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phx - budget friendly 2009 - bring on the specials!!

Wohoo I agree! ...Does anyone know if there's a way to make a 'stickie' note out of what are sure to be stellar results of this thread for easier viewing by our users? I use 'stickies' on other sites and it's a godsend compared to wading through page after page of results woven within narrative :-) Happy New Year!

Jan 06, 2009
DeansHouse in Phoenix

3 Nights in Lisbon; 1 in Fatima; 1 in Salamanca; Madrid w/Church Choir Arriving 5 Nov

I'm going on a 10 day tour with my Church choir, and have never been to Portugal or Spain. I have an international driving permit, but am hopeful the transit system will be adequate. Shopping, eating recs would sure be appreciated! Breakfasts seem to be covered at the hotels, but our itinerary looks like:

3 nights Lisbon / Hotel VIP Executive Diplomatico
1 night Fatima / Hotel Santa Maria
1 night Salamanca / Hotel Catalonia Salamanca Plaza
3 nights Madrid / Hotel Florida Norte

Any and all recs i.e; things to see/do; souveniers; bullfights etc. would be most appreciated! Budget range from inexpensive street vendor food on up would be great! Thanks again !!

Nov 03, 2008
DeansHouse in Spain/Portugal

Quality PHX Breakfast recs (besides Matts)?

Holy smokes, what a wonderful recommendation! While they're certainly not Matts, the same could be said for Matts not being 'The Place' aka: 'Mike & Rhonda's' at 51st Ave & Bell. We ordered pretty much the same thing, broke down for your assiduous perusal ;-)

THE PLACE // Matts
1. Eggs: Perfect! Eggs: Perfect!
2. Potatoes: Perfect, Crispy Potaoes; Fresh, Taste of Rosemary!
3. Bacon: Perfect, thick-cut - great Bacon: Perfect, thick-cut - peppered
4. Coffee: Never ran out Coffee: Ran out, fine when u can get it!
5. Water: Never ran out Water: Ran out, great when we could get it!
6. Service: PERFECT! Service: Lax
7. Price/Value: 2 ate for $12 & leftovers Price/Value: 2 ate for $24 & no leftovers

Like Matts potatoes better, but that's about it. If Mike & Rhondas did their potatoes like this, Matts would have a run for their money (%50 percent less) - at least on this dish. Haven't tried omlettes etc yet. Thanks so much for your recommendation!

Oct 23, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

Quality PHX Breakfast recs (besides Matts)?

Many thanks everyone for the wonderful breakfast recs! For us, it's all about the food (hence my love of Chowhound and the people on it!). Acadia farms has been totally OFF my radar, as well as Ranchhouse Grill which are both going to get a visit shortly!

Re Silverbear: Thanks! Our criteria for all meals out has always been the same - Quality food (as opposed to linens, black & whites or views), consistent preparation (hate going to a fav spot only to have it crash hard when I return - inevitably with family and/or friends) and passable service defined as: 1) Timely delivery of a fresh preparation at temp ( Matts failed big time on this category via either precooked, overcooked or heat-lamped chop) 2) Bevs refilled (We ran out of water & coffee constantly, although toward the end they figured this out) 3) Server that checks at least once to see how things are (Matts server never checked once after initial delivery. I managed to get a small thin corner off the pork chop, but couldn't cut into the rest of it (which means we couldn't eat it). When a female manager-type appeared after we hadn't paid our bill for a few minutes after presentation (we finally started getting refilled on our coffee & decided to try to at least enjoy that) I told her about the Pork Chop, and showed her how it wouldn't cut (screaming red finger knuckles from exertion & everything :-). She seemed upset enough at her waitstaff, but not upset enough to remove it from the bill, so $24 ish bill for an over-hard tri-fold cheese omelette, 2 orders of potatoes, 2 toasts & 2 coffees is waaay outta line. It's about the food for us. We're all over the valley at different times, so I like to have a nice stable of *consistent* places to choose from. Thanks so much!

