Friday - Day Eleven
The road trip had to come to an end, and it ended in Phoenix, arriving just before sunset. It was a brief stay for me, just a few hours before I jumped on a plane back to DC. I did return a few weeks later for the long July 4th weekend, so this is a mix of that visit too.
Almost without fail whenever you tell someone you’re going to Phoenix, especially in the summer you’re met with a look of surprise, and always why? Yes, the temperatures peaked at a balmy 108 degrees while I was there, but compared to DC’s high temps and humidity it wasn’t terrible, when you are outside it’s typically with a cold beer in hand under fans blowing mists of water. There are worse ways to spend it.
Describing a city in a few words is a tough thing to do, from what I saw I’d say Phoenix is gritty with urban development that is sure to make it an attractive place to live, if not already. There are dozens of breweries, art exhibits and street-art soaked neighborhoods full of vintage furniture and clothing stores, each have something to offer, and there are more tattoo shops than there are Starbucks, I’m convinced of it.
One of the more interesting ways I got to see the city was during its First Fridays Art Walk, a monthly event that showcases local museums, artists and small businesses downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. We walked up and down Grand Avenue, had a couple of local beers, printed our own motivational poster at a printing press and got chatting to a guy who is in the process of opening up a furniture store in an old garage. Find me a better way to get to know a city.
A Phoenix staple is Indian fry bread from Fry Bread House, not something I’ve heard of before but it was a pretty tasty dish, bread lightly fried to crisp golden brown stuffed with a choice of chili. It’s not a meal for the faint of heart, an unusually filling and hot meal for the Arizona heat. We had a dinner at Welcome Diner in the Garfield area, the pulled pork french fries covered in Carolina sauce are worth a return trip alone, sophisticated diner food if that’s a thing. Across from the Diner is a gay owned plant store called Pueblo Life, you should pay it a visit if only for Bennie the Boxer who greets you at the door and will promptly follow you around the store while you shop.