Going to AZ
Gonna be in Phoenix/Mesa area on 3/9-3/11. May travel out to some of th parks. Want suggestions for good, local SW food that we can't get n FLA. I like downhome, not fancy. Also, maybe a vegetarian/health food place as well.
THX. CAn AZ impress this FLA chowhound?
for vegetarian, i'd try udupi on the scottsdale road.....for local-ish flavor, i'd say durants, richardsons, lolo's chicken and waffles, carolina's for the best tortillas on earth, rancho pinot for more upscale regional fare, and tammy coe for the best cupcakes ever. :)
Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale is very good and unique. I agree with Richardson's and Los Dos, but the spice at Los Dos may kill someone from Florida. Roaring Fork in Scottsdale is kind of upscale cowboy food and very well done. Lon's at the Hermosa is also quite good, although maybe a little more than you're looking for. Good luck.
If you're in the Mesa area, I'd recommend trying Blue Adobe Grill. It's New-Mexican style (not overly spicy though), and they have the best chips/salsa in town, IMO. At one time I would have agreed with the Los Dos Molinos recommendation, but my last couple of experiences there have been disappointing.
I concur with the preference for Blue Adobe over Los Dos Molinos, but it's important to keep in mind that the two restaurants are somewhat different. Blue Adobe is a little more upscale and a little tame by NM standards. Los Dos is more down-home and quite fiery. I agree that Los Dos has slipped in recent years, but it may still be of interest to someone from out of town.
As for the "vegetarian / healthy" category, I recommend Pita Jungle, with three (soon to be four) locations in the area:
For an utterly Arizona experience - Los Sombreros on Scottsdale Road, Tempe; Tradiciones at Ranch Market, 16th and Roosevelt, and/or Barrio Cafe, also on 16th St. House of Tricks in Tempe is a local gem, too. Cowboy Ciao, Scottsdale, is very good - followed by a visit to Kazimierz (right around the corner) for an after-dinner drink. And Lon's at the Hermosa is also a wonderful local experience.
Thank you all for the recomendatons. And, hey, I resent the implication that someone from Florida is such a wimp when it comes to "spicy". Trust me, we Floridians are tough guys. I promise to report back honestly about how I handled genuine SW food. Spicy or not, I just hope it is GOOD.
I will definietely be in Mesa, so appreciate suggestions there. Also, I may have a chance to get out into the countryside some. Any suggestions on more Remote/rural places I might want to venture into to try?
In Mesa (I live in Mesa) there are a few options that are worthwhile. Each of these I have personally eaten at more than once, and while not perfect or life-changing, I feel comfortable recommending any of them for non-chain, very good local chow.
Mint Thai (Gilbert Road and Baseline), S'Bistro (Main street in downtown Mesa), Posh Nosh (Main street in downtown Mesa), Mangoes Mexican Cafe and Bakery (Main street in downtown Mesa), Dragonfly Vietnamese (Dobson and Southern), Los Dos Molinos (mentioned before), Rancho de Tia Rosa (McKellips and Lindsey Rd) and for Mexican and Mexican seafood I have had great food at El Galeon (Main street between Stapley and Gilbert).
This is by no means exhaustive, but is a good start for at Mesa. Enjoy!