Fun Things To In Phoenix

desert sunset photoIf you live in the Metro Phoenix area and you’re looking for something exciting to do during the month of September, there are tons of great festivals you might want to check out. Depending on your own personal interests, you might be able to find tons of great activities you never knew existed all within a short drive from where you live. Check out our list of top picks for September activities in the Metro Phoenix area and see which ones you might want to take part in when the time comes!

Saboten Con

Do you love anime conventions? If so, Saboten Con is right where you want to be. On the first weekend of the month, this convention will be taking place in Phoenix. Bring along your favorite cosplay and join the fun at the panels that will be going on throughout the whole weekend. Don’t forget to stop by and visit some of the special guests for this convention, including voice actors, artists, and other exciting members of the anime and Western cartoon worlds both. This is a family-friendly event, but there are some adults-only after hours activities that do take place at night during the convention.

Rock the Guac

If you’re a big fan of guacamole, you’ll want to check out Rock the Guac. This is a fun and lighthearted event based around the love of none other than guacamole! Taste test guacamole made by chefs from all over the area and don’t forget to stop by the taco bar to help yourself to some delicious delectable while you’re at it. Flamenco dancers and lucha libre wrestlers will provide entertainment for the evening, and you will have the opportunity to purchase alcoholic beverages throughout the night if you wish too. This event takes place at the Camby Hotel in Phoenix and is $50 per person at the door.

Furry Friends Fine Arts Festival

Stop by the Shemer Art Center on September 16 for a $5-per-person activity that’s fun for the whole family! This is an art exhibit and festival centered around the furriest people in your life. You can tour animal-themed art displays and check out all sorts of fun performances and readings put on by some of the cutest pets around! Stop by to check out live music and tasty food before you leave—and don’t forget to bring your dog along for the day, too.

This has only scratched the surface of fun and exciting things to do in Metro Phoenix this month!

Click here to check out what’s happening in Glendale!

 

Dining Accompanied by Live Music

A fun date night out to consider is visiting a dining establishment that also offers live music for its patrons.  Here in the Valley of the Sun we have several fun options to check out.  For those who live or want to venture out west, consider dining at the Wigwam’s restaurants.  At Red’s Bar & Grill, for example, acts perform from 6-9 pm on Thursdays and Fridays.  Acts have included singer-songwriter Joey Hendricks (of “American Idol”) and True to Life Duo.  At Litchfield’s, enjoy the music of pianist Bob Dudley and pianist-guitarist Jay Soto, who perform from 6-9 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.  Finally, the Wigwam Bar features live music from 7-10 pm Thursdays through Saturdays.

Glendale's WestgateStill on the west side of the Valley, is Padre Murphy’s, located at 4338 W. Bell Road.  The Emmy-winning trumpeter Jesse McGuire entertains diners every Tuesday from 5-8 pm.  On Fridays and Saturdays from 8-10 pm, various groups such as Rick Lenzi & Roustabout and the NoBody-BIG Band perform for restaurant goers.  Those in Chandler and Gilbert may want to check out Cuisine and Wine Bistro (1422 W. Warner Road in Gilbert; 4991 S. Alma School Road in Chandler) where there is a deep lineup of musicians from Janelle Loes, Hannah Lopez, Aaron Church, Josh West and others who perform for diners on stage from 7-10 pm Fridays and 6-9 Saturdays.

Also in Chandler is Vintage 95, located at 95 W. Boston St, where acoustic guitarists such as Sarah Vanell, Michael Land, Mike Eldred, and Elijah Mark Atkison perform from 7-10 pm every Wednesday through Saturday.  In Phoenix, venture to Gertude’s (in the Desert Botanical Garden) where diners enjoy live acoustic music 10 am – 2 pm Saturdays and Sundays.  In Arcadia, diners at the Sip Coffee & Beer Garage enjoy acoustic singer-songwriters from 8-11 pm Fridays, 11 am- 2 pm and 8-11 pm on Saturdays and then during brunch (11 am-2 pm) on Sundays.

Finally, in the Scottsdale area, one dining establishment that offers a variety of genres from country to classic rock to hip hop is BLK Live.  This 20,000-square foot venue offers dining and live music from 8 pm – 2 am Wednesdays through Saturdays, at 7301 E. Butherus Drive.  In North Scottsdale, the Herb Box at DC Ranch, located at 20707 N. Pima Road, showcases live music from 7-10 pm Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 am-2 pm during brunch on Sunday.  This restaurant features 20 different bands and musicians, including Sugar Thieves, Adam Simons, Sydney Sprague and Kyle Sorrell.

click here to learn about NE Valley homes and neighborhoods.

