There is something special about a neighborhood that preserves its historic charm while enlivening it with great food.
Cooking Light recently announced to the nation what we downtowners already knew about the Coronado neighborhood: it’s where we can fill our bellies, drink ourselves content and have oh-so-decadent sweets to boot.
As Cooking Light put it, “Phoenix’s Historic Coronado Neighborhood’s preservation efforts have led to a culinary revival of sorts: the neighborhood’s meticulously restored homes now house some of the best eateries in the city, such as The Main Ingredient Ale House & Café, Rice Paper Eatery, Coronado Cafe, and 1950s union hall-turned-home-turned-restaurant Tuck Shop.”
We couldn’t agree more. The upcycled atmosphere behind each of the restored eateries instantly instills a warm, comforting feeling upon arrival. The bungalows are practically telling you to savor the buttery sweet America’s Corn from America’s Taco Shop, the caramelized fig pizza at Humble Pie and the hot fudge sundae at McAlpines Soda Fountain. After all that food, they’re pushing you to sip on the craft brews at Main Ingredient Ale House or the specialty cocktails at Rice Paper. If only walls could talk.
While Coronado’s food scene was our best-kept secret, we can now take comfort in knowing those restaurants and eateries have become national destination spots and are helping to revolutionize Phoenix’s food scene.
Photo credit: Justin Lee
The Garfield Galleria is home to many talented artists, including three fashion-forward designers. I sat down with a T-shirt creator, jewelry maker and a gown seamstress and got an up-close look at their operations.
Danell Lynn brings humanitarian work and high-end fashion together with her one-of-a-kind brand DL-Couture and her new bridal collection, Wednesday Wedding. Lynn’s designs feature cultural influence from the countries she travels to, along with a little bit of the Downtown vibe.
Danell Lynn: I do high-end couture and black-tie affair gowns under the DL-Couture label. I am also launching a wedding label called Wednesday Wedding. That is a more affordable, reach-everybody label whereas with DL-Couture I only make 13 custom gowns a year.
DPJ: Did you always aspire to becoming a gown designer?
DL: I have been sewing since I was a kid. My mom used to make my clothes, so I have been dabbling in it for a while. In high school I was a varsity track athlete and a really good sprinter. At the end of my junior year I tore my hamstring and broke my foot and so the colleges that offered scholarships my sophomore year were no longer interested. I had to kind of rethink my plans of what I wanted to do. I had always gravitated towards the arts and design and so I just went for it.
DPJ: Where did you study fashion design?
DL: I went to Miami International University of Art and Design in Florida and I interned, which then turned into an assistant designer position with Gerry Kelly Couture, which is how I found my love for one-of-a-kind, hand-detailing work.
DPJ: How long after graduating and working under other designers did you start your own brand?
DL: I worked for others for a while and probably four years after graduation I began to build the framework for what I wanted DL-Couture to be. Then it took about a year to get it into launch mode, so probably five years after college I launched my brand. And I based it in humanitarianism. That is what is a little bit different with us than a regular fashion line. Ten percent always goes to humanitarian aid. A lot of it goes to Smile Train but I also own two humanitarian companies under my company called Threading Hope and High Wire, but that ten percent doesn’t fund us. It goes to the other humanitarian aids I believe in.
DL: It’s hard to really know where it comes from. I live here in Downtown Phoenix, but I also travel all over the world. Quite a few times a year I go out of the country. I travel around the U.S., see clients in LA and New York. This is my home base. It doesn’t hinder my designs, but isn’t the only inspiration.
DPJ: You don’t follow the typical fashion year of creating a collection each season. Why?
DL: Because I only do 13 custom gowns a year, I pretty much believe the designs are timeless. Once we make a pattern we never use it again. We never do mass production for any of the gowns. For the Wedding Wednesday line, I will be designing six dresses a year, and we only make 10 of each of those gowns. Those are specific to stores, and we only have one store that will carry these in Arizona.
DPJ: What is the typical process when beginning a new gown?
