Tag Archive | "phoenix"

Children’s Museum of Phoenix Full of Fun and Creativity


Parking can be a little difficult to come by at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix’s small parking lot that fills up quick (probably because others also feel that this place is amazing) but once I walked through the doors I knew that it was worth the trip. Bringing along kids ranging from 1 to 12 years old gave me a full range of feedback from kids of varying age groups. All the children had a blast the Children’s Museum of Phoenix especially at the massive indoor tree house.



The treehouse was several stories high and full of intricate details with recycled items. Upstairs you can find a room with a play grocery store where kids can push a grocery cart around and select grocery items such as canned goods, fruits and veggies, and rice as well as check out at the checkout stand. There other kids work the check stands, bag the groceries, and stock the shelves. I can’t begin to tell you how cute that was and how many photos I took of the children. There was another area where the kids can get on various tricycles and go through a little course. An area for babies and pre-walkers is upstairs which little intricate houses in pastel colors.


There was a small cafeteria but we decided to bring our own lunch. Art classes, exhibits, and activities were also in many of their workshop rooms. Stairs and elevators were available. I must say that it was a very stroller friendly place. Next time you are in Phoenix with pre-teenage children, toddles, and babies, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is definitely worth a visit.




You can visit the Children’s Museum of Phoenix at 215 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85034. Their telephone number is (602) 253-0501. Non-members of the museum are $11. Children under the age of 1 are free. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm (check their calendar for holidays and school breaks as times may vary).

The Canyon Suites – Phoenix


photoEntering the lobby of The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, your personal Canyon Ambassador greets you and your tension melts away. Surrounded by translucent Italian marble, Chinese maple furniture, and floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s impossible to not be relaxed.

Spend your days golfing at The Phoenician’s 27-hole championship facility, comprised of three nines, each named for its surrounding landscape – Canyon, Desert, and Oasis. Or lounge by the exclusive pool, where private cabanas include a full bath; wander the grounds, or head to the Spa.
Before long, you’ll want to make your way back to your temporary home. The luxurious comfort of your suite will make you balk at ever leaving. The Therapeutic Turndown will finish off the day nicely, when the attentive staff draws your bathwater and sprinkles in soothing spa salts. If possible, do yourself a favor and book one of the Presidential Suites; you’ll feel like the King of the Canyon.

6000 East Camelback Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
+1 480-941-8200

The Clarendon – Phoenix


The Clarendon is a centrally located boutique hotel perfect for anyone who wants to visit and take advantage of all that Phoenix has to offer. The Clarendon has all the basic amenities that one has come to expect in any recently renovated modern boutique hotel. Three levels of comfort and relaxation surround a large mosaic tiled pool that stays open late if you’re interested in a late night swim after a hot day of shopping in phoenix. Conveniently nestled In the mezzanine of the hotel lies one of the best Mexican food restaurants in the city. The clarendon roof top hosts a comfortable respite furnished with couches and umbrellas for a roof top ronde vieux. All together the Clarendon offers a traveler all the comfort, relaxation, and convenience that any visit to phoenix couldn’t help but appreciate.

-Stryder Bartow

401 West Clarendon Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ
(602) 252-7363

Lon’s – Paradise Valley


In order to do justice to this review I must first paint you a mental picture of the experience. Imagine yourself surrounded by gorgeous desert botanicals. Now imagine huge purple and pink majestic mountains as your backdrop. While you are taking this all in there is a slight scent of mesquite drifting through the air, beautiful trees luminated with quaint little lanterns. Its twilight now and the sky in lit up in shades of orange, pink, yellow and purple as the sunsets on the beautiful patio of Lon’s hidden oasis. The fun has just begun!

