Best of Phoenix®

Best Of 2002

Neighborhoods

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  • + Central Phoenix
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  • + East Phoenix
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  • + Gilbert
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  • + Litchfield Park
  • + Mesa
  • + Nevada
  • + New River
  • + North Phoenix
  • + North Scottsdale
  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside the Valley
  • + Palo Verde
  • + Paradise Valley
  • + Peoria
  • + Queen Creek
  • + South Phoenix
  • + South Scottsdale
  • + Sun City
  • + Surprise
  • + Tempe
  • + Tolleson
  • + Unknown
  • + Waddell
  • + West Phoenix
  • + Youngtown
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Megalopolitan Life

La Vida

Food & Drink

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Best Of :: La Vida

Best Mexican Seafood

Sometimes we wonder if we've gotten boring when, year after year, we award the same "Best of" designation to the same restaurant. But when the category is Mexican seafood, and the restaurant is San Carlos Bay, we know we'll never apologize for the repetition.

How does this tiny, white stucco shop keep in stock such an ocean of riches? Who cares, as long as it keeps enough on hand for us -- the sparkling fresh shrimp, octopus, squid, abalone, oysters, snapper and crab. Such choice of preparation, too -- will our seafood be in a cocktail, in a stew, hot and spicy marinated, baked, machaca with green chiles, in garlic sauce, whole and fried, or breaded? We know our absolute favorite is the buttery garlic octopus, served atop French fries with rice, beans, salad and soft flour tortillas. But it's also the whole fried snapper, torn in fleshy chunks from the bone, wrapped in warm tortillas, spread with creamy beans and rice, then dunked in zingy salsa. Each visit is an adventure.

San Carlos Bay -- no matter how many years go by, you'll always be new and beautiful to us.

Readers Choice

BEST SPANISH LANGUAGE TV/RADIO PERSONALITY
Johnny Dilone (Mas Channel 55)
480-607-9222

BEST SOUTHWESTERN RESTAURANT
Z'Tejas Grill
several Valley locations

BEST SALSA
Macayo's
several Valley locations

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT
Garduño's Margarita Factory
8787 North Scottsdale Road,
Scottsdale

BEST MARGARITA
Garduño's Margarita Factory
BEST TEQUILA SELECTION
Garduño's Margarita Factory

Readers Choice

BEST SPANISH LANGUAGE TV/RADIO PERSONALITY
Johnny Dilone (Mas Channel 55)
480-607-9222

BEST SOUTHWESTERN RESTAURANT
Z'Tejas Grill
several Valley locations

BEST SALSA
Macayo's
several Valley locations

BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT
Garduño's Margarita Factory
8787 North Scottsdale Road,
Scottsdale

BEST MARGARITA
Garduño's Margarita Factory
BEST TEQUILA SELECTION
Garduño's Margarita Factory

Best Pi?ata Shop

There's no better way to relieve stress than to bash the shit out of someone with a large stick, and you can do this legally at Reyna's Party Place. With a few days' advance notice, and for around $25, Reyna's people can provide you with a custom-made piata -- just bring in a photo or a description of the character you would like to create. Stuff the offender with tiny plastic airplane bottles of scotch and beat your papier-mâché nemesis into a newsprint-and-crepe-paper pulp. Reyna's also rents bouncy castles, helium tanks, tables, chairs and other festive necessities, including mini-handcuffs and stink bombs.

Best Piata Shop

There's no better way to relieve stress than to bash the shit out of someone with a large stick, and you can do this legally at Reyna's Party Place. With a few days' advance notice, and for around $25, Reyna's people can provide you with a custom-made piñata -- just bring in a photo or a description of the character you would like to create. Stuff the offender with tiny plastic airplane bottles of scotch and beat your papier-mâché nemesis into a newsprint-and-crepe-paper pulp. Reyna's also rents bouncy castles, helium tanks, tables, chairs and other festive necessities, including mini-handcuffs and stink bombs.

Best Curandero O Brujo

Boss on your case? Feeling hexed? If you're in need of a quick spell removal -- or a spell installation, for that matter -- Las Potencias Africanas might be able to help. The small storefront next to the Azteca Cafe offers just about anything you might need for a self-help take on the ancient Catholic-and-African-fused method of Santeria -- including its darker cousin, Palo Mayombe. Some practices might call for frog legs and dried hummingbirds, so it's a good thing it has them on hand. Plus it has original artwork by local Latino artists, incense, religious items, soaps, candles and music, along with readings of tarot cards and chamalango (coconut shells). And just to round out your expertise, there are even classes available in spiritual candle- and soap-making, for the more advanced spell-it-yourselfers.

