Monthly Archives: May 2009

Angela Johnson’s Dream Day

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So remember how we started our Dream Day video series with Mark Tarbell? Yes, well now we have added to our collection with Angela Johnson, a local fashion designer. You may know her from her “t-shirt”  dresses, ball gowns, tops (she’s wearing one of her corset tops in the video and it’s smashing).  She revealed a dress for SMOCA a while back using their logo and it’s WONDERFUL. 

Anyway, Angela is an even mix of ladylike lovely and urban funky (okay, she’s really 75% funky) and we had so much fun shooting this video – we even learned about little hideaways from her!  Check it out here! 

 

And by the way – here’s her t-shirt SMOCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) dress…look close and you can see their logos…

SMoCA dress

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Switch

Cool blue. Cool and blue. That’s really all you need to describe Switch, a great restaurant on the north area of downtown Phoenix. It’s one of those places that’s a perfect lunch spot (the kind of place that really takes you somewhere else) and that’s also a hip nightlife spot.

Bar at Switch

 

The blue color is so emotive and relaxing, there is a super urban chic patio (where they can host private parties, if you’re looking), and the servers are always fun and since their menu offers so many options, they’re very knowledgeable.

My favorite things to get – and really, you can’t pass them up – are the gallettes. Their baked and tons of options – smoked turkey and brie with grapes and bechamel, prosciutto and mozzarella, beef and mushroom or chicken pot pie (anyone who knows me knows you can win me over with chicken pot pie). Your gallette is all piled on top of this crispy and light puff pastry and seriously can’t tell you how good it is. Well, it’s so good that I tried to make it at home (with some great friends over, nonetheless) and I messed it up really bad. But the fact that I even tried to duplicate it really is a testiment to its deliciousness. Needless to say, I’ll just get my fix at Switch. 

Prosciutto and mozzarella gallette

 

Stuffed crepes, an array of gourmet-but-very-fairly-priced sandwiches, burgers, salads and the oh-so-trendy shared plates, all grace the menu, and thank goodness, because where I usually get sick of a restaurant after a few times, I don’t even have the opportunity to wear it out!

Because lunch, dinner and after-hours still couldn’t accommodate the  demand, they also have a brunch on the weekend that is worth getting out of bed for! 

Did I mention the bar? Oh yeah. It’s fantastic. I love a good eat-late-then-stay-for-drinks kind of place, and this is it, my friends.

http://www.switchofarizona.com/ 

2603 N Central Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85004

602-264-2295


Updated: Urban Cookies

cupcake sign

 

So – of course – we JUST posted about Urban Cookies when the new cupcakes “line” launched. They mentioned it would be soon, but that was really soon! Now, the cupcakes are called “Ollie Cakes.”

Outside urban cookies

What kind of resource would we be if we did not bring you our review of said cupcakes? Like the cookie counterparts, there are only a few flavors but they are perfected. Brown Velvet (choc. cake/cream cheese frosting), Carrot Cake (cream cheese frosting), Chocolate Chocolate (choc./chocolate ganache), and then a seasonal, which happened to be Vanilla Lemon.

cupcake lineup

May I say – we tried, we loved. The chocolate ganache is brilliant – so much better than any other chocolate option. The cream cheese was actually light and not too heavy, and in all options, the cake was moist and creamy.

They package all of them together if you want – with or without cookies – and what a great idea for a quick “thank you” gift, birthday treat or anyday surprise. Stop by – love – enjoy!

brown velvet

The Spa at Camelback Inn

Sometimes, a girl just needs a day to pamper herself. I recently had one of those days. Ahhhhhhhh!

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I whole-heartedly live by the philosophy of taking time to slow down when life gets a bit too crazy.  One of my favorite places to slow down is the Spa at Camelback Inn. I’ve been multiple times, and I always leave relaxed and refreshed. I’ve had spa days with girlfriends and on my own – either way it’s a little slice of tranquilty. This particular day I treated myself to a swedish massage and a manicure (ladies, the manicure lasted a week!), both of which put me in the perfect state of mind. I spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool and reading, just indulging in a little “me time.” In between lounging and reading, I ordered food from Sprouts, the Spa’s restaurant, which was delivered directly to my lounge chair. Can you say “lazy”? It’s definitely the way to lunch after a morning of pampering. I enjoyed the Pomegranate Salad and Dungeness Crab Cake – yum and yum!

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I was sad for my reign as a lady of leisure to end; but alas, I knew I would eventually have to return to the real world. Can’t wait to do it again!

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www.camelbackspa.com

JT’s

This is the kind of post that people are going to come after me for. I am, after all, exposing one of the greatest Phoenix hideaways (read: dive bars), not to mention the absolute best in the Arcadia area. But that’s okay, because the people coming after me will be bankers, financial advisors, and other business-elite who work in the area and call JT’s their after-hours office (and – let’s be honest – I can take ’em). 

Sign at JT's

JT’s is a narrow bar, with the real bar followers actually at the bar, and tie-less executives at the high boys lining the wall. But it takes something special to get this mix of crowd here – and it’s called personality (and 50-cent taco night on Thursdays). While it looks like a good ‘ol boys bar in the front, the inside is a fiesta for the eyes – stuff EVERYWHERE. Even for an organization aficionado like me, I love the atmosphere. It’s just a good. dive. bar, Christmas lights and all. (We all know the bad dive bars).

