I am so excited for the future of this place.  Jeff and Misty have future plans for outdoor patio seating and for a food truck.  I spend part of my time in Phoenix and have grown to love food trucks.  They are no longer the beat up, unsanitized boxes they once were.  Today, some of them are top of the line gourmet.  I believe Tahoe would benefit from a Lake House food truck for town events, or just to run some of that chocolate over to our house.

I had a great time meeting everyone at The Lake House.  If you would like to support a great “local” restaurant, give them a visit.

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The Lake House Restaurant | How to Eat Like a Local by inspireandwander.com


Spring Wildflowers in Phoenix, Arizona

Wildflowers by inspireandwander.com

It is March here in Phoenix and that means wildflower season is upon us.  I am trying to take advantage of it every chance I get.  The dog is certainly loving it.  Over the course of the last week,  we have set out to enjoy the fresh air which is still cool enough in the morning to get a good start before it gets hot. That is heaven to us Phoenicians, as we will soon be moving into the “hot all day” season.

I have found easy, non strenous hiking out on the Dreamy Draw Trail. This is a great area for just going out for a walk without having to worry about any hiking gear.  It is located in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, right in the middle of the city.  Also in the area connected to the same system are Piestewa Peak and Trail 100.   All of these are different ability levels and you are best researching them before you go.  The flowers in this area are mainly Mexican Poppies and are very beautiful as they cover the mountainside.

Mexican Poppies by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix Wildflowers by inspireandwander.com

Another great area to see the flowers is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. There are several trailheads and all of them are great and also allow for varying technical levels.  I like the Gateway Trailhead because it offers many different trails and has plenty of parking.  The flowers in this area are at their peak right now and are just gorgeous.  I saw about 6 different types of flowers, none of which I knew the names.  I think I will go back next week with my wildflower book.

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Phoenix wildflowers by inspireandwander.com

Phoenix Wildflowers by inspireandwander.com

It amazes me how green the desert gets this time of year.  With just a little water from the winter, everything comes alive.  The saguaros are big and fat from water storage and  hillsides are covered in flowers.  This is the only time of year that the brittlebush flowers bloom.  We have quite a few in our yard and I really don’t like the look of them except for spring.  It is now that the entire valley bears these yellow blossoms.

Phoenix Wildflowers by inspireandwander.com


I hope to get out and enjoy more of the blooms while they last.  I seem to go more of a leisurely pace, taking in all the sites.  And I like that, it is always nice to get out and enjoy nature.


5 Hip Coffeeshops in Phoenix/Scottsdale

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

I love a good coffee shop.  I have visited quite a few here in Phoenix; busy ones, quiet ones, local hangouts. Each shop has such a different vibe, yet they can also be so similar.  I decided that I would compile a list of a few of the hang out worthy shops, the ones with the totally hip environments.  These are the ones I like to visit when I need to get some work done and escape the confines of my house.
hip coffee shops in Phoenix/scottsdale by inspireandwander.com

There are a lot of coffee shops here in the Valley…a lot.   I had a few criteria I wanted of these shops to be qualified as “hip”.   First, they needed to serve a great cup of coffee.  It seems obvious but you would be amazed how many coffee shops make coffee that are less than stellar.   Second, they needed to have a great atmosphere; good music, clean, wifi, and overall good vibe.  Lastly, I needed to KNOW that I could get a seat.  There are a few “locals” shops around town where a seat is not guaranteed.  It is really aggravating to me to drive to a place only to have nowhere to sit down.

 1.  Giant Coffee

1437 N. 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ.     602-396-7215

totally hip coffee shops in phoenix/scottsdale by inspireandwander.com

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

This little gem is located near downtown Phoenix, just off the corner of McDowell and 1st street.  The parking in the front of the store is minimal but there is more parking in the back via the alleyway. You will be able to find it when you see the mural.

Vibe: Quiet, comfy setting. Industrial decor and eclectic music

Food: Mainly breakfast with pastries, house made granola, toast/bagels & breakfast burritos. They also have made to order oven baked eggs with prosciutto.  They also offer an assortment of non- espresso drinks.

