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Where to Eat Around Camelback Ranch

Of course, this is the Dodgers' home park, so one might ask why you would want to go here at all. I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure. But if you MUST eat...

Harry How/Getty Images

In fairness to Camelback Ranch, it's also home to the Chicago White Sox, though Tucson residents probably still feel bitter about that, as it was their exodus from TEP which triggered a clause allowing the Diamondbacks to leave. Opened in 2009, it's one of the larger parks in the Cactus League, with a record crowd of 13,583, set by the Dodgers against the Mariners in 2010. Access is good, with the complex situated just of the Loop 101 at Camelback, a mile or two West of the highway. I've only been there once, back in its rookie season, and the sole abiding memory is of having to walk quite a bit.

However, compared to my last report, on Goodyear, the area is much more developed, so let's see what options there are for eating and drinking within about a 20-minute drive, if you don't feel the desire for a Puig dog. As before, links go to the venue's website or Facebook page.

Generic entertainment: Westgate Entertainment District

If you've no specific plans, and are just looking for a selection of restaurants, bars, etc. the Westgate area is your closest bet, about ten minutes up the 101. There are over 20 dining venues, offering everything from Coldstone ice-cream to Greek food, as well as bars and an AMC cinema. With the Coyotes stadium [which doubles as a concert venue - we saw Rammstein there, and it was awesome] also in the complex, and the Cardinals' one just to the South, it can get busy on game days. Though at least you won't have to worry about the latter team, since the Cards typically don't play after the first weekend in January. Hohoho.

Sugar N Spice

14970 West Indian School Road #260, (623) 535-1877. Google rating: 5.0. Yep, you read that rating right - 15 reviews, each one impeccable - and it's worth the trip even further West than the park. One of SnakePit Jr's favorite places, this is a place for early birds rather than night owls, opening at 6am and closed by 6pm during the week, or barely past lunchtime on weekends. But the breakfast sandwiches, coffee and cronuts are justly renowned, with the ham, egg and cheese croissant the kind of thing that will set you up for the entire day.

Haus Murphys

5739 W Glendale Ave, (623) 939-2480. Google rating: 4.2. A venerable Glendale tradition (18 years is a millennium in Valley restaurant terms); the first time I went there was for a comedy show. Who said the Germans have no sense of humor? [Apart from Basil Fawlty] Still, you won't get a more authentic Deutsch Erlebnis this side of the Ruhr valley. It's part of downtown Glendale, a good destination if you're looking for something less "chain" than Westgate, with a broad selection of restaurants in the area. Siam Thai Cuisine and La Piazza Al Forno appear well-regarded.

Bibiano's Mexican Restaurant

10651 W Olive Ave, (623) 972-0202. Google rating: 4.0. Even though we live three exits south of Camelback on the 101, we still are happy to make the journey. Like many of the best Mexican restaurants, it's hardly ostentatious, being tucked away in a corner of a strip mall and easily missed. I can't decide whether I prefer their carne asada or their carnitas; the street tacos are also impressive, and while we've not made it there for weekend breakfast, I've heard good things. But you know a place is good when the local cops eat there. :) Closed Mondays.

Tortas Paquime

10565 W Indian School Rd #104, *623) 877-3212. Google rating: 4.0. A good bet for those on a tight budget (unlike the Dodgers...), the Avondale location is one of four around the valley for this local company. It's also among the closest options to the park, and is open from 8:30am-10pm, so works for any meal. Funnily enough, it's the tortas that are their signature items, but the desserts are also impressive, my particular favorite being the esquimales, popsicles coated in chocolate, pecans and coconut. Yeah, they're as good as that sounds.