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Good restaurants in Tempe?

* Lalibela at Hardy & University (Ethiopian: good doro wat, yekik alicha, & tikil gomen). Essence Bakery is in the same shopping center... good desserts and breakfast.

* Henry's Taiwan at Mill & Southern (walking distance from Yucca Tap Room, where you can see good live music w/ no cover. Yucca also serves food late... try their Bacon Waffler and Chile Relleno sandwich. It sounds ridiculous, but it's actually pretty good.)

* Miu's Cuisine at Apache & the 101 is good for Szechuan food.

* Tasty Kabob at Apache & Dorsey for Persian food... my favorites are the koobideh kabob and zereshk rice.

* Curry Corner, just up the road from Tasty Kabob on Apache... serves good and cheap Pakistani food, my favorite being the goat haleem.

* Udupi on Scottsdale Rd... it's been a while, but I remember the Mysore masala dosa was pretty good

Oct 25, 2013
ckiddoo in Phoenix
1

Best Phoenix-Scottsdale Chinese?

I haven't been to China Chili but I can vouch for Wah Sun and Super Dragon. Get the hot pot at Super Dragon (it won't be on the American menu). I can also vouch for Miu's Cuisine, though I've only ventured a little ways into their extensive menu. Miu's is also short on ambience, but you won't care when your food comes. And the folks at Kong Fu Gyoza are very sweet; dumplings are tasty, though not the best I've ever had (that'd be Prospect Dumpling in NYC). Taiwan Food Express in Mekong Plaza is also pretty good... though I think Henry's Taiwan in Tempe is a little better.

Oct 25, 2013
ckiddoo in Phoenix

Tacos Atoyac

Sounds like my kinda taco shop. Thanks for the rec! Will check it out one of these days.

As long as we're on the topic of Latin American food in Phoenix, El Salvadoreno #3 at Central & Dunlap (SE corner) is also good... family-run, friendly people, nice selection of pupusas, tasty pastelitos and Salvadoran tamales, and an enchanting plantain empanada dessert.

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Salvadoreno Restaurant
8911 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020

Aug 10, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

Tacos Atoyac

I have to second this recommendation. I love the al pastor tacos as well, and the avocado salsa verde that comes with them is the perfect accompaniment. I haven't had the lengua yet, but can say the cabeza is quite tasty, very beefy and tender. The fish tacos, as you say, are quite well done. I also love the molotes, but haven't yet sampled the memelitas. The molotes offer a nice blend of textures and flavors, from the outer crispness of the fried masa to the creaminess of the beans and crema, with the chorizo giving it a little kick. I even enjoy the little helping of fried onions and jalapenos they provide as a condiment; both are very sweet, but again, have a nice kick from the heat of the chiles.

I love tamales, and will try theirs (maybe they were having an off day when you had them?), and see if there's been any improvement! But I agree that it's nice to have a good, affordable taqueria with some southern Mexican options in the neighborhood, and the proprietor (the one I've met, anyway) just seems like the nicest guy. You really want this place to succeed. Fortunately, each time I've been there, there's been a steady stream of people coming through the door, so they seem to be generating good business for themselves. I would be interested to hear from others who have tried some of the other things on the menu, what you thought (for instance, I believe they have tlayudas, if memory serves me right... haven't had those, and would like to try them if they are offered. I had the tlayuda at the Oaxacan restaurant on Central near Hatcher, and wasn't all that impressed).

Aug 07, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

Planning our yearly trip to AZ

I have to disagree about Hana as a destination for Japanese food. I went there tonight, and was disappointed. I got two appetizers (a baked clam dish, and fried baby mackerel with shredded daikon), which were OK, and an assortment of sushi (scallops, halibut, striped bass, red snapper, tamago, and unagi). The fish was just not that great... again, OK, but nothing memorable, and not really justifying the price I paid. Also, although I liked the daikon on the mackerel appetizer, I didn't appreciate it as a garnish on the sushi... it just tasted wrong. Although the service was friendly, it was rushed (NB: I did arrive about 30 min before closing, which I would NOT recommend doing!). For the money I paid, I just didn't feel like the quality was there, and that was disappointing, because I really wanted to like this place.

Aug 02, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

The Vig Arcadia

Aren't they good? Thanks for sharing the picture! I may just have to go back for more now.

Jun 28, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

The Vig Arcadia

I just ate at the Vig, and had the Seoul Slider appetizer with a side of sweet potato fries. The sliders were enough for a meal (for me at least), and were delicious. They're described on the menu as "grilled korean barbecued ribeye, thinly sliced with asian coleslaw, marinated cucumbers and sriracha mayo on brioche buns." The fries were popular with pretty much everybody - we also liked the curry mustard they were served with. Recommended.

