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But the 15-year-old Chino is more than a mascot. Chino Bandido offers a unique combo of Mexican and Chinese creations atop rice, everything from chile relleno and Chinese barbecued pork to the spicy jade red chicken and pollo diablo. Burritos and quesadillas are also available, and for dessert -- cinnamon-sprinkled snickerdoodle cookies like the kind you used to get in grade school. Chino's opened another location this year in Chandler, but we think there should be a Pancho Panda on every block from sea to shining sea, or at least throughout AZ. Then it'd be a heckuva lot easier for us to quell our jade red chicken jones.
Ha! Damn, this pizza rocks!
All the place needs are some chicks in poodle skirts snapping their gum to complete the picture. Even the kids' menu chimes in with The Cunningham (pancakes), the Ralph Malph (French toast), and the Pinky Tuscadero (eggs, hash browns and bacon), although the Happy Days references are likely lost on today's adolescents.
But for the rest of us, when we pull into Fast Eddie's parking lot, we'll join in with Meat Loaf, and cry with all the nostalgia we can muster, "Hot patootie, bless my soul, I really love that rock 'n' roll!"
We dragged a friend from New York along on our deli mission. At first, she suggested we simply recommend that anyone looking for good deli food in Phoenix have it FedExed in from Carnegie Deli in Manhattan. Very funny, we said. She changed her mind after lunch at Katz Deli, where she pronounced the whitefish as good as the chopped liver (although she found it odd that the whitefish salad was orange) and gave the corned beef the New Yorker's seal of approval.
She also nodded her approval at the decor, which could have been plucked out of any one of a number of boroughs (think wood paneling and cartoons from the 1970s, along with faux-leather booths dating back at least that far). The friendly help? Now that wasn't so New York. But that was just fine with everyone.