As a newbie going into Spring Training, I had no idea what to expect from the local restaurant scene in Phoenix-Scottsdale. I did some preliminary research (“36 Hours” articles in the New York Times), asked friends on Facebook for recommendations and relied heavily on my A’s friends and colleagues to steer me in the right direction. Here’s a super-short list of my stand-out faves from the week. In the comments section, please add your own go-to spots, places where your family makes a dinner reservation year after year!
- The Breakfast Club:
A’s fans need a hearty breakfast to root on the home team, and this is
the place to load up. If you have a sweet tooth, go for the chocolate
chip pancakes. Interested in a twist on a classic? The
southwest-inspired biscuits and gravy is a huge hit. Planning on hiking
Camelback later in the day? The low calorie, but still filling,
eggwhite, steamed veggie and cottage cheese plate is ideal. As an added
bonus, the coffee is decent too.
- Pizzeria Bianco:
Spectacular. And that word goes for the wait time and the food. On
average expect a three hour wait; ours was closer to four. I know,
absolutely absurd and ridiculous, but the food is superlative and it
was well worth it. Truthfully, it’s like a little piece of the Bay Area
dining scene in the desert: gourmet pizza, locally sourced ingredients and reasonably
priced (and occasionally biodynamic) wine. Here’s a tip: put down your
name and number, go about your business, run some errands, see a movie
and then come back in a few hours time and wait out the remainder over
some antipasti at the wine bar next door.
- Kazimierz World Wine Bar:
Don’t be discouraged by its hard to find location and dim lighting,
this bar is a hidden gem. The wine list comes in a 3-ring binder and
easily lists more than 3000 bottles! And they’re not just from California and
France; you’ll find goodies from Bulgaria, China, India and beyond.
After flipping through a dozen pages and feeling overwhelmed, I gave my
price point and described what I was looking for to the waitress and she definitely delivered. And speaking of price points, bottles here
range from as little as $13 all the way up to thousands and thousands.
- Cowboy Ciao: I was never expecting to find such tasty vegetarian food at a restaurant with Cowboy in its name, but lucky me. I started with the chopped salad which is a bizarr-o, but tasty combination of smoked salmon, cous cous, pumpkin seeds, arugula and much more that is tossed together table-side. While the menu is predominantly meaty, the signature dish of sauteed mushrooms over polenta was delicious and veggie-friendly. I never got around to trying the “meat and potatoes” martini (potato vodka in the drink with a slice of deep-fried bacon for garnish), so please let me know how it was!
Some other ideas:
- Oregano: super-size portions of pizza, pasta and other Italian-inspired dishes
- Four Peak Brewery: better than average pub food with grew local brews
- Cafe Carumba: brunch and lunch with tasty pre-game bloody marys
- Dos Gringos: decent Mexican bar food with great drink specials until 7pm