Arcadia and Camelback Corridor Best Pizza – Part 2

One of my absolute favorite restaurants in the Camelback Corridor is Oregano’s Pizza Bistro. Not going to lie, it is my favorite for many reasons. Where to start? Well, one – it is, hands down, my favorite pizza! Two, it is owned by my favorite man AKA: my husband :). Three, well just read on…

Oregano’s is incredibly popular, with wait times sometimes reaching close to 2 ½ hours. Another reason I love it here? Oregano’s is the only place I know where you can have as much fun waiting as you do after you are seated. It’s true – you’ll find yourself making friends and enjoying pizza bites the Oregano’s staff share to tide you over while you wait.

Best Pizza Oreganosoreganos

An open kitchen allows you to see pizzas cooking in the vintage, two level pizza oven.

The atmosphere and staff make you feel at home from the moment you enter; wherever you are in Oregano’s you get a “hello” or “good bye” from everyone you pass (and a genuine smile!).

Owner Mark Russell has done what seems impossible – in each Orgeano’s he has created an atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone – from families to couples (they’ve even won the Best Restaurant in Phoenix for Date Night!). It’s truly all about the guest here. From the moment you park the car until you leave, having happy guests (whether they’re kids or adults) is the #1 priority.

You already know I love great food, so it should come as no surprise that I also love leftovers from my favorite restaurants. At Oregano’s the portion sizes are BIG and BIGGER, so you get enough food to take home and enjoy later.

Chicago, the owner’s hometown, is the inspiration for Oregano’s food and atmosphere. The antiques showcased in all the Oregano’s are a tribute to family and all are hand selected by the owner (for more about why each antique is treasured, click here). Mark owns all 13 Oregano locations throughout the Valley with additional restaurants slated to open in new Arizona locations in early 2014.

I could go on and on about my favorite restaurants, but I’ll save those for future blogs. If you haven’t had a chance to try out pizza from the places above, you’re welcome.


Best Pizza In Arcadia and Camelback Corridor

Let’s talk pizza – specifically let’s talk about the awesome pizza available in the Camelback Corridor and Arcadia.

Tommy V’s Osteria and Pizzeria has been a local icon for decades (yes, literally). Customers who know genuine Italian food rave about Tommy V’s, and they aren’t alone.

Tommy V’s is the sister restaurant to the upscale Tomaso’s (the restaurants are next to each other). While the atmosphere is more casual than Tomaso’s, the food, drinks, and service are on par with Tomaso’s. If you’ve never been to either of the restaurants, know that the service is outstanding!

Best Pizza Arcadia

Born in Italy, owner Chef Tomaso Maggiore makes frequent trips to Italy to maintain his “fresh approach to authentic Italian cuisine” (quote is from Tomaso’s website). For Tommy V’s, Chef Maggiore has poured his passion for fresh ingredients and superior flavors into a menu that offers a variety of affordable selections. The pizzas are cooked in a wood fired oven, and they taste incredible! Pizzas vary from the traditional (such as the Pizza Margherita) to the innovative – check out the Smoked Salmon pizza! Everything on the menu is great, so feel free to try any of them (or go often enough to try them all!). Let me know your favorite Tommy V’s menu item.

The Parlor Pizzeria has won numerous awards, including being awarded one of the best pizzas in the country (and the best in Arizona) by Food Network. From the moment you walk in the door, the atmosphere and decor lets you know this place is special.

One of the most talked about menu item is the “Duck Club” – people RAVE about it! As a vegetarian I can’t offer a personal opinion, but I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you about it.

On to the pizza, though. The Parlor’s pizzas are cooked in a brick oven, and one of the most popular pizzas is the “Salsiccia” (a.k.a. the pizza that won over the Food Network). But really, you can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas on the menu – they’re all great!

And I’m not done – stay tuned for part 2 of this blog and read more about my favorite pizza places in Arcadia and Camelback Corridor. If I haven’t mentioned your favorite pizzeria let me know.

