Monday, February 10, 2020

Navigating 36 Hours in Phoenix: Downtown PHX to Scottsdale to Tempe

Navigating 36 Hours in Phoenix: Downtown PHX to Scottsdale to Tempe

By Kat Thomas

“You know you're from Phoenix when you feed your chickens ice cubes to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.”

In June of last year, Edible Skinny was lucky enough to visit Phoenix again (I know, I know, with 3 visits in 2 months, the Valley of the Sun was becoming our new favorite hotspot...).  Having already spent time checking out the overall city with the Visit Phoenix tourism bureau, our 36 hour getaway found us celebrating some specific neighborhoods within the city: Downtown PHX to Scottsdale to Tempe.

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and taking the road less traveled in the PHX.

FIRST FRIDAY PHOENIX ON ROOSEVELT ROW
Our first stop on this journey was Roosevelt Row for their June First Friday.  Roosevelt Row serves as a hub for art, culture, creative expression and innovation in downtown Phoenix.  During each monthly First Friday event, the Row curates creative collaborators including Full Moon festival, featuring a 100+ person silent disco and art installations, and Zen Nights, the state’s largest plant-based food and lifestyle festival.  With an audience of 20,000-30,000 monthly attendees, Roosevelt Row was named a Great Place in America by the American Planning Association and was highlighted by USA Today as one of “The Top 10 City Arts Districts in the US.”  And it just so happens that the June First Friday at Roosevelt Row had two of This Way Adventures creative activations: Mowgli the Dinosaur and The Zelda Fitzgeralds.

Mowgli the Dinosaur is a bedazzled T. Rex with 150,000 hand applied rhinestones of pure bling!  He’s the perfect activation for the fun loving art crowd having become a mainstay at First Friday Las Vegas, the Dope Cup in the High Desert of California, the Cannabis Cup in Sacramento, CA, the Cannabis Cup in Riverside, CA, and private parties and photoshoots in Tucson, Austin, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Portland.  Using Royal Epoch Portable Manual Typewriters, The Zelda Fitzgeralds create Custom Crafted One-Of-A-Kind Typewritten Poetry On-Site using Nationally Ranked Poets (Poet Laureates, Neil Postman Award for Metaphor, Pushcart Prize Nominees, Fellow for the Kenyon Review, etc).  After spending a few minutes getting to know a person by asking a series of questions that allow them to remember the best moments of their lives, the Zelda then crafts a one-of-a-kind personalized poem that will be used as a keepsake for years to come!  The Zeldas have been featured at events in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Ojai, Phoenix, Portland, Riverside, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Tucson.

Both activations were a swimming success at First Friday on Roosevelt Row creating both magic and mischief!


PATTIE’S 1ST AVE. LOUNGE IN SCOTTSDALE
Later on that night I caught up with my Bestie Brad Twigg!  After tending bar in Santa Monica at the Basement Tavern for many years, he picked and moved to Scottsdale, AZ.  Luckily for me he was willing to play tour guide host through the sights of Scottsdale.  The first place we checked out was the classic Old Town dive bar of Pattie’s 1st Ave. Lounge.  With an “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” vibe, Pattie’s is a no-frills locals hangout with obligatory pool, ping-pong, darts, and shuffleboard tables.  The decor is textbook twinkly tacky, Christmas lights help illuminate the dollar bills that plaster almost every inch of wall space.  Oh, and drinks are only $3!  Perfect for the blue collar cliente, or anyone else who wants to save a buck or two while have a FUN night!

STARLITE BBQ IN SCOTTSDALE 

In the morning it was off to Starlite BBQ Scottsdale and Whiskey Bar with Bestie Brad.  Starlite is a casual restaurant with a full service bar offering specialty cocktails, craft beers, and wine.  Bestie Brad helps run the place, so I HAD to come support!  This place does Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner in style.  FYI, it’s easy to grab a table during the day, but if you plan of noshing at night make sure to make a reservation!

The joint is known for BBQ (I mean come on, it’s in the name!)  In addition to a wide variety of smoked and grilled meats, Starlite offers vegetarian, vegan, and other healthy choices.  The restaurant even supports local using vendors such as: Arizona Beef, organic produce from McClendon’s Farm, fresh breads daily from Arizona Bread, along with local pecan and mesquite woods native to the Arizona desert.

While there I sampled their Pickled Fried Green Tomato Sandwich on Brioche from the Dinner.  Traditionally garnished with Lettuce and Pimento Cheese, Brad suggested I add an Egg over Medium to make it more Breakfast-y.  This was complemented by Starlite BBQ’s version home fries aka Crispy Starlite Potatoes.  Tossed with Smoked Paprika and Vinegar the tang perfectly balanced the crispness of the taters.  And you can’t come to a bar and not have at least one alcoholic drink!  I sampled their Huckleberry Mule: Ginger Beer, Vodka, and the tiny purple power of a Huckleberry!  It was the Cat’s Pajamas and more!   Yummm, Yummm, Yummm (with 3Ms!).


