Category Archives: north phoenix

Kierland Commons


If there’s one thing I love to do, it’s S-H-O-P! And Kierland Commons happens to be one of the places I enjoy the most. I love it’s selection of stores along with its openess and beautiful setting. It really sets the mood for a great day of shopping. They also have an amazing selection of restaurants, so there’s always a place to rest your feet and refuel between stores (never underestimate the need to refuel during a shopping excursion – energy is crucial).

My most recent visit to Kierland Commons was for Fashion’s Night Out. I needed a little retail therapy after a long week and this was the perfect solution. Kierland is fun any time of day, but evening is especially “magical” with all of the white lights, people strolling around and patios full of happy hour aficionados. Thanks to the celebratory nature of Fashion’s Night Out, there was music playing, drinks flowing, deals to be had and a slew of live models showing off the latest must-haves for Fall. The stores really got into the spirit of the evening (Note: although tempting, I steered clear of drinking and shopping – it’s hazardous to my wallet!).

Kierland truly has a little bit of everything. Some of my favorite stores include Anthropologie, The French Bee, Michael Kors and Charles David. Of course, they also have the good ol’ stand bys like Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, J. Crew, LOFT, Banana Republic and Tommy Bahama (which includes the Cafe). Basically, I can meet all of my shopping needs in one place.

As mentioned, the restaurant selection is stellar as well. Some of my personal favs are The Greene House, Zinc Bistro and Ocean Club (the pretzel bread is to die for.)

But don’t just take it from, be sure to check it out for yourself. To see all of their stores and restaurants, go to

Kierland Commons
Greenway Pkwy. and Scottsdale Rd.


Phoenix Cooks! 2010

Calling all Foodies: Labor Day Weekend is upon us, so that means it’s time for Phoenix Cooks! This annual event has a new home this year at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. If you attend, get ready to indulge yourself. There will be specialties from more than 50 restaurants and resorts along with the opportunity to sample wine, beer and spirits. And, if that’s not enough, there will be cooking demonstrations, shopping and “foodie” raffle prizes with 100% benefitting Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Be on the lookout for these chefs: Beau MacMillan (elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain), Lee Hillson (T. Cooks at The Royal Palms), Matt Carter (Zinc Bistro & The Mission), Anthony DeMuro (Different Pointe of View and many, many more!

Tickets are $75/pp in advance and $90/pp at the door. Class tickets are additional. Check out for all of the details.

Happy Eating!

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

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.

McDowell Mountain Music Festival

McDowell Mountain Music Festival

The McDowell Mountain Music Festival begins today in North Scottsdale, gates open at 4pm (which is perfect, because Happy Hour is from 4-6pm at the MMMF). Tomorrow and Sunday they open at 11am, and the schedule is crammed with local bands, including Ryan Shaw, Easton Ashe, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and the Sugar Thieves.  Assembly of Dust and Steve Kimock Crazy Engine perform at the After Hours events on Friday and Saturday night, respectively, and require a separate ticket. Those shows run from 11pm – 2am.

Single Day adult tickets are $35 on Friday and Sunday each; $45 on Saturday. But save yourself some cash and pay $100 for all three days and make a weekend out of it.

The event is put on by the same crew that owns The Compound Bar & Grill (next door to the MMMF this year), which always has live music and has become a major hot spot in northern Scottsdale/Phoenix.

Read more about the festival, including the full lineups and ticket information on their website.

Location: NE corner of 68th St. and Mayo Boulevard, just SW of the Scottsdale Rd/Loop 101 exit.

Happy Hour at Tommy Bahama Cafe

We needed to do a little shopping at Kierland Commons (oh, darn) so we opted to stop by the Tommy Bahama Cafe for a little bite to eat and to soak up the beautiful day. From past experience, we knew that they offered some happy hour deals from 4 to 6pm, so we decided to go that route rather than a heavy meal. Their happy hour (or Island Time, as they call it) prices are great – $5 appetizers and wine – and they have live music which sets the perfect mood. Of course, they also offer some fantastic Island-y drinks. I just happened to be in the mood for a little wine this particular evening.

Live Music

Ahhh, this is the life

When our food arrived, I was so anxious to dive in that I forgot to snap pictures first. In the photos below, you’ll see that we had already indulged – I promise, there’s more food than you see here. I had the Coconut Shrimp (dee-licious) and Fish Tacos (also yummy), and my husband snacked on the Quesadilla and Sliders. He loved both, especially the cheeseburger slider.

Coconut Shrimp


So, the next time you’re in the mood for a little Island Time, head over to Tommy Bahama Cafe and get your happy hour on. Great prices, great food and great atmosphere. What’s not to love?

Tommy Bahama Cafe
Kierland Commons
15205 N. Kierland Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ

After the Open: What to Do

We are right in the middle of the Waste Management Phoenix Open week, of course with the big signature weekend to come tomorrow and Sunday. The Open is up at the TPC in Scottsdale, and is definitely known for being the rowdiest, loudest, most energetic crowds on the Tour. All that energy has to go somewhere once you’ve left the gates, and if the Bird’s Nest isn’t your thing, here are our suggestions for what to do and where to go in the North Scottsdale/Phoenix area:


Skip the chain restaurants and head to these local gems up north:

Zinc Bistro: At Kierland Commons, just a little more than a mile away from the TPC, you can find Chef Matt Carter whipping up his French specialties. It’s delicious and you can eat on the patio, on the side or tucked away in a back courtyard, to absorb the perfect weather. Whatever you do, get the molten cake – just make sure to order in advance.

North, Greene House: North (and Bar North) and The Greene House are all brain children of  you-guessed-it, Sam Fox, and both are at Kierland Commons. If you haven’t tried The Greene House, prepare to be wowed. The atmosphere and food are fresh as can be, laid back but sophisticated at the same time.

