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.

Fall AZ Restaurant Week Dine-Around Preview

This week I joined a group of media invitees on a preview of fall Arizona Restaurant Week (September 18-27) as we visited participating restaurants Little Cleo's Seafood Legend, Ticoz Latin Kitchen, and Southern Rail.  

At Little Cleo's, we were introduced to an array of seafood selections from the special $33 menu (which includes a glass of champagne):  Ahi tuna tartare with avocado, yuzu caramel and avocado; crispy  frog legs tossed with a fish sauce and Thai chili glaze and cashews; grilled octopus with masa cakes, chile, and radish; bouillabaisse with shrimp, mussels and scallops. My first visit to this spot, and I'll be back.  I was impressed with their creative preparations of fresh seafood. 

Transportation was provided by Ollie the Trolley as guests headed to the second stop - Ticoz Latin Kitchen.  We snacked on chips and salsa as we sipped on cocktails such as the Passion Fruit Sangria, Spanish Rose Martini, and a Ticoz Gold Margarita, before we sampled some of the entrees being offered for RW: Paella with chicken, seafood and Schreiner's linguica; grilled chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables, and a sherry-chipotle sauce; green chile mac 'n cheese; blue corn enchiladas stuffed with shredded chicken and green chile.  Table favorites were the creamy mac 'n cheese and signature enchiladas. For $33 a person, the Ticoz 3-course menu offers a choice from 3 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 3 desserts, and includes a complimentary nonalcoholic beverage, house wine, margarita or sangria.   

Our final stop was Southern Rail, whose $33 menu options include 3 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 3 desserts, plus a draught beer or red or white wine. I'm especially thrilled that they are spotlighting our wonderful Arizona wine, with your choice of a glass of Bodega Pierce Sauvignon Blanc (Rolling View Vineyard in Willcox) or DA Ranch Red Barn Red (Page Springs).  

Southern Rail's RW menu has appetizer selections including fried okra, and entrees such as shrimp and andouille sausage with Creole tomato sauce and grits, grilled pork loin with braised red cabbage, mashed sweet potatoes, and peppercorn demi, and duck confit on a bed of collard greens and farro with blackberry gastrique. For a sweet finale, we shared butterscotch banana pudding with a gingersnap cookie, brown sugar sweet potato tart with coconut macaroon, and black forest cake “push-up” with amarena cherries and chocolate mousse.  

Taking advantage of sommelier T. Scott Stephens' wealth of knowledge, especially regarding Arizona wine, my husband and I finished with a nightcap at the bar.  We had great service from Emily and, at Scott's suggestion, ordered the Rune 2013 Wild Syrah, sourced from Pillsbury Vineyard. Wow, a fantastic layered Syrah that captures our distinct AZ terroir. Highly recommend. For my feature interview with sommelier Scott about Southern Rail's and Beckett's Table recent Wine Spectator awards, visit this page

Fall Arizona Restaurant Week starts Friday, September 18th.  For more information and menus, visit restaurant listings at Arizona Restaurant Week.  

This was a complimentary media event.