bortukan's Profile

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Insane heat in the valley of the sun?

Another vote for both Los Dos Molinos and Swaddee Thai! Note that not everything at Los Dos is all that spicy, and there's a lot of variability depending on the chiles they have that day; ask your server what's the hottest. Swaddee in Chandler will make things really hot if you ask them to. Most places seem afraid to do that, but not them! There's also something called the "Burger of Fire" at McCool's bar in Chandler that's made with ghost peppers, but I've never had it.

Mar 02, 2011
bortukan in Phoenix

Where to eat in Scottsdale and Phoenix

For Southwestern fine dining, I second Kai. It's very unique, although a bit of a drive for you. A lot of Southwestern food is Mexican food here. For good more "upscale modern" Mexican food, I like Los Sombreros or Barrio Cafe. If by authentic you mean small and plain, the Frybread House or any of the good taco shops mentioned on this board would fit the bill; America's in downtown Phoenix is the closest I know of to your area, and is a favorite lunch spot for me too. For authentic as in a sketchy dive with good food, check the threads here on Carolina's; their food is Sonoran style, which is probably the most typical style of Mexican food around here.

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Frybread House
4140 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

Mar 02, 2011
bortukan in Phoenix

AZ State rec for a mom and her teenager?

The previous posts have the "great bar food" and "special dinner" categories covered very well. If you want something in between-- a non-bar she might go to for a tasty but more student-budgeted meal-- here are a few good bets:
Phoenicia or Med Fresh Grill: both Middle Eastern. Phoenicia is next to the mosque and has a nicer atmosphere, but lately I find myself liking the food at Med Fresh a little more, and it's right on Mill Ave where various other restaurants/shops are.
Restaurant Mexico: tasty Central Mexican on Mill Ave
Mucho Gusto: slightly fancied-up Mexican; I haven't been here in a while and can't remember what the prices are like, but I think it's still in this in-between category
Oregano's: a very popular local pizza/pasta chain
America's Taco Shop is quite cheap and has no atmosphere at all, but it's delicious if you're a taco fanatic.
For lunch (which you didn't ask for but still might need), Engrained on the top floor of the student union is actually quite good. Or any of the places above.

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Med Fresh
414 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85281

Mucho Gusto
603 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

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

Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

Feb 17, 2011
bortukan in Phoenix

Good food near convention center, Sacramento?

Thanks for the recommendation and the link-- I've been burned by old threads before, so it's nice to know that one is still good. I was very excited to see Kabul Kabob, I love Afghan food!

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Kabul Kabob
729 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Jan 20, 2011
bortukan in California

Good food near convention center, Sacramento?

Any recommendations for lunch and dinner within walking distance of the Sacramento Convention Center? I'll be there for 4 days and would prefer inexpensive lunches, but will splurge on dinner a couple of times, and like all types of food. (I'm not sure if this area is considered downtown or midtown.) Thanks in advance!

Jan 18, 2011
bortukan in California

Help! What are the best restaurants in Scottsdale/Tempe area for a sophisticated birthday dinner?

I've always had great food at House of Tricks. I also agree with Cafe Boa. And they're very convenient!

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House of Tricks
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

Jan 15, 2011
bortukan in Phoenix

Attending BCS championship game - need suggestions for gestational diabetes

I had gestational diabetes too, I sympathize! The tricky part for me was keeping the starchy foods to a minimum compared with other things, so that colors what I'd recommend, your mileage may vary. Taco shops worked well (lots of meat on a thin tortilla); a board search will turn up a lot of good ones (some include Lulu's in central Gilbert, Guedo's in downtown Chandler, America's in downtown Tempe and Phoenix, Los Taquitos at the 101 and Elliott). Those places are not big on fruit/veggies, but I tended to take a little lunch bag of grapes, carrots/celery, cheese sticks, and crackers with me during the day to "even out" anything I missed and for the annoying non-optional snacks I had to have.

Some of the board favorite "upscale Mexican" places should be okay if you feel like driving to them or are in those areas-- Barrio Cafe (downtown Phoenix) and Los Sombreros (S Scottsdale) both serve a lot of dishes that are meat with a veggie side rather than rice/tortilla based. In downtown Tempe I did well at Restaurant Mexico as long as I ordered carefully (they're happy to swap sides of rice out for beans). The Vietnamese food at Cyclo in Chandler was okay for me (a lot of things there are just meat and veggies, no rice or noodles), but that seemed to be the only Asian place where I could eat. My blood sugar couldn't handle any sort of pizza for some reason, but you may be luckier. If you go to the botanical garden, the surprisingly good cafe there has good salads with meat and/or nuts. The only restaurant I've been to in Glendale was Haus Murphy, but I love it, and there's lots of meat and veggies there as long as you choose your side dishes carefully.