This can be all yours and more during a visit to Lon’s at the Hermosa inn in Paradise Valley, Arizona. My colleague and I arrived at Lon’s for a 7pm reservation. We enjoyed a glass of wine in the main lobby area while our table was being prepared. We were sat shortly after and our experience commenced. We decided to go with the tasting menu and wine pairing. Artistic plates continued to come our way with beautifully paired wine picked with precision to match or cuisine. Most of the dishes choose for us were signature dishes of Lon’s and Chef Jeremy Pacheco. Some of the most memorable plates were the Pan roasted Alaskan Halibut cooked to perfection and dressed with roasted fresh vegetables and the Lon’s cowboy candy bar, (don’t leave without trying this one). Lon’s at the Hermosa prides it self on using homegrown and organic produce whenever possible, this is very apparent in their cuisine, every bite is packed with fresh and natural flavor. A rare and special touch was a glass of Caduceus Premir Paso Syrah Bianca, a local Arizona wine. This wine is produced in a quaint little ghost town name named Jerome, owned by Maynard from The band Tool. It was a great match to go with our confit campari tomato salad, every sip and bite right from Arizona!

If you are visiting Arizona or a resident I recommend you try Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn for a celebration or casual dining. Lon’s staff go out of there way to make it a memorable experience. You can’t go wrong with the beautiful scenery and beautiful American cuisine. Enjoy!

-Angie Edmund

5532 North Palo Cristi Road
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park – London


Nestled on the North side of Camelback Mountain with breathtaking panaramic views of paradise valley and beyond rests the Sanctuary Spa. The setting is a fusion of modern architecture and Asian inspired zen elements. I knew I had found my way to this boutique hotel’s secluded spa when I spotted some very tall bamboo accentuating a shaded courtyard. I was warmly greeted and taken back to the fully equipped locker room. I changed into a plush robe and headed for the eucalyptus steam room to warm up my muscles and flush out some toxins. After my steam I took a refreshing shower and tried their signature Asian neroli bath products which smelled divine. It was now time to head over to the treatment waiting area which opens into the Zen Meditation Garden centerpiece with a tranquil reflection pond and lush foliage. I sat in a comfortable chair and gazed out at the water, centering myself, and enjoyed the quiet simplicity of my surroundings.

I was taken back through the garden to an inviting indoor/outdoor treatment room by Ginny, my massage therapist. I received the 90-minute Wild Lime blossom massage. The Mascioni linens were so smooth that I instantly began to melt. The treatment began with a thorough, vigorous scalp and neck massage using a warm oil infused with wild lime, sandalwood, and ginger. I was then given a full body massage with an aromatic Japanese Yuzu Citrus oil. Mmmm. By the end of the massage I felt pleasantly relaxed and rejuvenated. I drifted back into the waiting area and had myself a cup of “purify” tea, perfect.

The Sanctuary spa has a wide range of treatment options to choose from. You will find a variety of authentic Asian bodywork treatments to experience. Try a Thai inspired poultice massage ‘luk pra kope’, acupuncture, or even watsu, a profoundly relaxing aquatic therapy based on the healing elements of zen shiatsu. In addition to their full spa menu, Sanctuary has a state-of the-art fitness center, movement studio, lap pool, and a full service salon and boutique.

Sanctuary Spa
5700 E Mcdonald Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
(480) 948-2100

Avalon – Scottsdale


By Phil Freedom

A stand alone building on McDowell road, overlooking Scottsdale’s largest greenbelt and park, sits Avalon Scottsdale a unique coastal cuisine. An oasis of salt water specialties, this modern space celebrates its link to the sea with a perpetual water fountain in front. I glanced at its perimeter admiring the structure as the water seemed to gently cover the surface of the rocks. It had the feeling of a contemporary spa; soothing, open, and comfortable. Upon entering, Morgan, the friendly and attractive hostess checked our reservations and offered us a booth. Martin, the manager also greeted us, as well as some of the other patrons.

