Tempe Food Critic Mark Carpenter Reviews the Culinary Dropout Restaurant

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Mark Carpenter Mark Carpenter

One of Tempe, Arizona’s most experienced food critics, Mark Carpenter helps online readers connect with the best eateries in town, teaching them about what makes each location so special before ever stepping foot on the property. Recently, Carpenter gathered with friends to try out the menu at the Culinary Dropout, a staple in the local food scene

While Mark Carpenter is devoted to Tempe’s Sonoran food that makes up much of the food selection in the city, he’s always open to try new cuisines and expand his taste buds. He regularly experiments with diverse menu options in restaurants across town and summarizes his thoughts in concise online reviews. After hearing the buzz around the Culinary Dropout restaurant, Carpenter booked a table for him and a few guests to try out their famous menu options.

“Tempe has a pretty massive food scene with unique foods from around the world as well as a healthy selection of delicious Mexican cuisine,” says Mark Carpenter of Tempe. “Places like the Culinary Dropout serve locals those dishes we couldn’t get anywhere else, even if we drove for miles and miles.”

The menu starts off with small portions of meat for guests to sample, which immediately sets the tone for what they can expect from the establishment: meaty Americana food with a unique culinary twist. The meat selection includes prosciutto di san Daniele, hot capicola, and salami Toscana. Next, guests can choose from a variety of rich cheeses prepared as finger foods including dolce gorgonzola, truffled crescenza, prairie breeze cheddar, warm goat cheese and more.

For diners who aren’t interested in delectable meat and cheese samples, the Culinary Dropout offers appetizers like bacon cheddar pretzel chips, pickled sweet peppers, Korean brussel sprouts, hot wings, onion rings, and “crusty bread” among others. For their entrees, the creators have assembled an impressive lineup of soups and sandwiches for the lighter eaters and dishes like 36-hour pork ribs, fried chicken, and pesto shrimp orecchiette for those looking for a heartier meal. To wrap it all up, Culinary Dropout features signature cocktails and classic desserts like monkey bread.

“When you come here, it’s very clear that you’ll get your fill and have plenty of quality options to choose from, but it’s so much more than that,” says Mark Carpenter. “They host many family-oriented events at the restaurant and frequently invite professional musicians to serenade diners throughout the week.”

Mark Carpenter of Tempe also marvels at the restaurant’s group event offerings:

“Here at the Tempe location, guests can choose to book group events in nine total event spaces on the property. The large portion sizes and the variety of starters and finger foods make this restaurant one of the absolute best in town for large professional or friendly events. Plus, between the music and lively atmosphere, Culinary Dropout is the ideal place to celebrate any special occasion.”