Friday, February 28, 2014

I left my heart in Phoenix.

I've never gone from 20 to 84 degree weather before, but that's what happened when I went to visit Phoenix last week.  It's been remarkably cold and snowy here in the Northeast this winter, and so I appreciated my trip to the Southwest all the more, in addition to the fact that I had not been back there for over a year and a half.  Being back in Phoenix made me feel as though I had never left, except that my former students were older, new shops and a community garden had popped up in the neighborhood, and my old apartment was inhabited by someone else.  There are things I loved about living in Phoenix, and things I love about living in Boston, and I guess it's just part of being able to call more than one place "home" that leaves one happy yet nostalgic.  It's hard not to yearn for the past when the only things you are immersed in on a trip like that are the things you loved the most.

Besides the philosophical musings that were the underpinning for my trip, there were some vegan-related developments in Phoenix.  First of all, to my surprise and delight, some of the menus at my favorite restaurants have added new vegan meals.  Maizie's now has a vegan burger, and True Food Kitchen has a really enjoyable "winter ingredient" salad, which includes sweet potatoes and cauliflower, two of my favorites.  In addition, there is a new place called the Refuge Cafe, which has opened on 7th Ave, just south of Camelback.  I stopped in for lunch with a friend, and we both really enjoyed the food and scene overall.  We both tried the "seasonal vegetable panini," in which I was able to substitute hummus for the pesto.  I had the chips and salsa and my friend ordered a side salad.  The food was quite delicious, and I had enough leftovers for lunch the next day.  There was also a variety of iced teas and lemonades, and I tried some type of blueberry iced tea, which I found delicious and quite refreshing.  The place itself is much bigger than I anticipated, with two sizable sitting areas indoors, and an outdoor patio.  There was even enough room for a group ukelele lesson to take place while we ate.  Besides the tasty food, what's really neat about this cafe is that it provides funding to nonprofits throughout the Valley and sells and displays art and hand crafted items from refugees around the world.  I definitely recommend this place if you're in the area.

Overall I'm so glad I made the trip.  It was a nice break, but more than that, wonderful to see both friends and students doing well. Until next time, sunshine, shorts, and Phoenix.

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Young the Giant - "Garands"

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