Wildflower Bread Company
by Cowgirl Connoisseur
Wildflower Bread Company is a Scottsdale based chain with nine locations. The Valley locations are at Tempe Square (SW Corner of McClintock & Guadalupe), Sonora Village (SW Corner of Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.), Deer Valley Towne Center (SW Intersection of Loop 101 and I-17), Chandler Fashion Center (SW Intersection of Loop 101 and Chandler Blvd.), Wildflower Village (SW Corner of Baseline and Val Vista), Palm Valley Pavilions West (SW Corner of Litchfield and McDowell), Arcadia Commons (Indian School and 44th Street). The locations outside the Valley are Prescott Gateway Mall (Intersection of Highway 69 & Gateway Blvd.), and The Shops at Piñon Pointe (Intersection of Highways 179 and 89A).
It’s a simple order at the counter and the server brings you your food. You get your own drinks and refills. Sandwiches, pasta, soups and salads, muffins and breads make up most of their menu. Bread is their passion and all of it is baked fresh daily. What a huge difference fresh bread makes in a delicious sandwich!
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner; breakfast is served with a wide variety of selections beyond your usual breakfast sandwich. Breakfast is served until 10:30am on weekdays and until 2pm on weekends. How about the Honey-Cured Ham and Brie Frittata with eggs, ham, brie, sautéed apples, sage and leeks, served with Wildflower Home Fries and buttered toast for only $5.99. Or the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes that are Wildflower’s signature pancakes, with ricotta cheese and lemon, served with blueberry compote, sweet creamy butter and hot maple syrup at $5.69. The lemon contrasted with blueberry is a wonderful combination. The Roasted Tomato Feta & Egg Sandwich with scrambled eggs, roma tomato, feta and basil on a buttered Ciabatta Roll at $4.19 is a huge improvement over a McMuffin! This is a much nicer way to start your morning.
Lunch is priced from $6.49 to $6.99 for sandwiches like the Roast Beef & Gorgonzola with rare roast beef (94% fat-free), gorgonzola, roasted red pepper, red onion, romaine, tomato and herb mayo on Sourdough for $6.79. I really enjoyed their Wildflower Chicken Salad with chicken breast, red and green peppers, green onion, lemon, garlic and mayo with tomato, cucumber, romaine and clover sprouts on Nine-Grain at $6.79. My cowboy friend enjoyed the hot Spicy Meatball sandwich with Swiss, giardinera hot peppers and Wildflower marinara on a grilled Ciabatta Roll for $6.99. The Harvest Apple Pork is slow-roasted pork with apple, leek, sage, arugula and Swiss on grilled Pasilla Chili Rye at $6.79 looked tempting and I will try it when the weather is cooler.
The salads are wonderful! Oriental Chicken with field greens, grilled chicken breast, red and white cabbage, cucumber, carrot, celery, green onion, jicama, cilantro, sesame seeds, crispy noodles and almonds with Oriental dressing at $6.99. They use a lot of jicama, which you don't find often, but adds a nice crunch!
They serve up to six varieties of fresh homemade wholesome soup daily that are a wonderful meal in themselves. Made with natural ingredients and they always offer at least one vegetarian selection. You can try soup in their award winning Sourdough bread boule or with your favorite sandwich or salad. By the cup $3.29, bowl $4.29, or soup in a Bread Boule is $5.29. You can even buy Soup by the Quart at $8.99 and feed the whole family. Their website gives the ingredients and complete nutritional breakdown of each soup for those counting calories or carbs.
Pasta is served from 3pm on and includes a Butternut Squash Ravioli topped with roasted walnut cream sauce and nutmeg sublime for $7.29. My favorite is Smoked Salmon Alfredo with sundried tomato, capers and linguini, topped with parsley and grated parmesan for only $7.29! Or how about the Three Cheese Ravioli topped with Wildflower marinara, parsley and grated Parmesan for only $6.99. Pesto Chicken with Linguini grilled chicken breast, feta, roasted red pepper, spinach and pesto, topped with parsley and grated parmesan $7.29, Linguini with White Clam Sauce tender clams in an herb broth, topped with parsley and grated parmesan $6.99, and many more.
