By: Sally Clasen
The food scene in the Valley is now a robust, well-documented industry. But less than a decade ago, the spotlight on the emerging culinary market wasn’t as bright. In 2010, Chandler resident Taryn Jeffries helped light the flame on the local dining culture by ushering in a new model for food journalism when she launched Phoenix Bites, an online magazine profiling the best chefs, restaurants and culinary events in town.
A numbers person by day, Jeffries passion for food started at an early age in the Midwest. She was raised by her grandmother in a small Illinois town where cooking and food-related activities were a central theme due to a large extended family. As a food enthusiast and writer, Jeffries has witnessed the evolution of local dining. She’s particularly pleased with the culinary growth happening in her own backyard, where she explores Chandler dining establishments with her husband and two young sons.
“Having lived in Chandler for the last 10 years, I’ve enjoyed seeing the culinary scene really flourish,” she says. “The variety of local eateries makes it difficult for me to choose just three spots, but this is what an ideal day of indulgence and comfort would look like,” says the dedicated foodie.
Breakfast: Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery
Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery, whose mission is to nourish the health and happiness of its customers, makes Jeffries’ morning food list since it satisfies her discerning brekkie taste buds—and just about everyone else’s.
The breakfast menu, served until 11 a.m., includes a range of healthy items for individual habits such as Keto Benedict, salmon avocado toast, and vegan scramble. The cheery, brightly painted eatery also offers super fruit bowls, salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, and cauliflower crust pizza; custom plates like faro made with golden raisins, basil and EVOO; and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and lemon crème fraiche.
“If I see eggs Benedict on a menu, you can be sure that I’m going to order it,” she laughs. “Cherish’s non-traditional combination of spicy capicola and chive hollandaise make this a true standout on the menu. I love that there are a variety of items that cater to specific dietary issues making it a great spot for anyone.”
If you go:
2551 W. Queen Creek Road
Lunch: Singing Pandas Asian Restaurant & Bar
Singing Pandas is a lunch favorite of Jeffries because its intimate surroundings speaks—and sings—volumes when it comes to the perfect lunch spot. Banquette seating and a lounge area with a stage that features regular live entertainment help shape Singing Panda’s quirky, but memorable dining vibe.
The mostly American-Chinese fare has a few twists, but the starter standards like egg rolls, cream-stuffed “crab angels,” and pot stickers make an appearance. So do main acts such as Mongolian beef, General Tso’s chicken, egg foo young, and Hong Kong-style pork.
“My husband and I love to sneak away for a quick lunch here. The menu is small with a nice combination of popular Chinese and Thai dishes,” says Jeffries of the family-owned operation that has several weekday specials. “More often than not, I order the yellow curry with medium spice. It’s hearty, silky with the perfect amount of kick for my liking. Service is always quick and friendly and the prices are great for lunch.”
If you go:
757 E. Chandler Boulevard
Dinner: Cuisine and Wine Bistro
Jeffries not only appreciates thoughtful, well-crafted food, but dedication to customer service earns high marks, too, as part of her dining evaluation. And Cuisine and Wine Bistro ticks all the dinner boxes for the food enthusiast.
The French steakhouse features a global wine list, charcuterie and cheese boards, appetizers, bruschetta, salads and a rotation of entrees prepared by chef Fabrice Buschtetz. Among them: bone-in rib-eye topped with a chipotle butter served with hand-cut fries, and green bean and bacon parcel; or pork filet with a blue cheese and bacon sauce and a duchesse potato.
“Cuisine and Wine Bistro delivers elegant dishes in a relaxed atmosphere that is family run with exceptional care for their diners,” says Jeffries. “The filet de canard is always perfectly prepared with harmonious flavors and the rich, luxurious sweet potato puree provides a delicate balance to the citrus in the duck’s orange sauce.”
If you go:
4991 S. Alma School Road