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Feb 28, 1999 06:50 AM

Breakfast in Phoenix

  • j

Any advice on Phoenix restaurants worth visiting? I always like to start with a nice breakfast in
one of those downtown breakfast/lunch joints that's been there forever. For lunch and dinner, the
emphasis is on cheap and good. It should be easy to score some indigenous chow that fits that
description. Any ideas?

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  1. I found a couple of good spots last
    March. The link below will take
    you to that posting. There's also a
    thread from last November that
    would be worth scrolling down to.
    But Phoenix is a vast sprawl of
    strip malls, and it might be hard
    to find "downtown," let alone a
    breakfast/lunch place.

    Jim Dixon

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jim Dixon

      Forgive me, but I can't find the link. Is it on your site, or was there supposed to be another link?
      Thanks, and meanwhile, I'll take a look at the November thread. FYI, I'll be staying near the
      ballpark, where they have the Leinenkugel brewpub, and I'll be traveling mostly by foot.

      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        Sorry, I should've looked at my
        post to see if the link made it (it
        would've taken you to an earlier
        post, not my site)...but I'll just
        copy the message here and save
        you the waiting while this whole
        board, from last March,
        here's my Phoenix report:

        I did manage to find some real food
        this land of strip malls and food
        franchises. The best was San Diego
        Bay in Guadalupe. Guadalupe is the
        historic home of Phoenix’s Latino
        population, and, in the days before
        the sprawl fueled by cheap air
        conditioning, it was a small
        community in the desert outside of
        town. It’s since been surrounded
        by the “creeping pink” of
        frighteningly homogenous
        subdivisions, but retains both it’s
        civic sovereignty and the only soul
        in the Valley of the Sun.

        San Diego Bay is run by Guadalupe
        Martinez (“Just like the town,”
        she says), a native of Ensenada
        who brings fresh seafood up from
        the Mexican coastal states of
        Guaymas and Sinaloa. I started
        with the tostada especiales, a crisp
        corn tortilla mounded with
        chopped squid, octopus, and
        shrimp that had been marinated in
        lime juice, tossed with finely
        diced cucumber and green onion,
        then drizzled with a thinned sour
        cream and topped with sliced
        avocado ($3.50!!).

        The ensalada nopalitos (another
        bargain at $2.75) was served in a
        flat, rectangular ceramic tray
        about 4 by 8 inches. Diced cactus,
        red onion, tomato, and avocado had
        been tossed with a simple,citrusy
        vinaigrette. I went with the house
        special shrimp, butterflied
        prawns stuffed with an assortment
        of chopped seafood, then wrapped
        with bacon and broiled. They were
        served in a mushroom cream sauce
        that was a bit thick, but not bad.
        My wife Judith ordered snapper
        filets al mojo de ajo, and the garlic
        sauce was thin, intensely flavored,
        and delicious.

        I didn’t try it but saw a bowl of
        one of the seafood stews go by.
        Clear broth, fresh vegetables, and
        an ocean of snapper, shrimp,
        octopus, or the combo called seven
        seas. This is definite chowhound
        destination. Across the street is a
        fruit and vegetable market with
        blood oranges, freshly smoked
        chipotle chilis, fire-roasted green
        chilis from the propane-fired
        rotating drum in the parking lot,
        and lots of other good stuff you
        won’t find in the supermarket at
        the corner strip mall. I brought
        home a dozen fresh tamales which
        I’ve got stashed in the freezer.

        I also ate at an taqueria in Tempe
        that had good tacos and barbacoa.
        Didn’t write down the name, but
        it’s right next to the REI at Priest
        and Southern Avenues.

        We went to Arizona to hike the
        Grand Canyon, and the food at the
        Phantom Ranch (in the bottom of
        the canyon and accessible only by
        foot or mule) was decent. We opted
        for stew, but the steak eaters
        (those are the only choices)
        seemed happy, too. A dinner at the
        upscale and highly touted El Tovar
        at the South Rim was
        disappointing. Overpriced and a
        little bland, I think you’re paying
        more for the historic atmosphere
        and the chance for something other
        than the feeding trough fare served
        at the other cafeterias in the Park.
        It is a very nice building, but a
        better option is breakfast.

        San Diego Bay is at 9201 Avenue
        del Yaqui in Guadalupe (south
        Phoenix, between Tempe and
        Awahtukee), phone (602) 839-

        1. re: Jim Dixon

          Thanks! I saved the page and will add it to my research materials. San Diego Bay looks to be just
          the kind of place I like.