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I nervously went in AT to get my septum pierced (the cartilage inside the tip of my nose). I’d been in here a few times before to ask about stretching my ears, and every time I went in I was given excellent service by their piercer/tattoo artist up front, Brent, aka B-Bird.
Unfortunately, they don’t sell much jewelry beyond your basic needs. No cool gauges or plugs for me, and the closest place is Halo and their selection is boring and overpriced. I usually just order my jewelry by way of the internet now (http://bodyartforms.com).
I was told up front the piercing would be $40 including jewelry. I signed my paper stating regulations regarding piercings as B-Bird got his stuff ready. I sat down in the chair and tried to relax the best I could. B-Bird informed me of all the precautions and how to take care of my piercings, then told me to take a deep breath and I closed my eyes. The second it went through my eyes watered up, but before I knew it I was done.
It looks awesome, I’m super excited for it to heal, and B-Bird did a great job taking care of me.
Artistic Tattoo is located at 664 W. Camelback Rd. (602) 230.8333
The DPJ Yelper of the Week offers honest insight on a Downtown business to help you explore your core. DPJ hopes that by partnering with Yelp to spread the good word about well-loved Downtown spots, you’ll spread your patronage and support local business.
Yelp is a social networking and local search engine that provides the reviews of places and things that matter to you. Simply log in, pick a place and queue up your inner critic. You can write a beaming review of your favorite gelato spot, or a scathing portrayal of that rental car facility you had to use after that curb came out of nowhere. Yelp’s reviews are at once honest, uncensored, wildly hilarious and true. Heck, the site must be doing something right — it had 25 million viewers just last month!
When thinking about the awesomeness of our Downtown Phoenix restaurant scene, I felt like there was something missing. Perhaps what Phoenix needs is an epic menu item that could be talked about around campfires and whispered in school halls. So, with a rumbly in my tumbly, I set out to discover something that could rock my palate. My destination was local favorite patio hangout, Local Breeze.
I was told about a savory monster that resided mid-menu here, the Fire Island. This behemoth comes loaded with diced chicken, red onions, green chilies and cream cheese sauce all on top of a housemade pizza crust, slathered with melted Dofino cheese. It is truly a sight to behold. As if it didn’t pile high enough, my hankerin’ stomach pushed to top that thing off with two eggs. Trust me, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
So, once they wheelbarrow that massive beast out to me, the feast begins. It has a spicy kick (hence the “fire”), but is flavorful and scrumptious. The eggs, chicken, cheese, chilies, onion and soft, chewy crust dance around in my belly — a food party that all are invited to. It was a magical moment. But, my delight is stalled when I realize that I have developed quite a protruding tummy, and I was only about halfway through. Let me remind you folks, I was raised right, where you are supposed to clean your plate and say please, thank you and howdy. This was one of those times that I failed my heritage. I only tell you so that you can take the Fire Island challenge for yourself. Load that beast up with eggs and all the fixins and see how well you fare. This might be close to that epic meal that us Phoenicians can whisper about. You should see for yourself.
Local Breeze is located at 606 N. 4th Ave. (light rail stop at Central/1st Avenue and Van Buren) and serves up Fire Islands Tuesday-Sunday.
Disclaimer: According to owner Doug Davis, Chemical Relief closed its doors on October 12 due to a lack of funding.
There’s a new bright spot in Downtown Phoenix for foodies with an eye for the organic, natural and hip.
Chemical Relief, a snack shop with plans to one day be a cooperative grocery, has opened residence on the main floor of the monOrchid. Nestled amid the local tenants of the building, which over the years have included various studios, production houses, designers and attorneys, Chemical Relief was the answer to bad digestive issues and a city that needed more natural selections.
The brainchild of Doug Davis, the shop is filled with the types of food that he says helped him recover from a painful digestive disorder.
“I’m a sufferer of Crohn’s disease,” Davis says. “I was diagnosed at 16, and I was on the operating table at 23. I was about to have another surgery when I asked the doctor if I would be cured after this. He bluntly said, ‘No, you’ll probably have many more surgeries in your life.’”
That bleak statement made Davis sit back and consider other options.
“My reaction was, there’s gotta be a better way,” he says.
That better way took the former food broker down a path that he says led to complete recovery from the disease.
“I healed myself of that using whole foods, supplements, probiotics and digestive enzymes,” Davis says. “Natural foods has helped change my life extraordinarily.”
The shop now carries some of those items Davis used, as well as quite a random assortment of grocery store-like products, including baby care, bath products and car wash materials. Davis also carries some fair trade jewelry, with proceeds going directly back to the makers.
The selection is still relatively small, as the store has only been open a few weeks, but it was heavily trafficked during October’s First Friday. The monOrchid location on Roosevelt Street between 2nd and 3rd streets is one of the most traveled areas, and many stopped in because they were steered in from the volunteer outside, or to check out the gallery in the back of the building or use the restrooms.
