I am such a fan of the Phoenix location and St. Francis that I was pretty stoked to hear that chef Aaron Chamberlin was putting a location in the East Valley (closer to home for me). I thought the decision to put a location in a quiet residential part of southern Tempe with no restaurants within a mile was pretty bold for them. They are essentially sending a message that they are going to own this area and be a cafe for the surrounding neighborhoods. I’ll be honest that my first couple of visits during opening month had its issues. The lines were super long and the customer service was working through many kinks. But after a few months, Tempe Public Market is quietly settling in and becoming a staple in this area. The patio area is dog friendly and very spacious. They have plenty of misters for the hot summers and a killer fireplace for the colder winter evenings. I like that beverages (non-alcoholic) are self-serve. They have counter service for ordering your food and seating is open. These are some of those things that makes this place feel like home. So far I’ve had breakfast and dinner here now. The Blue Corn Pancake is fantastic. It’s pretty large but not too filling for a pancake. The Steel Cut Oats are good but a little on the pricey side for me for oatmeal. They also do a community night for dinner on some nights. It’s a 3-course dinner for around $13 that includes salad, entree and dessert. Overall I can see this as a regular stop for me (especially in the mornings on that patio). I love the Farmer’s Market at the Phoenix location and hope that is something that gets incorporated here someday.
Jewel’s Bakery strives to make gluten-free items taste good. They have an amazing selection of bakery delights and desserts that are just as good as any gluten item. I’ve been wanting to stop by here for some time. Jewel’s is located in the Arcadia district and is family owned. Julie Moreno started this cafe in response to her daughter’s allergic response to gluten. Today, Jewel’s is a local favorite and a place you can visit and feel at home. They have a variety of salads, waffles, sandwiches and breakfast items on their cafe menu. You can also order your food online and they offer cooking classes once a month. I ordered the delicious Santa Fe bowl along with a slice of pumpkin pie. It was a nice prelude to Thanksgiving and the customer service was awesome. I had an enjoyable dinner here and I look forward to stopping in for a pastry or one of their waffle creations in the future.
The first time I visited Délice Bistro was on a walking food tour of Tempe. It’s a European-style pâtisserie (a type of French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets) that makes their pastries and entrees from scratch. They are located off historic Tempe’s Mill Ave near ASU campus. In addition to their wonderful parties, they serve European sandwiches, soups and salads (made fresh daily). When I came here last, I had a nutella crêpe with some coffee. They also have a variety of breakfast entrees that include omelets, croissant french toasts and eggs benedicts. But you can’t come here without trying one of their delightful desserts or hand-dipped Bouchée chocolates. Today I had a carrot cake with some coffee from Peixoto. It was delicious and made for a nice late afternoon snack.
Hummingbird Cupcake & Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream
In 2009, my girlfriend and I braved the long lines and got our first taste of this famous bakery’s delightful desserts. Years later I had to bring my mother here. We were visiting Grand Central Terminal and visited Magnolia Bakery’s location there. Magnolia Bakery first opened in 1996 in New York’s West Village. Steve and Tyra Abrams took over in 2007 and expanded it to locations all over the world. You can pick up orders at their stores or order products nationwide. Each location is unique with its vintage decor and inviting atmosphere. Although they are known for their cupcakes, they bake all sorts of pastries and cakes and even have a coffee bar. Magnolia is world-renowned, they still consider themselves a neighborhood bakery. Everything is made on site and you can watch them make these wonderful delights through the window. You cannot come to New York City without visiting Magnolia Bakery.
Grand Central Terminal
Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center
A couple of days later, my mother and I stopped in at the location next to Rockefeller Center. This is the popular spot that you see on Jimmy Fallon’s opening montage. This was also the first location I visited with my girlfriend. This one can get a little busy because there are may tourist attractions nearby. I personally enjoy visiting here because you can see the horse and carriage rides pass by the window while you are inside ordering. Or you can stand outside and watch the crew makes some beautiful cupcakes. Around the holidays, this is one of the things that makes Christmas in New York magical. There is always a crowd here, but these guys still manage to make you order and send you home satisfied.
I was first introduced to this place from a vegan friend of mine. Even though I’m a meat eater, I’m enjoying some of these health-conscious restaurants that are popping up. This cute popular little place is located in Ahwatukee. Pomegranate Cafe was started by a mother and daughter (Cassie and Marlene Tolman). On their website it says they wanted to create an earth-conscious environment with great flavors. I will admit I was really surprised how good the food is here. They do a great job of coming up with some great tasting dishes made of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. This time around my friend and I ordered the POM Strawberry Salad and the Green Bandito Burrito. They were both wonderful. But of course we came here for the amazing desserts. We got the Raspberry Pineapple Cheesecake and the Vanilla Chai Cake. Seriously… who comes up with these yummy creations? My only issue is that many of these places have a tendency to be a little pricey. But we had a great time and look forward to stopping in for lunch again.
Smörgåsbord is a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style with multiple cold dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. A julbord is a standard Christmas dinner in Sweden. I’m half Swedish and tonight I tried my first Christmas julbord at IKEA. We tried herring, poached salmon, hard-boiled eggs with shrimp, meatballs, lingonberries, ham potatoes with dill, rice pudding and assorted cheeses and desserts. It was all very interesting and I’m glad I had a chance to try something new.
I love Fall. To usher in the new season, I held a Fall party at my place with friends and family. I made sausage with sauerkraut (I added apples, bacon and carrots to the mix). I also had cupcakes, cookies and candy as snacks. It was a fun night despite the triple digit weather here in AZ.
So I have a friend that made these amazing treats for a fundraiser. I want to eventually feature her on my blog because she makes amazing pasties – so I am giving a sneak preview of one of her awesome creations. These are s’mores that she modified from a Pinterest recipe. I told her she has gotten me the itching to cook again and that I look forward to cooking a gourmet meal alongside her amazing desserts someday.
Our first date night out since getting married! We went to Havana Cafe – a restaurant that serves up latin cuisine. This fun place serves up some great mojitos and they have salsa nights on the weekends. Their main dishes (chicken, meat or fish) are always accompanied with rice and beans – a Cuban tradition. Then there are some yummy plantains as well. Afterwards we hit the Gelato Spot for some Italian ice cream for dessert. I love being married and spending my evenings with my wife!!!
Our amazing night wasn’t over. After proposing to Christin, we headed down to Gilbert to have some dessert at Liberty Market. They happened to be closed, so we went to Romeo’s Euro Cafe instead. They had quite a variety of desserts to choose from. We had a delicious chocolate cake and lemon pie with a latte. What a perfect ending to the most amazing night of my life!