When I read Sunday's Los Angeles Times article on L.A. Dodger and Phoenix native Andre Ethier's love of hole-in-the-wall joints and trendy spots in the Valley, I can't say I was all that surprised.
During the regular season last year, I saw the outfielder, Gold Glover, and former ASU student having breakfast at the Hangar Cafe, the tucked-away breakfast and lunch spot in the Chandler Municipal Airport and near to his winter ranch home. (That evening, against the Diamondbacks, Ethier got hurt.)
According to the Times, Ethier's second passion, after baseball, is restaurants, especially those with an ethnic flair. And his new favorite is in Chandler's historic district -- the Thai eatery Latitude Eight, where Ethier is quoted as calling it, "the best Thai food in Phoenix," on the day he signed a new $11 million contract with the Dodgers.
Ethier also dished on a few other of his favorite Valley restaurants, and surprisingly, Pizzeria Bianco isn't one of them.
In the Times article, Ethier gives props to four of his favorite dining spots in the Valley. Here's what he had to say about each of them:
House of Tricks, Tempe "It's a little house right near the [Arizona State] campus; they do a really nice job with their dishes."
Tuck Shop, Phoenix "They're trying to re-invent the meatball or re-invent meatloaf. It's a real nice, modern, new age place. Has a great warm feeling; you sit at a communal table."
Rito's, Phoenix "It has the best green and red chili burritos and the best refried beans I've ever had . . . You sit on the picnic tables out front."
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Cibo, Downtown Phoenix "It's probably 10 blocks from the baseball stadium. They have an unbelievable patio; certain nights, they have a guy playing music."
Ethier's $11 million contract can certainly afford to buy him his fair share of good eats, but it looks like when it comes to dining options in the Valley, he doesn't plan on spending his dollars on the award-winning pizzas at Pizzeria Bianco.
The Times article quotes Ethier as saying, "I don't like that [it doesn't] allow takeout, [it doesn't] allow reservations. You can tell me it's the best thing in the world, and I wouldn't wait that long."