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Chicgal, nxtasy - I'm finally planning ahead!

First post on chicago board but with bad news....

Tried to make Labor Day reservations for Girl & the Goat yesterday, no times available except for 10:45 or so. I understand the demand must be crazy but coming from Phoenix this is unheard of, especially books opening 3 months in advance. Also. glad mrsdebdav got Topolobampo reso's because I just tried that as well and nothing...I love the move to chicago so far but this type of planning for dining will take some getting used to!!

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Topolobampo
445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

4 Nights in Scottsdale

Attempting to add place links:

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Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina
2534 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257

The Mission
3815 North Brown Avenue, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Lon's at The Hermosa
5532 North Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

May 31, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

4 Nights in Scottsdale

The House at Secret Garden and Cafe Bink might be pretty far for you as well - although I really enjoyed The House at Secret Garden. FnB is great and you'll find plenty of info on the board. Lots of local ingredients used and a large focus on highlighting local produce and an all AZ wine list which is not as scary as it usually sounds to people from outside of Arizona.

I'd also suggest The Mission or Los Sombreros if you want something a little closer and casual where you can still sit down, have a few drinks, and go for more southwest/mexican. Both are somewhat casual - Los Sombreros more so but also more unique to AZ. I'd also suggest Lon's at the Hermosa if you want something a little more high end. I'm sure you could find something similar to The Mission in LA but it is one of my absolute favorites so check out the menu.

Kai is raved about on the board so don't discount it outright (I wasn't impressed for the $ and found the food too heavy and rich but I may have ordered poorly as general reviews are excellent).

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Cafe Bink
36889 N Tom Darlington Drive, Carefree, AZ 85331

FnB
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

The House at Secret Garden
2501 E Baseline Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85042

May 31, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

4 Nights in Scottsdale

Looks like a good lineup to me. Although I know you said you don't have a car, you might want to consider it with the amount of taxis you'll take since it will get quite expensive, Kai alone will probably be $75 each way. If you do want to take cars consider looking into ExecuCar if you want sedans or make sure you get Discount Cab - I've found they have cheaper rates for long distances when I have a long cab ride home on the weekends.

Rokerij would be great for the night you get in - they're open until midnight and have a really dark, cool, intimate, southwest feel. Less expensive and they have a large list of small plates to choose from.

Delux is in the same strip mall that houses Noca so after Noca it's a lively place to go grab a drink - they have about 40 specialty beers on tap and are open until 2 am 7 nights a week.

And although you're not sold on Elements make sure to have a drink around sunset in the Jade Bar attached to the restaurant. Jade Bar has great cocktails, quality ingredients, etc.

You don't sound snobby...just specific :)

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Delux
3146 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Rokerij
6335 N. 16th St., Phoenix, AZ 85016

Noca
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

May 27, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

good bbq (PHX)

The road will be all freeway and not scenic...and depending on where you are in scottsdale anywhere from 30-45 minutes probably. I really like Joe's but don't know if I would drive that far for it when there's so many other great options in scottsdale, but is all depends on how much he loves bbq, I'm by no means a connoisseur so it'd be tough to get me to drive 45 minutes for bbq :)

May 25, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

a few cheaper options

I've always felt perfectly safe there but I wouldn't stray more than half a block from the restaurant late at night. I used to worry but repeatedly have shown up at night and seen brand new range rover's, mercedes, etc. (this was back in the day when lolo's was open until 1 am too).

Apr 26, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Anniversary

I agree wth all recs except the Mission and FnB can both be on the louder side - it wouldn't bother me for an anniversary dinner but it depends on what kind of ambiance you're looking for. Food is great at both though. I'd also like to suggest Quiessence at the Farm at South Mountain. Not too far from you, great food and very romantic.

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Quiessence
6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

FnB
7133 E Stetson Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Apr 26, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Nobuo at Teeter House

Yes, no omakase :(
I had reservations for last friday and they called letting me know about supply problems with Japan. They were very apologetic though and it was very nice to see Nobuo would rather cancel high $ dinners rather than use inferior ingredients.

Apr 24, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

é...it really is THE best!!!

I just went on Friday and although I did not dine alone we spent most of the night chatting with the people next to us about everything we were eating. Although the food was amazing my only qualm would be the wine pairings - I very much dislike sherry and just did not like that for the first few courses (although if i had said anything I promise Anthony would have given me something else) and I would like a little more detail with wine pairings.

I do have to say those comments were more because I was reflecting on the evening and had to find something wrong with the place since everything was so great!! They also did a bourbon/rye pairing for my boyfriend since he is not a white wine fan and it was phenomenal and quite generous as well. They seemed to enjoy doing the bourbon pairings and we very much enjoyed how enthusiastic everyone clearly was about working there and the experience.

