Paradise Valley Burger Company

We have been on a quest to find the best burgers in Phoenix. On a recent Saturday we visited Paradise Valley Burger Company.

Kids Paradise Valley Burger Company

Paradise Valley Burger Company Burger

Paradise Valley Burger Company Hamburger

Paradise Valley Burger Company Tots

Paradise Valley Burger Company

We arrived at 2 pm and there was a line. Yes, a line at 2 pm in the afternoon! It’s obvious that this hamburger place is a top destination for north Phoenix hamburgers!

After perusing the menu, we decided on two burgers and some sides. We ordered the PV Burger with Bacon, and the Beach House Burger.

We didn’t get any drinks, but just had water. They have some good looking milk shakes, however. They do not serve beer.

For sides, we ordered French Fries, French Toast Fries, Sweet Potato Tots, and Cole Slaw. It was a lot of food!

All of the entrees had very unique flavors. Fresh and unique flavors that taste like home. The hamburgers were booth double patties, and came with a sweet bun. The toppings were fresh and tasty. The bacon was crisp and thick cut. Personally, I would prefer to have one thick-and-juicy meat patty rather than two patties. I think there’s more room for the patty to have flavor if you can cook it to order. That aside, these are very good burgers and Paradise Valley Burger Company deserves the recognition.

My hamburger was really delicious, and definitely satisfied my hunger. My bun was perfect and a little bit sweet. It stayed together and held my burger in place. Paradise Valley Burger Company is always introducing new burgers. They have a constant stream of photos up on Facebook.

I’ll definitely be back! And I have been back…

Don’t let the simple strip mall appearance fool you. These guys know how to make a really good hamburger. They’ve been featured on the national television show on Food TV called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

Compared to other nearby hamburger places, Paradise Valley Burger Company has awesome side options!

If you’re looking for something sweet, do not miss the French Toast Fries which come with maple syrup. Just imagine thin strips of French Toast cooked or fried to a crisp. They’re sweet and when you dip them into the maple syrup they’re even sweeter. Definitely one of the best sides available.

On the healthier side of the table, we had the cole-slaw which is a house-made original recipe. This was also a favorite and we’ll be ordering it again next time. We had a hard time identifying the flavors, but it may have had a pickle in it. Works really well!

The French Fries and Sweet Potato Tots were both excellent. They are served with ranch, ketchup, or a ketchup and Siracha hot sauce mix hot sauce mix. Quite good!

The ambiance is casual and simple, and after you place your order at the counter you seat yourself. No tipping is required.

Every month Paradise Valley Burger Company creates a different special burger for the menu. I recently tried one that had two beef patties beer battered with pickled onions. Delicious!

They do have options for the kids menu: you can get chicken nuggets with French fries. Honestly, they look like the Mickey Mouse nuggets from Costco. But, that didn’t really matter to our 4-year old daughter.

Getting there

Paradise Valley Burger Company is located on the south east corner of 40th St. and Bell Rd., in Phoenix. They have plenty of free parking, and indoor and patio seating.

Paradise Valley Burger Company
4001 E Bell Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: (602) 535-4930

Ethiopian Food in Phoenix – Abyssinia Restaurant & Cafe 

We literally had our first date in over 10 months the other night. At least, our first without the kids.

Ethiopian Food in Phoenix Abyssinia Restaurant Photo

We made the drive downtown to Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant, for our first time ever. It was absolutely fantastic and an awesome cultural experience. All of the food was prepared using authentic Ethiopian recipes and served family style.

And you eat with your hand!

Ethiopian Food in Phoenix Abyssinia Restaurant

We ordered two dishes, our first was the chicken tips meal, and our second was the beef.

If you have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant, I suggest you ask the waiter for a recommendation. We did, and I’m glad we did! I had no idea about the size of the dishes (huge!) and what would taste the best.

Food Ethiopian Food in Phoenix Abyssinia Restaurant

They have vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu.

Each dish is served on a platter and all of the ingredients are placed on top of an Ethiopian style pancake. The best way to describe it is a pancake, but it’s a high-protein pancake that is apparently served with all dishes.


In a random twist, it turns out I know the owner and her husband. They’re immigrants from Ethiopia and are bringing real Ethiopian cooking to Phoenix AZ.

Getting there

It is located near downtown Phoenix on Indian School Rd. just east of 7th St.

Abyssinia Restaurant
842 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85014
Phone: (602) 795-4113

The Parlor

The Parlor is a well known and popular pizza restaurant in Phoenix, AZ. It was recently named as one of the best places to get pizza by The Huffington Post.

pepperoni pizza and bbq chicken

It’s a valley favorite, and is often recommended as one of the best in the state.