BIG SURF WATERPARK IN TEMPE
After my delightful meal at Starlite BBQ, I had officially decided it was HOT!  We were in Phoenix in June so the temp had reached 100…  It was then and there I decided it was time to go to a waterpark!!!  So it was off to Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe, AZ.

Nestled on 20 acres of fun on the northern tip of Tempe and just south of Scottsdale, Big Surf offers rides for the whole family, boasting children’s fun zones, surfing and boogie boarding sessions, and over 3,000 feet of thrilling water slides!  Big Surf Waterpark is “America’s Original Waterpark,” boasting the 3rd largest wave pool in the world, Waikiki Beach.  Also I found this on Groupon and it was a STEAL compared to water parks in other areas of the country (Score Me!)!

FOUR PEAKS BREWING COMPANY IN TEMPE
After my FUN in the sun and chlorine, I decided I needed a beer and some WiFi (BTWs breweries are the adult version of coffee shops for those low on bandwidth).  A simple game of Yelp roulette and I was off to Four Peaks Brewery!

Based in Tempe, Arizona, Four Peaks Brewery helped define craft beer in the Southwest since its founding in 1996.  The brewery is named for the Four Peaks, a prominent landmark on the eastern skyline of Phoenix.  Housed in the Tonto National Forest, the massif’s summit offers four distinct peaks to the north–south ridge.  Four Peaks has gained nationwide fame in recent years as a result of earning numerous awards at the annual Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.  The brewery’s flagship ale is a Scottish-style ale infamously named: The Kilt Lifter.  In December of 2015, Four Peaks announced that it has been acquired by AB InBev, makers of Budweiser and the world's largest brewing company, and it will include the brewery as part of its High End unit.

But onto the alcohol!According to the menu description “peaches thrive in Arizona” (who knew!) and “the sweet flavor of the fruit is integrated perfectly into this light-bodied Ale.”  I found this hazy honey colored Ale (due to the fruit puree base) was a burst of malty peachness and just a bite of hoppiness!   Perfect for a hot summer day after a water park extravaganza!

My second adult beverage was Lima, Four Peaks’ Spiked Limeade drink.  It's "crafted with summer in mind, every ounce of Lima contains cool flavor made for pool parties and chill sessions alike."  Flavored with real lime juice and naturally sweetened with agave nectar (so it won't run your bathing suit body) it’s a refreshing imbibing alternative.  I drank the Lima straight, but you can also use it as a mixer at the beach or just in your backyard.

PHOENIX LIGHT RAIL BRIDGE IN TEMPE
The last order of business in my 36 hour navigation of Phoenix was the Phoenix Light Rail Bridge.  Arizona's only light rail bridge turns into a colorful show of lights whenever a train crosses the Tempe Town Lake.  This 1,546 foot-long bridge parallels the Union Pacific Railroad bridge a few yards to the west and Mill Avenue bridges to the east. It was designed by TY Lin International with art by Buster Simpson.  The LED lighting system runs the length of the Phoenix Light Rail Bridge and is programmed to create a variety of effects ranging from lights “chasing the trains across the bridge” to holiday themes and more complex shows.  This colorblast is then reflected back in the dead calm water below.  The Phoenix Light Rail Bridge is visible not only from the road, but also from the ground and even the sky, as the Light Rail Bridge sits right below Sky Harbor Airport's flight path.  It’s an architectural structure worthy of Rainbow Brite and her Color Kids!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Friday, February 7, 2020

Making an Impact at Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ


Making an Impact at Meteor Crater in Winslow, AZ

By Kat Thomas

Those who have driven Interstate 40 through Arizona, understand that there’s a lot of “there out there” in The AZ.   Out there is the world of timing your gas station fill-ups so you don’t get stranded, zero bars on your phone, and limited cuisine choices (french fries are a culinary staple!).  But nestled between these modern day landmines is a FABBY SCIENCE distraction, the world of Meteor Crater.  

Situated under the wide skies of the Arizona High Desert, Meteor Crater is a meteorite impact crater approximately 37 miles east of Flagstaff and 18 miles west of Winslow.  The site is the explosive result of a collision that shocked the American Southwest approximately 50,000 years ago with the energy of more than 20 million tons of TNT!  Talk about rocking our world! ;-)

Truthfully, although I had driven the Main Street of America (aka Interstate 40) through Arizona many times, the existence of Meteor Crater had never even registered.  But when planning our cross country drive from New Jersey to Las Vegas last year with my Mom and Aunt, I discovered it had been a lifelong dream of my Aunt Kathy to visit this site.  2,540 miles of driving and the only stop she wanted to make was to finally see Meteor Crater!

The hole with many names!  The site was formerly known as the Canyon Diablo Crater and fragments of the meteorite are officially called the Canyon Diablo Meteorite.  Because the United States Board on Geographic Names commonly recognizes names of natural features derived from the nearest post office, the feature acquired the name of "Meteor Crater" from the nearby post office named Meteor.  Scientists refer to the crater as Barringer Crater in honor of Daniel Barringer, who was first to suggest that it was produced by a meteorite impact.

