One of our favorite things to do when we travel is highlight our favorite restaurants and coffee shops, so we figured why not do it in our own city? North Italia has been one of our go-to spots when we’re in the mood for some modern-Italian cuisine in Phoenix. They have everything from various pasta dishes (the strozzapreti is our fav!), crispy calamari, and garlic truffle bread for a nice dinner together to grilled cauliflower, the chef’s board, and seasonal pizzas for an afternoon brunch. We visited the restaurant earlier this week and snapped some photos with all the goodies we’ve been loving.
They just launched their Secret Cocktail Menu and boy is it good! Plus, what’s a mid-week brunch without a cocktail or two, especially during the holiday season, am I right? 😉 Ask about the Little Hot, Little Dirty Martini. It has a modern edge to the timeless classic with vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, calabrian chile paste, Castelvetrano Olive Juice.
The decor in this place is just so perfect. With a mix of Italian farmhouse and modern Scandinavian vibes, we’ve been taking notes for our future kitchen. Of course the greenery everywhere was just the icing on the cake. But speaking of cake…
It’s impossible not to go home with left overs, because you’re going to want to try a bit of everything. We’re a bit partial to the tiramisu. If you need any convincing it has chocolate espresso beans on top, enough said. 😉
Can’t wait to share some more of our favorite spots around town with you guys!
About a month ago we had the pleasure of meeting up with photographer Ben Sasso while he was in Arizona. We had been exchanging emails for several months and were excited to finally create something together. We met in Tucson at Mount Lemmon right before sunset, found ourselves climbing over rocks, testing our fear of heights, and laughing the whole way through the windy evening. We normally wouldn’t share so many photos from one photo set, but we had such an amazing time getting to know Ben and the moments that he was able to capture were really special. Not to mention, the tones in his photos are pretty magical. We can’t wait to get one of these printed and hanging in our home one day, hopefully very soon. 🙂
“You wanna go where everybody knows your name…” Anyone remember that song? Any Cheers fans out there? I used to watch that show on Nick-at-Nite a lot as a kid. Kind of strange now that I think of it…a show about a bar on Nick-at-Nite, but I guess that’s a whole other topic. Anywho, I always just loved how everyone was together on that show. How it was a place people gathered after work, after a bad day, or to share in good news and a smile. Many of the places around Phoenix are like that. It may sound cheesy, but over the last few years we found a few favorite spots we can count on for a good laugh, amazing food, and unique cocktails.
The other day we stopped into St. Francis for a late lunch/early dinner and had the pleasure of trying out their new market menu, which featured some summer cocktails by our friend and their head bartender, Titus Fauntleroy. We were lucky to stop in on a day where the owner, Chef Aaron was in the back cooking up some fresh dishes as well. We were really in for a treat with the both of them there.
One by one colorful dishes of crispy okra, melon gazpacho, and wood fired flatbreads were brought out to us. Once we started to dive into everything Chef Aaron joined us, told us a bit about the dishes, and we caught up on life and business. It’s always a pleasure getting to chat with him, whether it is about his son starting school and our house hunting or diving into his restaurant plans and ideas for new menus. One thing we always find ourselves fascinated with is his home garden and gardening skills. We always chat his ear off about it, and he’s so generous to share his tips and tricks that he’s learned over the years. The amount of fruit trees and vegetable beds he has is impressive and the fact that he continues to keep it thriving in a desert climate is so admirable. A home garden has always been a dream of ours…one day we’ll get there. Not sure if we’ll be producing a watermelon a day, like someone we know, but baby steps. 😉
We met Titus way back when we first moved to Phoenix, at an instameet. It’s kind of crazy how you can meet people nowadays, but technology and community are powerful things…it really blows our minds repeatedly. It can be hard to hard to find genuine people, especially as you get older and get exposed to more in life, but man, Phoenix truly is a special place. We are so lucky to call Titus our friend, and it’s a major bonus that he is a wizard behind the bar at one of our favorite restaurants in town. He wears a lot of hats, and wears them well, bartender being one of them. He’s always coming up with something new and exciting to complement a dish. Plus, he’s the guy to go to when you’re having a holiday party. Not only will he show up in the snazziest, festive suit around, he knows exactly what a bar cart should be stocked with to keep the night going.
This was the Simple Thymes cocktail: vodka, thyme simple syrup, and fresh squeezed grape juice. He suggested pairing it with the fried okra, which was from a local farm at South Mountain. It was so light and fresh for these hotter days.