On a recent visit, we tried the Pepperoni Pizza and the Spicy Barbecue Chicken Pizza.


We definitely made the right choice!

First of all, these are thin crust pizzas and wood fired. The crust was superb. Just the right level of crispness so it stays together, but not overdone.

You can order pizzas as either a 8″ personal, or a 12″ size. We ordered two of the 12″ pizzas as well as a salad.

long island iced tea

They put basil on top of the pepperoni pizza and it’s amazing! It was so fresh and cooked to perfection. Easily ranks as one of my favorite pepperoni pizzas of all time. The pepperoni was quite good, and wasn’t spicy.


The barbecue chicken pizza was also a table favorite. The chicken was tasty and best of all the BBQ sauce had a really unique flavor. It was obvious it was a homemade sauce and that they’ve perfected it over the years.


We should mention that The Parlor also serves beer and wine, as well as mixed drinks. They made me a Long Island Iced Tea which was quite good. They also made a really good Margarita.

The interior of The Parlor is a mix of modern and ’60s. The modern wood beams and paneling along with the varnished cement flooring contrast nicely with the brickwork on the exterior. When we visited it was packed! They have a happy hour that goes from 4-6 pm and we just missed that. There was a 15 minute wait to get a table indoors.


Oh, and lest I forget to share the salad with you. We tried the spinach salad and loved it! It had spinach, tomatoes, avocado, and thick cut bacon. It also had some gorgonzola cheese bits throughout.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to go for a romantic pizza dinner. Check out The Parlor. It is located on Camelback Rd. just east of the 51. They have free parking.


Including tip, we spent $75 for two pizzas, a salad, and two drinks. Worth every penny.


Getting there

The Parlor is on the north side of Camelback directly east of The Armadillo Grill. They’ve got free parking in the back and also offer valet parking.

The Parlor
1916 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: (602) 248-2480

ZK Grill

Have you tried ZK Grill yet? That stands for Zaytoon Kabob Bistro. It’s a great fast-casual option for a delicious Mediterranean meal.


ZK Grill has some delicious and authentic Mediterranean food that is sure to satisfy!


Entrees are also huge, and come with rice and a big salad. Our dishes came with almost a half-head of lettuce!

I ordered the lamb and beef platter, and definitely enjoyed myself. The lamb filet slices were perfectly cooked. They were not overdone in any way, and tasted really fresh.


I’ve also really enjoyed their hummus dishes on previous visits. The other thing that’s really good is the gyro meat. Absolutely delicious!


ZK Grill recently underwent a pretty big remodel and transformation. They have new seating and artwork. Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for either take-out or dine-in. Enjoy!


Getting there

Located on Tatum Blvd. north of Thunderbird.

Greenway & Tatum Center
4757 E. Greenway Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: (602) 354-3663

Thai Basil at Paradise Valley Mall

While working on a rush project for a client, we decided to pause and break to order some dinner. We decided to order take-out from the new Thai Basil at Paradise Valley Mall.

The Thai Basil at the mall is located on the south entrance, next to the Starbucks.

Thai Basil is one of the better-known Thai restaurants in the Phoenix area, and has numerous locations around the valley. Thai Basil is considered by many of my friends to be the best Thai food in the state.

We ordered the following: A red curry with chicken, a pineapple Thai fried rice, and a drunken noodles with chicken dish. They were all really fantastic!

thai-basil-phoenix-2015-07-05 18.57.32

Above: Red Curry with Chicken

If I could find one way to describe the food, it would be that it tasted more authentic than other nearby Thai restaurants. Maybe because the red curry was less sweet than others I’ve tried. It has a real Thai curry taste and I think it had less brown sugar than I’m used to which explains the flavor difference.

thai-basil-phoenix-2015-07-05 18.56.30


Above: Drunken Noodles

The other nice plus was that the drunken noodles were served with fresh vegetables on the side. Something that other Thai restaurants don’t offer as part of the entree. We really liked the drunken noodles. Big noodles mixed with fresh vegetables, soy sauce, and chicken and spices. Delightful!

thai-basil-phoenix-2015-07-05 18.43.29-1

We really are beginning to love the pineapple fried rice. We’ve been ordering that from every place we go lately. What a great dish! If you have a hankering for a fried rice, give it a try!

thai-basil-phoenix-2015-07-05 18.56.26


Above: Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken

Thai Basil has a really beautiful interior. They have awesome blue and purple mood lighting that makes the restaurant look futuristic. They also have a bar where you can eat if you are by yourself (that’s where I sat while waiting for the food to be ready).

thai-basil-phoenix-2015-07-05 18.39.55

Enjoy your visit to Thai Basil!

Getting there

Located inside Paradise Valley Mall, on the south side in the middle by the Starbucks. You can park and enter the restaurant without entering the mall.