Jun 03, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

Los Taquitos CenPho location

I do a weekly training on Wednesdays with a group of co-workers, and we have made this Los Taquitos location part of our regular lunch spot rotation. We love being able to sit out on the patio at lunch, and have found the service to be prompt and friendly. Have NOT had any angst over how long it takes the cashier to tap in our order. I can't say enough good things about the food here... just about everything I've tried is delicious (tamales, chile rellenos, street tacos in various configurations, burritos in various configurations, sopes in various configurations). The al pastor pork is pretty close to al pastor heaven. The carnitas are simple, tender, sweet, and delicious -- some of the best I've had in Phoenix, honestly, and I'm a carnitas fiend and have sampled offerings from many, many other restaurants. The fish and shrimp tacos are also really good. The last time we were there, I sampled the guacamole and found it to be outstanding -- really, really fresh, and perfectly seasoned. The traditional margaritas are also QUITE tasty... not too sweet, not too sour, nice balance of tequila and marg mix (they use Tres Agaves brand, which I really like). Sadly, I'm so used to ordering a margarita and getting a glass of margarita mix with ice in it. It was a nice surprise to be served a decent margarita, and they really aren't that expensive.

This place deserves to get way more traffic than it does (although the lack of traffic usually means we can snag an outdoor table for lunch). The location is probably the reason; you can barely read the signs near the strip mall entrances, and the restaurant is tucked away in pretty much the farthest possible location from the street. I hope they get enough business to stay open. This is not the fanciest Mexican food in town (I'm lookn at you, Barrio Cafe), but it does traditional taqueria fare very, very, very well. In fact, it's now the standard by which I measure all other taquerias. And it's a mom and pop business run by very nice people, so for me, that's all the more reason to patronize it. If you go, it's in the strip mall on the northwest corner of 16th St and Glendale Ave (the one with the Walgreens).

May 13, 2011
ckiddoo in Phoenix

NY hound seeks chowish restos near BU for possible suppers on my own

Yebo –

I don’t know if we’re attending the same conference or not (WCBCT?), but I found a restaurant tonight that you would probably enjoy. I had hiked down from campus to Coolidge Corner, looking, believe it or not, for Anna’s Taqueria (a $5 burrito joint with very tasty carnitas, IMHO). Anyway, I didn’t find Anna’s – THANK GOD – but I did find a little Japanese restaurant called Shiki, which has earned some praises on this board. I ate there on my own and had a wonderful meal. I ordered two appetizers off the Specials menu: a cold dish of fermented black beans and Japanese yam, and a hot dish of roasted black pork belly. I was warned that the fermented black beans were an acquired taste, so I was expecting them to be very pungent and strong-tasting. They weren’t at all; they had a wonderful roasty, earthy flavor that went beautifully with the yam. The waitress told me that Japanese people usually eat fermented bean dishes with rice, so I tried it like that, too. It was good, but honestly, the bean/yam combo stood up well all by itself. It’s served with a garnish of okra and a little soy sauce; wasabi is optional. (NB: it turns out that fermented beans have a little bit of a slimy texture, which sounds like it would be awful, but wasn’t. Imagine if the beans had been mixed with a raw quail egg – the texture’s a little like that.) The pork belly went very nicely with the bean dish – each slice was a little piece of rich, tender, bacon-y heaven. It came with a slice of lime and some shredded daikon and bean sprouts for garnish. I found that a little squirt of lime juice and a teaspoon of the daikon went beautifully with each slice of pork. The waitress recommended, and I got, a glass of Kubota Senju sake, which was NOT CHEAP but made an excellent pairing with the appetizers. The sake was exceptionally smooth, dry, and balanced, with a subtle taste of fruit (I got a pleasant banana flavor from it).

I still had some room left over, and I wanted to consume the rest of my sake with a little food, so I ordered the scallop tartare appetizer off the main menu. This dish consisted of diced raw scallop mixed with mayo and shiso and wrapped in smoked salmon. It sounded interesting, but was only OK. The ingredients were absolutely fresh and there was an interesting juxtaposition of bold flavors, but those flavors overwhelmed the scallops so that you couldn’t taste them at all.

If you do go to Shiki, I recommend consulting the wait staff, being adventurous, and taking advantage of the Specials menu. It’s well worth your while, and the price range is about what you were looking for. Another option, if you like Japanese-inspired food, is Fugakyu around the corner on Beacon. I haven’t eaten there in many years, but I remember it being good, and it looked pretty popular tonight.

