Smoky and charred, great taquería-style carne asada is all about texture. Sometimes marinated and seasoned, sometimes barely touched by oil and salt before hitting the griddle’s singe or charcoal’s sear, the often brutally chopped, well-done beef (usually skirt steak) is comfortably known for it’s unmistakable, mildly resisting character.
There are several fantastic outposts for great carne asada throughout Phoenix. And of those, it’s definitely no secret that America’s Taco Shop, the growing local enterprise now with two locations in central Phoenix alone, serves a nearly pitch-perfect example of the savory, versatile Mexican staple. Whether jammed inside tacos, burritos, or unapologetic quesadillas, America’s knows well how to target and satisfy straightforward, tried-and-true cravings.
Beyond their regular menu items, one of my perennial loves at America’s is the Vampiro. Sinister tag-name aside, the Vampiro is a tostada with unassuming gusto. A small, crunchy corn tortilla, evenly pressed with layers of salty chopped carne asada, melted jack cheese, caramelized onions, guacamole, and finely shaved, crisp iceberg lettuce. Flick a kiss of hot sauce on top, maybe complement its glory with a crowning pour of their bright housemade salsa, or, who knows, maybe amend your order to add an aguas fresca or two, and there you have it: you’re already midway through a worthy, edible late-afternoon recharge.
America’s Taco Shop is located at 2041 N. 7th St. in Coronado (602.682.5627), and at 4447 N. 7th Ave. in Melrose (602.515.0856).
(Please welcome guest writer Frank Morris)
Sanskrit word of the day: Sutra. It means the thread that binds. And it’s a word that one Downtown yoga studio is taking literally.
SuTRA Midtown, which opened its doors and innovative business practices in March 2009, fuses contemporary takes on traditional fitness techniques with a touch of Coronado culture in its efforts to remind the masses “it can be hip to be healthy.”
Set in what once was an abandoned factory along Seventh Street between Thomas and McDowell roads, SuTRA Midtown offers an array of exercise classes from yoga, Pilates and ballet barre to a number of sessions for kiddies and moms-to-be.
The studio also hosts a range of neighborhood events, rotating art exhibits, and is home to the Chop Shop Café, offering servings of locally roasted coffee, a cornucopia of world teas and an assortment of appetizing treats.
A fully family-owned-and-operated facility – co-owners Matt and Rebecca Fritz have four children together – SuTRA Midtown represents the unyielding will and resolve of two eager entrepreneurs and a community that turns out in droves to support them.
With backgrounds in the creative arts and real estate development, the couple said they waged everything in the midst of the worst economy in generations to open up their neighborhood business.
While the Great Recession proved challenging for an upstart undertaking, the Fritz family passion for healthy bodies, healthy minds and a healthy community kept them going.
“We’ve been living in this neighborhood for nine years and it got to the point where we wanted to do something in our own ’hood. We wanted to be that thread that binds and lets people be healthy,” Matt said. “Unfortunately, we opened our doors right before the rug of the economy got pulled out from beneath all of Phoenix. That was difficult.”
But with a mixture of affordable classes, a positive spirit, and a unique and upbeat business approach, the couple’s endeavor appears to be paying off.
“I think a lot of people were hurting, but we offered a lot of classes [30-40 a week] to help people get by,” Matt said.
“We’ve been very fortunate and have been fully embraced by Central Phoenix, the residents of our neighborhood and the residents of Downtown,” he said. “It’s been a baby-step process, but we’ve definitely been doing wonderfully.”
That baby-step process has earned the studio not only the support of the community, but multiple awards, as well. SuTRA Midtown been named best in the Valley on more than one occasion.
And from a purely selfish viewpoint, the couple’s venture has completely been worth it, they said.
“Everything we love we put into this building; that’s the whole reason we went into this. It’s really just our own lifestyle that we put into this space,” Matt said. “Even after maternity leave, Rebecca comes back to work and on the first day back says, ‘Oh, God, I love this place.’”
