Tag Archives: Featured

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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Phoenix AZ – The Henry

The Henry is easily one of my favorite spots in Phoenix. I love a recent visit I had with a couple of my friends Diamond and Augustina.

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Diamond herself is a an amazing blogger and I recommend you check it out her blog http://www.pariselsewhere.blogspot.fr  . We did a collaboration on this post. Here’s her introduction:

An Inventory of Classics

The Henry, An American Brasserie

The salon of “The Greatest Neighborhood Restaurant” exhibits an inventory of classics. Above a Davy’s Gray and Carolina Blue patterned settee hang five frames of abstract art evocative of Damien Hirst’s “spot paintings.” Metal Tolix chairs border a polished wood table aglow under the lights of burnished antique two-arm table lamps. An emerald velvet booth extends to an entryway, which reveals an Arcadian terrace that offers a generous cue of shade. This American brasserie, dubbed The Henry, exemplifies a Roaring (Twenties) sophistication.

A remarkable accomplishment is discovered in the duality of the culinary cues at The Henry. Where classical dinners are supplied in the evening, contemporary breakfasts are enjoyed in the noontime. In his book, American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones, the late food writer famed for his efforts to bring the winning accents of American cuisine to the fore, references this mealtime character called brunch. He traces its culinary heritage to 1930s’ America. This dynamic that sees a harmony amid design and cuisine at The Henry is one that advances the restaurant as a space of fulfillment and gathering for family and friends.

Article by Diamond Troutman

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So The Henry is broken into two sections. If you walk to the right, there’s a coffee bar and casual dining, and to the left is a sit down restaurant. My first experience at The Henry was in the coffee shop, and I remember thinking, “I just found my new favorite coffee shop.” It’s all so classic and worth returning to and introducing friends to in the months that followed.

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The menu at the coffee bar offers The Henry speciality coffee drinks and classic coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, pastries, plus a casual dining menu.

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As per my tendency, my experience with Augustina and Diamond was to coffee and lunch in the coffee space.

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We ordered some salads and drinks at the coffee bar. The Kale and Apple salad comes with clementines, bacon, Amish cheddar and almonds.

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My favorite salad is the Shrimp and Quinoa with black beans, corn, avocado, citrus, and apples. When I can, I go weekly just for this salad. I’m obsessed.

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If you want to sit down for a nice meal, the space to the left that serves as the restaurant is gorgeous. The atmosphere is overwhelmingly attractive. The space itself is worth returning for, if not for the food that is up to the same quality.

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I’ve only sat down to the fine dining area once. I got the Wild Mushroom Tortellini and it was phenomenal. It’s served in a white sauce with Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and Parmesan.

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Give The Henry a visit! It’s a must to anyone in the Phoenix area.

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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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Tempe, AZ – Crepe Bar

I had heard alot of recommendations for Crepe Bar before I finally made my way there. Within two weeks after my first visit there, I had taken six friends who then started taking their friends and family. Crepe Bar is definitely doing something right.

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I have a few reason why I recommend Crepe Bar to others:

PERSONAL: The staff will always bring your food and drink to  you, no matter how busy they are.  And everything they hand out reflects personal attention to presentation: latte art on the coffee, sauce drizzled on the plates with the crepes, and samples in jars and flasks.

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FRIENDLY. The staff is always kind and friendly. I like to engage, but I don’t expect it, so it’s nice when there’s mutual engaging.  The staff was friendly to chat about Phoenix and travel with me. Even to bring samples to my seat by the window and converse about any input I had on a new recipe. My favorite thing about supporting local business is that there is heart in what they create and connection with their community.

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CREATIVE. I love that this place is always creating. And their flavors are unique. Nothing boring here.  First time I came, I had the smokey crepe (turkey, avocado, chorizo and smoked gouda) and a cappuccino and I can’t help but come back to get the EXACT same thing every time. Though the crepe bar would do their best to persuade me otherwise: every time I come in, I get 2-3 samples of something different. It makes me feel secure that if I ever did sway away from my usual, I would find something equally as good. So, here were the three samples I received on this visit: housemade granola, spicy kale chips, and milk and cookies.

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COFFEE. From my first visit, I was obsessed with their coffee. For real. It was amazing. I later learned that it’s from heart roasters in Portland. So much sense: from my visit to Portland, heart roasters was my favorite, and I was in love with the fact that Crepe Bar imports heart coffee to right here in Phoenix. I may be wrong, but Crepe Bar is the only place I’ve found serving and selling heart coffee, which would be reason enough for my support, if they hadn’t given me so many other reasons already.

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Everything here is worth recommending. I’m all for finding something great locally and then getting support behind it.