I go to Wildflower Bakery for meetings often because the atmosphere is usually subdued and quiet enough for comfortable conversation. They also have free wifi and it is relatively fast compared to many places in the valley. Wildflower Bakery always seems to have a steady crowd. But the service is pretty quick and I’ve never had a problem finding a good table. When the weather is good I like sitting out on the front patio.
I also like to snag a cranberry muffin ($1.89) from the bakery case with a display so tempting you may have to close your eyes! They also have freshly made breads, cheesecakes, cupcakes and brownies, and cakes. Recently they had a baguette for a dollar you could drop into a box and grab your bread as you left.
Wildflower Bakery hours are: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, Prices: $5-$7 sandwiches; $4-$7 salads; $7 pastas (after 3 p.m.) For information on the closest location call (480) 838-9773 or www.wildflowerbread.com
The Black Bear Diner
By Cowgirl Connoisseur
There once was a time when you went to a diner for a meal and found good solid nutritious food in hearty portions and as delicious as Mom’s cooking. Not many of those places survive in the modern fast paced world. But check out The Black Bear Diner.
If you yearn for a diner of yesteryear, mosey into The Black Bear Diner. They have two locations in north Glendale at 6039 W. Bell Rd., Glendale, AZ 85306, (602) 843-1921 and in Phoenix, at 2410 W. Bell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023, (602) 298-2671. The franchise, out of Mt. Shasta, California, says they have 35 Diners and are still growing! Other Arizona locations include Bullhead City, Goodyear, and Lake Havasu City.
Their menu is an old-time newspaper with stories about local events in the past. On my last visit I enjoyed the California Scramble $7.69 for breakfast. It’s scrambled eggs with avocado, spinach, tomato, onion, and jack cheese. It came with potatoes (your choice of hash browns or diced) and bread (your choice of toast or biscuit). The waitress asked about how you liked everything cooked – regular or crispy. The biscuit was the biggest fluffiest most delicious I’ve ever eaten. And the eggs were fabulous!
Others in my party had the Ham and Eggs $7.69 with pancakes, Hungry Man Steak and Eggs $9.99 and another had the Pancakes Mama Bear stack $4.69. Everyone had too much to eat and couldn’t finish their plates. Servings are extra generous and delicious.
The menus for lunch and dinner are both so extensive and economically priced, you are sure to find what you like. Lunch menu sandwiches are generally about $7.99 and dinner averages about $11.99. A large Senior Menu is mostly about $7.99 for dinners.
Their menu notes they have been trans fat free at all locations fo the last 3 years. Their menu says good old fashioned comfort food. And everything on the menu looks very comforting to me!
The décor includes extra large deep booths and tables where you won’t feel cramped even if your hubby is a double X. And there are stuffed bears everywhere to compliment the pine and rough wood trim. Two giant sleeping bears in the reception area are said to wake up and hug patrons on occasion. It’s a family friendly very comfortable place. Jason and his staff did a good job to make us all feel welcome and happy to return. They have a website at www.blackbeardiner.com with a gift shop.
Buffalo Chip Saloon And Steakhouse
by Cowgirl Connoisseur
The Buffalo Chip is a cowboy's standard hang out in downtown Cave Creek. It has a real western, kinda rough and tumble feel and it comes by it naturally. All those cowboy boots kicking up their heels dancing and hootin' and hollarin' can leave a mark! "Live in the now, but play in the 1800's" is their motto. Aside from the televisions, you could be walking into an 1880's style bar.
