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Downtown Phoenix: Home of the Haute-Dog

[Source: Scoopfactory]

What the heck is a ‘mobile hotdog eatery’? Only the tastiest thing on four legs, er, wheels

Image via Norm Reyes

Seriously, are there two better words in the English language than ‘gourmet hotdogs’? We’re talking hand-crafted sausages and frankfurters from those ground meat gurus at Schreiner’s in Phoenix, who’ve been cranking out casings inside a family-run factory since 1955. And forget ketchup and mustard, these posh puppies are topped with exotic delights such as mango chutney, aged English cheddar and fresh cilantro, and then served on a warm Indian-style flatbread called naan.

Sounds a little froufrou and pricey, you say. Besides, aren’t the best hotdogs served out of the back of a roadside stand? Well, meet Short Leash Hot Dogs, the Valley’s first ‘mobile hot dog eatery.’ Operated by a charming local couple out of a retrofitted trailer, Short Leash has quickly become a star attraction at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market’s Food Truck Fridays. Here, if you brave the lines, you’ll be rewarded with doggie delights such as the Aiko (pictured), a specialty sausage known as a beer hot, topped with mango chutney, jalapenos, red onions, cilantro and mayonnaise. Even better, at $5 a pop you’ll have money left over for superb sides such as deep-fried pickles and a bottle of Mexican coke (i.e. the real-deal stuff made with cane sugar vs. corn syrup).

But why put off until Friday what you can scarf down today? Short Leash is at the Phoenix Public Market every Wednesday evening, and you can also catch them Thursdays at Shady’s, a hipster hangout on Indian School featuring one of Valley’s the best jukeboxes. Yes, a jukebox. Google it, youngin’s. Click here to get the 411 on Short Leash’s far-flung travels, including our fav entry: on Feb 26, Short Leash is scheduled to appear at a ‘private wedding.’ Now that’s a wedding we’d like to crash.

Image via Norm Reyes


 

 

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Dining tips for ASU downtown Phoenix students (and the rest of you too!)

While this article is focused on downtown ASU students, the tips are relevant for anybody who lives, works and/or plays in downtown Phoenix.

[Source: Kelly Green, New Times Chow Bella]

​Downtown Phoenix has come a long way in a short period of time. Anyone who’s been around longer than an ASU freshman can tell you that. But the dining scene for students still leaves a bit to be desired. Here are our tips for feeding yourself, these first few weeks of school.

Source: Kelly Green, Phoenix New Times

1. Become a Coupon Clipper Printer

Little known fact: downtownphoenix.com has tons of special deals and coupons on local restaurants and businesses, just select the option from the “What to do” tab and print away.

2. Be Picky About Your On-Campus Eating

There are two restaurants in the bottom of the Cronkite School at 555 N. Central Avenue: Subway and El Portal. Subway is good for a few meals, then all of the sudden one day you walk in and never want to smell that bread again. And El Portal has earned quite a reputation locally for its health inspections, which you might want to check out here.​

Our pick for an on campus meal?

ASU’s Taylor Place (120 East Taylor Street) offers lunch and dinner to everyone, not just students or dorm residents. A little more than $8 will get you an hour of bottomless food and drinks at the buffet-style cafeteria, which has offers a pizza station, salad and fruit bars, pastries, and made-to-order sandwiches. Sit outside on the patio for less of a rowdy high school cafeteria experience, unless of course, that is your thing.

The places you should be going and our coffee picks, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike

Visiting the murals in the alley behind 5th St. near Roosevelt (photo source: Tony Arranaga)

[Source: LightRailBlogger.com] — I took my neighbors on a hour long bike tour of downtown Phoenix.  Mike and Jane were not too familiar with the backstory to some of the historic sights in our urban core, so it was fun to give them some background on the landmarks in the heart of the city.

We started in the Evans Churchill neighborhood near 4th Street and Fillmore.  We visited the community garden near Conspire Coffee and the murals in the alley behind 5th Street near Roosevelt in the arts district.  Mike, Jane and I then went to the Phoenix Public Market, the Westward Ho and Civic Space Park.  Our tour then continued south on 1st Avenue to see the Orpheum Lofts, 44 Monroe and the old City Hall.

Next. we made our way over to Hanny’s Restaurant, which used to be home to a high end department store back in the day.  We then stopped by St. Mary’s Basilica where Pope John Paul II visited several years ago.  Our trip ended at Heritage Square and then we stoppped for a bite to eat at Front Row – TGIFriday’s restaurant inside Chase Field where the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball.

