I found myself rising early on a Saturday (11 a.m. for you nosy folks) and I was in much need of a boost of caffeine to my system. I had heard a wild party broke out at the grand opening of the new Lola Coffee the previous evening. Since I am of the adventurous motive, I decided I should check it out. Well, I should witness the aftermath at least.
I decided to get the life blood pumping by walking over. Considering that this “season” of winter is generally 70º and sunny by day, this was a good choice. Honestly, I half-expected to find people still crashed out on the floor when I arrived. Sadly, it had on its Clark Kent exterior and was operating as normal. I asked about the night before. Apparently, it was “pretty amazing.” Dang, I knew I missed out.
Well, I will tell you that this location’s counter is just as wonderfully adorned with sweets and deliciousness as the Central Avenue location, so I was automatically in love with this place. I have occasionally had wild, vivid dreams about the baked goods at Lola — most of them end with me attempting to eat my pillow. I seriously have never tried something from the Lola pastry selection that has not been like a party in my mouth.
I quickly selected a slice of cinnamon coffee cake and my old standby coffee drink: a white chocolate mocha. I love them, and I don’t care who knows it.
I went and took my seat with my slice of cake and semi-patiently waited for my mocha. Looking around this place, you can just feel the hip emanating off the walls. It reeks of a quiet cool that is noticeable once you enter the doorway. With wide open spaces, cool art adorning the walls (wondering how they managed to get that huge piece inside the building?) and alluring furniture to rest on, this place is very much one to put on your route.
Once my mocha arrived, I immediately thought of the opening scene in So I Married an Axe Murderer, where the camera follows a giant latte into Mike Myers’ hands. “I’m sorry. I thought I ordered the large. Hello!!!” Interestingly enough, I only ordered the medium, and this mammoth drink was placed beside me. I was unsure I could even drink all of it, but my internal caffeine monster was grumbling, so I felt up to the challenge. Also, I had saved my first bite of cake for the moment I had my mocha in hand. I’m fairly certain there were fireworks that exploded in my mouth. This must be what heaven is like. My mouth was running through cinnamon fields of amazingness and my throat was swimming in a sea of white mocha.
There are not enough glorious adjectives that can describe the revelry that my palate encountered at Lola. I thoroughly enjoyed my “manly” coffee drink, and I’m completely OK with that.
Lola Coffee is located at 1001 N. 3rd Ave. in Roosevelt — light rail station at Central/Roosevelt. 602.265.5652
It’s the holiday season. There’s hustle. There’s bustle.
But seriously, people — you’re going way too fast.
On Saturday, my wife and I spent some time cleaning up the section of 7th Avenue that borders the North Park Central neighborhood, and cars were screaming up and down the road. Both 7th Avenue and 7th Street have a 35-mile-per-hour speed limit posted, and for good reason: they are residential areas. In fact, many of the streets in Downtown Phoenix are residential roads because (newsflash) people live in Downtown Phoenix.
Beside the fact that there are people living up and down these major arterial roads, speedy and congested traffic discourages alternative modes of transportation like walking and biking — furthering the auto-centric bias that has plagued our developing city for some time. A simple plea: Next time you have to use 7th Avenue or 7th Street to get somewhere by vehicle, give yourself enough time between appointments to drive 35. Bikers, walkers and residents alike will thank you.
Previous week’s games
12/11/09 SUNS 106, Magic 103
12/12/09 Nuggets 105, SUNS 99
12/15/09 SUNS 116, Spurs 104
Next week’s games
12/17/09 SUNS @ Blazers 8:30 p.m., TNT
12/19/09 SUNS vs Wizards 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/21/09 SUNS vs Cavs 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
12/23/09 SUNS vs Thunder 7 p.m., My45
At about 10 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, December 15, Jeramie McPeek, VP, Digital for the Suns, of sent this tweet:
“Just realized the @Spurs are in the building practicing downstairs. I thought I felt a disturbance in the force.”
Yes indeed, the Galactic Empire was in town. The evil, hated, dirty, flopping, no good, trouble-causing, Empire was back. On this night, though, the dark side fell victim to the light speed attack of the Rebel Alliance.
In case you haven’t realized it by now, the dark side of the empire refers to the San Antonio Spurs (I want to vomit every time I type their name, so from here on out, they’ll be known as the Sterns (since NBA commish David Stern seems to be oh-so favorable toward them), leaving the Rebel Alliance to be played by the Suns.
Normally, I wouldn’t dedicate an entire Suns Spot post to one game, but I think it’s safe to say a victory over the Sterns is well worth it. This was a huge win for the Suns. You might say its just one game, counts as much as the rest, but that’s not true. A win over the Sterns is a huge confidence boost for not only the team, but also the fans. And, I don’t want to hear, “Oh, but the Sterns haven’t been as good this year.” I don’t care. A win over the Sterns is still a quality win, no matter their record, because as much as I hate to say it, come season’s end, the Sterns will be a tough playoff match-up for anyone. I’m happy to say most Suns fans seem to agree on the importance of this game, as US Airways Center was rocking Tuesday night.