The restaurant is open 10am to 10pm with standard cowboy fare. Big Buckin' Burger and Fries at $6.95, 3/4 lb 100% beef chuck, hand ground and pattied, on a toasted bun with cheddar cheese. You can add Bacon, Green Chiles or Red Chili for $1.00 each. On Fridays, it's "All-You-Can-Eat" Cod, Walleye, Lake Perch and Catfish with fries and slaw $9.95 from 5 to 10pm. The fish is hot and delicious and they keep it coming. What a deal! Be sure to get your fill by 10pm, because the tables get pushed back and the dance floor appears and lookout, it gets crazy. They hand cut their own choice steaks and cook the steaks and burgers are on a Mesquite grilled to your likes. Of the hundreds of steaks I've had at the Chip, every single one has been good, tender, juicy and tasty. They are served with cowboy beans, salad, and a honey butter biscuit. It's nothing fancy, just simple straight forward cowboy dinner and uumm ummm good.
Not in the burger mood? How about a Mesquite Grilled Chicken Sandwich, for $7.95, it is a large grilled chicken breast, hot melted cheese, green chilies, tomatoes, and lettuce on a toasted bun, served with fries. Or a Pit Smoked Pork Sandwich and Fries, $7.95, 3/4 pound of smoked sliced pork topped with melted cheese, coleslaw and served on a toasted bun with a side of BBQ sauce. Or the Smoked Brisket Sandwich and Fries, $7.95, 3/4 pound beef brisket with melted cheese on a toasted bun with a side of BBQ sauce. For the salad lover try the Grilled Chicken Salad, $7.95, Platter of iceberg lettuce, slivered purple cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes with a grilled chicken breast, toasted croutons and side of ranch dressing.
The Chet "ATKINS" Platter, is $11.95, it has smoked pork, beef brisket, and grilled chicken breast with dry BBQ rub and a side of low-carb home-style coleslaw. Pit-Smoked Beef Brisket, for $10.95, is one pound of pit-smoked beef brisket with cowboy beans, coleslaw and honey butter biscuit. Or try the Chicken Saloon, for $10.95, chicken breast, tossed green salad, and a honey butter biscuit.
But the most popular item is the 12 oz. choice handcut Ribeye Steak, for $16.95, served with cowboy beans, tossed green salad, and a honey butter biscuit. Cooked to your order with these guidelines, Rare = Cool Red Center, Medium Rare = Warm Pink Center, Medium = Thin Pink Line in Center, Medium Well = No Pink, Well = May Still Be on Fire!
As a center attraction for cowboys in a western town for so many years, the Chip is nothing fancy. But that patina of so many wild nights has a certain attraction. This is where life really happens. It can get wild. Pretty young cowgirls come in their best western ware and dancing boots to two-step with cowboys in Wranglers and fresh Panhandle Slim snap button shirt and of course Stetson hat. They meet on the dance floor and share a few long necks and the next thing you know there are two kids and dog in the back of his Ford F250. Yep, many a romance has begun under that roof.
The atmosphere is just what city folk and tourists want to absorb. The Buffalo Chip even caters to tour groups and parties with a little western town out back. You can listen to the live music, shoot pool, or throw horseshoes, sit next to a fire pit and enjoy beautiful Black Mountain with a cold one!
There's plenty of music and dancing going on with Wednesday Karaoke 8pm to Midnight using one of the best sound system around. Thursday and Sunday you can enjoy free dance lessons (that's cowboy dancing ya'll) from 7 to 8pm, and Live music and dancing with The Pat James Band 8pm till Midnight, every Thursday through Sunday. And check out Mel's Auction out back where you can bring anything in from 7to 9pm to get sold, and of course you're welcome to buy!
The first Sunday of every month during the Fall and Winter from 7 to 9pm the Chip goes theatre with "Murder at the High Noon Saloon", a Comedy/Interactive Theater and Dinner Show. They serve a Prime Rib, Cowboy Beans, Tossed Salad, Sourdough Biscuit and Dessert for $35.00.
So the next time your gang of cowboys and cowgirls gets real hungry and has some energy to burn, do what we do. Say,"Meet ya'll at the Chip!" Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse, is located at 6811 East Cave Creek Road, in Cave Creek.
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