Ask the Critic: Where Can I Grab Lunch on My Way to the Airport?

Looking for a place to eat on your way to (or from) Sky Harbor that won't break the bank, that'll won't throw off your schedule, and that isn't a fast-food joint?

Join the crowd. I've gotten more requests for suggestions on this front than just about any other restaurant-related question, and I'm happy to oblige.

If you're coming from downtown, there are already a few spots in that area that make multitasking a cinch. For instance, the quick counter service at Verde, where they make tasty homemade tortillas, makes for a great pitstop. Likewise, Duck & Decanter makes mouthwatering sandwiches (I love the D.A.M. Sandwich with pulled pork and coleslaw) in a flash, thanks to its brisk lunch biz, and if you're so time-crunched that you need something good to go, grab one of the ready-to-eat sandwiches or salads at tiny little Tammie Coe Cakes on Roosevelt.

Heading east to the airport, how about Pro's Ranch Market (location #3) at Roosevelt and 16th Street? If you have time to sit down, the full-service Tradiciones is decent, but you can also sample ceviche, tortas, enchiladas, and all kinds of other Mexican fare in the grocery store's sprawling food court. Not to mention, the vibe is so lively that it'll put you in a good mood. Phoenix is lucky to have this place.

Also a stone's throw from Sky Harbor is Baiz Market (on 20th, north of Van Buren), where the in-house restaurant, Al-Hana, serves delicious Middle Eastern food -- shawarma, hummus, fresh-out-of-the-oven pita, and more. 

And for a taste of Asia, head to COFCO Chinese Cultural Center -- you can take your pick of Szechuan (Szechuan Palace), Shanghai-style (Lao Ching Hing), dim sum (Golden Buddha), or quick stirfried, roast duck, and boba from the counter inside Super L Ranch Market.