Category Archives: central phoenix

Ice Cream Duel

When it’s warm in the Phoenix summers, locals don’t fret. Why? Pools are abundant (and all the local resorts are the places-to-be) and cool, sweet treats are all around. The pop-up of gelato and yogurt places can’t be missed, but it’s not a fad – they’re taking a cue from two of the best spots around: Sugar Bowl and Mary Coyle. These are two of the most drool-worthy, diet-ditching parlors, who – in their “vintage” states – have become pillars of Phoenix, especially in the summer.

Sugar Bowl

So you’re in Old Town Scottsdale, moseying along, and BAM you see the big pink corner, with the colorful letters that bring so much joy: Sugar Bowl. People who’ve grown up in Phoenix all have stories about when they were little and got to go to Sugar Bowl. It’s a special place. They serve lunch and dinner, but let’s be honest – you’re going for the ice cream. It’s smooth, creamy and in any of it’s iterations – the sundaes, the parfaits, the cones – you can’t get away from the parlor feel – not that you’d want to. (A certain blogger, by the way, recommends the Old Dutch Chocolate hot fudge.)

It’s old-time dining at it’s best, and the whole experience can’t be missed.

But across town, Mary Coyle is the place to be for cool treats.

Mary Coyle Ice Cream

Similar to Sugar Bowl, Mary Coyle is a staple in Phoenix. They also serve food that you get, but it’s not what you go for. Again, it’s the ice cream. And they make no bones about the 16% butterfat content – it’s on banners in the store – but when you taste it, you don’t have a care in the world if it was 16 or 66% butterfat.

The biggest differentiator are the flavors Mary Coyle has. At any time, there are about 30 flavors, including some bright, fruity ones (black raspberry, fresh honey banana, burgundy cherry) that at least sound healthy, right? But then there are the indulgences (butter brittle, maple walnut, chocolate almond) that will send you flying. Their “standard” flavors like chocolate, peppermint chip and rocky road are done the way an Iron Chef does french fries – perfectly.

So when you need to cool down, head to Sugar Bowl or Mary Coyle – or better yet, go to both. Conduct your own taste test and see what you think of these treats.

Sugar Bowl
4005 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Mary Coyle
5521 North 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013-1701

Cezanne and American Modernism

Going to any of the art museums in town is always inspiring, but when a big show comes to town, you just can’t miss it.

Morgan Russell Portrait of Cezanne

Morgan Russell. Portrait of Cezanne. 1910. Collection of The Honorable and Mrs. Joseph P. Carroll.

Phoenix Art Museum now presents Cézanne and American Modernism, a collection of numerous artists showing some of the best pieces in post-Impressionist modern art.

Cézanne was called “the father of us all” by both Matisse and Picasso, and in this collection you’ll see numerous works from Cézanne, Morgan Russel, Marsden Hartley and other top artists of the time. The exhibit runs through September 26.

You’ll see works like Cézanne’s Five Apples, Bathers, View of the Domain Saint-Joseph and more. You’ll also see:

Marsden Hartley, Purple Mountains

Marsden Hartley, Purple Mountains, Vence, 1925-26. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Orme Lewis.

Oscar Bluemner, Jersey Silkmills.

Oscar Bluemner. Jersey Silkmills (Paterson). 1911 (repainted 1917). Private Collection. Photographer: Peter S. Jacobs, Fine Arts Photography.

…and other amazing pieces from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.  It’s truly a must-see.

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-257-1222

Independents Week

It’s no secret that here at The Hot Sheet, we’re driven to showcase the best of the indie shops. Local businesses are what separates one city from another – one business from another. The charm, unique personality, service and – let’s just face it – they’re more fun places to be.

So as if you didn’t have enough reason to visit a local boutique, restaurant, coffee shop, bar (okay, you get the gist), then this is your week – Independents Week. From today (June 28) through July 4, you get 20% off your purchases at participating members of Local First Arizona, a local non-profit to support independently owned businesses. And because Local First is such a cool organization, pretty much all your favorite places are on the list. (Check out the full list of participating shops.)

