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PHX - Where are you heading for Valentine's Day?

I was wondering where everyone who's going out was heading tonight? We are going to Tarbell's, as we've never been there before. We've done Lon's twice on V-Day, but last year there was such a mess, we decided to try someplace else.

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  1. Away from restaurants is where I'm headed. ;-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: hohokam

      We did Ranch House Grille for breakfast before work. We figured that we would avoid the hassle of tonight (hohokam has the right idea). I got a bottle of Seghesio Zin 2002 Home Ranch Reserve for tonight, and I am picking up a large pie from Phoenix House of Pizza and Subs with extra sauce. It will be nice to stay home after the Steamer's disaster we suffered through last year.

      1. re: ValleyFever

        In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I too am away from home this Valentine's Day, so my romantic dinner plans are on hold until I get back to Phx late next week. But still, there's no way I'm venturing out before Sunday night.

    2. I think Tarbells would be lovely :).

      My guy is flying, per usual, but I just got back from a nice lunch with my sister at T. Cook's. We did the 4/$12 tapas special (I had the boursin stuffed cherry peppers & olives, the sweet potato gnocchi with duck confit, mushroom crostini, and prosciutto-potato canelle. My sis had the paprika short rib, the tomato-basil soup, chicken brochette, and something else I can't recall. Finished with the dark chocolate torte; of course started with their impeccable pesto) and of the six glasses of wine for $6, we both chose the pinot grigio.

      *However,* tomorrow night my husband should be back and we have reservations at Binkley's! It will be our first time. I will probably try to keep myself to the four course prix fixe with wine, which means I will have to choose between dessert and cheese. Dessert and cheese -- it's like Sophie's Choice! I keep peeking at the sample menu and changing my mind. If anyone can help me decide, I'm all ears -- ?

      6 Replies
      1. re: themis

        Excuse me while I swoon over the sweet potato gnocchi with duck confit!

        1. re: tara17

          You echoed my sentiments exactly, hon. T. Cook's confit was a highlight when Tara an I had dinner there.

          And Binkley's. It's second on our to try list after Kai. :)

        2. re: themis

          I can help - have the six course meal. It's the only way to truly experience Binkley's.

          1. re: themis

            dessert is very nice there. Never did the cheese. see what they have on the menu tomm and if it's nothing that catches yoour fancy get cheese.

            1. re: themis

              My boyfriend and I only had desserts--not cheese--but they were both amazing. He had the chef's interpretation of s'mores and said it was the best thing he'd ever tasted. But I agree w/ azbirdiemaker--get the 6 course--less to regret later :)

              1. re: nyomi

                A little update -- we wound up with me doing the four course with pairings, and he did the five course with cheese, and they allowed us to split the cheese course. And honestly, I'm glad I didn't do the six. With four amuse bouches, two entrees would have been too much. What we had was perfect --

                amuse bouche butternut squash soup
                Served in a demitasse cup with a pistachio powdered rim -- savory, not spicy or sweet at all -- organic squash and cream.

                amuse bouche cucumber tomato salad, dippin' dots style
                Served in a soup spoon, a scatter of flash-frozen spheres of cucumber and tomato water, with dried serrano chile garnish

                amuse bouche baked potato consomme
                Served in a shot glass set on an LED coaster that swirled color changes -- crystal-clear hot potato consomme poured over little gelee spheres of smoked cheddar, chive, and sour cream, with bacon dust on the rim

                (all paired with champagne, for me)

                cold appetizer
                country pate with pickled red onion, brandy gelee, caperberry, herb salad, whole grain mustard, toast. Paired with a crisp gewurtztraminer, for me.

                seared duck breast rillette, spaghetti squash, baby fennel, olive vinaigrette; for him.

                hot appetizer
                pork and beans -- crispy pork belly with calypso beans and braised kale. Oh my god, this was good. Paired with a merlot. Date soup garnished with gooseberries, salsify wrapped in Serrano ham, spicy pecans, and piment d'espallette for him.

                entree
                seared kampachi, baby bok choy, soy-braised lotus root, grilled pineapple, guava gelee dots, and coconut. Paired with a Joel Gott unoaked chardonnay, for me. Crispy pheasant breast, giant gnocchi, spring garlic, oven-dried tomato, English peas for him.

                intermezzo: grapefruit sorbet for him, guava sorbet for me

                cheese course: black truffle gouda fondue

                amuse bouche: micro-lollipops; cotton candy and vanilla-flavored

                dessert: banana Boston creme pie parfait paired with a semillon in the trockenbeerenauslese style for me, vanilla zabaglione with berries for him -- served by pouring liquid nitrogen over the zabaglione tableside, to form an instant ice cream.

                It was heavenly; a great experience all around. I found the desserts to be the weakest point, so next time I will probably go for the cheese plate.

                I really hope Kevin Binkley gets the Beard this year.

            2. I'm out-of-town on a business trip, but had a great dinner with coworkers last night at M5 in Charlotte. I did send my wife a gift box of Fairy Tale Brownies so that I don't find the locks changed when I get home.

              Enjoy Tarbell's. I'm guardedly optimistic that restaurant can avoid the "amateur night" syndrome that afflicts many on this date each year.

              3 Replies
              1. re: silverbear

                Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal! Charlotte is a great restaurant townt that never gets any acknowledgement!

                Without a Valentine, I find myself in for the night. Meeting friends at the Grand Lux Cafe on Friday though. Has anyone been yet, I've been other locations and wondered if it was still just Cheesecake Factory with a different moniker!

                  1. re: Jess321

                    Thanks for the acknowledgment! I was able to persuade the others elsewhere!

              2. Thanks so much for asking! It is a good opportunity to gloat a bit.

                We are going to Kai tomorrow night. I am really excited.

                Tonight, is frozen dinner night, late, as we are both working late.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Booger

                  See above. :)

                  We had reservations at Kai for our birthdays last Nov/Dec, but had to cancel them. Enjoy!

                2. I took my 4yo at-home-sick kid to Zuppa's and Sweet Thang for lunch and a pretty little cupcake.

                  As for us adults, we will be dining in. It's a work night for pete's sake! We do have a sitter for Saturday, so we may do something thrilling.