Best of luck chow-hunting during your visit!

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Shiki
9 Babcock Street, Brookline, MA 02446

May 29, 2010
ckiddoo in Greater Boston Area

Good coffee and eats in the BU West Campus area?

Wow. Pavement sounds like a must-try. I guess I know where I'll be bright and early tomorrow morning! I'll look for Espresso Royale, too, since that sounds like it'll be close to many of the conference meeting rooms. I was reading about barismo and Atomic Cafe on this board, so I'm interested in trying their coffee. I may hike to Inhouse at some point and try that, too -- why not sample as much local stuff as possible?

Anyway, thanks for ensuring I'll have some other options besides DD!!! I am much obliged for the recommendations!

May 29, 2010
ckiddoo in Greater Boston Area

Good coffee and eats in the BU West Campus area?

I'm visiting Boston next week for a conference, and will be staying on the BU campus near Commonwealth and St. Paul. I'm interested in finding a coffeeshop within walking distance with GOOD coffee -- no ABP,no Starbucks, definitely no Duncan Donuts. I realize the pickings may be slim, but thought if anybody knew of a good place to go for quality AM caffeine, it would be the folks on this board!

Also, if anyone has any recommendations for good eats in the immediate area, let me know!

Thanks!

May 28, 2010
ckiddoo in Greater Boston Area

PHX - Silver Dragon (quick lunch review)

I've been wanting to try Silver Dragon on 19th Ave just south of Dunlap for a while, as I'd heard good things about it. It's right around the corner from where I go to school, so I finally stopped in for lunch today. I think I was their first customer of the day, although more people came in while I was there; in any case, I got very attentive service! There are two dining areas, and I sat in the smaller one to the right, which was nothin' fancy, but well-lit and clean. I was initially given the American menu, but they readily provided the Chinese menu when I asked, and were very helpful with recommendations. The Chinese menu wasn't a voluminous, multi-page affair like you get at some Chinese restaurants, but there was plenty of variety for a first-time diner. I got the eggplant and beef satay hot pot with steamed rice. The rice was just a touch dry on the outside, like it'd been sitting in the warmer for a while, but still entirely acceptable (I'm not that picky about rice). The hot pot dish was brought to the table quickly, and was quite yummy. Bubbling hot, with tender slices of beef and thick-cut, meaty pieces of eggplant cooked to just the right texture, in a tasty brown sauce that wasn't too salty or cloyingly sweet. Little bit of pineapple, onion, and bell pepper for contrast and texture. There was easily enough food for 2 meals, probably 3 if I'd exercised more restraint (I was pretty hungry). The total price came to just a little over $10 with tax and a generous tip, so I feel I got a good deal. I'd go back again with friends to try some of the soups, seafood dishes, and other hot pot items, and if any of you other hounds have eaten here, I'd be interested in hearing what you recommend!

Mar 18, 2007
ckiddoo in Southwest

Coffee houses in PHX

I've tried the French Roast and Sumatra (both caffeinated), and prefer the French Roast. The Sumatra isn't weak, but it's also not as syrupy and chocolatey as I'd expect from this bean; don't know if that's because of the brewing method or maybe it's something about the way it's roasted. The French Roast is billed as the bolder of the two, though, so I'd recommend that if you like your coffee on the stronger side.

Mar 18, 2007
ckiddoo in Southwest

Coffee houses in PHX

If you want a relaxed neighborhood coffee house with great coffee, I have to vouch for Steve's Espresso in Tempe, on the SE corner of Baseline and McClintock. The coffee's all made by French press, and it's hands-down the best coffee I've had in the Valley. He gets the beans from a local roaster, so it's really fresh, and way, waaaay smoother than the equivalent cup of Starbuck's. Steve's also got the best cranberry scones I think I've *ever* had: perfect texture (flaky/crumbly, but not dry, and not tough), not too sweet, and lots of cranberries. The staff are laid back and friendly, and Steve himself is usually behind the counter serving the coffee. The art on the walls is by local artists and changes every couple months. This is the kind of place you bring your dog and the newspaper to on weekends. (There's even dog biscuits for the four-legged friends.) It's comfortable, friendly, clean, nicely furnished, there's music but you can still hear yourself talk, and the coffee and scones can't be beat. There are also espresso drinks (naturally) and other pastry selections, but I've found a combination that works for me and am happy to remain in my rut!

Mar 17, 2007
ckiddoo in Southwest