silverbear's Profile

Title Last Reply

lunch in Tempe

Last Call is located inside Arizona Mills, which is nowhere from a gastronomic point of view. There's a food court with standard choices like Sbarro and a few full-service chains like the Rain Forest Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack, but nothing I'd truly say qualifies as delicious. To be honest, I can't think of any place within walking distance that is worthwhile. Most of the nearby restaurants along Baseline Road are places like the Waffle House.

Unless you have the time to hop on a Valley Metro bus going to other more interesting parts of Tempe, I'd just choose the least objectionable choice from the mall directory knowing that it will be filling even it is not truly delicious.

Mar 16, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Walking distance from Chandler & Arizona ave?

The closure of Sriracha is due to an issue with the liquor license. They hope to reopen soon.

http://thedish.freedomblogging.com/20...

Also, I should mention that Jess Harter, the author of the post linked to above and the journalist who coverage I endorsed above, was unfortunately among those included in layoffs the East Valley Tribune announced earlier this week.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bell...

Mar 12, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Need some suggestions for a chow-worthy dinner in scottsdale?

That's what I was going to suggest. Authentic Mexican is rare in north Scottsdale, but La Hacienda was widely praised during its first run at the Fairmont for upscale, non-border Mexican food. It has just re-opened as part of that resort's reconfiguration of its dining options. If you try it, I hope you'll report back.

http://www.fairmont.com/EN_FA/Propert...

Mar 09, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Marcellino Ristorante in Phoenix

Uh, yeah, there are several. I'm not going to waste my time listing them because 1) I've done so in countless threads before. 2) I fail to see the relevance of the question to a discussion of Marcellino, which isn't even located Downtown.

Mar 07, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Marcellino Ristorante in Phoenix

Self-plagiarism of my comments on Twitter and another Web site:

I always took pride in having Marcellino near my house and thought it really classed up an otherwise ordinary strip mall on the border between North Central Phoenix and Sunnyslope. That said, ever since we became parents, my wife and I haven't gone as frequently as we should, so I can't say I've been the most loyal customer.

I think the move is quite a gamble. They're leaving a proven location for a troubled project where several other restaurants have already failed. They're also bucking the current trend, which is one in which high-profile chefs associated with Scottsdale have either moved to a Central Phoenix restaurant, announced an intention to do so, or opened additional restaurants Downtown. Examples are Wade Moises, Matt Carter, Aaron May, Bernie Kantak, and Nobuo Fukuda. Marcellino will be the counterexample of a Central Phoenix operation moving east to Scottsdale. That's something that occurred regularly 10 years ago, but not as much today.

I'd probably feel better about this if Marcellino were opening a second location at Southbridge instead of relocating and shutting down the restaurant on Northern Ave. Still, if anyone can make it at Southbridge, it might be Marcellino. I wish them the best, even as I second guess their decision.

Mar 07, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

PHX Los Betos, Filibertos, et al. - What's Good, Not?

That's my neighborhood *betos restaurant. You're not the only one I've heard reasonably favorable reviews from. I'll have to try it sometime when I'm hungry and want something indulgent and quick.

Mar 02, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Great Neighborhood Joints Around Scottsdale

What's the radius around the hotel in which you hope to eat? This is an important question for several reasons:

-- "around Scottsdale" is wording that describes an area of several hundred square miles. Your hotel, the Westin Kierland, is located within Phoenix city limits, just west of the border between Scottsdale and Phoenix. The location is near the mid-point of Scottsdale on a north-south axis. Keep in mind, though, that Scottsdale is 30 miles tall and 2 or 3 miles wide in most places. That means that sometimes the closest restaurants are in nearby areas of Phoenix, like Kierland, or in the Town of Paradise Valley, rather than in Scottsdale per se. It also means that a restaurant can be in Scottsdale city limits but still a long drive from another location within Scottsdale city limits.

-- The Kierland area is an upscale shopping destination and therefore tends to be lean on places that I would consider "neighborhood joints," although there are good locally-owned restaurants like Zinc Bistro mentioned above. There just a little more upscale than my concept of "neighborhood joints."

-- There isn't a lot of truly authentic Mexican food in that part of town, largely due to its predominantly white, non-Hispanic population. For sure, there is tasty food with a Mexican influence nearby, but expect some degree of Americanization. That's not a criticism of nearby restaurants, but an explanation of why, in duck833's words, "Other folks will post the favorites near downtown Phoenix."