Oct 17, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

Quality PHX Breakfast recs (besides Matts)?

Just Wednesday a friend and I finally got a day off together, so we decided to go to breakfast on our way east and began looking around for a downtown breakfast.

We found Matts Big Breakfast through recommendations, and while we love what we think they're trying to do, we're looking for a place that actually *can* pull off the fresh quality ingredients / consistent preparation thing. Passable service is all we ask - is there such a place anywhere in the Phoenix Metro area? We find that we're still looking after our first (and last) visit to Matts :-(

If you're curious, we tried the pork chop, and my pal had the cheese omelette. Even with the commercial-grade steak knife, no one was able to physically cut through the pork chop (demonstrated for manager who appeared after our meal was over, which was better than the server who never appeared period).

S.O. had the cheese omelette, and I suppose with all the accolades we probably shouldn't have expected a real egg cook like the kind that can make a light & fluffy mini-football sized omelette as opposed to the over-hard trifold wallet type of thing got.

Can say however that the water was cold, coffee hot, potatoes and toast were wonderful! Just sore at the $20 something bill for two.

Curious - if the place is named 'Matts', is that a real person? Thanks!

Oct 17, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

PHX: Anyone know what's going on with Pane Bianco?

Wow, Mrs. and I stopped by Bianco's to get a Mozzarella / Tomato / Basil sandwich that we usually share, and discovered that our sandwich suffered from shrinkage by approximately 40% : Paper thin tomato; thin and skimpy mozzarella; slight hint of basil - not the sandwich we used to drive out of the way for. Even the bread seemed smaller, thinner. Started digging around and discovered other food blogs with same dismay. Anyone? I want to take my friend to Pizzaria Bianco's but am hesitant to at this point.

Aug 16, 2008
DeansHouse in Southwest

Coffee in AZ

Wohoo - did they reopen? Last I heard they closed - maybe 2 years ago (?) - I had $25 on my card there that they still owed me, would love to get it back! I drive by there daily & have never seen a sign. Did they move spaces within the complex?

Aug 16, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

Fine Dining In Glendale?

When was last time you ate at Tutti Santi and what did you have? It's around the corner from me and I've been dying to find out if the $25-$35 pricing was actually worth it :-) Can't seem to find anyone that's been, lot seems empty 24/7 there.

As far as Skye goes, we've gone 3x now (once on purpose, the other 2 were group) and we've ended up having to leave 3x due to poor service. They have some kind of meetings when they're open & supposed to be serving and will not wait on any tables during that time. 1st time we stayed for .20 mins, after that the groups I was with found this out for themselves. Am hoping in Wintertime they get it together. Skye does not respond to phone calls or emails. Heads up!

Jun 20, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

Will be in PHX for 4 nights in July, where to eat?

Per HANA employees to sig other and I: "We only get fresh fish once a week, on Fridays".

This was our first and only visit when I had to ask questions regarding vendors/freshness (only place in AZ where I had to send food *back*).

Maybe they corrected this, or maybe the gal (running the register) was simply misinformed, but we were not only ones sending food back sorry to say. It was a Thursday Lunch if memory serves.


YES: Try anything with Green Chili @ LOS DOS :-)
TRY: SEA SAW (SeaSaw.Net I believe) & do the Omakase Menu :-)
TRY: Pizza from PIZZERIA BIANCO'S. He has a day job too making
sandwiches at:PANE BIANCO'S.
Hope it helps!

Jun 12, 2008
DeansHouse in Southwest

PHX: New Vietnames Restaurant 'Pho-licious' (Westside Review, 75ave & Cactus)

After our 3rd visit to the new 'Pho-Licious' Viet restaurant located across the street on the corner due North of the newly opened Lee-Lee Asian market on 75th Avenue and Cactus, we felt it was our Chow-ly duty (?!) to report our findings.