Best Curandero O Brujo

Boss on your case? Feeling hexed? If you're in need of a quick spell removal -- or a spell installation, for that matter -- Las Potencias Africanas might be able to help. The small storefront next to the Azteca Cafe offers just about anything you might need for a self-help take on the ancient Catholic-and-African-fused method of Santeria -- including its darker cousin, Palo Mayombe. Some practices might call for frog legs and dried hummingbirds, so it's a good thing it has them on hand. Plus it has original artwork by local Latino artists, incense, religious items, soaps, candles and music, along with readings of tarot cards and chamalango (coconut shells). And just to round out your expertise, there are even classes available in spiritual candle- and soap-making, for the more advanced spell-it-yourselfers.

Best Yerberia

Long before it became popular to take homeopathic remedies, Mexicans have used herbs as a natural, ceremonial alternative to traditional medicine. The problem is finding the yerberia that supplies just what you're looking for. But for an inexpensive cure to your every ailment, Yerberia San Francisco is a one-stop homeopathic shop. Stomach hurt? Some yerba buena (or "good herb," otherwise known as peppermint tea) will soothe that pain. Baby crying and won't let you sleep? Try some manzanilla tea with honey. Ear ringing? How about some ruda herb wrapped in a paper tissue and placed in your ear for 24 hours? You'll also find jars and jars of other herbs, along with dried snakes, and religious and ceremonial items that are used in traditional healing. There are eight locations throughout the Valley.

Best Yerberia

Long before it became popular to take homeopathic remedies, Mexicans have used herbs as a natural, ceremonial alternative to traditional medicine. The problem is finding the yerberia that supplies just what you're looking for. But for an inexpensive cure to your every ailment, Yerberia San Francisco is a one-stop homeopathic shop. Stomach hurt? Some yerba buena (or "good herb," otherwise known as peppermint tea) will soothe that pain. Baby crying and won't let you sleep? Try some manzanilla tea with honey. Ear ringing? How about some ruda herb wrapped in a paper tissue and placed in your ear for 24 hours? You'll also find jars and jars of other herbs, along with dried snakes, and religious and ceremonial items that are used in traditional healing. There are eight locations throughout the Valley.

Best Latino Gay Dance Club

From 10-inch heels to cowboy boots, you can find it all at Paco Paco. Gay or straight, you can dance to the beat of Shakira, Ricky Martin and cumbias all night long Tuesdays through Sundays, usually for just a $3 cover. The dance floor is small but often packed tight with a lively crowd jamming to the techno beat of the latest Spanish hits. Plus the bar is long, the music is always loud and driving, the barstools are squeezed together tight and the crowd is usually all Latino. If you ask us, that's more than enough to make Paco Paco a good bet for a love connection.

Best Latino Gay Dance Club

From 10-inch heels to cowboy boots, you can find it all at Paco Paco. Gay or straight, you can dance to the beat of Shakira, Ricky Martin and cumbias all night long Tuesdays through Sundays, usually for just a $3 cover. The dance floor is small but often packed tight with a lively crowd jamming to the techno beat of the latest Spanish hits. Plus the bar is long, the music is always loud and driving, the barstools are squeezed together tight and the crowd is usually all Latino. If you ask us, that's more than enough to make Paco Paco a good bet for a love connection.

Best Latino Drag Club
Club Zarape

Better get some extra padding for that black lace outfit! Seedy, dark, loud and desperately in need of a face-lift, Club Zarape is home to beautiful, campy drag shows that are a blast to watch. On weekends, a cover charge gets you in to dance to cumbias, salsa, mambo, Tejano or just about anything else that gets you going. Or you can just sit back and enjoy a stage show featuring fake Latin divas like Shakira and Paulina Rubio. It's always jammed, and for our money a trip to Zarape is most fun with a group of friends. Just give your straight guy friends this word of caution: The stunning, beautifully dressed and perfectly made-up women are not quite women.

1730 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 85006
MAP
480-946-0416
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Best Mexican Seafood: San Carlos Bay Seafood Restaurant

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