Last week, I used some credit card points to spontaneously book a ticket to go visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in Arizona. On Saturday, we decided to explore the town without a destination. We let our waiters decide our foodie fate!
“We are on a culinary crawl of Phoenix. A drink and an app at every place we go. But where we go, is in your hands. By the time we get the check, it’s up to you to recommend the next awesome local place we should check out. And we’ll have to go there. Sound good?”
This happened on repeat at 6 different places in 1 epic afternoon. Where was the inspiration for this awesome backyard adventure? It came from my brother’s one-time side project, Sunday Bucket, which urges us to explore our own cities like a tourist – among many other fun, easy to accomplish bucket-list experiences.
Granted, Phoenix isn’t my city, but really, the concept can be applied anywhere. Here’s how our exploratory Saturday in Arizona went:
The starting point: OHSO Eatery + nanoBrewery
This first place, we had to pick. And we made sure to chose a cool enough spot to set the vibe for the afternoon. We knew that a waiter or waitress here would be more likely to recommend a similarly cool and unique place.
A nice sampler of OHSO’s awesome craft brews got us started. That, some shrimp ceviche, and a side of fries. OHSO even had dog treats made of the spent grain from brewing mixed with eggs, flour, and peanut butter. I brought one home for Benji!
Next up: The Vig
Bloody Mary bar you say? And $4 mimosas? Deal. Let’s bring over a platter of smoked salmon and pita while we’re at it! And what an amazing surprise, they had Baggo to play in the sunshine of the patio. My nephew, Tripp, loved it!
Round Three: Ingo’s
Here, my brother Chris is thoroughly enjoying a Sangria Blanco (pinot grigio, fresh apple, lemon). I got the Love Child (astral blanco tequila , coconut water, mint, fresh lime) which was like the most refreshing margarita ever.
This was a really cool spot, right on the corner of an intersection in Arcadia where we all enjoyed the breeze and the constant flow of passerbys to watch.
Wildcard: LGO Grocery
Actually not a recommendation, but right across the street from Ingo’s was La Grande Orange Grocery. Lianne knew LGO had a pretty stellar bakery and we didn’t need much convincing to run across the street for fudge brownies and old fashioned cupcakes!
Game time: The Pig’s Meow
This next stop felt like traveling back in time. Definitely the most unique of the places we discovered and we would absolutely never have found The Pig’s Meow otherwise.
It’s a hole-in-the-wall bar in a strip-mall that only sells grilled cheeses, has over 30 beers on tap, a Lego wall, board games like Guess Who and Connect Four, and a Sega Genesis at every high top.
My brother and I played Sonic for an hour while Tripp destroyed a Mr. Potato Head. Does it get better than that?
Last Call: The Attic
Literally across the street from Camelback Mountain, this was the perfect place to end the day. At just 7-months, Tripp had been a real trooper on his first bar crawl, but we were all getting a little tired now.
What better spot to have our last beer than on a second story open-air patio as the sun hung low over Camelback. It was a relaxing end to a perfect impromptu day of culinary exploration.
You Need To Try This
The next time you’re having trouble deciding what to do or where to go on any given afternoon or night, give this a shot. You have to chose one spot to start, and make sure it’s one that will set the vibe of the places you’d like to explore.
It’s exciting not knowing where you’ll end up, and I promise you will discover amazing places you’ve probably never been or never even heard of. People love to share their knowledge and play a little part in guiding your experience of their city!
All you need to do is keep an open mind and ask! Where will you go next?