Monthly Archives: October 2009

Local Fave: Postino

In a race for “Best Wine Bar,” the locals have spoken: Postino is the winner.

We love it so much we’ve already blogged about each location, in Arcadia and on Central.

Up against some stiff competitors (including Edge Bar at Sanctuary and Kazimierz in Old Town Scottsdale), Postino flew to the lead spot, and it’s easy to tell why.

Both Postino locations are the perfect marriage of hip and lounge-y and casual without too stark and modern. They’re comfortable, home-y, sophisticated, laid back. The name came from the former life at the original location in the Arcadia neighborhood, an old post office. (Unfortunately, the name is confused with the movie, Il Postino. The official name is Postino Wine Cafe. Take note.)

Postino

Another location was opened on Central Ave. earlier this year and the neighborhood as welcomed it with open arms. Both places service the old Phoenix neighborhoods, with ranch houses, huge grass yards and trees arching over the streets. It’s the feeling of old Phoenix with modern swank.

When you go, you must get the bruschetta, and eat one order for your meal or order a bunch and share with the group. We recommend the prosciutto with figs and marscapone, and the salami with pesto is perfectly balanced. You can’t go wrong with either. Matter of fact, stop yourself from diving in head-first.

Bruschetta!

Postino Wine Cafe

http://postinowinecafe.com/

Barneys New York Opens in Scottsdale

So, I got to start my day in the best way possible – at the mall. And not just any mall, at Scottsdale Fashion Square where Barneys New York is offically open for business. I even caught a glimpse of Simon Doonan, the creative genius behind the store’s quirky and fabulous displays. This Barneys is home to a Fred’s restaurant, one of only three. Yay for us! Can’t wait to give it a try.

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 Barneys is in good company in the new East Wing of the mall. It’s joined by other brands such as Michael Stars, Arthur, True Religion, Pandora and Christian Audigier. This concentration of retail therapy is sure to make any shopaholic weak in the knees. But never fear, you can keep the wallet in check with the more reasonble options of Forever 21, Love Culture and the soon-to-be-here H&M. If you want more middle-of-the-road options, J. Crew and Banana Republic are also taking up residence in the East Wing. Banana is debuting its new concept store – check it out and see what you think. It’s pretty cool but I’m still undecided on the practicality of it. Trust me, I’ll give myself plenty of opportunites to get used to it!

Along with more premier shopping, Fashion Square is also home to two new restaurants, Modern Steak (a new concept by Sam Fox) and Marcella’s Italian Kitchen. Both look very promising and are now on my list of “restaurants to try.”

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the collection of artistic mannequins that are on display. The Mannequin is our Muse Design Project is an art exhibition featuring retailers, designers and community members who have designed a mannequin using their interpretation of art and fashion. One hundred full-size mannequins will be on display through October 18. A panel of local celebrity judges will pick the top five most fabulous to be displayed at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in late October. 

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www.fashionsquare.com

Corner of Camelback and Scottsdale Roads

 

Scramble

One of Phoenix’s newest breakfast spots (or breakfast joint, as they call it) is Scramble, located in the north, central part of the city. I highly recommend giving this one a try. Despite its name, Scramble offers up much more than just eggs. I’m completely smitten with their Biscuits which make a great side to any breakfast meal. The menu is quite helpful by pointing out which items are a “healthy choice,” “spicy” and even which ones “travel well.” Note: naturally, the biscuits are not labeled as “healthy” but a side of low fat yogurt or fruit should help balance that out.

You have to try the biscuits

You have to try the biscuits

On my first visit, I checked out the Mulitgrain Pancakes which were yummy, and BIG. They took up the entire plate! My husband is a fan of the Gringo Breakfast Burrito. And we’re both huge fans of their Cinnamon Rolls. These alone are well worth the visit. They’re baked every day and according to the menu, “When they’re gone, they’re gone.” Now, that’s fresh.

Multigrain Pancakes

Multigrain Pancakes

Gringo Breakfast Burrito

Gringo Breakfast Burrito

Scramble also offers a light lunch menu, but I doubt I’ll ever try it because the breakfast is just too good to pass up!

