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Mrs White's Golden Rule Cafe

 808 E Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ
 

soul food? in Phoenix?

Eat here, you won’t be sorry. Unless you don’t like soul food. In which case I pity you. The food is amazing and the portions are so big that when you’re done you’re sure your stomach will burst.

The bad part? Every time I go, they always seem to run out of the good stuff like greens before the lunch/post game rush is over. And, oh yeah, did I mention it was near enough to the stadium that you can hear how the game is going for the Diamondbacks?

fried chicken

Eat this. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

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carly's bistro

 128 E Roosevelt St
Phoenix, AZ
 

it's more an art house than a restaurant

The walls are covered in art from local artists and there’s good live music on Saturdays, Sundays, and most Fridays; but the food has been a little hit and miss for me. Stuff that sounds good to me on the menusometimes isn’t and stuff that doesn’t sound good often is. It’s worth the risk for a place that’s so outside the norm for Phoenix.

No separate checks. We found that out the hard way when everybody brought credit and nobody brought cash.

Greek panini

Tampenade, tomatos, feta, spinach on bread. It was a little bland and in dire need of some roasted lamb but still reasonably tasty.

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Calabria Italian Deli

 1001 N 3rd Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

a proper Italian deli

It’s an off shoot of their family’s deli in Boston, MA. It has a bunch of imported Italian goodies like prosciutto and pastas, but not as much as I’d sometimes like and every time I’ve been there, there wasn’t enough seats to sit down and eat.my munchies.

The food is tasty and plentiful, though. They don’t skimp on the meat in their subs the way some chain sub shops named after underground trains do.

lasagna

Big piece of cheese lasagna in a spicy tomato sauce. Imported cheese, and probably the noodles and sauce as well. Totally delicious.

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Portland's

 105 W Portland St
Phoenix, AZ
 

it's a wine bar that masquerades as a restaurant

It’s pizza and burgers and a few entrees and deserts, nothing challenging or offensive and everything’s tasty and not especially expensive.

But it’s all wrapped in the tinsel of the modern architecture revival that’s been popular for the last few years. It just seems like just another faceless, mid-priced place to eat. And it would be if it weren’t for the silly pretension of a “wine bar.”

Ugh, I like wine but elevating it to the level of fetishism is just absurd to me. Wine is something you drink with food. In this place the food seems more like it was added to complement the wine selection.

salmon

The menu said something like “sustainably farmed” or some such thing. The menu description wasn’t as creepily excessive as some places I’ve seen, but I’m rather more concerned about how good the food tastes than where it comes from.

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Blue Fin

 1401 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

unpretentious japanese yummies

I know sushi isn’t exotic anymore, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty. Only four different kinds on the menu, though, and only one involves sashimi so it’s not the place to go if raw fish is your thing.

It is a very inexpensive place to eat. Everything on the menu is under $10, with most of it a lot less than that. They have a limited set of vegetarian items, but they’re clearly marked on the menu.

It has also been around pretty much forever, is family owned, and everything on the menu is good. Everything. Unless you’re allergic to shellfish or something like that, then you might disagree. But, hey, it’s your own fault for having unfortunate genetics.

tuna roll

Six good sized pieces of sushi made from raw tuna and fish eggs for about $3. How do they make money on this?

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Thai Hut

 101 E Mcdowell Rd
Phoenix, AZ
 

Good Thai food

I’d been looking for a Thai place for a while. And by “looking,” I mean “hoping to stumble on” rather than looking one up in the phone book or something that would actually guarantee me Thai food.

If I had to explain my mystical methods for finding good places to eat, they’d probably stop working, so I won’t explain them.

Anyway, the lunch menu is rather limited and if you want anything other than chicken it’ll cost you $2 extra. But you can get squid along with the usual pork, beef, and shrimp.

The dinner menu is extensive. It’s organized like a Chinese food place where you order by the number, but with Thai food. There’s ingredients like bamboo shoots and . If you’ve never tried Thai before, just pick a couple numbers at random between the appetizers and the desserts. It’s tough to be disappointed.

They don’t have bubble tea, though, as far as I know. What kind of Thai place doesn’t do bubble tea?

fried banana with ice cream

It’s battered and fried banana with their homemade coconut ice cream. Banana and coconut. In hot and cold. If you don’t like this kind of stuff I probably don’t want to know you.

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Crazy Jim’s Downtown

 305 W Washington St, Ste 104
Phoenix, AZ
 

Greek sitdown or takeout

They do pizza and burgers and American-style breakfast, but it’s mostly good Greek food. The wine is a little ordinary, but not expensive and good for the price, and they only have one good beer (Fat Tire) on the menu, but I was more interested in the food. It’s a big menu and I think they try to create as many dishes as they can and get as much out of their set of ingredients as possible. And they manage a lot of very nice food.

dolmathes

The inclusion of “ground meat” always makes me wonder what kind of meat is it that they’re unwilling to tell us. I was told it’s usually lamb but sometimes beef, depending on what’s available. It was good, whatever it was.

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Aztec Bakery

 416 N 7th Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

It's a Mexican bakery

A friend told me that they probably do regular food, too, since they also sell tortillas and whatnot, but every time I go here I get tunnel vision for the sweets they sell.

Minus a star because it looks a little scary from the outside, like I’m never sure it’s still open until someone comes out the front door with a box of nibbles and good smells.

empanada

I think they’re about a dollar, I’m not entirely sure. I usually just get a bunch of everything that’s still warm when I walk in the door. $20 gets you a lot of goodies. The empanada are my favorites, though.

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Palatte

 606 N 4th Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

Tough to get a good mimosa for breakfast.

I do question their use of the phrase “sparkling champagne” on the menu particularly when they claim a “French flair.” I mean, I’ve seen a Frenchman froth at the mouth when someone called a new world sparkling wine “champagne,” but he was in America and may have just been a wine nut. But I digress.

The food here is very good, and not too expensive considering how special this place feels. Eventually I’ll keep my promise to myself and eat dinner here.

mimosa

Champagne and orange juice. For breakfast.

Decadent.

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Cibo Urban Pizzeria Café

 603 N 5th Ave
Phoenix, AZ
 

Okay place for lunch.

But a better place for dinner.

It’s a great place to sit outside late on a spring evening downtown once the city has cooled off some and munch on really good pizza. I just don’t like going to lunch here, though. There’s nothing wrong with the food or the service, it just doesn’t feel right to me somehow. Like life’s too hurried to sit down and enjoy this place properly at lunch time.

Not as busy as Pizzeria Bianco, but the pizza isn’t quite as good, either.

Margherita pizza

Pretty good. Maybe too much cheese and not enough sauce for my taste, but good none the less.

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