Category Archives: Arizona

Phoenix AZ – Giant Coffee

You don’t have to live in Phoenix long to hear about Giant as a favorite coffee shop among locals. Maybe that is no surprise since this spot is owned by the owners of one of the most popular breakfast spots in Downtown Phoenix: Mat’s Big Breakfast. 

 
   

   

They use Four Barrel coffee beans and Straus milk to create their specialty drink: the Honey Vanilla Latte. I paid a visit recently with my friends Rob and Christina of newdarlings.com on a cloudy day, in which I ordered one in hot. Even Christina as a non-coffee drinker felt converted.

 
  

Parking can be found around back.

I always avoid coming in the afternoon when school lets out and all the children flood the shop: there isn’t a place to sit and there isn’t a quiet shop vibe to study or work or talk. 

  

My favorite time to come is during the spring and fall months when the front glass doors are kept open. 

 

  
 

Phoenix AZ – Matt’s Big Breakfast

Matt’s Big Breakfast is probably the first breakfast spot a Phoenician would recommend to you. Actually, I think it was one of the first local Phoenix spots I tried. So I’m excited to finally post on the blog to recommend it to others!

  

I always try to listen to recommendations that locals make, so when my friend Chris who lives in Downtown Phoenix recommended the Thursday special Eggs Benedict, I was so excited to try. 

 
  

We met our friend Vince there early on a Thursday morning to be sure we were there before they sold out. 

  

The Eggs Benedict was well worth the waking up early and driving through morning commute traffic to get. And I felt like my search for delicious Eggs Benedict in the valley was finally satisfied.

 

 

Mats is located in Downtown Phoenix, and if you start your day here, I’d recommend exploring more of the area by foot, that is anytime between November – May. Some nearby spots that are already on the blog: Phoenix Public Market, Roosevelt Row, Welcome Diner and Heritage Square (Pizzeria Bianco and Royal Coffee Bar). 

Or, if you are feeling like coffee and only want to walk a couple minutes like my time post-breakfast at Matt’s: try Velo, a bike shop slash coffee bar, for their Press Coffee offerings. 

 

Phoenix AZ – St. Francis

Another favorite Phoenix spot for me is St. Francis. This restaurant is owned by Chef Aaron Chamberlin, who also owns Phoenix Public Market (see separate blog post). 

Some of my friends Rob and Christina (newdarlings.com @newdarlings) and Diamond (pariselsewhere.com @pariselsewhere) had never been so we made a day to visit.

 

We went on a Sunday and I was so excited to see that they had brunch until 2:30 PM on the weekends. While we looked over the menu, our waiter Daniel let us know that Chef Aaron had put in some starters for us: a fresh tomato and sweet corn flat bread and oven fries. The kind hospitalality from Chef Aaron and our waiter was so welcoming and refreshing. 

  

 
  

By Daniel’s suggestion, I got the Eggs Benedict with pork loin and avocado. The pork loin was a delicious addition. St. Francis works with local community to source their ingredients locally, and it’s obvious in how fresh everything  tastes.

 

  

I tend to visit at dinner time, so I have to recommend my favorite item: Moroccan Meatballs . This dish baked in the wood oven is so popular that it has been featured on Phoenix New Times.
  

The space itself is gorgeous and a nice atmosphere for brunch or dinner: lots of natural light, brick, mirrors and wood. The space is actually a modern take by architect Wendell Burnette on a old office space built by architect Harold Ekman in 1955. Highly recommend this spot for the food and the space.

 

Phoenix AZ – Windsor & Churn

One of my top favorite spots  in Phoenix is Windsor & Churn. It’s one of the first places I mention when recommending spots in Phoenix. So I’m excited to finally post them on the blog. 

 
Me and Michelle had only had plans on our day off to grab coffee at Provision Coffee (see post), but it turned into a spontaneous long day of coffee crawling, and eventually meeting Angel at Windsor & Churn. 

 

 
The first thing I ever tried at Windsor is their Picnic Kebobs, and they were so good, that I literally must get them every time I go! The Kebobs come with chicken, pork, shrimp and veggie skewers on a wood platter with pita, spicy pepper dip and gold sauce. Recently I also tried the loaded chips (house chips with caramelized onions, bacon, blue cheese and chipotle cream) and am sold that it must be that no matter what is ordered here is phenomenal.

  
 
Next door to Windsor is Churn. Definitely a top favorite ice cream shop. I tend to get either the Vietnamese Coffee, Coconut or Peanut Butter ice cream in a cone with toasted marshmallow fluff on top. After a trip to CA and experiencing toasted marshmallow on ice cream, I was determined to find a spot at home that did it,  so I was pretty excited when I found that Churn does.

