Well, once again I head to a place that should distribute awards for finding it. Tucked away in a sort of food mecca, surrounded by Sens and the Turf, and with the Breadfruit around the corner, PastaBAR is unique and quite a find.
For all of my searching, I have developed quite a thirst. Fortunately for me, these fine people offer up a special drink with a twist. So, I hunker down to the classy-looking bar and submit my order of a Camparita. According to the menu, this drink consists of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit juice with Patron Silver, Cointreau and Campari on the rocks. I’m not to keen on what those last two things are, but it sounds fruity and delicious.
Now, before I proceed to tell you what it tasted like, I must defend my manhood, because this drink sounds girly and is presented extremely girly. Served up in a stemmed glass with a lime wedge and radiating a pink color, it looks like a beverage that would be preferred by Barbie or any number of valley girls. But, in my defense, there is a good amount of tequila in it, and I only felt unmanly when I was drinking it.
The rush of flavors onto my taste buds was truly a delight. The blend of citrus is heavenly and seems to project my imagination toward an island getaway. So, if you are in the mood for a slightly feminine drink that will still rock your face off, PastaBAR might be serving up your beverage of choice.
PastaBAR is located at 705 N. 1st St. (light rail station at Central/Roosevelt) 602.687.8704
Twitter has been all, well, a-twitter about the new DIY-style horror flick Paranormal Activity, so I thought I would check it out. Originally released to the film festival circuit in 2007, now picked up by Paramount, Paranormal Activity purports to be the footage taken by a San Diego couple from their camcorder as they experience a series of supernatural events.
Through the lens of the couple’s camera, we see doors slam, a Ouija board become possessed and some creepy footprints magically appear in their bedroom. A well-meaning psychic tries to help the couple out, but is unable, then unwilling, to do so, leaving them to fend for themselves when the final attack of the demon is captured on tape. The extremely predictable ending is insulting to anyone with more complex emotions than a 13-year-old.
There is no clever editing or creative storytelling; instead, we just see the events as the director wants us to see them, painfully aware that the characters are dragging the camera around their house, even when it is highly implausible that they would be doing so.
Paranormal Activity also misses the mark on its sense of timing and suspense. It is so painfully obvious when the audience is supposed to feel impending doom or fear, and the “scary” events are trumpeted with a chorus fitting the entry of a monarch. The movie is “boo” scary, like an uncle surprising you by jumping out from behind a door, but it isn’t metaphysically, emotionally or psychically crazy. No one leaves the theater thinking that the events in the movie could happen to them; one just leaves with the same feeling of adrenaline depletion one gets after a short roller coaster ride.
I haven’t visited the new restaurant that occupies the former Fate, so I was excited to get the chance to do so during a Downtown Friday Night event. The remodeled, revamped Nine|05 is a stark contrast to the old restaurant that occupied the space. While I can appreciate the aesthetics of a building that is more house than restaurant, it is refreshing to see that Nine|05 now looks like it is complete, instead of the “sort of, not quite” look that characterized Fate.
The soba noodles were delicious — I am a big cashew fan, so I was excited to try the combination of cabbage, radish and cashews with classic soba. The seasoning was strong, but well tempered. The fried heirloom tomatoes were also delicious, with a savory aioli and basil that made them almost feel like the start of a sort of deconstructed Asian caprese.
The wine selection is decent — we had a bottle of the Brazin Old Vine Zin, a Lodi wine with a heavy dose of cherry.
The service was good, and the front patio is great for a casual hangout with friends. Nine|05 ranks right up there with Gallo Blanco as a great place to eat and drink, and wait for people to show up. The pricing is on the high side, though. Seared scallops or Hoisin Short Rib will put you back $26, but if you are looking to splurge just a bit and stay Downtown, try out Nine|05.
Conventional Wisdom | Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists and Best Western North American Convention
It’s a beautiful time of year, and the Phoenix Convention Center will delight out-of-state visitors. DPJ extends its own form of hospitality by providing a little Conventional Wisdom, some insight into what can be found/viewed/sipped or snacked on while visiting Downtown Phoenix.
Let DPJ be the first to welcome you all to the neighborhood! Looking over your itinerary, we can’t help but notice you’re going to have some free time to explore the heart of our city.
Average high: 89°
Average low: 63º
If you find yourself on your own for lunch, Downtown Phoenix is a veritable mecca of eateries. Sink your teeth into a sub sandwich from Sticklers, where you can rub elbows with some of Phoenix’s finest, or grab a gyro from Crazy Jim’s — both are only a few blocks from the Convention Center at 3rd Avenue and Washington Street. Give them a try when you have a short break. If you have some time to sit and relax for a bit, savor our perfect patio weather and head over to Local Breeze on Fillmore Street and 4th Avenue for some lavosh with a side of ambiance.
Phoenix dinner options span across many regions and continents, and local homegrown dinner options are on the rise in Downtown Phoenix, with even more options if you hop on the METRO light rail. Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen is a short hop from most Downtown hotels, and here you can find a creative spin on traditional sushi in a casual, urban environment. PastaBAR is just around the corner, dishing out housemade pasta late into the night — until midnight on weekdays, and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Check out our Eats & Drinks tab for even more options.
