Thursday, May 13, 2010


I absolutely love living in Arizona. Here are a few of my favorite places/restaurants:

Favorite part of the State: Greer
A lovely little hamlet tucked at the base of Mt. Baldy. Eastern part of the state about 25 miles from the New Mexico border.

Favorite hike: the trail above and beyond Wind Cave - Mesa
Wind Cave trail is great but the trail that veers off to the right above Wind Cave is spectacular. It is steep but when you get to the top you will find amazing views of the Superstitions, Four Peaks, and the Goldfield Mountains. Not for little kids.

Favorite plant nursery: Baker Nursery - 40th Street and Osborn, Phoenix (pictured above)
I've been going here since I was a kid. A serious plant nursery for serious gardeners.

2nd place: Berridge Nursery - 46th Street and Camelback, Phoenix
Berridge is another favorite not too far from Baker Nursery. It is laid out beautifully and has a fun little seasonal shop.

Favorite cinnamon rolls: Belinda's Kitchen (4301 E. McKellips, Mesa)
My oh my. Delicious. Both the cinnamon rolls and the orange rolls.

Favorite cookie shop: Jacob Lake Inn (Key Lime, German Chocolate, Lemon Zucchini, etc.)
Jacob Lake Inn is found on the long drive to Utah. It is near Fredonia at the very tip top of Arizona near the Utah border. Stopping at the Inn is the reward for a long drive.

Favorite fish tacos: Rancho de Tia Rosa - Mesa
Salmon tacos, Shrimp tacos, Halibut, crab--all are good. But my favorite combination is the Salmon taco followed by the sweet Shrimp taco.

Favorite chicken tacos: Blue Adobe Grille - Mesa
Love this often overlooked restaurant--shredded chicken with sliced cabbage in soft corn tortillas.

Favorite ice cream shop: Mary Coyle - Phoenix
Growing up in Phoenix, when my sisters and I received a good report card this is where we went to celebrate. Now my 12 year old niece loves it, too.

Favorite pizza: Grazie - Scottsdale
Best thin crust pizza. Love sitting outside (weather permitting).

Favorite decadent dessert: Dolce Della Casa (Hazelnut and Banana Calzone) at Grazie (even better eaten outside next to the fireplace) Slightly Charred Sweet Calzone filled with Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce and Banana topped with Vanilla Ice Cream

Favorite pancakes: Rendezvous Diner in Greer
The pancake batter is a homemade concoction that the owner described to me. I didn't even bother writing it down since it was so decadent. But the pancakes are the best I've ever had and so lacey and pretty.

Favorite local breakfast splurge: Crackers & Co. - Mesa (the Vatican Skillet, yum)
Well seasoned food, but portions are large so the great thing is I can get 2-3 meals from this yummy dish.

Favorite soda pop shop: Pop the Soda Shop - Scottsdale
A really fun soda shop with rows and rows of interesting flavors and delicious bottled pop.

Favorite Independent Book Store: The Poisoned Pen - Scottsdale
One of the last around. Great mystery books and weekly discussions with visiting authors.

Favorite French Bistro (yes, in Phoenix): Vincent's Market Bistro - Phoenix
This feels like a tiny, Parisian cafe. And you are given the best mini-croissants with your lunch. Also excellent prices.

Favorite Lunch Salad: Roasted Beet and Spinach Salad at Taylor's Cafe in Phoenix
Healthy and yummy (the salad, not the entire menu).

Favorite "Let's Share a Dessert at Lunch" place: Nordstrom Cafe (love that Coconut Lemon Cake) - Scottsdale
Nordstrom Cafe is so easy and lots of good choices. Best tomato basil soup.

Favorite place that is no more: Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant (sniffle, sniffle) - Phoenix
My parents loved this place and would be sad to see that it closed. My sisters and I continued to go to this restaurant right up to the last week they were open. Best Mexican food ever.


  1. Makes me want to come back just to go check out most of these places.
    I love Tia Rosa's and Crackers too.
    FYI - David's family settled in Greer way back when, In fact the Molly Butler lodge (oldest in the state was founded by his great grandmother)

  2. Thank you for that! I needed some new dinner destinations. I want to try the cinnamon rolls and the Wind Cave hike. I love that drive to the Jacob Lake Inn. We always buy a big bag of the assorted cookies, then drive on up to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

  3. I love the post. I have lived in AZ my whole life and have never tried some of these places. Thanks for the info.

  4. I agree with everything that you have listed that I have tried also. I will have to try all those that I haven't tried. UMMM, Grazie's! We really do live in the best place!

  5. Love these picks! Belinda's cinnamon rolls are to die for. Our friend Tom Driggs was in town this weekend and took us to Vincent's Market Bistro -- amazing! We ordered the incredible panini and shared the lemon and chocolate dessert souffles. The little farmer's market was fun, too. Can't believe we've never been there (and that next weekend is that last weekend it's open until October).

  6. Mary Coyles in Phoenix is definitely worth the drive from Mesa! Lots of good memories going to Mary Coyles after a good report card. My kids and grandkids are now hooked! Thanks for the tips on other restaurants. Love your blog! (Linda)