How did I do?  Where would you take friends or out of town guests to explore the heart of Phoenix?  [Note: Read the full blog entry at Touring downtown Phoenix… by bike.]

Downtown Phoenix Journal Weekly Recap

[Source: Si Robins, Downtown Phoenix Journal] — I’ve been thinking about seeing beloved members of the Downtown community leave town recently, and it had me realizing the bonds that we create in our daily lives in Downtown Phoenix, whether they be direct or indirect. This weekend we celebrated Natalie Morris‘ departure at the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar with a food and wine affair that would make any neighborhood envious. While there, I realized how many of us see each other regularly in these parts, and it’s always disheartening when one of the flock leaves the nest.

The same was almost the case in this week’s Suns Spot post.  As trivial as it may seem, Suns fans have been entertained at US Airways Center by Amar’e Stoudemire for seven years.  When intense trade rumors reached a boiling point last week (despite 11th hour discussions, Stoudemire remained a Sun, to the delight of most Suns fans), Chris Coffel examined the mark Stoudemire’s entrepreneurship has impacted Phoenix and how it would change (with some hilarious would-be results). Luckily, we won’t be seeing Taylor Griffin’s OK BBQ anytime soon.

Reviving downtown Phoenix through art

[Source: Michael Tulipan, New York Times] — BOARDED-UP buildings and empty lots in the shadow of office towers hardly seemed a promising foundation for an arts district in rapidly growing Phoenix.  But once-neglected and dangerous Roosevelt Row, on the north side of downtown, turned out to be an irresistible lure for artists looking for cheap spaces in which to live and work.  Galleries, restaurants and a farmers’ market soon followed.

Today, Roosevelt Row is the city’s cutting-edge art destination, full of galleries like Perihelion Arts (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 137; 602-334-6299) and Eye Lounge (419 East Roosevelt Street; 602-430-1490), which showcase contemporary, often challenging art and performances.  The area is also a popular draw during Phoenix’s monthly First Fridays art walk (artlinkphoenix.com).

Just as vital to the area’s resurgence is the Downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 North Central Avenue; foodconnect.org/phoenixmarket), founded five years ago by Community Food Connections, a local nonprofit with an ambitious agenda.  “The goals of the market were to increase access to healthy food and create a vibrant gathering space in the heart of the city,” said Cindy Gentry, the organization’s executive director.  Today, the market (open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays) has over 65 vendors offering local produce, jewelry, herbal remedies and treats like delicious lemon strawberry basil sorbet ($2) from Crave Artisan Ice Cream, a local purveyor.

Last October, the market expanded to include Urban Grocery and Wine Bar (14 East Pierce Street; 602-254-1799), downtown Phoenix’s first grocery store in nearly three decades.  The grocery sells products from many market vendors and features an outpost of Royal Coffee Bar, as well as a wine bar serving Arizona labels (starting at $7 a glass).

For the fashion-minded, Spoken Boutique (610 East Roosevelt Street, No. 148) stocks trendy denim labels like William Rast and Bishop of Seventh, Wet Cement T-shirts and flirty dresses.  Local artists and residents drop into two-year-old Conspire (901 North Fifth Street; 602-237-5446), a laid-back boutique and coffee shop with offerings as diverse as handmade paper, quirky clothing and vegan doughnuts.

The area’s transformation was perhaps best encapsulated by Michael Carbajal, a former boxing champion and local celebrity who grew up on the hardscrabble streets of Roosevelt Row and is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. On a recent night’s visit to the bar at the year-old Asian tapas hot spot Sens (705 North First Street, No. 120; 602-340-9777; sensake.com) Mr. Carbajal spoke about the changes in the neighborhood. “It was rough,” he said, before dropping a shot of sake into his beer and gesturing to the sleek surroundings. “I like it better now. I can come here.”

Viewpoint: Phoenix budget woes, big art, light rail made ’09 quite a year

[Source: Arizona Republic; section headers organized by yours truly] — With this being Christmas week, we figured you wouldn’t want to read a traditional editorial any more than we wanted to write one.  So today, we lighten things up a bit with awards for notable achievements in 2009.

