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Chufi

Chufi on the road in the Southwest

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I´m very excited.. we just booked plane tickets to Phoenix for September! The southwest has long been on my wishlist of places to travel to and now it looks like it´s really happening.

Yes I know that September is a long time away. But what can I say, I really love the planning part of a trip. Our last big trip to the Pacific Northwest was planned mostly around eGullet recommendations (of the “if you get to town X, keep on driving in the direction of Y, just a little further than you might think, for the best icecream in the state” kind) and so yet again, I come to eGullet for tips and info about where to go and what to eat.

While I do expect this trip to be a little more scenery and hiking- and a little less food-oriented than the previous trip (which featured Seattle, Vancouver and Portland) we still want to eat well!

Here´s the very rough plan so far:

From Phoenix, head north in the direction of Flagstaff, Zion and Bryce. Then east to Moab, south to Durango, Santa Fe, go as far south as Silver City if we make it, then back to Phoenix.

I haven´t visited this forum much but I´ll be sure to browse the appropriate threads for recommendations in these areas, but anything new and interesting anyone has to add would be very welcome.

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Be sure to check out the Southwest & Western States Index. The must hits in Phoenix are Binkleys and Pizzaria Bianco. Glide on over and check out the Very Large Array. Verjuice will give you the best info on Sante Fe, but I sure enjoyed my meal at the new Coyote Cafe. Have a little spa time at Ten Thousand Waves. And of course if you get in my neck of the woods (and we are in the neck of the woods), I might be able to come up with something fun to do...that is a bit late for tarantula season.

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Its been 20yrs since I lived in Phx, but my one regret( on all my trips back to visit the inlaws) was never having tried Pizzeria Bianco.

I've heard there are long lines so get there early.

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I agree with Rob Cayote Cafe is good ..but for a really really good New Mexican meal with low riders in the parking lot and the best damn salsa in the state you must try Angelina's

it is just outside Santa Fe prices are awesome ..atomsphere pretty simple nothing to brag about ..but the food ..they make a lamb and green chile stew that is beyond local! ...very very good

will you be in Santa Fe for Fiesta? we go every year it is a blast!

if you like silver jewelery go to the Native American museum downtown Santa Fe for the best bargains

for AZ you should go south ...Phoenix is not my favorite place (applogies to everyone who loves it) but do the drive see the sights and stop on the reservations to check out the food in the grocery stores...

check out Bisbee...

go to chile factory

in Tumacacori

not far from the Nogales boarder

there is so much I have to think and since I am at work it is all consuming now


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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Heidi just reminded me of a couple more things. If you're heading way south, there's a little bitty town called Rodeo - great hiking and birding. Its really nothing more than a dot on a map. But a few years back the founder of McAffee virus software moved there and turned it into an interesting place to visit. One of the outcomes is THIS out of place little cafe that I've been told has the best vegetarian and organic foods around. I haven't been there so I don't know for sure, but there's some truth in my story.

Also, if you go to Bisbee, which is very, very cool, then you might consider staying at Shady Dell's where you sleep in AirStreams.

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Here´s the very rough plan so far:

From Phoenix, head north in the direction of Flagstaff, Zion and Bryce. Then east to Moab, south to Durango, Santa Fe, go as far south as Silver City if we make it, then back to Phoenix.

I highly recommend, on the leg of your trip north from Phoenix to Flagstaff, that you take the turn-off off the I-17 freeway onto the very scenic State Route 179, which will take you through the town of Sedona and the surrounding Red Rock Country. Sedona has got art galleries, shops of a new-agey stripe, and cafes and restaurants that follow suit--on my trip through there serveral years ago we had a nice lunch at The Heartline Cafe. The new-agey stuff may not appeal to everyone, but the countryside is unabashedly gorgeous.

No specific recommendations for the other legs of your trip, but a general suggestion: to try a green chile cheeseburger while you in New Mexico--I think it's like unto the official state fast-food. :biggrin:

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Chufi,

My husband and I just did a trip through Utah last month. We did somewhat of a circle, starting in Vegas, with stops in St. George UT (which is west of Zion), drove to Moab (via I-15 and I-70), then to Boulder, UT, then to Springdale on the way, and then back to Vegas to fly home. We managed to stop at Arches Park, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion, and with seeing a lot of beautiful areas in between (and some desolate areas too!). It really is beautiful country and you should enjoy the trip.

I wrote about our meals at the Hell's Backbone Grill here. I'll post details from the rest of our trip in a day or so, and in the appropriate threads.

Regarding other parts of your trip, I agree with mizducky on making a side trip to Sedona. It's a nice little town with the galleries and fun jeep tours. (Though at a certain point on your trip you may be saying to yourself 'I don't need to see anymore rock'. Everytime I said that I would turn the corner to something beautiful and be glad we made the trip.) It was quite a few years ago, so I can only remember that we had a great dinner at L'Auberge.

