One thing that will make the transition from Pasadena to Phoenix doable is the fact that La Grande Orange and its family of restaurants originated there. There’s no Luggage Room yet, but hopefully some day…
Nonetheless, there is a spot called Chelsea’s Kitchen that I hoped would please me and ease me. The menu even sported the same font and design as the aforementioned restaurants, almost as though to get me excited about Chelsea’s Kitchen.
Breweries are the best, right? And they typically have awesome food. That’s why I was pretty excited to find out Phoenix was getting a new brewery called Helio Basin and tried to make my way there at the first opportunity. Plus, it didn’t hurt that I had a connection at the place and wanted to show some support.
When you name a restaurant Grassroots, you have to assume that meat lovers will be fearful. Aside from awesome 60s music, the name evokes a hippy dippy vegan spot. Yet, it is anything but. Sure, this Scottsdale spot caters to the veggie-loving crowd, but it caters to unvegans no less so. Plus, let’s not forget that it does harken to the 60s music crowd.
Chicken and Waffles isn’t just for Roscoe’s. In fact, in the Phoenix area it’s pretty much synonymous with Lo-Lo’s. Lo-Lo’s House of Chicken and Waffles, that is. For a place with “Hood Classics” as a section of the menu, Lo-Lo’s is surprisingly nice and clean inside, compared to the old beat up diner style of Roscoe’s. Nonetheless, there was plenty on the menu calling my name.
On a quest for a good burger I found myself at Twisted Grove in Scottsdale speaking with a hostess. She said something about the fact that they did not have a burger to speak of. Yet, as I began to walk to the exit, she said they did have an amazing tri tip sandwich. Like any good unvegan, I turned back around and took a seat at an open table.
On the way out of Scottsdale, we made our way to a place called Culinary Dropout. I assume the allusion is to dropping out of culinary school, which might not be the best allusion. Yet, it can certainly be trusted as it is a part of the Fox Restaurant Group, which has basically taken over the Valley of the Sun. One might expect a place like this to have food way outside of the box, and while some things are unique, there aren’t really any headscratchers on the menu. This was fine by me as long as the execution was great.
In a land of perpetual drought (Arizona), there is a place that dares put cucumber slices in its water, thus ruining its precious resource. That place is O.H.S.O. in Arcadia, Scottsdale and while scholars maintain that the meaning behind O.H.S.O. was lost thousands of years ago, today it means a few things. One is biking, another is dogs, yet another is brewery and finally it also represents brunch.
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.