The place is Spacious, spotless, and gorgeous. Pearly white beaded curtains divide up the room without sacrificing continuity. The music mixed genres easy enough to listen to, yet not too tame to bother. Our waiter John brought waters with the dinner and drink menus. Bubbly?!! Something about champagne with dinner makes me want to start giggling like a kid up late on caffeine. I opted for the Veuve Du Vernay Brut, or the “Rose” which had a light fruity sweetness and my lady chose the Quail Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice balanced red from Napa Valley. I’m kind of a pushover when it comes to sharing food so I reluctantly agreed to try the Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta. I am glad I did, because unlike many places, this bruschetta was lightly crisped rather than crunchy, and layered with roasted corn and topped with plump juicy shrimp. The spices and smells worked together harmoniously enhancing the inherent flavors of the balsamic, garlic, shrimp. Between the appetizers and the main course, John brought out a small, soft, warm loaf of wheat bread and butter.
For the entree I ordered the Halibut with the carrot ginger puree and fingerling potatoes. Say that to yourself once, carrot ginger puree. It just sounds brilliant. The halibut itself was so soft and tender that it crumbled with the greatest of ease and there was enough puree so that I could share. Again, here the dominate flavors were carefully manipulated to pull out the seasoning subtly, yet comprehensively. My date had the Butter Poached Maine Lobster with ricotta gnocchi, tomato confit, and saffron lobster ‘Demi.’ She seldom eats anything but Salmon, so I was shocked she took on the lobster. I demanded a taste (after she offered, of coarse) letting the butter absorb into my tongue before gently chewing the thoroughly and consistently saturated meat.
Delighted with our experience we both grinned ear to ear over desserts. She ordered both the Hazelnut Creme de Brulee and the Chocolate Seduction. I took on the Avalon Brownie Sundae which was composed of strawberry gelatto, a chocolate brownie, and toffee popcorn with sprinkles. It looked more like an amusement park ride or an art sculpture. While toffee and popcorn may sound out of place, they definitely tasted right. Sweet caramel toffee and popcorn surrounding a spongy brownie topped with strawberry and cream…MMMM…who would have thought of something this splendid? The Executive Chef Travis Watson, thats who.
Inviting atmosphere, friendly staff, and fantastic food, Avalon Scottsdale is a great experience. Wednesday nights wine bottles are half price – so drink something nice.

Avalon Restaurant
7707 E Mcdowell Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85257-3743
(480) 656-0010

A Wine Chat with Sean Tevik


By K.L. Riley

I had an opportunity to sit with Sean Tevik, Sommelier from Spaghetti Western Productions last week and I want to share some of our conversation. Spaghetti Western Productions is an umbrella company that boasts 3 eclectic restaurants ( Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, Digestif ) and a wine bar ( Kazimierz) in Scottsdale Arizona. Each of these establishments are independent but they all share a massive 3,300 bottle wine cellar that Sean Tevik oversees. A task as big as this one, would seem arduous for most but Sean somehow easily rises to the challenges of running a wine cellar of this magnitude rather effortlessly. I had a lot of questions for him and I hope they help us gain insight into the mind of a wine guru.

Q. What was it that brought you to your passion for wine?
A. Mostly, an obsession with beverages and alcoholic beverages more specifically. I first became interested in making my own beer, or trying to make my own beer because you had to be 21 to buy beer. Then I got into spirits. When I was 18 I had a pretty expensive car bar in the back of my trunk and we used to drink a lot of homemade spirits. Getting into wine was a natural evolution because it was a confusing world that we didn’t know much about. Wine at first when I was younger was something I knew nothing about and there is no one way to make it so there are a lot of possibilities. There are so many different styles of wine making from region to region, country to country and it’s a never ending rabbit hole. When I was 20 I attended college in Spain and I started collecting wine and one day I drank a bottle of Justin Isosceles and that was the bottle that blew me away. The Spanish people have an entirely different perspective on drinking , it’s not as taboo, so living in that kind of environment really helped cultivate my approach to alcohol. Spanish wine is so different than American wine and I was drinking older vintages, and wine is a part of life there.

Q. What is your favorite wine at the moment ?
A. Right now I would say my favorite wine is the 2006 Garnascha from the Villa Creek Cellars Denner Vineyards. It’s a single vineyard Grenache from Paso Robles California and what makes this wine so special is the root stock. It has great spice and well balanced fruit at a great price point. Unfortunately my cellar is the only cellar in Arizona that sells this wine so you will have to come to one of our establishments to enjoy it. Just a beautiful wine.

