Going solo in PHX

19 Oct

Traveling without Alex is boring on so many levels. Of course I miss having a companion to talk to, but I mostly miss having someone to share great food with.  Alex and I love to drive around scoping out the best restaurants, sometimes trying up to 4-5 places in a day! And we always order a small smorgasbord of food for sharing so we can each taste a variety of different dishes. So when I had to travel to Phoenix all by myself last week for work, I definitely felt a little void in my…stomach.  Going to a different city and only eating 3 square meals, ordering just one entree per meal, is no fun.  Here is a recap of my eating adventures:

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The hotel/casino I stayed at had a 24/7 diner! If Alex were here, we definitely would have frequented this place more often.  You can’t pass up this breakfast special for only $3.99!  I ate here everyday.  Two eggs over easy, hashbrowns, sausage/bacon/ham, and toast.

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My boss took our team out for lunch everyday.  Pita Jungle is her favorite restaurant in the area. We started off with an order of red pepper hummus and it was surprisingly delicious! And apparently you can’t go anywhere without finding a big bottle of Sriracha, now a hot sauce staple (move aside Tabasco).

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I ordered a Lavosh Shawarma Wrap.  Grilled marinated chicken breast, tomatoes, onions, garlic sauce, wrapped in Lavosh bread and wood-fired.  Served with a side of Greek salad.  Really really good.  I need to try to recreate that….Alex would love it.

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My absolute favorite meal was at Cornish Pasty Co.  Although we had to order take-out due to our busy work schedules that day, the atmosphere of the restaurant/bar was really cool and I wish we would’ve had the chance to eat there.  Cornish pasties originated in Southwest England sometime in the 1200’s.  It’s background story sounds much like how the Pittsburgh Primanti’s sandwich began.  Miner’s wives baked lunches inside a pastry crust to miners could eat the meal easily. Blah blah blah.  Let’s just move on to the pasty itself.

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The best way I could describe this is that it looks like a stromboli on the outside but when you bite into it you are pleasantly greeted with a buttery flaky crust instead of pizza dough.  The fillings can vary.  I ordered the Shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes, ground lamb, cheddar cheese, peas and carrots, served with a red wine gravy.  My colleagues ordered other fillings like bangers and mash, and chicken alfredo.
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You can’t leave Arizona without having at least one Mexican meal.  My colleague suggested Macayo’s which is located right next to a gas station, definite curb appeal.  The service we received at this restaurant was awesome.  Our waiter, Rafael, brought us a complimentary platter of chips and dip since it was our first time here.  The cheesy queso with spinach was probably my favorite next to the guacamole.  I’m typically not a huge fan of three bean dip but I have to admit this was the best bean dip I have ever had.  I have scoured the internet for a possible recipe but still have not found one that seemed right.  It tasted like this hot bean dip had a hint of cilantro and jalapeno.  I’ll have to take it to the test kitchen.

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I let Rafael pick my entree for me with the simple instruction that I wanted something very spicy.  His choice of Steak Picado was spot on. Tender cut filet cooked medium rare and sautéed with poblano chiles, jalapenos, onions and red bell peppers. Served with flour tortillas, rice , refried beans and a habanero salsa.

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My final meal before I boarded the airplane back to Pittsburgh was Fatburger.  Can’t go wrong with a burger and skinny fries there.

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For those of you who may be concerned about Alex, don’t fret.  Apparently he can cook just fine without having me around.  He sent me a picture of this delicious burger he made for himself while I was away.  My question is – if he can cook like this while I am gone, why is he not cooking more often??? Hmmmm…

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