Echo Coffee
Yes, we have coffee in the Valley — and good coffee, at that —but, more important, we have a lot of great coffee shops with great neighborhood vibes. The very best of Scottsdale is found at the local neighborhood hangout Echo. It is totally okay with your setting up a laptop and camping for the day. Echo will make delicious coffee treats or brew a cup of black drip for you. It also serves food, so after hours of staring at the screen, when the belly starts to rumble, Echo will help you take care of that and make you an afternoon espresso drink, the best we've found in these parts.
While the coffee at Cup O' Karma is decent, there are three things for which this place is better known. First, the iced teas are to die for. Patrons can choose from a wide variety of teas (hot, cold, or even blended like smoothies) and fruity flavors like tangerine. The place's green and chai teas are particularly delectable. Second, there's plenty of seating and the Internet Wi-Fi signal is super-strong (it's rare to go into Cup O' Karma and not see at least three people pounding away on their laptops). Third, proceeds from the sales of Cup O'Karma's beverages goes to a charity called Seeds of Hope, which works with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Throw in the local artwork on the walls and live acoustic music, and Cup O' Karma's got their recipe for success.
Bountiful Baskets is one of the largest volunteer-run co-ops in Arizona, with well over 100 locations from Sahuarita to Bullhead City and just about everywhere in between. In Phoenix alone, there are about 18 locations. It's entirely volunteer-run with no requirement to opt in every week. Decide on Tuesday whether you want a basket full of produce the coming weekend — 15 bucks for the regular basket or 30 bucks for the organic offering — and you're good to go. They also offer weekly deals on bread, cases of produce (peaches, tomatoes, whatever's in season), Asian/Mexican/Italian packs, and lots of holiday fun, such as DIY cookie kits. Just make sure you show up every once in a while to volunteer!
Desert Roots Farm
Eating locally grown, fresh produce is nutritious, delicious, and good for the economy and environment, but sometimes acquiring the aforementioned produce is just so . . .  difficult. There are more farmers markets and local food outlets than ever before. Desert Roots Farm, a Community Supported Agriculture farm (CSA) in Queen Creek, makes getting farm-fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs super-easy. Twelve-week seasonal memberships (or six-week during the summer) come in whole and half sizes. More than 10 pickup locations span the Valley. If that's not convenient enough, for an extra five bucks a week, they'll deliver the seasonal eats directly to your home or work.
Schnepf Farms
Out in what used to be a rural part of the Valley sits this wonderful 70-year-old farm, where the organic peaches are there for the picking (for a price), and so much more. Talk about agri-tourism. This hardworking family has a lot on its plate, running a country store and bakery, working a seven-acre vegetable "patch," giving grand tours, looking after a campsite with 25 full hookups for the motor-home set, and hosting weddings, birthday parties for the little ones, and other big-time life events. Even Muhammad Ali has checked things out on the farm — we hear he had a great time. But it's those peaches that pull us back year after year, basket after basket, bite after bite. Sweet!
Vincent Market Bistro
Baby artichokes the size of your thumb. Tiny carrots, in little bundles, that taste somehow like they've been dipped in brown sugar. Beets so fresh they still have dirt clods stuck to their roots. No gourmet repast is done right without fresh ingredients, and we always find them at Vincent's weekly farmers market during the cooler months. We sometimes have to elbow well-known chefs and restaurateurs out of our way to get to the high-end cheeses (sold by the hunk or in entire wheels!) at this casual, European-type outdoor market, but that only makes us feel more gourmet, somehow. Dig the locally grown, organic vegetables; the delicious just-baked pastries from Vincent's own pastry chef; and one or another of the Valley's best-known chefs, preparing a stunning gourmet entrée right before your eyes. Our only complaints are that parking is a bit tricky (although lately there's been a park-for-pay lot nearby) and that it's best to arrive really early — the place usually opens at 7 — because when the good stuff is gone, it's gone.
Superstition Farm
Every Thursday, we make the journey out to Mesa (we're talking deep Mesa, as in Queen Creek Mesa) for Superstition Farms' weekly SuperFarm Market. Not only because the market's held inside a nice cool barn but because — it's on a real farm! Not in a parking lot. This is a real live dairy farm. Stock up on fresh meats and seafood, straight-from-the-farm eggs, milk, cheese, butter, locally made breads and sweets, and delicious gluten-free, lard-free tamales from Tamal le Cuisine. Hayrides and a petting zoo are in full effect for the kiddos, and if you don't feel like cooking, you can always grab dinner on the farm from Chef Matt or one of the visiting food trucks.
Roadrunner Park Farmers Market
Ward Walston arises at about 2 on Saturday mornings to bake his delicious breads — the Black Forest rye, the multigrain sourdough, the salt-free sunflower wheat, and many others. Around the break of dawn, Ward's wife Leslie then drives over from Tempe up the 51 and sets up shop at the farmers market on East Cactus (one of the Valley's oldest), warm, fresh bread in tow. She also sets out a bunch of jars of delicious peanut butter handcrafted in Michigan and shipped to Arizona every week. Leslie is a mistress of the soft sell at the market — she lets her family business' products mostly speak for themselves. That they do. She offers bread and peanut butter samples to the dozens of folks who stop by, and that, far more often than not, turns into sales. That's the American way, right? As for us, we keep on returning to Leslie's little stand week after week.
Healthy Habit
The Valley is filled with health food stores offering food and vitamins. What makes Healthy Habit Health Foods in CenPho the best is the bonus offerings — including a knowledgeable staff, classes, and a live radio show filled with nutritional advice. The website is a superstore in and of itself; get a recommendation for a local practitioner, or browse for everything from low-carb baking goods to organic pet supplies. And food and vitamins, too — naturally.
Mekong Palace
Dirt-cheap produce and a truly impressive selection of seafood (parrot fish!) and meat and poultry (chicken feet!) are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce (one thing you might not find) at Mekong Plaza. This old Target-turned-awesome plaza holds much more than just your typical Asian market — it's home to a handful of great little eateries and, of course, a place to get your nails done. Before you get lost in the market, grab a cheap bowl of pho at the ridiculously named UnPHOgettable (clever) or take your chances at Com Tam Thuan Kiev — over 100 dishes of authentic Vietnamese food (good luck!). You'll also find Thai, noodles, and even dim sum.

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