Leah LeMoine, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE I am embarrassed by how many times I have driven by locations of Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen without giving it a second thought. I think for many years I assumed it was a gluten-free version of Panera Bread – an unremarkable chain bakery/cafe. Why would I go out of my way to eat there when I could support our homegrown bakery/cafe, Wildflower?   Then my friend Elaina started working with Picazzo’s. She told me it was locally owned...

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To celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020, Phoenix College published Phoenix College: Our Past. Your Future. ($29), a charming retrospective coffee table book. Acclaimed local author and Phoenix College alumna Stella Pope Duarte (If I Die in Juárez) chronicles the community college’s history in a decade-by-decade look back that also touches on local and international history, from feminism to the Vietnam War to Y2K. A yearbook-style spread highlights notable alumni, which include Phoenix mayor Kate...

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Have a podcast idea but no clue how to make it a reality? Check out PodPopuli, the first retail podcast storefront in the U.S., which opened in Old Town Scottsdale in January. “This is a place where people of all ages can learn to podcast, launch a podcast and even watch podcasts being created,” says founder Brian Howie, who hosts four pods of his own. PodPopuli offers recording, production, creative and distribution services.

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Blogger and 2020 PHOENIX magazine Great 48 honoree Alana Yazzie, aka The Fancy Navajo, “wanted to create Native fashion that was cute, girly and colorful and reflected The Fancy Navajo brand.” Longtime followers weren’t surprised when she debuted her Turquoise & Coffee T-shirt, dedicated to her two obsessions. “I also wanted to create a shirt that incorporated Diné and English,” Yazzie says. Since she’s not fluent in Diné, she often combines words from the Navajo...

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Photo courtesy Red Havas    All the news that’s fit to nosh.   Tucson Takeover: After years of anticipation, Tucson fast-food icon eegee’s is opening its first Valley location. The eatery, which specializes in subs, grinders, specialty french fries, soft pretzels and its signature eegee frozen fruit drink, will open this summer at the southwest corner of Baseline Road and Val Vista Drive in Gilbert. “We’re very fortunate that there’s already so much anticipation around our expansion,” says eegee’s CEO Ron Petty. “Our brand affinity in Tucson...

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As he gazed out the window of Downtown Phoenix’s historical Sarah H. Pemberton house last year, True North Studio founder/developer Jonathan Vento reimagined his plans for the property amid the pandemic. His vision: a festival that never ends, filled with local restaurants, entertainment and art. This January, Vento and crew cut the proverbial ribbon on Pemberton PHX, situated on about 2 acres just north of the Roosevelt Row arts district. The “ever-evolving collective” will have...

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Food festivals may be scarce this spring, but you can still make the most of the season with al fresco dining courtesy of these mobile culinarians. Hot Pot Caribbean Cuisine Chandler’s premier Caribbean eatery now has a food truck ferrying its beef patties, jerk chicken and curry goat all around the Valley. hotpotcuisine.com Goat & Ram Track down this pizza mobile for inventive spins on pie like the Wurst Pizza Ever: roasted garlic cream, bratwurst,...

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All the news that’s fit to nosh.   Mambo Italiano: Food Network favorite Scott Conant is reopening his Phoenix eatery Mora Italian on April 9. “We’re finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after a very challenging year, and we think now is the time to welcome the community back to Mora in a safe and responsible way,” Conant says. “Guests can expect the same level of soulful deliciousness that has made Mora a neighborhood favorite, but...

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Italian meatballs | Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE Sometimes it’s nice to reconnect with an old friend. I surmise I’ll be doing a lot of that as the vaccine rollout speeds up in Arizona, and I’m looking forward to seeing old pals in person – especially when those pals are restaurants.   North Italia is one such friend. I remember visiting its West Valley location (since shuttered) for the first time in high school. I was besotted by a deconstructed chicken lasagne on the menu at...

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Photo courtesy of CRUjiente Tacos   All the news that’s fit to nosh.  New Pasta-Bilities: Pop-up favorite Saint Pasta, late of Linger Longer Lounge, is one of two high-profile food concepts moving into the architectural gem in the Coronado Historic District long occupied by Valley fave Tuck Shop, which has sadly shuttered. The other restaurant, we have just learned, is vegetarian mainstay The Coronado PHX, which will decamp from its longtime home on 7th Street (just a few blocks away from the new...

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  Photo by Leah LeMoine   THE SCENE  Have you ever put off trying a restaurant because you thought it was far from your house? No? Just me? Well, as I’ve mentioned before, my partner is loath to leave the 5-mile bubble he’s mentally constructed around our house, even for good food. I will drive damn near anywhere for a delicious meal – and I do, in “normal times,” trying new places all around the Valley with foodie friends. During the pandemic, though, I’ve found myself...

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Last week, Pancho was taken from Chino Bandido.   It wasn’t a robbery – the 7,500-pound black granite bear statue was moved from the legendary Chinese-Mexican-Jamaican fusion eatery’s original location at 19th Avenue and Greenway Road to its new home at Bell Road and Third Avenue. After more than three decades in the same building, one of the Valley’s most beloved holes-in-the-wall is relocating.  “After 31 years, I knew it was time for a change,” says Eve Lee Collins, who opened Chino Bandido in 1991 with her husband, Frank...

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.