Friday, October 19, 2007


Look at this darling little dress shop I snapped a photo of from the car while we were in Scotland. There wasn't anything particularly unique about it. When I took it, we were on our way to the airport on the way home and I was kicking myself for being stupid and not taking photos of more darling little shops like this one. Almost every shop there is a little specialty shop. There were darling. But the darling was everywhere, so I kind of didn't take special note of it until we were on our way home and I realized how much I would miss all the cute quaintness of it all.

There was a dress shop like this in my hometown when I was growing up. It was called Deb n Heir - a play on the word "debonaire" which is what we called it. We bought all our dress clothes there and most of our other clothes. It was pretty pricey. It's still there and it's still pricey. We did not have a ton of money growing up but my mom took a part time job so that we could always have new clothes from Deb n Heir. All the little old ladies who worked there knew us well. Knew our sizes. Often they would call my mom to tell her they had new merchandise and that she should really come and see. I spent a lot of hours in that store either trying things on myself or waiting while my sisters tried things on. I feel as though I spent a lot of time in dressing rooms as a child.

It's nice to shop in places where people know you by name or at least know what you are probably looking for. I love quaint little shops and in my fantasy world I would only shop in cute little stores owned by people who knew me by name. Stores that looked like this

We had stores like this in my hometown growing up too. One was called Johnsons Drug and it had a little luncheon counter. I ate a lot of marshmellow and banana milkshakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, homemade french fries and pickles there. Oh, and egg salad sandwiches. I'm getting hungry just thinking about their food. The waitresses name was Lennae and she wore one of those little pink waitress outfits like on that show "Alice". She always brought me an order of pickes right away when I sat down.

Sometimes I feel like we really don't get to have this kind of experience anymore. But there are places in Phoenix that I love and that are quaint and where at least some people know my name. The guys at Kohler's Hardware on 16th street know me. So do the ladies at Mediteranean House Restaurant around the corner from there. The woman at the Stock Room on 7th street knows us (especially she always remembers Kirk because of his pen fetish). And there are cute places where I just like to shop or eat, well, mainly because of their quaint factor (but also, often because they are great). One of my very favorites is La Grande Orange at 44th street and Campbell, LGO has delicious pasteries, sandwiches, salads and pizza and is just darn cute. I adore the tuna and the crepes with fruit and creme fraiche.

Next up is Tammy Coe Cakes at 7th street and Roosevelt
Tammy Coe cakes are also at LGO, but her solo location is Roosevelt & 7th. She and her husband live upstairs
from the shop, you can sit outside and watch the scenesters. They have delicious bread made by her husband. The thing I love about stopping in to the Roosevelt location is it isn't as rushed or busy as LGO and you can always grab a cake really easy and be out of their quick if you need. Sometimes they have more selection of cakes and cupcakes towards the end of the day than LGO too - get the ooey gooey coconut cupcakes. Plus again, cute factor.

(I know, it looks like it's more about the dog than Tammie Coe, it's the best I could do)

Next is Willo Bread & My Florist Cafe at 9th avenue and McDowell , it's darling, great olive bread at Willo and you can pick up some yummy local produce and hummus too. My florist is great for a lunch with you girlfriends or a nice night out. We love to go on weekend nights when the pianist is playing. They call her the human ipod because she can play anything. Try the Cheese Sandwich made french style on a baguette, it sounds kind of weird but it's pretty great. Get the cheese and fruit appetizer with cranberry chutney, it's seriously good! Outside of Willo they have a big row of white adirondak chairs where you can just chill in the morning if you want. If I lived in the encanto area I would walk here all the time. Some friends of ours almost bought a house in the Encanto Willo area just so they could walk to My Florist and Willo Bread!

Next Pane Bianco, Central Avenue, Between Indian School and Camelbback, sort of kitty corner to Central High (how's that for a lame address, to lazy to look it up). Pane Bianco is seriously delicious. You can't eat inside, it's too small, you have to eat on the porch outside where there are giant picnic like tables. Sometimes you have to share these tables with a stranger, but that's okay, you will not mind. All the food is ridiculously good because it is an extremely limited menu. You get your choice of a couple sandwiches a day (maybe 3), some focaccio bread with a few things melted on top, a couple of salads, whatever local produce is available that day, maybe one dessert (but it will be something like Janie's homemade rice pudding). There are no fountain drinks either. It's bottled water, bottled sparkling water, bubble-up in the old fashioned green bottle (made with real cane sugar) and I think they are offering cream soda now in a brown bottle. What's to love then you ask? They are making the bread all day in the giant pizza oven behind the counter and it is seriously warm, tasty and delicous. My favorite order is available everyday, the other sandwiches change as per the whim of the owner, "Focaccia bread with local sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, with basil leaves". Delicious. Ask for a side of salt, they'll give you a little container of french sea salt to sprinkle on. YUM.

