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Thirsty Lion, Tempe AZ – USA

I was in Phoenix / Tempe for almost two weeks for business.  Some guys at work had suggested The Thirsty Lion as a good place to go for dinner.  The Thirsty Lion is situated in Tempe Marketplace, which has lots of places to eat and a few upscale shops.

The Thirsty Lion is an enormous pub with a large square bar in the centre and tables all around.  There are lots of TV screens dotted around the pub and there is also an outside area that has some tables situated around an outside fireplace that is pretty cool.

I arrived with two (out of town) colleagues on a Tuesday night.  Tuesday nights in Tempe are not very happening so we were greeted with a smile and given a choice of tables.  This is a fairly modern pub with young and pretty staff and a fairly young clientele to match.  The music here is loud with a constant steam of MTV hits showing on half the TV screens with sports being shown on the other half.

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Dave’s Electric Brewpub, Tempe, AZ – USA

I had been staying in Phoenix for a couple of weeks on business.  Hailing from Scotland I like a bargain just as much as the next person, so I often look for coupons and promos for places to eat. offers $25 vouchers for $10 but they often run promotions, which gets you money off this.  I had managed to obtain ten $25 vouchers for ten different venues in the Phoenix area for the handsome sum of $10.  It was almost the end of my business trip and I realised that I hadn’t used any vouchers yet!  I presented my vouchers to the lady at the front desk in the hotel; she recommended Dave’s Electric Brewpub and as I could hitch a free ride in the hotel shuttle, it was a done deal.

Dave’s electric is small.  It has a bar area as well as tables for food – maybe 12 of them.  There is a fairly large outside area with plenty of seats and tables and you can access the bar from outside which is always a good thing!  The décor here is almost non-existent – some bare brick here and there but you clearly don’t come here to sit in a trendy place.

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Black Chile Mexican Grill, Phoenix – AZ, USA

I had been in the US for about a week on business.  I had gotten up early and driven to The Apple Store to buy some goodies on the cheap (compared to the UK!).  Black Chile is located in an upmarket mall with several funky shops and eateries as well as The Apple Store.  A shiny new Apple TV in hand I decided it was time for lunch.

I went in the restaurant and the first staff member I encountered completely ignored me – not a good start.  The girl behind the bar shouted me over and explained I could have any table I wanted.  It may have been January and it may have been colder than it could have been, but it was a lot warmer than it is in Scotland in January so I went for a table outside.  I was delighted to find bar stools – one side of the bar had a shutter so I could sit outside at the bar!  Fantastic!

This was a fairly modern place – focus is on expensive dinners with a strong Mexican theme.  There was lots of black and a few choice paintings dotted around.  It was lunchtime though and most people were having smaller plates.

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Barking Frog Grille – Sedona, AZ, USA

I was in Phoenix for business and decided to take a day trip to Sedona.  My colleague had hitched a ride with me and due to the early start we were real hungry by lunchtime.  We had seen the main tourist strip of Sedona and perhaps unsurprisingly, the eateries did not look up to much.  We took a short drive South and found another strip with lots of fast-food chains.

Luckily, my colleague glanced at the map we had picked up form the Tourist Information centre in the small village of Oakwood on the drive up.  He noticed that a restaurant called the Barking Frog was on the map – just as we saw it appear on the right!  I pulled in to the car park and we agreed it was by far the best option we had seen so far.

Entrance to the Barking Frog was via an imposing set of double wooden doors that opened to reveal an entrance hallway leading to a small welcome desk and a woman on the telephone.  As we loitered in the hope of being greeted and seated, I had a look around; there was a small bar to the left, with a good selection of Whisky (‘The Lounge’); an outdoor seating area (‘The Patio’); a large table next to a fountain (‘The Pond’); and another seating area at the other side of the bar (‘Fireside’).  It was clear that this was meant to be an upmarket establishment, and it would have been if it wasn’t for the fact that we were still loitering while telephone lady continued her chat.

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Cadillac Ranch – Tempe, AZ, USA

I had been working in Tempe for a couple of weeks with some guys from The Americas –Peru, Chile, Mexico, Canada and most places in-between.  It was our last night together and it fell on me to take everyone out for a farewell meal.  My colleagues had been in the US for almost three weeks longer than me and were fed up of eating huge meals all the time.  We decided to go the Tempe Marketplace and find some easy food that could be shared and then get back to the hotel to pack our bags.

We initially tried The Thirsty Lion, which we had visited previously, however there was a long wait for a table here as it was a Friday night.  We carried on walking and came across the Cadillac Ranch.

It looked a little cheesy with the huge neon sign pointing to the stairway that led you to the entrance but I was too tired to find an alternative.  The girl at the front desk gave us their last table – which luckily for us was a table for 8.

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