But just in case – in all your excitement – you are perplexed about where to visit first, here are a few of our top picks (click their pic to check ’em out):

frances

Urban Cookies

Urban Cookies

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

The Willows

The Willows

Bunky Boutique

Bunky Boutique

Heard Museum

Heard Museum

See, now your week was looking busier than you thought! To get your 20% off Golden Coupon, and to see a full list of participants, check out the Local First site. Happy outings!

El Chorro

Ah, El Chorro – One of the icons of Phoenix dining, as much for it’s food (including their famous sticky buns) as for the view – a straight shot of Camelback Mountain from the north side.

Herb Garden at El Chorro

It started out in the ’30s as a girls’ school, then became a restaurant for all the hip-and-happening in the ’50s. It had been run for decades by the same sweet couple, the Millers. But in 2009, after the Millers had said goodbye, Jacquie Dorrance (her husband, Bennett, an heir of Campbell’s Soup) purchased it and set out to remodel a pillar of old Phoenix.

The Dorrances are known around town – if not personally, than in their philanthropy. The planetarium at the Arizona Science Center and the sculpture garden at Phoenix Art Museum bear the Dorrance name. So for their next project to be El Chorro was fitting to their history here and their love of Phoenix. The public, though, held its collective breath as rumors swirled about whether or not the new version of the restaurant would live up to its name.

El Chorro has been open for months now, and the verdict is in: It is every bit as amazing as the original (and maybe even more).

El Chorro in Phoenix, AZ

The views of Camelback Mountain were improved upon by nearly doubling the patio dining areas, the interior and exterior are bridged by a huge bar, and the inside of the restaurant was completely redesigned to be brighter. In every sense, though, it is the glamorously rustic space you hope for, and the feeling of the old El Chorro hasn’t changed, thanks in part to the photos of old Phoenix set on the walls, the socializing under the sky, and yes – even the sticky buns are back.

There are also new, tucked-away areas that provide loads of charm. The patio has more fireplaces for the winter with big, cushy chairs (and by the way, misters run throughout the patio so even in the summer, the patio is 85 degrees), there is the organic garden, and beautiful lawns for events.

The food is equally impressive, even in the bar which draws the happy hour crowd to nosh on delicious appetizers and cool beverages.

El Chorro Dining

All-in-all, El Chorro is not to be missed. It is in the top 5 places I would recommend to my own family and friends coming to town, so take that, dear readers, as a good recommendation.

El Chorro Lodge
5550 E Lincoln Dr.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Arizona Restaurant Week

Just announced, Arizona Restaurant Week has firmed up the dates for 2010, and will be returning from September 18 – 26. (Wallets and palates rejoice!) This year will feature over 100 restaurants, each offering three-course meals for either $29 or $39 per person, of course not including drinks, tax and tip.

Every year this is the must-do week of culinary exploration, and water coolers are filled with chatter about “What did you try?” Each year we get asked for our top picks, and withholding judgment until the full list is out, here are some big highlights:

Culinary Dropout
J&G Steakhouse
Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
True Food Kitchen
Tuscany

A more comprehensive (and ever-growing) list can be accessed here. Some of the Phoenix area’s top chefs are already on the list and given previous years’ participation, we’re expecting a lot more to join soon.

One notable highlight this year –  restaurants will have the option to offer gluten-fee dishes, which will be noted on the Arizona Restaurant Week web site, so if gluten is not your friend, make sure to check the options first.

Oh, and feel free to log your anticipation of the event on twitter, with the hashtag #ARW2010.

La Grande Orange

La Grande Orange, or LGO for short, is a perfect little neighborhood retreat in central Phoenix. It’s really two places in one with La Grande Orange Pizzeria on one side and La Grande Orange Grocery on the other. The Pizzeria side offers a well-balanced menu of salads and pizzas with a few “off the grill” items tossed in for good measure. They are kind enough to label items that are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free which is uber helpful if you care about these things like I do (for me, it’s please hold the meat). The pizzas are nothing short of yummy, and I prefer mine topped with a fried egg. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! 

