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Phoenix99's Profile

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Moving from San Francisco

Surprise! That explains it. I've always believed the number of Chicago style hot dog and pizza places was due to the number of Chicagoans that visit or retire here.

Just to add a couple of more great Mexican places to what has already been mentioned: Rito's (no sign but you'll know you're there by the crowd), Pepe's Taco Villa and America's Taco Shop. ATS claims the best carne asada in Phoenix and I think they're right. They also do Al Pastor the traditional way. The carne asada tacos are the way to go in my opinion and they are completely authentic. My favorite Mexican right now is Los Reyes de la Torta and I believe the Torta Cubano is the single best sandwich is all of Phoenix. Try half the places listed and then let us know what you think of our Mexican food.

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Pepe's Taco Villa
2108 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015

America's Taco Shop
2041 N 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Jul 14, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Moving from San Francisco

Please. Oregano's? That's ridiculous. You are correct, you will not find burritos here like they make them in San Francisco. That's been addressed on this board before. Those are not authentic and you will not find them in Mexico. Those of us that are interested in Mexican cuisine generally don't enjoy the "Mission-style" burritos as they have so many ingredients you don't get the clean, pure flavors of Mexico. I have to say that I believe you are totally off base on the Mexicanfood comments.

Jul 13, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

scottsdale happy hour and summer specials update

Roy's is very good. Best overall value I'd say is between Fleming's and McCormich & Schmick. Both have reduced prices on beverages and food including great burgers. I believe Fleming's is $5 and M&S $2. Wildfish used to have excellent prices on appetizers but I'm not sure where they are anymore. Marcellino's at Scottsdale Fashion Square has a good happy hour program in the lounge.

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Marcellino
7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Jul 11, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Barrio Cafe

I've always enjoyed Barrio Cafe and the cochinita pibil in particular. You'll find disagreement on this website although in honesty some of it may be misdirected. I remember one writer taking BC to task for their chunky guacamole but took that to be someone who thought Americanized smooth guac was authentic.

Jul 11, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

First time in Phoenix/Chandler-Need recs

Second Angel Sweet. Cork in south Chandler is very good. For a simple but very good lunch I would do Los Taquitos on Eliot in Ahwautukee and try Carne Asada tacos. For breakfast I recommend Hillside Spot in Ahwautukee and Over Easy in east Phoenix. That's a bit of a drive depending where in Chandler you're staying but it's almost all freeway. Cyclo is very good Vietnamese and Lee's Sandwiches for lunch is great. Try one of the Vietnamese Bahn Mi and ask for extra meat. Awesome. I'd go to Phoenix Ranch Market in Mesa for one lunch. It's part of a chain of Hispanic markets with all kinds of food options including made to order fish tacos. Finally, Fleming's in Chandler for happy hour turned into a meal. Although I've mentioned several meat recommendations all of these places work for your diet. Fleming's happy hour in particular. We took our son and daughter in law there recently and she eats the same as you. Feasted on calimari and ahi tuna sliders. Good wines, beer and martini's at an excellent price.

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Over Easy
4730 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Los Taquitos
4747 E Elliot Rd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85044

Angel Sweet
1900 W Chandler Blvd Ste 24, Chandler, AZ 85224

Jul 11, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Western Wyoming, Green River/Rock Springs/Jackson/Yellowstone

Posted this on the Great Plains site also since I'm not sure where it belongs. I will be spending a month in Western Wyoming starting this week and am looking for interesting places of all types that serve great food. Also good markets, farm stands Etc.

Jul 10, 2010
Phoenix99 in Mountain States

Western Wyoming, Green River/Rock Springs/Jackson/Yellowstone

Spending a month in Western Wyoming starting this week and will have some time to explore. Looking for interesting non-chain restaurants of all types that serve great food. Also, any good markets, farm stands or whatever.

Jul 10, 2010
Phoenix99 in Great Plains

Tempe/Chandler Best Bets..any price...

