I am excited to announce that I have joined The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale team as their Culinary Contributor. The Scout Guide connects readers and followers with local, independently owned businesses through their print guide and digital platforms. I recently helped them kick off their “Dine Like a Local” campaign in support of Valley restaurants on Instagram. Followers were encouraged to nominate their favorite restaurants in any (or all) of 9 categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Date Night, Coffee & Tea, Sweets & Treats, Healthy Eats, Cocktails & Corks, and Favorite Chef.
The top 2 winners in each category were announced last month and will be highlighted in the Dine Like a Local feature in the Spring 2021 print guide. The overall winner (the restaurant that received the most votes overall) receives a complimentary photo shoot and spread. In addition, I will be able to pick my favorite to be highlighted in the guide, and with over 110 nominations, I have my work cut out for me!
I will write a post on each category in the Dine Like a Local contest, giving a blurb about each nominee. I have started with Sweet & Treats since Halloween is around the corner and sweets are first and foremost on my mind. I would love to hear from you if you are familiar with the nominees and have any input!
a Bake Shop. A Bake Shop specializes in cakes and desserts for events such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries, as well as a wide selection of cookies, bars, and cupcakes. They are also winner of Phoenix’s Magazine’s “Macaron of the Year” for 2019, so if you are a macaron lover, this place may be for you.
6007 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ. www.abakeshop.com
Azuquita. Azuquita is a family owned business in Peoria that provides sweets and treats with a mix of traditional Mexican flavors and American tastes. They are known for the Concha Ice Cream Sandwich and home to the Mazapan Frappe, Mangoneada, and Abuelita Iced Mocha. THE SCOUT GUIDE PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE WINNER.
7539 W Peoria Ave B101, Peoria, AZ. facebook.com/theazuquita
Balboa’s. Balboa’s brings the nostalgia of eating a chocolate dipped banana from Balboa Island, CA, (any Arrested Development fans out there?) to Mesa, AZ. Enjoy a selection of seemingly endless choices of chocolate dipped bananas and dipped ice cream bars in a fun, beachy atmosphere.
2036 N Gilbert Rd, Mesa, AZ. www.hellobalboas.com
Churn. Churn offers high quality ice creams made with simple, fresh ingredients that are all natural and made on site with no additional preservatives. Check their website for a selection of rotating artisanal ice cream flavors, along with a delicious menu of sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and pastries.
5223 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ. www.churnaz.com
Crème & Chocolats. Crème & Chocolats has two locations in the East Valley serving soft ice cream dipped in pure Belgian chocolate. This may sounds simple, but they claim there are up to 81 possible combinations. They also serve a nice selection of sweet & savory French crêpes.
1744 S Val Vista Dr #111, Mesa, AZ
3155 W Chandler Blvd #0106, Chandler, AZ. www.cremechocolats.com
LGO Bake Shop. LGO Bake Shop by LGO Hospitality is located in the Arcadia neighborhood and has been the neighborhood go-to for special event cakes and after school snacks. You can find whole cakes, pies, cheesecakes, wedding cakes, and specialty desserts, like my personal fave, the Old Timer, which is their take on a Ding Dong…but better.
4410 N 40th St #5, Phoenix, AZ. www.lgobakeshop.com
Splurge: Luci’s at The Orchard. This little ice cream and candy shop is in the west extension of the building that houses Luci’s at the Orchard. At Splurge, you will find freshly made gelato with a variety of toppings, plus homemade shakes, banana splits, and the famous, adults-only root beer float.
7100 N 12th St building 2, Phoenix, AZ. www.splurgephx.com
Soda Rush. Locally family owned and operated since 2016, Soda Rush is a new age soda shop specializing in fountain drinks, gourmet cookies, (including a gluten free option), soft serve ice cream (lactose free), and cotton candy. Clearly must be very popular as there are three locations in the East Valley.
9265 E Baseline Rd UNIT 104, Mesa, AZ.
4202 E Main St., Mesa, AZ
1522 S Gilbert Rd #107, Gilbert, AZ
Sugar Bowl. Established in 1958, the Sugar Bowl is an iconic Scottsdale ice cream parlor located in a pink building in Old Town Scottsdale. The Sugar Bowl is a favorite of those who grew up in the Valley (like Hubby) and my kids who have fond memories of birthday parties in the arcade parlor. Order from their selection of banana splits, shakes, malts and ice cream while sitting in their pink leather booths. Fun fact, local artist of the Family Circus cartoon, Bil Keane, featured the Sugar Bowl many times in his daily comic strips.
4005 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com
Sweet Dee’s. Sweet Dee’s is best known for its pre-order novelty items highlighted on Instagram, such as the Horror Movie Box, the Harry Potter Box or the Tiger King Box. Sweet Dee’s is owned by mother/daughter duo, Lynda and Danielle O’Day, and is located in a beautiful French inspired bakery and cafe. They also offer a variety of unique and seasonal pastries, serving breakfast and lunch with a full coffee bar.
7350 E Stetson Dr c101, Scottsdale, AZ. www.sweetdees.com
Sweet Provisions. The newest addition to the Common Ground Culinary family from Christopher Collins, Sweet Provisions sells fresh-churned gourmet ice cream and handcrafted desserts made from-scratch daily. They also have frosty floats and milkshakes, freshly baked cookies, brownies and pies, and sell candy by the bulk.
8120 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ. www.sweetprovisionsaz.com
Sweet Republic. Sweet Republic makes artisan all-natural ice cream in two Valley locations. At Sweet Republic, the milk and cream are sourced from independent Arizona dairy farms. They also offer dairy free options with sorbets, using ripe whole fruit. You will also find brownies, cookies, toppings, sauces and waffle cones made from scratch. There are no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hydrogenated oils in any of the products. They also suggest eating the desserts with ice cream sticks made from birch wood sustainably harvested in Maine.
9160 E Shea Blvd #105, Scottsdale, AZ
6054 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ
The Boyer Bakery. The Boyer Bakery is a family-owned and operated bakery business located in the West Valley. In fact, they just opened a new store front in Surprise that I am excited to check out. Also on my list to check out, some of their small-batch and made from-scratch baked goods like the birthday cake scones, the butter pecan cookies, and apple cider donuts. THE SCOUT GUIDE PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE WINNER.
13681 N. Litchfield Rd., Surprise, AZ
The Scout Guide’s inaugural Phoenix & Scottsdale print guide will launch Spring 2021. To enhance their online presence, I will be collaborating with @tsgphoenixscottsdale to provide my unique perspective on the food scene in the Valley.
Eager for more local treats? In the meantime, browse my About Town archive to discover more of my Valley favorites. xoM