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Everything posted by estherschindler

  1. It's been two or three years since I've been there, but I've always been extremely fond of Shalimar, which is on Paradise (in the same shopping center as Ruth's Chris). For 10+ years, it's been my traditional escape from a noisy trade show floor: quiet and peaceful. They have one of the few Indian lunch buffets that doesn't feel as though you're eating last night's leftovers. Dinner prices are reasonable (so I'm not sure if this meets your desire for "upscale"). If there's a better Indian restaurant in Las Vegas, I haven't found it.
  2. Much as I would like to welcome you to our fine state of Arizona, it's really NOT on your way if you want to get to NYC in 5 days. If you could stretch the trip to 7, you could have a much more enjoyable time -- experience some of the countryside you drive through, not just see it whizzing past. (Plus, August is NOT the time to visit Phoenix for the first time. With average temperatures well over 100, this is the time when most of us natives head out of town.) You won't get from Phoenix to El Paso in time for lunch. That's a full day's drive right there. That said, I've done a few cross country drives, though I was usually heading or starting further south (LA or Phoenix). I'd do the across-Kansas route even though it's far from exciting (although you will get an appreciation for how much corn and wheat the U.S. grows and consumes). You should be able to find a few worthy eateries passing through Kansas City, for example. But the real foodie part of the trip will be the "all American" opportunities. A catfish fry in a diner in Booneville, Missouri. (It's ten years since we ate at that truckstop, but my husband claims it's the best catfish he ever had.) If I were to grab a book for the trip, it'd be Road Food.
  3. I'm very much leaning towards Terminus Nord. It's convenient, so we could get dinner and then see how much time is left... and I do like your suggestion to tip the hat-check lady!
  4. I'll be flying to London in early September. On 7 September, we'll take the train from London to Paris, arriving at about 5:30 or 6pm; we're booked on the night train to Munich, leaving at about 11pm. That gives me four hours to see -- and eat -- whatever I can in Paris. I don't know how much difficulty to expect from carting around my suitcases. I've heard conflicting information about whether the Left Luggage options at the train stations are open, because of security concerns. (If anyone can tell me for sure, I'd be grateful.) I already read the previous thread about options near the Gard du Nord, but I suspect there's more wisdom to be found. I don't necessarily need fine dining; something "just folks" that's quintessentially Paris would be just as satisfying. (The equivalent, in Arizona terms, would be a great chimichanga at a Mexican restaurant.) Besides, is there ANYthing I could see -- other than a restaurant -- during the time available? (Is it reasonable to imagine taking a boat trip along the Seine?)
  5. Bella Luna does sound like the best option. These friends don't eat mammals, which makes Italian food a safe bet. I'd been considering how long it'd take to drive to the gaggle of restaurants in Glendale, such as Haus Murphy, but German food wouldn't be no-mammal friendly. Thanks for the help! (Gosh, I'm spoiled by being in Scottsdale, where A.J.'s is my nearest grocery store.)
  6. We Scottsdale types rarely head west of Central Avenue. However, we're going to be attending the science fiction convention, Westercon, which will be held at the Wigwam Resort. The Wigwam itself is lovely -- I ran a conference there back in 2000 -- but I don't recall Litchfield Park as a hotbed for foodies. We're trying to arrange to have dinner with out-of-town friends who'll also be attending the Con. I don't need a fancy, white-tablecloth place... just something that's a couple of notches above Coco's or the crapshoot of "what the heck is near here?" Is there anyplace, within a reasonable driving distance, that's worth the trip?
  7. Thanks for the report! We're planning our third trip to Germany (in five years) and have consistently been impressed with the food. Though nothing has lived up to your descriptions here.
  8. At the Desert Ridge hotel, you'll be right across the street from a great Thai restaurant, and close to another excellent one. Malee's is in the middle section of the huge Desert Ridge shopping center, and although its white tablecloths may make you think, "This can't possibly be authentic or 'real'," it's absolutely awesome. Their spicy crispy fish is superb, though for some reason it's always better at dinnertime than at lunch. Good lunch specials, though. Cheaper and much more casual is Thai Pan, on Miller just south of Pinnacle Peak. (From the Desert Ridge hotel, head north on Tatum to Pinnacle Peak -- 2 miles or so -- then turn right. Miller is the first traffic light after Scottsdale Road, and Thai Pan is in the shopping center at the southeast corner of that intersection.) At Thai Pan, you order at the counter, and they bring the food to your table. Very quickly. But everything is made from scratch, and (speaking as someone who dines there every couple of weeks) it's all good. However, their curries are out of this world. I'm not as fond of Flo's as is Mrs Inkling. I like it but don't find it all that special. I do agree that Havana Cafe can be great, though somehow I never think of it when I'm trying to come up with a place for lunch or dinner. Another good place -- that's not far from your hotel -- is The Persian Room. It's on Scottsdale Road, south of the 101 and north of Bell Road/Frank Lloyd Wright. It's usually very quiet, the sort of place where you can have a conversation with your tablemates, and it's also suspiciously pretty. The menu is heavy on kebabs (which are great), but you could easily get just one kebab plate and share an appetizer platter. Or if it's just you for lunch, have the appetizer platter alone. This is another restaurant that puts attention on the details; they make their own yogurt, for instance. But do save room for the Persian ice cream. One option for Sunday brunch is dim sum. We've always driven all the down to Chandler to C-Fu Gourmet (at Ray and Dobson, I believe), though I've been told that other spots in town are at least as good. I love the ambiance at C-Fu, though: a *huge* room with Chinese ladies rolling the carts up and down the aisle. Can't help you on the antiquing. You mean people do things on vacation other than eat?
