Tag - AZ

Moxy Tempe Staycation
Made. A Local Market – Debuts in Mesa
The Coronado PHX

Moxy Tempe Staycation

* The MOXY Tempe sponsored my room in exchange for an honest review. ALL opinions are my own.*

Moxy Tempe, sponsored post, travel blogger, arizona hotel

The MOXY Tempe is the newest boutique lifestyle hotspot to hit the college town of Tempe, Arizona. It recently opened in March and has since been a favorite for travelers, ASU students, and fashionistas alike.

Here is the breakdown of my stay:


Check in at MOXY Tempe, hotel, Tempe AZ hotel

The check-in process at this millennial- influenced Tempe hotel is fairly easy. You enter the lobby through the “space age” designed doorway and then head to the bar, where it also serves as the central hub for most of the hotel activity. The friendly staff will quickly take care of you, and also offer a complimentary welcome beverage. If alcohol isn’t your thing, they do offer non-alcoholic beverages. If you happen to drive in, be sure to get a parking pass, or else you are at risk for a tow.

The “Selfierator”…

The hotel elevator is not your average, boring elevator. Once you are inside, there’s a small sign that prompts you (if you wish to participate) to pick a prop from the balloon basket, and then take a selfie. Be sure to tag #atthemoxy and #moxytempe if you decide to post on Instagram.

Selfierator, MOXY Tempe, hotel

Selfierator, MOXY Tempe, hotel

Selfierator, MOXY Tempe, hotel

Selfierator, MOXY Tempe, hotel

The room….

The rooms at the MOXY Tempe are HUGE! Upon entering my room, there’s a small hallway that opens up to the main room. There is no closet, however PLENTY of wooden pegs line the wall and hangers are provided to hang garments. The comfy bed sits on a wooden platform with motion sensor lighting and features a brown leather headboard, and grey and white bedding. Other aspects of the room include a cozy sitting area, complete with birdcage lighting, a lengthy desk with Crosley retro-style record player with select vintage albums, a 49-inch LCD TV with local channels and access to Hulu and Netflix (just sign in to your account), and enough outlets to keep my phone and laptop charged wherever I choose to sit (even on the spacious balcony). A sliding barn-style door opens into the bathroom. I enjoyed showering in the glass-enclosed shower with a rain shower head and MUK bath products. It was so nice just being able to step out of the shower, refreshed, and go straight to the snug bed with crisp sheets and soft blankets. Oh, and don’t forget to dial 68 if you’d like to hear a bedtime story!

The overall hotel…

* Ample self parking

* Each floor has an ironing room. Since there is no in-room ironing board/iron, this quaint room is equipped with an ironing board and iron… and a cheeky poster of a tattooed dude ironing.

* The gym is on the 4th floor and offers a variety of equipment that is guaranteed to bust a sweat.

* The multifunctional lobby has several meeting areas, as well as a library with conference-style table with iMacs and a printer, perfect to quickly print out a boarding pass and whatnot.

* There are an abundance of games, including a pool table, hacky sack, and a few arcade games (anyone up for Mr. PacMan?).

* There is a 24/7 grab-n-go self service section, with food, drinks, and alcohol next to the bar. In the morning, I suggest ordering a Breakfast or S’more Naan and latte. I had the S’more Naan and vanilla latte, which was a great way to jumpstart my day!

* The courtyard has cabanas, ample seating, the pool, more games, and a vibrant mural by Peru Dyer Jalea. They usually have a DJ spinning some tunes (at least, they did when I stayed), so be sure to check out MOXY Tempe Instagram for local happenings.

MOXY Tempe Links:

* Website

* Facebook

* Twitter

* Instagram

* Yelp

Made. A Local Market – Debuts in Mesa

made. a local market / mesa / mesa event / arizona makers

Made. A Local Market recently held its inaugural handmade/indie market at the Mesa Convention Center in August. Friends- Shesten and Tawnya launched Made on the premise of wanting to bring more of a handmade and local businesses to the Easy Valley, a.k.a.- Mesa area. “We love our other brand, Swoon Boutique, but we just wanted to do something bigger. We launched Made. with the vision of taking our favorites with us to Made. events around Arizona. We have a true passion for local, and bringing people and makers together,” the girls told me.”We give back to our community through our wish wall. We pair items from local makers that can help support wishes from the people who are shopping local. It’s free to come. We do workshops, which really aren’t done in the size event we do. And, we do it with a really small staff so that we can keep costs for our makers as low as possible.”