Pros:  Excellent coffee and tea.  The coffee is small batch and direct trade roasted.  Quiet vibe with plenty of seating. There is also a cute little boutique, Bunky, that shares the space.

Cons:  Not a huge assortment of food, not a lot of outlets.

Things near here:  Located near Burton Barr Library, Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Center for the Arts, and the Phoenix Lightrail.

2. Boss Coffee

23015 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ   800-590-4092

totally hip coffee shops in Phoenix/scottsdale by inspireandwander.com

totally hip coffee shops in phoenix/scottsdale by inspireandwander.com

Oh, how I wish this coffee shop was closer to where I live.  It is located in North Scottsdale, north of the 101 on Scottsdale Rd.  They are independently owned and operated.  Their coffee offers unique blends from micro-roasters and small producers.  Take this coffee home with you by the growler or in whole bean coffee bags.

Vibe:  Very hip, fun atmosphere; everything from the growlers lined along the walls to the subway tile screams cool.  Very friendly service.  They also have a dog-friendly patio and beautiful views of the mountains.

Food:  Pastries & bagels are brought in fresh from a local bakery.  They will soon offer an organic breakfast menu with gluten free options.

Pros: Battery going dead on your phone?  No worries, they have built in chargers with every phone adapter.  How cool is that?  Another big plus…they have a drive through!

Cons:  The only con is it is not located near me.

Things near here: Located near many golf courses and Kierland Commons shopping

3. Village Coffee Roastery

8120 N. Hayden Rd. #E104, Scottsdale, AZ  480-905-0881

My Latte by Yolanda Nussdorfer, inspireandwander.com

totally hip coffee shops in Phoenix/Scottsdale by inspireandwander.com

This shop is one of my favorites.  It has a great “locals” feel to it.  Village coffee has the largest selection of coffee in the state.  They get their beans from all over the world and specialize in single varieties.  They have perfected their roasting process.  Lisa, the owner sat down with me and explained how much science goes into roasting their beans.  A process she learned from the original owner who was a chemist.  She was once a customer but acquired the shop 11 years ago.

Vibe: A small shop with a rustic, industrial setting.  A good selection of indoor seating and a dog-friendly outdoor area.

Food: Their breakfast menu has a variety of pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and burritos.  They also serve lunch, mainly salads, and sandwiches.  Also available is a large variety of non-espresso drinks.

Pros:  Great coffee, seating near electrical strips, local art on the walls.  Friendly customer service.  Even if you are not from the area, they make you feel like a local.

Cons: none

Things near here: Very close to a variety of resorts, golf courses, and the Diamondbacks and Rockies spring training facilities.

4. Urban Beans

3508 N. 7th St., Phoenix, AZ   602-595- 2244

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

Located close to midtown, this 24-hour vegetarian cafe offers online ordering and catering.

Vibe: Artsy tables and local art on the walls.

Food: Full menu with lots of options.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have house made goods and desserts.

Pros:  Friendly customer service and a dog-friendly patio.  Really comfy chairs and plenty of outlets. They also offer wine dinners the 3rd Thursday of each month.

Cons: No music so other conversations are well heard.

Things near here: Midtown offers an assortment of restaurants and shopping.  Close to Steele Indian School park.

5. Sip Coffee and Beer Garage

3620 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ  602-900-5188

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

totally hip coffee shops by inspireandwander.com

Need a breakfast beer?  You can get coffee and a beer at Sip.  This unique shop has much to offer.  They get their beans from local roaster, Cartel Coffee Lab. I visited the Arcadia location but they also have another in downtown Scottsdale.

Vibe: This garage was once an old auto shop.  It now is a very chic, cool hangout.  They play good music and offer live music on the weekends.

Food: Locally sourced pastries and food.  They have a good assortment featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The food is really good with good portions. Their bar is always open, with an assortment of beer, wine, and cocktails.  The beer menu rotates with 24 craft beers.

Pros:  In the evenings, this place brings in local talent.  Every weekend they have live music, open mic and other events.  They also have a dog- friendly patio.

Cons: Parking is difficult to find at times.

Things near here: The Arcadia location is fairly close to Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak hiking and also the Biltmore for shopping.

I am always on the lookout for a great coffee shop  If you have a favorite, let me know about it in the comments below.

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