Roastery Of Cave Creek

One of the Valley's best-kept secrets, the Roastery of Cave Creek was started by Dave Anderson as a small operation that roasted estate-grown organic coffee for some of the best local restaurants. Chances are you've sipped this expertly roasted coffee once or twice without even knowing it. If you have had a cup of joe with your breakfast or brunch at Matt's Big Breakfast, Bertha's Café, or Vovomeena, you have tasted the divine elixir that results from these exceptional coffee beans. There are several single varietals and blends available from ROC2, but they all have in common a great sense of balance, full-bodied flavor, and rich smoothness. These beans can be purchased directly at the roastery or by e-mailing [email protected]. The blend made especially for Bertha's Café can be purchased at the restaurant.

There are few places in downtown Phoenix where you can run unimpeded by traffic. One of those places is the Grand Canal. If you're looking for a nice three-mile jog, start at 15th Avenue and head east. Run by Brophy and Central, past the Brophy baseball field to Seventh Street. Turn around and jog back to 15th Avenue. Boom — you got your three miles in, and you had to cross only two main streets. While you're running, you might also catch a glimpse of the humongous fish that call the canal home. So, the next time you see someone fishing along the bank of the canal, you'll know with a certainty that they aren't crazy — there really are fish in there.

Otro Cafe
Jacob Tyler Dunn

On one hand, it could be said that chef Doug Robson's Otro Cafe is a complement to his first restaurant, Gallo Blanco, in the way of very good and deftly prepared Mexican cuisine. In another sense, it's a more elevated companion that can hold its own. You'll find outstanding, bulked-out tacos here, as well as the Spanish-style tapas called El Español, an Inca salad made with nearly a dozen ingredients, and the satisfying tocino con rajas torta, a kind of BLT run through a Mexico City kitchen. For dessert, you'll want the postre de coco, a delicate creation of creamy coconut pudding topped with chocolate shavings that's reminiscent of a Mounds bar gone gourmet.

Bink's Midtown

Chef Kevin Binkley's first restaurant in Phoenix is a place where vegetables and fruits meet the future. Decidedly different from the upscale Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek and the more contemporary Cafe Bink in Carefree, the James Beard Award finalist's newest spot specializes in small plates of local produce re-imagined by a culinary powerhouse who just as easily could be pictured in a lab coat as an apron. From a menu that changes with the seasons, there might be roasted cauliflower with almonds, dried currants, and curry foam; juicy melon lit up with pepitas, chile piquin, ricotta salatta, and sangria granité; or sharp and peppery I'itoi onion and black-eyed peas interspersed with barbecued octopus. Fresh fruits find their way into inventive desserts like layered push-up pops and sorbet "soup" frozen with liquid nitrogen, and a well-crafted cocktail list reads like a kind of liquid science farmers market. The setting, a cozy neighborhood spot of wood floors, wainscoting, and white linen, makes Binkley's modernist take on cuisine feel right at home. (And good news: A second branch of Bink's Midtown is planned to open in Scottsdale by the end of the year.)

You'll have to pardon us if we get a little nostalgic as we publish our 35th edition of Best of Phoenix®. We've grown up together, Phoenix, and we can't help noticing that you've got a lot on your plate these days.

The rap on this place is that nothing lasts — buildings are torn down before there's time for mildew, restaurants come and go, and people never stay. But more and more, that's less true. From Tovrea Castle to the Bikini Lounge, there's plenty of vintage Phoenix left to admire, and we've documented our favorites for you here in the pages of the 2013 Best of Phoenix® and online at www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestofplates in a multimedia package featuring videos, slideshows, podcasts, and more.

Some things never get old, if you know what we mean. Enjoy.


Vintage Phoenix Q & A (All by Robrt L. Pela)

Megalopolitan Life: Artist Halldor Hjalmarson

Fun and Games: Phil Barrett of the Toy Box

Goods and Services: Brandi Kvetko of Jackalope Trading Post

La Vida: Serena Cays of Los Olivos

Food: Monica Heizenrader of MacAlpine's

Nightlife:Music historian John Dixon


Vintage Phoenix Collection (All by Valerie Hoke)

Megalopolitan Life: Phoenix Art Museum's Philip C. Curtis Paintings

Fun and Games: Gary Gauthier's Phoenix Suns Memorabilia

Goods and Services: Heidi Abrahamson's Native American Jewelry

La Vida: Steve Davis' Mexican Folk Art

Food: Jenny Kuller's Kitchen Goods

Nightlife: Danny Zelisko's Concert Memorabilia


Vintage Phoenix Artifact (All by Robrt L. Pela)