While you are in the area, take some time to soak in the local culture at the Phoenix Art Museum‘s current exhibit “Locals Only,” which is showcasing some of the Valley’s most talented resident artists. From here you can meander to the world famous Heard Museum, just up the street, or head back down to city center to explore some of our smaller galleries, such as Red Dog Gallery. Head a few blocks over for some wearable art at Made Art Boutique.
After taking in what our Downtown galleries have to offer, make a pit stop on your way back to the hotel in the Evans-Churchill neighborhood, where some of Phoenix’s historic homes have been renovated into low-key hangouts. The Lost Leaf offers a small local art gallery, beer and wine by the bottle and live music, while The Roosevelt touts its own house brewski and unique bar snacks, including grilled cheese sandwiches and soft pretzels with an array of mustards.
Check out RailLife.com for more light rail information.
These suggestions are merely a grain of sand in the desert oasis of Downtown Phoenix. Our calendar will help you find events and happenings that best suit you. Remember, we Downtown dwellers are kindly folk. When you are out and about, ask us where to go; a friendly Phoenician will point the way.
As the new season of Phoenix Suns season rapidly approaches, I feel it’s only fitting to give my prediction on where I expect the Suns to finish out West this year.
First, let me start by saying the Suns will make the playoffs this year — no doubt about it. There’s no way they won’t. There’s just too much talent on this team not to go into the postseason. With Steve Nash and Grant Hill returning, Amar’e Stoudemire coming back from an eye injury, Jason Richardson more comfortable in the lineup and the addition of Channing Frye, this team will be impossible to stop on offense. Scores in the 140s could become a regular occurrence for the guys in orange. Factor in a coach in Alvin Gentry that knows how to get his players to commit more on defense while still playing to their strengths on offense, and you have a team that can make some serious noise out West.
Figuring out what seed the Suns will be is an entirely different story altogether, although they won’t be any lower than the sixth seed in my opinion. For as tough as the West is this year, it’s pretty wide open after the Lakers and Spurs take the top two spots.
As I look through the rest of the conference, I see a lot of question marks. Portland will be a top-four seed because they’ll win the Northwest easily. That’s really the only other lock I see. Dallas made a few improvements, but nothing drastic. Denver was a fluke last year, and did nothing to improve over the summer. New Orleans traded for Emeka Okafor, but is he really an upgrade over Tyson Chandler? I don’t think so. Utah has the whole Carlos Boozer, will-he-or-won’t-he-leave issue to resolve. Until they do, they’ll struggle with that looming over their heads. With Yao Ming out for the entire season and Tracy McGrady scheduled to miss at least half, Houston is all but done.
After that, what teams do you have to even compete for a playoff spot? Lots of people, including Chad Ford of ESPN, seem to think the Clippers are a playoff-caliber team, but that’s absolute nonsense. I’m not sure where all this Clippers love comes from… because of No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin? He’s not going to make a difference in his first year. At the end of the day, they’re still the Clippers, and they’re still coached by Mike Dunleavy.
If the Suns stay healthy and show even the slightest commitment on defense, they could finish as high as No. 3 out West and get home court advantage for at least a round in the playoffs.
Maybe I’m going out on a bit of a limb here, but I’m a fan, and I’m going to back my team. This preseason has shown plenty of reason for hope, and hope is all you need. This hope tells me we’re going to finish somewhere between the third and sixth seeds. If you disagree, though, I’d love to hear why.
Wear your orange Downtown this Saturday!
This Saturday, October 24, the Suns will be hosting the “R U ORNG? Suns Fest” at the US Airways Center in Downtown Phoenix. The fest runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free, although fans are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items at the door. There’s lots of fun to be had: the Suns annual scrimmage tips off at 1 p.m., and there will be pumpkin decorating, trick-or-treating and many more family-friendly activities.
I have an appreciation for the challenge of the phrase “best in the Valley” or “best stuff ever made.” America’s Taco Shop claims to have the best carne asada in the Valley. Those are some big words for a little cantina-looking place, but I felt it needed to be addressed via my palate.
Now, at first glance, this little stop on the eastern side of 7th Street looks like your average little Mexican dining place. Salsa music permeating the air, a crowded porch covered in Corona advertisements — all wrapped into an eclectically colored abode.
So, once I manage to push my way through the lunchtime masses gathered on the porch and across the inside dining area, I begin searching for a menu to properly order. Surprisingly, the menu is scribbled on the upper portion of the wall in chalk. Sounds childish, but it is kind of a cool little feature. And, from the looks of the packed place, I can imagine that most of you were already there that day. So, we ate lunch together and you didn’t even say hello. Ouch.
When the cuisine arrives, the scent only seems to back up their claim. It is heavenly. Curiously though, it is served with a miniature slice of radish and cucumber. Not sure why, but the rabbit food is not what I was there to partake in. The taco seems simple enough — chopped, tender beef and lettuce with a side of salsa. So far, I’m only impressed by the scent. That little doubting voice in my head is immediately squished by each resounding bite. I can’t stop eating this. It is savory and decidedly awesome. There are not sufficient words to describe the flavor that rocked my face off. I will resort to borrowing some of my newly acquired Spanglish and say, “Fantasico!” So, even if you are a doubter of all things that are seemingly self-absorbed, I ask you to tempt the fates of America’s Taco Shop. I think they might actually be correct on this one.
America’s Taco Shop is located at 2041 N. 7th St. in Coronado.