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Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

Thanks everyone. Cost isn't so much the issue, it just seems wasteful to dump what I don't want instead of just passing the glass over to my husband. I have more of an interest than him anyway, and he likely won't want to pay for his own tasting everywhere we go.

rancho gordo favorites?

Ancient thread, but being wary of shipping charges means I'm brand new to Rancho Gordo. Happy to have easy access to them now that we live here. Picked up a couple of bags a couple of months ago, but just now getting around to them because I never remember to soak them.

I still only soaked them for a few hours in the morning, and they were still completely cooked in just over two hours. Did the Good Mother Stallards based on the Maida Heatter black bean recipe out of the NYT anthology. This is one of my favorite ways to cook beans, but this pot was absolutely lovely. The beans kept their shape and were so clean, but the broth was still thick and rich. I had low expectations just so I wasn't disappointed, but they were really, really good. Ate them with brown basmati, diced raw onion, chunked avocado, and Casa Sanchez salsa. (I normally wouldn't do salsa, but this salsa is pretty much just seasoned tomatoes.) I can't wait for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Next up are the flageolets. I spotted some lamb and rosemary sausages at Berkley Bowl that I suspect will be lovely with them.

Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

Thank you, maria! I did already see the second thread you posted, but the first one was new. All of your posts have been incredibly helpful!

I am completely with you on planning--I think I spend more time planning vacations than I do actually enjoying them. I think I am just struggling with so many options!

Reservations acquired for Jeanty the first night, Press for anniversary dinner. I think lunches will just be more or less based on what we are feeling like in the moment.

Question--what is policy on sharing tastings? I don't know how comfortable I am spitting, but at the same time am not looking to get smashed at 2 in the afternoon.

Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

Ahh, thanks to both of you!

Willi's is essentially out because SO doesn't eat seafood. Flying Goat and also Wurst Restaurant added to the lunch list.

I actually chose Solbar for the spa menu. My background is in nutrition, so I am always intrigued by ambitious "health" food. This Asian appreciates another Asian's input on Lucky Pig. :)

Agreed, I think we are definitely looking to stay w/i town the majority of the time because yes, we don't want to drive or have the pressure of investing in a driver. (Any thoughts on Uber in either areas?) We want to relax. I think I was really caught up with being in wine country and having to have a wine itinerary. As silly as it sounds, wine... isn't the priority? At the same time, I don't want to be wasting time at stuff that isn't worthwhile. Haha, I fear I am sounding ridiculous. Thank you for the suggestions within walking distance--they are MUCH appreciated!

Finally--any thoughts from anyone between Press and Redd? Also, despite the reluctance to set up an intensive tasting schedule, we would like to set up something Sunday afternoon between Yountville/St Helena. I'm having trouble narrowing it down. Is this where I call in the cousin's expertise?

Honeymoon in Healdsburg - Where to Eat?

I just posted a very similar thread yesterday for our upcoming anniversary.

Barndiva is closed Mon/Tues, if that makes a difference to your schedule!

Which Berkeley Bowl is less annoying?

We just moved to Alameda, but I do my big trips to the West location maybe once a week.

I typically go ~10 in the morning, and have little issue. I've never parked anywhere but the front lot. Like foxglove, I grab lunch for the kids so they can eat while I unload once we get home. (Hot soup cools down just enough on the drive home, plus Acme levain and they're good to go.) Well worth the 20ish min drive.

Last week I went around 3 PM with three kids. I imagine this is what hell would be like.

Narrowing down Yountville/Healdsburg

Managed to book three nights in Yountville/Healdsburg for mid-October anniversary. First of all, shocked that nearly everything is already sold out. Now we know for the future...

We are new to Bay Area (Alameda), and are pretty stoked to get away for the weekend. Moving states means we left our babysitters (grandparents) back at home. So while we are headed out to wine country, our primary focus is relaxing and enjoying our time "off" without getting too serious with either food or wine itineraries. If that makes sense. Dinner reservations are obvious, but would like some flexibility with appts for tastings.