And it’s a place the Fritzes are hoping more and more will love, too.
Frank Morris can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Join us for a live, streamed broadcast of the Mayoral Candidate Forum for a Greater Downtown Phoenix on Monday, June 13 from the ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation. We’ll be front and center at the event, and you’ll be able to look right over our shoulders from the comfort of your desk chair.
To make this work, we need you to download Silverlight. It’s a programming language used by Microsoft that’s often used to get high quality video feeds to homes that may not have the fastest broadband connection available. MLB.TV uses it, and Tyler, our editor, tells us that he loves it, and because he complains about everything, we’ll take that as a vote of confidence (ed note- it does work).
Download Silverlight, then come back there at 5:00 p.m. and we’ll be ready. We may turn the feed on early if there’s something worth watching. If we know, we’ll be sure to update you. Follow all the action on Twitter, hashtag #phxforum
DPJ magazine’s June/July issue is hot off the presses and ready to celebrate a HOT summer. Pick up a copy at one of 300+ locations in and around the Greater Downtown area. Just a few of the issue highlights:
- Welcome | Meet Guest Editor David Leibowitz and read about his love of Downtown Phoenix
- All-Star BUZZ | Check out the rundown of MLB All-Star Week Festivities, taking place right here in July
- All-Star Regular | Read Leibowitz’s interview with Arizona D-Backs’ Luis Gonzalez and get his take on Downtown
- Paving the Way | J. Seth Anderson’s gets the scoop on a cool new parking lot innovation
- Core Values | Tazmine Loomans gives an account of her interesting conversations with the mayoral candidates
- Eats & Drinks | Justin Lee explores the core and more, helping identify the ideal culinary itinerary for locals and visitors alike
- District Beat | Courtney McCune takes the pulse of the city in a new section that celebrates the haps that make Downtown great
- Centerfold Map | Peruse a four-page, pull-out map and visit some new places on your next First Friday adventure (or any day of the month!)
- Stay up to date on all of the latest Downtown buzz and events, including Phoenix Convention Center’s record summer, the opening of the new Torch Theatre…and more!
If you haven’t picked up an issue, click below for an online view!
It can be an exercise in patience trying locate great Italian sausage in Central Phoenix.
Seasoned, snappy pork sausages heady with anise, herbs and other other spices, Italian sausages are the type of hulking, insulated one-biters worth any quest. Unfortunately, even with all of the urban corners available to roost, searching out those sturdy Italian delicatessens or blue-collar corner eateries that might serve these savory links, one too frequently turns up empty-handed. And hungry.
Family-run, and hidden in plain sight along a recklessly racing 7th Street, Calabria Italian Kitchen’s new Coronado home (a relocation from the historic Gold Spot building at Roosevelt St. and 3rd Ave.) is a curious reminder that, despite any previous realizations to the contrary, low-pitched jewels do exist if you look hard enough.
And, Calabria serves good Italian sausage. Spicy, husky cased meat sliced length-wise, pressed inside lightly amber, buttery semolina bread (made daily; locally), concealed under grilled white onions and green peppers, dusted with salt, pepper and oregano. It’s hefty and plainly satisfying.
With a menu of sizable sandwiches (think just-toasted subs) for sit-down or takeaway lunch or dinner, Calabria also serves alternating daily pasta specials and limited sweet options for dessert. It’s Calabria’s sandwiches in particular, however, that have proven to be one of its biggest magnets. From the stuffed eggplant sandwich, sweet with roasted red peppers and marinated, fresh mozzarella; and, the hefty Calabrese sandwich, which, in addition to those roasted red peppers, holds up its heaping build of grilled chicken with salty prosciutto; the petite, casual neighborhood restaurant is a great pit-spot for solid Italian sandwiches.
The Italian sausage is no exception.
Calabria Italian Kitchen is located at 2605 N. 7th St. — 602.264.2664.