Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Loco for Local – Janet and The Art of Soup

Hi everyone! I’m the new blogger on the block and so happy to be here. I’m a resident of downtown and for the last year or so I’ve done my best to frequent local businesses and leave the big box chain places in the dust. For the most part it’s worked – I haven’t seen the inside of an Olive Garden in ages, my jewelry collection is the envy of any girl still shopping at the mall instead of at boutiques, and lastly I’ve met so many amazing people. I would say the greatest benefit to living down here is community. I love all the small, independent businesses and their owners are what make them so special.

Janet Van Hinkle  at The Art of Soup is one such owner. They are located in Sheridan Square on 7th Street, next to Drip. I stopped in yesterday for lunch and I came away with so much more. They serve, on average, 4 soups per day and there’s always a vegetarian option. The ingredients are all local and organic. You can order it by the bowl or do a soup “flight”, small portions of 3 soups with the usual accompaniments: multi-grain bread, lavosh, or baguette. The soup was fantastic and the atmosphere was so relaxed. I was the only customer due to the late hour and Janet chatted with me like I was friend having lunch in her kitchen.

She partners with a company called Chef to Chef to bring the same local produce in her soups to the community. You can purchase bags of produce from local farmers at the restaurant weekly. I’m picking up my first bag this weekend so I’ll let you know how that goes!

The Art of Soup will soon be open for breakfast and they are expanding their evening and weekend hours. I give major kudos to Janet for that – most businesses downtown cater to those who commute down here for work rather than those of us who actually reside here. There are many restaurants that are only open during the week and for lunch leaving the residents of downtown with fewer options.

As more people move downtown and the weekend traffic picks up the businesses are beginning to adjust. One by one they are expanding their hours and it’s definitely a sign of better things ahead.

I plan to highlight the local businesses that I frequent as much as possible so stay tuned – Loco for Local will be a regular feature.

A & J Auto Care

I’ve got to say something about A & J Auto Care in Central Phoenix (32nd St & Thomas). I took my truck there yesterday to have the clutch worked on. Turned out it needed a new transmission too. We’re talking $2000+.

My first thought was that the truck wasn’t worth fixing until I spoke with Alex (the owner). Now I’ve referred quite a few friends to Alex over the last five years but I was shocked that he was willing to fix the truck for the price he gave me just because I had sent new customers there. I’m not going to mention what I paid because I think he might have taken a loss. Even if that’s not true there’s no way he’d made much. And his mechanic gave me a ride home :) .

The truck runs great.

If you stop in there don’t mention this post. I’d sorta feel bad. :)

That marathon thingy

For those of us who move from Point A to Point B via motorized vehicle, the most important thing to remember on Saturday is not carb-loading. No, it’s road closures. That’s right. Sunday is the (unwieldly titled) PF Changs Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon; I’m out of breath just typing that. That means thousands of insanely in-shape people will be running — for hours at a time, mind you — around our streets in the Valley.

So you may want to check out the marathon’s official Web site for information on road closures.

You do not understand…

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photo by Cracker Bunny

I believe.

You do not understand they tell me.

No, I watched the game I reply. They are better than the record. Matt is money. The defense did fantastic.

You do not understand the history of this team they tell me.

Did you see the game? They played their hearts out. One play here, one more break there and this team is a legitimate 4-2.

You really do not understand they tell me. You get 6 turnovers – you do not lose, unless you are the Cardinals. You lead by 14 in the first quarter and 20 at the half – you do not lose, unless you are the Cardinals. You have a Heisman winner put you in a position so that your Pro Bowl kicker can win the game – you do not lose (twice), unless you are the Cardinals.

Sigh… I want to believe.

Huh?!?

Can someone answer this? Why punt with about 1:30 left on the clock? Yes, it is 4th and 23. But do you really expect to get the ball back? Why not call a red 16 option right or whatever…

The Fry Bread House

Because of them, I am overwhelmed. 7th Avenue & Indian School. Damn.

Still Alive!

Yes, I’ve been quite quiet recently. But alas, I am still alive. I shall blog again soon. Fall and winter are rapidly approaching, my favorite seasons and the source of much joy and stories I hope to share with you all.

Go Vote 2006: Jimmy Eat World/the Format

I’m not one to push political agendas here, but local-boys-gone-big Jimmy Eat World are headlining Go Vote 2006, a show on Oct. 19 at the Clubhouse in Tempe that is serving as a fund-raiser for Harry Mitchell, who is running against J.D. Hayworth for U.S. Congress in Arizona’s District 5.

Also on the bill: the Format, the Stiletto Formal and Monique Reagan.

Whatever your political alliances, it’s great to see the younger generation, so often derided as lazy when it comes to voting, making an active effort to get people involved.

You can buy tickets ($22) for the show here. Stateside Presents also has information.

Man Chairs

I was dragged on a shopping trip to Kierland Commons this evening. The stores in this mall get it. Coldwater Canyon had very comfortable man chars with the sports section laid out. Unfortunately it was in the back next to a waterfall. Chico’s on the other hand totally gets it. There were three (four?) sets of man chairs at the front entrance – right as you enter. There were stacks of car and boating magazines. No SI or ESPN the magazine (hint hint). Next time runners with bottled water and chips, please…

Japanese food that does not suck – Taiko Japanese Cuisine in Chandler

I have said it before, there is no good Japanese food in the valley. Most of the “Japanese” restaurants here are bad, bad, bad. I have been to most of them and Phoodies, you need to demand better. A friend recommended Taiko Japanese Cuisine in Chandler with the magic words – “they have food that tastes like food I used to get in Japan”. He had the oyako donburi (lunch) and, as he put it, “it was made by someone who knows how to make donburi”. We went that evening and it is true. Finally a place in Phoenix that has good Japanese food. The service was okay, the sushi was okay, and yes it is in a strip mall. But who the fuck cares?!? Ramen and donburi and tonkatsu and curry made by a chef who understands Japanese food. Yeah baby! Cooper and Ray near the Bashas.

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