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Phoenix Near Airport?

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  • Jim Leff Apr 12, 2000 11:47 PM
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I have a four hour layover in Phoenix airport this Sunday...any eats within range? Transportation tips? ANYTHING to turn potential hell into something chowsome?


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  1. Pizza Bianco, which is downtown, is only about 15-20 minutes by cab from the airport. May be even a quicker ride on a Sunday. Check to make sure it is open though.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Peter

      Peter, thanks, but even if it's pretty good pizza, I gotta have more local food during my one meal or I'll be a pretty depressed guy...

      1. re: Jim Leff

        Know what you mean but remember you will be in Phoenix so any good food--"local" or not is where you should head. The Mexican joints I like are in Tempe and the in Guadelupe but I thought these would be cutting it too close for the time of your layover. The one in Guadelupe is in a dicey neighborhood. Last time I was there, there was a sign in front of a municipal building requesting citizens to turn in their guns at that building.

        While Zagat's gives Pizza Bianco a huge rating, I would shave 10 points from the rating. But, it is only ok pizza, not great.

        I still think T. Cook's on Camelback is tops in Phoenix.

        1. re: Peter

          Point well taken re: local food. Deliciousness is indeed the aim.

          But...I ain't stopping in Phoenix. A story for y'all:

          I tried Priceline.com for the first time, to go from NYC to Tucson. They gave me a 7am flight out of Newark (ouch!), and had me laying over in Phoenix for FOUR HOURS(!) before a 100 mile flight to Tucson. I could drive to Tucson in under two hours, but Priceline said if I skipped that leg, they'd cancel my return flight.

          I thought this was outrageous (pretty much an undoable itinerary, if you think about it), and only after threatening to cancel my credit card charge, they agreed ("this time only!!") to cancel my whole deal. They wanted to charge me $75 for the cancellation. I told them to forget it. After much b.s., lies, and excuses, they did cancel me. I was very unhappy with the whole thing and won't use them again.

          Instead, I'm just using frequent flier miles to do this trip, and will miss Phoenix entirely.

          so thanks for the advice, everyone, but I won't be needing it this time!


          ps--if anyone wants to comment re: Priceline, please start a thread on the "Not About Food" board rather than here.

          1. re: Jim Leff
            The Rev. Canon John C. Fowler

            Dear Mr. Leff: I am glad to note that your recent plans for a trip to Phoenix did not work out. As a life-long Tucsonan (NOT Tucsonian, please), I can assure you of this: PHOENIX HAS NO DECENT PLACES TO EAT EVEN AN ACCEPTABLE MEAL and never did have, from the Arizona Biltmore to Lupe's Casa de Tortillas. I always make travel plans which avoid sleep-over or eat-over in Phoenix. You have to go on west to Gila Bend (chicken-fried steaks) or east to Picacho Peak (hamburgers with the required three trimmings of white SLICED onions, mustard [French's only], and dill pickle slices). In short, NEVER EAT OR SLEEP IN PHOENIX and you will live ten healthy years longer. I happen to know these things. Sincerely, CANON FOWLER

            1. re: The Rev. Canon John C. Fowler

              re: "chicken-fried steaks" and "hamburgers with the required three trimmings of white SLICED onions, mustard [French's only], and dill pickle slices", maybe I'm being a snob, maybe I'm a close-minded foodie, but I just can't stand this sort of fast-foodish aspect to the food scene out there (see a long rant I wrote about it via the link below).

              The stuff I really like in the Southwest is the Native American cuisine. I've never eaten a meal cooked by an Indian that I didn't love. The other cultures out there are too unsettled and rootless to cook anything great (I grew up on Long Island, which was exactly the same deal, come to think of it).

              And the best Indian cuisine I ever had was at wonderful, wonderful Yoeme Cafe in Tucson. The entire city should be severely punished for ignoring this restaurant, which has since gone out of business. It was a blessed place where every bite was magical, but the press condescended to it (Tucson Weekly had the nerve to "award" this world-class restaurant the title of 'Best Lunch Under $5' in their Best-Of issue) and the populace totally neglected it.

              So I'd actually be more likely to criticize Tucson than Phoenix. Phoenix may never have had great food, but Tucson had it and didn't care.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/writing/elpa...