Phoenix Overall

  • Story of the year: Phoenix did the virtually impossible this year — it cut $270 million from the general fund to balance the budget due to low sales-tax revenue.  Residents are feeling the effects with reduced hours or closures of swimming pools, libraries, and senior centers.  They also see more graffiti and potholes because staff is stretched so thin.  Now the city is talking about cutting an additional $100 million or so.  This story is getting old.
  • Best cheerleader: Mayor Phil Gordon earns this award again.  With frequent trips to Washington, D.C., to lobby for stimulus funds, and Janet Napolitano resigning as governor to lead Homeland Security, Gordon is the face of Arizona.
  • Embarrassment: Rep. Ray Barnes’ rambling reasons for voting to cut $144 million from public education.  Grab some eggnog and watch this Phoenix Republican go off.
  • Hot potato: The idea to raise the sales tax temporarily to generate revenue quickly.  Mayor Gordon suggested a community member take on his idea.  But no one wants to touch it.
  • Landmark: The city became the second in the state to offer a domestic-partner registry to gay or straight couples who share a Phoenix residence.  Among other privileges, the registry grants partners visitation rights in hospitals.
  • Pillar: City Manager Frank Fairbanks earns this award again.  He retired this year, but not before balancing the nastiest budget deficit in city history.  Thanks, Frank.

Downtown Focused/Strong Influence

  • Pushin’ on: Light rail has its fans and its foes.  But ridership is up and businesses have sprouted along the line.  The system is approaching it first anniversary.  We say light rail is on track.
  • Newcomer: Janet Echelman’s “Her Secret Is Patience” at the new Civic Space Park downtown opened to much criticism.  Meant to resemble a cactus bloom, the floating sculpture was called everything from a basketball hoop to a male contraceptive.  Not that we mind.  Some of the best artwork in the world drew heavy criticism.  We’re just glad people are noticing what downtown Phoenix has to offer.
  • Comeback: Phoenix Urban Market Grocery and Wine Bar at Central Avenue and Pierce Street is the first grocer to serve the area in 30 years.  It only carries the basics.  But milk, vegetables, bread, pasta and other staples are welcome.
  • Bragging rights: President Barack Obama made three visits to the Valley this year.  One of those was to the new Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.
  • Feather in the cap: A budding knowledge-based economy, parks and preservation efforts, and teen spaces at public libraries make Phoenix an All-America City.  Now it has the civic award to prove it.  This was Phoenix’s fifth win.  It would be a shame to lose these gains to budget cuts in the down economy.

Other Parts of Phoenix

  • Senseless act: A photo-enforcement-van driver was shot to death while deployed near Loop 101 in north Phoenix.  Thomas DeStories was indicted in connection with the shooting death of Douglas Georgianni.
  • Tallest story: Despite opposition from neighbors, the City Council approved a Mormon temple whose steeple and spire will rise 86 feet above the Deer Valley area.
  • Unsung hero: The Macehualli Day Labor Center in northeastern Phoenix provides a central location for day laborers and potential employers to negotiate business.  The center is for sale.

New restaurant cluster emerging along downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt St.

[Source: Howard Seftel, Arizona Republic] — A new cluster of restaurants looks poised to bring some energy to yet another part of downtown Phoenix.  This time the location is the stretch along Roosevelt Street between Second and Third Avenues.

There’s Bambino Bistro, formerly Vinery 214. Chef/owner Leonard Jay threw in the towel on Vinery’s small-plate concept — the neighborhood didn’t get it, he says with a sigh.  Now, armed with a new name and concept, the restaurant features sandwiches built around three kinds of homemade flatbread; from-scratch pasta; wood-fired, brick-oven pizza; burgers; mussels; and several off-beat specials… Bambino Bistro is a cute spot that could turn out to be a neighborhood sleeper.  Jay, meanwhile, is determined: “We’ve made a commitment to the community,” he says.  “No matter what it takes, we’re going to be here.”

A few feet down the block is Lola Coffee, the second branch of Daniel Wayne’s hip coffeehouse.  (The original is at 4700 N. Central Avenue, just south of Camelback Road.)  It opened Dec. 18 in the remodeled circa 1925 Gold Spot Market building.  Why here? “Downtown is finally ready,” Wayne says, pointing to the growing number of neighborhood residents.  He’s roasting his coffee beans and baking pastries on the premises.

Finally, the 10th Valley branch of Pita Jungle is coming to the same building as Lola Coffee.  It’s scheduled to open by the end of March.

By my count, the area bounded by Fourth Avenue on the west and Fourth Street on the east, and Roosevelt and Fillmore Streets on the north and south, is now home to 10 new places in the past year.  Along with Bambino Bistro, Lola Coffee and Pita Jungle, the list includes Nine 05, Local Breeze, Pasta Bar, Sens, Turf Restaurant & Pub, Moira Sushi and Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.  And several more restaurants are on the way.  [Note: To read the full article, visit New restaurant cluster emerging along downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt St.]

Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring

[Source: Arizona Republic editorial board] — A bit more than a year ago, downtown Phoenix business owners wondered out loud where all the Arizona State University students were.  There may have been more than 8,000 registered for classes downtown, they said, but they weren’t showing up in their shops and restaurants.  One year later… check that concern.  Parts of downtown, particularly the region north of the downtown ASU campus, are being overrun with Sun Devils.  Or perhaps it is simply young people in general. Whoever these kids are, they are beginning to swarm throughout central Phoenix in impressive numbers at last.

The most notable demonstration of the blossoming of the central city continues to be the First Friday events, of course.  On Nov. 5, the city closed off East Roosevelt from North Central Avenue to Seventh Street to traffic for the first time, allowing the throngs of attendees to overflow the streets without fear of automobiles.

The growing First Friday crowds and the widening ASU footprint have attracted entrepreneurs like Kyle Simone and Jeff Mann to open shops like their Phoenicia Association, a combination men’s clothier and art gallery.  The youth traffic persuaded restaurateur Wade Moises to open the popular PastaBAR at First Street and Pierce Street, in the same building with Sens Asian Tapas and the now popular Irish bar Turf.  [Note: Read the full article at Viewpoint: downtown Phoenix businesses finally scoring.]

Viewpoint: Downtown Phoenix now has the real deal

[Source: Arizona Republic editorial board] — A hallmark of a flourishing, mature metropolis is when it begins spawning institutions reflecting local culture.  A glitzy mall is great, but a funky, thriving Mill Avenue in Tempe is something unique the locals can cherish. It is fun, busy and ours.

The same is true of a central “farmers market” dedicated to local produce. Virtually all major urban centers have a market featuring locally grown produce, baked goods, meats and dairy products.  Until recently, all Phoenix could muster was a part-time farmers market where local producers huddled against the elements in tents. Now, it has the real deal.

The Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar opened last week with fragrant, organic Arizona-grown produce in abundance.  It offers a charming, multiroom environment at 14 E. Pierce St., the first permanent market to open its doors in the central city in 30 years.

The market is the realization of a long-time dream of Director Cindy Gentry and the board of the Community Food Connections, the non-profit group that raised $530,000 to make it happen.  Their persistence and determination is admirable.  And, if the enormous crowds from Saturday are any indication, they are prescient, as well.  Metro Phoenix desperately needed a market like this, and it is gratifying to see it come to pass.

The co-op-like Phoenix Public Market, which operates in front of the permanent market along North Central Avenue near Fillmore, will continue as before on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Meanwhile, the permanent store will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays.  The market has been a long time coming.  With luck and quality local products, it will be there for a long time to come.

New downtown Phoenix grocery market off and running

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Phoenix Public Market now open for business (Photo: KTAR)

[Source: Sadie Jo Smokey, Arizona Republic] — The wait is over.  The first grocery store to open in downtown Phoenix in nearly 30 years is celebrating with sales, raffles, a silent auction and $45-per-person happy hour 5:30-7:30 p.m. today with Arizona wines and beer and light appetizers by Valley chefs.  The Phoenix Public Market Urban Grocery and Wine Bar opened at 14 E. Pierce St. this week to busy lunch crowds, curious downtown employees, Arizona State students, and neighborhood residents.

Laurie Wistuver of El Mirage walked over on her lunch break.  She picked up a package of pasta for dinner.  “It reminds me of a co-op from when I lived in Oregon,” Wistuver said.  “Higher-quality products that are fresh, organic.  I like the breads and stuff. It’s a nice atmosphere.”

Shoppers craving locally grown or made-in-Arizona goods, from organic vegetables to wines and cheeses, no longer have to wait for the weekly farmers market to get their fill of lumpy squash, pungent bouquets of basil, bags of ugly tomatoes, a dozen free-range eggs or a loaf of rustic, multigrain artisan bread.  The urban grocery will provide all that, supports say.  Cindy Gentry, Community Food Connections director, said the grocery store is the next step for a movement that supports local farms and Arizona growers and producers that use fresh, seasonal ingredients and sustainable practices.  “I want this to be a real place where you can do your grocery shopping,” Gentry said.  [Note: Read the full article at New downtown Phoenix grocery market off and running.]