Upon entering the area of the convention center where Made. was located, I saw that a wish wall, a step-and-repeat and area where we could write our wishes down, had been set up in the reception area. Local artist, Sassy Krayola, created the dandelion design for the wall, because after all, dandelions are known for making a wish. After jotting down my wish and inserting it into an available slot on the wall, I went in and browsed the market.

It helped that the girls had posted about the makers and who to follow on their Instagram before the market, so it made it easier for me to scope out my favorite artists. I visited with familiar faces and chatted up lovely new-to-me brands. This market had a central checkout system, which also enabled the vendors to not necessarily be there the whole time of the market. While yes, it was convenient, I would have rather have done business strictly with the vendor. Plus, I also like talking to them about their wares and how they got started, etc.

Here are my take-aways/favorite vendors from the market:

* The Zen Bird offers funky reversible headbands for the yogi or casual wearer. Marian Mellon is the gal behind the brand. She believes in positive thinking and offers workshops that help to empower women. (I went to a workshop in August and it was amazing! Met a great group of women.)

* Prickley Peach Designs owners Elice and Kerry do custom glitter signs. My favorites include the cactus (obvs), Arizona and California love signs.

* Modern Roots Kids Co. had the cutest cactus print set…Now if only it were available in adult sizes…

* Chalk Art Love owner Kathy Blokdijk creates custom-made chalk signs and wood signs. I not only loved her cactus and Arizona themed signs, but also thought that the others were cute and would make great gifts.

* Cindy’s Custom Creations offers custom gifts for everyone. My favorites were the embroidered “cat lady” pillows and state keychains.

* Prickly Pear Lane owners Andrea and Heather provide mainly for the pint-size crowd. They make clothing, stuffed cactus and dinosaurs, rattlers, and bibs in a variety of print and color ways. I now own a cactus with pom-pom trim, and could seriously collect them all.

* Don’t Touch My Stache serves up some tasty homemade jellies, along with Cowboy Candy, pickles, and more!

* Moss. Points. North‘s Amy Guerrero creates handmade macrame plant holders, the cutest wall hangings, macrame keychains, and fabric covered thumbtacks.

* FREE chair massages, courtesy of Floating Lotus! I can’t wait to go to their brick n’ mortar in downtown Mesa for a hot stone massage.

* Heritage Flowers furnished adorable hanging terrariums, and succulents in minimal pots.

* Lettie Lovendale owner Heather DeSimone fashions jewelry from vintage lucite pieces. I’m actually somewhat envious of how she got her start. She was contacted by a man in New England who had managed a manufacturing company that made lucite parts for famous jewelry designers back in the 60s-80s. This man still had pounds upon pounds of leftovers from when this manufacturer moved. Guess who was the uber-lucky recipient of the treasure trove… I’m so glad that she got the treasure, because who knows where it would’ve ended up. She’s sharing her finds with whoever buyers her wearable art.

* Sunshine & Cacti‘s Traci Ducusin created this monthly subscription box service that focuses on local Arizona culture and designed to build engagement within the community.

* Spoonsen Forksen artist Andrea Bapst creates one-of-a-kind jewelry from vintage silverware. If you have or know of someone who has Grandma’s old silverware sitting around, collecting dust and such, I highly recommend contacting Andrea, who will create something memorable for you!

* Architect-turned-jewelry designer- Sonia Gracia of Sonia Gracia Handmade, offers a variety of clay-based minimal jewelry, Arizona state ornaments, and cute clay cactus mini gardens. I’m loving the clay tube pendant necklaces and necklaces with clay, wood, and beaded necklaces at the moment.

* Be You Jewelry‘s Lisa Pauling makes hand stamped jewelry that is simple, yet classic. She also creates customized pieces as well. Her brand’s mission statement is: “BElieve in YOUrself.”

* Bubby Goobers… Just seeing the name, made me stop by the booth. But after meeting wife team- “Bubby” and “Goober,” I was really glad I stopped. Their warm personalities emulate their cheeky pastry company’s name. They specialize in yummy pastries, pies, and vegan galettes; while also using organic, non-GMO and local ingredients.

* Ceramics by Judith creator- Judith Amiel-Bendheim creates both ceramics and jewelry. Her ceramic pieces range from sculptural to practical. She develops her jewelry by using beads that she has found though-out her extensive travels.

* Darlin Darlin is a recent start-up by Meg Luther. She curates fun little gifting boxes for weddings, parties, workshops, and other festive occasions. One themed box at the market (which I also bought…naturally…) was the Arizona Gift Box. It contained a Paige Poppe cactus print, a The Zen Bird cactus print headband, a vintage cactus print frosted tea glass, and a Arizona-shaped soap by Lenna’s Luxurious Soaps. Definitely worth the $25, in my opinion! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

* Desert Flower Designs‘ Cynthia Doede creates charming faux flower headwear.

