San Franciso Giants: Scottsdale Stadium
Seeing a game at Scottsdale Stadium? Lucky you. Not only is it a beautiful little stadium (not the newest, not the biggest, but a sentimental favorite), you are without a doubt in the best ballpark 'hood when it comes to drinking and dining options. We could fill a long list of places where you can't go wrong -- here are just a few to get you started.
Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles It might be too early for red velvet cake, but it's never too early for waffles - which are served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and late into the night) at Lo-Lo's. This is no light nosh (even if you do skip dessert), but, man, is it good. Along with the namesake menu items, the cake and red Kool-Aid in a glass jar, you'll find enough traditional Southern fixings - cornbread, black eyed peas, cabbage, and so on - to satisfy Paula Deen. And you'll get a chuckle out of your friends when you tell them you ate soul food in Scottsdale.
Old Town Scottsdale has always been home to a big party scene, but lately it's become a haven for foodies, too, thanks in no small part to Pavle Milic and Charleen Badman (front of the house and chef, respectively) and their little restaurant, FnB. Badman's leeks landed on a best-dishes list in Bon Apetit a while back, and the rest is history. (Call way ahead for a reservation during spring training because FnB's open only for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.) Lately, Milic and Badman have branched out - around the corner and down the street to a somewhat hidden, super-cool courtyard spot that features three (count 'em) little businesses: Bodega (a tiny market featuring a constant rotation of Badman's favorite ingredients - last week, the lineup included jars of her own preserved lemons, produce from McClendon Farms, and treats from local purveyor Super Chunk Treats & Sweets); Arizona Wine Merchants (self-explanatory); and Baratin, a small cafe serving ever-changing dishes - a salad, a "veg," a sandwich, a sweet every day - in a casual setting.
Posh Improvisational Cuisine
Chef Josh Hebert does improv every night. No worries, this isn't bad comedy. It's very, very good food. You might have to eat ballpark hot dogs for the rest of your meals during spring training - the multi-course meals at Posh don't come cheap - but this will be a dinner to remember. Each diner is asked to check off a list of foods he or she does not care for, and to list a few favorites. From that, Hebert makes your meal. Not for the faint of heart - or stomach.
Old Town Whiskey
Iron Chef Jose Garces hit Scottsdale hard this season with three wonderful new concepts inside The Saguaro, a new boutique hotel in Old Town: Distrito (Central Mexican fare, still working out a few kinks, in our critic's estimation); Garces Trading Company (a postage stamp of a coffee shop); and Old Town Whiskey, the local version of his Philadelphia-based Village Whiskey. This third spot is where you need to head for drinks after (or before, we're not judging) the game. Maybe even during, if it's a boring inning - OTW is walking distance from Scottsdale Stadium. The décor in Garces' newest watering hole is to die for - all whiskey-hued (get it?) browns and soft lighting in glasses you'll want to take home. The food's good if you want a nosh. And as you might imagine, the spirits list is beyond comprehensive.