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Jun 29, 2007 07:46 AM

Phoenix: Hound choices near Cricket Pavilion/Wigwam Resort

I'm making a quick (sweaty) work trip to Phoenix, arriving Saturday evening and leaving Monday morning. I don't know the area, but I'm staying at the Wigwam Resort and need to be at the Cricket Pavilion for part of Saturday.

What am I near? Any good breakfast spots? Mexican/southwest restaurants? Please help me survive the godforsaken heat!


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  1. I hesitantly recommended Red's Steakhouse (at the Wigwam) to my boss for his anniversary dinner a few months ago, although I had never been there but had heard positive things. He was quite impressed with the place, saying the service was smooth, the food very good (although standard, upscale steakhouse fare) and the dining room was quite nice. Again, I hesitate to recommend it since I cannot confirm first-hand, but I'd say that it's a strong option since it's on-site.

    Couldn't help you on breakfast or others, I'll leave that to others on the board. Enjoy the (dry) heat.

    1. I can't really speak for the Cricket Pavilion area, but I'm about a mile from the Wigwam.

      A good breakfast/lunch stop is the Wildflower Bread Company on Litch. Rd south of McDowell. Award-winning pancakes, pastries & breakfast sandwiches, morphing into good salads & sandwiches for lunch.

      Bella Luna is a very, very good Italian restaurant just south of the resort on Litch. Rd & Indian School. It doesn't look like much from the outside but the service is gracious and the chef knows what he's doing. There's also a coffee spot just opening on the northwest corner, if you like your beans fresh-roasted, called Ground Control. They have gelato as well.

      Across the street from the resort is another good sandwich shop, or if you're in the mood for wine & noshes, Park Wines is next door. The Mexican place right there is decent. All of these have patios, because you'll find that as soon as the sun's down it's actually very nice out. Dining alfresco happens here year-round.

      If you feel like ranging farther, let me know, there's plenty of good food all the way out here if you know where to look.

      8 Replies
      1. re: themis

        themis - we must have similar tastes as you just named all of the places I was thinking of!

        FYI - the Mexican place mentioned is "Old Pueblo Cafe".

        1. re: andyeats

          Thanks! For some reason their name will never stick in my head. I also have trouble with that great Chinese place down the way, Wong's. Half the time people ask for a recommendation my brain freezes and I can't come up with it.

        2. re: themis

          Based on mention above, my husband and I tried the Mexican place Old Pueblo Cafe last night. We were not impressed. The food was OK, service was terrible. Our server was handling 4 tables and couldn't keep up. (I've waited tables before and 4 tables is not too much to handle.) I ordered the two tacos dinner plate and the tacos were SO greasy, I couldn't eat them. The rice and beans that accompanied the plate were bland and flavorless! The only thing that was good were the chips and salsa. My husband had the Carne Asada plate and he also complained the dish was greasy. However the meat was pretty flavorful. So, I guess if you like greasy Mexican, give it a try. Oh, and we also felt it was waaaaayyyy over priced. My 2 tacos with rice and beans cost $9.95 and his Carne Asada was $13.95. Our bill with two sodas was over $30!!!!! I could have eaten at a dozen other Mexican places for about 1/2 that price.

          Also, comment on Wong's. We have tried that place as well and haven't really liked it either. The Lo Mein is made with broken pieces of vermicelli noodles. I much prefer the fluffier egg noodles that I'm used to. Also, egg rolls are VERRRRYYY greasy! Can be good and bad, but in this case, it's obvious that they don't maintain a high enough oil temperature AND don't change the oil frequently enough.

          Anyway, themis, if you are still reading this thread, I would love more West Valley recommendations. So very sick of chain restaurants. We leave near the I-10 and 101 intersection, so those recommendations that are more NW are harder to get to.


          1. re: jewel4352

            You can search and find a lot of my recommendations for the west valley, but if you're unwilling to range in whatever direction, or if you ultimately decide on a restaurant's worth based on one visit, then maybe my recommendations aren't for you. There are a lot of beloved Chowhound spots that I completely disagreed with, but found later that I'd visited at a really bad time. Likewise, I love and return to many spots that one Chowhound will post a negative review for, and all of the sheeple chime in with,' oh, I'll *never* go there, that sounds awful!' And I have to think that's really unfortunate. One person's opinion is just that. My opinion is just my opinion.