Arizona Restaurant Week Fall 2014

restaurant weekArizona Restaurant Week Fall 2014 is September 19-28. This affair offers foodies a plethora of dinning opportunities they might not typically choose and the chance to get outside their own neighborhood to try something different. Options are endless, ranging from spicy Southwestern to fine-dining options to soothing comfort food. Restaurants offer special pre-fixe menus and pricing during restaurant week, so it’s the perfect time to try new fare. Prepare your taste buds for some of the best food in the Valley!

Here, I outline some of my favorite restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Fall 2014. Be sure to check out the Arizona Restaurant Week website for all 139 greater phoenix restaurants. More restaurants are being added daily. Click on any of the restaurant names below to visit their website.

My favorites in the Valley:

The Mission: Latin Cuisine; Don’t miss the Primarita margarita or the espresso churros; Hands down my favorite restaurant in Greater Phoenix

Beckett’s Table: American Comfort Food; Don’t miss the hand-crafted cocktails or the grits

The Gladly: Contemporary American; Don’t miss the chimichurri chicken or the whiskey list, I’m a whiskey snob & the list here is phenomenal

Other Arizona Restaurant Week participants you don’t want to miss; these are some of my staples for date nights:

Barrio Queen; Mexican; Don’t miss the signature guacamole, it’s seriously amazing!

Bink’s; Contemporary American; Don’t miss the hand-crafted cocktails or the Polenta Cake

Bluehound Kitchen & Cocktails; American Comfort Food; Don’t miss the prohibition era cocktails or the tater tots appetizer

Capital Grille; Steaks & Seafood; Don’t miss the bone-in Kona crusted steak, my favorite entree at this go-to special occasion gem

Central Bistro; Modern Italian & French; Don’t miss the warm goat cheese or grilled artichoke appetizer

Chelsea’s Kitchen; Modern American; Don’t miss the tuna tartare & guacamole or posole appetizer

Citizen Public House; Contemporary American; Don’t miss the bacon fat heirloom popcorn…it’s sinfully divine

Nook Kitchen; American; Don’t miss the Arancini appetizer, any of the pizzas and the strawberry basil shortcake

The Henry; Contemporary American; Don’t miss the Chai Lime Ginger Beer (it’s non-alcoholic) or the short rib potsticker appetizer, it’s seriously mouth-watering; My favorite newer Valley restaurant

T. Cook’s; Contemporary Mediterranean; At this AAA four diamond & #1 rated restaurant in Phoenix by Zagat, anything you order will not disappoint; My favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Valley

The Arrogant Butcher; Gastro Pub; Don’t miss the Short Rib Stew, one of my favorite entrees in the Valley

The House Brasserie; Contemporary American; Don’t miss the House Brisket & Biscuit or the Jidori Chicken

If you’re looking to dine out near home, there are a few Arrowhead Ranch area restaurants participating in Arizona Restaurant Week Fall 2014. The consistently enjoyable fare at these places close to home make them a great choice for dinner if you have to get home to a babysitter and don’t want to waste date time driving.

Betty’s Nosh, 67th Ave. & Loop 101, specializes in stuffed mushrooms & seafood; Firebird’s Wood Fired Grill, 83rd Ave. south of Bell Rd., specializes in steaks & seafood; The Melting Pot, locations throughout the Valley, specializes in fondue meals, great for a group.

Bon Appetit!

New Restaurants-Glendale Arizona

New Restaurants Coming to Glendale, Arizona

Glendale will be home to a new restaurants this summer.  One of the most anticipated openings is Oreganos.  Oreganos is new to the West Valley, opening in August 2013 at 6738 W. Bell Rd. (at the former location of Joey’s of Chicago)

The Italian eatery serves Chicago-style thin crust pizza, stuffed and pan pizzas, salads and pastas. For more information visit Oreganos.

Surprise is home to another new and exciting restaurant, Pinoy’s Bistro. Pinoy’s which opened in May 2013 in Surprise Arizona-just west of Glendale, serves Filipino and American Food. Currently they serve 4 kinds of noodles and jasmine rice in a Filipino style, beef, chicken and pork as well as some American fare of burgers, sandwiches, salads and even pancakes! Filipino food is sweet and salty and not too spicy.