Many of you have asked for suggestions on places to check in AZ and we’re looking forward to sharing a more formal list of our favorites, but until then…if you’re looking for somewhere to start, grab yourself a cocktail at St. Francis.
Last week, we escaped the heat and headed up north to Flagstaff, AZ. The long drive is one of our favorites, and we were thrilled to team up with Tretorn to celebrate their 125th anniversary by going on an adventure 125 miles from home. We only stayed for the night, but the fresh air, cool breeze, and nothing but trees surrounding us was a great change of scenery for two days. As fall begins to creep up on us, we always find ourselves yearning for that traditional transition in seasons, that special smell in the air, the coziness, and giddiness of the sense of new that’s ahead…whatever it may be. Sometimes we dream about country life…what it would be like to live on a big plot of land, with nothing but trees surrounding us. There’s so many states we’d still love to visit, but we love these mini adventures together, no matter how close or far they may be from our own city. We stayed at the Little America hotel, which is just so charming and quaint. It’s where we stayed the first time we visited Flagstaff, so it has a lot of great memories attached to it. We went to some of our favorite spots around town including Buffalo Park and of course, Pizzicletta for some of the best pizza we’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. The next morning we grabbed coffee and breakfast at Macy’s (it’s somewhat of a tradition at this point), before exploring a bit for the day.
Oh man! It’s been crazy over here lately. We haven’t really had a chance to talk about our move or why we moved or where we ended up. To be honest, we hardly even had the time to talk about those things with each other. It all happened so fast. We’d been at our old place (can we call it that yet?) for just over ten months. The space was great. It was the perfect size for the two of us; lots of light, beautiful white brick walls, and no carpet (which is hard to find in Phoenix). The problem with the place wasn’t the appearance, it was the bones. New places are popping up all over Phoenix lately. It’s not easy to find a mid-century apartment complex that looked the way ours did. Which is probably why we fell in love with it. The reason we had to go was because the 1960’s are over 50 years old, and so was our place. The roof needed to be replaced, the A/C unit was constantly leaking, and when it rained we just didn’t know what would go wrong. We kept hanging on because we just loved it that much. All of our things fit perfectly within the place. We had just finally put the finishing touches on our office space, and then things started to turn quickly. We were about to take our trip to San Francisco, and we had a lot of water leaking from our ceiling. The maintenance team tried and tried to fix it, but it just wasn’t working out. The musty smell in the air was starting to get to us and we impulsively walked across the street and signed a lease at the new apartment complex that opened up recently. We definitely want to be home owners some day, but for now, while traveling is a big part of our day-to-day, we prefer to rent. So anyway, here we are. We moved in to our new place last week, and we are doing our best to get everything back to normal as quickly as we humanly can.
In the midst of the move and keeping up with work projects, it can be difficult to find time to just relax and be together. Since making the transition into the world of freelance photography and marketing, we find ourselves working from home quite a bit. It’s been an amazing journey so far, working with companies on creating content for their websites and lookbooks, but not having a traditional 9-5, can sometimes be tough. When there is no place to clock in or clock out, how do you decide when it’s time to stop working? After talking with some friends who are in the same field of work, we realized we’re not alone with having trouble turning off that work switch. Lately, we find that the best way to unwind and turn off that work-mode state of mind is to throw on some comfy clothes and shoes, step out of our apartment, leave the laptop behind, turn off email alerts, and just be. It seems to be the only way we can separate ourselves from working. It’s funny what stepping away from a project can do. When we leave our little home office space, it puts everything back into perspective.
Here’s a little peek at our “off-duty”/hang out uniforms lately:
We recently got a few emails about what we like to do in Arizona in our free time. There’s no denying the huge coffee scene here. Escaping to our new favorite spot, Futuro has become a weekly tradition lately. It’s kind of a one stop shop, joined withPalabra Collective…coffee, a gallery space, and it’s also where we get our hair done. 😉 Our friend Jorge Ignacio Torres, is the owner, curator, and hairstylist behind the space. Every detail has been so thoughtfully constructed, making up a serene and unique hang out environment. The space has a gallery with various local art of all mediums that changes monthly, along with opening receptions with the featured artist. It’s been fun seeing friends of ours have their work featured there, along with attending the gatherings each month. Currently they’re showcasing photography by our friend Richard Douglas, featuring another good friend and all around amazing guy in the community, Titus Fauntleroy.