“I just want to make all this stuff available to the community,” Davis says. “There’s not anywhere within 10 miles to buy natural food, really.”
The store has about 100 to 150 products on its shelves so far. Some of them are sourced locally, like Laura’s Granola from Tempe. One of Davis’ favorites: canned coconut water.
“It’s the best substance on earth for you to drink,” he says. “It’s the most easily absorbed substance and it’s the original Gatorade.”
Chemical Relief doesn’t have set hours yet, but most days passersby can see Davis and a crew of volunteers manning the shop. He sees setting those hours, expanding to a full co-op, adding a coffee shop and Internet bar all on the horizon.
“I just want to make all this stuff available, Davis says. “I think the community’s going to be extremely supportive.”
I grew up in a household where Sunday church attendance was assumed, the Bible was memorized, and converting others was encouraged. I was better off than some, because I was never told that having faith meant checking my critical thinking at the door, but there were certain things, like the absolute infallibility of the Bible, that I was told never to question.
This is the lens through which I watched another movie that is on my “must see” list: Religulous. It is a travel-style documentary that follows commentator Bill Maher as he visits with the faithful of many religions, pointing out the obvious inconsistencies and hypocrisies of their worldviews.
There is the standard cadre of usual suspects: The idiots at the Creation Museum in Kentucky who have an exhibit featuring a triceratops with a saddle, the Prosperity Gospel minister who insists that Jesus was wealthy and fashionable and the Orthodox Jew who has devoted his life to finding loopholes in Sabbath observance. There were also sincere believers who, foolish as their actions may be, were kind and loving. My favorite scene featured a group of burly truckers whom Maher described as being Christ-like. He made the insightful observation in their trucker’s chapel service that he understands why people who feel like they have nothing else — like those in prison or on a battlefield — cling to faith, but is befuddled by people living safe, secure, normal lives who feel the need to seek out a higher authority to explain how the world works.
While the narrator and lead character, Bill Maher, appears to be the chief instigator, Religulous has director Larry Charles’ fingerprints all over it. Maher’s personal and political perspective is essential to the film, but Charles’ penchant for ambushing people who may not even realize that they have ridiculous beliefs is what makes the picture worthwhile. Charles also brilliantly injects vintage footage into the film, reminding us that religion has been around for a while, and will continue to be around for a while longer.
The one part of the film in which we see Maher take over, a lengthy diatribe that blames religion for virtually every evil ever to occur on earth, ends up a mess. As Maher’s polemic blares, we see clips of wars, pestilence and famine, all presumably brought about by man’s pursuit of God.
Maher’s impeccable timing and demeanor paid off in what was probably the most poignant moment of the film. While interviewing Sen. Mark Pryor, Maher asked whether the American people could trust a lawmaker who believed in things like talking snakes. When Pryor responded with “well, you don’t have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate” Maher was able to maintain complete composure, nonplussed as Pryor awkwardly tried to chuckle his way out of his obvious misstatement.
Was Religulous a bit condescending and snarky? Of course. It certainly wasn’t intended to change anyone’s mind about the world, so in that sense it was, well, preaching to the choir. But, it was an interesting trip with some brilliant minds.
Well, what better way to reflect on Religulous than our very own holy-sounding St. Francis, Aaron Chamberlin’s creation on Camelback Road just east of Central. I visited with a friend and barely made it into the packed parking lot that it shares with Red Modern Furniture, one of my favorite furniture browsing galleries. The parking lot was so crowded, in fact, that the valet ended up parking my car in the neighboring AutoZone lot.
It took a moment to figure out how to get in the restaurant, but once we determined that the front door was, indeed, in the front, we were promptly seated. The decor is clever, contemporary and meticulously executed — lots of exposed wood, steel, concrete, etc. The kitchen isn’t open as much as it is the center and hub of activity of the space.
We started out with a baked goat cheese appetizer, which consists of a tomato sauce topped with goat cheese, garnished with a walnut pesto baked in a small crock. Served with crostini, it is one of the best starters I have had in Phoenix in a long time. The cheese was just the right balance, and the walnut pesto was perfectly conceived and executed. Of the vegetarian options (one of which appears to be a mishmash of veggies designed to quiet an outspoken activist that you accidentally bring on a date), I chose the flatbread with black mission figs and goat cheese, topped with arugula. The light, crispy flatbread was divine and the figs balanced the goat cheese perfectly. A nutty arugula was the perfect crown for this brick oven masterpiece, and I was sad that I could only finish half of the dish in one sitting.
Downsides? Everything in the kitchen seems to be right on track, although the price points seem just slightly on the high side. Dinner for two with one glass of wine worked out to $52 plus gratuity. The service and ambiance were worth it, though… Oh, and you have to check out the bathroom sinks — they are clever.
A little birdy told DPJ a rumor that the historic Gold Spot building on 3rd Avenue and Roosevelt Street is about to secure two new tenants: Downtown Phoenix’s first Pita Jungle, and the second outpost of Lola Coffee.