Friday, February 5, 2016

Ya Gotta Eat

by Rochelle Staab, Member-at-Large

Coffee lovers may snort at my daily decaf-soy-mocha-lattes, arguing the concoction is not even close to a real cuppa. I get it, really I do, but I take my morning decaf as seriously as you take your caffeine jolt. And when I travel to conferences, I like to know exactly where my cup of morning delight is coming from long before I hit the early panels. So I ask. At the desk. When I check in. Which is exactly what I did on a recent trip to Phoenix.       

Good news! The Starbucks directly across the street from the Hyatt—the center of the action for 2016’s LCC, The Great Cactus Caper—opens at 6 a.m. Inside the Hyatt are several more choices for a morning caffeine boost and fuel food: Einstein’s Café in the lobby begins brewing at 6:30 a.m., serving bagels and other breakfast goodies. The 2nd floor Terrace Café opens at 6 a.m. with a breakfast menu and a decent buffet.
            All good, but in addition to my lattes, I need food three times a day or my mood goes south. Where to eat lunch and dinner? There’s Networks Bar & Grill in the Hyatt lobby (open 11 a.m. to midnight with a full bar, killer burgers, and sandwiches), or salads and sandwiches at Einstein’s (some wrapped and ready to carry-out), and a rumor that the 2nd floor Terrace Café may stay open for lunch. In the evening, the Compass Arizona Grill at the top of the Hyatt serves American cuisine from 5:30-10 p.m.
A wide variety of restaurants are a short (three blocks or less) walking distance from the Hyatt. They range from Majerles, the sports bar and grill across the street from the hotel (I had a decent bowl of chili there), to Subway, a block away on Central Ave. and close enough to grab a sandwich and still make the 1 p.m. panels. Also close are the nine restaurants at Cityscape that vary from American comfort food to Asian Fusion, sushi, vegan, Italian, and a Celtic themed sports pub, all a three block walk from the hotel to Central Avenue and Washington. Hot tip: try the fresh-baked soft pretzels and provolone fondue appetizer at Cityscape’s Arrogant Butcher. You’ll thank me.
If you’re in the mood for steak (I always am), pizza, Korean, or Mexican, the six restaurants at Arizona Center at 3rd Street and Van Buren (2-1/2 blocks from the hotel) serve until at least 10 p.m., including the Cold Stone Creamery. Ice cream? Hey, we’re at a conference. Calories consumed on the road don’t count.
The front desk at the Hyatt has maps and addresses for all of the above. And though The Great Cactus Caper schedule will keep us pleasantly occupied from morning to evening, take some time to get out for fresh air and a bite. Walking to restaurants does count as exercise.
Bon appetite! I’ll see you in Phoenix. 
Rochelle Staab is the best-selling author of the Mind for Murder Mystery series, and winner of the LCC 2013 Watson Award.


  1. Thanks for this. What is the price range of the ones in the hotel?

    Dru Ann

  2. Hi Dru!

    Einsteins (lobby) is probably the most reasonable, Networks (lobby) is medium priced. Breakfast at the Terrace Cafe on the second floor is the typical, hotel pricey buffet but sit down and very convenient. Compass Arizona Grill on the top floor is high end, but I didn't eat there so I can't swear to the prices.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of choices, walking distance from the hotel, for budget minded people like me.

    See you in Phoenix!

  3. Many thanks for doing my research for me. Finding food is surprisingly difficult at some of these conferences.