Write On Rubee

An Arizona-based food, beverage and travel writer since 2008,  I launched this website in 2015 to document my culinary adventures, beverage escapades, gardening endeavors, and travel in the Phoenix area and beyond.  Also find a comprehensive calendar of Phoenix-area food and drink-related events on my Events page.

Filtering by Tag: Phoenix

Lebanese in the North Valley at Mashawi

My first visit to family-owned Mashawi Lebanese Grill wasn't planned. We were doing errands in the area when I noticed the sign. I love Lebanese cuisine, so of course I had to stop to check it out and pick up a menu. After reading through, however, I left with more than the menu and ordered chicken kofta (ground chicken kabobs seasoned with parsley, onion and garlic served with garlic sauce) and kibbeh (a crispy bulgur wheat shell filled with ground spiced beef) to go. One of my favorite elusive Lebanese dishes is kibbeh nayyeh made with raw lamb, pureed onion, bulgur wheat, and seasonings. Think a Lebanese lamb tartare but smooth with texture from the bulgur. Although it wasn't on the menu, I was told they could make it next time if I called ahead. Wonderful!

While I waited, the nice owner/father sent me out some some complimentary hummous, describing it as "the best because it was just made" and a "family recipe".  Such a welcoming gesture. It was excellent - creamy, not grainy as some can be, with a bright hit of fresh lemon and a mild balance of tahini and garlic.  Back home, the chicken kofta was juicy and flavorful, and the kibbeh is now one of my usual orders.  

On my next visit, I pre-ordered the kibbeh nayyeh to share with friends.  It was a perfect texture with a nice lamb to bulgur ratio, no sinew, smooth and buttery.  I'll definitely make plans to have it again.  The family has always been hospitable and friendly, though I'm overdue for a visit. 

Falafel, baba ganoush, ‎and hummous; tabouli‬; warak arish (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves with tahini sauce), kibbeh nayyeh; chicken kofta and kibbehshish kafta (ground beef and lamb kabobs):

The address for Mashawi Lebanese Grill is 814 E. Union Hills Drive, #6, Phoenix, AZ 85024.  Hours are 11 am to 9 pm seven days a week, and they offer delivery within 5 miles.  Tel: 623-879-6777.

Mashawi Lebanese Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Welcome Chicken + Donuts

With a nice start to the day as a guest panelist at the PRSA Phoenix Table Talk Media Breakfast, I finally had the opportunity to visit Welcome Chicken and Donuts. We live in the NW Valley, so I took advantage of being out and about early, and its proximity, to cross another must-get-to spot off my list. Chef Michael Babcock of Welcome Diner opened WC+D with a focused menu featuring Asian-style fried chicken (sauce options include Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese)  and donuts (classics such as glazed or cake, and premium such as key lime or cajeta mesquite).  Alas, I was half an hour early for the fried chicken, which isn't served until 10:30 a.m., but I certainly didn't leave disappointed.  

From left to right starting with the top:

  • Kaffir and matcha, Thai tea and Arnold Palmer, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Glazed
  • Almond Butter and Jelly Glazed, Apple Fritter, Classic Glazed, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • Honey Butter Almond, Classic Glazed, Chocolate Glazed, Strawberry Balsamic.

And what did I try first?  The Almond Butter and Jelly Glazed, a decadent combination of rich, nutty filling and tangy, fruity icing.  

Welcome Chicken + Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hana Japanese

For me, what makes a restaurant special is a creative menu utilizing high-quality ingredients, caring chef/owners who are proud and passionate about their craft, and a welcoming atmosphere that makes me happy the moment I walk in, and encourages me to return as soon as possible.  Family-owned Hana is such a spot with this magical combination.

Read more in an article I orginally wrote for AZ Wine Lifestyle magazine in 2010: AZ Wine Lifestyle:  A Flower Blooms in the Sonoran Desert