What else is there to love about Arcadia and Camelback Corridor? I put together a video about it! Check it out here.

*Photo of pizza is from

Trick or Treat! Halloween In Arcadia

If you think Halloween is just for kids then you’ve never been in Arcadia for Halloween! Not sure what to expect? A great time for kids and adults (yes, really)!

Halloween In Arcadia AZ

Remember those block parties you’ve heard about in past generations? It makes a comeback in Arcadia for Halloween. Arcadia neighbors close off streets to vehicles, and Arcadia streets become pedestrian friendly and safer for everyone.

With award-winning schools in Arcadia and Camelback Corridor attracting families to the area, Halloween is an experience not to be missed!

Kids are bused in, and the closed off streets can look more like a playground than a trick-or-treat route. Arcadia isn’t a “two bag neighborhood” – Arcadia residents are well prepared for the trick-or-treating masses.

While candy makes up treats for children, adults socialize over glasses of wine. As everyone migrates throughout the neighborhood, it isn’t rare to see parties at homes where people have migrated to.

Halloween in Arcadia really is a tradition filled with fall and whimsy – it’s a wonderfully unique experience unique to Arcadia. See you there!

AZ Restaurant Week Deals For Arcadia & Camelback Corridor Restaurants This Weekend

Arizona Restaurant Week is happening now, and you can take advantage of deals for a variety of Arcadia and Camelback Corridor restaurants. I’ve combed through the restaurant deals for you (you’re welcome!). Just in time for the weekend, Restaurant Week runs through Sunday (September 29) so read below and get ready to eat out for the next three nights!

Each restaurant offers a 3 course meal for a special Restaurant Week price. Many include vegetarian (yay!) and gluten-free options. Each restaurant has specific dishes which are a part of the Restaurant Week deal; each restaurant’s options can be seen on the Restaurant Week website.

Arizona Restaurat Week Arcadia and Camelback Corridor Restaurants

Arcadia Tavern has a 3 course offering for $30 per couple, with vegetarian options. If it is cool enough when you go, consider sitting outside because they have a great patio!

I’ve already covered Beckett’s Table in my recent blog so I’ll keep this description short and the point. The Beckett’s Table deal is $30 (beverage included) per person, with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Another restaurant of recent blogs – Bink’s Midtown. Feel free to jump back to my previous blog to read all about this wonderful eatery. Bink’s deal  is $30 per person (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

Bistro 24 is at the Ritz-Carlton and it embodies everything you expect from the Ritz. The restaurant itself is beautiful and the food is fantastic. Bistro 24’s deal is $30 per person (gluten-free options).

Central Bistro has a menu full of French and Italian flavors and it is a no-brainer at $30 per person (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

You’ve already read about Chelsea’s Kitchen from me (great brunch!) and you can enjoy their Restaurant Week 3 course meal for $30 per person (gluten-free options).

Del Frisco’s Grille is frequently identified as an “upscale American bar and grill”   and I would have to agree. Eat their  3 course menu for $30  per person (vegetarian options).

Donovan’s Steak and Chop House is classic and iconic. If you haven’t been there before, head over to the Biltmore area and enjoy the $40 per person deal (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

Fox Concept restaurant, “North – Arcadia,” focuses on sharing local, seasonal food with a family ambiance that makes everyone feel comfortable and “at home.” Go North for $30 per person.

Pita Jungle – Arcadia (note that I specified the location – not all Pita Jungle locations are taking part) can be had for $30 per person (beverage included) and there are vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Who doesn’t love a place that has an entire menu of delicious dishes and all are under 520 calories? Head to Seasons 52 and enjoy the dinner deal at $30 per person (vegetarian and gluten-free options available).

SOLO Trattoria has a great atmosphere and features a seasonal menu. You can eat there this weekend for $30 (beverage included) per person.

Capital Grille – Phoenix location (in Biltmore Fashion Park) is frequently listed by Valley foodies among their top restaurants. Decide for yourself and take advantage of the $40 per person deal (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

The Grind Arcadia is a neighborhood staple! It is all that Arcadia is – classic, hip, cool…well, you know I could go on and on. Try it out for $30 per person (beverage included, vegetarian options).