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Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

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

Jan 05, 2011
bortukan in Phoenix

One week in Phoenix...what to eat?

Four Peaks in the downtown Tempe area is a good local brewery; they also have good bar food (pizza, sandwiches, etc), and a good Sunday brunch. For just beer, Papago Brewery in southern Scottsdale is great for both local beers and a huge selection of unusual bottles. (I'm not a huge fan of their food, though.) Other places to try if you happen to be nearby include Taste of Top's (not a brewery, but lots of interesting selections), SunUp Brewing, Sonoran Brewing Co, Sleepy Dog (usually quiet with a loungey feel) and Rock Bottom (a mini-chain); some of these have food, but they're not really dining destinations.

Oct 29, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Visiting AZ with a baby - Recs?

For an early dinner on Saturday night near the airport, you could try Carolina's, a board favorite Sonoran-style Mexican restaurant (and kind of a dive). A short drive away is the downtown Tempe area, with lots of very informal choices. Some of my favorites (where I take my young kids) are Cafe Lalibela (Ethiopian), Restaurant Mexico (central Mexican), and the Cornish Pasty Co (a tiny, loud place, maybe better for call-ahead takeout in your situation). Essence Bakery has good breakfast and lunch items if you're in the area by then, mostly locally-soured, and some of the best macarons outside Paris. For a more upscale dinner, House of Tricks has good food with a Southwest/International spin; some of their outdoor seating is pretty secluded, you could ask them to tuck you away where any minor baby fussiness won't be overheard. If you want to try local beers, Four Peaks Brewing Co has good versions of "brewery cuisine" (pizza, sandwiches, etc); it can be crowded, but early on a Saturday should be okay.

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House of Tricks
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

Four Peaks Brewing Co
1340 E 8th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

Essence Bakery Cafe
825 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

Cornish Pasty Co
960 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

Oct 29, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Kid-less vacation to PHX this weekend - where to eat?

Los Sombreros has a number of Mexican style seafood dishes on the menu, although my personal favorites there are other things (lamb adobo, chicken mole, puerco en chipotle). I think San Carlos Bay is often recommended for Mexican style seafood, but I haven't been there in years.

Four Peaks Brewery has a good Sunday brunch. They have good upscale-bar-type food generally, including tasty pizzas. I like Essence too, especially their amazing macarons! Their hours are pretty limited (especially on weekends), so make sure to check before going there. Another good place in the downtown Tempe area is House of Tricks, with various southwestern and Mediterranean-influenced dishes. For sushi, I really like Shimogamo, although it's a ways away from you (in Chandler) and fairly expensive.

For the kind of high-end gourmet dinner you couldn't have with little kids along, I second Kai and Binkley's. Unfortunately they're both pretty far from you in terms of mileage, but you could probably get to Kai pretty quickly on the I-10. Be prepared for a spectacle there, but it's really delicious. I've also heard great things about Lon's at the Hermosa for a romantic dinner.

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House of Tricks
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

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

Aug 18, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Good and healthy near Chandler and Kyrene in Chandler

In that case, Cyclo would work well also. I'd lure her with the promise of spring rolls, and then add pork short ribs and spicy garlic green beans, all pretty accessible once you get people to try them. Depending on how bad her diabetes is the sauces may be a little sweet, but otherwise those dishes are relatively low in carbohydrates and fat compared to most things you'd find in chains. If you go early it's not hard to get in, but it does fill up fast during prime hours.

Aug 13, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Unique Foods for a foreigner?

I agree with the Mexican food suggestion. If it were me, I'd pick whichever of the really good taco places was closest for various meat tacos (Los Taquitos, Lulu's, America's, I can't remember the others at the moment but there are several discussions about them), and Los Sombreros (which has some great meat dishes). Los Sombreros also has huitlacoche quesadillas as an appetizer, pretty unusual by most standards.

Rock Springs Cafe is a good idea too if you're willing to drive that far. It's not my personal favorite food, but it's a very Southwestern/American experience. The setting and building (especially the old saloon on the left) are fun, and in addition to the BBQ they have all kinds of pie, which I don't think is very common in Europe.

