Tonight was fancy night at Mowry & Cotton. I met up with my long time foodie friends Andrea and Merichelle in a sort of reunion night. Mowry & Cotton opened up at The Phoenician in 2007. I was able to attend a fun Yelp event here last year. It is named after two businessmen (George Mowry and James Cotton) who came to Phoenix in 1872 and opened the first fine liquor establishment in downtown Phoenix. They were trying to create more of a community feel instead of the typical saloons that were around. Chef Tandy Peterson has created a nice rustic menu of comfort food that pays homage to meals that were cooked over a fire back then. The concept here is a shared dinner menu that you mix and match with the people at your table. They have several choices of meat and fish to choose from like salmon, sea bass, steak and ribeye. They also have a variety of popular flatbreads (thin pizzas). Other choices are salads, vegetables and appetizers. They have several cocktails to choose from like their signature Washington & 1st drink (named after Mowry & Cotton’s distillery location in downtown Phoenix). They are also open for breakfast and serve brunch on the weekends. The staff wears button down shirts, suspenders and leather boots to reflect the times. For decor, there are old distillery bottle all around the restaurant that plays off the lighting that comes in to create an ambiance feel of the Old West.
Mowry & Cotton
Mowry & Cotton has been running a special Summer Culinary Countdown menu that includes a Bottle and Board for $25. It comes with a choice of a bottle of wine and a flatbread. We tried the Roasted Squash Flatbread and the A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris bottle of wine. For dinner, I ordered the Grilled Pheasant. It was tender and smokey and comes with lots of fixings like almonds, onions, broccolini and cherries. Others at my tabled ordered the Chicken Pot Pie, the Corn and Chorizo Dip (with Chicharrones!) and Grilled Potatoes. We enjoyed trying one another’s food over good conversation. This is a great new addition to The Phoenician. The rest of the evening was spent in The Phoenician Cactus Garden and enjoying the beautiful views of Phoenix from the lounge area.
Sazerac PHX is a really cool cocktail/cigar bar. Growing up as a Phoenix native, I always enjoy seeing owners come in and resurrect some of these old buildings. This one was designed with a 30’s speakeasy vibe to it with a cool dim-lighted interior and an outdoor patio area. Inside is a beautiful long red oak bar and an old school black piano for live music. Outside is spacious and has a vacancy sign that came from Sheriff Joe’s old tent city days. They serve craft cocktails and craft beer and have friendly helpful bartenders. My first visit here was a Mezcal tasting they were hosting after a showing of a Mezcal documentary over at FilmBar. Some popular drinks include Trade Secrets, Side Bar, Milli Vanilli and their house Sazerac. I ordered the Smokin’ Berries to keep with the Mezcal theme and enjoyed the smoky liquor with the blackberries. This is a great place if you really want a relaxing evening with a nice cocktail and some live music.
I have visited Shake Shack in Boston, Chicago and now Phoenix. Shake Shack got their start in 2004 in NYC and has expanded to over 130 stores in under 15 years. Sometimes when these restaurants explode like that they lose some of the qualities that originally made them so great. I actually had a nice evening at this location. This Shake Shack is in the downtown Phoenix Uptown Plaza which is becoming a little mini foodie paradise with all the killer eats moving in. I went with my go-to item the SmokeStack burger. You can’t go wrong with a burger topped with cherry pepper relish, applewood smoked bacon and yummy ShackSauce. They use 100% all-natural Angus beef and are served on a non-GMO Martin’s Potato Roll. I love the crinkle fries and got mine with cheese sauce on it. Shake Shack makes a killer burger and the shakes and concretes are pretty amazing too. Tonight I got great customer service and lots of welcoming smiles from the employees.
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches is a sandwich shop that started in San Francisco’s Castro District in 2007 and made its way all through the Bay area. Now we have them here in Arizona. Ike Shehadeh (whose cartoon face is plastered on every restaurant) opened his first restaurant after being nearly homeless. Ike’s are known for their variety of sandwiches that are named after well-known celebrities. They use a bread popular in the Bay area called Dutch Crunch bread (or Tiger bread). The sandwiches are unique because of “Ike’s Dirty Secret Sauce” – a creamy, garlic aioli that is baked into the bread and smeared onto the sandwiches. So far I have tried the Manage a Trois and the Meatless Mike (Vegan meatballs). The sandwiches are pretty large and the bread is very soft and moist. I have had great experiences both times I visited them. They have many vegetarian options and very order comes with a free caramel-green apple lollipop for dessert.
I’m really bummed to see another local favorite closing it’s doors. Pizza People Pub has been operating out of this location across the Phoenix Public library since 2013. They have a great story of a family owned business starting out of a food truck and eventually opening their own restaurant. Their menu consists of their signature made-from-scratch 10 inch artisan pizzas and a variety of pub favorites like wings and their always popular mac & cheese. I always got a kick out of some of the pizza creations that they have (and the names) – Date Me, The Hulk, Testosteroni, Popeye, Fun Guy, The Hottie, etc. Even though I love their pizzas, I usually came here to try one of their many mac & cheeses. Some of my favorites have been the Smokey Paprika Mac, the Jalapeño Mac and the Truffle Mac. They load their mac & cheese with lots of cheese so they are nice and gooey. I wish they had a mac & cheese flight so I could sample them all. I stopped in tonight to have a last meal here before they close shop. I enjoyed hearing my bartender share stories of how much he enjoyed working here. It’s always sad to hear of local restaurants going out of business. I wish them the best.
