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Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Travel, Shopping & Leisure Fara Illich September 3, 2009

When I first moved to Phoenix, I only came downtown once a quarter. On those visits, I would just do my business and leave the area. Nowadays, I visit the area a couple of times a month and stay for a spell. The addition of the light rail gives the area a little extra oomph, although I’m still trying to navigate my way through the labyrinth of one-way streets and construction zones.
On each visit, I keep finding my way back to Central and Adams. This light rail stop is home to a few of my most frequently visited spots including Hanny’s, Matador, Thai Elephant and Starbucks, which is attached to the Wyndham Hotel. (Wait a minute, did I just list the whole block?)
Hanny’s used to be a men’s clothing store that has been gently restored into a cozy restaurant. The dishes are simply delicious, and the menu prices are pretty inexpensive. It was at Hanny’s that I tried a malbec rosé for the first time.
Matador will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I dined on spinach enchiladas on the second date with my current boyfriend.
And have you tried Thai Elephant? The place is small; the staff is friendly and attentive. My last visit had me regretting the “safe” vegetable dish I ordered. Don’t get me wrong, the vegetable curry dish was delicious, but my dining partner ordered a boneless pork chop dish that tasted as succulent as it looked. I’m totally ordering it on my next visit.
I do have one pet peeve, though: Can somebody tell me why the Starbucks on that corner closes at 6 p.m.? More than once I needed a caffeine fix at 6:17 p.m., only to find the doors locked. When I do get there early enough, I set up my laptop and people watch. (FYI: Not many electrical outlets at this location.) Oftentimes, there’s a street musician posted across the street with an electronic keyboard and microphone singing away. When Starbucks closes, I make my way to the adjacent Wyndham Hotel and sit in one of the huge, comfortable lounge chairs in the lobby and people watch some more.
This is my downtown. Where is your downtown?