Q. Any tips for us on how to start a wine cellar or maintaining our current wine cellars?
A. Well the tendency is to drink all the wine in your home so the first step is don’t drink all your wine right away. A good way to avoid this problem is buying an entire case of wine instead of just a bottle. This was you can drink some now and drink some later. Also, allow room in your budget to buy wine. Instead of spending money on eating out 5 days a week only go out 4 days a week and use that extra money for wine. Temperature is also extremely important for keeping wine long term. If you don’t have a wine refrigerator the basement or the bottom of a closet should do the trick.

Q. I know that you are in the process of making your own wine and I was wondering if you could tell me about what you’ve been up to?
A. I am teaming up with Chrytal Clifton from Palmina Winery and we are doing one varietal this year. We want to focus on Italian varietals. I love the Rose grape and I think that it underappreciated in this country. I love rose from southern France and Northern Italy and I think they have specific components that give them great complexity. We are driven to make a perfect rose . Our rose will give you great acidity, earth , tannins, with a floral nose. This wine will jump out of the glass! All the things we love about rose will be encompassed in this wine. The name is still changing so when we rename the wine I will make sure to let the you know so you can buy a case for your cellar.

Q. What area of the world is really exciting for wine right now?
A. For me it’s Arizona. Arizona wines are starting to be taken a more seriously throughout the last couple of years. There are wineries in the south that are become recognized world wide and now there are more wineries in the north around Sedona that are making great wine. It is especially important for residents of the state of Arizona to take an interest in our local wineries. Go visit them and support them and you will be rewarded with some incredible wines to enjoy now and cellar for some years to enjoy later. Arizona has a hot climate so one would think that growing grapes here would be too difficult but I assure you they are incredible. Now, with the economy in shambles, we have an opportunity to cultivate our local wineries and plant a seed of interest to help them .besides, driving 2 hours to Sedona is a lot more cost efficient than taking the journey to Napa.

My conversation with Sean gave me great insight into the mind of a sommelier and it reinforces some of my beliefs, but more importantly it was a learning experience. Wine is such a complex world with confusing terms , pretentious people, and so many varietals and wineries to choose from. Sommeliers like Sean give me great relief in knowing that Wine is only a quest for knowledge for the humble and the appreciative. And it really tastes good!

Spa Avania – Scottsdale, Arizona


To say that a spa is Zen-like might seem slightly clichéd, but that’s truly what I encountered at Avania Spa. I made my way through the spacious lobby of the Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch Resort, and finally entered the spa, I disrobed from my street attire and enrobed in the Avania uniform of a soft cotton robe. I emerged from the spacious changing area to enter the beautiful relaxation room which offers snacks to nibble on and drinks to sip, pre-spa treatment. Avania is currently offering treatments called “Thai Winter Offerings” which are an intuitive selection of treatments based on the Thai belief of maintaining the vitality and balance of the four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. Although I’m a bona fide water sign with my sun sign in Cancer (June 30th), I decided to try the Air treatments which are intended to simultaneously invite beauty and rejuvenate the spirit. The treatment started with Hot Herbal Facial Poultice Massage, this unique facial consisted of a warm, herbal compress made of camphor, menthol and lemongrass which was pressed onto my face, neck and shoulders. The compress was followed by a massage to melt away stress and strain.  Next I was given what is known as a Progressive Facial. The progressive facial focused on resurfacing and purifying my skin by using an exfoliation of sunflower seed, lemon, lime and clove. This lasted about an hour and when I looked in the mirror afterwards, I could see some of my fine lines diminished. For hours I was pampered, the facial scrub and body wrap were so unbelievably refreshing. While the aromas enlightened my senses, I was in a state of bliss escaping from the daily stressors that fill our days. Almost as amazing as the treatments was the hot shower I took before leaving Avania. I struggled to leave but thought to my self, I will definitely be back soon. Highlights of this unique spa include 19 treatment rooms, including three rooms to accommodate couples and five Garden treatment rooms with their own private entrance, gentlemen’s suite, co-ed French-Celtic mineral pool and lotus pond, a yoga room and much more.
Spa Avania
7500 E Doubletree Ranch Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
(480) 483-5558