  9. How much did all this cost? <wiping drool off chin>
  10. Sedona isn't really a major foodie spot. Maybe it's because everybody is busy staring at the view, and pays little attention to what's on their plate. But there are a few places we like. First among them is the Oak Creek Brewing Company, which is in the Tlaquapaque shopping center. (Tlaquapaque is really gorgeous in any case.) The brewpub has excellent beer, and extremely good casual food. The Mexican restaurant in Tlaquapaque is also solidly good, but just a little on the pricey side compared to what we usually pay down in Phoenix and Scottsdale. When we go up to Sedona, we usually stay at Hoel's Cabins in Oak Creek, which is way at the north end of the valley. Nearby is the restaurant at the Junipine Resort. It's mostly just okay, though they really do good (simple) things with the local trout. If you're going to have a condo, stop at Garland's trading post... they have some locally-made sausage (or was it bacon? I just remember it was good), as well as apple cider in season. There are a few Fine Dining places in Sedona, though I've never been to any of them. When I'm in a "get out of town!" mood, I'm more interested in rocks and trees and nature. Or in going on a "retreat" in which to write a fat report, in which case I bring along food so I don't have to go out.
  11. I went back to the cookbook. Perhaps because I was a latecomer to wine (or to a budget that could afford it), I never noticed before that the author suggested a Cote du Rhone, a Beujoulais, or (something else, I've forgotten what). So we took his advice, and bought a bottle of E. Guigal 2000. It worked beautifully. Although I generally prefer white whine, the red went very well with the tomatoes etc. in the ratatoille.
  12. I'm far from knowledgeable about wine, and this menu proves it. Dinner is one of my old favorites, chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (from Cooking in a Small Kitchen, one of my first cookbooks that I fear is long out of print) accompanied with ratatoille and a cheese bread twist thing. What the heck do I serve with this? I have a bottle of weissherbst we brought back from the Kaiserstuhl... but I'm not sure that would do. Suggestions?
  13. Where is See Saw? I haven't heard of it before -- but I'm glad you mentioned it! I've only been to Roaring Fork once, and ate in the bar. It was very good and we assured ourselves we'd go back, but the time/budget/whatever hasn't been convenient. Another (relatively) high-end place is Convivo, on 16th Street and Glendale (or thereabouts), which we went to based on earlier egullet recommendations. Absolutely top notch food, quiet enough to talk, great service. But the earlier message writer said he would be in Cave Creek... which is relatively close to me. You don't need to drive all the way downtown, as Michael's (at Pima and Pinnacle Peak) is highly regarded, and there are several other good restaurants nearby. (I'm not much of a high end diner. I'd be more likely to recommend Ted's Cafe, in the same center as Michael's, for a laid back Sunday morning breakfast.) E
  14. I've been to most of those. They're really... okay. Not awful, but not outstanding either. I wouldn't give any of them more than 3 out of 5 stars. None of those places comes close to the smallest hole-in-the-wall in downtown New York for food quality or range of menu options, or to a place like Gaylord's in San Francisco for ambiance. It's not exactly as though the local Indian restaurants aren't trying... but maybe they figure the locals here won't know the difference.
  15. It's been a couple of years since I went to Havana Cafe -- there's another one on Bell Road and about 40th Street, for those of us at the northern end of town -- but I certainly did like it. You may need to go there with someone's who's been there before; it's a little too easy to order something "safe" on your first visit, and those probably aren't their best dishes. The last time I went, my friends ordered three plantain based appetizers. They were all wonderful, and I'd never have picked 'em off the menu on my own. Indian food. You realize nobody's mentioned Indian food in this thread? Maybe it's because we don't have any really GREAT Indian food in this town. The best is probably Jewel in the Crown, in Scottsdale, but it doesn't hold a candle to even a minor Indian restaurant in New York or the Bay Area. Unless... perhaps someone here can enlighten me about something NEW? --Esther (who's simply glad that a GOOD Chinese restaurant finally opened north of Bell Road)
  16. I confess that I don't go ga-ga over Italian food, at least not to the point of searching out obscure ingredients. However, I was told that there's a good Italian deli on the east side of Cave Creek Road, someplace north of Cactus? I'm sorry, I don't know the name of it and I haven't been there. (It wouldn't be far from the German deli, in case you're ready for a European excursion.) FWIW, I've found some very good sausage both at AJ's (for the general sort of stuff) and at Whole Foods Market (for a wider range of flavors). But this isn't an area in which I pretend any expertise.
