Five Things to Eat if You're in Phoenix for the NCAA West Regionals
Welcome to Phoenix, basketball fans. We hope you're hungry.
Chris Bianco and cupcakes: welcome to Phoenix.
Claire Lawton, tammiecoe.com
Whether your team wins or loses, you'll want to break some bread. So we're here with suggestions of our favorite places to do it. For this list, we've narrowed things to central and downtown Phoenix -- but you'll still likely need a car (or a ride). Hey, it's Phoenix. We promise these spots are worth the drive. (For more dining options all over town, check out our Spring Training dining guide.) Have a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments section.
5. Anything from the Chris Bianco Empire
Whether it's the namesake dish at Pizzeria Bianco (be sure to grab wine first at Bar Bianco), fresh mozarella salad at Pane Bianco or a classic meal at his newest spot, Italian Restaurant, you can't leave town without the Bianco experience. Check out our slideshow to whet your appetite.
The inviting dining room at Barrio Cafe.
4. Steak and a Martini
Want an authentic Phoenix experience? Head to Durant's -- the best steakhouse in town. And one of the oldest. Enter through the kitchen in the back and slip into a booth. You'll soon know why we're recommending this one.
Tammie Coe on Roosevelt will tempt you with an ooey gooey cupcake any time of day (our absolute fave is the red velvet), but opt for a breakfast sandwich -- and a cupcake to go, for later. Matt's Big Breakfast always has a wait, but as you've likely seen on Food Network, it's well worth it. Or opt for a more serene meal at Province, the still-undiscovered gem (for breakfast, anyway -- we're not ready to recommend lunch or dinner) at the new(ish) Westin downtown. Can't get enough Mexican food (more on that in a sec)? Breakfast at Gallo Blanco is served all day, and it's a real (spicy) treat.
2. Soul Food
Yep, soul food. In Phoenix. Corn bread, black eyed peas, even Kool Aid in a mason jar. You can't go wrong with Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe or LoLo's Chicken and Waffles -- LoLo, or Larry, is Mrs. White's grandson, and they both make an incredible plate of fried chicken. In the mood for BBQ? Head over to Stacy's Smokehouse. No relation to the Whites, but this guy can cook, too.
1. Mexican Food
Well, duh, but where? For tacos -- and a killer salsa bar, with up to a dozen flavors, including pecan! -- hit La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop. Or you can't go wrong with a dose of Vitamin T (for tequila and tacos) from chef Aaron May, walking distance from the arena. Juan's is the place for a basic, awesome Sonoran-style meal. Going fancy? Try cele-chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's Barrio Cafe for tableside guacamole and amazing mole, Mexico City-style. Or wander the aisles at Pro's Ranch Market, an incredible grocery store with everything from agua frescas (fresh fruit juice, think cantaloupe or honeydew) to case after case of Mexican baked goods. Or drive south to the original Los Dos Molinos (skip the mini chain's other locations) for a gorgeous setting and the hottest New Mexican-style dishes you've ever tried. Wash it down with a margarita (or three). And call a cab.
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