            There are much, much more than chain restaurants in the west valley. We have more diversity than any other region here. It just takes a sense of adventure and an open mind. Good luck in your hunt!

          2. re: themis

            As predicted, a mod deleted the post in which you addressed other Mexican/Southwestern spots, and I wasn't able to print the page or write down the info. (I suppose this parenthetical is off-topic, and risks deletion, but I just doubt the merit of deleting on-topic posts that also include minor and friendly off-topic content.)

            Got in late last night and had my dinner at the resort, at Red's: a fine and flavorable piece of filet, plus well-garlicked spinach and the largest side dish of steak fries I've ever seen in my life. Not greasy, either -- partially fried and partially baked, I'd guess. I was disappointed that the wine list didn't have a single French or Italian (or even Spanish!) red wine by the glass. And the Saturday-night lounge music drifting in -- a pianist with a '70s drum machine, singing "romantic" R&B hits by Barry White and Lou Rawls -- didn't quite fit the menu; I kept waiting for Bill Murray to grab the mic. Still, Red's makes a very good steak, which is what you want in a steakhouse, and I'm grateful for the suggestion.

            1. re: tanno

              I knew that post would vanish, darn it, and I was just trying to help! Try La Perla, it's 59th Ave and Glendale, downtown. Middle-of-the-road fare but with excellent chile flavor, music, and tons of atmosphere. Also Raul & Julia's in south Goodyear. It's at Litchfield Road and Main/Hwy 85. For slightly upscale, head north up the 101 to Cocono's Mexican Island Kitchen at 83rd and Union Hills. Nopales, cochinita pibil, snapper veracruz kind of stuff.

              1. re: themis

                Thanks! I made it to Wildflower and even saw a few pastries that were new to me. And due to poor scheduling (and getting lost), I didn't have time on my last night to eat anywhere other than Old Puebla.

                I liked that it was neighborhoody and filled with familiarity, and the food was fine, of its type. It's not high Mexican, it's quick & filling Mexican. So calling it "greasy" is like calling baseball "slow"; it's not a criticism, so much as it is an observation. Everything seemed fresh enough, there were several different tastes and sauces on my plate, Sometimes, a traveler with an expense account wants to feel exotice, but sometimes, he wants to feel like a local, and Old Puebla did the job. I'm glad to have had the tip.

                1. re: tanno

                  Old Pueblo is a good neighborhood place. glad you enjoyed it. While you were here in the west valley, I made my first visit to Tomo Japanese and liked it. I would have added to your list of possible places if I had gone there earlier. Sushi, bento boxes, teriyaki - really liked the food and service. Located at McDowell and Dysart, sw corner near a Chick fil-a, Stone Creek, Lowes and I-10.

          3. Red's at the Wigwam is fantastic.

            1. We did the Arizona Kitchen @ The Wigwam and were very pleased. I felt that a few of the dishes were a bit more adventurous, than they could pull off at 100%, but certainly gave them high marks for trying. All were good, it's just that a few did not live up to MY expectations, based on the menu. The wine list was more than adequate (glassware needs a major upgrade), and fairly priced by resort standards.

              Did not try Red's, but I see a lot of good recs. for it down the thread.


              5 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Arizona Kitchen is one of my favorites. In fact we were just there and did the wonderful tasting menu - poached lobster claw, then grilled romaine salad, followed by sole as the entree with trio of creme brulees as dessert(dark chocolate, green chili (yum!) and a pecan)...but it is colosed for some remodel til Red's Steakhouse would be a good next choice.

                1. re: bluecat

                  Is the "decent" Old Pueblo Cafe my best/only option for Mexican or that vague catchall "Southwestern cuisine"?

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  One other annoying detail about the Wigwam: One afternoon, I grabbed a sandwich and a fruit salad from the coffee bar at the inn's lobby. The sandwich wasn't very good, which wasn't a surprise, but this was: The slices of honeydew tasted distinctly of prosciutto. Obviously, the hotel had prepared some prosciutto-wrapped melon appetizers, and when those didn't sell, they recycled the honeydew in the fruit salads.

                  It was disgusting and tacky, especially since they charged $7.50 for the fruit plate.

                  1. re: tanno

                    I would tell the service desk about that. If a resort has aspirations and is looking to increase their star count, they'd be grateful, I think, to hear which of their shortcuts are not sliding by the general public.

                    1. re: themis

                      I wrote a note in their comment card. I'll let you know if they reply.