If you’re in the Phoenix area definitely check out the space and grab a Tonico or Mocha — they’re our go-tos each time. It’s been a calm retreat for us during these hectic days lately, plus their huge sliding doors, and open windows make it impossible not to stay cheery each on these spring days! Also, some of you have asked where we get our haircut and what to ask for with bangs, well we also get our hair cut there! Ask for Priscilla — she’s our favorite. 😉
This past weekend, we took a drive up north to Sedona with some of our very dear friends. It’s about a two hour drive from Phoenix, and we definitely enjoyed ourselves all the way up there. We have gotten so close with our friends Andrew and Cody since living here in Phoenix, and these little trips together just keep the good times rolling. We sang (and danced) along to some of our favorites, made plans for the holiday season, and quite simply, just enjoyed the views as we drove up to Sedona.
One of our favorite places in this entire state is the West Fork trail. The trail is super easy to hike and the stream that runs through the canyon is always breathtaking. It’s so important to get yourself outside this time of year. The holiday season can make anyone a little crazy, but these trips out in the cool air with good friends can really be so freeing for the mind. We had the best time and can’t wait until the next trip.
In the two years we have lived in Phoenix, it feels like it is constantly evolving. New places are popping up all over the place and the best thing about it…they are good! Back in April, Desoto Central Market opened it’s doors and we find ourselves there quite often. They have a little bit of everything, so it doesn’t ever matter what time of day it is…we always find something!
Our go-to is usually some Tea & Toast and then a little outdoor time on their awesome patio. Yay for November in Phoenix!
One of our favorite places in Phoenix is, GROWop. GROWop is a beautifully curated vintage boutique located in the heart of the arts district downtown and just so happens to be owned by our friends, Josh and Kenny. We recently spent an afternoon just hanging out at the shop. Every time we visit (which is probably too often — haha), Josh shows us his favorite new pieces and we always end up styling some looks together. He was nice enough to snap some photos with us, let us try on a bunch of great items, and caught us up on his (super exciting) future plans.
GROWop not only carries a great selection of vintage, but also a wide range of new, american-made items, including one of our favorite brands: Bridge and Burn. From buttons and shirts to candles and magazines, they have a little something for everyone.
We couldn’t be more excited about the future for these great people. In February, Josh and Kenny will be opening up a new store here in Phoenix, Phoenix General. We cannot wait to see this place that Josh has been telling us about for months. We’ve seen the layout, inspiration boards, and products lists…all which have us giddy for opening day!
We feel so lucky to have met such amazing friends here in Phoenix, who are also incredibly talented. When you see people close to you doing great things, you can’t help but feel inspired and full of happiness. 🙂
A few weeks ago we tried out the French Grocery in Phoenix. We have been meaning to go for quite some time now and are so happy we finally did! It’s a family owned grocery/cafe with everything from wines and cheeses to the sweetest desserts and lattes. We went in the evening and snacked on some macarons, which had to have been the best macarons we’ve tried in Arizona yet! If you stop in, we definitely recommend the orange-creamsicle and espresso flavors. So good! We couldn’t resist taking a few home with us. 😉
This day, as many of the days in AZ have been lately, was pretty muggy and humid. We’d like to think we’re not alone when we say, we’re ready for summer to be over. Hello fall, where are you?! Anyone else ready for thermals, cozy sweaters, and boots? It probably doesn’t help that we already want to start listening to Christmas music. I know, I know…it’s still only August. Haha.
On Sunday we met up with our friends, Cheyanne and Diamond for brunch at St. Francis. Our list of favorite local spots in Phoenix, just keeps growing! It was our first time visiting St. Francis, but the restaurant is owned by Chef Aaron Chamberlin, who also owns Phoenix Public Market(which we’re big fans of), so we knew we were in for a treat!
Usually Sundays are our days to “get everything done”…run our errands, do laundry, and get things in order for the week ahead. So, it was refreshing to catch up with friends over some tasty, local food in a beautiful space. The restaurant was built in 1955 by architect Harold Ekman, and later transformed by Wendell Burnette. We loved the mix of old charm and modern accents; just think exposed brick and lots of natural light shining in while you enjoy a spread of flatbreads, fingerling potatoes, and an array of eggs cooked three different ways. We were definitely indulging, but I guess that’s what the weekends are for, right?! 😉
Thank you so much to Chef Aaron Chamberlin for the warm hospitality and amazing brunch. We’re already thinking about our next visit!
We are Robert and Christina: husband and wife, photo takers, adventurers and best friends. We like to laugh too hard, dance all night, and explore together. Here is a little glimpse into our lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.