By Alison Bailin Batz
This month, we went looking for food outside of the usual restaurants and bars in the area. After searching high and low for culinary hot spots hiding in plain sight, local theaters, music venues and even museums proved to have some delicious options.
The big, bold comedy club is Comedy Central-certified. Now, it is also Uptown-certified as a legitimate go-to eatery in the Valley. There are, of course, club standards including burgers and ample starters, but the menu really shines with its entree offerings, which include a build-your-own elevated mac’n’cheese, roasted chicken and even rich, creamy gnocchi. Each of the large entree salads are also fresh, seasonal and well dressed. While there is plenty to laugh about at Stand Up Live, the food is no joke. www.standuplive.com.
Thanks to AMC’s dine-in theater at the Esplanade, dinner and movie has never tasted so good. Of course, the venue still boasts everyone’s favorite old-school concession stand goodies – think buttered popcorn and jumbo-sized candy – but beyond the classics it offers full salads, entrees and a well-stocked bar with dozens of cocktail options. Guests are able to order food at the concession stand or choose VIP seating options, where a waiter serves you and your group while seated for the film. www.amctheatres.com.
There is more to the Madison than spin and yoga classes. The popular Arcadia fitness studio is home to its own Kaleidoscope Juice for those looking to fuel up. The brand not only put cold-pressed juice on the map in Arizona, but boasts locally roasted coffee, a full bake shop, acai bowls, salads and even catering options. It also has a full staff able to help develop custom cleanses for individuals based on their nutritional need, allergies and other needs as well. www.themadisonvibe.com.
Palette encompasses all that Phoenix Art Museum has to offer into one centrally located restaurant. With fresh, farm-to-table ingredients and a seasonally changing menu, Palette has something for everyone to enjoy. Indulge in brunch items every weekend such as Challah French Toast with fresh berries, whipped cinnamon butter, and dulce syrup. The lunch and dinner menus include Bruschetta, Chicken or Fish Tacos, the Mission Fig Salad, and the Portabella Melt. On Wednesdays and Fridays, Palette offers a happy hour including local beers and wines along with some of the eatery’s most popular appetizers and entrees. www.phxart.org.
It is possible to have good food while enjoying great live music in the Valley, thanks to Cocina 10 at Crescent Ballroom. The concept is a clever one: Arizona cooking inspired by recipes sourced from the people and places along the I-10 itself! There are several vegetarian items and tons of comfort foods as well as the Southwestern-inspired cuisine one would expect from area families and patrons, from tortas and street tacos to burritos and Sonoran dogs. www.crescentphx.com.
Yes, it is a bowling alley. But no, the food does not strike out! Located in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, the menu at Lucky Strike – which is offered “laneside” as well as at tables if preferred – features several high-concept dishes, notably a riff on chicken and waffles that is instead wings and waffles, Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, Andouille Stuffed Mushrooms and even handheld salads. The pizzas are another highlight, especially for those who are on keto or gluten-free diets as the cauliflower crust option passes the flavor test. www.luckystrikesocial.com.
The Phoenician Tavern opened in March and takes the place of the resort’s former restaurant at the golf club. The difference is marked and continues the resort’s trend toward a more approachable, relaxed experience with welcoming, much-loved offerings that appeal to locals and resort guests alike. The Tavern offers indoor and outdoor seating, overlooking the lush greenery of the property’s new golf course. Its comfortable, contemporary design is accented by subtle touches that offer a tip of the hat to the region’s history. As for the food, expect top-of-the-line “pub grub” for lunch, dinner and happy hour, including signature gourmet burgers, Fish & Chips and shareable starters, among others, created by chef de cuisine Michael Press. www.thephoenician.com.
The Phoenix Botanical Garden boasts a lot more than desert beauty. It has, perhaps, the sneaky best restaurant in town within its walls. For those who haven’t been, Gertrude’s is a full-service restaurant located just inside the Desert Botanical Garden featuring seasonal menus and locally sourced dishes for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. There is something uniquely Arizona in nearly every single dish, in fact! Gertrude’s sources directly from local farmers and purveyors to offer extraordinarily fresh and unexpected flavors. The diversity of the weekend brunch menu was recently elevated with the addition of a Breakfast Fried Rice made with arroz verde, featuring local sausage from Schreiners, Hickman’s eggs, micro cilantro from AZ Micro Greens and locally sourced veggies, among other stunners. www.gertrudesrestaurant.net.