Tomaso’s is a wonderful Italian restaurant, and they take Italian staples to new levels. What does that mean? As soon as you eat it, you’ll understand (feel free to leave me a comment on how you would describe it). Eat the Restaurant Week deal for $40 per person (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

I mentioned Vincent’s on Camelback for the area farmer’s markets, but the restaurant is an icon in its own right. Vincent’s is a classy and elegant dining experience for a special occasion but you’ll also see regulars who come in for extraordinary dining every week. Turn this weekend into a special occasion with the $40 per person deal (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

Wright’s at the Biltmore is known for their fresh seafood (no small feat in Phoenix!). I can’t attest to that from personal experience, but I can attest to their wonderful vegetarian dishes. You can try it for yourself with the $40 per person deal (vegetarian and gluten-free options).

Unfortunately you can’t fit all of the incredible Arcadia and Camelback Corridor restaurants above into a weekend, but it’s definitely worth it to pick a few and enjoy an entire weekend of fantastic dining experiences. If you get a chance, come back and tell me which restaurants you went to and give your own reviews. Happy eating!

Want to know more about what makes Arcadia and Camelback Corridor so great? Check out this video

Camelback Corridor & Arcadia Restaurants Foodies Will Love – Part 2

Whether you are a self-proclaimed foodie, or you want to enjoy a phenomenal dining experience the following Arcadia and Camelback Corridor restaurants offer world-class dining.

Beckett’s Table. The owners of Beckett’s Table started the restaurant with a vision of offering “sophisticated comfort food” in an unpretentious atmosphere; a world class restaurant families and sophisticated foodies could enjoy equally. They have succeeded stupendously! (big word, I know) Beckett’s Table is led by co-owner and chef, Justin Beckett.

Coinciding with its name, the restaurant has a signature, black walnut community table which seats 18 (if you’re not into the community table idea, don’t worry – the rest of the seating options are not community style). Beckett’s is recognized both locally and nationally for its chef driven menu, extraordinary service, world class wine list, and for loyally supporting local farmers. I’m always impressed with the many ways Beckett’s supports the local community, such as the “Feed Your Dreams” contest, “which awarded a prize to the Phoenician with the most innovative idea combining science and food” (quote is from Beckett’s Table website).

Right from opening, Chef Beckett and Beckett’s Table have continuously won awards and high praise. In 2010, Phoenix Magazine named them “Best New Restaurant,” and Wine Spectator awarded Beckett’s the 2012 Award of Excellence (the list of awards goes on, click here to read more about their awards). The friendly atmosphere makes Beckett’s a great place for foodies to introduce loved ones (of all ages) to an incredible dining experience.

Bink’s Midtown. You may be familiar with Bink’s Café and Binkley’s Restaurant.  Don’t expect a duplicate version of the other establishments at the Midtown location – this restaurant stands on its own for outstanding food. While the restaurant is located on the fringes of Camelback Corridor, it can’t (shouldn’t!) be missed so I am sharing it here (you’re welcome).

Bink’s Midtown is the brain child of chef Kevin Binkley and his wife, Amy. Kevin is a James Beard Award nominee; he and his restaurants have received many (many!) awards.

“Binkley says Bink’s Midtown will highlight “what Arizona does best — produce,” mostly small plates.

But “this is not a farm-to-table” operation, points out general manager Amy Binkley, Kevin’s wife. “Kevin manipulates the ingredients.” (quoted from Arizona Republic restaurant critic, Howard Seftel, from an article on 3/14/13).

Another thing to love about Bink’s Midtown (in addition to the renowned chef and phenomenal dishes) is the price – Bink’s Midtown is very affordable (under $20 for most menu items).

P.S. I’m not the only one who thinks Bink’s Midtown is awesome – congrats to Bink’s Midtown for being named Best New Restaurant in the October 2013 issue of Phoenix Magazine.

