Day Trip: East(ern European) Bell Road aka Moon Valley Lite

Leah LeMoineJanuary 15, 2021
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True ethnic enclaves are few and far between in the Valley. When we do find a cluster of regional restaurants, it piques our passions. Case in point: North Phoenix, which boasts Eastern European eateries Yasha from Russia, Soup & Sausage Bistro, Polish Goodies Bistro and Edelweiss Biergarten (German-Hungarian). Huddled even closer together, on a stretch of East Bell Road just northeast of Moon Valley, are a couple more Eastern European gems and a nearby slew of other things to eat, see and do.

Photos by Angelina Aragon

3 Things To Do
A Turtle Rock Basin Park

Tote your takeout and a blanket to this park for a leisurely winter picnic. Afterward, stroll its winding walkways with your pooch or play a game of soccer or football with your family on its multi-purpose field.
17414 N. 12th St.
602-262-6696, phoenix.gov/parks

B Lookout Mountain

Start on the 2.6-mile Circumference Trail and then branch off onto the 0.6-mile Summit Trail for 474 feet of elevation gain and breathtaking vistas. It’s no Camelback Mountain, but you’ll still behold lovely views of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Shadow Mountain, North Mountain and Shaw Butte.
15600 N. 16th St.
602-262-7901, phoenix.gov/parks/trails

C Loco Dojo

Fitness options abound at this high-energy studio, which offers instruction in karate, mixed martial arts, yoga, Zumba and Bollywood dance. Still not comfortable with group fitness classes? Personal training sessions and private classes are also available.
1510 E. Bell Rd.
602-666-3663, locodojo.com

Turtle Rock Basin Park
Turtle Rock Basin Park
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3 Places To Eat
D Café Chenar

This pretty little restaurant offers delectable peeks into the cultures traversed by the Silk Road. The ancient trading route led to the fusion cuisine of the Bukharian Jews, influenced by Asian and European culinary traditions. Try the Uzbek plov (rice pilaf), kimchi salad and every dumpling on the menu.
1601 E. Bell Rd.
602-354-4505, cafechenartogo.com

Café Chenar; Photo by Debby Wolvos
Café Chenar; Photo by Debby Wolvos
E Balkan Bakery

Call ahead to place your order at this petite bakery – Eastern European specialties like burek (flaky coils of phyllo stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach) and cevapi (caseless grilled sausages akin to kofta) sell out quickly. Peruse shelves of Balkan groceries on your way in to pick up your order, since dining in is not permitted at press time.
1107 E. Bell Rd.
602-996-4598, facebook.com/balkanbakery

F Krua Thai

The dining room is currently closed at this beloved neighborhood spot, but its contactless takeout system is flawless: Online orders are confirmed via text message and placed on three distanced tables once customers text to “check in” to the parking lot. The curry noodles and spicy fried rice are tops – and spicy is truly hot here, so be mindful when ordering.
1510 E. Bell Rd.
602-971-4988, kruathaicuisine.com

Photo Op

Homesick New Mexicans might not be able to safely visit the Land of Enchantment any time soon, but they can get the tastes and the aesthetic at Gil’s Taste of Taos. The restaurant has cultural murals inside, a façade with the Zia sun symbol from the state flag outside and colorful comida to boot.
1601 E. Bell Rd.
602-494-6577, gilstasteoftaos.com

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Overnight Option!
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs

Staycationing with your sweetie? The Room for Dessert package starts at $203/night (Tuesday-Thursday) and includes a prix fixe dinner for two at Different Pointe of View, suite with private balcony and heated pool access.
11111 N. 7th St., 602-866-7500, tapatiocliffshilton.com/specials-packages

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