I've been perusing posts (thanks, Maria and Carrie!) and consulting my food/wine friends and have plenty of input, so throwing this out for more specific questions. I've got a pretty good idea on food, but still struggling a bit with wineries. Just now approaching wine with any seriousness in our late 20s.

(Sidetone: SO's cousin is a Master of Wine and has offered to help plan, but I am afraid our criteria of "good but also close to our hotel and flexible with reservations" is offensive and I hesitate to ask for input.)

Saturday

Head up in the morning. Is it worth stopping at Oxbow? I assume it will be a zoo on Saturday.

Drop bags at Napa Valley Lodge

Lunch at Addendum.

Walk around Yountville. Any input on worthwhile tastings in-town? Ma(i)sonry? Snacks at Bouchon Bakery.

(Am I wasting an afternoon here? Should we be heading out for more worthwhile tastings? Not sure how much there is IN town.)

Dinner at Ciccio/Bistro Jeanty.

Sunday

Hotel breakfast

Frog's Leap. I like how relaxed it seems. Open to input.

Lunch/brunch whatever they call midday Sunday meal at Archetype/Farmstead. Also flexible here--suggestions for something if we are feeling more casual?

Oakville/Rutherford before back to Yountville for pre-dinner nap. Input here? There are so many... Far Niete looks lovely but pricey. Paraduxx and Peju were both recommended by friends. Can we fit in two places? I assume not if husband needs a catnap before dinner...

Anniversary dinner at either Redd or Press. Leaning towards Press at this point. I'm not really a huge steakhouse gal, but dining room looks like a lovely and comfortable way to relax after a long day compared to Redd's more minimalistic decor. Plus I couldn't say the last time we've done a high end steakhouse--might be a nice change of pace.

Monday

Hotel breakfast

Worth stopping at Van Ness and Solbar for lunch on the way to Healdsburg? Highly recommended by two friends. At the same time, I'd like to get over to Healdsburg sooner than later, then maybe focus on Healdsburg/Geyserville. Suggestions there have been Papapietro Perry for Pinot, Zichichi (I understand they only do futures), Mazzocco, Medlock Ames. Anything closer to/in town? (We are staying right on plaza.) Lots of suggestions for farther down south in Sebastopol area, but not sure that fits anywhere into our schedule, though Merry Edwards sounds right up my alley...

Ideas for Healdsburg lunch if we don't stop at Solbar? Shed? Dinner will likely be Brava, maybe Valette. Will need lunch again the next day. Was hoping for Barndiva, but they aren't open Mon/Tues. Though I guess technically lunch could be anywhere on the way back to Alameda, I think we were planning on walking around town in the morning/early afternoon, and most of the day before will be spent tasting around town.

Thanks SO much everyone.

East End (Alameda)

We are new to the area (well, the state for that matter). We've been here twice now.

First time we ordered two pizzas--a sausage for the kids, something with artichokes and leeks for us. I also added on the escarole salad.

The escarole was excellent. Serious char on the green with a creamy garlic dressing. The "shallot candy" was just shy of being burned, but I didn't care the rest was so good.

Pizza... I wasn't impressed. Little flavor to the crust. Cheese was a uniform, bubbly blanket--I was expecting pockets of the milky fresh stuff. Not to be all "mine is better than yours," but our old neighborhood pizza joint was Pizzeria Bianco, and this just didn't compare. (For whatever reason, Phoenix has some really solid pizza options.) Anyway, the pizza here isn't bad by any means, but I'll take a straightforward takeout slice over this.

Went back tonight just with the kids, and skipped the pizza. (My son complained, but guess who's the boss?) Started with the fries and grilled peaches, then the meatballs and half order of the carbonara.

Fries were good. A little stubby, but I can't really fault the size of the potatoes. Served with house ketchup, Calabrian chile aioli and a rosemary aioli.