– since I wrote this post, new owners have given Pizza People Pub a new lease on life and are keeping things the way that made Pizza People so popular. They will be re-opening in August!
While attending a film screening of Elementsat FilmBar for Devour week, all in attendance received a Bite Box. These wonderful little boxes of Arizona-made goods were a small sample of the Bite Boxes you can subscribe from Bite magazine. Bite Boxes share goods handpicked by local chefs and artisans. The Elements movie showcased six local chefs and they each contributed something to the box we received.
I love the Coronado neighborhood and the restaurants that line 7th St. I dropped by here for a quick bite on my way to work. This place was once the Coronado Cafe and is now just The Coronado Phx (owned by the same owner that managed Bragg’s Factory Diner on Grand Ave). The converted home they operate out of has a lot of history in the area and makes for a nice relaxed dining experience. The Coronado is counter service and they have both indoor and outdoor patio seating. The menu is vegetarian and consists of breakfast, small bites and sandwiches. The counter area serves wine/beer/alcohol and is a full espresso bar. I ordered the Red Potato & Garbanzo Burger and really enjoyed the flavor of the agave mustard they top it with. The street corn was quite delicious as well. The atmosphere was super laid back and they do a great job of creating a nice community feel while you are here. Some people were here for dinner, some on laptops and others playing board games or just having a conversation. My only gripe was that there wasn’t a whole lot of pastries to choose from (probably because I came just before closing time).
After two knee surgeries in the past four years to repair a torn meniscus in both knees, I am running my first race since 2011. In fact, I tore my first knee in that run (Pat’s Run) in 2011 and haven’t ran since. Today I am running the Susan G. KomenRace for the Cure run in downtown Phoenix. I have run this race in the past and have enjoyed it. It’s a good one because the weather is nice and cool in October here in AZ. I am hoping I can restart this running journey again that I started years ago. I found a good running pace for myself on the treadmill and my job is to finish and not be concerned with time. My FitbyFirst program has been instrumental in my training and getting back in shape.
The Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure is part of the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. Up to 75% of the net proceeds raised stays in the local community to fund breast cancer programs and at least 25% supports Susan G. Komen‘s national grants program to fund research (info from their website). I am happy I am able to run this race to benefit his cause.
Adobo Dragon offers a menu consisting of Asian-Latino cuisine and is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix at DeSoto Market. The head chef is Allan Inocencio and he is the one who combined the Asian and Latino flavors. Adobo Dragon offers a variety of noodle bowls, tapas and baos. I ordered the curried noodles and a side of albondigas tapas during my first visit. The noodle bowl was pretty flavorful. I felt it was a good-sized portion and the shrimp was nicely prepared. The albondigas tapas were also very tasty. I ordered a chicken and albondiga boa the second time I visited. The boa was perfectly steamed and had a nice texture to it. I also ordered Plantain mojo and found it surprising light and delicious. It came with a side of chips to scoop it up with. Both my experiences were met with great customer service. I really enjoy sitting at the counter and watching the cook fire up these creations while soaking in the fun atmosphere of DeSoto Market.
One of my favorite movies growing up was Tron. It came out in 1982 and starred Jeff Bridges. It has developed into a cult film over the past couple decades. When I was a kid we used to play Tron games by using frisbees as our identity discs. I loved the arcade game too with its cool light-up blue joystick. Back in the day, Disneyland had a ride called the Peoplemover that took you through the park and through the World of Tron. My favorite scenes in the movie were always the lightcycles ones. In 2010, Disney released a sequel to Tron called Tron: Legacy. This movie brought back all the fond memories I had as child. Below are the trailers to the movie.
Tron Legacy Trailer #1
Tron Legacy Trailer #2
Disneyland’s Peoplemover ride through the World of Tron
I wrote in an earlier post about Cobra Arcade Bar. I always thought it would be cool to own an arcade like Flynn did in the Tron movie. Cobra Arcade Bar has brought all that nostalgia back to me by bringing back these classic arcade games. Tonight Cobra partnered with FilmBar for a Tron theme night. They showed the original 1982 movie over at FilmBar and then had a themed party afterwards next door at Cobra. I was totally stoked about this night when I heard about it. They had exclusive drinks just for the night and the staff dressed in Tron gear. I ordered a blue drink called Quorra’s Revenge that was really good. A Daft Punk tribute band called One More Time were the DJs for the night. They even had the classic Tron arcade game on hand to play. I of course had to wear my Flynn Lives t-shirt to get into the spirit of things. I had a blast and hope they do more theme nights like this.
Classic Tron Game
Cobra Arcade Bar
Hanging with a Tron girl
One More Time
One More Time
Jeff Bridges in the original Tron movie
Shanghai Disney Resort recently opened a Tron ride. Bummer they don’t have it here at the U.S. resorts. But it looks fun!