The Compound: Live Music + Grill: The creators of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival have set up shop – err, restaurant – at the Scottsdale & 101. But this is no ordinary grill, of course there’s live music to be had nearly every night. Great place to go to relax after the Open.

El Encanto: You’re already up north, so head a few more miles up and visit El Encanto, one of Phoenix’s oldest (and most delicious) Mexican restaurants. You’ll be surprised, too, by the lake surrounded by trees, with swans floating around -it’s what they’re known for. That, and the year-after-year award-winning margaritas.

White Chocolate Grill: Oddly, not every dish is made with white chocolate. A disappointment to some chocoholics like me, until I tasted the oh-so-fresh American fare. It’s reminiscent of a Houston’s-type restaurant, with the classy dark wood, really expertly cooked food, but the WCG as we call it has a killer bar and atmosphere. Get there early.


You’ve seen some golf, now you’re full from one of the restaurants above, and you want to go out. Here’s where to do it:

Devil’s Martini North: The sister to the original location in Old Town Scottsdale, Devil’s North – as it’s called – is the primary dance club/bar/lounge in North Scottsdale. It always has the best DJs (before you go, you can even request music on their web site), stiff drinks, and what’s widely known as the best looking crowd in town. Don’t be fashionably late this weekend – go early to save yourself time in line.

Stone Rose Lounge: This swanky place is at the swanky Fairmont Scottsdale, literally right behind the Open, which means you won’t have to find a DD to get there. There will be live music and drinks with a bite, but this isn’t the place to go to dance. This is the place to go if you want to relax on the patio or watch the action around the bar.

Armitage: Just a couple miles north of the Open is DC Ranch, and Armitage is the oh-so-popular wine bar you’ve gotta try. There’s a long wine list for the sophisticated type, and a spirit list for the rest of us that really is full of spirit with creative concoctions. It’s really cozy with oversized chairs and couches, but it’s quaint so don’t wait too long to get your spot.

25 Degrees

It’s like a bourgeois burger bar.

When CityNorth opened about a year ago in north Phoenix, it had upscale shopping, hip cutting-edge people moving into the loft spaces, and the anticipation of larger shops. But the most exciting things were all the new restaurants. One of the most exciting was 25 Degrees, an ultra-glam-vintage-modern burger bistro that mixes gourmet techniques into the best comfort food around.

They have four burgers that they’ve crafted brilliantly, ranging from their “number one” (caramelized onion, gorgonzola, crescenza, bacon), to the “number three” (mezzo secco jack, green chili, chipotle, avocado), and their “number four” with yellowfin tuna has sent people swooning.

But those daring to create their own are rewarded with the best-of-the-best choices in meat (sirloin, turkey, veggie), and their cheese selection is more extensive than most wine bars, and is from all over the world. Paired with one of their 14 homemade sauces,  you really can’t go wrong.

I will mandate you to get their onion rings, though, which are hand battered and dipped and yes, there is a difference. My main problem when I go is deciding burger or non-burger, since their grilled three cheese sandwich or their fried egg sandwich really rocks my world.

For the beverages, a man from Chicago said it was the best Guinness milkshake he’s ever had anywhere. I was too glued to my chocolate malt to pull myself away. Another option is their PBR on-tap, a patron’s favorite.

All-in-all, it’s a must-go.  (And a must-stuff-your-face.)

25 Degrees

5415 E High Street, #127
Phoenix, AZ 85054
(480) 502-1125


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

9832 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85020

Via Delosantos Mexican Food and Lounge

In Phoenix, everyone seems to have their favorite spot for Mexican food. For us, it’s Via Delosantos. We discovered it several years ago and ever since, it’s been our “go to” place when we’re craving some good ol’ Mexican eats. I tend to be a creature of habit with my food, so it’s a numero 15 for me every time — that’s 2 cheese enchiladas with rice and beans. For Mike, it’s a carne asada burrito made the way he likes it, with all of the ingredients inside the tortilla. It’s so refreshing when a restaurant makes your food the way you like it. Of course, we always manage to fill up on chips and salsa. Maybe that’s why I’m always getting my second enchilada to go. It’s just as yummy the second time around!

Delasantos 001Delasantos 004Delasantos 003

As you can tell, Delosantos is very casual and laid back. Other than the food, it’s why we really love it here. There’s nothing better than being able to relax with some good food, good drink and good company. (And these days, it helps with the bottom line since their prices are more than reasonable). The next time you’re in the mood for some Mexican food, give it a try.

Delasantos 005Delasantos 006

9120 North Central Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85020

Press CoffeeFoodWine

Press CoffeeFoodWine

At first, I thought that it was a confusing name for a place. Then I went and it made complete sense. They press coffee beans, paninis and grapes to give them the coffee, food, and wine that they sell. But besides being intrigued by the name, I was intrigued by the cafe itself. Situated nicely in CityNorth, the new shopping area on 56th Street and Deer Valley, it has an airy feel, and most importantly, an extensive menu for a “coffee place.” I’ve been a few times now and they have they have these desserts that are just what you need on a long afternoon (I have fallen victim in the early morning hours as well). 

And the paninis. What a great idea. I make them all the time at home with my Cuisinart Griddler (highly recommend) but when you get a real panini, it makes all the difference. Their gourmet but not fancy, and give enough sustenance to continue shopping around CityNorth, at least it does me. But could it compare in coffee, especially to my favorite Lola coffee.  The answer, my friends, is OH YES. I’m a latte girl and they are delicious and creamy. A bold, nutty taste, I have found, dominates their coffee flavors but it’s balanced so it’s good. 

They also have not only wine tastings, but coffee tastings. I’m going to sign up soon, and fo course I’ll let you know all about it. 

In the mean time, head over there yourself and let me know what you think.