Los Taquitos on Elliott just off the I-10 is very good. Tiny little family run operation. If memory serves me correctly, it's 5 sisters and a brother. America's Taco Shop has just opened a new location on University just west of Rural Rd. Great carne asada and al pastor tacos. Los Sombreros further up Rural - actually I think it's Scottsdale Rd. at that point - is well liked on this board but is more upscale. If you want good street tacos, then it would be America's Taco Shop or Los Taquitos. Don't overlook Phoenix Ranch Market. There's oine in Mesa with their usual wide range of dining options inside. Made to order fish or shrimp tacos are very good.

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America's Taco Shop
2041 N 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Los Taquitos
4747 E Elliot Rd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85044

Jul 08, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Best steak and wine with ambiance

I second this. What sets them apart in my opinion is their wine program. In addition to a well thought out fairly priced wine list you can order a flight of three wine tastings and then pick whichever you like best and order a bottle. Fleming's doesn't mark up the three tastings either. For a one-third pour you are charged one-third the per glass price.

Of the non-chain steak places I'd probably pick Donavan's on east Camelback. Been there a couple of times and thought it was very good.

Jul 08, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Tempe/Chandler Best Bets..any price...

No Mexican? Why even come to Phoenix?

You've got great freeway access so it really opens up alot of stuff. Lee's Sandwiches on Warner just east of the 101 is an adventure. Go with one of the Vietnamese Banh Mi and get extra meat. I like the bbq pork. Very inexpensive.

On Priest just off the I-10 near Warner is Forefathers which has a pretty darn good cheesesteak.

You can probably shoot up to Scottsdale on Rural Rd. in 15 minutes. Rural becomes Scottsdale Rd. That opens up lots of possibilities including FnB which is loved on this site. Also Petite Maison is cute. Good solid American bar food at The Lodge and Chef Aaron May has a new tapas place in old town whose name escapes me. His original tapas place in North Scottsdale, Sol y Sombra was loved. Scottsdale also opens you up to the Sam Fox restaurant empire. Sauce is a simple pizza and salad place near Scottsdale Fashion Mall as are Modern Steak and Culinary Drop Out. Fox Restaurants get hammered on this site for lots of sizzle but ordinary food. I've had mixed results. Just down Camelback but I believe within your 15 minutes is Donovan's where I've had excellent steaks and service. Around the mall at Camelback and Scottsdale Road are some small chain operations that are ok and have great happy hours: Roaring Fork and the legendary Big Ass Burger only available in the bar, Marcellino's and Wildfish. Speaking of Happy Hours to make a meal of there is always Fleming's. I-10 at Ray Road where they have drinks, wine and food including a great burger in the bar.

Pity you can't extend that driving range to 20-30 minutes then we could add Noca and Vincent's on Camelback. Vincent is a James Beard Award Winning chef who pretty started the southwestern food them using French technique. It might be just out of your 15 minute range but Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass is highly regarded on this site. I think the food with the Native American influence is great. Service is pretty over the top in my judgement.

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Roaring Fork
4800 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Noca
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Petite Maison
7216 E Shoeman Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Modern Steak
7014 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

FnB
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Marcellino
7114 E Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Jul 06, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Young Schoolteacher and Wife Visiting Boston

Thanks all. Sound great.

Jul 04, 2010
Phoenix99 in Greater Boston Area

Lobster and Oysters in Ogunquit and Portland Maine

Thanks much. All sound great.

Favorite Grocery Store? (South Tempe)

TESCO and Walmart are probably the two most significant international competitors. In response to TESCO's F&E rollout, Walmart has opened a few similar format stores. I like the Walmart product much better than F&E but it doesn't seem to be doing any better than F&E. As noted elsewhere, TESCO is losing a ton of money on this experiment and personally I don't think they're getting any closer to figuring out the US market.

Jul 03, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Lobster and Oysters in Ogunquit and Portland Maine

My 27 year old DC schoolteacher son and his wife are spending a couple of days in Ogunquit and one in Portland in about two weeks. Looking for interesting places to dine and things to do. They definitely want to have one Lobster dinner and they love oysters. Very adverturous, love outdoor places and locals places. Chowhounders around the country have steered them well in the past and thanking you in advance for help this type.