Aug 13, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Vegetarian Help in Southeastern Tempe

Restaurant Mexico is a favorite of mine. They're very cheerful about substituting vegetarian whole beans for non-veggie refried beans and rice. I like the Clare burro and the Friday lunch special cheese chile relleno , both of which are vegetarian. Across the street from there, MedFresh Grill has great babaganoush and other Middle Eastern fare. Both are quick, too.

I love Essence bakery, but if your lunch time is strictly limited, I'd call in a takeout order or go during off-peak hours-- they are a little slow when they're full.

I live right by Woodlands, and in my opinion Cafe Krishna a mile to the south is better, at least for dosai. It's all-vegetarian also. Another all-vegetarian Indian place slightly outside your radius is Udupi, but I haven't been there in years. (I'm not vegetarian, but many of my friends are.)

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Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

Cafe Krishna
4929 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

Udupi Cafe
1636 N Scottsdale Rd, Tempe, AZ 85281

Aug 10, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Good and healthy near Chandler and Kyrene in Chandler

Another very nearby option for next time around might be Cafe Krishna on the SE corner of Rural and Ray. It's nothing fancy, but the one item I keep ordering there (the spicy Special Rava Masala Dosai) is consistently good, and my friends seem to like the other dosa also. I don't know how healthy it is (the portions are enormous!), but the restaurant is vegetarian. I think they have a lunch buffet during the week, but I've only been there for dinner.

If your group prefers Mexican food, I'd try Los Taquitos on Elliott next time (it's just west of I-10). It's mostly meat, but cooked in a relatively lowfat way I'd guess, and the tacos are really good.

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Cafe Krishna
4929 W Chandler Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

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

Aug 10, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Barrio Cafe

I suspect Barrio Cafe's biggest hurdle is its own reputation. I think it's quite good, but given its relatively high price compared with other Mexican places (but not other types of food, really) and the frequency with which it's called one of the top places in town, people tend to get disproportionately upset if their meal is anything less than mind-blowing. In my experience, some days approach mind-blowing and others are merely pretty good, but it's harder for people to forgive the "pretty good" ones than it would be at any other Mexican place in town. Anyway, if you're looking for non-Sonoran Mexican food it's definitely one of your best options.

Jul 12, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

First time in Phoenix/Chandler-Need recs

In addition to what's above and to the thread Jen76 mentioned, I'd consider Quiessence for dinner (emphasis on local ingredients, in a pleasant upscale mini-farm atmosphere) and House of Tricks for lunch or dinner (Southwestern/Mediterranean/Continental). Both should have a number of veggie and fish options. Mexican food is a popular choice too, but it can be surprisingly hard to find vegetarian-friendly options-- a LOT of places cook their beans with lard and their rice with chicken broth. For breakfast (if eggs are OK), Four Peaks Brewery has a tasty brunch on Sundays, and The Farm (on the same property as Quiessence) has a good brunch Sat/Sun.

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House of Tricks
114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281

Quiessence
6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Jul 12, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Copper River salmon 2010?

Thanks for all the replies! We had some Copper River sockeye from CostCo as hungryinaz described (but in Chandler), and it was great! It was indeed about $20 for what should have been four servings (but my husband and I managed to eat it all in one meal!). I haven't seen any at Basha's, it sounds like it went fast there. I'll probably check AJs tomorrow, too.

Jun 16, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Favorite Grocery Store? (South Tempe)

In my experience, the chain stores vary so much by location it's impossible to pick a favorite chain-- one Frys may be nice, for example, while the one 2 miles down the road has a poorer selection and less appealing produce. I'd just make a visit to each of the ones near you (or on your way home from work or weekly errands) and pick the nicest one as your regular. If a decent Basha's is in the mix I'd give it the edge, but otherwise the location (or maybe the managers?), not the chain name, seems to be key.

Jun 16, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Copper River salmon 2010?

Has anyone seen Copper River salmon in Phoenix-area grocery stores yet? It seems like it should be time about now...

I got a frozen bag of wild-caught Copper River fillets at CostCo recently that was relatively inexpensive and tasted like pretty good regular salmon, but somehow lacked the fresh Copper River deliciousness.

Jun 09, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Okay, what is it about Haus Murphy's?

