TNNA Convention 2012: Where to eat in Phoenix

One of the great things about Phoenix is our light rail that was strategically laid out to run past all the cool places to eat in Phoenix. Here I will highlight four of my late night favorites that are all just a short ride away. (Click on the name of the place to be taken to their website.)

Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen

A mexican restaurant with history and a signature style all its own. You can’t help but smile when you walk into Macayo’s. The food starts luring you in from the parking lot. Festive colors and happy native music sets the stage for a great time. It is not unusual for people to get full off the freshly made chips and salsa and decide to take their order to-go. A landmark that Arizona is very proud of.

Why I like it: Chips and salsa. The moment that salsa touched my lips, it was my baptism into the religion that is southwest cooking. And their fried ice cream is a religious experience.

Food recommendation: Beef tamales in red sauce and green corn tamales in baja sauce.

Drink recommendation: Prickly Pear margarita on the rocks.

Yarn recommendation: Break out the variegated yarns and the fun fur.

Durant’s

As a 60-year-old steakhouse, Durant’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an institution. It was my college professors from the Theater department that first introduced me to this place. Here, the entrance is in the back and you walk through the kitchen to  get to your table. It’s not uncommon to walk up to the bar and hear two people discussing the works of Ernest Hemingway or Harold Pinter. As serious as Durant’s may look on the inside, they don’t take themselves too serioulsy. Very relaxed and friendly, it’s the place to go to unwind.

Why I like it: I feel so grown up every time I go there. (And I seem to sound smarter too.) Their “Trey of Creme Brulee” is a right of passage.

Food recommendation: Crab cakes with Chipotle Aioli

Drink recommendation: Dirty martini

Yarn  recommendation: That Angora and mink blend you have will feel right at home here.

Switch Restaurant and Bar

If Durant’s feels a bit too stuffy and old-school for you, you need only to walk a few steps to the swank little place right next door called Switch. Designed with a spacious dinning room along with club chairs and couches, Switch is the place where the cool kids go.

Why I like it: It looks hip without the feeling of people looking down their nose at you. And the bartender makes on of the best Toasted Almonds I’ve ever had.

Food recommendation: Sonoran Beef Short Ribs

Drink Recommendation: Blueberry Cosmos

Yarn Recommendation: I suggest a chunky yarn in a lush color like plum or blood-red.

George & Dragon English Restaurant and Pub

Yes, this may be the southwest, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some international style. The GnD  has been around for over 15 years.  They are well-known for serving up traditional homemade British fare and imported pints of stout and lager. While in Phoenix, if you suddenly find yourself craving bangers and mash, this is where you need to be.

Why I like it: It’s British food, what’s not to love! The wooden tables and rustic decor makes me feel like going all medieval on my fish and chips.

Food recommendation: Corned beef and cabbage or their award-winning fish and chips.

Drink recommendation: $1.00 shooters with a pint. Enough said!

Yarn recommendation: Fisherman’s wool and anything being made in the colors of the british flag.

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