So, my travels this week were induced by my grumbling stomach. I had heard tale that a fine little establishment existed just up the road from Central and Camelback, dishing out some famous bruschetta and pouring fine wine late into the evening. I may not be high class, but I do appreciate the finer things. Postino falls into this category.
I decided that with all the variations of bruschetta available, I must select the four most appealing and interesting. First on deck was an intriguing blend of brie, apples and fig spread. This worked its magic on me in magnificent ways, because it was probably my favorite of the selections. Sweet and layered perfectly with the cheese, delectable is the first word that comes to mind. Next up, the more standard realm of the mozzarella, tomato and basil. Aside from the basil leaf having an absurd tendency towards sticking to my face, this was exactly what I expected. Third was unlikely combo in the form of tomato jam and fresh sheep’s milk cheese. At first glance, tomato jam sounds like something that hippies make on accident; however, I was pleasantly surprised. Sweet and flavorful, with just the right hint of mild creamy cheese, this was truly a discovery. Despite my ill-advised first impression, this was a delight. And last, I finished my journey in the land of fine wine café cuisine with the bruschetta constructed of warm artichoke spread. This one was buttery and warm; purely made of something from the heavens. Overall, this paddle board served up four tasty varieties of deliciousness.
So, should you be meandering through the historic Medlock Place neighborhood on any fine eve, perhaps you should stop by Postino for a glass of wine and some of the best bruschetta around.
The term “locavore” gained official status when it was chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary as its Word of The Year in 2007, but its practice has long been in existence with things like the 100-mile diet, other locavore movements and, of course, the longstanding tradition of farmer’s markets. In my own daily life, I try as hard as I can to partake in such a lifestyle. However, being in college (read: having a collegiate income), I find that sometimes a green life requires that other type of green…
Pay CASH for everything — There’s a bunch of rascally merchant provider salesmen out there who constantly work the independent coffeehouses and other small businesses to get them to switch their credit card processing to their company — promising low rates and then hitting them with exorbitant fees on a monthly basis. Even the legitimate merchant providers are a big expense for coffeehouses and being a small business normally means you have no room to negotiate with the big companies that run these credit card processing machines. Help your local coffeehouse owner by refusing to pay by credit or debit card because they in turn normally pay a flat fee plus a percentage of the sale (and then later monthly fees) so you can have convenient use of your card. Paying cash avoids all of this and helps keep an extra 2-5% where it will do the most good.
Live large by tipping large — Most independent coffeehouses are paying their employees everything they can, but it can be difficult to retain and keep the really good ones with all the other expenses they have. If you’re given great service — but even if you’re given adequate service — be extravagant in tipping the guy who’s making your drink. He’ll remember you and the next time or two you’ll likely get what you ordered even faster.
Once you find that special place, BRAG, BRAG, BRAG — Tell your friends and neighbors all about this shop you’ve found and what you like about it so much. Insist that they tell their friends. In fact, just talk and talk about it. You’ll drive enough people crazy that eventually they’ll come to the coffeehouse to see what the fuss is all about. And, once they’ve done that, mission accomplished! Now you are really helping your local coffeehouse to succeed and prosper.
These are just a couple of tips as we gear up for the grand opening of Royal at the Market. See you all there.
Hard work is paying off — $3.4 million to be exact. The city was just notified, once again, that the Housing Department was awarded a competitive ARRA grant. This award is not just money to those families benefiting from the forthcoming retrofits to the 374 units at the Marcos de Niza city-owned public housing — this grant compliments my 17-point Green Phoenix plan, which aims to make Phoenix one of the most sustainable cities in the nation.
This is a great example of the city’s goal in ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable features and education. From low or no volatile organic compound paints to adhesives and green-label-certified floor coverings, the residents of Marcos de Niza will benefit from the green features of their units by saving on energy costs and contributing to reducing their carbon footprint. More importantly, this project will put people to work.
Improvements are scheduled to begin soon. And, we are not done yet — please continue to follow my efforts as I continue my work in ensuring that Phoenix is at the forefront of those in Washington, DC.
As always, I will continue to keep you informed on my progress — until then, remember, shop Phoenix!
After a day of celebrating the glory of Downtown Phoenix at Grand Avenue Festival, my stomach was shouting for liquid sustenance. Naturally, my taste buds seem to gravitate towards something of the sweet tea variety. Stereotypical Southerner? Absolutely.
I had heard of a cool bar that is tucked away at 7th Avenue and McDowell. That seems extremely curious, considering that hiding at that busy intersection must be a task. With that in mind, I believed that I might be headed to a dive bar for sure.
Once I located the sign-less door, I was met by the colorful hum of Yellow Submarine flickering in the staircase above. Immediately, I realized that I had made a discovery. Cozy couches, dim lights and nostalgic movies seem to package this place in a unique style. On to ordering my drink. I know that I’m somewhere special when the drink ingredients are sweet tea vodka, sweet and sour and a sliced lemon. Simple. Brilliant. Sold.
My refined palate is amazed at the mixture. Seriously, is it possible to beat a combo that includes liquor and sweet tea? If not for the pleasant, relaxed mood of the room, I would have released a “rebel yell” of delight. I suppose SideBar is my diamond in the rough, and that gives it a huge lead on every other place. Now I just have to find it again.
SideBar is located at 1517 N. 7th Ave. and pours Lynwood Palmers until 2 a.m. every day.
