Living (and working at home) in Northwest Phoenix, I don't get to check out as many downtown spots as I would like to, so I took full advantage when I recently won a free night at the Clarendon on Twitter.
Friday afternoon on the way down was our first visit to the Miracle Mile Deli. This was also Twitter-induced after I RT'd a pic, they welcomed us to come for a visit, and even linked to a discount on-line coupon to use. Sold! We split The New Yorker (pastrami, coleslaw, and Miracle Mile dressing) with a side of creamy mac-n-cheese. I've finally found a place for my pastrami fix. E is such a fan now that he stopped on our way home the next day to pick up a couple of sandwiches to go for dinner (this time I had The Straw with pastrami, sauerkraut and melted Swiss).
It was also our first visit to The Clarendon - a great locally owned hotel with friendly service. We checked in, walked to the Light Rail and bought a pass, and were off to a favorite, Durant's, for Happy Hour (well drinks $4.50+ app specials) - a cool dark oasis on what turned out to be a 100 degree afternoon. Had a Rye (Old Overholt) Manhattan and a Bombay Gimlet, shared excellent garlicky mussels with white wine and tomatoes ($6), and enjoyed expertly made cocktails and friendly service from John. This vintage old-school steakhouse is one of our favorites and I'll be back for HH for those mussels alone.
Back on the Light Rail, we met friends for dinner at Nobuo. This certainly lived up to the accolades. We got there a few minutes early and our waitress kindly pointed out that we still had time to order the special HH cocktail. I forget the name, but it was strong and delicious, made with Mount Gay Rum and absinthe. Great cocktails here - another favorite was the White Dragon with jasmine tea and gin. The food was just fabulous. The four of us ordered quite a few dishes and really, there were no disappointments. At one point we were merrily chatting away, took a bite of the hamachi spoon with grapefruit, avocado, & white truffle ponzu oil and there was immediate silence - that good. IIRC correctly, we also ordered Japanese chips, nasu bacon miso, shiromi carpaccio (wow), pork belly buns, onsen egg with long beans, soft shell crab sandwiches, okonomiyaki, and the ahi duo special. I cannot wait to go back.
We had planned on a nightcap at The Clarendon's Roof Bar but were done in by a food coma. Be sure to order a cocktail at Gallo Blanco on your way up as there is not always a bartender upstairs.
We ended our visit on another high note with lunch at Gallo Blanco before we checked out. I was disappointed they were out of grapefruit soda for a Paloma, but the "Sueño Mojado" that packed a punch is my new favorite margarita in town. Since it was our first visit, we ordered too much food but were happy with everything: a halibut taco, Naco Torta with tender flavorful ribeye, avocado and fried eggs, addictive french fries with aji aoili, and chilaquiles verdes with chicken topped with an egg. Oomph. Great stay, and happy to finally hit some of the spots that have been on my must-try list.
Gallo Blanco Cafe
401 W Clarendon Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Miracle Mile Deli
1949 E Camelback Rd Ste 160, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Nobuo at Teeter House
622 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004