Subject: Phoenix Restaurant Recommendations?
House of Tricks at 114 E. 7th Street in Tempe tel: (480) 968-1114 (within the confines of Arizona State University). Here's a review lifted from MSN Citysearch:

House of Tricks has nothing to do with ladies of the evening or sleight of hand, but chef-owners Robert and Robin Trick certainly do work magic in the kitchen. Their menu--which has broadened considerably since the early soup-salad-sandwich days--is eclectic, exhibiting influences from the Southwest and Asia. Fresh fish, delivered daily, is a mainstay here. Look for favorites such as smoked salmon cakes with scallions, spinach, and sesame aioli or ahi tuna with crushed lavender, red curry, and ginger risotto cake.

However, if the truth be told, this cozy restaurant, converted from a 1920's bungalow, is as well-loved for its setting as for its food. The rambling patio and outdoor bar (wrapped around the trunk of a huge, old elm tree) is enchanting by day and downright romantic at night--which helps to explain why Tempe artists and professionals, as well as ASU faculty and staff, choose Tricks for hanky-panky.--Nikki Buchanan

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal there and did find our table on the patio enchanting.

Los Olivos at 7328 E. 2nd Street in Scottsdale tel: (480) 946-2256.

A friend, who grew up in Scottsdale, insisted we dine here. She waxed nostalgically about this family-run operation. It was easy to understand her fondness for this establishment. I had been raised dining in a similar restaurant in the Imperial Valley. Popular with Phoenicians who gather their families here for good down home Sonora-style antojitos. Here's the review from MSN Citysearch:

Many years ago, when the Scottsdale Civic Center was being built, some lunatic suggested tearing down Los Olivos#Scottsdale's oldest Mexican food restaurant#to create a parking lot for the new mall. Gracias a Dios, Barry Goldwater himself put the kibash on that misguided notion.

For one thing, the adobe structure is historic. Built by Tomas Corral (grandfather to the Corral kids who run the place today), it has been, at one time or another, a bakery, a pool hall, and a chapel. It's been enlarged over the years (there's a vaguely Mayan-looking lounge area, built by an uncle), but it still feels homey, and it's still the best place in Scottsdale for the kind of good old Sonoran-style Mexican food many of us Arizonans grew up on. Both the carne asada and steak picado (served with homemade flour tortillas hot off the griddle) are delicious, but for a simple taste of nostalgia, try the chile rellenos and green corn tamales. #Nikki Buchanan

Majerle's Sports Grill at 24 N. 2nd Street in Phoenix tel: (602) 253-9004

A good place for lunch and a cold draft beer while downtown. It's located in the oldest commercial building in downtown Phoenix. I have faint memories of a tasty fried chicken salad.

The Fish Market Restaurant at 1720 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix (602) 277-3474

I worked for this company for quite some time here in San Diego. I can confidently say they have extremely high quality fresh seafood. Their preparation is very simple for the fish filets#mesquite grilled. Within the building are 4 dining choices; upstairs is more elaborate preparations (and higher prices), downstairs louder more family-oriented dining, oyster bar is a good option for grazing, &the sushi bar is tops (due to its fresh fish source).

While in Phoenix I recommend a visit to their 5 year old central library, an interesting architectural piece. Also, check out the bathrooms while there. We didn't but found them to be mentioned in a newspaper article detailing unusual public restrooms in new buildings.

Burton Barr Central Library at 1221 N Central Ave in Phoenix tel: (602) 262-4636.

John Rule San Diego, CA