I'll post more later about other parts of the trip.


Edited by santo_grace (log)

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Chufi, by the time you are in Phoenix, molto e's restaurant, Noca, should be open and in full gear. I have seen some preliminary menus. Given Eliot's interest in great food, I have no doubt that he and chef Chris Curtiss will be putting some outstanding food on their tables. It should be opening sometime in June.

Pheonix is home to a lot of excellent food. Binkley's and See Saw are two other outstanding restaurants. You will have options for plenty of great Southwestern cuisine elsewhere on your trip, so I wouldn't worry too much about having to get your fill of that in the Phoenix area.

Santa Fe also has some great food, though it has been too long for me to reliably give recommendations. As for Coyote Cafe, I have had very mixed experiences there over the years, with my more recent experiences being less exciting than earlier ones quite some time ago. I wouldn't be surprised if it has been revitalized, but it would not necessarily be my first choice upon a return to Santa Fe.

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Chufi! How wonderful that you'll be passing through our town! If you happen to be a fan of the Iron Chef America show and consider that it showcases some of the best culinary talent in the country, you may want to consider:

Phoenix/Scottsdale:

Mark Tarbell of Tarbell's (Phoenix) Battle Apple against Cat Cora

Lee Hilson of T Cooks (Phoenix) Battle Ham against Cat Cora

Beau McMillan of Sanctuary at Camelback (Scottsdale) Battle Kobe Beef against Bobby Flay (won!)

And in Santa Fe, NM:

Martin Rios of Inn of the Anasazi (Santa Fe) Battle Tomato against Bobby Flay

Have a great time!

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I just spoke to someone who went to the Sky Gypsy Cafe this morning (referenced in my earlier post). Apparently the cafe food is nothing worth the trip. The experience of finding this gem in the middle of the dessert is. They have good coffee and a good health food store. But if you go that out of the way, you need to do it for the hiking or birding and not the food.

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We have traveled the Utah canyons on several trips and I'll have to second Santo's recommendation for Boulder, UT. The first half of the drive from Boulder to Moab is truly spectacular. One of the great drives in the US. You will want to venture on to Hell's Backbone road from Escalante to Boulder. It climbs up to around 10,000 feet and you end up in Boulder with a nice place to stay and unique dining.

Thanks, for reminding me to add Boulder to our July trip.

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Thanks all for all the advice! It really helps with the planning.

it looks like there will be plenty of great dining options in Phoenix and Santa Fe, but that finding great food north and north east of Flafstaff will be a little bit more of a challenge.. am I right?

Boulder is definitely on the itiniterary. Now if only I can stop Emmylou Harris singing 'from Boulder to Birmingham' in my head every single time I see the word Boulder :wacko:

On a another non-food related note: I'm actually thinking of, dare I say it, skipping the Grand Canyon in favor of another day in Santa Fe, or another quiet day of hiking in a less crowded park. Is this crazy? Can I go home and live with myself if I missed the Grand Canyon? Or is there a great icecream stand that makes the trip obligatory :laugh:


Edited by Chufi (log)

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No you can not live with yourself and not see and hike the Grand Canyon!!!...go there!!! of course!!! it is a world treasure!!! Nothing will prepare you for just how beautiful it actually is ..so the hell with the tourists ..go!!!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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Santa Fe is very touristy too. It depends on what you personally like to do for fun. SF is great for shopping and eating. The Grand Canyon is something else.

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Chufi, I hate to break it to you... you will actually qualify as a bonafide tourist on this trip so you may as well take advantage of the status and see the Grand Canyon. If hights don't make you too crazy, I hear the sky walk is amazing.

(ps, I've lived in Phoenix for 5 years and haven't gotten to the GC yet! Bergerka keeps threatening to make me go though on one of her trips out here!)

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Another confessor here - never been to the canyon. But, you're surrounded by Tribal land, so find a dive and enjoy a Navajo Taco.

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well, you know, I KNOW I'm a tourist and I really don't mind doing the touristy things. It's just that husband and I both don't like places with lots and lots of people. No matter how beautiful the scenery.. seems I just can't enjoy it that much when surrounded by too many other admirers.

We had the same discussion when we went to California a couple of years ago. I thought of skipping Yosemite!! In the end we did go. But the whole Yosemite experience is gone from my mind, I don't remember much about it except the giftshop and the line of people on the trail.

Now there was this hike on Mount Whitney, where we were the only hikers, that we still think of as one of the most beautiful places we ever saw. ...

I guess we're just funny tourists!

