Today we ended up at a new Italian restaurant called Pisa Pizza located in Mesa. Upon entering there is a seating area lined with a wall that separates it from the main dining section. As you proceed to your table you are surrounded by what looks like a small Italian town with murals and fake windows. The restaurant was very clean and the service was fast.
Being a group of 8 we ordered three 18″ pizzas. One was a three cheese with peperoni, another was their “special pizza” which was composed of meats and vegetables, and the last one was pizza Ala vodka. We also ordered three bruschetta portions to start. The appetizers were amazing. The bruschetta tasted very fresh and had a unique tomato/cheese mix. The pizza was great as well. I only tried the three cheese and the Ala Vodka. Both had different seasonings and awesome thin crust.(they offer pizza in both thin and thick crust)
Overall the service was extremely friendly and even gave us complimentary garlic knots to start. Our waitress asked us on a scale of 1-5 what we thought. I would have to give them a 4. All ingredients were tasty and not overly greasy or stuffed with too much garlic. I would recommend Pisa Pizza for take out or to eat at the restaurant.
For lunch we ended up going to a fairly new Mexican restaurant in Mesa. Located on the corner of Brown and Ellsworth, Chilero’s is a small corner restaurant. Fitting no more than 30 or so people, they offer a full entree menu as well as lunch specials. The inside has what you would expect at any Mexican place, bright colors and Mexican music in the background.
I ordered number five on the lunch special menu, three chicken flautas with beans and rice. Although I never had flautas before, I enjoyed them. They were freshly cooked and complimented the rice and beans. The service was great over all and the food was ready quickly.
Dessert was two orders of fried dough with powdered sugar and honey, forgot what they are exactly called. The meal was good and filling and it seemed that everyone else enjoyed their meal. However, something was missing, perhaps a bar or more tables or a TV? Again this restaurant is quite small and besides the good food, doesn’t offer much. Might want to stick to a pick-up or take-out order.
We brought in some Little Caesar’s today for lunch.
General thought: They’ve managed to pick up a bit of slack since the paper-thin pizzas that came two-to-an-oversized box in my childhood. The crust was thicker, although still much thinner than Chicago style, and the toppings were sliced larger. Both the sausage and pepperoni pies did seem to have a fair amount of topping.
However, the Crazy Bread never changes. Still incredibly soft and doughy, primarily tasting of a sprinkling of cheese on top. It’s hard to compare it with anyone else’s breadsticks, since it seems designed differently– to be crustless for kids.
General conclusion: They’re ready to compete with other national chains.
Located on the border of Chandler and Gilbert is one of YC’s Mongolian Grill locations. The setup is similar to other Mongolian restaurants, where you pay as you enter and then select your raw food to be cooked. Being that it was my first time there I followed my friend’s lead. Basically stuffing as much raw meat and vegetables as you can fit into your bowl. The meat shrinks down probably over 50% as the chef prepares your meat/vegetable combination. Within minutes your food is cooked before your eyes. You can also add your own custom sauces to the food as well as reference their own recipes hung on the wall.
Once the chef gives you back your cooked bowl of food, you can also add some soup and other sides to your meal at another station. You also have access to unlimited fountain drinks and soft serve ice cream after you have found a table in the seating area. For people not wanting to eat in the restaurant they also offer to go containers.
My friend and I chose to eat there. The food was very good and not greasy. Even though the meats had shrunk I still couldn’t finish my bowl. While eating we also seemed to noticed the large amount of body builders and people coming arriving after working out at the gym or cycling there for a meal. This made sense due to the fact that no butter or oils are used in the cooking process. Just whatever you put in the bowl and water that the chef adds when preparing the food. I would recommend trying out Mongolian food if you have never had it before. It is a good alternative to Chinese food which can be filled with grease and MSG.
One thing I have learned since moving out to Arizona is that it is almost impossible to find good Chinese take-out or food in general. I unfortunately had to learn the hard way when I went to China King Buffet located in Chandler. Upon entering the restaurant I was bombarded with some Chinese woman promoting a Chinese theatrical event. Not only could I hardly understand her, I could barley hear a word she said with the live karaoke entertainment in the background. Hardly entertaining and mostly annoying, I denied buying tickets and preceded to be seated. After realizing that I would be exposed the their “live entertainment” for the entire duration of my dinner, I quickly decided to just order some take-out.
Returning about 15 minutes later, I paid the woman at the register, after having to deny buying tickets yet again. Finally returning to my apartment, my roommate and I realized that they had taken down our orders incorrectly. Being hungry we just sucked it up and ate. To our surprise the food was not half bad. At least that’s what we thought.
About an hour after eating we both had stomach aches and swore never to return to China King. I am still on the look out for good Chinese take-out almost 5 months later with no luck. I might just stick to Japanese.
Of their five locations in Arizona I usually hit up the Chandler location right around the corner from my apartment. I had always passed it before until one day I figured I would try it out. Since then, I usually go there once every couple weeks. They offer several different options from beef and chicken teriyaki bowls to a nice selection of sushi rolls. The portions are very good and the rolls are quality made. Although it is a chain, the sushi is not as cheap as you would think.
My favorite roll they offer is the crab crunch roll. It comes with crab and avocado, rice and a generous sprinkle of tempura crunch over it. You can even get the roll with shrimp tempura added. One of my friends really likes their Philadelphia roll and Dragon roll. But if your not in the mood for a beef or chicken bowl or even sushi, they also offer other noodle dishes.
You can make your order to stay or go. I usually get it to go, but I have eaten there before. The food is prepared relatively quickly with no loss of quality. Come to think of it, I might just have to stop there tonight for dinner. Overall if your in the mood for good sushi but don’t want to do the whole sit down thing at a restaurant, Yogi’s is definitely the place to go.
We brought in some pizza from Papa John’s for lunch today.
The size of the pizzas themselves was a bit unimpressive. Although the toppings were sufficient, I notice a trend towards smaller and smaller portions– there are still places where a large is 18 inches; these appeared to be 16.
While I used to think of their crust as very sweet, they seem to have reformulated to be a bit less sweet. I tried the ham-pineapple-tomato pie, and found it lacking in ham, but generally well balanced. The pepperoni pizza, in contrast, had plenty. The sauce was sufficient to not end up dry, without being soggy. The overall experience was competent, but it was more a ‘pick it as a local choice’ level, not a ‘come from across town’ special.
Pastis is located on Val Vista Road just south of the 60 in Mesa, AZ. It is right across the street from Dana park. This restaurant is a must try to all. The menu features about a half a dozen sandwiches, some entrees, and a some desserts. The place also has a small store to purchase meats, candy, jams, breads, and other items.
I went with my fellow coworkers Friday and enjoyed it so much I decided to return the next evening with my wife. I had the Italian sausage sandwich. The sandwich was served on a toasted gyro bread and came with fresh onions and hummus. The portion was very large and tasted great. Best Italian sausage I have had in Arizona. We also decided to get a dessert. We went with the crepes. They come in a few flavors. You get to pick two. We went with the strawberry. These were also excellent. Everything there seems real fresh and the cooks know what they are doing. If you like good food give this place a try. All 7 of my coworkers and my wife loved the place and we will all return.
Since this was just a bulk order I took part in, only a brief discussion.
In the past one of the few restaurants that we have all enjoyed has been Jason’s Deli. When the fine people (specifically Katherine East) at Jason’s Deli offered to deliver us catering how could we turn them down? (more…)