Before you read ahead, here are the highlights: nami tsyonami, Harumi Sushi, Valley Bar, and Camelback Mountain via Cholla Trail. If you do nothing else, go to/eat/do those.
Where I Stayed
I stayed in a casita, a transformed garage, in a home and street that was very much Beverly Hills. It’s a 1920s Tudor style home owned by Fawn, a photographer, whom I spoke to for over an hour. Her dogs were very friendly.
The restroom was in the house, but the casita was a minimalistic dream. There was a couch, a table for two, and a cabinet with a retro 50s mini-fridge.
Where I Drank Coffee
I went to Jobot and Lola Coffee, but I was underwhelmed by both.
- Dutch Bros. – I had their small Americano with soy milk. There was a huge wait even with two drive-thru lanes and a walk-up window!
- Serafina Coffee Roasters – I walked here and everyone who worked downtown was either at the Starbucks or Serafina. I got their winter spice coffee, half sweet with almond milk.
Where I Ate
- The Coronado – Read my review of this vegan restaurant here. Its been a couple years.
- Nami – I’ve had their tsoynami three times and just wish I could have more.
- Phoenix Public Market – Extensive restaurant not market with a coffee and beer bar. The steak and eggs were delicious.
- Mrs. Chicken – Jordan and I ate separately later on this trip because he wanted all the fried food – I would only agree to hot chicken.
- Harumi Sushi – Some of the best sushi I’ve eaten! We got their lunch special – their fish to rice ratio was perfect and their fish cuts were smooth and buttery.
- Four Peaks Brewing in Tempe – Kilt Lifter is one of my favorite full-body beers. I have one each year after hiking Sitton Peak. It’s a beer that is just out reach from me.
- Diego Pops in Scottsdale – A picturesque colorful and neon restaurant with a solid nacho.
Where We Drank
- Copper Blues – We wanted to partake in live music so we ventured downtown to this upstairs venue. We listened to Dude Babe while drinking Kilt Lifters and playing shuffleboard. I won.
- Wilderness PDX – This bar is near Roosevelt, known for its murals. I tried some kvass (from Morganton, North Carolina! I get excited when I see things from NC!) and played cornhole and giant Jenga.
- Valley Bar – We were directed here by a homeless man, down a dark alleyway. We showed our IDs to the security and entered through a refrigerator door down to a gem – huge bar, craft beer and cocktails, tables, booths, games, pool, and skeeball! We came here on Christmas Day and it was packed with people!
Where I Visited
- The Duce – It’s a bar with lots of games. We didn’t get to go this time as they were closed.
- David and Gladys Wright House – Round Frank Lloyd Wright home in Scottsdale.
- Taliesen West – I took the $30 tour of the estate that is still an architectural school.
- Heard Museum – We learned so much about Native Americans of the Southwest through artifacts.
- Phoenix Art Museum – A complicated layout doesn’t take away from their collection of classics.
Where I Stayed Active
- Camelback Mountain – Everybody hikes this. Take the Cholla Trail, which is more steep but less packed. It’s a city hike that’s very steep but sturdy and has railings to help you out.
- Pietsewa Peak – Similar to Camelback – city hike that’s just straight up.
- McDowell Sonoran Preserve – Very very little elevation gain that’s still a tad rocky.
- radi8 Yoga – To be honest, I didn’t love this studio. It’s popular, packed, and so hot the floor was literally soaking wet. On top of that, I didn’t love the flow sequence.