That's a lot of generic advice, I know, but if you can reply with a specific idea of how far you're willing to travel (as opposed to a generic "will travel for good food") and maybe some insight into what local attractions you'll be visiting, then it will be possible to receive good recommendations of places meeting your qualifications and aligned with your travel plans.

By the way, Jalapeno Inferno sounds pretty good. I'll have to give it a try for lunch after my next hike of Pinnacle Peak.

Feb 28, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Vietnamese Healthy Food - Phoenix/Tempe

In the nearly three years that this thread has been dormant, the building that used to house Saigon Healthy Deli has been bulldozed and replaced with a CVS drugstore. The restaurant has gone from being figuatively ruined to literally ruined.

Feb 24, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Review: Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles - Phoenix, Arizona

For what it's worth, the new Lolo's second location in southern Scottsdale stays open until 3 AM on weekends.No liquor license at either location, but maybe in the future according to the FAQ on the restaurant's Web site:

http://www.loloschickenandwaffles.com...

Feb 23, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

A week in Phoenix

See this thread, running contemporaneously with yours.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689756

Feb 23, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

A&J Chicago Style Bar-BQ

I live near this shopping center, but haven't been to A&J in a long, long time. My memory is that most of the favorable press came in the '90s. Some of the enthusiasm may have been lost since then. I'll have to give it a try sometime and see what I think.

I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of Niccoli's. I've tried it a few times and found some items appealing and others not so much. I'd call it a neighborhood deli and pizzeria with a small selection of specialty groceries rather than a true Italian market.

Feb 23, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Solo dining recs

A correction:

It's El Nopalito rather than El Napolito. I think I'm fixated on our former governor Janet Napolitano. Thanks to AZhotdish for dm-ing me about the error via Twitter.

Feb 22, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Celebration with Group of 15 or so??

All suggestions above are good. Let me also suggest Sierra Bonita Grill at 7th St. & Glendale Avenue. It serves good Southwesten food and has a private event room:

http://www.sierrabonitagrill.com/Wine...

Feb 22, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Solo dining recs

Mexican/Southwestern options w/in a 5-mile radius of your hotel:

La Condesa Gourment Taco Shop -- new arrival generating quite a buzz. Took my family there for lunch yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it. Order at the counter and wait for food to be brought to the table. Interesting tacos fillings like chicken mole, mushrooms, battered dogish, etc. Impressive salsa bar and nice art. Food is more interior and coastal Mexican than the usual border food found in local restaurants.

El Napolito -- hole in the wall in a battered strip mall, but excellent and inexpensive food. Chicken enchiladas with mole sauce are quite good.

Rosita's Place -- old school favorite for border Mexican food done right. All the usual suspects are there: tamales, enchiladas, etc. , but there are also interesting caldos -- big soups -- on the menu. Salsas are killer. Red hurts; green really hurts.

Gallo Blanco -- Mexico City style street food adapted to work in a boutique hotel restaurant. Stylish but cheap. There's a small counter facing into the kitchen. That's a good place for someone dining solo.

Non-mex, but good for solo dining.

Tarbell's mentioned above.

St. Francis -- just nominated for a Beard award (albeit with some grumbling by local foodies). American food with an emphasis on the wood-fired oven. Sit at the small counter facing into the ktichen if dining solo.

As for Pizzeria Bianco, you may luck out if you are flying solo and willing to sit at the bar. I still think it's less hassle to go late (around 9 PM) than early.

Feb 22, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Walking distance from Chandler & Arizona ave?

Downtown Chandler has emerged in the last decade or so as a nice walkable cluster of restaurants and shops. I wish I could give you a detailed run-down of the options there, but it's 30 miles from my house and 20 miles from my office, so I don't get down there too often. Neverthless, circumstances took me there for lunch today and I had a nice meal at Latitude 8, a stylish Thai restaurant. I'd suggest giving it a try. I've also had good meals at Guedo's in the past, but it's been a long time since my last trip there.

Also, I should mention that Jess Harter, who makes a cameo appearance in this thread, is the dining critic for the East Valley Tribune, a suburban newspaper that covers Chandler. He's one of the best sources of information on Chandler restaurants. This link will take you to all of his blog posts tagged "Chandler":

http://thedish.freedomblogging.com/ca...

You may also wish to follow him on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/jessharter

Feb 22, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Restaurant Closings

It will be replaced with a place called Fat Cats:

http://bit.ly/8OmZOY

Feb 18, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Verde open yet?