Okay this one is a little different but bear with me...

Next Up:

Nogales Dogs, parking lot
of the music store at 20th street and Indian School, after about 7 pm.

Nogales Dogs opens around the time the music store is about to close. They have a portable hot dog stand, set up some tables, and they are good to go. You should go and get some Nogales Dogs and some Mexican Coke. If you speak spanish, all the better. I do not, but we manage to muddle through the transaction together. The hot dogs are ridiculously good, cooked wrapped in bacon, they come with queso, chopped onion, diced tomato, grated cheddar, mayo on a homemade bun, and you can get jalepenos if you want. They are sort of like a chicago dog went south of the border. I never would have stopped and tried it except I kept seeing them out there all the time and tons of people stopping. Then a friend who is seriously germ phobic stopped and said they have their county license up and are inspected. Plus she thought the food was awesome. Try it when you're feeling adventurous and cheap. We can feed the whole family for less than the cost of going to McDonald's. Oh, and if you're feeling flush get the Mexican Coke.

And now places I plan to try soon: Matt's Big Breakfast on about 2nd street between Roosevelt and whatever that next presidential street to the west is. It's suppose to be super delicious but everytime we try there is a line out the door of people waiting with newspapers.

And this place looks pretty awesome! It's called the Welcome Diner and it's around 10th street and Roosevelt. I think it can only seat around 9 people at a time, it's a counter only. If you've already been let me know, but I'm definitely making this one of my next places to try:

So What have you discovered that you love?


Suzanne Barker said...

Oh... you are speaking my language! I love food and I love to cruise resturants. (By the way I love your photography! What do you mean you aren't artistic! And you are a great decorator, another art)
I have enjoyed all of the resturants you mentioned except Nogales Dogs. I live right there and have considered stopping but never have. I definately will now!
One of my favorite "joints" is Juan's on Thomas just west of 16th St. It is very basic mexican food, but done very well. My FAVORITE part is that they know me! It's amazing what an impact it had on me the first time the girl automatically brought me my "medium diet in a to go cup" without me asking for it.
I love the hamburgers at DeLux and FEZ. FEZ also has a more extensive menu that is quite tasty. I would avoid it on weekend evenings as it a LOUD gay hangout at those times and you can't hear a thing.
Nick's Bistro 101 is fabulous. Nick has had several resturants around the valley over the years and I am happy to follow him where ever he goes. Just don't be in a hurry because he is cooking it for you from scratch baby and you it's the only way it's done. Amazing dessert case.
I currently like China Chili and Autumn Court for my chinese fix.
Kai and Durants are some of my "special occasion" favorites.
I am lucky enough to have a couple of friends that go out to eat with me monthly. We purposely choose a new resturant every time. We've been doing this for 13 years! We've been able to cover a lot of ground.
I have another group that is just the opposite. They were so afraid I would take them to some "strange and weird" resturant that they came up with a list of 10 places that we have to rotate through now. Oh well, Variety in friends is a good thing too.

Cynthia said...

Your little hometown dress shop is such a thing of the past in most cases. YAY for them for being able to stay in business so long. Our family had a chain of little clothing/department stores in northern AZ then Wal-Mart came to town and wiped out ours and almost every other family owned business for miles around. It's a sad thing.
Kohler's Hardware knows our names too. It's nice.
My strategy for choosing a restaurant is to call Suzanne and get suggestions. Now I will call you, too.
Dave and I had a marvelous dining experience last night. He invited me to drive out to Chandler to a restaurant he had in mind all afternoon. As we were driving out there, he said We're going to Garcia's and I have to fix their fire alarm before we eat, it's been going off all afternoon. Ha Ha Ha - no wonder he had it on his mind all afternoon. But they ended up giving us dinner for free, so all is well.
I love your photo of My Florist Cafe. Cool. And you're right, the pianist there is amazing!!
And those Tammy Coe Cakes -- I've never tried one, but they sure are a work of art!

Anonymous said...