Peaches were fantastic. Wrapped in some sort of cured pork (don't recall the particular variety off of the top of my head), atop some arugula and fromage blanc. Balsamic and olive oil drizzle. My only (minor) complaint is that there was a ton of cheese left--wish it was served with maybe a slice of bread.

Meatballs were solid. Good texture, seasoned well. Smokiness to both the meat and the sauce. Sauce definitely had some kick--I had to scrape as much off as possible for the kids. Personal preference, I wish it was cooked down a bit more, as it was pretty loose.

In agreement about the carbonara--good but I wouldn't call it carbonara. The pasta was swimming, to the point my three year old asked me if it was ramen. (Obnoxiously precocious, I know, but it was a long noodle in a bowl of liquid with an egg on top. Don't hate me.) Heavy on the wine. I liked how some of the guanciale still had some fatty chew.

I like the place, now that I've figured out that vegetables and sides are where they shine. I will happily make a meal out of a couple of sides. We go for early dinner, before 6, and there are always a few families there. We had the same server both times. She was casual and spoke only when needed, but genuinely helpful with questions and navigating the menu.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Tadich is on the short list for Monday lunch. Depends where we will be--I left Monday kind of open. Zuni isn't open Monday.

Sunday morning I'm actually pretty open. I picked Brenda's because it would be something hearty, and we could just grab sandwiches at Saigon quickly for later/lighter lunch while out doing Alcatraz.

If someone has a better suggestion for Sunday breakfast, with something close by for us to grab something we can pack for lunch I'm all ears. I am slightly concerned about obnoxious lines Sunday morning. I can't imagine we are going to be up particularly early.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Decided that if we could get reservation at State Bird we'd do that Saturday. If not, we'd go to SPQR.

Managed to snag a reservation. I sat at the computer 60 days prior to reservation date, OpenTable page open filled in with all the appropriate info. Watched the seconds count down to midnight, clicked through. Three slots open. Clicked 8 PM. Filled out the Captcha, waited for page to load. Crap! No longer available. Back page. Only 9:30 left. Panic as the page loads, waiting to see the results. Success! Man, that was a stressful 25 seconds.

Dinner is later than I'd like, but oh well. I didn't really want to have to deal with waiting in line prior to putting our names down, then waiting again for a table. Planning on poking around Japantown prior, maybe even grab an antipasto at the bar at SPQR when they open.

I think I decided on Zuni for Sunday night. Something a little more straight forward after State Bird.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Yes, planning is totally half the fun! Thanks for the Muni tip.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

La Mar looks great. Fish for me, a view for him!

Trou Normand is on my very short list for Monday lunch.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Yes, switching boat to Sunday instead of Monday.

I can't book tour this far in advance, but let's say we did a noon tour and spent the whole 5.5 hours as suggested by the site. I guess we'd be back about 6? Then we could likely do dinner at 8. I could probably move everything up an hour, I just hate rushing things.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Yes! I would like to do both Alcatraz and Angel, and I now see that the immigration station is only open Wed-Sun. So I guess I am swapping Sunday and Monday sightseeing plans!

I think this actually works a little bit better. I don't want to have to rush the trip Monday in order to get to the airport in time. I don't want to do the early bird tour. (No kids! I want to sleep in a bit.)

Tadich may work for dinner Monday. I didn't want to go after Alcatraz as I didn't think we'd have time, but now that I've swapped things around it may make sense.

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Planning on hopping on BART. I am pretty comfortable with public transport so hopefully we won't run into any issues. Just a weekend from Phoenix, so no checked luggage!

Not traveling until early May. I'm a planner. ;)

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Thanks for the heads-up!

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Ha, good to know. I checked Monday closures, but not Sunday. Thanks!

Very tentative tourist plans, open to suggestions!

Heading out for a long weekend from Phoenix. My husband and I are late-20s/early-30s. Neither of us have been to San Francisco in probably a decade (and were obviously quite young then). It's also our first kid-free trip in two years. (Yay parenthood!)