The bar at JT's

The Fish at JT's

Ceiling of JT's

Never-ending drink specials are one asset, but the food is where it’s at. Again, Thursdays are 50-cent taco night, but the burgers, chicken wings, and other much-loved bar food really is a cut above. Stop in, say hi to JT, look at the pics of Presidents eating at the sister restaurant (and future blog post) TeePee Mexican Food, and grab a pitcher. You’re gonna be here awhile.

Tacos at JT's

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled – you may miss it and have to drive by a few times before getting it right. It’s worth the driver embarrassment, though.

4829 E Indian School Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 952-7046

Prado

We are so lucky in Phoenix, aren’t we? I mean, even working in travel, it’s easy to take all the resorts for granted. Sweeping views of Camelback Mountain, which are also amazingly reflected in the glassy pools, palm trees rustling in the light breeze and you, behind your sunglasses and underneath your big floppy hat, gaze with amazement. 

views from montelucia

At least I did. Most recently at the Montelucia, a new resort that opened in early November. The thing is – it’s really a step into a different world. The little details everywhere are amazing. The new-thing-in-town restaurant, Prado, gives the same feeling of, “OH – this is Prado?!” 

Now, let’s just admit something. Resort restaurants in the past were – ummm – not exactly the place to be. A little stale, a little stuffy (and not talking about the air), they were just not exciting or lively or fun. But no more, my friends. Now, they are hip and great because they have life in them. 

inside prado

So what’s Prado like? You come in through this grand entrance, and at the front is M Bar, which serves small plates and the full menu and is this dark wood bar, loungey leather area, and live music. Then the restaurant is in the back half, with a great European/Spanish feel, all open to the patio (more on that later). It’s so cozy, but you’re there for the food, really. So I should tell you that it’s as good as you think. And probably better than you know. For dinner, I had the roasted chicken and about fell over it was so good. My husband had the lamb, which was equally amazing, but he even liked the chicken better. We raved about it so much to our waiter that he brought out the chef, Claudio, who proceeded to tell us that the chicken is organic and from a farm strict about no cruelty to animals. He also mentioned all the farms where they get local produce, meat, almost everything. We wound up going to Prado two nights in a row. I had the chicken both nights, but switched it up the second night and saved room for dessert.

{By the way, we ran into another couple who had been to Prado for three nights – they were staying at the resort for their 29th wedding anniversary – and she said that she had the chicken the third night they were there, and if she had ordered that the first night, she would have had it three nights in a row. So there you have it.}

A dessert doesn’t have to try hard to win my affection, but there were these churros that rocked my world. I mean, I have craved them to high heavens since I went, and I have to get my fix. Everyone knows what a churro is, right? In case not, they are these rolled sweet dough things that are covered in sugar. Prado, Prado, Prado, what have you done to me. They were crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside and when dipped in the chocolate cream, become spiritual. 

Prado churros

{Another BTW – after dinner, stroll over to the sitting area with what I like to call the “lava wall” where a big wall of fire warms an incredibly comfortable seating area. Actually, there are seating areas all over, and it’s the perfect end to a stroll after dinner. It’s gorgeous. Seriously.}

lava wall

From this experience, nothing short of in love with Prado, we went again for breakfast. We sat on the patio – OH the patio. I have a thing with patios. We have a lot of great nights here, and the weather is perfect for the outdoors. But when your host brings you to your table, it’s like all the personality of the restaurant is completely abandoned in favor of some heaters and metal chairs. No, no, no. Not Montelucia style. Their patio made me pretend that I was visiting friends in Ibiza, cozy but thoughtful. I had some of the most delicious breakfasts, including the french toast with nutella (See a trend? Bread and chocolate?). I have to tell you though, that we were blown away by their coffee. From Italy, it was also crave-worthy and I highly recommend it. 

Prado patioview from patio

French toast with Nutella   breakfast sandwich

The sound of the fountains soothe through the meal, the live music in the background, the Mediterranean colors remind you of Europe, but Prado at the Montelucia takes you there. 

Fountains

www.icmontelucia.com

Urban Southwest

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I just discovered a great new shopping spot for home furnishings and decor – Urban Southwest at the corner of Camelback and 10th Street. What a fun, new find! Part of the store is actually an old house so there’s lots of little nooks and crannies to explore. My favorite room is filled with vintage iron pieces of all shapes and sizes. They have a fantastic collection of old wood doors, too. There’s also loads of accessories for both the home and garden including a variety of  candle holders. And if you love rustic wood furniture like I do, you really need to stop by and check ’em out. Oh, I almost forgot, they do custom pieces as well.

This store isn’t just about selling products, it’s about selling products that are friendly to our environment. Many of their pieces are made from recycled materials, recyclable materials and renewable materials. And much of the wood furniture is made from used lumber. So the next time you want a little something new (or old) to freshen up your home, think Southwest Urban and think green!

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It’s plain and simple…Urban Southwest offers the perfect pieces to fit my eclectic style. What’s your style? For a sneak peek of what’s “in store” for you, visit them at www.urbansouthwest.com.

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