The best part of this whole subject is that I (being the best friend and all) get to experience all the delight of these wonderful places with you! My only concern I the germ freak friend?

We used to be Juan's fans as Kate Fierro had them convinced that they should deliver lunch to her a few times a week at her home so we often partook of the free delivery system. They delivered only to her and she somehow convinced them that she was entitled to it. (See Lez, I told you I shouldn't comment on this thing as I'm gonna end up making someone mad or gettin myself in trouble. Feel free to censor as needed.

Sister Hale, I am so so sorry you have never had the opportunity to experiance the love we call Tammy Coe. Now, her cakes are pretty amazing and you feel horrible cutting into them and destroying the work of art but then when you remember how much you payed for the cake you find yourself licking the knife as well as the cardboard box it came in. If you really want some Tammy Coe love...try the sensuously suggary enrobed soft sugar cookies. Worth every penny but you better have a bunch of pennies with you when you go.

Suzanne, where is Nicks Bistro?

It kind of made me sad to see you last Sunday as it reminded me that I miss having you in my ward. At least you have all the "cool" kids to hang with down there.

Maybe instead of the usual book club, maybe we can start a bloggers club and just go out to eat all over town. We can't tell our families it's the "Feed my face" club as I'm afraid they won't support it but if they thought it was something intellectual they might go for it!

Cynthia said...

dear ms. anonymous, I enjoy many great dining experiences as a tag-along. Thank you for occassionally inviting.
As for the Tammy Coe cakes, I honestly couldn't be the first one to cut into one, but once it was cut, I probably would be licking the knife, the box, the wax paper, etc.

Suzanne Barker said...

I would love to have another excuse to go out to eat! Unfortunately it would probably have to be either an evening or a Monday afternoon because of work. Sigh, work gets in the way of all my fun!
I have bought a few Tammie Coe cakes. The price definately makes them special occasion, but that's what my birthday is, isn't it? I like her individual sized goodies too.
Nick's place is called Bistro 101 and it's like 1st Ave and Adams, I think? You'll see if as you drive into the downtown area on 1st Ave, it's on the North East Corner.

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to spread any culinary gloom-
but here is a lone vote for the consummate greasy spoon!

Pete's Fish 'n Chips is definitely the place that we love -
For the best fly-buzzing eats and Monster Burgers Deluxe.
It's greasy, it's crusty, the service is indifferent or rude,
But for some reason it hits the spot as satisfying fast food!

For Mexican fare, we smack our lips
"¡muy bueno!"
Whenever we pull in at the Indian School Filiberto's.

For chicken-fried steak or prime rib by the pound -
TexAZ on Bethany is the best around.
I love their house salad with the dressing vinaigrette,
And the diced green olives is the best that I've et.

Not that I ain't familiar with them digs which is fancy -
This home-girl is easily amused and knows what makes her happy.

Bandanamom said...

Yes Suzanne do tell us where Nicks Bistro 101 is located. I do like Juan's but I always sort of forget about it for some reason. Can you believe I've never eaten at Durant's?

I love trying new restaurants and visiting old favorites both but I do find that once I find something on the menu that I like I tend to always order that one thing. That's probably stupid, but I know I love it and I don't want to risk it!

Cindi, I have never been able to get into the Pete's thing. I LURVE fish and chips so I don't know what it is. I think it might be their "sauce". But to be fair I haven't tried it in years.

There are a lot of other places I love that I didn't mention in this post (and it might be sad that I have such a multitude of options at the ready to profess a love of) but...

Rokerji on 16th street is FABULOUS steak. It kicks the butt of Ruth Chris anyday. Get the Rokerji steak. It's a huge splurge but sooo worth it. (It's 38 dollars and really, I can think of much worse ways to spend $38)

I also really love Pita Jungle on Indian School and 40th - I crave it on a regular basis. LOVE their hummus with chicken. YUM. See I shouldn't start talking about it because now I'll need to go there soon.

City Bakery inside the Bentley Projects downtown is really delicious too. It's run by the same people who do Arcadia Farms. (The one inside the Phoenix art museum is good too - they have a chicken salad sandwich that is pretty to die for).

I still have never tried Pizzaria Biano downtown (same guy who does Pane Bianco) - anyone tried it? I keep trying to figure out if it's worth the wait for pizza.

Bandanamom said...

Sorry Suzanne, I just saw you already answered the question about Nick's Bistro.

You're such a busy girl!


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