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Apr 10, 2011 07:31 PM

A DT Phoenix Staycation - Miracle Mile Deli, The Clarendon, Durant's, Nobuo at Teeter House & Gallo Blanco

Living (and working at home) in Northwest Phoenix, I don't get to check out as many downtown spots as I would like to, so I took full advantage when I recently won a free night at the Clarendon on Twitter.

Friday afternoon on the way down was our first visit to the Miracle Mile Deli. This was also Twitter-induced after I RT'd a pic, they welcomed us to come for a visit, and even linked to a discount on-line coupon to use. Sold! We split The New Yorker (pastrami, coleslaw, and Miracle Mile dressing) with a side of creamy mac-n-cheese. I've finally found a place for my pastrami fix. E is such a fan now that he stopped on our way home the next day to pick up a couple of sandwiches to go for dinner (this time I had The Straw with pastrami, sauerkraut and melted Swiss).

It was also our first visit to The Clarendon - a great locally owned hotel with friendly service. We checked in, walked to the Light Rail and bought a pass, and were off to a favorite, Durant's, for Happy Hour (well drinks $4.50+ app specials) - a cool dark oasis on what turned out to be a 100 degree afternoon. Had a Rye (Old Overholt) Manhattan and a Bombay Gimlet, shared excellent garlicky mussels with white wine and tomatoes ($6), and enjoyed expertly made cocktails and friendly service from John. This vintage old-school steakhouse is one of our favorites and I'll be back for HH for those mussels alone.

Back on the Light Rail, we met friends for dinner at Nobuo. This certainly lived up to the accolades. We got there a few minutes early and our waitress kindly pointed out that we still had time to order the special HH cocktail. I forget the name, but it was strong and delicious, made with Mount Gay Rum and absinthe. Great cocktails here - another favorite was the White Dragon with jasmine tea and gin. The food was just fabulous. The four of us ordered quite a few dishes and really, there were no disappointments. At one point we were merrily chatting away, took a bite of the hamachi spoon with grapefruit, avocado, & white truffle ponzu oil and there was immediate silence - that good. IIRC correctly, we also ordered Japanese chips, nasu bacon miso, shiromi carpaccio (wow), pork belly buns, onsen egg with long beans, soft shell crab sandwiches, okonomiyaki, and the ahi duo special. I cannot wait to go back.

We had planned on a nightcap at The Clarendon's Roof Bar but were done in by a food coma. Be sure to order a cocktail at Gallo Blanco on your way up as there is not always a bartender upstairs.

We ended our visit on another high note with lunch at Gallo Blanco before we checked out. I was disappointed they were out of grapefruit soda for a Paloma, but the "SueƱo Mojado" that packed a punch is my new favorite margarita in town. Since it was our first visit, we ordered too much food but were happy with everything: a halibut taco, Naco Torta with tender flavorful ribeye, avocado and fried eggs, addictive french fries with aji aoili, and chilaquiles verdes with chicken topped with an egg. Oomph. Great stay, and happy to finally hit some of the spots that have been on my must-try list.

Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013

Miracle Mile Deli
1949 E Camelback Rd Ste 160, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Nobuo at Teeter House
622 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

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  1. Wow! Thanks for the review and pics!

    1. I remember when Miracle Mile was at Park Central in Midtown -- right along light rail between the Clarendon and Durant's. I think it still operates under a different name there, and I find the Downtown Deli a few miles to the south offers a nice deli experience with both the New Yorker and the Straw on the menu.

      You have named some of my favorites at Nobuo, especially the hamachi with grapefruit and the nasu bacon miso. The latter dish really resonates with me because I don't particularly like bacon and think it's the overused ingredient du jour. Nobuo, however, uses it with sublety to impart a slight smokiness without overpowering the dish.

      Glad you had a good time. Thanks for the report.

      Downtown Deli
      130 N Central Ave Ste 101, Phoenix, AZ 85004

      1. @Da Beebz - Thanks! I've been missing being able to walk to Sam La Grassa's for pastrami when we lived in Boston, so happy to find a spot for pastrami here.

        @exit2lef - Will definitely check out Downtown Deli. Also, thanks for your help in planning our itinerary and the closest Light Rail stops. Our first time taking the Light Rail around town, and your website was invaluable.

        The Clarendon website:

        2611 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          Ahhh, pastrami from Sam's and eating it in the common...what memories! I must try the Miracle Mile soon seeing as I only work 1/2 mile down the road. Lately we've been ordering from Duck & Decanter although good it's kinda pricey.

        2. Huzzah! A post about food!

          Not the least bit surprised you enjoyed Nobuo. Make it late, and I'll join you anytime :-)

          I have a somewhat dimmer view of Miracle Mile, though that's based on one visit. And I'm hard-pressed to suggest a better alternative, so perhaps an adjustment in expectations is warranted. I might've advocated Scott's Generations not long ago, but after my last visit which featured a matzo ball with the density of a neutron star (seriously, it threatened to capture everything in the restaurant and form a deli singularity), I'm waffling on that choice yet again. Let's just say I'll give Miracle Mile another shot.

          And I'm long overdue for Gallo Blanco, since it seems everybody under the sun loves that place.

          Scott's Generations Restaurant
          5539 N 7th St # 108, Phoenix, AZ

          Gallo Blanco Cafe
          401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dmnkly

            Deal on Nobuo! I was hoping they had the chawanmushi you recommended, but no such luck. I just love that place. I even considered returning there for lunch the next day, but wanted to try Gallo Blanco.

            I haven't been to any other deli spot in Phoenix since we moved, but liked how the pastrami was cut thin but still nicely moist with enough fat. Staff was super-nice too. We went to the one on Camelback and had a chance to chat a bit with Josh, manager/co-owner, who told us a little about the business his grandfather started.

            Gallo Blanco Cafe
            401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013

          2. Excellent report Rubee!
            You dined at one of my fave's, Durant's...glad to see it still hasn't changed.
            We'll be in town for the Memorial Day week at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass..$119 a night on expedia...Kai's for happy hour if you can make it..

            4 Replies
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Thanks Beach Chick! Guess what? We'll be at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass the same weekend - booked a great AAA special. We can finally meet for cocktails. Kai has a Happy Hour? Tell me more.

              5594 W. Wildhorse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226

              1. re: Rubee

                OMG...woooo hooooo!
                Good friend went last Memorial Day week and stated there was a HH..I just called and they said with the holiday, they are more likely to do a HH vs. non holiday weekend.
                Wonder if it was the Lobby Bar vs. Kai?
                We'll hook up for drinks since we'll be there for 5 days!
                Can't wait!

                1. re: Beach Chick

                  Excellent! You have my email still right?

                  And to keep this on topic, we'll only be there for two days, but planning to stay on-site for our eats. It's our first time, so any recs besides Kai? I definitely want to try Ko'Sin too.

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Hey Girlie!
                    Can't wait to see you at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass..
                    Lobby Bar has happy hour and that is where we'll have the party...hear it is gorgeous underneath the waterfall..