The coffee's rich -- "like butter," one regular insists. The art is better than what hangs on the walls of many Phoenix galleries, and the clientele makes for hours of people-watching. Step into Lux and you'll feel like there's a scene in the Valley -- and you're part of it.
There's a buzz in this place, and it's not just the caffeine.
In fact, everything funky is gone, and we have to admit we don't mind so much. Xtreme Bean is clean and sleek, with beautiful wood tables and Internet access. The front counter is beautifully appointed and the employees wear headsets. The coffee's even pretty good.
Sometimes, sterile's not such a bad thing.
Readers' Choice for Best Coffee House: Starbucks
If you need even more, there's a fine selection in the canned food aisle, such as whole jalapeo, whole green chile, and chipotle adobado. Bring on the sizzle!
Even shopping isn't easy. Creatures have to be slaughtered in a prescribed ritual and humane way, with the blood meticulously removed before the flesh is soaked and salted. Eggs must come from kosher birds, and be free of blood spots. This is not your typical stop into Circle K kind of stuff. Never fear, Cactus Kosher is here. Everything in this shop is certified by a rabbi, with traditional staples like gefilte fish, pickles, pastrami, corned beef and deli sandwiches to go. If wishes were knishes, we know where we'd be.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the cooler months, Vincent's black asphalt parking lot is converted to a slice of Provence, with a gorgeous grouping of stalls filled with the freshest local produce, plus imported exotic fruits and designer vegetables. There are warm, crusty breads, buttery croissants, cookies and pastries. We love the imported cheeses, signature dressings, fresh pastas and pestos, herbs de Provence, homemade mustards, wines. Just looking at all the exciting, one-of-a-kind ingredients makes us believe we, too, could be gourmet chefs. But why would we bother firing up the stove, when Vincent Guerithault and his team of skilled artisans are already on the job for us, creating cooked-to-order treats like crepes, tamales and pizzas that we can enjoy while relaxing at umbrella-topped tables right in the market? Vive la Vincent's!
Readers' Choice for Best Farmers' Market: Sprouts
Readers' Choice: Jamba Juice