Jonathon Torrato, owner of Pinoy’s Bistro is from llo llo in the Philippines. Four years ago his wife suggested they move to the United States for more opportunities. They settled in Surprise because of the large Filipino community. A year ago he opened up Pinoy’s  Best Gourmet Coffee in Arrowhead Towne Center. Pinoy’s Bistro opened May 8th in Surprise and it did not take long for word of mouth to spread throughout the community.

Torrato has plans to have live music on the weekends and eventually to add outdoor seating and Filipino barbeque..delicious meet on skewers.

Check back often for some great new West Valley restaurants. On a personal note I have had some great Filipino food when I lived in NY and I can’t wait to try Pinoy’s!  Pinoys Bistro

Sprouts Comes to Arrowhead Ranch

Finally….Sprouts Farmers Market Comes to Arrowhead RanchSprouts Farmers Market

Sprouts Farmer’s Market will be opening a new store at 67th Ave and Deer Valley, in the old Basha’s location.  Basha’s left in 2009 and ever since then residents have been lobbying for Sprouts to take its place. The 27,000 square foot store will open in August and employ about 80 people. Check out their website for job postings.

For those not familiar with Sprouts, it is a neighborhood grocery with the feel of a local farmers market. You will find fresh fruit and vegetables, specialty foods, gourmet cheeses and barrels of whole grain nuts and sweets. Thousands of natural, organic and gluten free foods to help you make healthy choices for you and your family. Oh and their fruit and vegetables…sweet, ripe and their prices are great.

There is a lot of excitement in the community and we are all looking forward to having our very own neighborhood grocer. For more information on Sprouts, check out their site.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Arizona Wine Growers AssocaitionnArizona Stronghold will be pouring at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, April 5th -7th.  As many as 400 artist booths line Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets presenting unique, and hand-made artwork that offers visitors a distinctive shopping experience.  In partnership with the Arizona Wine Growers Association, the Tempe Festival of the Arts is proud to continue our presentation of the Arizona Wine Festival Gardens, bringing the best in Arizona wines to complement the ambiance of a fine arts festival environment! Arizona wine growers are on hand for tastings, serving, and are selling their fruits of the vine by the bottle or case on-site.

Located on Mill Avenue between 3rd Street and University Drive in Downtown Tempe

Did you know that Arizona has an emerging wine industry in Cochise Santa Cruz and Yavapai Counties. People are beginning to recognize Arizona as an up and coming wine producer. Visit Arizona Wine Growers Association for more news and information.

Courtesy of Sedona Chamber of Commerce  Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Glendale’s Glitter and Glow Rocks Downtown

Wondering what to do on Saturday night?  Come on down to Glendale’s Glitter and Glow Rockin’ downtown party January 12th 4-10pm in Glendale’s Historic District.  This is a great event for the whole family. Along with the over 1 million lights that adorn the trees in the park, there will be more than 20 hot air balloons in all shapes and sizes adding to the special glow of the season. Read more

Cactus League Spring Training

“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”
—Rogers Hornsby

Glendale's Camelback Ranch StadiumWell our winters are short here in Arizona and though it is still chilly outside, Spring is just around the corner and so is Spring Training. Tickets go on sale for Cactus League on January 5th.

Peoria Sports Complex is home to the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. Camelback Ranch in Glendale is home to the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cactus League has 10 beautiful Spring Training facilities in Arizona. These are hot tickets in Arizona, so don’t wait, get yours now.

Check out this link to view your favorite teams Spring Training schedule.  See you at the Ballpark!

 

Not to be Missed, Shot of Java

If you are like me, you need coffee or some other form of caffeine to get you going!  I am always on the lookout for locally owned coffee places, the corporate joints are just fine but sometimes lack the coziness and friendly environment that I like.

In the heart of downtown Glendale, there is little place kind of off the beaten path, Shot of JavaRead more

The Greatest Pizza at La Piazza Al Forno

If you have a craving for pizza but don’t want the run of the mill chain pizza place or yet another trip to Peter Piper Pizza with the kids you must head over to historic downtown GlendaleLa Piazza Al Forno will not disappoint.

This wood fired brick oven pizzeria uses only the freshest and best ingredient to create their spectacular pizzas.  House made mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and home made dough and fresh toppings are what make this pizza so good.  So much so that La Piazza Al Forno is a VPN certified Neapolitan Pizzeria. Read more