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May 31, 2007 11:27 PM

Fave "takeout" food from grocers (PHX)?

There's home cooking and dining out. What about that middle ground where you simply want to grab ready to eat fare from a grocer/market? Any faves? It might be a place, or simply a dish worth trying.

This might be a tough thread to avoid chains, as so many markets are indeed chains. But even then, it can be said there's a huge difference between a 40 year old store and its modern cousin. I've got an ancient Bashas and Frys near me and the deli fare is reflective of days gone by... corn dogs, beef-a-rooni, fried everything. They don't even offer roast chicken or fresh bread. But the occasional corn dog aint that bad (try making it at home). Meanwhile the nearest AJs has a sushi bar and a deli that rivals most restaurants in selection and price. In N.Y. And in many a new market we have olive bars, bakers, etc. What's good?

I like hitting AJ's for the salad bar. It's one of those dishes that can and should be dead cheap, but at the same time would be crazy to make if you wanted 50+ choices of things to add. Then I discovered Wild Oats had a better salad bar, with 15% more the selction and at the same cost (I made that up - but they do have more stuff)

A few years back, Sunflower was on my rotation for Deli fare. They seem to have declined in offerings. Sprouts stepped in, but I've not stumbled upon anything I crave. Phoenix Ranch I'd like to figure out, but that will require some serious study. On the flip side, I have popped by the Food City from time to time, and actually scored a nice carnitas dish.

Do you have any fave places or simply certain dishes? Costco Pizza? Lee Lee's duck?
What about those specialty grocers.. Italian, German, etc? Just wondering what might be worth an extended trip.

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  1. Phoenix Ranch Market wins hands down. Just dive in and enjoy yourself. For a good starter, get one of their family packs... carnitas or pollo asado, a ton of fresh corn tortillas, rice, beans, chips, salsa, cilantro/onion, it serves six for under 20 bucks.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      A new market is opening @ Gainey Ranch called Dish. A James Beard Nominee from the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills (William Gideon) and Martin LaMarche from Binkleys. They are calling it 'A treasure chest of chef crafted food'...the pizza's will be Vera Pizza Napolentana certified
      They will have take out items and homemade wines and cheeses
      A wall of 'Stunning salads' a sandwich bar, soups, a grill station, carved prime rib, rotisserie chicken
      Hot entrees such as duck confit, w/ crispy foie gras and seckle pear and Maine lobster and shrimp pot pie.........

      I can't wait until it opens in August

      1. re: ciaogal

        The timing of this thread is good. We had swimming lessons last night, and by the time that circus was over, mommy declared the kitchen to be closed. I headed to the Safeway down the street for some sandwiches. I'm all about grabbing a $3.49 Subway for a quick lunch, but the sandwiches at Safeway are just a step beyond.

        The AJ's on Frank Lloyd Wright also has an outdoor grill. They make some pretty good burgers and pulled pork sandwiches.

        Ranch Market is great, but I fully understand that not everyone can just hop on over to one. I always end up buying carne asada, salsa, produce, and corn tortillas for grilling while we're there eating.

        My dad was very fond of showing up with a big pack of tortillas and a quart of beans from Carolina's when we were growing up.

        Overall, it's summer. Growing up, summer meant sandwiches for dinner in our house. My mom would say it was too hot to cook, so she would load up on deli meats, cheeses, different breads, and produce. I'll probably continue the tradition.

        1. re: ciaogal

          ciaogal, i'm right near gainey ranch. do you have any more info on dish? i'm ready right now. : )

          1. re: ccl1111

            ccl1111...All I know is what I see when I am driving by... and what I have read in the AZRepublic.
            It's looks as if they are in the hiring process ...and getting ready to open
            Here is their web site:

            "A food lover's market and bistro. A treasure chest of chef crafted food with tastes from around the world. Enjoy our full service menu nightly in our casual, yet sleek bistro or shop our market for culinary meals to be taken to your place. From scratch bakery, fire roasted pizzas, home made gelato and chocolate, fresh produce and flowers, fine cheeses, abundance of wine, to die for salads and sandwiches....... We are all about the food."
            Market: Daily 6am-8pm; Bistro: M-Th, Sun 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm

        2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

          If you like really good food to take home and prepare, I went to a place called Entrees Made Easy which is right up the road from Dish in Gainey Ranch. They actually have location all across the Valley. They use all fresh ingredients and you can choose the make the food yourself and they will put it together for you. I like it because they let you make it how you want it. Plus, the food is yummy! I am so glad I found this place.

        3. i like the takeaway stuff from calabria italian deli..sandwhiches, anti-pasta, entrees...also - little known secret - they have some super fantastic frozen sorbets in fruit that are to die for *coconut sorbet in coconut shell, lemon sorbet in a lemon, etc*. ask for 'em, they are deee-lish.

          2 Replies
          1. re: winedubar

            I love the Soups , chili's and stews @ Whole foods.....
            The seafood bisques, gumbos and chowders are can taste most of them before you buy
            They also have many entree selections to go as well as terrific calzones, pizzas and sandwiches....
            Tastyjon...I agree w/ you the salad bar has many entree selections to go as well...

            I also like the prepared salads @ Trader Joe's they are reasonably priced,

            1. re: ciaogal

              I live within walking distance of Whole Foods, and boy, do I walk there a lot! Great soup with good selection of fresh bread at dinner-time.

          2. We often hit Safeway for soup, sushi, sandwiches or salad. My husband really likes their soup.

            I've been impressed with Whole Foods. The only problem, for us anyway, is location. We live no where near Tempe.

            On the cheap, can't beat $2 for a hot dog and soda at Costco. Haven't tried their pizza, though.

            1. AJ's pizza
              Defalco's mozzarella/tomato salad
              Wild Oats' salad bar
              LGO's sonoma salad (also in the pizzeria)
              Food City's carne asada (good for easy tacos)

              2 Replies
              1. re: azhotdish

                azhotdish...which Sprouts do you shop @ ?
                The one by me doesn't have a salad bar.....wish they did :-(

                1. re: ciaogal

                  Oops, I just edited that - I meant Wild Oats. The Sprouts that I shop at though is 28th/Indian School, and they don't have a salad bar either.

              2. DeFalco's!!! Everything is good there. My favorites:
                salads: Greek salad; chicken caesar salad.
                sandwiches: Cheesesteak; sausage pepper and onion; Italian beef.