Tuesday, January 8, 2008

be glad you live here!

UPDATE - APRIL 2011
This is a very outdated list, and some places are no longer here (sad) but I'm keeping it up anyway.

I had a breakthrough a few weeks ago regarding how I feel about this desert I live in. For a long time I was feeling deprived of exactly what I thrive off of: culture, charm, and diversity. In my mind, one of the only benefits of living here {except for being near family} was the opportunity for growth and business success. And then I slowly started exploring and discovering what Phoenix has to offer. There is a growing list of local businesses - great restaurants, vintage & retro stores, boutiques, galleries, and more - that a lot of people don't know about.

Though in my heart I still feel like I belong somewhere on the East coast, I've decided that Phoenix is a pretty neat place to be and is getting better all the time. So I'm trying to stop complaining about the heat and lack of trees and start appreciating what's around me.



I decided to share the wealth with those who might care by compiling a mini-guide, an abbreviated version of the small wonders map that is being distributed by LocalFirstAZ. Most I have been to, and some I still have not...but all are worth discovering.



1.Barrio Cafe - a little neighborhood eatery providing authentic southern Mexico cuisine in an unpretentious atmosphere 2.Chelsea's Kitchen - casual urban sophistication with a menu for the whole family 3.Cibo - authentic Italian cuisine in a rustic and charming old house setting 4.Copper Star Coffee - gourmet pastries and sandwiches housed in a charming old filling station in the historic Melrose district 5.Drip Coffee Lounge - serving all organic; breakfasts, artisan soups, gourmet sandwiches and snacks 6.Duck & Decanter - award-winning sandwiches, soups, and salads surrounded by an epicurian marketplace 7.Estate Treasures - vintage & retro to modern, rustic and shabby chic furniture, clothing, and accessories 8.Fate - well-crafted, modern Asian fare in a funky-chic setting 9.Frances - handpicked new and vintage women's clothing, jewelery, gifts, paper goods & more {my favorite!}




10.Goldlion Boutique - vintage, new, handmade, apparel, gifts, art gallery 11.La Grande Orange - grocery & pizzeria; yummy breakfast lunch & dinner, not to mention adorable 12.Lisa G. - modern design, fresh ingredients and affordable prices; mouthwatering gourmet sandwiches, salads and pastries 13.Lola Tapas - coffee and french pastries 14.Lux - coffee and bakery goods in an atmosphere where art, music and design are cultivated to create a place of culture and shared ideas 15.Made Art boutique - antidote to the everyday featuring gifts, books, art, and chocolate 16.Melrose pharmacy - professional and friendly service - old school style 17.Palatte - not terribly typical... breakfast & lunch 18.Pizzeria Bianco - best pizza in the U.S. and worth the super long wait



19.Postino - a delightful space carved out of the old Arcadia post office with delicious Italian food 20.Radio Milano - Italian-accented restaurant and bar with great food and great atmosphere 21.Red modern furniture - best source for Midcentury modern furniture & also vintage clothing, jewelry and purses by Mint 22.Rowdy Boutique - men's and women's clothing & accessories 23.MacAlpine's Soda Fountain - restaurant and old tyme soda fountain, vintage & retro store 24.Spoken Boutique - street wear, hip accessories, and tons of designer denim 25.Stinkweeds - New & used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, and more 26.Sweet Pea Bakery - quality goodies from quality ingredients 27.That's A Wrap - fresh, healthy ingredients for salads, wraps, soups and smoothies


I hope I overwhelmed you. Enjoy!

15 comments:

  1. Im excited about the Drip Coffe Lounge. Stu and i are loving eating all organic stuff. My aunt turned me on to it. She has been an herbalist for 15 years. She is amazing.Thanks for sharing! By the way i love the chair you refinished. Im refinishing my kitchen table and a book shelf. I got an electric sander for christmas!

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  2. Thanks for sharing the Phoenix mini-guide. I'm glad you are appreciating the desert. :) Even though I live in the CO where there's tons of trees, grassy hills and of course the Rocky mountains, I always LOVE coming back to the desert I grew up in. I've always missed the Arizona sunsets. Before I moved away, I watched my last sunset, b/c I knew it would be for a very long time. I always miss the smell of the desert, esp. during monsoon season. I have to tell you too, that when I drove to Idaho from Mesa, the ONLY place I got lost was in Phoenix. :) It is special.

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  3. "except for being near family"... if that were the ONLY reason you enjoyed this place, it better be enough to keep you from moving!! okay, did i not introduce you to that's a wrap? and "the duck" (aka duck and decanter) on central was across from my old office building. i ate lots of sandwiches there and ate a bazillion cookies. have you ever had their turtle cookies? mmmm, i go buy some whenever i go to visit my office. glad you like phoenix a little better. just think how cool it is now that it's where SSD was founded. looks like you got lots of work done today, kind of like me right now. ha ha!

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  4. This is an ironic post for me because I was just thinking about how I should take the time to go around and take pictures of all the places in Mesa that have happy memories or remind me of my childhood and make me a book called, "My Mesa" or something like that. I would take a picture of the blue building and the optometrist building that has windows that are made into glasses (I never have been inside, but it always amazed me when I was little). I would take a picture of my Westwood and Dunkin Donuts (the one that's all boarded up on Country Club). I wanted to do this before the Mesa that I grew up with changes too much. I want a cool book to share with my girls and show them some of my Mesa Memories. (sorry this is all about me)

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  5. Hey, looks like Rob and I have our date nights planned out for the next couple months..you guys wanna join us sometime? Im excited to try out these boutiques too!!

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  6. oh ya, It was SO good to see you the other night! I miss you and Adell!

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  7. what an awesome thing to do. your corner of the world looks amazing.

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  8. This is Karen Graf (Sra. Graf) and I can so relate to your feelings about Phoenix. I too was born and lived 27 years in Mesa/Tempe and felt that I belonged somewhere else. While I love living back east now with the seasons, trees, and small cafes I have come to appreciate how unique Arizona is when I come back to visit. Having traveled all over the world I can definately say there is no place like it and I think it is fabulous you are embracing it and finding all the positive things it has to offer!

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  9. k, so how did you know about Pizzeria Seven Twelve?? I heard it's inspiration was Pizzeria Bianco....is this true, I don't know!??

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  10. such a great post. i've yet to accept phoenix as home..and have been looking for these places...thanks.

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  11. hey if you think its bad here try living in iowa!

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  12. I'm so glad you did this! One of my favorite things about local bloggers is when they post about places I haven't been yet. And you mentioned quite a few places that I haven't even heard of. Awesome!

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  13. I can relate to your frustrations. Especially when people hire me to photograph them and they say, "We want some place green with lots of trees, not desert." Most locations around here that meet that description have been used over and over again. One has to drive hours away to find a new location like that. But I manage anyway. And I must say that the desert has its own unique beauty that I didn't appreciate until I lived in Florida for two years. As lovely as Florida is, I missed home. And as for culture and style, it just needs to be sought out, like displayed in your post. I love visiting different places, but I am content to live here.

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  14. i love phx.

    but i've always wished to be surrounded by a different type of culture. (i.e. i'm in love with portland and seattle comes in at a very close 2nd.)

    i think this little list will help me understand and appreciate the culture i'm already a part of.

    thanks.

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