About a year ago I read an article in Phoenix Magazine about eating locally. It provided me with a task that would eventually help me through a difficult emotional time, giving me something unique to discuss over, you guessed it, a meal.
I decided that I needed a healthy task and made it my mission to visit as many locally owned restaurants possible. The result was a tasty journey through historic and hipster neighborhoods, searching for the perfect bite. Taking pictures along the way helped fuel this newest passion.
I started with a trip to Postino’s in Arcadia. which then led to dining at Windsor and Federal Pizza. Postino’s has the best bruschetta board this side of Italy and pairing it with a glass of their finest full-bodied wine makes for an evening not soon forgotten. Windsor’s hall of cassette tapes provides the most hipster of hip ambiances when you’re eating a burger and drinking a pint of beer. Federal Pizza just has the best margarita pizza I’ve ever tasted. The tomatoes are large, juicy, and just the right amount of sweet, complimenting the saltiness of the cheese perfectly. Pizzeria Bianco and Italian Restaurant also top the list of the greatest little local places for atmosphere, as it feels like you’re being transported to a different place in the world when you dine there.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two great little British pubs I’ve found. The Rose and Crown, located across the street from Pizzeria Bianco in Copper Square, takes me back to the pubs I frequented in England. It is as if the hops from the beer have been absorbed into the wood flooring creating the exact smell from The Granta in Cambridge, England. For the smell factor, The Rose and Crown tops my list of pubs. The George and Dragon is the pub I choose for watching a proper game of football (for my American friends, soccer). The camaraderie present during a match, when England is involved, is breathtaking. High-fiving and cheering alongside my fellow England fans is an experience I look forward to during championships and tournaments.
Next, with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, I’ll mention a few favorite spots of mine. The first is Matt’s Big Breakfast. Though they have moved from their original spot, the flavors and level of service have remained top notch. What I love is that their eggs are cage-free, their meat is grain fed, and the breads are all local. My favorite thing to eat is their pancakes-so light and fluffy-dipped in fresh maple syrup. My latest favorite, though, is The Breakfast Club. The portions are no laughing matter, that’s for sure. My veggie omelet was filled to capacity with tasty mushrooms and fresh basil. I left feeling full and completely satisfied for an entire day.
Finally, the search for the perfect bakery has been a personal quest. One of my good friends makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. Unfortunately, she lives over 2,000 miles away and tasting one of her cookies is a little pricey-a $200 plane ticket. Therefore, I’ve had to search high and low for one a little more in my price range. I was pleased to find Urban Cookies this past weekend. They were perfectly suited for my particular tastes-crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. My personal favorite was the pineapple coconut, followed by the milk chocolate chip, as both were flavorful and retained their freshness even days after I bought them.
Eating local just makes me feel good. I can feel good about the food I am choosing to put inside my body because I know it is grown without the use of pesticides and chemicals. I can also feel good that my choice to dine locally is helping out a small business. Hopefully my patronage will keep these restaurants in business, providing delicious foods and impeccable service at a reasonable price.
These were just a few of my favorite places, though there are many more I’ve not mentioned and more that I have yet to try. I am lucky that I live in this terrific city, where new places are popping up all of the time, just waiting for me to take a bite.