Friday Bites with Christina Barrueta
We took a little bit of a break from our Friday Bites feature, but we are back and this week featuring one of my favorite people. I first met Christina Barrueta back in 2010, right after PhoenixBites was launched. Since that day I have continued to see her at countless events and have built a friendship with her that I treasure.
Christina first moved to Arizona from Boston, Massachusets in 2008 and quickly immersed herself in the Phoenix food culture with her regular features like Rubee’s Restaurant Spotlight, Cocktail Corner and Happy Hour Highlight for AZ Wine Lifestyle magazine. She has continued to work as a freelance writer and then in 2015 she launched her own website, Write on Rubee, where she documents all of her culinary adventures. She features recipes (she’s an amazing cook!), some of her favorite restaurants in the Valley as well as cocktail features, interviews with industry leaders and food and beverage related event notifications. In 2016 she was selected as the recipient of the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame’s Food Writer of the Year Award. She also bumped us from a four-year winning streak by winning the Arizona Foothills Magazine Favorite Local Food Website award.
Christina and I do many of the same things (aside from that whole cooking bit) and many people would suggest that we should see each other as competition, but that’s the furthest thing from both of our minds. We are friends and work to support one another and celebrate each other’s victories. Christina Barrueta is one of the most kind and warm people that you could ever have the privilege of meeting. I could not be happier to know her or honored to call her my friend.
Let’s get down to business and see where some of Christina’s favorite local spots are!
Friday Bites with Christina Barrueta
Favorite Japanese | Hana Japanese Eatery
Every dinner at this cozy spot feels as if you’ve been welcomed into their home. Along with the pristine seafood, it’s hard to pass up specials such as Hana-Tamago (a tempura fried soft-boiled egg brined in dashi), takoyaki (light and airy octopus fritters) or uni shooters with yuzu, caviar, and a quail egg. And did I mention it’s BYOB with no corkage?
Favorite Filipino | Casa Filipina Bakeshop & Restaurant
I love the distinct flavors of Filipino food and couldn’t be happier that Casa Filipina is on my side of the valley. Photos of dishes help the diner in exploration, though I’m usually drawn to the lumpiang Shanghai spring rolls, the marinated and grilled chicken inasal, or, an off-menu favorite, sizzling binagoongan, a salty-funky dish of tender eggplant and crispy pork. And save room for their sweet treats and pastries!
Favorite Italian | Franco’s Italian Caffe
We have a plethora of wonderful Italian restaurants in the Valley, but the place you’ll find me most often is Franco’s. Signature dishes and personal favorites include the pasta erbe aromatiche in its creamy pancetta and herb sauce or wild boar ragu over fresh pappardelle and don’t miss Franco’s grandmother’s merenghata, a decadent dessert of meringue and amaretto semifreddo.
Favorite Indian | Marigold Maison
Chef Sunil Kumar helms the kitchen and his thoughtful menu encompasses regional specialties of India. In fact, it has such a following that they are expanding. In addition to complex, flavorful curries and juicy tandoor-spiced meats, try the gol guppa – poke a hole in the crispy wheat puffs, stuff with the potato and chickpea mixture, and drizzle with spicy tamarind water before eating each in one bite.
Favorite French | Christopher’s and Crush Lounge
How to choose? Order classics like escargot, duck confit, or foie gras torchon, or graze on modern fare such as andouillette corn dogs and scallops with vanilla dust. On a recent leisurely lunch, a friend and I shared the lobster and frisee salad and croque-madame paired with a glass of rosé. C’etait délicieux!
Make sure to check out Christina Barrueta’s website, Write on Rubee, to follow along on her culinary adventures. It’s always a delicious trip!
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© Taryn Jeffries 2016