Megalopolitan Life: WPA Murals at Downtown Post Office

Fun and Games: Arizona Falls

Goods and Services: Leona Caldwell's Patio Wear

La Vida: Sagrado Corazón

Food: Bill Johnson's Trailer

Nightlife: Mr. Lucky's Sign


Vintage Phoenix Business (All by Valerie Hoke)

Megalopolitan Life: Tovrea Castle

Fun and Games: Big Surf

Goods and Services: Guidon Books

La Vida: Azteca Bridal

Food: Durant's

Nightlife: The Bikini Lounge


Vintage Phoenix Memory (All by Robrt L. Pela)

Megalopolitan Life: From the Ashes

Fun and Games: Monkey House Shines

Goods and Services: Final Vinyl

La Vida: My First Mexican

Food: Out to Eat

Nightlife: Dance Hall Days

El Chorro

A few years ago, the elegant but crumbling old El Chorro — a Paradise Valley icon — was completely redecorated. On the inside, it doesn't look the same, but one thing no one changed was the view, and the patio is and always will be the best place to enjoy El Chorro. Another constant: You're here for the drinks, not the food. That is, unless your server will sneak you a basket of El Chorro's signature sticky buns. Either way, the view of the north side of Camelback Mountain is breathtaking. And the cocktails aren't bad, either.

Climate change will mean routine, human-killing temperatures of 130 and higher during the summer. All water sources will dry up, sparking extreme conservation efforts. Farming will become impossible. Wildfires will transform the state's forests and highlands into the ashen landscape depicted in The Road. Welcome to the vision of worrywarts like Will deBuys, author of a March piece on slate.com titled "Phoenix May Not Survive Climate Change," and Andrew Ross, who wrote the 2011 book Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City.

But allow us to retort: Truth is, reports of Phoenix's impending demise are premature. State officials expect the population of the Phoenix area to nearly double by 2050 — to about 6 million. And no one should die of thirst: Phoenix and its suburbs have a multifaceted water supply more robust than any other major Southwest city. Sure, we'll have problems in the future. But it's the height of pessimism to claim that everyone will flee to perceived greener pastures rather than cope with the challenges. Don't you believe it.

Phoenix New Times Best Of

You'll have to pardon us if we get a little nostalgic as we publish our 35th edition of Best of Phoenix®. We've grown up together, Phoenix, and we can't help noticing that you've got a lot on your plate these days.

The rap on this place is that nothing lasts — buildings are torn down before there's time for mildew, restaurants come and go, and people never stay. But more and more, that's less true.

From Tovrea Castle to the Bikini Lounge, there's plenty of vintage Phoenix left to admire, and we've documented our favorites for you here in the pages of the 2013 Best of Phoenix® and online at www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestofplates in a multimedia package featuring videos, slideshows, podcasts, and more.

Some things never get old, if you know what we mean. Enjoy.

Citizen R+D

Scottsdale's cocktail lovers have been singing the praises of this tiny, semi-secret spot above Citizen Public House since it opened in 2011. Yes, the rules are strict and the prices steep, but then again, where else can you get a cocktail served in a freshly cracked coconut? And don't even get us started on the tableside gin or the flaming artistry that mixologist Kris Korf will perform with Jameson. While the cocktails are more than enough to keep us coming back — at least as often as our wallets will allow — the attraction is about more than just that. We love interacting with the knowledgeable staff who are always more than happy to help you select the right drink. Even the hulking doormen are pretty chill, as long as you follow their rules. You'll probably have to wait to get inside and wait to get your drink, but if you're looking for a cocktail experience that will actually live up to the hype, we promise it will be worth it.

FnB Restaurant
Debby Wolvos

Thanks to Charleen Badman, there's never been a better time to eat our vegetables. At FnB, the venerated Scottsdale restaurant she co-owns with partner Pavle Milic, Badman celebrates produce like cellist Yo-Yo Ma celebrates classical music: with a reverence for the classics but with an eclectic repertoire. Turning what were once considered side dishes into centerpieces, you might find her rustic, seasonal, and locally focused creations in the form of grilled butternut squash with yogurt, marinated beluga lentils, and spiced seeds; heirloom tomatoes with crispy polenta croutons and oregano from Badman's own garden; or as her Food & Wine award-winning braised leeks topped with mozzarella, a fried egg, and mustardy bread crumbs. No matter which you choose, you'll never look at an eggplant or a broccoli floret the same way again.

Best Of Phoenix®