Best of Phoenix®

Best Of 2012

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Hydroponic Growing Supplies Store
weGrow

With all this talk of medical-marijuana, new grow shops have sprung up in the Valley like seedlings. weGrow's a California transplant, having started with a store in Sacramento before spreading to Phoenix. In January, the franchise opened another location in Washington, D.C. The Phoenix store is huge, inhabiting a former warehouse. The grow lights, bottles of fertilizers and nutrients, and hydroponics trays don't take up the whole space; the store has a large variety of products. Pot patients will appreciate the running marijuana theme at weGrow, from the video games on a TV surrounded by couches to the posters with growing tips, including how drying pot increases its psychoactive compounds. A doctor who writes medical-marijuana recommendations is located in the same building, and farmers markets — which sometimes feature patients exchanging pot with other patients — take place periodically in the parking lot. After the dispensaries open, forcing patients and caregivers to give up their home-grows, many of the Valley's hydro shops will wither and disappear. weGrow seems to be dug in for the long haul.

2937 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 85017
MAP
602-278-9988
Best Shot of Espresso
Press Coffee Roasters

There are three factors that contribute to a good shot of espresso — beans, machine, and barista. If even one of the pieces of that trifecta is off, your shot of espresso can suffer. Luckily, the boys behind Scottsdale Quarter's Press Coffee Roasters have the process down. Created with their bold house-roasted Twitch Espresso Blend and pulled by their talented baristas off their top-of-the-line Synesso espresso machine, the end result is a perfectly balanced earthy shot of espresso with hints of sweet fruit, notes of chocolate, and a slightly smoky finish.A great way to start the day — or make sure it doesn't start too early.

15147 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 85254
MAP
480-718-9762
Best Coffee Beans
Black Market Espresso

Great coffee starts with high-quality beans, and the folks at Cartel score only the best from Brazil for their impressive Black Market Espresso. The four-bean blend is sourced from a single high-elevation farm in the Sul de Mina region of Brazil, where it goes through its natural pulping process on-site before it is shipped off the farm. Cartel then roasts these beans to perfection, creating a bold-flavored coffee with citrus and chocolate notes and a dash of sweetness.

225 W. University Dr., Tempe, 85281
MAP
480-432-8237
Best Coffee House, Central Phoenix
Carmel's Coffee & Bakery

We were sold on this quaint and cozy coffee shop the second that designer-turned-barista Pat Flanagan opened the doors of his freshly remodeled spot last spring. The warm interior and interesting artwork begs you to take a few minutes out of your day to stay and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee (beans courtesy of Lux). But Carmel's isn't just a coffee house — it serves a full menu of delicious breakfast and lunch treats. Fresh-baked quiches, scones, and muffins, flaky croissant sandwiches, and even crepes are available. When the weather permits, Carmel's has plenty of patio space to savor your coffee while watching traffic go by on Camelback.

4233 E. Camelback, Phoenix, 85018
MAP
480-626-0020
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455 N. 3rd St., Phoenix, 85004-3924
MAP
602-258-8472
Best Coffee House, Downtown Phoenix
Lola Coffee

All of the sudden, there's a lot of coffee competition on Roosevelt Row. But for us, there's no contest. Fresh house-roasted beans, an in-house bakery, an omelet bar, and a beautiful selection of rotating artwork are just a few reasons why Lola is our go-to downtown coffee shop. Artisan coffee roaster and latte art fanatic Daniel Wayne has created a laid-back atmosphere with a welcoming demeanor — and some of the best whipped cream in town. The espresso-infused whip gives Lola's coffee drinks a sweet and creamy kick. Try the dark chocolate and orange Café Borgia or the coffee shop's almost famous Matador.

1001 N. 3rd Ave., Phoenix, 85003
MAP
602-252-2265
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4400 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 85012
MAP
602-327-1396
Best Coffee House, South Phoenix
Cupz N' Crepes

Crepes and coffee go together like peanut butter and jelly, David Lee Roth and Van Halen, or vodka and Red Bull. Without one, the other is lonely and incomplete. Thankfully, Cupz N' Crepes is keeping the coffee-and-crepe team together at its Paris-inspired shop in Ahwatukee. Dig into a delicate crepe packed full of sweet Nutella and ripe bananas or the savory Veggie Delight, filled with spinach, tomatoes, and goat cheese. The coffee is always fresh and the bold espresso drinks are expertly crafted. A can't-miss breakfast or lunch stop on the south side of town.

4232 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee, 85048
MAP
480-706-1963
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4030 W. Ray Rd., Chandler, 85226-7254
MAP
480-752-8522
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Best Hydroponic Growing Supplies Store: weGrow

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