A little background: I love food. Everything about it. My husband, while he certainly appreciates a good meal... is not quite on the same page as I am. He doesn't eat seafood or mushrooms. No eggs. (As an ingredient they are fine, just not as a component. French toast is a stretch for him.) Generally, he does not care for Asian flavor profiles. He is happy to humor me and do whatever I want, but I am not going to put him through a tasting at Benu or Cren. Even if he would go along with it, I don't want the stress of spending several hundreds on dinner when he doesn't "get it." I save meals like that for friends and family.

I am still in early-ish stages of planning. So while I have booked air and hotel, I am pretty flexible on basically everything else.

Saturday:
Arrive SFO at 9 AM.
Drop bags at hotel (Hotel G near Union Square), head to Ferry Plaza.
When would we expect to actually be at Ferry Plaza--is 11 realistic? Roli Roti as soon as we get there, then various vendors. Boccalone, Humphry Slocombe.

Trying to decide what to do for the evening. I really, really want to do State Bird, but not sure how hubby will enjoy it. SPQR looks great and my friends rave, but SB just looks like such a fun experience, not just a lovely meal. Open to suggestions here, but would like to poke around Japantown either before dinner/while waiting for table at State Bird. (Are reservations truly impossible?)

Also, ideas for after dinner would be appreciated. Was thinking about Boom Boom Room as it’s close and my husband is a fan of live music. Not sure if this is a good fit for just the two of us though. I'd like something fun and lively, but don't want to have to rub up against younger kids all night.

EDIT
Sunday:
Brenda’s French Soul Food for breakfast, swing by Saigon Sandwich afterwards for sandwiches (duh) to pack for Alcatraz/Angel Island.

Thinking about Tadich for lunch. Not sure how exciting this will be for a non-seafood eater though… Suggestions for lunch around the area appreciated. I haven’t fully researched this day and am pretty open. I was just kind of planning doing Chinatown, cable car, Union Square stuff.

Dinner I am stuck between Zuni and Rich Table. Again, I’m torn between what is sure to be a lovely meal at Rich Table and Zuni, which I consider to be quintessential San Francisco. Plus, I know my husband would enjoy the chicken.

After dinner ideas again please. Was debating Bourbon and Branch, even though my husband is pretty much solely a vodka drinker. Have heard nothing but good things from friends, and it seems like somewhere we can have a drink and talk vs. shouting over music. Something close to hotel would be nice, but not essential.

Monday:
Head over to Flour + Co for pastries for him, then over to Chinatown. Second breakfast for me at Good Mong Kok. (I will not make my husband sit down for traditional dim sum, but I still want my fix.)

Pretty open for lunch/dinner, though dinner will probably need to be more on the casual side closer to our hotel. The hotel will hold our bags until we head to airport, I don't want to have to travel back and forth at the end of the day to have to pick them up!

Pain de Mie/Pullman loaf pan hack?

So can I successfully pull off a Pain de Mie without buying the specific pan? Meandering around different forums/blogs I've read about placing a sheet pan on top of a regular loaf pan and weighing it down. Won't this create a trapezoid-al loaf? Debating on whether or not I want to invest in such a specialty piece of equipment.

Aug 09, 2011
meleyna in Home Cooking

Family Honolulu vacation

Thanks for all the help. My biggest problem now is narrowing down what I HAVE to have (ex: that poke musibi from Hoku's).

Any bar suggestions? Anything from hotel bars to divey stuff is fine.

Looks like we'll be sticking to plate lunches for noontime meals. After being gouged with tourist rates everywhere I'll have to save my pennies for dinner. Unless *looking* local qualifies for kamaaina...? ;)

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Hoku's
5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Mar 09, 2011
meleyna in Hawaii

Family Honolulu vacation

Great! Town and 12th Street look right up BF's alley. Did some more digging around--how are Hoku's and Bali? Pineapple Room's menu also looks fairly BF friendly...