Mostly OTFM. There is another mobile vendor called Truckin' Good Food that operates at the Ahwatukee Farmer's Market. Both do other events. La Vida Loca has been at First Friday, and the Truckin' people were at the Tet festival at Mekong Plaza. This is, I hope, the beginning of a trend. I've put together a Twitter list of PHX area food trucks. It's small at only three entries, but I hope it will grow:

http://twitter.com/david_sb/phx-mobil...

Feb 18, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Verde open yet?

Yes, Joe told me exactly that and I understand. It's ironic, though, because Verde's planned location will be just a block or two from DPPM. I'm going to hope that showcasing the Verde menu at OTFM will persuade some more Scottsdalites to come Downtown, just at it helped persuade me to leave my Central Phoenix / Tempe comfort zone and go to Scottsdale one Saturday.

Feb 18, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Verde open yet?

I have not heard an opening date. There's a lot of renovation that has to occur first.

There have been other sneak preview opportunities via Verde's partnership with the La Vida Locavore food truck. Ironically, those have occured at the Old Town Farmer's Market over in Scottsdale, rather than at the nearby Downtown Phoenix Public Market. Still, I found it worthwhile to go to Scottsdale one weekend to sample the food, which was quite tasty. I'm not sure if the previews continue each week or are intermittent.

Follow both on Twitter and inquire about additional previews through that medium.

http://twitter.com/eatVerde
http://twitter.com/LaVidaLocavore

Feb 18, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Monti's La Casa Vieja- Tempe, Mill Ave and 1st St (about a 1/2 mile south of the 202)

I believe the editing window on this site closes after two hours. Appending a correction is the best way to handle a minor error. Asking the moderators to delete the post is the way to handle a major one.

Feb 16, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Chocolate Bread Update

Good to know. I hope they'll also sell it in the Urban Market, the new indoor portion of the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. Some Simply Bread products are available there, but I don't recall seeing the chocolate bread there yet.

Feb 16, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Chocolate Bread Update

I've seen a chocolate bread at Simply Bread's store on 24th St. As I recall, it was a pretty straightforwrard chocolate baquette, as opposed to Baker Ben's awesome chocolate cherry sourdough.

Feb 16, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Advice for SF Hounds

To clarify one point, there is no Scottsdale location of Carolina's. You may be thinking of the location at Cactus and Cave Creek roads in northeast Phoenix, approximately six miles west of the Phoenix/Scottsdale border. While it can be dirty in terms of uncleared tables, it's hardly a dive. In fact, it's immaculate compared to the original Carolina's in south Phoenix.

Feb 12, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Burrata in Phx?

Funny that this thread has been bumped. Burrata is now thoroughly mainstream. I see it every week at Trader Joe's, although I haven't tried theirs yet.

Feb 12, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Postino does brunch?

I have not personally sampled the brunch menu yet, but I've heard from others I trust that it's good. I believe the Central location has a larger kitchen that has enabled Postino Central to do some things that Postino Arcadia has not.

And, yes, it's new. Brunch service started in November.

Feb 12, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

2 week visit to Phoenix-- must eats?

Focusing specifically on the East Valley, I'd recommend the following:

Mekong Plaza -- This is the new, mostly Vietnamese shopping center at the SWC of Dobson & Main in west Mesa. Mekong Market is the anchor supermarket, and there are several good restaurants there. To start with, there's unPhogettable which specializes is rice noodle soups. You may see some dismissive remarks suggesting that you should never eat pho at a place with punny name, but I've had consistently good meals at this place, including not only standard menu items, but also interesting daily specials. Across the hall, there's Com Ban Truan Kieu, which specializes in broken rice dishes. It's also quite good. Elsewhere in the plaza you'll find a Thai restaurant, a Chinese-Vietnamese place with karaoke, a Filipino fast food place, a Taiwanese place, and a tart froyo store. All are worth exploring.

Several miles south along the Dobson Corridor, Phoenix Palace Buffet has emerged as the area's best dim sum. Despite the word "buffet" in the name, the weekend dim sum is the full experience with carts full of steaming goodies. After the dim sum extravaganza, walk over to the Lee Lee market for some shopping.

Over in Gilbert's Heritage District, Joe's Real BBQ is an all-American experience with excellent smoked meats and sides in a charming historic setting. The cheesy potatoes are a must. Across the street is Liberty Market, a more modern-looking place from some of the same people behind Joe's. There you'll find a variety of foods, espresso, etc. in a fast-casual environment.

In Tempe, I think the ultimate international comfort food is found at the Cornish Pasty Company, which takes the pocket sandwiches favored by Welsh miners and updates them with all sorts of fillings from a variety of culinary traditions. The eggplants parmigiana pasty is my favorite, but they're all good. Nice selection of draft beers to go with the food.

