AMC Esplanade adds recliners. Yeah.

Wednesday, September 7th, the old AMC Esplanade is showing off it’s new facelift. My husband and I stopped by the almost-open theater and one of the workers gave us the skinny.

They have Fork and Screen rooms where you can watch a movie and eat. But  also a few higher end rooms they call Cinema Suites that include a recliner (see photo above), a small bag of popcorn and get this — a warm towel! She listed off the prices, and frankly, they didn’t seem too bad ($15 for a fancy ticket on weekend nights).

As far as I’m concerned, the warm towel is worth the price of admission.

Photo above is from Phoenix New Times. Check out more photos and their preview.

AMC Esplanade 14
2515 East Camelback Road
View showtimes

What’s new: Frances Studio

\When I heard that Red Hot Robot was moving out of Medlock Plaza, I immediately
emailed Georgeanne Bryant, owner of cool-spots Frances & Smeeks, and asked if
she was going to give that space her magic touch.

“My family would kill me,” she replied.

Her family must have come to terms with the fact that the city needs her. Friday, June 3rd marked the opening of the new accessories and shoe store, Frances Studio — which carries many of the cool, eclectic brands found in Frances Vintage, like Toms and Orla Kiely…and then some. What you’ll find: unique tapestry bags, cool artisan pendants, funky footwear.

Now the piercing shop next door needs to relocate so Bryant can start a stationery store.

Nourish-ing difficult diets

I don’t eat dairy. My friend gets stomach aches if she eats gluten. There’s often a vegetarian or vegan in any given dining mix.

Dining out with a multitude of dietary restrictions can be challenging at best — and downright annoying at worst.

Nourish, a new healthy restaurant near Scottsdale Fashion Square is a destination for picky foodies.

“Do you have any dietary restrictions?” asks our waitress as soon as we sit down.

The menu clearly lists what’s vegan, dairy, gluten-free with liberal notes about how a menu item can be changed to fit your particular dietary needs.

As to be expected, many menu items smack of healthy eating. An air-fried egg? Really?

But I must admit, my air-fried Eggs Benedict on a gluten-free bagel was pretty good.

On Highland Ave. west of Scottsdale Road

Grand opening: Vintage by Misty

Make today a vintage day.

It’s been open for more than a month, but tonight from 4-8 p.m. is the official grand opening of Vintage by Misty. Some things to see: an assortment of statement jewelry, European vintage (which just has to be cooler) and some unique home items. Even better, shop today and get 10% off your purchase.

So put on your “red carpet attire” and check out the new digs off Central, just south of Roosevelt.

Vintage by Misty
818 N. Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Sunday by appointment
(602) 707-6235

New Phoenix restaurants: Windsor & Churn

I’ve been waiting a long time for Windsor – both literally and figuatively.

I’d heard word that the Postino people were opening a new restaurant across the street from the Central location.

I watched construction on aforementioned location for months, but I didn’t let myself believe it until I saw cars in the parking lot and signs saying it was officially open for business.

Last Monday, Craig Demarco’s new restaurant Windsor, named for the Windsor neighbor where it resides, and dessert destination, Churn, opened for business.

The atmosphere is cozy meets funky. The space is small; Leather booths line the wall, old-school brass fixtures are combined with cassette tape wallpaper.

The patio is open and airy (a model of how I’m hoping to remodel my own patio) with a cool wooden fence, lots of potted cacti & succulents, strings of over-head lights: basically the perfect easy breezy outdoor eating and space.

It’s great to see a good looking restaurant — but there have been a lot of those opening recently, with a lackluster menu.

Would this place be more of the same?

In a word, no.

Windsor’s menu is right up my alley: lots of sandwiches, simple appetizers (corn dog bites!) and some delicious drinks (and cocktails).

On our recent visit, my husband and I started with the corn dog poppers ($6), because who doesn’t love a good corn dog? They were as expected, bite-sized hog dogs in a sweet breading with a yellow mustard dipping sauce (see above). Mmmmm.

For lunch, I had the Halibut Banh Mi ($13) with was made with sanbal mayo, carrots, and cilantro.

My husband had the Porkwich ($12) and we marveled  at the three different types of pig — pulled pork, ham, and bacon — which were joined by slaw and sweet mustard.

Each sandwich has a choice from one of several sides: the more typical fries and chips, but also a bevy of beans, okra, or cheesy potatoes.

Even though our meal was totally filling, I had to check out the dessert spot next door, Churn.

Their offerings: several flavors of ice cream (I wish I did dairy so I could try the peanut butter flavor) and plates of cookies, cupcakes and sweets.

I did wish that the sweets were available on the Windsor menu. I’ll walk for a sweetie, but it would be easier just to put it all on one bill.

The Windsor & Churn
5223 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Phoenix things to do: April 29 – May 1

I’ve been a very bad blogger.

