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Cheap Eats ~ Scottsdale

Arizona, Cheap Eats, Scottsdale By July 11, 2018 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

The Cheap Eats in Scottsdale were definitely a surprise. From a sugar bomb of a ice cream sandwich, to pulled pork for breakfast, the affluent extension of Phoenix likes to have some cheap eats options for the Snowbird set it seems. How far did my $35 stretch in the Spa capital of US? Let’s take big second bite and find out!

The Vitals:
the spot: Sugar Jam Bake Shop and Bistro 7950 E. Redfield road Suite 100 Scottsdale AZ 85260
the eats: Savory Scone Sandwiches
the bucks: $9.95
the full nelson: I mean, its BBQ for breakfast!

Sugar Jam Bake Shop started out as a cookie phenomenon at a local farmer’s market before Chef Dana Dumas took things to the next level in 2014 when she opened the brick and mortar version of Sugar Jam Bake Shop. One would assume scones would make their way on the menu but how did BBQ? Turns out both Dana’s dad and husband are into the “Que”. Her husband built a heck of an electric indoor smoker and her dad came up with the signature sauce. I gotta say, I live in Austin and while this isn’t the capital of pulled pork, I do know legit BBQ when I taste it and this was the first time I have had legit bbq from an indoor smoker. And then there are the scones which I like to think of as stuck up versions of biscuits. But being a food snob myself, I do like ’em. The trick to making scones work with pulled pork, which traditionally are flavored on the sweeter side,  was to add some bacon, chive and sharp cheddar into the dough mix. Now this meal was essentially $10 but keep in mind that isn’t just quality you are paying for, you are indeed paying for quantity. Each scone sandwich is sandwiched with a whole scone, meaning you are getting four scones and a small mountain of damn good pulled pork swimming in a barbecue sauce you wish you had the recipe for. Turns out they sell bottles of the stuff so you don’t need the recipe. If you want to know how you can pull of BBQ for breakfast it’s pretty simple: make killer pulled pork, come up with a bbq sauce worth bottling and make your own scones by hand. The easier route would be to fork over $10 for breakfast at Sugar Jam Bake Shop. I suggest the latter but text me if you choose the former.

The Vitals:
the spot: The Great Australian Bakery 7217 E. Main street Scottsdale AZ 85251
the eats: Cottage Pie
the bucks: $7.50
the full nelson: When it comes to Pies, the Aussies have really figured it out

If you have never indulged in the world of Australian Pies, you are indeed missing out on the power of pastry and all things savory. Beyond traditional pies like the Cottage Pie we featured with a classic filling of ground beef, carrots and peas, The Great Australian Bakery has a Thai red curry, a beef yellow curry, and a total Mad Men are throwback dish: Chicken Mornay. And they are all good, because I tried them all. I was lucky enough to have an Australian Pie shop in the bottom of my building when I lived in downtown Los Angeles but you really need to talk to an Aussie to understand how important pies are to them. Laurence Lindahl can definitely cover that, he is chatty, heck he is flat hilarious and a bit of a screwball like yours truly. As I look back at Cheap Eats Scottsdale I realized we visited two bakeries which reminds me that bakeries are indeed excellent havens for Cheap Eats. Working with dough is laborious, requires training and doesn’t happen much in the home kitchen like back in the old days. While the ingredients to make bread or a pie crust are cheap, the labor is serious business. And if you make one pie, I mean, give yourself a pat on the back. But to have a whole pie shops worth of options? Yeah, you ain’t doing that at home. Which makes a visit to the Great Australian Bakery a no brainer if your looking for Cheap Eats in Scottsdale. At $7.50 plus a scoop of mashed potatoes, you are getting a filling meal. The problem is the other ones are so good, you might get two. So bring a friend and split a few – these pies are indeed worth it, all of them.

The Vitals:
the spot: The Baked Bear 7366 E. Shea blvd suite 106 Scottsdale AZ 85260
the eats: Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
the bucks: $5.70
the full nelson: Sometimes you need to go on a reckless sugar rush

The Baked Bear started out in San Diego and went on a sugar rush expansion to 5 states, totaling over 15 locations. If you thought Chipotle caught on like wild fire, ask the soccer moms who cart their kids to this sugar factory. Realizing that ice cream alone wasn’t enough of a vehicle for over the top sweet combos, founders Rob Robbins and Shane Stanger took to ice cream sandwiches as their vehicle for their super sweet creations. At just under $6 the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich is big enough to fill you up on ice cream alone and the cookies ensure you may want to start looking at salad options for dinner. Beyond the cookies made in house and the fact you can get down with sprinkles on this ice cream sandwich is that unique blue ice cream called Baked Bear batter. Specially made in Wisconsin, aka the Dairy State, Baked Bear Batter is a blue cake batter ice cream laced with chunks of brownie and fudge – clearly a stand alone sweet treat. But when you are craving a sugar rush on a budget in Scottsdale, look no further. But perhaps look into an automatic toothbrush and a good dental plan from your employer as well.

