedness, timing and serving temperature! Guys, it’s great the Mandarin Ale and Seeing Eye Dog cocktail were ice cold and well prepared – but you don’t serve a meal before your appetizers are less than half done! And, thirdly, both, not one of, but both our soups – the tomato bisque and the beer cheese soups were cold (yes cold, not tepid – cold). I do think they were meant to be very warm, preferably hot! Only the very, very good renditions of their Jalapeno Chili Poppers were tasty and hot, albeit short of spicy heat. Then, even the unexpected advanced delivery of our main courses, when they arrived was more of the same! Both our meals, the Bacon, Lettuce and tomato sandwich and the Turkey Avocado Melt were barely tepid (only my fries were hot)! Last, but not least, my wife’s order of Sweet Potato Fries not only were cold – but still raw. Come on guys, we know you can do better, we’ve experienced your great friendliness, hominess, good service and ambience, not to mention fantastic food – therefore we’ve come back again and again, and looking forward to it. This visit however, leaves me wondering when that next time will be. I sincerely hope this experience is a one-off!

BLT; Avocado Turkey Sandwich; Tomato Bisque Soup; Beer Cheese Soup; Jalapeno Poppers.

 

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Wendy's

 4902 E Ray Rd
Phoenix, AZ
 

Rates a 4.5 of 5!

This your typical Wendy’s fast food joint with their regular brand menu and special offerings. As an occasional junk food eater I’ve over the years dutifully tried everything on their menu at least once. So as to make it easy to gauge each of these eateries, when I do try them, I’ve devised a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being outright down and dirty nasty, and 5 being the best a fast food joint can be! I gauge: cleanliness; service; product quality and consistency; convenience; accessibility; taste and the personnel’s attitude and customer service level. This place scores 4.5 of 5. I will come back here and do recommend it! Could not find anything wrong, but good, Bon appétit!

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