As with Tarbell’s, if you haven’t been to either of the two Arcadia and Camelback Corridor restaurants listed in this blog – go now! Foodies in particular will appreciate the precision, care, and passion that goes into each and every plate by chefs Beckett and Binkley. Whether you’re a regular or first time visitor to the Camelback Corridor restaurants, let me know how you liked your experience.

Thinking of moving to Arcadia and Camelback Corridor? This video uncovers what makes these communities awesome.

Arcadia & Camelback Corridor Restaurant Foodies Will Love

Foodies, rejoice – there are some incredible restaurants in Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor area! I’ve highlighted one of my favorite restaurants here for your foodie enjoyment :).Tarbell’s. If you consider yourself a foodie, and you haven’t yet been to Tarbell’s please don’t wait any longer! You’re depriving yourself of an all-around incredible dining experience.Owner Mark Tarbell is a celebrity in his own right. He received international culinary training at world class culinary schools and restaurants. He is a James Beard award nominee, an Iron Chef, and columnist for the Arizona Republic (he writes a weekly wine column) among so many other awards and accolades it would take the entirety of this blog to catalog them all (yes, seriously). His television appearances range from “Good Morning America” to numerous Food Network programs, and he has cooked for a myriad of celebrities (including Muhammad Ali and the Dalai Lama). Throughout the years, more than 50 awards have been presented to Mark and his restaurants.

Tarbell’s is my kitchen away from my kitchen. Their front door says “welcome home” and the entire staff is so friendly and welcoming no one feels like a stranger when they’re there. In fact, you may be met at the door by Mark – he often greats guests as the come in and then checks back with them during the meal to ensure they’re having an excellent experience.

The interior of Tarbell’s is contemporary, modern, and comfortable. The menu has something for everyone (yes, I dine there often), and the ingredients are the highest quality available.

While Tarbell’s is ideal for a special occasion, experiencing the fantastic dining experience can be a special occasion in itself. Arcadia and Camelback Corridor residents can often be seen several nights a week at this neighborhood gem. Tarbell’s dishes are creative, organic, inspiring, and delicious. If you haven’t experienced the joy of eating at a restaurant so superb everything on the menu (literally) is a full sensory delight, prepare to be wowed at Tarbell’s. Tarbell’s is known for superior service, impeccable dining, and world class wine pairings.
If I were to attempt to sum my love for Tarbell’s it would be this: Local. Organic. Delicious!
Mark graciously sat down with me and talked about the best of Camelback Corridor – see that video here. Check back for more Arcadia & Camelback Corridor restaurants foodies will love – I’ll be writing more about them soon.
Want to know even more about why I love Camelback Corridor and Arcadia? Watch my video here.

Where To Get The Best Coffee In Arcadia & Camelback Corridor

Arcadia and Camelback Corridor have some amazing, locally owned coffee places!

Best Coffee Arcadia, Best Coffee Camelback Corridor

The iconic Hava Java is one of the most awarded coffee houses in Arizona. I love this place! Have Java is as small town local as you’re ever going to find. This local legend serves some of the world’s best (literally) coffee in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. The baristas are experienced, service is superior, and the customers are loyal. The morning “brew crew” (Jake, Meghan, and Lance) remember you and your order by name! Their tagline is “chains are for bikes” (ha!). Owner “Mr Hava Java” (a.k.a. Justin Shafer) has created a gourmet coffee house that has a wonderful community feeling. And while I wanted to mostly focus on coffee shops, I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t let you know the baked goods here are incredible (you’re welcome). For those with food allergies – Hava Java has gluten free pastries and soy milk.

Another stand out in local coffee culture is Carmel’s Breakfast House (you may remember Carmel’s from the Arcadia Sunday Brunch Spots blog). A little local trivia for you – Carmel’s owner Pat Flanigan was a weatherman on TV for many years before deciding he never wanted to wear a suit again and opened up Carmel’s (thank you, Pat!). Pat was kind enough to sit down with me and chat Carmel’s and all things Camelback Corridor – see the video here.