  
 

Phoenix AZ – Provision Coffee

I heard about Provsion Coffee as I happened to run into Laurence when he came in to grab a cappuccino from me one night. He invited me to visit his new shop in Gilbert as he was having a soft open beginning the next day. 

 
  

  
I stopped in that first week, and was welcomed with warm hospitality and a free cappuccino by Laurence and his business partner Daniel. Provision Coffee definitely offers one of the top cappuccinos I’ve had in the Phoenix area.

 
Specialty coffee in Gilbert is a rare commodity. So, I was glad to see Provsion Coffee part of bringing just that to the East Valley of Phoenix, and happy to support by bringing awareness and friends. Me and my friend Michelle made a visit recently to try one of their specialty drinks from their nitro cold brew. 

 
 

On the concrete bar were portraits of the Burundi, Africa individuals who farmed the beans that Provision Coffee sources. On the back was the story of each farmer, bringing a more personal approach to the coffee we were drinking. The gorgeous portraits were from longmilescoffeeproject.com.

 
 

Me and Michelle loved spending our day off at Provision Coffee and recommend it to anyone wanting a good Phoenix coffee impression!
  
  

Phoenix AZ – Peixoto Coffee Roasters

(Featuring some shots in black and white that I loved by Perry Czopp of thecoffeechop.com.)

Just outside Phoenix in Downtown Chandler is a new crop to cup coffee shop Peixoto Coffee Roasters. Since I live in Chandler, I was just excited to have a specialty coffee shop in my area, but while talking to Perry about it, he explained the novelty concept of crop to cup even on a national level, which I’ll share further down. 

 
  
 

When Perry told me he hadn’t been to Peixoto yet, we made a day to meet so I could introduce him to the new spot. Perry is a passionate part of the Phoenix coffee community, so I was glad to enjoy this new addition to our community with him. 

  

 

Perry tries coffee shops my favorite way: he engages with the barista to hear their offerings, then orders just about one of everything. I think it’s the best way to coffee shop haha.

I recommend the cold brew (and now they also offer nitro cold brew) and their Arnold Palmer of cascara tea and lemongrass lemonade. 

I also recommend the pão de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread, and sensory memory of the time I lived In Brazil for eight months. 
  
 

After ordering, we met the husband and wife owner of Peixoto. They explained their crop to cup idea that had been a long time coming as Julia’s father owns a coffee farm in Brazil, and they had always had a desire to roast his beans locally and open a coffee shop in their home town of Chandler, AZ. I’ve learned that it’s a rare concept for a coffe shop owner producing the cup of coffee to also be in direct relation with the crop that they source their beans from. 

 

It’s exciting to see this shop gain so much local support in the East Valley of Phoenix where specialty coffee is rare, and to see so many in the local community come out to welcome them to the community. 

Phoenix AZ – Camelback Flowershop & Perry’s Popup Coffee Cart

I was recently invited by my friend Perry to visit his pop up coffee cart at Camelback Flowershop. 

Perry is well known in the local Phoenix coffee community for his coffee knowledge and push to develop our coffee community, so I definitely didn’t want to miss a chance to support his initiative and the chance to have coffee made by someone so passionate about coffee. 

I invited Madeleine along for coffee hangs as she knew Perry as well. The coffee and photography community in Phoenix is all connected, so it’s easy to have mutual friends interested in supporting our local art and community.

This was also our first time at Camelback Flowshop’s new space. They are now located on Indian School between 40th and 42nd. Their new space is gorgeous surrounded by windows that let in a lot of natural light. Me and Madeleine were obssessed with this shop. Here’s some shots to show why:

Perry was enthusiastic to make us multiple delicious coffee drinks, of which we were enthusiastic to drink. 

He also had a special for the day: a vanilla coffee shooter. 

It’s so fun to live in such a creative community where people are passionate about their art. Perry is definitely passionate about building the coffee community in Phoenix and it’s fun to support his coffee initiations. He is currently this week at Camelback Flowershop about 10AM – 2PM so check out his coffee cart while you can. Follow his Instagram for local Phoenix coffee events @thecoffeechop .


Jerome AZ

I’ve been meaning to visit Jerome for a few years. Finally did it this last weekend with Merrissa. 

It’s only a couple hours north of Phoenix, so we came upon it about 10 am. My first impression as we drove through the upward winding road was how cute this old ghost town was with all its old buildings set on the hills. We parked and made our first spot Flat Iron.

This spot came recommended by my friend for their brunch and coffee. We walked in the door to the tiniest room that served as kitchen and restaurant. It was the cutest. Their kitchen does not have a stove top or open flame: everything is cooked in a toaster oven, conventional oven or panini grille, and the eggs are scrambled by espresso machine steam wand. 