Moving from San Francisco

It's very true. Taking Mexican food first, I think the biggest changes have been 1) restaurants specializing in regional Mexican cuisine started opening several years ago; and 2) there's been a significant increase in quality particularly at the lower end. Places that put out inexpensive but very high quality food include America's Taco Shop, Rito's, Carolina's Etc. Search this site for Mexican and you'll find lots. Also, the Phoenix Ranch Markets are jewels. Great, large Hispanic markets with excellent selection of seafood and produce but lots and lots of dining options. At the higher end, Barrio Cafe is very good although it's hit or miss on this site. 16th Street in Phoenix has become a Mexican Restaurant Row. For taco trucks, it's La Frontera and Los Reyes de la Torta makes the single best sandwich in Phoenix, the Torta Cubana.

Phoenix has a pile of James Beard award winning chefs including two who have places across from each other in downtown Phoenix. Pizzeria Bianco has a well deserved national reputation.

The downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market on Saturday's is great and has grown dramatically. Market's in Scottsdale and elsewhere in Phoenix offer excellent produce selections though most of that comes from McClendon's Farms at the latter markets.

Even coffee and breakfast are getting in on the roll although later than other cities. Think Giant Coffee or The Drip and for breakfast Matt's Big Breakfast and Over Easy have both gained national attention.

I would start with this information and search this site for Farmer's Market's Etc. and you'll have more information than you can imagine. For me, I am particularly passionate about all of the small, hole in the wall Mexican places serving great food. I remember when I used to think good Mexican was a volcanically hot plate filled with cheesy enchiladas, tacos in pre-made shells, gloppy beans and tasteless rice. What was I thinking? Now we argue over whether the mole is better at Carolina's north or the original. And don't get me started about whether the original Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles is better than the new "ritzy" Scottsdale branch. Seriously, it will be a very different scene than San Francisco but I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Matt's Big Breakfast
801 N 1st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Over Easy
4730 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

America's Taco Shop
2041 N 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Jul 03, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Young Schoolteacher and Wife Visiting Boston

My 27 year old Washington DC high school teacher son and his wife will be visiting the Boston area in about two weeks. They've been before and had a grand time. They are adverturous and enjoy fine dining, hole in the wall places, local drinking spots and a great outdoor dining and drinking place. Chowhounders' have had great suggestions in the past for this couple and I'm hoping you can come through again. Here's a bit of a challenger: Our daughter in law doesn't eat beef, pork or chicken but she's fine with seafood. Thanks in advance!

Jun 27, 2010
Phoenix99 in Greater Boston Area

Favorite Grocery Store? (South Tempe)

I couldn't remember the name of those two supermarkets as I've obviously droped them from memory for a reason. Yes, it's a small world but boy do Super Stop N Shop and Shop Rite make the Phoenix stores look good!

Jun 14, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Pizzeria Bianco- elusive prey in sight...

Thanks for the great report. I believe the olive oil is from the Queen Creek Olive Co. which is in Queen Creek southeast of Phoenix. They have great products and it is a fun place to visit.

Jun 14, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Favorite Grocery Store? (South Tempe)

You have some very good suggestions here and I'm glad Phoenix Ranch Market got added.

Phoenix is one of the most competitive grocery markets in the US and we benefit from it greatly both in variety and price. I spent a year in the Norwalk, Ct. area which probably has about 200,000 people when you factor in the surrounding towns. Very upscale except for Norwalk. The area had one very good gourmet store, a great specialty market (Stew Leonards) and two really crappy large super markets with surly, poorly trained employees, high prices and not much variety. Compare that to Ahwatukee which has about 100,000 people and three Safeway's, three Fry's, one Bashas, TJ's and AJ's just across the freeway. Wow. Here's some thoughts:

AJ's is expensive on some items. No question. But their quality is very high. In addition to meat and seafood I would add outstanding produce and good deli products that go way beyond the basics. Also, they have sales from time to time. Two weeks ago several prime beef products were 50% off. I picked up two great 12 oz. New York steaks for $11.99 a pound. And that's for prime! They also have specials on other products including seafood from time to time. They will have the best Copper River Salmon, for example.