From its beginning, Carmel’s has been an Arcadia coffee favorite, with coffee purists enjoying locally roasted coffee (along with a full menu of breakfast food options). The atmosphere at Carmel’s is cool, inviting, cozy, and retro (though the VW permanently parked in front lets you know to expect the cool & retro part). All baristas go through Carmel’s training so you can always expect a perfect cup of joe. Tip: try their iced toddy (you’re welcome).

Arcadia Coffee Houses

Black Cat Coffee House is another Arcadia/Camelback Corridor coffee house favorite. Don’t want to instigate competition, but they make a fantastic iced toddy as well (guess you’ll have to try both Carmel’s and Black Cat’s iced toddy to find your fave). Inside local art is displayed, and there is an indie, hip vibe. The food at Black Cat is as amazing as the coffee (seeing a trend here?). Friendly baristas can initiate coffee newbies and can also knowledgeably discuss specialty coffees with aficionados. For those of you with food allergies – there are non-dairy milks available (rice, almond, etc.).

Visitors to Arcadia’s Terra Java quickly convert to regulars. With a chef co-owner, it’s no surprise customers rave as much about the coffee as they do about the world-class cuisine. Their coffee is locally roasted, and the coffeehouse is very involved with the local community – including hosting a monthly Arcadia book club. Baristas are experienced and passionate – a Terra Java barista even took part in an international competition!

One of the things that really impresses me about many of our neighborhood businesses is that supporting the local community is such a large part of who they are and what they do. If you haven’t had a chance to grab a cup of coffee (and pastry or baked good) at any of the Arcadia and Camelback Corridor coffeehouses above, stop in and support these great local businesses!

Want to know more about why I love Camelback Corridor and Arcadia? Check out my video here.

My Top 3 Favorite Things About Arcadia & Camelback Corridor

Someone asked me the other day what my top 3 favorite things about Arcadia are. If you’ve stumbled across my blog you find yourself wondering “Are Arcadia and Camelback Corridor really so cool they deserve their own blog?” Absolutely! And residents agree. Without further ado my top 3 absolute favorite things about Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor:

Best Community Arcadia and Camelback Corridor

1. The community.

Arcadia is such a hidden little gem! Many people familiar with Arcadia and Camelback Corridor comment that it feels like a city within a city – and it really does! When people move in to the neighborhood they fall in love with the area and don’t want to leave, so there isn’t the typical real estate churn found in most communities. There is a close-knit community feeling, and everybody knows everybody (not in a scary “The Truman Show” kind of way, but rather a place where block parties still happen and you’re genuine friends with your neighbors).

You really have the best of both worlds with this little city within a city. You get the wonderful smaller town community feeling, but you’re pretty much 10 minutes away from everything.


2. The homes.

Yep, I love the homes in Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor. And no, that isn’t just the realtor in me talking. The ranch style homes are quintessential Arizona. The large, grassy lots have a little bit of an east coast feel for me.

There are many neighborhood homes I’ve had the opportunity to view the inside of, and the external charm is only surpassed by the charm on the interior. Homes in the neighborhood make such an impression that years later I can still walk by a home and remember the layout. Every aspect of the neighborhood is home to me. I know it like the back of my hand.

Arcadia and Camelback Corridor Favorites

3. The vibe.

Arcadia and all of Camelback Corridor have a consistent, cool vibe that never changes with times. The vibe really ties back in to the community. The independent businesses in the area are a big part of the cool community vibe as well. My grocer, coffee shop, and more are all right at 32nd St & Camelback. When you live in the neighborhood you not only run in to your neighbors at these area businesses, but you’re also supporting your neighbors – many of the area’s independent business owners also live in the neighborhood.

Arcadia and Camelback Corrior residents are proud to call this home. What are your favorite things about living in the neighborhood? What area businesses do you frequent? You’ve read my favorite things about Arcadia and the Camelback Corridor – share yours with me!

Look out, world! In addition to talking about Arcadia and Camelback Corridor here on my blog I’m also doing it on video. Check it out here.