It was more than just the win; it was how the Suns managed to get the win. They dominated the Sterns from the get-go, with their light sabers swinging, going up 11 at the end of one en route to a 67-point first half that had Phoenix leading by 15 at the break.
The Suns got the job done offensively with a combination of scoring in the paint, as Amar’e Stoudemire looked to be playing on a Nerf basket for most of the game, as well as lights-out shooting from the outside, with Goran Dragic nailing four of five three pointers — one right in the grill of Tony Parker. Can you believe he Sterns drafted Dragic for us?
On the other end of the court, the Suns’ defense showed some grit and hustle. Stoudemire was beastly on the boards, pulling down 14 rebounds. In addition to the rebounds, he had three steals, one on Tim Duncan in the fourth that led to a Dragic layup that essentially sealed the victory for Phoenix.
The Sterns’ Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobili and Parker were held in check. Combined they totaled for 26 points on 31% shooting. That’s simply amazing. Hats off to Jared Dudley and Dragic, who played stellar defense on the night, helping to contribute to the poor play of three out of four of the Sterns’ big four. In past years, Phoenix couldn’t contain Parker or Ginobili, let alone both. Add in this year’s addition of Jefferson, and it’s even more impressive.
To me, this game was a big deal. It was against the freaking Sterns! This is the only team that can rival the hatred I have for the Lakers (and I assure you, I absolutely hate the Lakers). I know it’s just one game and we’re still fairly early in the season, but roughing up a team that’s been very successful in recent years (one that Suns fans hate with a passion) is always a positive. Couple that with the Suns’ recent struggles, especially against top-tier teams, and this hard-fought victory over the dark side gives us a new hope.
Right at the bend on 7th Avenue sits a unique little coffee shop. At first glance, your eyes might detect only a gas station (because, back in the day, it was one), but your nose should pick up the wafting smells of rich coffee emanating from Copper Star Coffee.
I’m always game for finding new places. When a buddy and I walked up to Copper Star, I could tell this was my kind of coffee shop. Decorated with eclectic trinkets and art, pumping indie rock and hosting a warm, inviting lounge area, this place had it going. I was instantly reminded of my favorite place to go during college. Ah, memories, nostalgia and such.
I was parched, so I needed something refreshing to wet my whistle. Naturally, I ordered an old standby, Strawberry Italian Soda. If you had happened upon me during my college years, all bets were on me holding one of these icy, sparkling beverages. I don’t like to brag, but that might just make me a connoisseur of this type of beverage.
I dive in, and it is just like I remember. I’m pretty sure I teared up from sheer excitement. Each refreshing gulp was creamy and delicious, with just the right amount of fizz. The first couple of sips were reminiscent of eating a carbonated strawberry — or, at least I imagine that’s what it’s like.
So, readers and patrons of Downtown Phoenix, I implore you to check out the Melrose area. Do some shopping; get your dog and car washed; whatever your fancy. Then stop by for a pump of deliciousness at Copper Star and let them send you on your way with your thirst and appetite quenched. I know this old boy will be doing that more often for sure.
Copper Star Coffee is located at 4220 N. 7th Ave. in 7th Ave./Melrose — 602.266.2136.
A few weeks ago, via this column, I learned that Phoenix has an already rich but growing literary culture. Add that to the nation’s largest self-guided art walk, an ever-burgeoning music scene that this writer believes is far from “ovah,” a theatrical subculture that is anything but boring, and what do you get? An amazing place to call home.
And, in the spirit of continually making home even more amazing, I suggest to you that supporting local artistic endeavors should be at the top of your holiday shopping list. My wife and I have made a commitment to support some amazing local artists — not only pumping a little cash flow into the Phoenix art community, but also showcasing some of the fantastic talent we have in the Valley. In our home we have work from local artists Pete Deise, Tyson Crosbie, Hoge Day, Colton Brock, Randall Wilson and Pirate Vereker, with hopes of collecting work from dozens of other luminaries in the Valley.
Engaging with art is an experience that you can have more than every First Friday, and it isn’t all that intimidating to start collecting. Find something you like, and buy it. Voila! You’re an art collector. If you’re looking for a community of other collectors, check out the Monte Vista Club at the Heard Museum or the Young Collectors group at the Phoenix Art Museum.
I understand that there is a good chance that I’m preaching to the choir here, since all seven of you reading this are most likely already aboard this thought train. But, if you aren’t, come join in the fun. We have a vibrant art scene — no matter what medium floats your proverbial boat. This holiday season, do your part to rise the tide…