My only other qualm other than not enjoying the sherry is completely out of their control - the Cosmopolitan is a complete zoo on weekends and not quite my scene even though my boyfriend and I are in our 20's and do a lot of partying in vegas so I can only imagine how much less other diners would like the experience of fighting their way through to dinner (the ambiance inside e is a complete 180 and perfect however).

Apr 18, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Las Vegas

Croque Madame?

Oops, that link (croque) popped up automatically...CH links can be very frustrating sometimes! Meant to say I've always had it at La Grande Orange and really enjoy it there, but that's the only place I've tried it.

Apr 18, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Croque Madame?

I'm not sure how good/authentic it is as my experience with Croque Madame is limited but that's my go to breakfast/lunch order at La Grande Orange.

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La Grande Orange Grocery
4410 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Croque Cafe
5060 N 40th St Ste 110, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Apr 18, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

What's the best steakhouse in Las Vegas in Chowhound's Opinion?

I dined at CUT in January and had a great meal without Kobe or Wagyu, I love the crust they put on their steaks. My dining partner and I each got regular ribeyes, we can't remember which we liked more but we got one from Nebraska and one from Iowa I believe that had slightly different aging and such. Both were great, and I LOVED the bone marrow flan appetizer.

Never dined at Delmonico's though so I can't give a comparison. Trying SW steakhouse at the Wynn on this trip (leaving tonight!!) so hopefully it lives up to our experience at CUT.

Apr 14, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Las Vegas

Trip help - casual lunch in, or close to, Aria

Most of trip is already planned (dinners at e, LOS, and Prime) but need lunch recs - preferably in City Center as we're staying in Aria. We won't be up for breakfast so I'm talking filling food to soak up the rest of the booze whether it's italian, american, sandwiches, asian, etc. proximity is most important with how we'll probably be feeling.

I read Wolfgang Puck has a decent pizza place in Crystals with all day happy hour at the bar but don't have much else to go on. I'm not expecting culinary genius just nothing outrageously overpriced for the quality received - I'll take mediocre pasta if it's close and cheap for vegas standards. Good example is Julian Serrano would not fit the bill because it's small plates and a little pricey.

Apr 07, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Las Vegas

é or....?

Thanks very much for the feedback. After A LOT of discussion with the boyfriend we decided to do é and make Alinea a christmas present to each other next year, since I'm moving to Chicago there's a little more flexibility there to go on one of his visits.

Having a personal experience is such a huge part of an amazing meal to me that I couldn't pass up the idea of é - I'm sure Alinea has flawless service as well but probably not as intimate of a feel with the chefs and servers. I will be dining next Friday the 15th, if anyone else will be there let me know! I will of course report back as well.

Apr 06, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Las Vegas

Pink Pony substitute (Scottsdale)

Pink Pony has now re-opened. I've never been to it but I know it has new ownership.

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Pink Pony
3831 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Apr 04, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

é or....?

This might be a very odd question but I will be in Vegas in a few weeks and é by Jose Andres does have an opening for me but I will also be in Chicago in a few months and am wanting to go to Alinea (can't afford both in such a short time span - and yes i know Alinea will end up being about $200 more expensive). Both look to have amazing food, service and lots of modern/molecular gastronomy techniques.

So the question is...does é match up to Alinea? If anyone has gone to both can they comment on which they enjoyed more and why?

Also, how is the quantity of wine pairings at é? I don't want to get sloshed by any means at dinner but it is vegas and would like to have a little buzz going by the time i hit the blackjack table :)

Mar 31, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Las Vegas

Pasta Bar CLlosed????

They are closed as of a couple months ago. I always enjoyed it but it was nearly impossible to see from street so I wasn't too surprised

http://downtowndevil.com/2011/01/19/3...

Mar 29, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Scottsdale - best foodie dinner?

If you're in Carefree and want foie you have to go to Binkley's, no question. It's not uniquely Arizona but always an amazing meal in my experience, the foie is a standout, plus it is only about 5 minutes away from you. Any other meal worth it would be a 20+ minute drive for you.

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Binkley's
6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Mar 16, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

that famous pizza place

The first time I went it was at 9:15 on a weekday and we were sat around 9:45 so wait wasn't too bad, we just had a drink at the bar across the street.

I thought the pizza was great, even made good leftovers, but after going a second time and waiting 3 hours I just didn't find it worth the wait time - I'd say it's a fun experience as long as it's not too hot though.

Mar 15, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Tutti Santi by Nina - Gilbert

Same owner as 16th/maryland, 64th/greenway, and 92nd/shea- not sure about the dobson/guadalupe location.