By now most have heard the news that broke yesterday that Kimber Lanning is stepping down from her helm at Modified Arts, and the indie music that is oh so loved here is going with her (see her statement below). Though it’s certainly not a shock due to her massive commitments elsewhere (Kimber is the closest thing Phoenix has to Superwoman), it is also certainly the end of an era.
Right off the bat, I want to say that I’ll continue to fully support Modified and its new owners, Kim Larkin and Adam Murray, in whatever direction they choose to take. But, I must also say that it’s tremendously sad that Downtown Phoenix (well, the Valley, really) is losing its independent music mecca, whether the space continues to throw one-off local shows or not.
Phoenix has struggled with its music identity for decades now, as evidenced by the sheer number of venues that have come and gone in recent years (off the top of my head: the Nile, Nita’s Hideaway, Long Wongs on Mill, Bash on Ash, the Paper Heart, Onespace, the Mason Jar, Fat Cats, Neckbeards, etc.). Put Modified at or near the top of that list. Over its decade-long run, that little hole-in-the-wall art gallery, creaky floorboards and all, put on some killer shows, and brought in talent from all over the world — much of which has graduated to the likes of major music festivals, theaters and arenas. No one can argue that Modified allowed Phoenix to be on countless tour itineraries. Sure, someone will come along — hopefully in Downtown Phoenix, although there are whispers of an all-ages music renaissance about to crop up once again in Tempe — and open a new space that will one day reclaim the booking prowess that Modified earned over its years of service. But, it won’t happen overnight. And, until then, the independent music scene here is at a serious loss.From Kimber: Hello Phoenix,
I think you all know how much I love this town, right? Maybe some of you know me from Stinkweeds, or Modified Arts, or some of my newer friends know me from the work I’m doing with Local First Arizona. Well, I want to talk to you about some upcoming changes that you should know about. It’s important that you hear this from me, and that you know that you can ask me any question you may have at any time.
A brief history of Modified Arts: we opened in January of 1999 as a dedicated art space, providing a place for painters, musicians, actors, dancers, and poets to share their work in an affordable and welcoming environment. As you know, Roosevelt Street has blossomed over the years and is now home to an astonishing array of galleries, shops, and restaurants. I am proud to have been part of what has been nothing less than the complete transformation of a community.
Over the past 10 years, I have changed as well. I am now actively involved in community development, and work extensively on both city and state initiatives that I believe will be for the betterment of us all. Encouraging density and infill, sustainable policies- rather than suburban policies of the 50’s, local procurement, economic development, and entrepreneurship are my top priorities. Many of you who know me know that I have worked hard to walk the line between indie rock shows and city council meetings, between stocking the fridge and public speaking engagements.
It’s time for something to give.
I am pleased to introduce you to Kim Larkin and Adam Murray, a husband and wife team who will be the perfect people to carry on the Modified banner without me. I am overwhelmingly happy to have found a solution to a difficult situation. I will never give up that building, but I didn’t want to place a business in there that wouldn’t actively contribute to the neighborhood, and in particular to Roosevelt Row. Kim and Adam will be able to advance Modified in a way that I am unable to do with my current work load.
Kim’s background is in arts management, and she has already run a gallery of her own in Salt Lake City. Adam is a sound engineer whom some of you may know as a sound guy at Modified now. They have big plans for Modified Arts and I expect you all to get behind them and show support. Modified Arts will be more of a traditional gallery, though Adam will still be doing shows. However, we must tell you that the big, indie rock shows you’ve come to know and love at Modified will have to find another home. The programming will be changing to better accommodate a gallery, so the slant will be more experimental and progressive.
We will be closing Modified Arts as it exists right now the second weekend in December and re-opening with a new look for Third Friday in January. The stage and green room will be gone, giving way to a cleaner look that will better suit the artwork.
I know some of you will have a hard time with the change but I am asking you to embrace it the best you can and recognize that for almost 11 years we did something no one thought we could do. We ran in independent music venue and art gallery with volunteers from the community and kept the rent at $160 so that bands could play and make some money, and promoters could still bring the small bands and make ends meet. We provided the stepping stones for most of the bands playing at the Rhythm Room today. In fact, some of the bands playing at the Marquee or Cricket Pavilion got their first show in Phoenix at Modified. If you were there for one of those shows, please hold the memory dear.
As a city grows, things change. Be proud of what each of you contributed and be grateful you were there. Looking forward, Modified Arts will be something new to explore and yet familiar. Kim and Adam have promised to keep working with many of the mid-career artists I’ve worked to develop over the years, and I feel the situation could not be better. They will give the website a new look and have lots of plans for better events. I’m sure they will be in touch with many of you in the coming weeks to introduce themselves and to communicate their plans to you directly. You will like them a lot, I promise. Kim and I are collaborating on a show in January (my last, her first) that will document the history of the Phoenix arts scene going all they way back to the early 70’s.
I could talk to you all for days about the ways Modified has changed over the years- some good and some bad. The community has changed, too. I know I have certainly been distracted with all of the policy work I’ve been submerged in, but I will save that discussion for a book one day. Suffice to say I am happy I was able to be a part of it, and I’m happy I found someone to carry it on.
For all of you who were there along the way: thank you. Modified is a shining example of what a community can do when we work together. I look forward to whatever we decide to do next.