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Hoku's
5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Mar 06, 2011
meleyna in Hawaii

Family Honolulu vacation

My family (including a three year old) will be staying in Honolulu for a week. We will be staying on Waikiki, but I do have family I will be visiting in St. Louis Heights, Kailua, and Pearl City areas (we will have a car). My cousin is in the industry, and suggested I hit up these places:

Cinnamon's
Boots & Kimo's
Blue Hawaii Lifestyle
Yotteko-Ya
Hanks Haute Dogs
Tonkatsu Gina Bairin
Olive Tree Cafe
Chef Mavro
Azure
Alan

I was told Chef Mavro is a can't miss, but I'm little concerned about my boyfriend, who is definitely not a CH. Azure will be convenient since we'll be able to walk back to our room after drinks rather than having to cab it. My boyfriend is happy to humor me go wherever I choose, but I want him to enjoy himself as well. (He doesn't eat fish and isn't crazy about Asian flavors, which I understand limits a LOT in Hawaii.)

I'm open to suggestions for everything, but I'd like more suggestions for casual "local" places for lunches with the family. I'd also like more options for nice dinner places that aren't necessarily "fine dining." Relatives will most likely be asking to keep my son, so while kid friendly is nice, it's not a requirement. (He is generally well behaved, and if we take him out we'll go on the earlier side of dinner service.)

Thanks for the help!

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Chef Mavro restaurant
1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

Olive Tree Cafe
4614 Kilauea Ave Ste 107, Honolulu, HI 96816

Yotteko-Ya
1960 Kapiolani Blvd Ste 214, Honolulu, HI 96826

Mar 06, 2011
meleyna in Hawaii

Santa Barbara lunch

All of these options sound great--I think it will ultimately come down to what we are feeling like at the moment. Thanks for the help--I'll follow up when we get back!

Jan 22, 2011
meleyna in California

Santa Barbara lunch

Stella Mare's looks lovely, and a beach picnic does not sound bad at all. I also just realized that cabs will be expensed, so I'm sure that that opens up a lot more. Briefly looking at Yelp, Opal looks interesting, and a short cab ride away. We'd like to enjoy a nice a lunch and spend some time walking around/people watch for a bit before dinner. Dinner will be at the Palace Grill, as there is some pork chop special there my boyfriend has been telling me about for years now haha.

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The Palace Grill
8 E Cota St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Stella Mare's
50 Los Patos Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93108

Jan 19, 2011
meleyna in California

Santa Barbara lunch

BF is extending a business trip an extra day so we can spend some time together. Dinner is already planned, but lunch is still open. We're staying at the Fess Parker, and will not have a car. He doesn't eat seafood or anything too "ethnic," however, so anything that steers clear of that (or has options other than fish) would be great.

Thanks in advance!

Jan 18, 2011
meleyna in California

Another French Quarter vacation...

Thanks, everyone, for the help--I've definitely changed plans a bit.

Wednesday I think we're going to stay closer to the hotel and do Mr. B's for dinner--I really want that BBQ shrimp. Thursday we'll do Emeril's for lunch, then depending on how hungry we are, either an appetizer dinner at Cochon or maybe just drink our dinner at Napoleon House. Friday I want to do either Parkway or Johnny's for lunch--it really depends on where we are for the day. Friday night we'll do dinner at August. Saturday's still debatable--thinking either Maspero's, Luke, or maybe Stanley for brunch/lunch. Dinner will be at the wedding we're attending. Sunday we plan on packing, checking out, leaving bags at the front, and doing brunch at Commander's Palace. We'll swing by the hotel to pick up our bags on the way to the airport.

I figure we'll fit Cafe du Monde and Croissant D'Or in somewhere for snacks/breakfast, and I plan on swinging by Central Grocery at some point and keeping the sandwich in the mini bar for late night snacks. Boyfriend also doesn't eat olives, so no sense making a meal out of that.

Anything I'm missing? I feel like I did a pretty good job balancing things so that we're not overeating everyday. Also, I think we'd prefer to keep things in the Quarter just to make things easier. Plus, I feel like everything I NEED to have is within those boundaries. Thanks for all the feed back! (Shout out to Bill Hunt from a fellow Phoenician!)