Whole Foods has not done well in the Phoenix market. The two stores that I visit are in Chandler and near the 101 and Scottsdale Rd. They have removed a tremendous amount of product variety from those stores, mostly in the prepared food areas. You can see just by walking the stores although they have done a good job trying to fill up display cases. WF is very expensive.

Fry's is Krogers. The only "local" grocer is Basha's. They've been family owned and very, very supportive of the community for decades. They've been driven into bankruptcy by the big guys. One result has been tremendous community support of their stores. All things being equal, try to support them. Basha's also owns AJ's and Food City so I do as much of my shopping at AJ's as I can. If you're careful, you can do ok. Every summer they have 10% off cards. I get mine in my subscription to a couple of food magazines but I believe you can ask the store manager. BTW that made those prime New Yorks only about $10.80 a pound.

Fry's I think is a bit less expensive than Safeway. Check the Wednesday Arizona Republic for the grocery adds and there are always great deals particularly before a holiday weekend. For example, this week Safeway has 18 eggs for $1.29 but you need the coupon from their ad. Albertsons has cantaloupe and pineapple for $1 each.

I'm not a fan of Fresh & Easy. I think their stores are cold and without good variety. I haven't found their pricing near Fry's or Safeway. Tesco has acknowledged losing about $1 million per store last year in the US and also badly misunderstanding the US market. I think they still don't get it. Notice their produce is plastic wrapped and prepared food product is made in a commissary in California and trucked in. Why would I want to buy inferior prepared foods at Fresh & Easy that's at least a day old when I can buy it freshly prepared at AJ's right in the store. Besides, I'm supporting a local grocer versus an international chain.

I like Super Target and wish they were closer. However, I have noticed some missing basics at those stores. No sauerkraut or dill pickles for example. Generally good prices and their Archer Farms in-house brand is very good.

The Safeway Select in-house brand is very good and I've found Fry's Private Selection just a cut below this.

The closest Phoenix Ranch Market to S. Tempe is in Mesa. Definitely worth a trip. Their produce prices are the areas best and they are very competitive on most other things. However, that comes at a bit of a sacriface. Some of their produce, oranges and papayas for example, would never make it into a main stream grocer because of appearance. Product quality however is as agood. I was buying ugly oranges from PRM at 20-30 cents a pound when Fry's and Safeway were at $1.49 and I was getting great fresh orange juice from them.

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Food City
1940 W Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

Jun 12, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Favorite Grocery Store? (South Tempe)

AJ's for sure. There's one on Ray Road in Chandler which is just down I-10 from South Tempe. You can kill two birds with one trip by hitting the TJ's on Chandler Blvd. on the same trip. Minutes from AJ's. The Chandler AJ's is smaller than some others. Check out the AJ's on east Camelback and the one on Lincoln Road. They're bigger.

Jun 11, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Copper River salmon 2010?

Basha's have it at $9.99 a pound but apparently don't have enough product to stock all their stores. AJ's has had it for about a week. I took a look a couple of days ago at Fry's and at least the one closest to me didn't look that good. Identified as Copper River and I'm sure it was but just didn't look as good as what I get at AJ;s.

Jun 09, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Mesa Grill - Paying for the name? v Bar Charlie

Here is what I would do if I only had one night: I'd start with cocktails at Mesa Grill with a couple of appetizers. If they have the breadsticks in the bar, those are addicting. Last time they didn't have them. Then, I'd go to L'Atelier and splurge on the tasting menu and sit at the food bar so you can watch the chefs prepare the food. Other places mentioned are excellent but L'Atelier is a unique adventure. The tasting menu is expensive but I thought worth it and it will be a memorable meal - food quality and presentation, service, ambiance and service style - that you will all talk about for years. I went by myself but believe it would be even better for a group as you discuss and critique the million courses.

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Mesa Grill
3570 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Jun 05, 2010
Phoenix99 in Las Vegas

Boston foodies looking for recommendations in Phoenix & Gilbert

There's a Pro's Ranch Market in Mesa that would be closer to your Gilbert stay. Also, in Gilbert you need to hit Udder Delights for either ice cream or a shake. Dairy farmer owned and yum!