Just across the street is Essence Bakery, which serves sandwiches, salads, and pastries. The macaroons are particularly good.

Heading into Downtown Tempe and the Mill Avenue District, some comforting favorites include Restaurant Mexico for inexpensive, Interior Mexican food; In Season Deli for fresh, healthful lunches; and Rula Bula for fish and chips, bangers and mash, etc.

A little bit to the east near ASU, I like Paradise Hawaiian BBQ and Mai Island grill for plate lunches of grilled meat, mac salad, etc. Paradise adds some interesting Korean sides to make things even more varied. Just a block or two away, Phoenicia serves excellent Middle Eastern food. Some of the signature dishes are the couscous and hummus deluxe. I believe there's another Phoenicia location somewhere in Gilbert, too.

That's just a quick list of some favorites the come to mind, but I'm sure there are many other possibilities I'm not even thinking of this early in the morning.

Feb 12, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Review: St. Francis - Phoenix, Arizona

The valet parking is indeed complimentary (except for a tip for the attendant of course).

The restaurant is also a very short walk from the Central/Camelback light rail station.

In addition to the main bar, there is a small counter (fours seat I believe) that faces into the kitchen. That may be the best place to sit during a first time visit.

Feb 11, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Bar between Castles and Coasters and 7th St/Camelback area?

A few places come to mind for drinks and snacks along or near that route:

Bomberos -- Wine bar on Central just south of Dunlap. Emphasis on south American wines. Panini, salads, etc.

Postino Central -- Wine bar on Central just north of Camelback. Bruschetta, panini, etc.

Hula's Modern Tiki -- Loosely Hawaiian-theme place on Central just south of Camelback. This is the place most likely to serve fruity cocktails. Bomberos and Postino Cafe are wine-and-beer only. Plenty of appetizers that could be enjoyed as snacks.

Maizie's -- on Central just south of Camelback. Again appetizers that can be ordered as snacks, along with some signature cocktails.

Fez -- This is the one place that I know for sure allows smoking on the patio. Some of the others may not. It's a little more to the south than your route on Central b/w Indian School and Osborn. Defniitely some fruit cocktails there and plenty of appetizers to order as snacks.

Rooftop bar at the Clarendon Hotel. 4th Ave & Clarendon in Midtown, a little over a mile south of Camelback. Smoking probably allowed, but I'm not 100% sure. Great views of Midtown skyline. Might have some snacks from Gallo Blanco, the restaurant downstairs, available.

Feb 11, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Yearly visitor seeking updated recommendations

All good suggestions above. A few more from a Central Phoenix / Tempe perspective. These are all new openings or menu changes within the past year.

St. Francis -- Getting a lot of buzz in the national media for its emphasis on oven-roasted foods and updated, modern American fare. Local media review have given it a B+ for being good but not taking enough riks. I'm fine with it though. If you go, try to sit at the small counter facing the kitchen.

Nine 05 -- "Modern Asian" Downtown. Took over the old Fate spot and upgraded it. Interesting takes on a variety of Asian foods.

Caffe Boa -- The Mill Avenue Caffe Boa landed Chef Payton Curry, best known for his work at the now defunct Digestif. Service is slow, so go when you have time for a leisurely meal, but the food is excellent. The menu is less Italian than it once was, and now has more of a farm-to-table emphasis.

Feb 11, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix

Restaurants near Tapatio Cliffs Hilton

Good suggestions above. A few others:

If you are open to a little adventure, the neighborhood to the south, Sunnyslope, has some great food for cheap. El Bravo serves classic Arizona-Sonoran border food done right. Excellent tamales. On the other hand, Los Reyes de la Torta, serves Mexico-City sandwiches, sopes, and huaraches to a mostly Spanish-speaking crowd.The former serves beer; I believe the latter has no liquor license but serves fruit juices. If you want to visit a wine bar, try Bomberos, which specializes in South American wines and serves bar food such as panini.

Going a little farther south into North Central Phoenix, you have a slightly higher price point at Sierra Bonita, which serves modern Southwestern food. Buttermlik fried chicken is worth the indulgence.

Finally, be careful about "presume we can taxi." You can certainly call for a taxi. I strongly recommend Discount taxi as the most reliable firm with the cleanest cars. Nevertheless, hailing a cab on the street is unheard of in Phoenix, so make sure to call 20 minutes or so before you need a taxi. To be honest, though, if you plan on leaving the resort every day, a rental car might work out to be cheaper.

Feb 07, 2010
silverbear in Phoenix