  17. Oh! Yes, I'll add my positive review for Haji Baba. The restaurant is good, and reasonably priced, too.
  18. You'll find nearly every kind of ethnic market you need... just not a lot of choices. For Chinese (and most Asian stuff), the big market is 99 Ranch, at the 202 Freeway at 44th Street (Copco Center). Lots of fresh -- and live! -- fish, plenty of ingredients, super prices. Their produce is uneven; the prices are very good, and when the produce is fresh it's wonderful, but I've often gotten stuff that was of poor quality. So check 'em carefully. My other choice for Chinese market is House of Rice, on Hayden at Osborn. Much smaller, and half the store is given over to supplies (such as woks and serving dishes), but the quality is always top notch and they even have (excellent) cooking classes. Recommended. There's a good Indian market on Camelback and 3rd Street. Best place in town to buy spices, even if you aren't an Indian food fan. Another favorite ethnic market is Edelweiss, the German deli and market on Cave Creek road. They stock all the things I need for Eastern European cooking, such as double smoked bacon. Plus a few tables right there, if you can't wait for your sausage lunch. When it comes to Mexican ingredients, the place you want is Food City. There are a few of 'em around town, though the one I go to is at Greenway and 32nd Street. Want buckets of chiles? Stacks of tortillas? Fresh lard? That's the place. How's that for a start?
  19. Let me know when you get there! I'd love to hear your opinion.
  20. see subtitle of original post. boulder, colorado. Ah. Well, I just discovered that when the link lands in your e-mail box (and you never see the listing, just the message), the subtitle isn't included! (sorry)
  21. I haven't been the the places you mentioned (other than Trader Joe's), but I'll be sure to check them out. But if you like Pho Bang, you're almost certain to like the restaurant we call ORIENTAL (it has another name, but the sign in front at least used to say only Oriental). It's in a weird little shopping center at the southeast corner of Roosevelt and Hayden, and is primarily open at lunchtime; I think it closes by 7 or 8pm. Ostensibly it serves both Chinese and Korean food, but the Chinese stuff is wholly unremarkable. On the other hand, I've often made a meal out of their K1 and K2 appetizers. Plus, four people can stuff themselves for under $30. My most recent "find" is Cafe Ted, up here by me -- at Pinnacle Peak Road and Pima. (Okay, so it's 30 miles from where you live. Sorry. But if you come up this way...) Cafe Ted is "upscale late hippie" -- funky table settings, great quiche and gazpacho, and so on. How are you on Thai food? The best I've found is a place that, to someone from New York, would have all the danger signs. The main restaurant (there are two) is in a touristy area, it's owned by a non-Thai, and god help us they have *tablecloths* instead of worn out formica. How good could the food possibly be? Yet, Malee's on Main (in downtown Scottsdale, and up at the Desert Ridge marketplace at the 101 and Tatum) is one of my two favorite Thai restaurants in town, with a wide selection and really really wonderful food. The *other* favorite Thai restaurant is, fortunately for me, even closer to my house. Thai Pan is inexpensive and in the old "Sizzler" model: you order at the counter, get a number to put on your table, and they bring you the order. I can't say enough good about it, and I think I've eaten everything on the menu. They make their own curries from scratch, nothing at all from a jar. If you've found Trader Joe's, have you also found A.J.'s? Esther
  22. Uh... in which state? This forum covers the entire southwest.
  23. The Southwest forum is indeed a bit quieter than most. Texas used to be part of it, and they got a forum of their own... the rest of us haven't turned up the noise yet! Whatever else one can say about the Phoenix area, we do have a lot of restaurants! Relatively few of the fine-dining sort (which I can rarely afford, anyway) but plenty of neighborhood joints with good-to-great food. For instance: yesterday, we stopped at one place we enjoy quite a bit. Sonoran Brewing Company (which is local, and makes very good beer), has a brewpub on 3rd Street and Camelback -- on the north side of the street. Solid, basic, no-surprises food, like reuben sandwiches and fish-and-chips, but it's all _extremely_ well made. They make their own tartar sauce, for example, instead of pour some glop out of a bottle. (And it's literally next door to the Indian grocery in town. Good thing, too, because some of the beer is strong, and I could use a little walk-around before I get back in the car!) Another "neighborhood" restaurant we like, that's near where you live, is the Manuel's at 28th Street and Indian School. Pretty much the same menu you'll find at any other Mexican restaurant, but I'm particularly fond of their chimichangas. I'm originally from New York City; my husband grew up on a farm in Missouri. But we've lived everywhere from an island off the coast of Maine to Clearwater, Florida. Phoenix is home, though -- the place that a part of you relaxes that never quite unwinds anyplace else.
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