              1. re: Jim Leff
                The Rev. Canon John C. Fowler

                Dear Mr. Leff: Your dismissal of chicken-fried steak (with flour pan grave, mashed potatoes, black-eye peas, and turnip green), and of the sort of hamburger I described, is to pity. I can prepare you such a hamburger tonight as to make you come back 2000 miles to eat it again. "Fast food" has nothing to do with these dishes. I am not familiar with the Yoeme restaurant you mention, though my long-time Tucson friends do not mention it to me. They simply turn over their stoves to me and I make my own food of the Sonoran Desert. In one matter you are correct. Tucson did indeed have great Mexican Food once, with no faintest admixture of Texas or New Mexico to it. Since Sonoran enchiladas have been so often mentioned on these bulletin boards, with no decent, cookable description of them, I will do you and your readers the following favor. (I had to learn myself, since I now live in Eastern Pennsylvania with its pitiful Amish and other debased cuisines.) ENCHILADAS SONORENSES (Flat corn masa Patties with Red Chile Sauce)Ingredients:2 pounds fresh corn masa 1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon baking soda1 medium potato, cooked and grated (for fluffiness)1/2 cup shredded chedar cheese (Or Have someone send you prepared masa from one Tucson's tortilla factories, if possible. It must come by air frozen.)Oil for frying (lard preferred)Garnish:1 quart salsa de chile colorado 12 dried red chiles 2 quarts water, boiling 3 tablespoons oil 1 cup garlic puree ( mashed cloves of garlic blended wih water to preferred consistency)1 teaspoon salt3 tablespoons flourDe-stem chiles, cook in boiling water until tender. Blend chiles to paste. Heat oil in large skillet, add garlic puree and flour, stir until flour browns, add chile paste, stir to boiling until iat thickens. Season with salt and thin slightly with cooking liquid.1 cup sliced green olives1 cup chopped green onions1 cup shredded, combined cheddar,

                1. re: The Rev. Canon John C. Fowler

                  Regarding hamburgers I'll stick to my story. I love a good burger, but I'm the kind of guy who orders his burgers and his pizza pretty much plain. I hate lots of gloppy stuff, as a general rule. Just my taste. And southwestern burgers sport more glop per cubic inch than any other single foodstuff in the world. Not my thing, but this is a personal taste thing, not a value judgement (I expanded on this in that article I linked to in my last posting).

                  Chicken fried steak is an issue that weighs heavily on me. I read about it for years as a kid. Jane and Michael Stern made it sound so good. And, let's face it, it's pretty much an eleven-year-old's culinary dream come true (especially if served with potatoes and followed with brownies).

                  I didn't get to Texas until the advanced age of 32, when I was already fast losing my ability to eat anything I wanted at any time I wanted (even 2 am). You know....the long goodbye to gastric invincibility.

                  For my first real chicken fried steak, I went to the right place...the best joint in Fredericksburg, the heavily German city where I figured schnitzel underpinnings (from which I assumed this dish evolved) would be closest to the surface.

                  I couldn't get through it. The first bite was fine in a heart-burning sort of way, but that cream gravy wore at me, and about 1/4 way through my dish became an obligation rather than a repast. It was days before I really got my appetite back.

                  Maybe it just wasn't the right moment for me; maybe I was overdosed on barbecue from my cross-country trip or fighting a virus or something. Or maybe this is just the kind of thing you either have to grow up with or else have a far less destructible digestive system than that with which I have to deal.

                  In spite of all this, I still dream of the stuff. Chicken fried steak in cream gravy. Mmmm. What chowhound wouldn't hearken to a phrase like that? I'm just not sure what I'd do if I had to actually finish one.

                  Thanks very much for the recipe. If you have more of 'em, I'd be delighted to post them as a special report. Please let me know via email (address above)


    2. I think San Diego Bay in Guadalupe would be within range; it's about a 20-minute cab ride from the airport. However you would need to arrange a ride back as cabs are not cruising Guadalupe. It is at the corner of Guadalupe Ave. and Ave. del Yacqui, but it does not have a sign on the street; you have to go into the shopping center there to see the sign.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jeremy

        BTW, See my Guadalupe report for more info.

        Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. re: Jeremy

          for those reading along and trying to find your report...in that report, you misspelled Guadalupe with an "e", so it won't show up in searches. Here's the URL of your report (below):

          Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...