Paradise Valley Mall
4550 E. Cactus Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: (602) 788-0899

Barrio Cafe

There is an entree at Barrio Cafe called the Chiles en Nogada and it is considered one of the best variations on this entree in the world. If you are at Barrio’s for dinner, and wondering what to try, we highly recommend it!

Chiles en Nogada

The flavors are delicious, and fresh! The entree is a stuffed poblanos pepper that includes chicken, apples, onions, pecans and spices. The dish is served on a white almond sauce with pomogranite. The pommogranite adds such a delightful sweet flavor next to the apple and chicken. Truly one of my favorites.


My father recently rediscovered Barrio Cafe and invited us to a Sunday lunch after church. I had visited back in 2007, but since then hadn’t had an opportunity for a revisit.

Barrio Cafe in Phoenix is certainly one of the best Mexican restaurants in the valley. It has wide acclaim from food enthusiests. Even celebrity chefs, and weathermen like Al Roker have visited.


The interior of Barrio Cafe is simple and elegant. It’s a small restaurant, with multiple small rooms.

Outside, the building is covered with colorful murals.


Getting there

Parking is available on the street or behind the building, and is free. We’ve found that the least-busy time to visit is on Sunday afternoons, but you may want to call and ask foor a reservation.

They are located on 16th St. in Phoenix.

Barrio Cafe
2814 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Phone: (602) 636-0240

Dutch Bros. Arizona Smoothies

The smoothies at Dutch Bros. Coffee are terrific! If you are looking for an excellent smoothie in the Phoenix area, we can’t recommend them enough!

Those of you who know me know that I run a popular site about coffee shops in Arizona. So, you may find it surprising that I’d visit a chain like Dutch Bros. Coffee. Yes, it is ironic, but hey, you gotta try it all, right?

Dutch Bros. Coffee sells smoothies in 4 different sizes: Kids, Small, Medium, and Ginormous Huge 32 oz.

strawberry smoothie scottsdale

Flavors: Peach, Strawberry, Blueberry Pommagranit, Berry, Mango, and I think that’s it. They do occasionally mix it up, and you can order a blend.

Smoothies are all natural, and you can get them dairy free if you so desire.

Hobe Meats

Hobe Meats is a butcher shop located on 16th St. in Phoenix, AZ. I stopped in recently because my father had given me a Groupon for Christmas that qualified me for $50 worth of Tri-Tip Steak.

We’ve just returned from Hobe Meats with our steak and I wanted to write a quick review so you would know about it.


This place doesn’t serve food, but only sells ingredients like fresh steaks, pork, ham, chicken, and sausages.

Speaking of the sausages, they are amazing! We’ve eaten a variety of them and the flavors are amazing! We will certainly be back!

If you sign up for the email newsletter, they will send you a monthly coupon and announce some discounts. They were offering $2/discount per-pound on the sausages in the most recent newsletter.

Hobe Meats
6044 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Phone: (602) 604-2333

Zoyo Frozen Yogurt

Across the valley you’ll find locations for a frozen yogurt shop called Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt. We always visit the location on Tatum Blvd. and Shea Blvd. in Phoenix, which is open seven days a week.


The yogurt is delicious, and we’ve found that they are constantly introducing new flavors and toppings.


Some of the recent flavors have been: Oatmeal, Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookie Batter, Mint, Respberry Shorbet, Lime, Cookie Dough, Strawberry, and Coffee. They’ve had dozens of flavors over the years, and seem to have new flavors each week.

The yogurt is always tasty and fresh. They always have at least one dairy free option as well.


We go for the toppings! They have probably two-dozen different options for you to try, including lots of fresh fruit, candy bar shavings, and nuts and sprinkles. You can also pour a variety of hot fudges, whipped creams, and other toppings.

Definitely give Zoyo a try next time you have a craving for yogurt! Zoyo has locations all over the valley!

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill-1

I ordered the Gyro Platter and the Chicken Platter. Both came with sides like rice, salad, and assorted veggies. I’ve also ordered the chips, which were pretty awesome! The food was really fresh, with awesome flavors and quality ingredients.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill-2

Garbanzo is a new fast-casual mediterranean restaurant in the style of Chipotle. While there are many menu items, most people choose from the options and have someone build their plate.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill5

I had a chance recently to check out the new Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill across from Paradise Valley Mall. It’s located on the south side of Cactus Rd. halfway between Tatum Blvd. and Paradise Village Parkway.

Garbanzo is technically a chain. They have locations in California, Colorado, Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas at this time. In Arizona, they have locations at Desert Ridge and Paradise Valley Mall.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill
21001 N. Tatum Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85050
(480) 397-9510

4575 E. Cactus Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(480) 351-2497