Desert Digest

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  Caffio Espresso Bar is located inside the lush, beautiful garden at Pueblo Life plant shop in Downtown Phoenix. But much like the ever-evolving flora and unique coffee concoctions on its menu, Caffio does not remain static. This locally owned coffee shop is operated out of a VespaCar, an Italian commercial vehicle with three wheels.  Owner Anthony Fiorelli wanted to open a business that he was passionate about while honoring his family’s Italian heritage. He...

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Calling all cuisine connoisseurs: For the first time in three years, Devour Phoenix is back at Desert Botanical Garden! In the culinary extravaganza’s 14th year, guests will enjoy a multi-event experience filled with Arizona’s leading chefs, wineries and restaurants at what The New York Times called the Best Southwestern Culinary Festival. New participants this year include Sin Muerte (chef Vince Mellody), Carcara (chef Angy Dykstra), Rough Rider (chef Ian Herschberg), Sake Haus, Anoche Cantina and...

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Valentine’s Day is like Campari and soda: Either you love it, or you hate it. The holiday has the usual built-in tropes associated with Hallmark cards, flowers, romantic dinners and popping Champagne corks. Of those, the bubbly remains my favorite Valentine’s Day stereotype – irrespective of relationship status. So instead of name-dropping and urging you to go get some Cristal or Dom, which will put a big hole on your wallet, let’s instead go the...

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This small, modern restaurant with an open patio and stunning panoramic views sits two stories above the gentle hustle and bustle of downtown Gilbert. Named after a North American spirit derived from a Chihuahuan Desert shrub called the sotol plant, this hotspot is introducing Gilbert to a creative cocktail menu, but it’s a lot more than a thirst-quenching cantina. The menu is also filled with imaginative dishes that not only tickled my taste buds but...

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Openings Barro’s Pizza After 20 years, the Chandler branch of this family-owned, made-to-order pizza restaurant is moving to a bigger space in Las Tiendas Village. They also dish up wings, sandwiches, pasta and salads. 2935 S. Alma School Rd., Chandler, barrospizza.com BJ’s Brewhouse This national chain offers 48 beers on tap and a full menu, featuring everything from salads and pizzas to burgers and tacos. 14950 W. McDowell Rd., Goodyear, bjsrestaurants.com Cartel Roasting Co. Desert...

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All the news that’s fit to nosh.   Flights for Good: To celebrate four years in business, JOJO Coffeehouse in Old Town Scottsdale will host “Flight 4 Charity” Day on Saturday, February 4. The locally owned breakfast and brunch spot will donate $4 from every order of its signature coffee and mimosa flights to Feed My Starving Children. The event will also include live music and raffles for prizes and giveaways. JOJO Coffeehouse also recently updated...

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Chances are your neighborhood grocery store has a Starbucks inside it – the coffee-shop-in-a-market model has swept Safeway, Fry’s and Target, among others. Now, you can indulge in a local version of grocery-store caffeination with Press Coffee’s new location inside Sprouts Farmers Market. The local coffee chain opened its shop in the Phoenix-based grocery chain’s Seventh Avenue and Osborn Road outpost in November. It features a full drink menu including specialty drip and cold brew...

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THE SCENE When I walk into The Bar’s Gilbert location for a media happy hour, I’m struck by how chill it is. Yes, it’s a bar – The Bar, as its no-frills name downplays – but it’s not rowdy. It’s not kitschy or themed or projecting the forced party atmosphere of a bar where grown-ups try to act like college kids. It’s not a quiet, demure little watering hole, either. It occupies a sweet spot...

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Openings Ah-wok-tukee Asian Cuisine Clever name for a new Ahwatukee restaurant serving up egg foo young, orange chicken, Mongolian beef, lo mein and other favorites. 1420 E. Chandler Blvd., Phoenix, ah-wok-tukee.com Angie’s Lobster Home of the $9.99 lobster meal opens a third Valley location. 1901 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd., Phoenix, angieslobster.com Black Rock Coffee Stop by for your favorite coffee drink or smoothie at Black Rock’s newest location in Mesa. 1458 S. Signal Butte Rd.,...

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Dom Ruggiero has two superpowers. One is cooking; the other is sniffing out dodgy restaurant neighborhoods and making them cool. Case in point: his first restaurant, Hush Public House, set in a nondescript strip mall on Scottsdale Road near Thunderbird. Before Ruggiero showed up, who headed to that intersection for a fantastic, creative meal? Ever? Precisely no one. Now, customers haul butt to get to Hush when it opens at 5 p.m. to snag a...

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