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Picnic supplies / sandwiches in Sedona

In you are in OAK CREEK CANYON check out the Deli-General Store at Indian Gardens. Great sandwiches, coffee, drinks, etc.

Jun 09, 2010
donald in Southwest

Any know of a restaurant in BA called Benito?

Olla. Last NYE we had a reservation for late dinner at SETTE BACCO, Agüero 2157, 4808-0021. When we arrived we learned that there was a set menu and fixed price. Somewhat disappointed as I had been looking forward to their amazing risotto, but it didn't last long.
Great service, generous pouring of champagne and wine, far too much food, and then shortly after midnight, dancing to a dj. A great party. I intend to return this year.

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

For more information on Northern Arizona wines, check out


Sep 07, 2009
donald in Phoenix

Flagstaff-Sedona Restaurants

Junipine Resort, about nine miles north of Sedona has a cafe right on the highway.

Further north, just outside of Flagstaff is/was Jackson's Grill - closed for several months now.

Dec 13, 2008
donald in Southwest

Sedona recommendations?

Do NOT miss Cafe Elote - in King's Ransom Hotel, on Highway 179 - closed Sun-Mon dinner only
Other good spots - Heartline Cafe, Dahl & DeLuca, Coffeepot Restaurant (for breakfast)
Rene's, Shugrue's, and fairly new, Main Street Cafe

Dec 06, 2008
donald in Southwest

Dinner at Spago in Vegas- how to dress???

As Diana Vreeland once said - "It's important to dress for the theatre - it means so much for your fellow audience!" So, yes, dress up a bit, it makes the dining experience all that much more special. Granted, the t-shirt, jeans, and shorts crowd prevail in LasV, but always better to dress up rather than down.
Don't know if they still do it, but I've loved Spago's meatloaf at several meals there

Dec 03, 2008
donald in Southwest

Burbank to Springdale, lunch stop?

you might want to reconsider navigating though LV. You'll be on I-15 North - so get off on exit 41A - Charleston Blvd - and you will be less than four miles (about ten minutes) from Lotus of Siam. Well worth the detour.

Sep 23, 2008
donald in Southwest

How much does Morel's suck?

Wish I had gotten than great bottle of wine at half price. We were four at dinner at Morels just a few weeks ago. My suggestion - we were staying at Palazzo - had tickets for "O" at 10:30 - and I had lunched several times at The Grove location and had enjoyed. So it seemed a good bet. And it was. We were all pleased with the service - friendly and attentive and well informed. The food was all fine. Sorry, can't remember now what we had other than the oysters and calamari to start. And some great cheese to finish. We were all well satisfied.

Dinner the next night at Lotus of Siam, and the food was sensational as always. Service a bit off, but we were all so happy with the food we didn't much care. A great breakfast at Bouchon as well.

May 23, 2008
donald in Southwest


I like Cuvee 928 a lot- located on Heritage Square. Plenty of small dishes, daily specials, and a very reasonable list of wines by the glass.

Another favorite is Oregano's for a slice of sausage pizza, a small Caesar salad, and a glass of the house Chianti- but one must go early - they tend to run out of those slices!

Jul 31, 2007
donald in Southwest


Several weeks ago I read on Chowhound.Com that Jeff Smedstad former chef and co-owner of Los Sombreros was going to open a place in Sedona. While I had eaten in the Scotsdale location only one time it was a a glorious meal, and have read with interest the many enthusiastic postings on this board. So it was with high anticipation that Amanda and I went for an early lunch this past Friday.

Elote is located in the King’s Ransom Hotel, 771 Highway 179, just a bit east of the Hillside Shops. This building has housed a number of so-so restaurants over the years, but at long last it has a real winner. We arrived shortly after the 11 o’clock opening and were warmly greeted by the hostess, and were taken to our table after stopping to chat a bit with Jeff. It has been a long time since my last visit there so I’m not sure just what changes have been made to the room, but it was simply and warmly decorated, with copper covered tables, and of course, the wonderful window wall facing the patio with very impressive views. Much too hot for outside dining now, but before long, tables on that deck will be very popular.

Shortly after being seated we were served a basket of fresh chips still warm, and a bowl of amazing thick salsa, almost like a pico de gallo, with chunks of tomatoes and onions and bursting with a delicious smoky flavor. Amanda had a glass of brewed ice tea ($2.00) and I went for the La Rosa Margarita, made with Hornitos reposado tequila, Gran Gala, Bonny Doon Framboise, and house made sour ($8.50)

We began with the Guacamole ($6.50), easily enough for four people, made with fresh avocado, lime, jalapeno, cilantro, and julienned spinach and cabbage. A wonderful start. Hard to decide about our mains, so we over ordered.

