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The Best Thing I Ever Ate: East Valley

Today we have a guest post from local blogger Sarah of Orange You Glad.  I love getting recommendations for places to eat or things to do, and since Sarah and I have a few things in common (a husband named Mark, a son named Owen, and an affinity for Nielon's Frozen Custard) I know I'd better take some of her other suggestions.  But Sarah, your husband is right, the butterscotch concrete at Nielson's is the best.

Now take it away, Sarah....
I like to eat out. 
I really really like it. 
But my siblings would all say I am the “safest” diner of the family; And they’re right.  I like to stick with what I know is good.  (Once, on a family vacation when I was 11, we stopped at a Denny’s-style eatery.  I thought I’d go out on a limb and order the chicken-fried steak, expecting to get something like fried chicken.  That is not what I got.  I hated everything about it, without ever taking a bite. My parents let me re-order and so I got the grits.  I loved grits.  They were safe.) 

I definitely stick with a good restaurant when I find it, but I DO love recommendations from friends to try new ones.  I’m a believer in a trusted referral.  That’s how I met my husband, too.  

And so I present to you, MY recommendations for always good, crowd-pleasing restaurants in the Mesa area. They're no secret, and you likely frequent many of these establishments already.  But maybe you need a push to order something new.  Here are my faves.  Chicken fried steak is not an option on these menus.  Sorry, if that’s your thing.


·       Tia Rosa’s – veggie burro {enchilada style}, chips and killer green salsa {I could drink that stuff}.
·       Nielsons Frozen Custard – Rootbeer or Reese’s Concrete for me, Butterscotch for Mark (my husband).
·       Flancer’s – Mark frequents this sandwich shop periodically for quick business lunches (also in Gilbert).  He likes the It's About Thyme sandwich.
·       Bahama Buck’s – (also in Gilbert, Tempe and Queen Creek) – I've been a fan since my college days at ASU.  I was broke, but somehow made room in the budget for Bahama Buck's regularly.   My faves:  Pina Colada or Tangerine with vanilla ice cream at the bottom, and cream throughout.  Closest thing to authentic Hawaiian shaved ice, so I’m told.
·       Sauce – great salads and pizzas
        Café Rio – Veggie Salad for me, pork burrito for Mark.  Yep, I know this place is all over, and still delicious.  
·       Krispy Kreme – My kids prefer a donut tower instead of birthday cake anyday.  So that’s become a Krispy Kreme tradition at our house.  Plus, bring in your kids and their report cards, and get 1 free donut for every "A" they've earned {limit 6 per child – for us, that means 18 free donuts}.  And yes, I know this is a big chain, but definitely still worth mentioning.

·     A few more...

·       Liberty Market – Cool retro vibe. Love the Italia Salad and Margherita Pizza.
·       La Grande Orange – EVERYTHING is good.  Every pizza, every salad, burgers – it’s all so good!  Just a quick 20 minute drive from Mesa.

·       House of Tricks – We’ve been here once and loved it.  I had the cheese and fruit platter as my entrée.  Mark had steak and amazing mashed potatoes.  And we shared a delicious spinach and apple salad.  So so good.
    I know I am just scratching the surface here.  What are your local favorites?


Jamie said...

I love so many of those, and am thrilled to have a few new ideas. We really enjoy Red White & Brew as well. I also love to grab a quick lung or breakfast at Crackers & Co I usually get salads at both places. Fabulous! And no Mesa dining list is complete without Sweet Cakes Cafe in downtown. The food is really good, but the desserts are Amazing... Beyond words, truly!!! I look forward to hearing more ideas.

Sarah said...

Ah, yes, how could I forget about Sweet Cakes? You're right, great desserts!

Audra Roberts said...

I do like a lot of the ones that were already mentioned and I cant wait to try some of the suggestions.

I do like Angel Sweet Gelato at Mesa Riverview.

BTW that is a cute picture on top.

KatieJ said...

Can't wait to try a couple of those that are new to me, I had to add mine, Mangos- everything is delish but my favorite is the pollo asada torta (sandwich.) It's SO good! And Neds Krazy sub- it's all good too but my favorite is the club, and George's Gyros- get the Grilled Chicken Caesar pita. Now I'm starving... :)

Sarah said...

Mesa's got good eats. Thanks for the info. I'm going to have to try Angel Sweet Gelato and George's Gyros too.

Heather said...

some of my local fav's:

Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert (or is it Higley?)

Cafe Lalibela in Tempe (GREAT Ethiopian!!)

India Gate in Chandler- great lunch buffet

Anise in Chandler- great Vietnamese take out!!

I haven't been to Tia Rosa's in AGES- thank for the reminder, I'll have to get out there soon!

AliceK[i]ND said...

I have to mention shrimp tacos at Tia Rosa's! I can't eat them without sighing in satisfaction. And "The Best Chicken Sandwich" at Liberty Market truly lives up to it's name. :) Crackers & Co. blackberry bread pudding is TO DIE FOR, and though I don't think most people would ever go there for a burger, they are awesome! (Maybe the best burger I have ever had?)

I have to add, even though they don't sell "food" (as in a meal), Lombardo's Gelato (in the "ghetto" on Broadway just west of Horne), because it might just be the best thing I've ever eaten!

Sarah said...

I almost included Joe's Farm Grill on my list, but it has been so long since I've eaten there, I couldn't even remember what I ate, just that it was good food. And if I remember right, a cool little restroom.
Thanks for the intro to the other places you mentioned.

Emily said...

Ah, grits. Love it.

Kate said...

I'm hungry reading this. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

The Wizzle said...

AJ's at Val Vista and Baseline has all kinds of super yummy groceries, plus prepared foods, and they're always doing events (stop by on pretty much any holiday - we have decorated pumpkins there, and all kinds of good stuff, for FREE!) Local grocery chain, we are so lucky to have it.

My favorite Vietnamese food is Cyclo in Chandler (south side of Chandler Boulevard, about a mile east of the mall). Justina is the owner and she is chic, fabulous, and incredibly nice. The food is AMAZING.