Gayle Shanks' Perfect Food Day

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Gayle Shanks is co-owner of Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. We're big fans of Changing Hands. Shanks is an expert bookseller and all that, but a girl's gotta eat, right? We want to know where. She gave us her take on food: "I love food that is fresh and locally grown and cooked in creative ways. I never go to chain restaurants and am always seeking out new food experiences but find that I return again and again to my favorite restaurants, the places I love and where I take out of town guests."

Here is her perfect food day:

Breakfast: My drive to the bookstore in the morning always takes me by Steve's Espresso on McClintock & Baseline where Drew the barista knows exactly what I want when I walk through the door--a Small Double Latte with whole milk.

f I haven't eaten breakfast I pop next door to the Wildflower Bread Company for two eggs, nine grain toast, double toasted and a side of arugula. If I'm driving into Phoenix my favorite breakfast is at Gallo Blanco Café at the Clarendon Hotel. I love their Chilaquiles Verdes--a beautiful pile of crispy tortillas layered with veggies, queso Oaxaca, and green chile sauce, topped with two over medium eggs. Sometimes I have it for lunch as they serve breakfast all day. I also love their ceviche made with shrimp, avocados, jicama and delicious spices and tomatoes. If the weather is nice my favorite outdoor spot for breakfast is at the Farm in South Phoenix. I love that you can sit and see the produce growing in Maya's Garden while you eat and drink mimosas.

Lunch: If I'm on the east side of town my favorite lunch spot is Cyclo in Chandler. I love their Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup) with bean sprouts and a side of fresh herbs to throw in it. And the Tom Rang Hat Tieu--Black Pepper Shrimp with strange crunchy crackers--is delicious, too. They have great veggies-- Spicy Garlic Green Beans, stir fried bok choy, two of my favorites.

Dinner: For dinner I have two favorite restaurants--House of Tricks and Caffé Boa, both in downtown Tempe. I love the butternut squash ravioli at Boa and Tricks' fish dishes, always fresh, always mixed with curious combinations of veggies, grains, spices. Again, if the weather is nice, Tricks' patio is the most beautiful place to sit and visit with your friends. They have a superb wine list and I think the Caesar salad is consistently the best Caesar that I have ever eaten.

Between Meal Snacks: I love gelato and I think my current favorite place to buy it, outside of Tuscany where I just spent a week, is Angel Sweet in Chandler. I taste lots of flavors and seem to land on a coffee and chocolate combo every time.

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