My recent LGO dinner included the Classic Margherita (with egg, of course) followed by a stop on the Grocery side for a Tammie Coe cupcake. Tammie Coe desserts deserve their very own blog post – I’ll save that for another day. If you’re a bit of a shopaholic like me, then the Grocery can also help you out in that area. They have a fantastic array of items including soaps, candles, kitchen knick knacks, pet treats and more. All of their LGO-logoed stuff is adorable – very retro. And, oh yeah, they have groceries too, including a nice wine selection.

LGO Grocery is also known for it’s homemade English muffins that are griddled there every day. These things are so darn good that I’m smiling right now just thinking about them. If, like me, you try one and decide that you can’t live without them, then you’re in luck. LGO sells them by the dozen and half dozen so that you can enjoy them morning, noon and night.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on long enough about this fabulous place. Hopefully, you’ll get out and give it a try.

La Grande Orange Grocery and Pizzeria
4410 N. 40th Street, Phoenix
www.lagrandeorangegrocery.com
www.lagrandeorangepizzeria.com

Vincent’s Market: Two More Weeks

Vincent's Market on Camelback

Avocado, sun-dried tomato and gruyere pizza

For locals or out-of-towners alike, when people ask me where to go for a seriously unique experience, my list always includes Vincent’s, in one form or another. There’s the “real” restaurant (Vincent on Camelback), the Market Bistro (which is adjacent to the restaurant), or the most casual but equally delicious affair, the Camelback Market.

Why so many “Vincents?” Because it all stems from James Beard Award-Winning Chef Vincent Guerithault, who takes his French background and descent and melds it with his Southwestern home. That’s what makes his food so unique.

Anyway, we’ve written about the Market before, and all the locals know that every Saturday morning from October – May, it’s the place to be. Well in case you’ve slept in a few Saturdays, this is your reminder that the Market is going on for two more weeks, ending on May 22nd.

Remember to come hungry: about 1/4 of the Market is actual produce, but the rest is filled with pastries, and everything from paella to oven-fired pizzas made-to-order, to the most delicious roasted chicken and potatoes ever. Be sure to get in line for the crepes – savory or sweet (Grand Marnier, I’m coming for you) – and also for the mimosas – you’ll get a bottle of Champagne, and as many cups of OJ as you want.

Now that your mouth is watering, I’ll let you rally your friends to go. It goes from 9am – 1pm. Happy Brunching!

Mother’s Day Top Picks

You’ve gotta do something special for your mom, sister, wife or friend this Mother’s Day, so how about some good conversation over a very good meal. But you don’t want to do something too typical, right? Right. So here are our top three-ish options for where to take her for something special.

1. Quiessence at the Farm at South Mountain

Quiessence is known for it’s literal farm-to-table meals, for it’s amazing Chef LaPrad and the very scenic beauty. Just driving up, you feel like you’re somewhere magical. Well, it gets better for Mom’s Day, because in addition to a very affordable $59 per person three-course dinner, you can also get your mama a massage and take family photos on the beautiful grounds. The food is amazing too; choices of Creamy French Onion Soup, Alaskan Halibut, Pan Seared Chicken – all local, all amazing.

Seating times for dinner are 4-5pm or 6-7pm, with the massages and photos from 4:30-6:30, depending on your dinner time.

Check out the menu and call 602-276-0601 for details and reservations.

Quiessence at the Farm at the South Mountain

Quiessence at the Farm at the South Mountain

2. Cafe Zuzu at Hotel Valley Ho

Let’s say your mom is kinda hip, a little funky, but classy all the way. Where should you take her? One word – Zuzu. You can sit in their retro dining room, or outside under the palms, to enjoy their food from the much beloved Chef Charles Wiley. The Thick Belgian Waffles with Sun-dried Cherry Butter is a sure winner, or the Stuffed French Toast made with brioche and filled with lemon cream cheese and berries. It’s all a la carte, and more standard breakfast options are available as well.