I love their ravioli and gnocchi - gnochhi is very light and fluffy. It is a little pricey but their entrees all come with a soup or salad which I think helps make up for some of the cost. I also really like how they will substitute gnocchi as a side for my entree instead of the regular spaghetti. I've never had bad service at one of their locations but typically have sat at the bar where it's usually a little easier to get people attention.

Mar 14, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Feedback please for Scottsdale visitor

Bamboo Club - chain like chinese, you could find much better in town. Chinese is also not a strong suit of Phoenix so depending on where you're from you might want to go for something we're more known for.
Malee's Thai - solid thai food.
Posh* - one of my absolute favorites, amazing food and they strive to give everyone a different dish so it's a fun place to share dishes - not cheap but worth the $. Been mentioned on board many times so do a search for more reviews.
Wildfish - great happy hour otherwise it's a good seafood place but nothing you couldn't get anywhere else.
Los Sombreros* - little more casual, but not a dive by any means. You'll get some great Mexican/Southwestern food there. I have been many times and really enjoy, sit on the patio to enjoy the AZ weather. Also search on board for this one for other reviews.
Citizen Public House - link to discussion http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/766045
Beckett's Table - solid comfort food, depending on where you're staying might be convenient but I wasn't overly wowed when I went (this is a favorite of some friends though), however they had a great booth at a weekend food festival here and were offering to email $10 gift cards so I will be trying again.
Eddie's House - my one meal there was nothing special.
Carlsbad Tavern* - great for late night food, they have a lot of green chili dishes, good casual choice.
Culinary Dropout - Very trendy spot on the Scottsdale Waterfront, I get cocktails and apps there with friends occasionally but it's one of those places where the food is about $3 too expensive and not really a foodie spot. If you're going to be going out and seeing the nightlife it's a decent place to start out the evening though, from there you can walk to many places.

some good recs in this thread as well: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/768716
Try searching for "spring training" as well to get some relevant threads too

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Carlsbad Tavern
3313 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Malee's
21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85050

Eddie's House
7042 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Culinary Dropout
7135 E Camelback Rd #125, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Beckett's Table
3717 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ

Citizen Public House
7111 E. 5th Avenue, Suite E, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Mar 14, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Noca - Sunday Simple Supper - Worst dining experience in Phoenix

I think some benefit of the doubt should be given to the poster, some people do feel uncomfortable mentioning issues to management, including myself (depending on the issue), and yes they should have gotten up and left when they saw prix fixe but the poster did say what they did and did not enjoy about the food specifically.

I personally have always enjoyed Noca however I have had bad reports - most notably being from my mom who is very tolerant of service and said when she went the service was terrible as the server was spread so thin that it took them over 15 minutes to even be able to ask for coffee after their meals. Yes I told her to call Elliot as he is definitely the type of owner to want to respond to this but she is the type that does not want to complain at the end of meal or get special treatment as the evening had already been disappointing and a refund of the meal would not have changed that.

It is odd that this is their first post but I think for most people it takes an exemplary or disappointing experience to break into the online review world - hopefully this is not a competitor posting. To tsm3 I urge you to report problems to management as I'm sure they would have assisted you. At this point you may not be returning to Noca but do give other restaurants in strip malls a chance - some of the best dining in Arizona is in a strip mall setting.

No restaurant is perfect and although this review may not be the "best" hopefully the poster will take this as friendly discussion of what to do when an experience at a restaurant is not as expected.

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Noca
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Mar 14, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Devoured Culinary Classic

I'm going Sunday, haven't gone before but heard great things about last year's event!

Has anyone gone before and have any details on the format...is it unlimited, do you get a certain amount of tickets? Is it different for alcohol vs. food? Just want to make sure to bring cash if I will need to buy extra tickets

Mar 09, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Dining in Phoenix [moved from SF Bay]

I bet us Phoenix chowhounds can help if you want to search on our board or tell us what you're looking for and where you're staying!

Mar 08, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Nobuo at Teeter House

Just called to make a reservation for omakase and the manager told me the next available Friday was April 22nd. We took the reservation as we could take any Friday in April but just wanted to warn anyone wanting to go to book very far in advance.

Feb 15, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

AZ State rec for a mom and her teenager?

Four peaks is also a great place to grab lunch and weekend breakfast as well and wouldn't be as loud. I went to ASU and it was one of my favorite places, so would probably be fun for her to get a little of the culture.

If you go to Caffe Boa after dinner you can walk down Mill to get a little of that environment as well - the bars will be pretty rowdy after 10 pm on weekends but that is just a slice of ASU life, it is such a large campus that there is college life all over Tempe/South Scottsdale. Regardless, have fun, ASU has something for every type of student so hopefully she enjoys her visit, I had an amazing 4 years there!