We both ordered iced vanilla lattes, that we loved, and brunch. I got the breakfast tacos: corn tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, red peppers and onions, and salsa. The green chile salsa was absolutely the best! Merrissa got the breakfast burrito that had scrambled eggs, pepper jack cheese, turkey sausage and green chiles in a toasted homemade tortilla.

Afterward we explored the town: hiking by the creek, antiquing, swinging in the park, and photographing all the historic architecture. It’s a cute town to explore and all the brick and metal walls make it a must for any photographer.

Tucson AZ

Spent my Sunday day tripping to Tucson with Cadence. It was a great way to weekend.

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Cadence had been craving prep & pastry so that was the excuse for the trip, which I was glad for as I’ve heard so much about this spot and have been wanting to try it. So upon arriving in Tucson, it was our first stop. As with most popular spots on the weekend, we were put on a 45 minute waiting list. Absolutely fine with us: we spent the time well exploring the area on foot and by camera.

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We arrived back to prep & pastry ready to brunch. I got the breakfast poutine based off seeing it on another table. It was a great choice: house made fries topped with pork belly, duck fat gravy, cheese and two over easy eggs. This spot does rich well. They have not so heavy fare as well: my friend got a sweet potato hash that she had drove all the way from Phoenix to get, so I assume that means phenomenal. And the rest of the menu looked like must try’s so I’m sure that’s more excuse to come back once again.

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After brunch we grabbed Cadence’s friend London. I always go by the rule “always always hang with a local” when traveling. London was one of those people you become friends with instantly. No awkward. And really, Traveling is all about the new friends you make, plus, the local knows all the spots and can give you perspective on the city. I learned the draw for locals to the grunge of the appropriately named “Dirty T.” I had never understood this before so it was absolutely fascinating to learn the Tucson culture.

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Our first stop was coffee, so we went to Cartel, which I was glad for as this was the last Cartel I had never been to. And now my new favorite from the wood, exposed brick, deer heads, succulents and lots of natural light.

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We grabbed our coffee to go and walked Downtown Tucson’s Congress Street for a photo adventure. If it hadn’t already been a favorite from the food and pretty spots, it now would be for the abandoned alleys and stumble upons.

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Afterward we went to Time Market. Another spot I heard a lot about and needed to visit. It was a neighborhood market grocer. Included in the building was a restaurant serving brick oven pizza, a coffee bar serving Verve espresso, and selling retail coffee greats such as Intelligentsia, Verve, Stumptown and Heart. We headed back to Congress Street for Diablo Burger. My favorite item here is the Señor Smoke: ancho grilled onions, grilled avocado, bacon, cilantro and Sriracha mayo. Definitely a must try.

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We sat at the window with a view of Congress Hotel. (Another great spot for eating by the way.)

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We headed to the other Tucson Cartel location for more caffeine to energize our late night adventuring in Tucson with London and his friend Ian, and our drive home later that night.

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Phoenix AZ – Welcome Chicken + Donuts

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Welcome Chicken + Donuts has just opened by the owners of Welcome Diner, and I’ve been trying to find the opportunity to finally try it. Saturday morning with Cadence and Emma was the perfect invite.

The first thing I noticed was the super cute interior. While I waited in line, a local mentioned to me that the mission that is on the wall, is actually across the street. He pointed, and it was one of the views from the window.

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The donut selection was phenomenal. From Wisconsin cheddar apple fritter to chocolate rose pistachio to maple bacon. I got to chat with one of the guys who worked there on his donut input. He mentioned that there were a couple varieties that had just been created the day before. Such as the dark chocolate pudding filled with red wine glaze. We grabbed that one in our half dozen box, along with a half dozen wings in each if the three sauce options.

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We went outside to eat on the large patio with community seating. I love these two for getting the whole photo before you eat concept! You can check out their perspective on their post at: meekblog.com .

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We tried each of the three sauce varieties: Korean Chili, Vietnamese Herb, and Japanese BBQ. We all agreed that the favorite was the Korean Chile. Our favorite donut was the dark chocolate pudding with red wine glaze. Everything was so so good. Chicken and donuts totally go together. And Welcome does it so well. I definitely want to go back.

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UPDATE

I want Welcome Chicken + Donuts to be as much apart of my regular life as possible. So yesterday I paid another visit to introduce Kristine and Michelle.

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And while we were there, we had the pleasure of running into a couple other friends of ours, Ash and Bryan. Love when community supports local business and there is opportunity of having spontaneous hangs over meals with friends. Ash’s recommendation was to just get a dozen of donuts for yourself so you can try them all. It’s the best idea.

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The special for the day was ramen. So glad for it as I had been craving ramen this week after hearing good things about the ramen here when it had been a special here the week before. It was delicious, and as paired perfectly with my try at the salted key lime donut.

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Afterward we photo adventured in the nearby fields and neighborhoods of south Phoenix. It was all such a good morning.

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