Friday Bites with Rick Phillips
Early on in the Phoenix Bites journey, Amy and I met Rick Phillips and Dave Tyda of EaterAZ at an opening of a (now closed) barbecue joint in Old Town Scottsdale. We were able to chat with them for awhile and quickly decided that we wanted to grow up and be the female version of them. They were both so quick witted, warm and genuine and successful, so it was a natural goal.
A lot has changed since that initial meeting; EaterAZ launched their tremendously successful Affordable Food Festivals (bringing you the Arizona Taco Festival, Arizona Barbecue Festival among others) and Rick opened not one but two very successful Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse locations. I continue to be in awe of them and their success and admittedly still wish to be like them, though the duo part is not an option as Amy has since moved away.
Rick Phillips has his hands full with all of his projects, from 21 Bond Street, EaterAZ, Affordable Food Festivals and the two Bootleggers locations along with a wife and young daughter. I got a little tired just writing all of that, I really don’t know how he does it.
If you haven’t been to Bootleggers you owe it to yourself and your stomach to try out a little of everything they offer. Their Bacon Board is a thing of beauty with a mix of five different types of bacon served alongside bread, jam, mustards and gherkins. Their pulled pork is lovingly seasoned and always moist and flavorful. The burger, salmon, tacos and all of their cocktails (moonshine anyone?) are all thing you will be boasting about to your friends.
If you ever have the opportunity to meat and chat with Rick, I have a feeling you will want to grow up and be a little like him too!
As someone who has his pulse on all things food in the Valley, he has some great picks for standout locations in the Valley.
Friday Bites with Rick Phillips
First Date Spot: House Brasserie. You get first class style and elegance without a pretentious and over-inflated experience.
Best Outdoor Patio: IN TOWN- El Chorro. After a $9 million + renovation, they upgraded the “ol gal” into a relaxing 4-star setting with all the bells and whistles. OUT OF TOWN: L’Auberge in Sedona. Their creekside patio might be one of the most serene places on earth, while at the same time getting the food of Chef Rochelle Daniel and a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem.
Best Burger: I am consistently drawn to the Hotel Valley Ho’s Cafe Zuzu. I order their Green Chile Burger which is now infamous as it is no longer on their menu, but they will make. The meat is freshly ground, cooked with a perfect char…seasoned properly…all the things that make a good burger great.
Impressing out-of-towers: Pizzeria Bianco. Not only will they most likely have already requested it, and pizza aside (if that’s possible,) Bianco’s pastas are the best in town.
Fresh from the market: Noble Eatery. Apart from having my favorite bread in town (we use for everything at Bootleggers,) Jason Raducha and Chef Claudio Urciuoli, have teamed up to bring daily farm-fresh ingredients to their little storefront enterprise where you can get daily fresh soups sandwiches and even fruits and vegetables.