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Caffe Boa
398 S. Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281

ASU
Tempe, AZ, Tempe, AZ

Feb 15, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Citizen Public House

Went a couple weekends ago for dinner...overall it was good to very good. The green-lipped mussel chowder was our favorite dish of the night but not a true chowder , more mussels in a good amount of broth and (our server warned us of this though, so I don't mean that in a bad way, just some people might get confused). I'm not a person that is in love with mussels but this dish was great...pork belly, leeks, potatoes, once the mussels were demolished we finished up every bit of the broth left with the other ingredients as well. We also got the kiltlifter fondue as a starter and although very good I did not get much Kiltlifter taste but would definitely order again.

Our cocktails were good - I had a peach cocktail that was made with Jim Beam I believe, that was just sweet enough and you could only taste a tiny bit of the Jim Beam - which is what I was looking for. My dining partner had a few cocktails and really enjoyed them although I did not take any notes so do not remember what she got.

I got the short ribs which were fall off the bone tender with a parsnip puree and a cherry bbq sauce on the side. IMO the cherry bbq sauce was far too sweet and I could only dab a tad on the short ribs to not be overwhelming so the short ribs basically had to be eaten sauceless. Parsnip puree was as expected - very tasty and flavored well.

The real shortcoming was when we were considering the dessert and I asked the servers honest opinion and was suggested to get a cherry or strawberry dessert (really should have taken notes but I believe it was some sort of pound cake??). I told our server i don't prefer that type of dessert and asked about the bread pudding which I had read awesome reviews about and then was told "it was really dry and overcooked last time Itried it" ....um ok? So I then asked about the panna cotta at which point I was informed it now has a different topping and was better before. At this point I just felt awkward because the dessert suggested did not sound appealing to me and the other 2 discussed something negative was said. It was just a little odd and off putting...it did not ruin our evening by any means but just threw me off a little and I ended up just not ordering any dessert.

So overall except for the weird service at the end with dessert we really enjoyed our appetizers and cocktails and main dishes were good enough. I would definitely return back for apps/drinks for happy hour but might wait a little while before trying it for another full dinner.

Feb 14, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Cafe Monarch (Scottsdale)

Anyone else ate here and can give me any idea on cost or type of food the chef veers towards? I know menu changes daily based on what is in season but it'd be nice to get a little more details on what to expect if I decide to go. Is the food amazing or is it just a charming small place that is refreshing in a city like Scottsdale? Innovative food or comfort food done at a high level? Even at Posh, which is improv/surprise, you can still clearly state your preferences. Is it the same way here?

Thanks for any feedback.

Feb 11, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Binkley's or Kai?

I've never had dinner at Elements but definitely go to their Jade Bar for a cocktail and a great view around sunset (it is one of my favorite places to get a swanky cocktail). Maybe before your dinner at Noca or Posh? Elements is directly on the other side of Camelback mountain from Royal Palms so a 15 minute drive max and would not be too far out of the way although it is not on the way to either place.

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Noca
3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Feb 09, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix

Binkley's or Kai?

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/547328 - same request + my .2 cents below.
Also look at feastinginphoenix.com for CH blogger Seth Chadwick who has reviewed both in detail (might give you a better idea of ambiance of each).

Have fun on your trip - T Cook's is a special romantic restaurant and Posh is really fun with great food - sit at the counter there to watch the chef's at work!

- I didn't have a great experience at Kai, I found the food overly rich with heavy flavors and they are very generous with portion sizes so keep that in mind if you do choose Kai. I also found the service impeccable but impersonal. Kai does have very unique ingredients though with its Native American cuisine and I doubt a similar restaurant can be found anywhere.

Binkley's is very much a "special dinner" filled with multiple amuse bouches throughout the evening, multiple courses, with high end specialty ingredients. I have been to Binkley's 3 times and find the value for what you get outstanding (especially compared to fine dining in larger cities). Last time I went we got 6 courses each, about 7 cocktails/glasses of wine between the two of us (we took a cab), and the bill came to $300, by no means cheap but for getting at least 7 amuse bouches throughout the meal, petit fours, etc. by the end we had at least 15 courses of varying sizes. I do think Binkley's can go a little over the top with the creativeness of amuse bouches but overall is a very fun experience tucked away in a strip mall location.

I would look at the menus and see what type of cuisine appeals to you more, look at the style of service - Kai is coordinated true fine dining service with one person carrying one plate at a time, while Binkley's is still formal but slightly more relaxed. Kai is also in a hotel while Binkley's is owned by a husband/wife couple so they have much different vibes and ambiance. Dinner for 2 at Kai (with quite a few cocktails as well) ended up being about $400 although we ordered WAY too much food without being warned or realizing it.

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Binkley's
6920 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, AZ 85331

Feb 08, 2011
AnonymousWaitress in Phoenix