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Mar 16, 2010 05:43 PM

lunch in Tempe

I'm going to be dropped to do some shopping at Neiman Marcus' Last Call in Tempe. Is there any place to have a delicious lunch that's within walking distance? Any type of food is fine as long as it's very good.

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  1. Last Call is located inside Arizona Mills, which is nowhere from a gastronomic point of view. There's a food court with standard choices like Sbarro and a few full-service chains like the Rain Forest Cafe and Joe's Crab Shack, but nothing I'd truly say qualifies as delicious. To be honest, I can't think of any place within walking distance that is worthwhile. Most of the nearby restaurants along Baseline Road are places like the Waffle House.

    Unless you have the time to hop on a Valley Metro bus going to other more interesting parts of Tempe, I'd just choose the least objectionable choice from the mall directory knowing that it will be filling even it is not truly delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: silverbear

      Yeah, I'd probably end up at the Claim Jumper. Lombardo's Gelato is the only reason I would go to AZ Mills, and it hasn't drawn me back in well over a year. The last visit was a bit of a letdown. The fact that this mall is bordered on two sides by freeways makes it very unfriendly for pedestrians.

    2. The Arizona Mills property is something of a culinary wasteland. There is some good Mexican seafood to be had at San Diego Bay down Priest/Avenida del Yaqui in the middle of Guadalupe, but it certainly doesn't qualify as walking distance. If you're stuck in the mall, I think the Mexican eatery in the food court would be your best bet. It was an outpost of a quite delicious regional chain called El Taco Tote, but recently changed their name to Mex-Si-Go. I haven't tried it out to see if the food changed, but about the only thing that looks different about it is the name on the marquee.

      I just had a thought about a place I've been meaning to try... Red Ribbon Bakeshop. They are a Filipino casual eatery and bakery. I haven't heard anything one way or the other about the place. But at the very least, mall Filipino food would have to be at least a little more interesting than Panda Express and Sbarro, wouldn't it?

      There is a great treat inside AZ Mills in between Last Call and Saks Off 5th: Lombardo's Gelato. They have terrific gelato (some of the best in town if you ask me), but sorbet is where they really shine. Last time I was there I had a terrific pink grapefruit sorbet, and teamed it up with a silky smooth honeydew sorbet.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        Hmm, just walked past Red Ribbon at lunchtime today, and didn't realize it was anything other than a bakery. I will have to return soon with my Philippina coworker and check this out.

        1. re: kittyfood

          We had lunch at Red Ribbon Bakery last week and it was, in a word, dreadful. Noodles with sweetish gluey yellowish sauce evidently from a mix, the texture of nearly-raw eggs. She said it did not resemble anything her Philippino relatives cooked. I'll have to say that Panda would have been better. The cakes may be fine, although there has got to be a great deal of pre-fab and canned mixology going on there as well, considering the tropical fillings that couldn't possibly be produced from fresh ingredients, not to mention the yellow jelly-like decorations from a tube. The only decent part of the meal was a siopao bun, similar to Chinese bao with sweet barbecued pork filling. We cleansed our palates with frozen yogurt and strawberries from the nearby Yo Yo Yogurt shop.

          1. re: kittyfood

            I looked at the ingredient list on their regular rolls and it was all KINDS of stabilizers and preservatives. Kind of a shame, but still... it's mall food, what was I expecting?