Sweet Republic

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Dessert | Posted on 07-09-2010

1

Brownie Swirl

Basil Lime Sorbet, Desert Honey, Cashew Turtle, Brownie Swirl and Honey Blue Cheese are just some of the insanely good flavors offered up at Sweet Republic, an artsan ice cream shop in North Scottsdale.  The creative flavors are said to be “a combination of both (owner’s) worldwide travels”, but that’s not the only thing that impresses me when I visit.  I am always impressed with the quality of the ice cream and sorbets.  You can literally taste each ingredient they include in a scoop, such as the Honey Blue Cheese flavor which includes local honey mixed with savory blue cheese.  Sounds weird huh? Try some (they give you tastes of whatever you want to try first) and thank me later.

Family at Sweet Republic

On this visit I brought along the family who had just come from a large dinner at Ajo Al’s and weren’t entirely sure about ice cream after such a big meal.  Walking in, one of the first thing you see is a wall full of awards, including one when they were named Valley’s Best Ice Cream by the Phoenix New Times. I don’t blame them for putting that up though, because they only recently opened in the summer of 2008 and the food business ain’t easy.  Before you start to even browse flavors or the menu, you’ll be greeted (most likely by one of the owners) who are happy to explain their fun food concepts.  My family split up at once and started shouting at each other about what strange flavors they were looking at.  It was fun before we even started to eat, and that in my mind is half the battle won.

Sweet Republic

I chose to go with Brownie Swirl (pictured at top) and it was delicious.  Chunks of fudge brownie and swirled chocolate mixed with vanilla ice cream stopped me in my tracks after I had sampled 3 flavors already.  This sample had a rich flavor but not so rich that you couldn’t stomach it, and the owner cleverly put a large chunk of brownie on top of the little spoon which convinced me I was getting more ice cream for my dollar.  Others in my family went with flavors like Coconut sorbet (light but full of flavor) and Real Mint Chip.  Once we all sat down, everyone was excitedly talking around the table about what they had ordered.  Arms were reaching across the table trying to give others a taste of their pick.  I finished mine however before anyone had realized they hadn’t tried mine yet.

waffle cone

Ice cream aside, Sweet Republic serves some great drinks as well as cakes (usually for groups).  One item in particular is on my radar for next time: the Black Cow, a double scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in a Mexican cane sugar cola (aka Instant Diabetes!).  I also hear their ice cream sandwiches are something that shouldn’t go untested. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to visit and you can let me know!

Tip: They will have a food truck at the Old Town Farmer’s Market starting October 23rd in case the drive is too far for you.

http://sweetrepublic.com/

9160 E. Shea Blvd #105
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Torched Goodness

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Dessert, Food Trucks, French | Posted on 28-08-2010

2

Torched Goodness

Finally I have found a food truck in Scottsdale!  Ok, so they’re not really a secret these days (featured in New Times, various blogs and Arizona Republic) but they are worthy of one more bit of press.  The food and service is fantastic, which isn’t something usually used to describe a food truck.  But Chef Eric does a great job making his unique flavors of creme brulee in a fun environment where you can sit around and talk to him while enjoying it.  Today my choice was lemon but pictured below is his cappuccino flavor, a solid choice if you visit.

Cappuccino Creme Brulee

You can find the Torched Goodness truck at the North Scottsdale Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, located by 94th St and Shea Blvd.   The market has been growing bigger each week it seems and today I not only bought the creme brulee, but also some Apple Maple jelly from some little girl who was scary good at selling.  The purpose of this trip however was the food truck and walking up to him you can tell it was the purpose of a few others as well.

Chef Eric

The good thing is though that he only takes about a minute to finish each one since he has them prepared beforehand.  Don’t let that fool you though, because once he torches the sugar on top it comes out looking delicious.  As soon as I took it I dug in because its a nice cool temperature which helps with the outdoor heat.  When you bite in you get this soft, cool cream that tastes great followed by the crunch of the top.  It’s almost like candy and dessert at the same time.  How good does that sound?

Another good thing is the fact that these only cost $4.  For $4 you can choose from flavors such as cappuccino, lemon, chocolate, vanilla, s’mores and even peanut butter and jelly.  He is continually adding and removing flavors from the menu but it’s fun to see what he’ll have each week.

Creme Brulee

To top off the whole experience, Chef Eric is really friendly and will talk to you about what he does and why he does it.  At the moment he seems to be the only one in the valley doing creme brulee from a truck (hell, maybe even in the US), but he makes these with so much care that he looks like he wants to be the best creme brulee guy out there.  Hats off to Torched Goodness for the unique idea and great flavors.  Hopefully the valley will see a rise in the street food scene soon.