The Torta de Carnitas ($9.00), a roasted pork sandwich spread with guacamole, spicy mayo, and served with rice and beans. The pork was sensational, crispy outside yet still tender and juicy.

Seafood Tacos ($11.00) Fish and shrimp, served open-faced on three smallish, wonderful, almost gordita-like corn tacos, with crema, avocado, and of course, the rice and beans. The beans, for those with vegetarian concerns, were made without lard. They were delicious nonetheless.

The Green Corn Tamale ($7.00) was without a doubt one of the best I have ever eaten. Light, fluffy, and filled with corn, cheese and poblano chile with salsa verde. Again with beans and rice.

All this food called for another Margarita, this time the Sedona Soleado, pomegranate tequila, prickly pear and lime and gran gala ($9.50). The iced tea was constantly refilled. Linda, our server, was completely professional, totally knowlegable about everything on the menu and drink list, and most friendly.

We were stuffed, and had to take some of the food with us, but still had to try the Flan ($5.00), a classic egg custard with caramel and sprinkled with candied toasted pumpkin seeds, which added a welcome crunch. And the perfect finish to a wonderful meal.

At the present time, Elote is serving a breakfast buffet from 7 to 10 a.m.with a daily selection of eggs, sausage, bacon, homemade pastries, granola, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee for only $10.00. This must be a joy for those staying at the Hotel. On Sundays there is the Mercado Brunch, served from 8 am to 2 pm, featuring traditional favorites along with regional Mexican touches. I intend to try this out as soon as possible.

And the best news of all: the plan is to begin serving dinner on August 17th. I will be there, and when in the Sedona area, you should as well. This is a most welcome addition to our restaurant scene.

Jul 21, 2007
donald in Southwest

Italian memory in Tucson-Can you help?

"Great Italian place in Tucson" I immediately think of Vivace. Located in St. Philip's Plaza - Campbell and River Road. And there is a hotel next to their building. And, of course, super food!

May 22, 2007
donald in Southwest

Road Trip-AZ&NM-Dinner recs

I agree on The Turquoise Room in Winslow. Have had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Service sometimes a bit off, but food always good. By all means, try to stay at LaPosada as well. A delightful experience.

And Kingman now has an In-n-Out. Hooray!

Apr 14, 2007
donald in Southwest

Tucson Italian Suggestions

Another fine Italian restaurant in the area is Tavolino at Oracle and Ina (520/531-1913) Smaller than Gavi and Vivace, but very good food. That said, I must concur with Bazel. Vivace is ALWAYS excellent, with service to match. Enjoy.

Dec 07, 2006
donald in Southwest

Tucson Italian Suggestions

Another very fine Italian restaurant in the area is Tavolino at Oracle and Ina (520/531-1913). Considerably smaller than Gavi and Vivace, but excellent food. That said, I must concur with Bazel about Vivace. ALWAYS excellent food, with service to match. Enjoy.

Dec 07, 2006
donald in Southwest

Midwest chowhounder in Tucson for 4 days, Recs?

For breakfast: Not Mexican, but has southwestern specials, and is a Tucson institution, and has great outdoor seating, The Blue Willow on Campbell Avenue, north of Grant.

Oct 12, 2006
donald in Southwest

Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar - Scottsdale

Had my first experience at Tapino last night and it was a winner in every aspect - food, wine, service, ambiance and price. Am surprised there aren't more postings on this board regarding it - and also at the small crowd in attendance. Sunday night syndrone? The location (restaurant complex at 70th & Shea)? Whatever. It was completely deightful, and I look forward to another visit. We each ordered a flight - mine was four Pinot Noirs - forget what Doug had, but we were both pleased with the selections. We ordered and asked the server and the kitchen to bring them out in the order they thought best. I kept a copy of the menu and here is what we had:

Eggplant cannelloni with spinach, ricotta & tomato sage sauce $6; crispy goat cheese with toasted pistachios, lavender honey and sweet balsamic $7; the cheese experience- spanish manchego, danish blue, french brie & serrano ham $15 (we did request this to be the last item as neither one of us wanted desserts); crispy pancetta wrapped gorgonzola stuffed medjoul dates $6 (this actually would have made a fine dessert imho) licorice root skewered lamb chops with garlic, lemon, smoked paprika & olive oil $10; sweet & sour kurobuto pork belly with crispy wonton & sesame seed cabbage slaw $7; sonoma duck leg confit relleno with char grilled salsa fresca & shaved manchego $8; crispy shrimp with spicy orange horseradish marmalade $8; petite lobster corndogs with fancy ballpark dipping sauces (especially loved these - would order double order next time) $9; seared bay scallops with coconut thai curry, sour apple relish & crispy lotus root $8; and southern fried okra with cornmeal $5 (these were very good but could have used some of that fancy ballpark dipping sauce). We thoroughly enjoyed every dish, and felt the portions were more than adequate to share.