Scramble 009

 www.azscramble.com

9832 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020

Fall Events: Rawhide Doomtown

CowboyGhost

If Sergio Leone — the creative mind behind spaghetti Westerns such as “A Fistful of Dollars” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” — had ever directed a slasher movie, I suppose it would have looked a lot like Doomtown.

Imagine an Old West town, populated by ghostly cowboys, headless horsemen and dust-covered zombies, all of them swaggering about at an unhurried pace, sizing up at interlopers and ignoring open wounds.

The unspoken dilemma of these undead, uninhibited townsfolk seems to be this: Should I make this kid cry or not?

Doomtown is the annual October incarnation of Rawhide Western Town at Wild Horse Pass. In the spirit of Halloween, the purveyors and performers at this replica of an 1880s Arizona boomtown don ghoulish garb and paint the town red, white and bluish — with fake blood, spider webs and black lights.

Halloween Train

I love Halloween but don’t scare particularly easily, so I carried a healthy bit of skepticism into last night’s sneak peek of Doomtown for media members. But I was instantly encouraged to see a pre-teen girl clutching her mother’s had and crying, “I want to go home!” as a headless horseman and pistol-waving cowboy circled her family aboard inky-black steeds.

This could be good, I thought. And it was.

Crying child aside, I can confidently report that Doomtown is fun for the whole family. The degree to which you frighten yourself is entirely up to you.

Our cadre of Doomtown expeditionaries consisted of five media/PR types and one very cool 11-year-old boy. The latter’s emotions vacillated from (1) pretending not to be scared, (2) pretending not to be scared while laughing loudly, (3) being scared without pretense, (4) being absolutely terrified as a chain-saw-wielding zombie chased him out of a haunted house.

We adults lubricated our fearlessness with salt-rimmed beverages and whiskey cocktails — neither of which, by the way, I would recommend taking on the Train of Terror unless you want to disembark with wet clothes. The 12-minute ride aboard this miniature train (whose conductor looked as though he were the illegitimate spawn of Bea Arthur and Ozzy Osbourne) was my favorite Doomtown attraction. It was dark, creaky and full of surprises — everything Halloween should be.

Jailbird

You can scare up a ticket to Doomtown for $13, but I suggest forking out $24 for the combo pass, which gets you into all the attractions (including the Train of Terror and the Rawhide Roughriders stunt show) as well as two haunted houses (the Asylum and Crypt).

For more information about Doomtown, including hours, pricing and directions, visit Rawhide’s Web site at www.rawhide.com. The event runs through Nov.1.

Hiking Black Mountain

When people come to Phoenix, they are always amazed at how close our hiking is to the city, or rather – in the city – with Camelback Mountain squarely in the middle of central Phoenix, neighboring Piestawa Peak and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, the McDowell Mountains to the northeast, and South Mountain (you guessed it – to the south).

Heading north straight through Phoenix, you will be graced immediately by the quaint town of Cave Creek, and to your right will be Black Mountain looking so innocent and serene.

But it’s a difficult hike – there’s no two ways about it.  Beginners should aspire to this, the intermediate hiker will be out of breath, and the advanced hiker will be challenged. (I hike all the time and I was out of breath.) It’s an immediate get-out-of-the-car-and-go hike (read: no warm-up little hills), so get your game face on. You’ll head up a wide road, then it’ll fork – go left for the actual trail, go right for a road fit for a Jeep. They meet back up about 2/3 of the way up, and I recommend the trail. It has some of the most beautiful cacti variations in the state. (Note: It’s a narrow trail. Leave your pup at home.)

View from the top of Black Mountain

And Black Mountain has a dark sense of humor. You’re hiking along, to what you think is the summit. Then you get there, and realize you’ve gotta another third of the mountain to go. Get a sense of the views, and your breath, and push on up. You will see the most amazing views of the Valley, including Elephant Mountain to the north, as far down as South Mountain. You can even spot University of Phoenix Stadium.

View of the McDowell Mountains

To get there – take the 51 North to 101 West. Exit at Cave Creek Road, and take that about 11 miles north (it’ll curve east when you get into the town of Cave Creek). Take a right at School House Road, then left on Military Road and park off the street. Then it’s time to get up that hill!

See the map.