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My toast to Fred…

November 22, 2009

Ahh… Tarbell’s!

Walking into Tarbell’s feels like a sort of homecoming for me. I don’t remember exactly the first time I set foot in this Phoenix mainstay, but over the past fifteen or so years, Tarbell’s has been the site for many fond memories. Quiet and cozy and sparkling like a jewel box by candlelight, dining there has always made lovely moments all the more special. Sean and I had one of our first dates at Tarbell’s and several since. I have also celebrated holidays, milestones and once reserved their private dining room to surprise my mother on her birthday.

But when I go to Tarbell’s it is always my dear friend Fred who I remember most. I could always count on seeing him at the bar, eating his dinner and holding court. He loved being there. I don’t know if it was the food or ambiance or just that he seemed to know everyone who entered. More often than not, when we went Fred was there. He passed away not too long ago and had made clear instructions to have a party for his friends there months later. This came as no surprise to any of us who knew him. It was a wonderful celebration. Tarbell’s outdid themselves to honor their friend too.

Something about that says more to me than any of the awards or kudos Mark Tarbell and his team have rightly won over the years. The food is all wonderful, but I have always been most partial to the Scottish Salmon. On our recent visit, I stuck with my favorite, while Sean had the Alaskan Halibut with kohlrabi and Napa cabbage. We did both share in Mark’s Mom’s Mac and Cheese. I do love that Tarbell’s is generous enough to have listed a number of recipes of their signature dishes on their website. I have tried my hand at a few, but I always enjoy them more there. Over dinner we reminisced and drank a toast to our friend. I wish we could have sent him a drink too. He would have liked that.

Tarbell’s is just that kind of place.

3213 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, Arizona
One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    November 27, 2009 1:31 am

    This one brought tears to my eyes. I miss seeing Fred, too. He would be so pleased to know that you think of him when you have dinner at Tarbell’s. It is one of my favorite “special occasion” places.

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