Spring Training Eats: Old Town Scottsdale

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As Cactus League games are just kicking in, people who obsess about baseball as much as this restaurant critic obsesses about food are finding themselves with rumbling bellies, wondering what places to hit up in the vicinity of their favorite spring training ballparks. 

Not in the mood to fill up on hot dogs, brats, fries, and peanuts every day? Need some recommendations? 

You've come to the right place. I've got a handful of must-tries for each part of town, and will be blogging about them here, continuing next week.

First up is Downtown Scottsdale, perhaps the most touristy place in town because of its relative walkability (particularly Old Town), and also home to an incredible assortment of restaurants. Just about anywhere else in the Valley, you'd better expect to drive, but here, you can hit up quite a few spots on foot if you're in the orbit of Scottsdale Stadium. 

The Mission, a swanky spot for cocktails and upscale Mexican, does a great Mexican brunch and has a decadent brisket torta on the lunch menu. At dinner time and later, it's quite a scene. A bit south of here, on Scottsdale Road (hop in the car), Los Sombreros has outstanding mole poblano, slow-roasted pork carnitas, and expertly-crafted margaritas.

FnB has the most buzz in these parts, with national accolades from Food + Wine for its farm-fresh American cuisine, while nearby Citizen Public House is the neighborhood newcomer with an eclectic gastropub menu (think pork belly pastrami with spaetzle and sauerkraut).

Early birds can fill up at bustling morning haunts like The Breakfast Club, where Belgian waffles and giant omelets rule, or The Orange Table, where the pace is leisurely (read: slow) but the green flannel hash and buttermilk pancakes are worth the wait. 

Meanwhile, night owls can get a late-night bite at rustic French spot Petite Maison, which extends its hours to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, or at Posh, where chef Joshua Hebert whips up Thursday late night specials in addition to the creative "improvisational cuisine" that he serves during regular dinner hours.

And if you're just indecisive, head to SouthBridge, where you can take your pick of upscale Italian (Marcellino), Spanish (Tapas Papa Frita), American (The Herb Box).

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