From the patio, twenty6 lounge guests take in an expansive view of the McDowell Mountains as they sip their signature cocktails. Savoring cheese plucked off the charcuterie plates, or spooning sweet dollops of gelato, visitors are encouraged to calm their minds and exist in the moment. In the words of its staffers, the lounge "has perfected the art of unwinding." Live music on Friday and Saturday nights make the task of unwinding as easy as retaking first grade after you've earned your PhD.
When Tryst Cafe opened in December 2010, Phoenix Magazine took notice, putting it on their Best New Restaurants list. Part of what got their attention?and what continues to draw in customers?is the restaurant's inventive menu. Their dishes, made with organic, local, and natural foods, range from roasted beet salads to barbecue bacon burgers to cornish hen with a cornbread grit cake, and many can be modified to be gluten- and kryptonite-free. Guests can take a bit of an adventure by ordering from the supplementary Tryst Around the World menu, which focuses on a different geographic region each month, or by grabbing a table on an outdoor patio soundtracked by world music.
At more than 2,600 stores in more than 30 countries, Dunkin' Donuts serves coffee and iced beverages, fresh-baked donuts and desserts, and savory breakfast sandwiches. Since Bill Rosenberg opened the first location in Quincy, MA, in 1950, the donut shop has blossomed into a one-stop coffee and breakfast restaurant familiar to millions of morning rushers and afternoon sippers.
Behind the counter of each location, glazed french crullers twist and curve like Parisian city streets, and Bavarian Kreme donuts are filled with a sweet, golden custard. A cavalcade of meats is available for piling onto breakfast sandwiches, such as sausage, cherrywood-smoked bacon, or ham enveloped with fluffy eggs and melty cheese between a choice of crisp crusts. Health-conscious risers can fuel strenuous bouts of lifting cars in the drive-thru line with a Wake-Up wrap, which offers options such as egg whites with turkey sausage or veggies that add up to as few as 150 calories. Both sweet and savory selections pair well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or a creamy, frozen Coolatta drink.
Though commuters can snag a quick pick-me-up within minutes, the wafting aromas of baking confections invite patrons to sit inside and embark on nostalgic reminiscences of syrup-coated playground slides. Beyond the bakery walls, the company aims for social responsibility with its support of community volunteer efforts and use of 100% fair-trade-certified espresso beans.
With pages full of flavors traditional to Mexico City, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Cozumel, the menu at Haciendas Mexican Grill is like an atlas of Mexican cuisine. Guests can taste the classic Mayan influence on the nation’s dishes with the cochinita pibil, a cut of pork that slowly marinates in a stew of achiote, orange juice, and banana leaves, or revel in the country's knack for sauces with the dark-brown dressing of the pollo con mole. The chefs also take slight liberties with the dishes, infusing the chocolate fondue with ancho chiles and transforming the humble hamburger with oaxaca cheese and chipotle mayo. To honor Mexico's extensive coastlines, the chefs drench jumbo prawns, stuffed salmon filets, and lobster ravioli in spicy cream sauces.
Outside the dining room, guests can experience Mexican culture with specialty margaritas, tap and bottled beers, and other libations in the restaurant’s three bars. Like an interstellar pub crawl, each bar features a different atmosphere: one sports a scenic view of the mountains, another buzzes with a row of LED TVs, and an outside patio grants fresh air and warm sun ideal for a round of icy beverages.
The Gelato Spot’s frozen-dairy hotshots merge ingredients imported from Torino, Italy, and churn a bevy of creamy gelati and sorbets daily. The gelateria’s small tongue-chilling batches have earned the shop the title of Best Frozen-Yogurt/Ice Cream Spot in AZ Central's 2011 readers’ poll, which praises the eatery’s extravagant displays and cheerful staff. Though The Gelato Spot specializes in traditional Italian flavors, such as stracciatella and amarena, they also craft American renditions such as Snickers, new york cheesecake, and salted caramel. As diners shovel in glacial delights on The Gelato Spot's heated and misted patio, they can also cruise the web with complimentary WiFi.
No matter the time of day, servers at Country Boys Restaurant fill their pads of paper with scribbled orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. From the kitchen window, they grab plates brimming with chicken strips and chili cheese fries. For breakfast, fluffy pieces of french toast arrive piled with strawberries and whipped cream, and later in the day, burgers and sandwiches bring happiness between two pillowy buns or slices of bread.