Chicken cacciatore, rabbit with homemade pasta at Cuoco Pazzo, Sonoran hot dogs at Raspados Paradise (AZ Mills) and bar eats at Casey Moore’s

25 Jun

This weekend we celebrated (maybe that’s not the right word to use here) Jodi’s departure from Phoenix. Also let me say here in print… that Jodi, I am so proud of you for following your dream, and making going home a reality. You are an inspiration to all who have big dreams.

Jodi is off to Washington for greener pastures (literally and figuratively). We hope she will invite us to stay when she gets established! Jodi’s goodbye party was last night, at Casey Moore’s in Tempe. We made sure, along with some of her other friends, that she had an excellent (and potent) sendoff. Jodi enjoyed the clams (which is one of Jack’s favorite dishes) while Jack and I shared zucchini and mushrooms with buffalo wings. I didn’t remember that Casey Moore’s has such good bar food. They also have a french dip sandwich and prime rib on the menu, so we must go back again.

Speaking of trying new places again, on Friday night we headed for Cucco Pazzo in Scottsdale. On our previous visit, we took advantage of their happy hour (half price wines/pizzas/sandwiches – this is a good deal, people) and this time we split an entree – rabbit in a stroganoff style sauce over wide homemade noodles. This is a wonderful dish. Go and try it. Even if you think you won’t like rabbit. It is not gamey. It is rich and flavorful, cooked with carrots, sour cream and maybe some marsala wine. We also shared a green salad – although there wasn’t a lot of variety of veg to talk about, the basil vinaigrette was very refreshing and a unique flavor. To finish, Jack somehow found room for cheesecake with strawberry sauce… and I’m so glad he ordered it. The cheesecake at Cucco is creamy but not too sweet, I suspect there could be some ricotta in there. After two glasses of Kiltlifter for Jack and a glass of Montepoluciano (can’t guarantee that spelling) for me, we needed a wheelbarrow to get out of there. Happily.

Earlier in the day, I had lunch with my aunt Char and brother Mike at North (Camelback and 40th St.). Mike and I shared a pizza  – “the pig” which has 4 different types of pork (how can that be bad) and Char enjoyed buccatini with red sauce and meatballs. I was living large since it was payday so two glasses of house wine, an espresso (oh yeah we also shared an Italian salad with salami) and dessert – little donuts in lemon curd, you can imagine I was bursting. But oh so good is the pizza at North, Mike and I both agreed we will go again.

Have you ever tried a hot dog with beans, that has been wrapped in bacon, then placed in a steamed soft bun and then drizzled with mayo, catsup and mustard? Then you can say you have tried a Sonoran Hot dog. This is a good dog, especially if it comes from Raspados Paradise Mexican Restaurant at AZ Mils Mall.  We were there on Saturday to get Jack a new phone and we ended up walking through the entire mall, since it had been awhile since we were “mall rats.” Have you noticed by the way, that AZ Mills Mall has a pretty diverse crowd? This is a neat thing, I think.

I digress…the hog dog… it is served along with fries and a roasted yellow pepper that gets progressively hot as you reach the ribs and seeds. Raspados Paradise makes a pretty tasty mangoneada (shaved ice drink with mango) and horchata. There are a lot of drinks on the menu (shakes and malts too), along with other eats like tortas, burros and quesadillas…so if you are looking from a departure from the normal food court eats, Raspados Paradise is a good bet.

Tonight we are convalescing after a major eating weekend. But, we still need to eat something for dinner…so Jack suggested chicken cacciatore. There are some wings that he marinated with olive oil and Italian spices, then they went into a pot with a jar of Ragu (yes we are not too proud to use it) along with half of a green bell pepper, 2 garlic cloves and half of a white onion. In an hour this is going to taste really good over pasta. The whole place smells really good now. Peppers…onions…mmmm.

And if you make it this way, you don’t have to heat up your oven.  A great tip for the summer.


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