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estherschindler

Best place to eat before a Diamondbacks game?

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I know that there's been a resurgence of restaurants in the downtown corridor. But I almost never go downtown, so I'm not familiar with the options -- especially not when one is in a rush for a 6:40 baseball game. Got advice or recommendations for casual restaurants, close enough for us to park just ONCE?

The obvious answer, I suppose, is Pizzaria Bianco. But I assume that it has huge crowds on game days, and I don't always feel like pizza. (That must be the reason I left New York.)

When we go downtown, we often end up at Sam's Cafe for dinner. It's reasonably priced, and it has the added advantage of (relatively) cheap parking in the lot next door. I suspect that I'll end up there tonight, but we're going to more and more games.

And heck, we haven't had a Phoenix regional discussion in a while.

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Ruby Beet Cafe (I believe that's the name), which is right across from Pizzeria Bianco in Heritage Square, is pretty good, though a little pricey, and perhaps not as casual and fast as you're looking for. I'd agree with steering clear of Pizzeria Bianco itself-it doesn't just have huge crowds on game days, it has huge crowds all days, and while it's delicious, I don't recommend it if you're in a hurry for anything at all, since it could easily take a couple hours to get in.

I know you said you're not willing to park more than once, but I do have a few other suggestions that are good and not very far from downtown, so it wouldn't be that much of a hassle to drive farther. I highly recommend Barrio Cafe, which isn't quite downtown, but isn't very far from it-at 16th St. and Thomas. It might be a bit of a push to get done in time for the game, though. You might also consider Cheuvront's, on Central a bit south of McDowell-they have a fun cheese menu, good wine, and good soups, though I don't know what the dinner fare is like-I've only been there for lunch-I'm guessing the dinner fare is still sandwiches and salads mostly, and pretty casual. If you're okay with sandwiches (very good ones), you should check out My Florist, at 7th Ave. and McDowell-right next to a bread bakery, and they have good desserts.

I've heard that Camus (it's in a downtown hotel that I can't remember the name of right now) is good, but not actually been there-my parents have, and they said the other diners were an interesting crowd, and the food was very good though sometimes hit-and-miss.

I hope this helps a little. I tend to spend more time a bit north of downtown, so that's what I'm more familiar with-I know less about the restaurants in downtown itself.

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Ruby Beet Gourmet is closed and re-opening as something else in the near future.

Esther,

I would always vote for Lo-Lo's Fried Chicken and Waffles, but they are not open for dinner on all nights-call first. Right by the stadium, Eddie Matney is Cheffing these days at Stoudemire's which is next to the Hard Rock. Eddie put in his first menu at the place this week, but I have not tried it. Where did you end up going for your birthday dinner??

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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I did end up at Sam's Cafe for that game -- though next time, I might try Camus. Or Lo-Lo's, but I have to admit, moltoe, that this is not a combination I would ordinarily attempt. Fortunately, I trust your opinion!

I finally did get to Barrio Cafe for dinner, with three friends. One of them is a foodie like us, but the other two dear souls are much more comfortable at Garcia's. <shudder> One of them asked the waitress, "Don't you have any REGULAR enchiladas?" Sigh. I loved everything, anyway. As far as the ball game night goes, I'm not sure if that's a meal I want to rush through, especially since we always worry about parking.

Where did you end up going for your birthday dinner??

Hmm. On my birthday, we -- pretty much the same gang of friends I mentioned above, as we have a monthly dinner date -- went to the Polish restaurant in Chandler. The one that's next to C-Fu Gourmet, at Dobson and Ray: Na Zdrowie. It was okay, but I wouldn't drive out of my way for it.

Later in that week, I got a job offer (for a new position that started in February... explaining my irregularity here), and we went out to the White Chocolate Grill to celebrate (101 and Scottsdale Road). They do a darned good roast chicken (isn't it time for a Best Roast Chicken in Phoenix thread?) and a great Cobb salad, but the bill is always a little higher than feels fair.

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Esther,

Lo-Lo's will make you a believer. I have taken a few people there that felt the same way, but one bite later :biggrin: . Good luck with the new job!

Best,

Molto E


Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

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