I love their red cabbage, and all kinds of sausages (with mustard). To me the cabbage is cooked down to a velvety texture, not "overcooked," but if you really like your cabbage crispy it's definitely not for you! Thought the potatoes were pretty good, too. I've never tried anything fried there, or any wine.

May 28, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Chowhounder stopping in Phoenix for 2 days

At the cheap end of the "things you can't find anywhere else" category, there's also Chino Bandido. If your guilty pleasures include both cheap Chinese food of the sweet and sour pork type and the kind of fast food-ish burritos that include rice, it's a perfect fusion of the two. I dislike it (probably b/c I like category 2 but not category 1), but a lot of people here love it.

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Chino Bandido
1825 W Chandler Blvd Ste 2, Chandler, AZ 85224

May 19, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Jobing.com arena

Also (violating the sanctity of the Chowhound rules here), the little-known Bead Museum a stone's throw from Haus Murphy is pretty interesting, if you have time and it's still open.

May 18, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Jobing.com arena

I LOVE Haus Murphy. Too bad it's a day trip from my part of town.

May 18, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

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

No one's mentioned Los Sombreros yet, which is constantly vying with Barrio Cafe for "best fancier Mexican food." It's especially good for meat dishes, I think. I can't decide which of the two restaurants I prefer; I'd suggest checking the online menus and choosing the one that appeals most to you.

As for "everyday" Mexican, my heart belongs to Restaurant Mexico for its lighter, no-yellow-cheese-puddles style. I have trouble deciding between the Clare burro (beans, avocado, and green sauce) and the Friday lunch special, cheese chiles rellenos. It's a full service restaurant, but very casual, like most Mexican places in the Valley are.

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Restaurant Mexico
423 S Mill Ave # A, Tempe, AZ 85281

May 18, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Chowhounder stopping in Phoenix for 2 days

Are there particular types of food you're interested in? Normally you'd get a lot of Mexican food answers to this question, but it looks like you're from LA, so you may be less interested in that.

A lot of the restaurants specializing in locally-produced items are more high-end. Quiessence comes to mind, but you might want to check their website to see if it's in your price range. The other restaurants in the same location (Morning Glory for breakfast, The Farm Kitchen for sandwiches) are also good and in the same very nice setting.

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Quiessence
6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

May 14, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Authentic Japanese in Phoenix??

I second Shimogamo. It is not cheap, but it's very good. The owner is friendly and nice, too.

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Shimogamo
2051 W Warner Rd # 14, Chandler, AZ

May 10, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

Restaurants serving local and organic menu items

Essence Bakery in downtown Tempe emphasizes local and organic items. It's a laid-back place and fine for kids, but has breakfast and lunch only (and is closed on Sundays).

I wouldn't take a preschooler to Quiessence if I could help it unless it was clearly one of those nights when they were acting angelic-- it's pretty quiet and upscale. Otherwise The Farm is great for young kids, either the Morning Glory Cafe or the Farm Kitchen; just be prepared to stay longer than you'd expected, there's a lot of bug examining and chicken watching to do there. If you want to do your grocery shopping at the same time, the food court-type options at Whole Foods on Ray Rd aren't bad either. You could also have a pizza at Nello's right next to the Ahwatukee Farmers' Market-- I don't know that they use organic/local ingredients, but it is a local place, and you can shop for local veggies next door.

The link here is to the Nello's in Tempe for some reason-- there's one in Ahwatukee too...

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Essence Bakery Cafe
825 W University Dr, Tempe, AZ 85281

Quiessence
6106 S 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Morning Glory Cafe
6106 S 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85042

Nello's
1806 E Southern Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282

Apr 28, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

It's PHX. Who brings the heat?

McCool's bar and grill on Rural & Ray has ghost chiles, and will add them to the "Burger of Fire" or other dishes if you ask. I've also seen dried ones at the AJ's on Ray near the I-10 if you want to cook with them yourself.

Apr 23, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

It's PHX. Who brings the heat?

Swaddee Thai on Rural and Ray is pretty good, and their "Thai hot" level dishes arrive liberally sprinkled with tiny bird chiles (especially if you get them to go). Let them know you want it really hot, and they'll do it.

Apr 23, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix

It's PHX. Who brings the heat?

Make sure to ask what's hot at Los Dos Molinos if you go looking for hot stuff-- not everything on the menu is really hot.

Apr 23, 2010
bortukan in Phoenix