* Big Bubble Bliss is a family-oriented business, created by Amy, her husband, and children. They create bubble kits, which include: the bubble-making solution, wand(s), and bubble net attachment. The kit is meant for the user(s) to create humongous bubbles and just have FUN!

It was a fantastic first Made. market, I’m looking forward to seeing it grow!

The Coronado PHX

The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant review / vegetarian eatery

The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant review / vegetarian eatery

Nestled in a charming bungalow-style converted home off of 7th Street, is the Coronado PHX- a vegetarian eatery that also offers coffee drinks and alcoholic beverages. I had driven by that place often, and it wasn’t until early this month, that I finally stopped in to satisfy my culinary curiosities. The interior was quaint, with multiple small dining rooms, an outdoor patio, and the ordering area (bar and bakery case included). During my first dining experience, I tried the Monte Vista Torta and fries, while washing it down with a chai latte. Ok guys, I hate to admit, but after the first bite of that torta, I literally had a “When Harry Met Sally” moment. The masa battered zucchini, mixed with fresh tomato, romaine lettuce and vegan mayo, was just BURSTING with flavor! The hand cut fries that came with the torta had just the right amount of crispiness. I dipped them in the housemade ketchup, that also had a joyous amount of zest. The chai, which is sourced from Maya Tea in Tucson, was also delicious (and even had a subtle spicy kick to it).

Monte Vista Torta / fries / food / The Coronado PHX / Phoenix restaurant

During my second visit (of many to come), I had the pleasure of meeting the owner- Liam and his wife, Emily. I was able to sample a few of the restaurant’s best-selling dishes and also chat about Liam’s history in the culinary industry and how that transitioned to his current project, that is- the Coronado PHX.

LAFS: Tell me about how you got started in the culinary industry, as well as the vegetarian side of it?

Liam: I’ve been in food service for most of my adult life. I was a barista at Jobot, when a friend of mine, Dom Fasano, who was the chef at the time, suggested that I look into it; so I attended Le Courdon Bleu in Scottsdale while working at Jobot. Going to culinary school actually helped make me a vegetarian. In French cooking, they teach you to use every bit of the product in front of you to show respect to the person who worked to bring it to you, and also to the product itself. So, you save you onion skins for making stock, but that’s also why they make things like liver pate, sweetbreads, and so on. Something about being vegetarian always seemed right to me, I had been vegetarian on and off my whole life, but I never really had an understanding as to why I felt that way. I realized that if I could not eat the liver pate and such because I thought it was gross, then clearly I wasn’t respecting the effort someone put in to it, or the animal themselves. Around the same time, my brother got sick with Lymphoma, so I started wanting to try and be more healthy, it was kind of a perfect storm, and I’ve been vegetarian since then. Very quickly my wife, Emily, and I realized there weren’t very many vegetarian options, and started planning a restaurant with a friend. We opened Bragg’s Factory Diner, a full vegan/vegetarian diner, we busted our butts and even racked up a few awards in the short 2 1/2 years it was open, but it was an uphill battle from day one, and I guess just wasn’t meant to be. Around the time that closed (last year), I opened the Coronado PHX, and it’s back to busting our butts and trying to push ourselves and what we can do.

LAFS: What inspired the name the “Coronado PHX?”

Liam: When I first moved to downtown, the Coronado Cafe was in the spot that we are in now, and they had been for years. Downtown was just starting to really blossom. There weren’t a ton of funky restaurants in old houses and stuff, Coronado Cafe kind of blazed that trail, and stuck their neck out before anyone else really was. So when the opportunity came up to move in to this location I thought it seemed only appropriate to name it the Coronado PHX as a kind of shout-out to the previous owners and the city.

LAFS: Where do you source your fresh ingredients?

Liam: We try to focus on local at the Coronado, we get our bread from MJ breads, our coffee from local roaster Xanadu Coffee, we get veggies for our FarmYard Scramble from a local CSA called FarmYard who literally farm in peoples yards and then bring us a basket or 2 every week, we get our goat cheese from Crow’s Dairy in Buckeye, and our milk from Danzeisen. The list goes on and on. We carry local wines, liquors and beers, but those are on rotation to try and give everyone some love.

LAFS: What inspired the restaurant’s decor?