Three Phoenix BBQ places to try are the original Honey Bears on east Van Buren, Notorious P.I.G. and Stacey's. None compare to the great Texas, KC or Memphis places but order right and they're pretty good.

Jun 01, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Philadelphia help for young teacher and his wife

Thanks to all of you for the great suggestions. Just spoke to my son who is now back in D.C. They had a good - not great but good - dinner at Amada. Great dinner at Fish. Oysters, Artic Char for our daughter in law and Skate Wing for my sone. Said it was one of the best meals ever. Enjoyed Reading Terminal Market as well and can't wait to return to Philadelphia. Thanks again.

May 31, 2010
Phoenix99 in Philadelphia

If I could have just one Mexican place in Phoenix, what should it be?

Not sure how it compares to "anything east of the Mississippi" but I'm pretty sure it tastes a whole lot better after the bars than before. Better than Carolina's? Please! to each his own and your opinions are your opinions but Filiberto's is part of the group of restaurants/fast food places that serve Sonoran style Americanized covered with cheese food. If that's what you're used to, it will taste ok but it's not authentic. Just talking with some people the other day we all remembered when we thought Macayo's was great Mexican food. Since then, we've tried the real stuff and it's a different product entirely.

May 26, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

chowhounder in downtown phoenix w/no car for a weekend

You might consider renting a car at the Hyatt when your work is done at 2pm. You'll probably save money and it will be much more convenient. Cabs just aren't standing around in Phoenix. You generally have to call them and then wait.

May 24, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

If I could have just one Mexican place in Phoenix, what should it be?

How is it that you have not been to America's? La Condesa is fairly new so we can understand that, but ATS has been around since last year and you should go. Go Tuesday. You get an extra taco for free when you buy three. Two Carne Asada and two Al Pastor and you're set. Then stop at La Condesa on the way home for a Queso.

May 24, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

BBQ in PHX? I'm from Texas

I've had the opportunity to try most of the great barbeque places in Texas. Unfortunately there is nothing in Phoenix that compares to Louis Mueller's, Smitty's, Etc. The places mentioned in this string are ok but just not in that league.

May 24, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

chowhounder in downtown phoenix w/no car for a weekend

First of all, the light rail system goes right past the Hyatt so that opens you up to lots of choices. Unfortunately most of the places I am going to list below are not on the light rail. The rail system is safe, comfortable and inexpensive and you can use it to get all the way into downtown Tempe. Most of the places listed below have been detailed on this site many times and can be searched:

Carolina's (original on Mohave). Yes it's a dump but really good Mexican food and inexpensive.

Lo Lo's Chicken and Waffles. South of downtown a few minutes.

Matt's Big Breakfast. Walkable from the Hyatt or take the light rail. Matt also owns the Roosevelt Tavern nearby. Great for drinks and bar food.

America's Taco Shop. Excellent carne asada and al pastor tacos.

Rito's. No sign but outstanding green chile burritos. My preference is chimichanga style.

Lot's of good stuff on Central Avenue accessible by light rail: Maizie's, Pane Bianco, Etc.

Closer to the Hyatt and an easy walk are Hanny's and Kincaid's. Neither are particularly kid friendly.

The Phoenix Ranch Market is definitely worth a trip. Closest to downtown is at 16th St. and Roosevelt. 16th St. is really Mexican restaurant row. Barrio Cafe - which gets mixed reviews on this site but which I like alot - is the highest profile but there are lots of interesting places.

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Matt's Big Breakfast
801 N 1st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Pane Bianco
4404 N Central Ave Ste A, Phoenix, AZ 85012

America's Taco Shop
2041 N 7th Street, Phoenix, AZ

May 24, 2010
Phoenix99 in Phoenix

Philadelphia help for young teacher and his wife

Looks great. We'll put it on the list. She's not a true vegan as she eats seafood - no idea how she draws the line - but this looks like just the kind of interesting place they'll enjoy.

May 23, 2010
Phoenix99 in Philadelphia