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Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Emeril's Restaurant
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Maspero's
601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Jul 27, 2010
meleyna in New Orleans

Another French Quarter vacation...

I know this has been covered I don't even know how many times, but my boyfriend and I are visiting in October for about five days. I've done a good amount of research on the boards, yelp, trip advisor, etc, and I've got the must haves down--I'm just looking for a few more opinions. As kind of an overview, we're staying in the Quarter, no car, from Wednesday-Sunday. Saturday night dinner will be at a friend's wedding at the W, but other than that, we're open for everything else. Boyfriend is NOT a CH, and does not eat ANY seafood. He has no problem indulging me and will go wherever I'd like, but at the same time, it's not much fun for me if he's not enjoying himself either.

What I'd like to do are Cochon Wednesday night, Mr. B's/Galatoire's Thursday night, August Friday, and Commander's Palace for brunch Sunday (we don't fly out until six PM). I'm back and forth about doing August for lunch or dinner Friday. Do you get the full experience with the prix fixe lunch? You really can't resist the price tag... If we end up doing lunch there, then maybe Emeril's for dinner. Also, a friend from NOLA recommended Cochon + Butcher over Cochon. Any thoughts? Boyfriend loves small plates, so I think we might go in that direction... Is Galatoire's an absolute necessity? Not sure how excited the other half will be about that, with the jacket requirement and such. If I'm making him sit through a big meal, I feel like it's better spent at August than Galatoire's.

Lunches I'd like to hit up Parkway and Central Grocery. Other than that I'm open for suggestions. K-Pauls, Napoleon House, Bon Ton, Maspero's, Luke?

From what I've read, there's not much excitement about breakfast... Any reason not to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde everyday?

Mat and Naddie's was also recommended--worth the cab ride?

I'll make reservations for August and Commander's Palace--do I need to do so for anything else?

Thanks for all the help!

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Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cochon
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Commander's Palace Restaurant
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

Emeril's Restaurant
800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

Bon Ton Cafe
401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

Maspero's
601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Jul 23, 2010
meleyna in New Orleans

Dining Alone in Scottsdale?

Third for Digestif! Hang out next door at Kaz afterward for a glass (or three). (You'll have to go around to the back to find the almost unmarked door.)

Blue Wasabi for sushi is a little farther north, but not a bad cab ride by any means. Italian Grotto has pretty decent food, and sitting at the bar there is always a show when the owner's around. Posh has gotten good talk around here, but I've yet to go myself.

You mention you're exploring Scottsdale and Phoenix, but are staying in Downtown Scottsdale. Are you looking for more recs outside where you're staying, or just walking distance?

Sep 30, 2009
meleyna in Phoenix

Best Mexican food in Old Town Scottsdale?

Los Sombreros also gets my vote, though crsin is right--probably not in walking distance of Old Town hotels, but not a bad cab ride by any means. There are a few other places that serve Mexican, but I'd definitely pick Los Sombreros over all of them. Los Olivos is okay, but not my favorite. Everything else is along the lines of Loco Patron and Salty Senorita, which are more like bars that happen to have food. Which, after a few margaritas, isn't necessarily a bad thing, just probably not what you're looking for. Oh, and of course, if you've had a LOT of tequila, Super Burrito's open after bar close. ;)

Sep 22, 2009
meleyna in Phoenix

Coming to Phoenix and need to know a fun, good place to eat alone at a bar!

Cibo Pizzeria is downtown. The food is fantastic, and I've eaten at the bar a couple of times by myself after work. The restaurant is in an old house, which I like a lot, and I feel creates a unique dining experience. Though if you're looking for an actual bar to go along with your meal, it's just beer and wine. Switch has some pretty decent food, and caters to the gay crowd, though is a little farther away, and I'm not sure if you have a car.

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Switch
2603 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Cibo
603 N. 5th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 850103

Sep 12, 2009
meleyna in Phoenix