Over in Old Town Scottsdale is a spot that has Scottsdale written all over it. It’s called Cowboy Ciao and is kind of a blend of the cowboy-ness of the area and the hoity-toity as well. After a quick look at the menu, I realized that with a few slight changes to the menu I would love to eat just about everything. That is, because just about everything had a hint of vegetable to please the “ciao” crowd in addition to the “cowboy” crowd.
After landing in Phoenix, the wife and I were in need of some food. She likes pickles and I like pigs, so we stopped at a place called Pig & Pickle. With a name like that, you could probably guess that it was trendy, hipsterish and had some sort of deviled eggs. Well, at least the first two are right, but I suspect deviled eggs will make their way onto the menu at some point. The menu had a nice variety of piggy items and even a few that weren’t if that’s not your thing.
After a failed attempt to visit a Detroit Coney-style restaurant in Phoenix, we made our way to The Chuck Box in Tempe. This was by no means a lesser choice because The Chuck Box is a local legend, just an unanticipated one. When we arrived, the place was nearly empty. Although being as early as we were this was not a surprise, yet there was still a smell char-grilling in the air and a ragtag group of guys looking to take an order.
When on a quest for more food in Phoenix/Scottsdale, we unsurprisingly found ourselves at another Mexican restaurant. This should not come as a surprise because nearly every restaurant in Phoenix is Mexican, but this was another classic: La Fonda Del Sol. The name means something or another about the sun, and once again I found myself face-to-face with burros instead of burritos.
While Phoenix has Pizzeria Bianco, it isn’t exactly a city known for its pizza. This may be because pizza isn’t exactly what you crave on a super-hot day, yet Phoenix has managed to import Chicago-style deep dish through Oregano’s and New York style pizza with Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s does coal brick oven pizza and actually started out in New York so I was expecting it to be pretty good.
As one might expect, Phoenix is known for having some delicious Mexican food. One of these supposedly good Mexican spots is Tee Pee, which opened in 1958 and predates approximately every resident of the state of Arizona. Having been around since forever, Tee Pee not only has a wide variety of Mexican food, but also some American mixed in. None of these is more American than the Cheese Crisp.
After a fruitless attempt to grab happy hour down in Scottsdale town, we consulted a nifty little thing called NoWaitApp and found out we could get seated immediately at The Vig in McCormick Ranch and made our way there. The Vig seemed to be a combination of trendy and sports bar-esque food that was right up my alley. So far up, in fact, that I had to consult the waitress before choosing what to order.
Sedona isn’t exactly a fancy-pants place. It’s more for new agers and outdoorsy people than those who prefer to put on a suit and tie every day. So when we told a couple different people we were celebrating our marriage up there, they all suggested eating at Cucina Rustica in the Village of Oak Creek, which was apparently the place to go for such things. As evidenced by its name, Cucina Rustica is an Italian place with a fair variety of options at slightly pricey, but mostly reasonable prices considering the place is for tourists.
They say you either pay for the food, or you pay for the view. Or at least I do. It means that restaurants with a great view often have pretty bad food. It might not always be the case, but we definitely put that theory to the test at Canyon Breeze in Sedona. Without a doubt, it had an awesome view, but the food is another story entirely.
“My Other Ride Has Tits,” says the back of a man’s bright orange muscle shirt. That’s how you know you’re in a special part of Scottsdale, a place where Arizona cultures collide. It’s called Greasewood Flat and the parking lot is filled with Lexuses and motorcycles. Suit-types and the type that wear the shirt above bump elbows here to get a bite of their famous burgers. It looks more suited for cowboys, but maybe we, a bunch of guys out to lunch before my wedding, are just the cowboys of the new old west.