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December 07, 2009

Westward, Ho!

The Desert Dominic Armato

Boston, we hardly knew ye.

With apologies, again, for the coy references, it's official. We're on the move yet again, and right around the 1st of the year (exact date TBD), Skillet Doux will be relocating to Phoenix.

Yes, yes, we know, we just got here. But though the position wasn't available when we came to Boston, my ladylove's employer knew that we wanted to be with family, and they were generous enough to move us as soon as something opened up... even if it happened a lot faster than anybody expected.

With family in the city, it looks like we're finally planting roots for a little while. And while this tour of the eastern seaboard has been fun, from a blogging standpoint I'm looking forward to sticking around somewhere long enough to dig deep and really get into the food scene. Stylin' restaurants abound in the Valley of the Sun, but I have a hunch the hole-in-the-wall joints are more abundant than cursory internet research would suggest.

High or low brow, however, let's do this one more time... if you have any Phoenix intel, send it my way and we'll hit the ground running!


This is especially relevant given your Pepe's post- you have to try Pizzeria Bianco. Be prepared to wait in line, but it will be worth it.

Before you leave Boston - please OH please try Oleana! :)
Very sad that you are leaving; I was looking forward to some more local reviews. But I hope you have a great move and I'm sure you'll love Phoenix!

Yeah, I am really interested on your take on Pizzaria Bianco. Watching the food network last year, I saw it reviewed as the best pizza place in the country. I found/find that hard to believe, and I accept your notion regarding the futility of "best." Still, if I can't visit that place, the second best scenario would be to read your review.

Pizzeria Bianco is probably the best high-end restaurant, but also check out Chino Bandido. Trust me.

Dom, you move around so much, I think you're involved in some kind of criminal enterprise. What'd you DO, Dom?




If I can remember the name of the terrific Veracruz joint I ate at, in Tempe, the last time I was in the Valley, I'll post it. There's also, not far away, a bistro, attached to a wine shop, where you can purchase a nice bottle at wine shop prices, and then can go sit down and have a pretty good meal next door, with no corkage fee. Damned memory loss.....

Pizzeria Bianco is indeed delicious; also good, and without the long lines, is their sandwich joint - Pane Bianco.

Good lord! You sure do move around a lot! I hope you have a chance to check out Mike's Pastry in Boston's North End before you go.

I know nothing about Phoenix, except that my aunt and uncle love it there.

I was raised there so only know the mediocre to poor restaurants that the family went to, many of which are still there. I'll be interested to read what you have to say as I sometimes go back.

I'd say that Kai, at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass resort in Chandler is probably the best high-end restaurant in the Phoenix area.

It's been so long since I lived out there for school (go Devils!), and it was well before my love for food had blossomed into full on obsession, so I'm no help here. But just seeing this post makes me miss it all over again!

And you never made it up to Portland. We're the foodiest town in America, you know. :)

Good luck on the move.

Oh, oddly enough, there's a great southern joint in Phoenix - Lolo's Chicken and Waffles. Delicious.

When you get tired of the sterile Valley of Despair, head down the road to Tucson and go to Cafe Poca Cosa for the best meal of your life, full stop.

I recently ate at a great Indian restaurant when I was in Phoenix, it was called Jewel of the Crown and besides the nice decor, it has won several awards and served some famous people to. I don't believe I've ever seen a review of an Indian restaurant grace this site, mostly bc of the lack of high brow ones, but this one was better than most i've been to as far as overall experience.

I was just in Phoenix recently, and made a list of a bunch of places to try, but I ended up getting to go to none of them...no Sonoran hot dogs, no Navajo tacos.

I did convince the family to stop at one of the Ranch Markets in the city though, and it totally lived up to billing. Giant tortilleria onsite, amazing agua fresca station, and delicious street tacos.

Lived in Phoenix for 7+ years, just moved to Austin in August. My recommendations:

Rito's, 907 N 14TH St - It's a house in a residential neighborhood that is converted into a restaurant. Best mexican in the valley, imo. I've only ever been there for lunch, it's in an area of town that you don't want to be in at night. But the downtown crowd goes there for lunch.

Carolina's - http://www.carolinasmex.com/ - Fantastic mexican, second only to Rito's imo.

Cyclo - http://www.cycloaz.com/ - In Chandler, solid vietnamese restaurant.

Pane Bianco - http://www.pizzeriabianco.com/pane/menu.html - Same owner as Pizzeria Bianco. Sandwich/salad lunch place. Insanely good tuna sandwich - Red Onion, Gaeta Olives, Lemon & Arugula on practically baked to order bread.

Stax - http://www.staxburgerbistro.com/ - Good slider-style burgers. In addition to the standard burgers, they have some interesting burgers, including duck, boar, and venison - available based on the season. Interesting wine list too, with all half bottles to match the theme. Everything was very good, except for the sloppy joes, which I found revolting.

I'll post some more, if I think of them.

Just going to throw out a few more.

Rancho Pinot, T.Cook's, Four Peaks, Fez, Le Grande Orange, Scott's Generations, and Sushi Roku (which is a "chain", but was the best sushi i had in PHX).


Dom, since you're obviously on the run from something and probably know a thing or two about the criminal underworld, can you see to it that terrible things happen to the Cardinals' stadium?

At least you won't have far to travel if a certain video game company got in touch and asked you to voice a certain mighty pirate again within the next few months (I hope)

Also, if you want to check out more restaurants on the high-end side of things, Scottsdale is the place to go. There's some overrated stuff and some really great stuff, but what's important is that there's a LOT.

Scottsdale as the Scottsdale they made fun of in South Park?

Yes. It really is that ridiculous. It's full of arrogant rich people and faux-artsy types. But trust me, the food scene there is really good.

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