Are we Vietnamese newbies? NO.
Can we recommend better? YES, thankfully!
Can we recommend worse? NO.... (Well, tied for last place actually with Pho Avina on 51st & Thunderbird)

Years ago, we had wandered in near closing time to our then-usual Viet restaurant. My usual " #13 Soup" order was met with hesitation, the server wondering if they could still make it. After a hasty retreat to the back, the server appeared with a smile and a 'we can still do it' promise. Unfortunately, the broth was lukewarm and weak - as if they had enough for a good cup, but had to add too much water to it to stretch it out and try to make the dish.

To their credit, they never did this again. Truth be known however, they were actually *unable* to do it as the staff (and name of the restaurant) suddenly changed the following week. Hmmm...

In that vein - if you like your food lukewarm, weak, under-portioned and not traditionally served, then Pho-licious is for you~!

Akin to the newly relocated 'Pho Avina' from 43rd Ave and Bell Road, they seem to follow a similar theme of new West-side Viet restaurants: Remove at least 75% of the protein from every dish (try any soup, any bun); Dilute any soup stock by at least 50% - and be sure to serve the dishes lukewarm without much if any of the traditional accompaniments you might reasonably expect.

We applauded the family-like atmosphere and effort of the staff, however the young female server really belongs as a hostess, not a server. Likewise also for the male manager who obviously cares and tries a great deal, but seems unable to make it happen unfortunately.

Although the new Lee-Lee market is indeed open, the promised restaurant inside the store is not however. Can't wait for it to open!

PS: One dish that did stand out was a curried-pork dish with coconut milk. It tasted remarkably similar to the spice used on some salt and pepper shrimp/squid dishes.

Can recommend a location further South, but are fearful we won't be able to get into our favorite dive if we do. Will divulge if anyone is interested :-)

Apr 28, 2008
DeansHouse in Southwest

Superbowl GAMETIME dining/drinking recommendations?

Best locations to experience this Sundays Superbowl:

After experiencing firsthand today's traffic debacle at the University of Phoenix Stadium for the NFL experience, we've decided to avoid anything within 2-3 miles of the stadium and focus instead on catching the game at a hopefully hound-worthy locale.

We're trying to find the best all the worlds: Food, Beverage *AND* Broadcast for this Sundays Superbowl that can be experienced in a family-tolerant atmosphere (doesn't have to be designed for kids, but a place where all can party/drink/eat and watch the game and the kids won't be tossed due to age restrictions)

Recommendations so far are:

1. McDuffys: Restaurant; Bar; Big Screens + TV's and games upstairs for kids if they get bored. Location: Approximately 5 miles from the Stadium at 83rd Ave South of Bell.

2. ?

Feb 01, 2008
DeansHouse in Phoenix

Splurging in Phoenix

Hi Aeon!

Wish I could recommend a good place in Sedona proper, but alas I have yet to find one that I think is worth the drive ( I live in Phoenix). As for gourmet eats in Phoenix, if it's a special occasion I can't help but think of: SeaSaw (think it's The chef got his beard award, so with high winter season upon us - along with the small size of his restaurant - it could be hard to score a spot. However, since it's only 2 of you, your chances are much higher. Add to that the fact that you've a weeks notice and I bet you can make a score. First rate wines (attached to cowboy ciao and a jazz club that escapes me now - you'll see the link on the site) - I'd go with the omakase menu with the wine pairings. It's been my ultimate here in the valley for years now.

There are many worthy restaurants, so can go with more detailed recs if you can prioritize any prefs i.e; cuisine prefs or ones to avoid; view; outdoor dining; wines or not; music; ambiance - etc. With that in mind a more detailed recommendation could be made, but my overall has got to be seasaw hands down (fyi it's not a sushi place, but more nuevo Japanese ish - read the online menu :-)

hope it helps - and post if you can where you went and how you and yours fared!


Feb 01, 2008
DeansHouse in Southwest