Phoenix AZ – Postino

Postino is a winecafe known not just for wine, but for their great bruscetta and Italian style menu of meat and cheese boards.  Everything I’ve had here has been good, so when I noticed they had a brunch menu that looked delicious, I asked my friend Amanda to meet me one Saturday morning for brunch at the Downtown Gilbert location.

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Downtown Gilbert has been built up very well as a destination spot for families and friends to spend time together at any of their great local restaurants. And I feel like more so on a Saturday morning with everyone drawn to the morning farmer’s market.  Going to Postino for Saturday brunch feel so nice: to be outside and apart of the community.  Nice enough that me and Amanda made it a tradition to meet here for two Saturdays in a row.

We got a table outside on the patio facing the rest of the downtown area. The weather has been perfect lately for being outside, and these days were the best with a constant breeze in the air.

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Both times we met here, I got the Farm Scramble which is yukon potatoes scrambled with eggs, herbs, onions, gruyere and white cheddar and served with a greens and tomato salad.  Amanda got the Smoked Salmon item as a scramble with eggs, capers and onions with dill cream cheese on the side. The waiter was really friendly to change the item preparation and presentation to accomodate her allergy to gluten.

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I’ve yet to try the Country Toast with Italian ham, dijonaise, gruyere and sunny side up eggs, but my friend Kristen told me that it’s amazing. She said it’s like a Croque Madame, so that’s definitely on my list to try the next time I’m there.

We also got a french presss coffee, and for a couple hours we day dreamed about travel and updated each other about our lives, while along the downtown streets plenty of families walked by for people watching. It was all so relaxing and a great way to start off the weekend.

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Phoenix AZ Heritage Square – Royal Coffee Bar and Pizzeria Bianco

Royal Coffee Bar & Roasting is a local coffee shop in Phoenix AZ owned by a local architect. Their spaces are often small and architecturally unique. There are four Royal Coffee Bars, and as of last week I had only been to the location in Tempe and at the Biltmore. (At the end of this article is a update with the fourth location at the Union.)

TEMPE LOCATION

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BILTMORE LOCATION: RED DOOR

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I’ve loved both locations for their atmosphere and coffee. My first experience with Royal at The Biltmore left  such a good impression on me with their pretty teal tiles, great coffee, and adorable outdoor seating area of wood tables and yellow stools, that I was interested in going back to all their locations, especially when I heard last week from some coworkers that there was a location in Downtown Phoenix. Of course I jumped on the idea of actually going when some friends suggested the Downtown Phoenix location at Heritage Square.

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The Heritage Square area is really unique and looks just as it sound: a square block of Victorian vintage homes converted into shops and restaurants. It’s a great location for a coffee bar, especially since the coffee bar is  inside a small converted brick building that usedtobe a carriage house.  We literally walked into a room with four walls, a bar, a wood table and school chairs. That was it. And to it’s benefit. It was a cute space.

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The coffee was being roasted right there behind the bar. And the coffee itself was so good. The whole experience felt like I was discovering a piece of my city with JR and Ashley, and I was glad to have that moment. In between sips of coffee, we were up and down photographing. Heritage Square is a great back drop for photos: brick buildings, unique architecture, and this wall was my absolute favorite.

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After finishing our coffee, we walked around Heritage Square, eventually ending up at a pizza place that JR knew about. Apparently it was Pizzeria Bianco! A place that’s been on my list for awhile. They are nationally famous for their pizza and  rumor has it that you will have to wait in line to get in. That probably applies more to a Friday night then a Wednesday afternoon, which was when we went. It was the perfect stumble upon on this spontaneous adventure with new friends.

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We had a rough time communicating what we would be ordering together, as JR and I were wholly absorbed in looking through our Heritage Square photos haha, but once we ordered, got our food, and taken more photos of our food, the food was really great.

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The Wiseguy pizza (mozzarella, onion and fennel sausage) was amazing and so was the caprese salad. (On a separate occasion at their sister site Pane Bianco, I’ve also tried their Rosa pizza, which is available on the menu here as well. I highly recommend it. It’s red onion, parmigiano reggiano, rosemary, and pistachios.) After living in Italy last fall, I would say this pizza and caprese salad are so legit.