“Did you see my post on Bingo night?” I asked my husband last week.
“No — I haven’t looked at your blog in awhile,” he said. “You lost me as a user.”

If I can’t keep my husband, who is basically legally bound to read my blog, how, I might ask, can I expect anyone else to read it?!
It’s true. While my new baby Wilson is great on many fronts — he’s been kryptonite for my blog.

But things are changing!


Building a Lasagna Garden @ Coronado Community Garden
I learned about lasagna gardening a couple of years ago at a Phoenix Permaculture Guild class, which I credit for any garden success (though modest) I’ve had. Learn the basics at this 2 hour class.

Coronado Community Garden
1224 E. Virginia Street
Phoenix, AZ
9 – 11 a.m.


Travel Treasure Hunt Entry fees are $50 per person and all proceeds go toward the YMCA Strong Kids and Families campaign.

Starting at Jobot, ending at Lost Leaf
918 N. 5th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Barre Pilates class @ Sutra Midtown Yoga
Develop your core, strengthen and lengthen all in one class — now through May 7th, all barre classes are $2

Sutra Midtown Yoga
2317 N. 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.


Tameka Allen & Pretty in Peace trunkshows @ Frances Vintage

Frances Vintage
10 W. Central
Phoenix, AZ


Sundays in Paradise @ Sanctuary
Sit on the lawn, sip wine, sample savory snacks and listen to local bands. Sounds like paradise to me.

The Sanctuary
Paradise Views Lawn
2-6 p.m.
No cover

Bianco DiNapoli Tomatoes

Chris Bianco added lunch hours to Pizzeria Bianco, dinner hours at Pane Bianco, and has consulted on new local restaurant projects. If that wasn’t enough, now he’s in the tomato business.

Chris Bianco is working with fruit and veggie canner, Rob DiNapoli to create organically grown and hand-processed tomatoes.

It’s not likely our pizza sauce will taste like a Bianco’s pie, but with the right tomatoes, we’ll be a step closer.

The giant 102 ounce cans are $15 and available at Pane Bianco.

Not grandma’s bingo: Bingo After Dark

Glow sticks, thumping music, strobe lights: it could be a description of a rave…or BAD Bingo at Lone Butte Casino.

Every Saturday at 11:30 p.m., birthday partiers, bachelorettes and hundreds of others gather for a relatively inexpensive, slightly anxiety-inducing, and very entertaining BINGO event.

This is not grandma’s bingo.

“This is so surreal,” commented more than one friend during a maiden Bingo voyage.

The weekly event combines of the fun of an elementary school card game, with the smoking, drinking and big payoffs of a casino. Throw in a hype man and mid-game dance-offs for good measure — and you’ve got an idea of a BAD Bingo night.

Tip: Arrive early, especially with a big party. Tables fill up fast.

Lone Butte Casino
South of the 202 at Kyrene
11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
$7 for 11 game cards

Phoenix things to do: April 15-17

There’s so much going on this weekend. Here are a few things I’d like to do.



Record Store Day @ Stinkweeds
Support your local record stores by shopping for more than 300 vinyl releases, 180 re-issues and listening to Menomena, along with Kinch, Colorstore, Prime8’s in the Stinkweeds parking lot.

12 W. Camelback
Phoenix, Az
Store opening at 9 a.m., music starting at noon


Hands-on Herb Potting @ Coronado Community Garden
Learn the right mix of soil for successful herb growing. All you need is a pot.

Coronado Community Garden
1224 E. Virginia Street
Phoenix, AZ
9 – 11 a.m.


Coffee, Cookies and Crafts @ Bragg’s Pie Factory
Bring your ideas to this craft event which includes make-and-take crafts and more than 30 local vendors selling their wares, free coffee and cookies, craft demos and more.

Bragg’s Pie Factory
1301 W. Grand Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
noon – 5 p.m.


Yelle @ Rhythm Room
Enjoy a dance-y, pop-y evening listening to French songstress, Yelle. This CD has been in my car for over a year. I hear the live show is amazing.

The Rhythm Room
1019 E. Indian School Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85014
8 p.m.



More things to do on New Times >>
More things to do on >>

Pizzeria Bianco’s does lunch

Pizzeria Bianco has won awards from critics, readers and fellow restauranteurs alike. It was voted the best pizza in the US.  It’s been featured on Oprah

…and it has the lines to prove it. Three hour lines.

“If you come on a Tuesday or Wednesday after 9, the wait is much less,” I was told by a person in the know. My husband and I took the advice and ventured to the restaurant late on a Tuesday… and waited a mere an hour and a half . Still plenty of time to get drunk on wine in the bar next door.

Because of the enormous time requirements, Pizzeria Bianco’s has become a non-option for locals who want to have dinner in a relatively timely manner.

But all that might change.

Pizzeria Bianco’s is now serving lunch –  Tuesdays through Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Line up…