Thursday, November 10, 2011

Restaurant Spotlight: Positively Postino ~ Phoenix, AZ

Whenever I visit the Phoenix area I seek out one of my favorite restaurants, Postino Winecafé, which is nestled in the Camelback corridor.

The first Postino Winecafé was opened in 2001, and I began going there in 2002. The owner, Craig DeMarco, and his lovely wife Kris were both there the majority of my visits during their infancy. Craig’s calm smile and low key demeanor were always a welcome sight. During the early years, Craig and I were both pursuing our MBA’s, so we would commiserate on the difficulties of having “work, life, balance.”

On this particular afternoon, I arrive right before they open at 11am. The parking can be a nightmare in this area; however, they do offer valet parking, so the patrons will not have to search high and low for parking if they arrive during the lunch rush. My friend and I notice that the staff is in their last minute prep to get ready before they open. I see Craig and walk over and shake his hand. He still has the same genial demeanor, but he has lost the wide-eyed wonderment he had when he first opened Postino; he is now a seasoned business owner. We briefly discuss his other restaurants, Chelsea’s Kitchen, located off of a canal, just a few blocks away from this Postino Winecafé location on Campbell street, as well as another Postino's that has opened in Central Phoenix. I compliment him on his successes and wish him many more. I get his blessing to write this article, and he says, “Make sure you say nice things about us.” I smile and tell him “I definitely will. What could I say that would be bad?”

My friend and I pull out the wine menu first and peruse the selection of whites. We settle on a mixed blend white wine and let our waitress know. They change their wines on a regular basis, so whatever I could recommend today may not be on the menu next week, month or year, but that is one of the concepts I have always loved. In respect to the food menu, I have favorites like the Mediterranean salad with added chicken, or a plentiful selection of Panini’s and Bruschetta’s topped with fresh produce, figs, cheeses and meats.

Knowing that I will not be back for awhile, I settle on my favorite: Mediterranean salad with chicken, and select just two Bruschetta's so I can have my fill of both. One is the Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese, and I decide to try a new one that is on their menu that is a Burrata, Bacon, Arugula and Tomatoes.

The Mediterranean salad is wonderful, as expected, with crisp romaine lettuce, olives, onions, feta cheese and light tzatziki dressing melding together beautifully. The Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese is difficult to eat, simply because the chopped peppers tend to slip off as you are biting into it, but that’s what a fork is for: so you can scoop up every divine morsel. The Burrata, Bacon, Arugula and Tomatoes Bruschetta is easily one of my new favorites; the saltiness of the bacon combined with the bite of the arugula is delicious. This one, like the Roasted Peppers, is a bit messy, just given there is so much going on, but that doesn’t stop me from devouring it with great aplomb.

Postino Winecafé is the type of place that every neighborhood dreams of having. It attracts a wide variety of clientele: residents who can walk over from the neighborhood, business professionals that trickle in from downtown Phoenix, and those of us who travel a farther distance, knowing that it is worth the trip. The first Postino was originally a Post Office, so during the spring months, before it is too hot, they raise the doors and the indoor and outdoor patio seamlessly become one with each other. The seating is abundant, with several outdoor patio and high top tables, sofas and other intimate seating arrangements inside. Postino does not try too hard with their décor. The concrete floor, multi-colored painted walls, and eclectic wall art make it – just right.

*Photos taken by That Chick Té ***For some unknown reason my photos have disappeared from this page; I apologize for the inconvenience. That Chick Té 9.3.2012

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