DL: The first thing we do is a consultation. During that we do an entire sketch of what they are wanting, the fabrics they are looking to use and then I take their measurements. They come back for the first fitting in a sample dress and then I create the entire gown, except for closing major seams and zippers, for the second fitting. Then it all gets closed up and they come back for a final fitting. As long as there are no changes then they leave with their gown. I do have to contract seamstresses that I work with. We are very much a small company. So, if two orders overlap and I can’t get them done by myself I do bring in my seamstresses.
DPJ: What are your favorite fabrics and detailings to for the gowns?
DL: Lots of gowns tend to go back to silks, so I use a lot of those. I use fabrics bought direct from global merchants, so I buy them when I am traveling in a foreign country and bring them home to make gowns with. And I really enjoy working with trims; the little details on the sides, the ribbons, the beads, the pearls. They are like the finishing touches on a painting, all done by hand.
DPJ: What type of gown do you love to make most?
DL: I love gowns that challenge me. I had a company once come and bring me decks of playing cards and they wanted a gown for their expo. So I created a gown with an accordion type of skirt and it was literally a dress made from their cards. It was fun and a mix of engineering and design in that sense. So I really do enjoy the challenge.
DPJ: In a normal situation, how long does a gown, from start to finish, take to make?
DL: Anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, depending on the gown. I actually flew out to DC to make the Ambassador of Haiti’s wife, Lola Poisson, a dress for her 25th wedding anniversary party. The night I flew out we did the measurement and I started sketching and sewing in my hotel room. The next day it was completed, so it was within a 24-hour turnaround. That was definitely my fastest ever!
DPJ: How do you meet new clientele?
DL: A lot of it is just getting out there; it’s doing the fashion shows, attending the black-tie events and meeting people there. It is a lot of word of mouth and constant networking, truly being involved in the fashion community as well as the community in general. I was a nominee for the Governor Arts Award here in Arizona last year, so I wore one of my gowns to that – so it is really word-of-mouth marketing.
DPJ: How do you share your passion with others?
DL: I offer private sewing lessons; these can be booked over email. They are $25 an hour and they must have their own machine and supplies.
Take a peek inside locals’ shopping bags and learn how they use health and beauty products in everyday life.
Ages: 49, 36
Occupations: Consultant and therapist
Their Neighborhood: Mesa
What they purchased:
• French bread from The Arizona Bread Company
• Kale chips (mixed with a cheese substitute) from The Health Foodie
• Pita bread from Claudine’s Kitchen
Why they chose these products: (Heidi) We’re here for a day trip, so we had to buy things that wouldn’t wilt in the car. We’ve been looking for good pita bread because it’s not easy to find. Also, I’m vegan, so I am really looking for healthier, all-natural foods.
Their must-haves: (Bill) The pita bread was something we had to get because it really is good stuff. It’s soft, fresh, and you can just tell that it’s quality food from a good company. (Heidi) The kale will be used as a salad topper, or I might just eat it out of the container. It’s made with nutritional yeast, which is the vegan substitute for cheese that makes it taste really good on salad.
How they benefit: (Heidi) The kale will be a great healthy snack for just anytime, and because it’s a superfood, it has a ton of health benefits. (Bill) The pita we will eat with hummus for a really healthy meal. Just rip and dip!
Why they fit their style: (Bill, with a laugh) We’re turning into those “crunchy granola people.” This is our first time here, but we’ll definitely be back because we love the foods and supporting the local economy by buying from local businesses. (Heidi) Since I went vegan in January, I’ve been cooking a lot more for myself and eating totally differently. I feel great and I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I need a lot of fresh foods and I’m really limited when I shop in grocery stores. A place like this is actually much cheaper than a Whole Foods, so I’m getting more quality foods for a lower cost.
Following a successful home stand, the D-backs have found themselves in legitimate pennant contention. The once insurmountable Dodgers lead has been trimmed to a mere five games. For most of the season, the math hasn’t been in the D-backs favor. The D-backs have struggled to regain their mojo from last season, while the Dodgers got off to an unexpectedly hot start. Even the most optimistic fan could see that the uphill climb may be too much to conquer.
Nonetheless, the D-backs continued to plug away and appear to have found that missing spark. The Dodgers on the other hand have cooled off considerably and come down to earth. The Dodgers have lost six of seven, while the D-backs have won five of six and are fresh off a three-game-sweep of the Cubs.