Arcadia & Arcadia Lite Named Hottest Neighborhoods To Live In

That’s right, in this month’s Phoenix Magazine both Arcadia and Arcadia Lite were named among the hottest neighborhoods to live in the Valley. And this isn’t the first time our beloved Arcadia has been recognized among the very best neighborhoods.

Arcadia Lite NeighborhoodIf you’re new to Arcadia, you might be thrown by the name “Arcadia Lite.” Is it Aracadia with less calories? Well, in a way, yes (if calories were the price of homes compared to those in full calorie Arcadia). Arcadia Lite lies within Campbell to Indian School and 32nd St. to 40th St. (give or take). Want to live near La Grande Orange? Love The Vig? Arcadia Lite is also home to the widely acclaimed Beckett’s Table. Are you hungry? I’m making myself hungry listing all these great restaurants (ha!).

In their article, Phoenix Magazine named Arcadia Lite a hot neighborhood for “trendsetters” wanting to “move up” (i.e. you did the starter home, now you’re ready to “move up”). Many small families and couples (trendsetters or otherwise) enjoy calling Arcadia Lite home.

The sense of community in Arcadia Lite is strong, and the area has a reputation (rightly so) for being very safe. Luxury homes exist in Arcadia Lite, but the area is better known for its variety of median priced homes. The neighborhood lets you take advantage of living between Downtown Phoenix and Scottsdale’s nightlife at a fraction of the cost it would be if you lived in either of those.

If you know me (or you’ve been reading my blog) you know the Camelback Corridor and Arcadia always rank #1 to me as the best neighborhoods to live in.

In the Phoenix Magazine August issue, Arcadia is named one of the hottest luxury neighborhoods to live in, and the article states (correctly) that Arcadia has long been a coveted place to live. They even likened Arcadia to having “your own private island in the city” (what a great image!).

While the article points out the home prices are higher than those in Arcadia Lite, there are still some great deals to be had in Arcadia if you know the right realtor (one that is, say, real estate agent for all things Arcadia? *wink*).

I love seeing Arcadia and Arcadia Lite getting the accolades both these unique communities deserve. If you live in Arcadia or Arcadia Lite what do you love about your neighborhood? Would you give it the same rating Phoenix Magazine did?

Want to know even more about these hot communities? I love Arcadia and Camelback areas so much, I made a video about it! View the video here.

Arcadia Area Schools – Part 2

By and large, families looking to move into the Arcadia area want to do so their kids can attend Hopi Elementary School. Hopi has a following unlike any I’ve seen before.  The teachers are exceptional and they teach towards each individual child’s natural learning style. The parent involvement at this Arcadia elementary school is phenomenal (seriously!). Administration, teachers and parents work together for the good of the students.  I’ve also heard parents talk about the close-knit community fostered at Hopi, and the wonderful atmosphere that allows for.

Arcadia High School is consistently ranked among the top schools in Arizona, and even ranked in the top 20 high schools nationally by US New and World Report. And did you know Steven Spielberg attended Arcadia High School? (It’s true! Don’t believe me? Google it.) Several years ago the school got a makeover and the buildings are beautiful (sorry, that’s the architect coming out in me).

Back to info about the school – from the school’s website: “Arcadia offers unique opportunities for students in graphic arts, media communications, bio technology and AVID.” I’ll admit it – I didn’t know what AVID stood for either. Turns out it stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination (which doesn’t really explain it either) and it is a rigorous curriculum program for students in the “academic middle” to help prepare them for college.

While it can be harder for parents to be an active part of their children’s high school experience (lets face it, volunteering to be in the classroom was great in elementary but not so much in high school), AHS does have a PTO (here is the link to their website).

I’m proud to say that the Arcadia public schools are consistently rated an “A”. What do you think of the schools? Let me know how you like the Arcadia school your children attend. If you want to move to Arcadia to take advantage of the great schools, click here. Enjoy the remainder of your summer!

Want to know more about the Arcadia and Camelback Corridor communities? Check out this video.