Shaved-ice treats on a mobile cart — how very Phoenix. The gals of Double D Lite quit their day jobs in the corporate grind to spend more time outside in their cute traveling cart, serving up flavored shaved ice. They also take it up a notch and pour cream on the ice to make it a rich treat that will have you asking, "Did I really eat all of that?" They'll travel anywhere in town to share their icy confections with a crowd. Thinking outside the box? They'll work with you and make you something cold and dreamy.
Cold Stone Creamery
480-295-0182
There's ice cream and then there's Crave ice cream. With an artist's flair for flavors and a purist's position on using only natural and fresh ingredients, Crave owner and founder Shannon Dufresne, who worked under celebrated local sweet-treat queen Tracy Dempsey is all about homemade, stone-cold goodness from start to finish. Starting with a homemade base (something most ice cream joints buy pre-made), Dufresne whips up signature flavors like fresh mint chip, ripe strawberries and cream, roasted banana toffee, and her favorite, salted caramel, then uses a gelato machine for a dense texture that holds the goodness together. Pick up a pint at the Phoenix Public Market or Luci's Healthy Marketplace, or ask for Crave at your favorite restaurant — Dufresne works with several in the Valley.
Cookiez on Mill
This quaint little indie ice cream shop has weathered the corporate abandonment of Mill Ave and has even stayed afloat with a Cold Stone (now Sparky's) Creamery right next door. One bite of the perfectly baked, thin-yet-chewy cookies (made from scratch from the owner's family recipes and baked on-site), and you'll understand how this little shop comes out on top. Pick your favorite cookie, then choose one of the premium ice creams, and squish it all together for an unbeatable treat. We love the cinnamon goodness of the snickerdoodles paired with creamy vanilla ice cream or the chocolate chip cookie dough overload — cookie dough ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. Cookiez on Mill even has soy-based treats for you crazy vegans. Yum!
Pinnacle Peak Patio
Courtesy of Pinnacle Peak
You're an adult. You drive your own car, you pay for your own place, you go out to bars — but you still use root beer in your floats? Shameful. Grow up and splosh your ice cream in a mug of Inebriator, a thick, rich, chewy stout from Sonoran Brewing Company. With mighty flavors of peanut, molasses, milk chocolate, and hot cocoa, the beer's a perfect pair to vanilla ice cream. Plus, it's, you know, inebriating. Yay, adulthood!
Lee's Cream Liqueur
Jackie Mercandetti
If there are two things on Earth that should elope and never look back, it's ice cream and booze. A true match made in Heaven. Lee's Cream Liqueur has brought Heaven to Earth (Old Town Scottsdale, to be exact) with its boozy concoctions of ice cream and your favorite hard liquors. All your favorites from your, um, drinking days are here: Black Russian with Kahlua, Alabama Slammer with Southern Comfort, Mai-Tai, and even a prickly pear ice cream spiked with tequila. The liquor-laced ice creams are strictly for the 21-and-over crowd but Lee's also offers non-booze-filled flavors, too, like banana Oreo cookie.
Dick's Hideaway
Patricia Escarcega
When Richardson's, one of our favorite Valley restaurants, went up in flames a couple of summers ago, we were heartbroken — not only because we loved Richardson Browne's spicy New Mexican food so much, but because we figured his tiny sister restaurant, Dick's Hideaway, was destroyed, too, as they share the same strip mall on the northwest corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home Road. Thankfully, Dick's was spared, and we found ourselves right back at the copper-plated bar once again, ordering up all our favorites — the wonderful fish tacos, the delicious shrimp quesadillas, the roasted Anaheim chiles filled with twice-baked potato, the bountiful off-the-menu serving of chips, salsa, and guac — that were on Dick's and Richardson's common menu. We love grabbing one of the handful of seats at the bar, sipping on a Tecate with lime, and feeling the heat from the grill (which is just feet in front of you) while talking about the day's events or just zoning out while watching a game on the high-def flat-screen hanging above the grill. When visitors come to town, we take them to Dick's. When we need a dose of Southwestern flavors, we go to Dick's. When we're looking for something tried and true, we go to — you got it — Dick's. See you there.
J.T.'s Bar & Grill
Grub and suds and a bit of bullshit best describe JT's Bar & Grill, the neighborhood Arcadia hideaway of owner John Taylor. The tiny, dimly lit room filled with tributes to the owner's three loves — sports, Marilyn Monroe, and the Rolling Stones — boasts a solid selection of standard bar fare that doesn't disappoint. The tongue-in-cheek menu features south-of-the-(Canadian)-border specialties like beef "ques-a-ma-dias," "chicken feet" (fried chicken strips), and ABS appetizers (JT's way of saying you won't have nice abs if you eat these) like Awesome Onion Rings and spicy meat tater skins. Our favorites are the Yes-Wings, fried, tossed in "suicide hot sauce," then grilled, and the mushroom burger packed with fresh 'shrooms with a melted layer of Swiss cheese. Daily deals on the grub mean extra green for another cold one to wash it all down with — and that ain't no BS.
Windsor
We'll be honest: The whole "gastropub" thing has kinda fizzled with us as a trend. Give us a food truck or a pop-up any day. Maybe that's because, until recently, there hasn't been a good gastropub in town. Welcome, Windsor. Named for its 'hood, Windsor Square, this hip, charming spot is just what the real estate doctor ordered (remember what Postino did for the area just west of Arcadia?!). Windsor Square doesn't really need anyone's help in that department, but it was in need of another spot for a nosh and a drink, and that's just what Windsor offers, in a rehabbed old building with a charming patio and complimentary valet parking. The drink selection is fantastic, and the food is basic but good — we're partial to the corndog poppers and the picnic kebabs. Don't miss the crabcake sandwich. Be sure to save room for ice cream at Churn right next door, and don't forget to check out the wall of cassette tapes. Genius!
The Rose & Crown Pub
Rose and Crown offers all the ambiance of an English pub without shelling out for a ticket to fly over the pond. The historic former house adds instant atmosphere for your evening out on the town, be it a drink before dining at Pizzeria Bianco, a bite after visiting the Arizona Science Center, or just because it's Wednesday. There's also plenty of outside seating for the seven months out of the year that Arizona has nigh-on perfect weather. The grub is solid enough to lay the groundwork for a good evening, and both American offerings and British fare play nice on the menu. We recommend the bangers and mash or fish and chips. Add an imperial pint of Guinness or Boddingtons and you'll soon be shouting, "God save the Queen!"
Rosie McCaffrey's Irish Pub
Lauren Cusimano
Rosie McCaffrey's comes about as close to knocking back a pint in true Irish style as can be had in the middle of the desert. Dark and glossy aged wood, exposed cobblestones, and Irish bric-a-brac characterize the pub's homey, cave-like interior. Rosie's offers just about every major UK draft our little sandrat hearts could desire, with a draft Guinness so thick — and with such a heavy head — that it left behind a respectable beer 'stache upon first swig. A helpful guide is offered at each table for those who can't decide between two brews — next time, we're getting the Velvet Hammer, Guinness with a shot of vanilla Stoli. That's enough to get our Irish eyes a-smilin'. Well, maybe that with a side of boxty or corned beef.

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