I didn’t go anywhere this weekend because my priorities are mixed up; you see, I’m looking to spend about $50 on white feather boas for my Halloween costume… don’t ask, which means my travel fund is severly depleated. I have, however, been living in the Phoenix area for about two and a half years now, so I compiled a list of my nine favorite Valley restaurants. Before I begin, I should repeat that these are MY favorite restaurants, and although it may shock you that I didn’t put your favorite restaurants on here – this was difficult, and I probably thought about doing so. Feel free to agree, disagree and add your own personal recommendations in the comments. Also, these are in no particular order of favoritism, and no one asked to be put on this list. Oh, and if you know where I can buy white feather boas for less than $10, let me know!
1. The Breakfast Club in Scottsdale is usually packed with fans. Offering up a variety of breakfast foods as simple as a two eggs, bacon toast and fruit for $5.95 or as delectable as eggs Benedict made topped with crab meat for $13.95, there’s sure to be something for everyone. The Breakfast Club also serves lunch and is open until 3 p.m.
– Try: The Bello Bene – Eggs benedict with portabella mushrooms; I also add tomato and avocado
2. Featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Chino Bandido is a unique fusion of Chinese and Mexican foods, orange chicken quesadilla anyone? It sounds strange but trust me, it definitely works, it has been since it opened in 1990.
– Try: Jade red chicken with white rice and black beans
3. The Chuckbox is a dirty, hot mess, nothing fancy here. Chefs cook burgers on an indoor grill that warms the entire one-room restaurant and you take care of the rest. They’re artery clogging and the perfect hangover food. A real burger with no more, no less and all the deliciousness.
– Try: The Big One, 1/3 of burger
4. Down the street from Rachel Ray’s “best pizza in the nation” is pizza that deserves just as much hype. If this list was in order of favoritism, Cibo would be number one. In 2009, the Phoenix New Times voted Cibo as the Best Place to Take a First Date, and I couldn’t agree more. Set in a cozy house with twinkling lights on trees outside, the atmosphere of Cibo is comforting and warm. Go on a first date or with a group and try the brushetta, salads and the small pizzas, everyone will be satisfied.
– Try: strawberry salad
5. In the days of tin mining in Cornwall, England, wives and mothers of miners prepared Cornish pasties for their husbands and sons. A pasty is comparable to a hot pocket or a calzone, that’s on crack. Yummy ingredients are sealed inside a crust with a braided cuff; originally prepared as a handle for the miner’s arsenic covered fingers, which they could later toss away. Today, Valley residents enjoy over 30 stuffed varieties of pasty, with a fork and knife at the Cornish Pasty Co. in Mesa and Tempe. The most popular, according to a former employee, being the “Oggie,” – the traditional Cornish pasty with steak, potatoes, onion and rutabaga and a side of red wine gravy or ketchup.
– Try: the Pesto Chicken, with chicken breast, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, mozzarella and pesto.
6. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant is delicious enough to have more than ten locations, with more to come. There’s traditional Greek food like spanakopita, souvlaki, hummus and dolmades, as well as pizza, salads and hamburgers for those who might be a little less adventurous. You’ll be shouting opa with every meal!
– Try: the Chopped Pizza – it may not be original Greek food, but it’s still really good!
7. Genghis Grill serves Mongolian stir fry however you want it, more importantly, as much of it as you can carry. Genghis requires a bit of a food balancing act: small silver bowls are stuffed with five levels of meat, vegetables and sauce. Over 70 ingredients give you hundreds of options – served as right as you want it.
8. You’ll find me at Native New Yorker on Tuesdays and Thursdays because wings are 39 cents apiece and I’m a poor college student. No matter the price, they are consistently delicious. There are 15 flavors, and if you wanted you could try one of each on its own individual plate. You might piss off the chef and waiter though. There are also boneless wings, which aren’t available at 39 cents, and tasty potato skins.
– Try: strawberry hot, hot and/or spicy honey mustard flavored wings
9. Pita Jungle prides itself on serving healthy foods with fresh ingredients, and it doesn’t limit itself to just salads. Fish, pitas and healthy burgers are also menu items, and cilantro jalapeno hummus with a warm pita is a good appetizer.
– Try: Spinach pasta salad with added chicken
NOTE: I’m taking recommendations for where to go this weekend!Follow @ivymorris