When I asked our waiter how long the restaurant had been open, he said just two years now, but confessed he had been there only two weeks. Surprise that - he was quite accomplished, professional and knew the menu and wine list extremely well.

If you haven't been yet - do yourself a favor and GO.

Aug 21, 2006
donald in Southwest

BRIX - New Restaurant in Flagstaff - long

I was very excited several weeks ago to learn of a new spot in Flagstaff. Let's face it, we don't have a lot of good choices for eating in this area. Even more pleased when friends came back with reports of a good dinner and a very impressive wine list. I think usually a place should be open for several months before being reviewed, but after my lunch today, there are some things I just want to get mentioned.

On the spur of the moment I stopped in last week. Was greeted by pleasant hostess and asked whether inside or outside. I opted for anywhere convenient, just away from the boistrous table right in front. She took me to table in middle room and as I was about to sit, a guy in black bruskly yelled. WE'RE CLOSED. When I asked the hostess their hours, she said lunch 11 to 2 and it was now eight minutes after. OK, I can understand not wanting to take any new tables, but how about a "we're sorry, but you've missed us - please try again." More on this later.

I did try again. Saw on their menu they offered Artisanal Cheese Selections, something one rarely finds here, so I was especially keen to return. Stopped in again today, just a few minutes after noon. A rather awkward and very small reception area, but seated right away in the front room - seating perhaps 20, another 12 at the bar - 3 tables in middle room - and than a very large outdoor area with umbrella tables. The room has a somewhat unfinished feel - raw bricks, very white walls, raw wood. But the seating was very comfortable. Started off with a martini - lovely large stems - waitress arrives at table with shaker - another nice touch - and then emptys shaker into glass leaving me with half a martini. Perhaps another shot of alcohol, since this is a $9.50 drink!

I believe a good test for any restaurant with aspirations to fine dining is how they handle their burger. Brix did fairly well. A Grilled Angus Burger, with grilled red onions, and whole-grain mustard aoili was perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of a very tasty aoili Alas, bun while toasted, didn't seem very fresh and the frites were beyond limp - perhaps sitting around too long? Served with a chipotle ketchup which was very tasty. $9.50. With this a glass of Edmeades Zinfandel - $9. A very extensive and impressive wine list, with at least 30 wines available by the glass. And the appropriate glassware for each wine. A nicety that one doesn't mind paying a bit more for. And while the wine list was extensive, it was very difficult to read, a font used that was not very legible, and very light on ink. How do the older raisins fare, especially in the evening?

The Cheese Course - Eleven to choose from - oh, happy day! 3 for $9 or 5 for $13. I had the Black Mesa Farms Goat Cheese from Snowflake, AZ (who knew!) Delicious, but not as tangy as described. A Mimolette, from France, a firm aged cow's milk cheese, which while glorious in its technicolor orange was rather dry and uninteresting. And lastly, a perfectly ripened Explorateur. One of my favorite triple creams. All nicely presented with poached apricots (a bowl of these would be a killer dessert), and house-made lavosh - this rather a mistake I think ,one cannot spread even the softest of cheeses on it without it crumbling into tiny bits. A stale burger bun would have worked better. With the cheese, a Chalone Pinot Noir - $8.

My server, was very pleasant, and right on with everything, but there was an element to the luncheon experience that really bothered me. Here I was a lone diner. When I arrived there was one other two top; shortly after me, two more deuces arrived; I looked, so I know the outside section was almost empty. It's not a large room so I was aware that there were at least 3 or 4 staff members in and out - mostly sitting at bar - a manager? an owner? a bar tender? It was definately not a busy or rushed lunch time for them. And yet, not once, was my presence even acknowledged by any one other than the server! Not even a "thanks for joining us" from the hostess as I left. You would expect this in a large chain operation perhaps, but in a small locally owned (I assume) place, I would think management would perhaps put a bit more energy in creating a warm, welcoming, and hospitable atmosphere. Especially in a new place. This doesn't cost a cent, and does as much as good food in having repeat business.

One other nit to pick. The background music really annoying, mournful country soft rock. Really not condusive to good eating imho. Nonetheless, inspite of my carping. Do give them a try. They;re located next to the Old Carriage House Antiques on San Francisco.

Jul 10, 2006
donald in Southwest

Tucson short report + questions

I've been eating at Vivace for years and my favorite dish still after countless samplings is Danny's Penne with Sausage, Fontina, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. It is the ultimate in comfort food. Share it as a first course so you can try other things. There is nothing on the menu that is less than wonderful.

Been a while since I've dined at Janos, but again, I doubt you could wrong with anything. Specials of the Evening? Ask and Trust your waiter. They know. Happy eating.

Jul 10, 2006
donald in Southwest