Sugar Bowl – Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Dessert | Posted on 02-07-2010

1

Strawberry Ice Cream

When I say old fashioned ice cream, I mean it.  They serve the same flavors and combinations they did back in 1958 and there’s no need to change it any time soon.  Sugar Bowl has become an icon in Old Town Scottsdale and it’s where you’ll find every type of customer.  Families traveling from out of town love this place since its next to the western stores and locals love it too for the cheap but delicious treats.  But its the people who return time after time that have the advantage because the menu is too big to decide on just one.

Sugar Bowl serves everything from fudge sundaes and banana splits to root beer floats and fruit sherbets.  They even serve deli sandwiches and grilled hot dogs for those that want the complete meal with dessert.

My personal favorite is the root beer float which comes in a tall cold glass filled with heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream swirling in creamy root beer.  And they serve it with a spoon and straw, as if I’m going to be able to get that much stuff through a straw (which I admit can be done).

My other friends on this visit opted for strawberry ice cream, which is too simple in my opinion but once I tasted it I stopped complaining.  It was creamy but tangy as well, with that sharp bite you expect from a frozen fruit.  The problem is for my money, I want a dessert that will fill me up and have me leaving the place rubbing my stomach while thinking “I probably shouldn’t have finished that”.  The other thing that turned me off of the strawberry ice cream is the color: pink.  The whole restaurant is pink including the walls, menus, clothing, chairs and counters.  That reminds me,  a tip for guys: don’t come here without a girl.

Anyways, the service is usually good even though the place is always packed and the atmosphere is…pink.  But you can get over that guys!  Just stick with the root beer float and thank me later.

Tip: If you’re traveling with kids they recently added an arcade next door where you can keep them busy while enjoying some dessert.

Sugar Bowl

4005 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

http://www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com/

Melting Pot is the Perfect Spot

Posted by Shawn | Posted in Dessert | Posted on 14-05-2010

5

Probably one of the best places you can go here in the valley if you want to make an impression, The Melting Pot is a unique experience and the food is good too.

I heard about this place a while ago the way most guys do – from a girl.  I don’t know what it is but the ladies absolutely love this place, and that alone makes this place a worthy location for a date.  But beware, it is expensive.  So that’s why The Melting Pot is my vote for the perfect spot for that special occasion.  Guys, trust me.  I took my girlfriend Lindsay here and her friends all congratulated me on having made a good choice for dinner.

Ok date night stuff aside, here is what you can expect.  The big attraction in this place is the fondue and the method of how you eat.  Most items are served uncooked and it is your job (doesn’t feel like a job) to cook the food in the broth or fondue of your choosing.  Your server will explain the process and all the rules (yes there are rules!) so don’t worry about being overwhelmed.  My suggestion is start with wine.  They have a great wine selection and plenty of inexpensive choices if you’re cognizant of the money you’re about to spend!

Next up – appetizers.  They’re appetizers are awesome and are a full on fondue experience already in the meal.  Lindsay and I decided to go with the Spinach Artichoke Dip and weren’t disappointed.  The server brought a block of cheese to our table and all the other fresh ingredients and just started preparing at our table.  He threw in the spinach, artichokes, some butter I think, and grated the cheese right over the pot.  At first I looked at the pot and thought “how do I eat this?”.  But then slowly the ingredients started melting together and I suddenly understood the name they gave to the restaurant (and how dumb I can be).  We each picked up our skewers and started dipping the breads, fruits, veggies and chips they gave us.  An instant “oooohhh” came from Lindsay and I knew I had made a good choice for our date (later confirmed by her friends!).

Entree time.  They let you choose the ingredients you want to dip, the broth concoction you want to dip it in and the spices/flavors you want to add.  We went with the Caribbean style Mojo broth and dipped terriyaki style meats/veggies in it.  Our plate came with duck, beef, chicken and pot stickers.  As you can probably guess, it was all delicious.  One of the better parts of dining at The Melting Pot are the smells that hit you when its cooking right in front of you.  Whatever was in that Mojo smelled fantastic.

Dessert.  Guys listen up.  Make sure you save room for dessert.  This is by far the best part of The Melting Pot and she will love it.  They serve you cheesecake, strawberries, short-breads and some other goodies to dip in a heaping pot of melting chocolate.  What part of that can you go wrong on, right? I saw someone next to us make the mistake of asking for the bill before seeing our chocolate fiesta arrive and they looked pretty deflated.

Tip: If you don’t finish dessert, ask for it to go and they can give you a container to take home your chocolate and fixins.

Overall, the Melting Pot is an excellent place to go for a special occasion or just to impress.  The food is great and it will be a dining experience that you will talk about for a while.

www.themeltingpot.com

8260 N. Hayden Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85258