Upton on the verge
Last week was an interesting one for the the D-backs offense. There is no question that the D-backs need Justin Upton to live up to his potential if they are going to contend for a division title.
However, it was Aaron Hill whose bat lead the team during the home stand. Hill collected hit after hit throughout the week and hit for the cycle on Monday, but what happened on Tuesday may have been even more eye-opening. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Mariners intentionally walked Hill to face Upton with the bases loaded. Upton has MVP talent and should be one of the most feared bats in the big leagues. Like he has done much of the season, Upton responded by striking out. It didn’t take long for Upton to redeem himself.
On Wednesday, with a base open and no outs, Hill drew another walk. This time, Upton responded with a mammoth three-run homer. Fans have been waiting patiently for him to respond in a big situation. Maybe this is exactly what he needed to break out of the season-long slump.
The D-backs hit six home runs in the game on Wednesday tying a franchise record. The sixth was an inside-the-park variety courtesy of Ryan Roberts.
Trevor Bauer is expected to start the game on Thursday in Atlanta. This marks one of the most highly anticipated pitching debuts in franchise history. Bauer would also be slated to make his home debut next Tuesday against the Padres.
Wade Miley continues to impress and is the frontrunner to represent the team in the All-Star game. Miley has been pitching like and ace while Ian Kennedy and Daniel Hudson have struggled to reach expectations.
Mark your calendars for upcoming promos at Chase Field
July 4: D-backs 4th of July t-shirt giveaway to first 20,000 fans; Fireworks Night presented by Gila River Casinos, Mysteryball to benefit Pastime for Patriots.
Beer has amazing properties of both seasonality and region, but it also has the ability to bend or outright ignore those properties. The various beer styles we all enjoy have their historical origins in overcoming or adapting to environmental challenges such as water quality; the availability of ingredients such as hops, malt and other fermentables and the variability of the seasons.
The technology of refrigeration, the mastery of water chemistry and the advances of microbiology allow brewers to overcome traditional environmental hurdles. Unfettered global markets provide access to brewing ingredients. Beer had been tied to locality for most of its 5000 year history, but that was all about to change in the mid 1800′s. Crisp clean lager beers became popular and larger breweries became more efficient. Traditional styles, only recently freed from their geographical bonds began to decline in production. By the time Phoenix was settled, beer was shipped to Phoenix on refrigerated rail cars. Eventually, even the A-1 Brewery on 12th street and Madison succumbed to the monoculture of the light lager and industrial consolidation despite making beer very similar to the breweries in Milwaukee and St Louis.
This is a very long winded preface to tell you that Province has locally made beers on all three of its tap handles, SanTan Hefeweizen, Four Peaks Sunbru and Lumberyard Red. We’re a bit jaded in this day and age of the resurgence of craft beers and we should acknowledge how utterly remarkable this is, given the history of beer. Each of these beers represents an American take on a traditional European style and does so very well.
Today, the beer a brewery makes is controlled by something brewers like to call, “brewer’s intent.” A brewer in Arizona is not in Bavaria, but can choose to make a Hefeweizen. One need not to be in Cologne to make a Kolsch-style Ale. We may think of Ireland for Red Ales, but American brewers have put their twist on the style for many years.
On a particularly hot day, I exercised my “drinkers intent.” Did I want to embrace summer with the estery banana effervescence of the SanTan Hefeweizen? Did I crave the crisp, sublimely fruity and nutty, clean and dry finish of the Sunbru? Sunbru recently won a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup besting breweries from across the US and even in Cologne! Both of these beers could transform the surprisingly shady (at this time of year no less) Province Patio into a German Biergarten.
I feigned ignorance of our outdoor conditions, thought of late winter and leaned on the bar for a cool caramel malty Lumberyard Red. I tasted citrusy American hops. The AC blew cool air on my head and arms. When I closed my eyes I imagined it to be fog. I re-calibrated our desert olive drab green for kelly.
IF YOU GO
When: Happy Hour is everyday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 3 p.m. to close and Saturday, reverse, 8 p.m. to close