Terrestrial space tourism at its best, the Meteor Crater Visitor Center on the north rim features interactive exhibits and displays about meteorites and asteroids, space, the Solar System, and comets  The crater is privately owned by the Barringer family through their Barringer Crater Company, which proclaims to make it the "best preserved meteorite crater on Earth."  In regards to price point a visit will run you $18 for general admission, $16 for seniors, $13 for kids up to age 12 years old.

It’s fun enough for kids, but geeky enough for NASA Nerds.  The center features the American Astronaut Wall of Fame and artifacts on display such as an Apollo boilerplate command module (BP-29).  One of jewels of their artifact collection is the Holsinger Meteorite, which weighing in at 1,406-pounds is the largest fragment of the 150 foot meteor that created Meteor Crater.  Another fun nerdy fact: during the 1960s and 1970s, NASA astronauts trained in the crater to prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon.

But really the shining star of the attraction is the the crater itself.  It’s only when perched out on the crater’s rim that you can understand how small we are compared to a single rock from space whose aftermath created a hole nearly one mile across, 550 feet deep, and 2.4 miles in circumference.

So here’s to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and making an impact on the world!

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Ironhill Brewery in Philly, PA - The 20 Plus Year Consecutive Winning Streak Proves Its Greatness!


Ironhill Brewery in Philly, PA - The 20 Plus Year Consecutive Winning Streak Proves Its Greatness!
By Kat Thomas, Edible Skinny

“Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.”
--Ray Bradbury

A little while ago, Edible Skinny spent a few months on the East Coast of the United States and we were lucky enough to check out Ironhill Brewery & Restaurant!!!

Named after the historic Revolutionary War landmark in Delaware, where General George Washington battled the British, Iron Hill is among the most enduringly successful craft brewers in the United States.  Their 20 plus year consecutive WINNING STREAK at national and international beer competitions is the longest by any craft brewery!

Founded by homebrewers Kevin Finn, Mark Edelson, and restaurateur Kevin Davies in Newark, DE in 1996, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant has blossomed from one restaurant and brewery to 16 locations up and down the East Coast, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and South Carolina.  Each brewery/restaurant has their own craft kitchen and scratch brewery, allowing individual chefs and brewers the creativity to pair the freshest local ingredients with the highest quality grains and hops.

The Ironhill Brewery & Restaurant menu involves a detailed pairing guide as they want you to enjoy more than just a beer or dish.  This brewery wants you to fully EMBRACE a great BEER experience to enhance the flavors of the meal and (of course) compliment their cravings.  Some of Ironhill’s recommendations included:

--Hot & Spicy.  IPAs go well with Chipotle or Buffalo Wings.  Hoppy bitterness helps to cut through heat while notes of spice and citrus plays well with each dishes’ underlying flavors.
--Smoky chargrilled caramelized.  These party ears are rude to stand up to hearty dishes.  They’re dark roast and malts complement chard and smoked ingredient flavors.  Pairs well with Brewski Burger, Grilled Brewben Sandwich, and Char Grilled Flank Steak.

After analyzing my list I chose a spiced and fruity Witberry Belgian Wheat.  Perfect for a non-beer drinking Gal with flavors of raspberry orange and coriander.  AND it paired perfectly with my nosh-ing choice of Fried Cauliflower with arugula pine nut pesto, pecorino romano cheese, fried capers, red pepper flakes.  Can we say Yummm (with 3Ms)!

So here's to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and Witberry Beers properly paired with Fried Cauliflower! ;-)

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com

Monday, February 3, 2020

Edible Skinny Does MOD PIzza


Edible Skinny Does MOD Pizza
By Kat Thomas

Have a Slice Day!  Edible Skinny was lucky enough to introduce our newest contributors Kathleen Berry and Letty Thomas to the world of Fast Casual pizza dining with MOD Pizza!

Founded in Seattle, Washington, in 2008, MOD has more than 400 locations in the United States and United Kingdom.  The acronym "MOD" in the company's name stands for "Made on Demand."  Restaurant trade publication QSR News (Quick-Service and Fast Casual Restaurant News and Information) has characterized the concept as the "Chipotle of the pizza industry."

MOD was founded in 2008 by husband and wife, Scott and Ally Svenson, in their hometown of Seattle.  After moving back to their hometown of Bellevue, Washington, the Svensons started MOD Pizza after being unable to find fast, affordable healthy meals for their four sons.  The Svensons previously founded Seattle Coffee Company, a successful UK-based coffee company that sold to Starbucks in 1998.  The couple started to wonder if there were a better way of doing pizza, and business.

MOD Pizza offers individual, artisan style pizzas, which are baked for approximately three minutes in an 800-degree Fahrenheit (425 °C) pizza oven.  Customers can build their own pizza or salad, which cost the same no matter how many toppings they choose. MOD also offers 9 classic pizzas, a pizza salad, and a seasonal pizza and salad.  MOD’s pizzas and salads are offered in three different sizes: Mini, MOD, and Mega.

So here's to life being delicious, all your moments being postcard worthy, and whatever you choose to put on top, we know that MOD Pizza will always have a pizza of your heart! ;-)

Kat Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Edible Skinny, a site dedicated to making your life postcard worthy. She is also the CEO of the creative media company This Way Adventures. You can find more about both brands at http://www.thiswayadventures.com