Doing Phoenix like an Out-of-Towner

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We – and by we I mean Kaylie and company – have a visitor from California with us for the week. When they aren’t both living in Portland, the boyfriend, Ted, often comes to the desert for a visit. This time, he’s here for a week, and they both wanted to get to know Phoenix a little better. So I spent Saturday showing the cute couple around downtown. It was great because I was able to experience the city like an out-of-towner. I’ve been realizing in the past few weeks – between being around coworkers from out of state and old friends who aren’t that familiar with Phoenix – that there are so many lovely things to do in my own, sprawling backyard of metro Phoenix. I’m really trying to take advantage of all the sights – and most importantly, tastes – this city has to offer. So Ted’s visit was the perfect excuse.

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First, we went to the Phoenix public market to peruse the fresh veggies, flowers, and essential oils. I love going to this little market, even though for some reason I rarely purchase anything. It’s especially nice in the fall and spring when the heat isn’t so oppressive and more vendors come out. After testing a few samples, we ducked into the cafe for a iced coffee, because you pretty much always need one in your hand this time of year. We decided to brave the few blocks to Roosevelt Row and stopped in Short Leash’s Sit … Stay for some top-notch hotdogs. Our selections: the bear, the sunny, and the bratwurst stuffed pretzel. Short Leash was not a new experience for me, but it’s definitely a Phoenix must-eat.

As a side note, we found evidence that Kaylie and I are meant to be besties. Not only were we both dressed patriotically in anticipation of the Fourth of July (she was more nautical, I was more bicentennial), but we also were wearing sea creature brooches. As you can see, Ted and Domenico (unintentionally) got in on the red-white-and-blue color scheme.

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Rylee met up with us after lunch for an hour at the Melrose District before heading to work. Good thing she was there too, because I am much less confident once I venture past McDowell Street. Although, I don’t know how I don’t spend more of my weekends at the sweet vintage shops down there. Oh yeah – because I would spend all my money and not be able to afford delicious food. I walked away with a tray with a map of Arizona painted on it, a tiny porcelain swan dish, and a skirt this time.

We needed a little break from all that walking and looking at vintage tea towels, so we went to Lux for a coffee and a sit.

Domenico was able to join us after that, and we decided to walk around one of the many cute neighborhoods downtown. Perhaps we should all just move into a historic bungalow in Phoenix and eat fancy hot dogs everyday. There are some other nearby restaurants that give Short Leash a run for its money though. We selected Welcome Diner – one of Domenico and my favorite casual spots – for dinner. Amazingly, we ate everything we ordered, which included fried squash blossoms, the PB & B burger, the Koko, the Bumblebee and poutine fries. This meal proves that you can find first-rate Southern comfort food in the Southwest.

I must admit, a lot of the day was spent trying to escape the oppressive heat that was trying to murder us. Every chance we got, we ducked into coffee shops or stores. But that’s how you discover new favorites. And although I’d already been to many of these places, I felt like I got to experience them as a first-timer.

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