Liam: The space when we got there had been painted kind of monochromatic in shades of greenish-brown, the house itself is so beautiful, so we wanted to try and perk it up a bit. My good friend Liz Tavarez, from Grey House Designs, was working on building her portfolio, so she helped us out. Initially when she said to go black and white, I was hesitant, like it would be too plain and too easy to get dirty and maybe I was just a ball of stress at the time, but I eventually relented and I’m glad I did. The place is so inviting and warm, people assume all the time that we’ve been open for years because it just feels great, and not too “new”.

LAFS: What do you think sets the Coronado PHX apart from other vegetarian restaurants?

Liam: I think what sets us apart, is that we try to make sure we are set apart. I’ve tried to focus on creating a menu that isn’t on someone else’s menu. I want to make food that is representative of the southwest, and that is approachable, but I’m also an artist and musician, so I want to be as creative as possible with it. I don’t do much in the way of veganizing, I try to let the vegetables, fruits, grains, spices and so on do the work. All the time I hear “I hate cauliflower, but I LOVE those cauliflower tacos.” I also have a family, and so it’s REALLY important to me that our menu be affordable. I can’t tell you how many times (especially when I was in school) we would be excited to try something, then go home and eat more because we couldn’t afford a big meal out on our budget. We’re never gonna be the cheapest thing in the world, we’re not Taco Bell, but just because we’re making healthy food with fresh ingredients in house, doesn’t mean it can’t be affordable too.

Speaking of the Cauliflower Tacos, that was one dish I tried. It was definitely a hit in my book. I loved the flavor of the masa based beer batter that the cauliflower were fried in. “The Cauliflower Tacos are, hands down, our number one seller. we get our fresh tortillas from Ranch Market everyday. We pick them up warm. We use a masa based beer batter and fry the cauliflower and that goes with guacamole, organic spinach, pepitas, our creamy Avocado dressing and limes on the side. It gets compared a lot to a fish taco, without all that fishiness.”

Cauliflower Tacos / Coronado PHX / vegetarian eatery

The next dish was the Jalapeño Marmalade and Goat Cheese Quesadilla. You guys….I’m still dreaming about this dish. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, like, were the jalapeños going to be super hot, etc. Completely the opposite. It almost tasted like a mild green chili paste that also had some sweetness to it. The flavor of the goat cheese with the jalapeño marmalade really mixed well, without being too overpowering. I’ve had many quesadillas in my life, but these have risen to number one for my taste buds. Be prepared to bring something to wipe your hands with, as the marmalade gets a little sticky. But otherwise, be prepared to be WOWED. “It’s definitely not a traditional quesadilla. I actually made this as a special at another restaurant I worked at, but the owner didn’t go for it, so it’s been sitting in my back pocket for years waiting to see the light of day. We used Crow’s Dairy Goat Cheese and house made jalapeño marmalade, then dust it with a little smoked paprika and cilantro.”

Jalapeño marmalade and Goatcheese Quesadilla / Coronado PHX / vegetarian eatery

The last dish on the list was the Street Corn. I’m not a huge fan of the traditional street corn that is normally found at flea markets and such, but this dish was different. The corn-on-the-cob was fresh, while the vegan mayo, cayenne, cilantro, Cotija cheese, and lime mix felt light, and looked (and tasted) healthier. “The Street Corn we do is just a classic street corn. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Fire roasted corn, coated with Just Mayo (a pea based Vegan Mayo instead of a soy base), Cotija cheese, cayenne, cilantro, and lime. Hold the cheese and it’s vegan!”

Street Corn / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

I also had a Funfetti Scone, which was so tasty, that it didn’t need butter or other dipping sauces; just the chai to finish off the desert.

Funfetti Scone / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Chai Latte / Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Check out more behind-the-scenes…

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

Coronado PHX / Vegetarian eatery

The Coronado PHX is open: Sunday – Thursday: 6am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 6am – 11pm,
Happy Hour: 4pm – 7pm.

2201 N 7th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006

Be sure to check out their WEBSITE and FACEBOOK for local happenings and such.

Liam: We love hosting community based events. Craft and Charity nights every third Friday of the month, where we pair a local brewery with a local charity. The brewery takes over all our beer taps and then a portion of the sales from the night go to the charity. We host an event called Vinyl Voices, which is part story telling, part DJ night. Participants bring in a vinyl record, tell a story of that record and then we’ll play a track. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s intense, or sad or whatever. Being a musician myself, it’s so fun to hear people’s relation to music and how it shapes significant moments in their lives. We also host a Simpson Trivia Night, poetry readings, acoustic music, board game nights, and anything we can think of, really.

NOTE: I was given complimentary food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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