Aaaanyway.. to bring this back to food :wink: and drink: how's the Southwest for microbreweries?

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Another confessor here - never been to the canyon.  But, you're surrounded by Tribal land, so find a dive and enjoy a Navajo Taco.

I am gasping ..but agree go ..drive ..enjoy a Navajo taco!

I am not at all touristy obviously :raz: and I will never ever forget the Grand Canyon or the hiking I did there

amazing sight besides most kids are back to school in September so you will miss the high season probably

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ok one more thing about tourism and the SW ...Chufi if it was not for tourists there would be a lot of starving and homeless people there...honestly ..you will see untold beauty eat wonderful food as you drive these roads around the Canyon ...and elsewhere through Arizona and New Mexico ...... but also you will see severe, unexpected poverty like you may never have seen before...

so really be proud of spending yor tourist dollars in a place where there is very little other work for folks...

have a wonderful trip!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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but also you will see severe, unexpected poverty like you may never have seen before...

unless you've been to a "third world" country...

I vote for the Grand Canyon, too. It's a pretty big place :rolleyes: and as I understand it (never been there, either), some areas are less crowded than others.

I can't wait for your trip, Chufi. I'm planning on doing a short SW tour in 2009 or 2010, so I'm going to follow in your footsteps! (Eat well, so I can, too!)

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Chufi, try this Chowhound Flagstaff Eats for Flagstaff recommendations... I haven't been up there yet.

If you wanted to swing into Prescott, its a really cute "old west" kind of historic town (north of Phoenix on your way to Flagstaff), then I can tell you the food at Murphey's was pretty good. Standard steak/seafood place but its a beer house too.

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ok one more thing about tourism and the SW ...Chufi if it was not for tourists there would be a lot of starving and homeless people there...honestly ..you will see untold beauty eat wonderful food as you drive these roads around the Canyon ...and elsewhere through Arizona and New Mexico ...... but also you will see severe, unexpected poverty like you may never have seen before...

so really be proud of spending yor tourist dollars in a place where there is very little other work for folks...

have a wonderful trip!

Hummingbirdkiss is right on. You can easily “not see” the poverty of the Hispanic and Native Americans who wait on the oh-so-precious Santa Fe crowd during a brief visit, but I see it because I have family there, and it makes me cry for my country. The high school drop-out rate in Santa Fe is over 40%. Some of these people don’t have running water. I have been to many third-world countries - it doesn’t mean this isn’t sad. Tip big.

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I've been to Bisbee, Nogales & Douglas. If you make it that far South don't forget to make a stop in Tombstone.

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well, you know, I KNOW I'm a tourist and I really don't mind doing the touristy things. It's just that husband and I both don't like places with lots and lots of people. No matter how beautiful the scenery.. seems I just can't enjoy it that much when surrounded by too many other admirers.

We had the same discussion when we went to California a couple of years ago. I thought of skipping Yosemite!! In the end we did go. But the whole Yosemite experience is gone from my mind, I don't remember much about it except the giftshop and the line of people on the trail.

Now there was this hike on Mount Whitney, where we were the only hikers, that we still think of as one of the most beautiful places we ever saw. ...

I guess we're just funny tourists!

Aaaanyway.. to bring this back to food  :wink:  and drink: how's the Southwest for microbreweries?

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is the place for you then. It is rarely visited by the hordes but the views are no less spectacular and it is higher in elevation than the South Rim. It is a proper Ponderosa forest. Go here for info. It will still be monsoon season in September, so the thunderstorms over the canyon will provide natural fireworks for the scenery.

Microbreweries in Phoenix area I can personally recommend: Papago Brewing in South Scottsdale, Four Peaks Brewing in Tempe (and one in North Scottsdale). I'm an East Valley resident, maybe a West Valley-ite can chime in with westside breweries.

I can also recommend La Parilla Suiza in Mesa for Mexico-City style mexican (you can get Sonoran-style on every corner here), The Roaring Fork in Scottsdale (used to be chef Robert McGrath's, but I still think its excellent, especially the huckleberry margaritas!), Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix (which is a given choice). Rock Springs Cafe on the I-17 about 40 miles north of Phoenix has solid cafe roadfood and GREAT all American pies in a very vintage setting. Greasewood Flat is North Scottsdale is a outdoor bar that will give you what I consider a true Arizona experience. It is a stagecoach stop/bunkhouse from the true old west days and a great place to have a beer and a burger and hangout.

Believe me, I understand what you are saying about the crowds. We travel out of season to places to avoid the crush. I personally would skip Santa Fe and go to Taos instead for that very reason. But Silver City/Gila National Forest of New Mexico owns my heart for uncrowded getaways from the heat of Arizona summers.

Hope this helps.

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