The Vitals:
the spot: McFate Brewing 1312 N. Scottsdale road Scottsdale AZ 85257
the eats: The Jess
the bucks: $13 BUT half off on Mondays
the full nelson: The cure for the Mondays!!

Pizza and beer pretty much are meant to go together which was pretty much the thinking behind the food program at McFate Brewing. With a small kitchen, pizza made sense as did adopting a thin crust style with an affinity for gourmet toppings. Now being a gourmet pie, it shouldn’t surprise you that they go sans tomato sauce here. Instead you will find a garlic oil in its place which really helps sell the spinach and three cheese blend of mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta. The bacon topping, which never really needs selling, does do a fine job of adding texture as the bacon is pre cooked before hitting the pie, so you get plenty of crispy bites. If you have spent any time in a California Pizza Kitchen, a pie like should seem like familiar territory but ain’t no CPK I know doing half off Mondays; $6.50 for this pie is a straight up Cheap Eats deal. And it also happens to be a decent cure for Mondays. Along with beer. #Facts.

And that was Cheap Eats in Scottsdale AND a wrap for Season 4! Thanks for staying on the ride and will see you later this summer for more Cheap Eats when Season 5 kicks off. In the meantime you have 13 new cities to get some Bang for your Cheap Eats buck and stay tuned on this blog for more foodie finds and even some summer grilling recipes. I have a beach calling my name but you know where to find me – Wednesdays 10pm EST on Cooking Channel. Stay thrifty everybody!





Hopdoddy Burger Bar Edition

Arizona, Austin, Burgers, California, Chain, Colorado, Gourmet, Los Angeles, Texas, West Coast By August 6, 2016 No Comments

I’m really scratching my head on this one. As I struggle to tickle the keys on my beat to hell 2007 Macbook, I face the stark truth that I am about to give props to the one burger joint in Austin that seems like it came out of the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix trilogy: Hopdoddy Burger Bar. The customers don’t wear nearly the same amount of leather as Carrie Anne Moss, and I’m pretty sure open carry in Austin’s City Limits doesn’t include Matrix level hardware, but the almost too perfect polished feel of the place seems jarring enough for me to take the red pill. In this case, the “red pill” meant taking on three(actually 4) burgers to see how deep Bang for your Burger Buck can go here. And how deep does the rabbit hole go at Hopdoddy? Let’s just say by the end I was waxing poetic on these burgers with the Mad Hatter and Alice.

On paper, places like Hopdoddy are why I began the search for Bang for your Burger Buck. The $10 and up burger trend was shifting burger discourse away from beautifully imperfect burger stands to chef driven concepts dripping with start up cash from dudes in Teslas who just started saying the word “dude” again after a 5 year hiatus post college/grad school. With a full bar, boozy milkshakes and several well positioned monitors blasting ESPN, the temptation to stay awhile and get loose at Hopdoddy is great. $50 later you may find yourself asking how a burger and beer experience bordered on a light sushi dinner. Well, it’s not really a conspiracy on the part of joints like Hopdoddy. They figured out awhile back that people will spend money in all kinds of settings, whether they be quiet white table cloth lined dining rooms or a burger joint with kobe on the menu and kobe highlight reels on the TV. So why should you spend your hard earned buck here? Because in this instance, the crowds indeed gather for good reason: their burgers rock. Their burgers are also all over the map. In fact, it kind of irks me when a burger joint can’t pick one burger version and run with it. In Hopdoddy’s case, they have 12 burgers that showcase extreme topping creations versus that one single interpretation of what they believe a great burger truly is. After an initial dud, I honed in on three burgers that struck me as compelling on their own and fine to compare and contrast. Like shopping for a car or a Mac(hint hint), budget will drive your journey. So here are three great Hopdoddy burgers, in ascending order of Bang for your Burger Buck, that are indeed worthy of your hard earned buck. And I freaking enjoyed eating every one of ’em too.