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Overall, the day just felt great. It’s so fun to discover the hidden spots that make Phoenix great and make friends and memories doing it.

UPDATE : BILTMORE LOCATION AT UNION

I apparently am really into Royal Coffee Bar and their freshly roasted coffee, as I now find myself a barista proud to work for this local coffee bar.

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This past week I found myself scheduled at the last location I had never been to: Union at the Biltmore. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop photographing the space. It’s literally a room, with, sigh, a yellow espresso machine, and a window. Here’s some new shots:

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Phoenix AZ – Sweet Republic

Sweet Republic is a local ice cream shop that makes everything they serve. So, they are pretty famous, being featured on Food Network and Bon Appetit.

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The lady working that afternoon I went in was very helpful to inform us about their store and answer any questions. She told us that they are even famous enough to have travelers from Europe come in because they have heard about this spot. She told me how all the ice cream, cones, cookies, brittle, sauces, everything is made from scratch by them.

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When I asked what she would recommend for my first visit, she told me about the item featured on Food Network: Toffee Banofi in a waffle bowl. I’m all about salted caramel, so it was nice that it had salted caramel sauce, but I also swapped out the vanilla ice cream for their salted caramel ice cream. I loved all the texture too with the waffle cone and toffee brittle. Seriously, this was the best thing ever. And, it looked way better than the featured picture on the wall.

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Aside from the ice cream, I think me and Molly’s favorite feature was the collection of childhood games. We kind of got lost for a couple hours reliving our childhoods through Connect Four, Jenga and Shoots and Ladders. All that practice at Connect Four as I was a child paid off, and we played and played until Molly finally won a game. Haha! I do have to give her credit and say that she beat me the first chance she had with Shoots and Ladders. The childhood board games are definitely a benefit to their atmosphere.

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Sweet Republic is located in Scottsdale and Phoenix AZ. They also have a shop at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Terminal 4. I think Sweet Republic is a great representation of Phoenix AZ to those on layover of what Phoenix has to offer in local eats. You should try them out! But you have to get the Toffee Banofi with Salted Caramel Ice Cream!

Phoenix, AZ – Lola Coffee at The Yard

(UPDATE: This Lola location is closed. You can still find the Roosevelt Row location of Lola, and The Yard is still open.)

Me and my friend Mary have always been all about Lola coffee in Phoenix. They roast their own coffee, are local, and their coffee is so good. So when we heard of their new coffee shop location we had to go together. The new Lola coffee shop is inside the Fox Restaurant Concept called The Yard.

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The Lola coffee shop is one of three local restaurants at The Yard located in Phoenix. It was a nice space of wood menus, brick walls, lots of hanging lights, and community tables and bar stools for seating.

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We each got iced flavored lattes that were just the best. But this location is way more than coffee and pastries, they have also expanded into a breakfast menu and serve tapas.

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After seeing that they now had a breakfast menu, I decided to go back the following week and introduce another friend, Jr. He snapped this photo of me in front of Lola.

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Visiting in the morning is nice as most of the space is open to the outside and there’s tons of light.

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Me and Jr each got omelets.  I got The Adriana omelet which was mushrooms, asparagus and aged white cheddar. Jr got the egg white omelet with turkey, tomato and avocado.

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The breakfast over all was so good, from the food and coffee, to being outside on a nice day chatting about travel and cutures and photography and trusting God. And by the end, right when I was ready to adventure around and photograph, Jr was already speaking the same thought. Downtown Phoenix is a great place to do that. There are so many unique buildings and walls.

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When trying a new place, it’s always awkward trying to figure out how things work, so here’s some advice on what I learned about parking and entering the building. There is complimentary valet if you enter on Montebello. But going on a Friday night, we came too late and the valet lot was full. You can park north of the street by the brown building or across the street by the white building. There is no parking south of The Yard, so don’t try that like we did. The entrance into the building is on the west (“back”) side of the building where you drop off your car for valet.

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