Brunch runs from 6am – 3pm, but the special menu doesn’t start till 11am.

Call 480.421.7997 for details or visit opentable.com.

3. Greater Phoenix Resorts

You really can’t go wrong with any of the resorts here, but hit Prado at the Montelucia, the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge or the Fairmont Scottsdale for some elegant and special brunches. Frank & Albert’s at the Arizona Biltmore is a more casual but still very nice choice, and while it’s not really a resort, the Wrigley Mansion is super cool and sophisticated and will be very memorable, both from the food and the ambience.

Peaceful Soul

*REGRETTABLY, PEACEFUL SOUL HAS CLOSED*

Peaceful Soul

Peaceful Soul is a shop just on the edge of downtown Phoenix on 7th Street next to The Main Ingredient, that always piques the curiosity of drivers-by with the furniture sitting out front. While at first I wondered if it was a new yoga studio, maybe a beverage place, maybe a clothing store, I was excited to hear that they had one of the best collections of furniture in Phoenix.

Drop by and you’ll find long rooms filled with pieces from around the country, hand-picked by the owner. Every style, every era – you’ll find it here. They sell new pieces, consignment and resale, so to go in with an open mind is your best bet.

One part you must check out – the jewelry “vault.” It’s literally an old bank vault from when the building was constructed as such in the early 1900s. You’ll find some pretty great handbags and accessories in there, too.

If you’re a local looking for an eclectic resource for furniture, this is your spot.

Peaceful Soul
2501 N 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006
602-253-8700

Biltmore Fashion Park

Let’s just be honest – the best places to shop are also the best places to just be – where you can stroll around, grab a cup of coffee, and leisurely get your fill of retail therapy and a beautiful environment. Enter Biltmore Fashion Park to play the part wonderfully. A bunch of high-end to mid-line shops all with their doors open and the breeze blowing in, not to mention the immaculate lawns, gardens and fountains. Every little turn is a different garden area.

A couple years ago, they also renovated the exterior to harken back to the first days of the Biltmore shopping area, and now it’s a great blend of retro and modern. The Biltmore area is called such because of the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, which sits just behind the shopping center. The sprawling resort was built in 1929 by the Wrigley family (hence The Wrigley Mansion, also in the Biltmore area), and now “The Biltmore Area” refers to the resort, the shops, the surrounding restaurants and neighborhoods. “The Biltmore” can either mean the resort or the shopping center, depending on the context. Now you know the lingo.


Biltmore Fashion Park

The Center Lawn is the big focal point of the Biltmore, and it’s bigger than a camera can get. They have a bunch of events here year round (and about every day for picnics at lunch), but the most popular are the Movies in the Park, where they show generally older landmark films like Singin’ in the Rain or Breakfast at Tiffany’s. James Bond has been known to turn up on the screen as well.

Biltmore Fashion Park

As mentioned, the fountains and gardens are all over the place, mixing with the architectural lines. Lines are not found, however, at the stores. No matter how busy, there is always a certain calm feeling at the Biltmore that makes it great for strolling. And there are the signature stores like Saks and Macy’s and Pottery Barn, but there are also local boutiques like Cornelia Park, a home store that makes the best decorators swoon, and This Little Piggy Wears Cotton, which the locals know as the best kids’ shop in the area. There are also exclusive shops like Calypso St. Barth, Escada and even an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.

Biltmore Fashion Park

When you’re there, make sure you take time to replenish your shopping fuel at one of the restaurants. True Food Kitchen was opened by Sam Fox, a local restaurateur and Andrew Weil, the doctor known for his lessons in well-being (and if you wanted to try Green Tea Noodles, this is where to do it). Also stop by Christopher’s for an upscale treat (or swing by the lounge for a really good time) and Zinburger for a one-stop wine and burger run (because they go so great together).

Can’t you tell I love the Biltmore? Now happy shopping…and movie watching…and strolling…and eating…