Down Under Eats

For my 21st birthday a few weeks ago, Jared and I decided to check out a local Australian wine bar called Down Under Wines. What we found was a fantastic Aussie gem buried in a strip mall in Gilbert. I was so excited to go to this place, because I knew it would bring back memories of my long lost home. It did indeed. Not only did the owner's pure Aussie accent take me back, but knowing that the very food and drink I would gobble up was imported directly from the Land Down Under.

Walking in, I was overwhelmed by all things wine and all things Australian...Boomerangs, Aboriginal art, and even a wine shop at the front of the restaurant. We sat atop a glass tabletop being held up by a large wine barrel, revealing wine corks from many different wine bottles. I loved it! The lights were dim, the mood was calming, and the people were friendly. The dinner menu ranged from Shrimp on the Barbie to Aussie Surf and Turf, a daring mix of kangaroo loin, scallops, bacon, rice, and vegetables. Not to mention the wine list consisting of anything from an Alma Rose Chardonnay from California to a Gemtree "Tatty Road" Red Blend from South Australia. Of course, they also carry the infamous Coopers beer, a favorite for Aussies (this is the only Australian beer available in AZ).

Jared and I were daring enough to start out with Crocodile Potstickers, and were hoping to try Kangaroo. Unfortunately, we were told that PETA banned the import of kangaroo, so our hopes were crushed. As a replacement, we chose rabbit. Why? I don't know... it was something unique, I guess? I actually felt bad eating it, because I live among the creatures and see at least one of them daily. I hate the thought of eating my fellow land-dwellers. Nonetheless, I still ate it. And it was good.

Hardly anything on the menu is "American", but that's the fun of going to this exotic place. I hope you'll give it a try for yourself. I'd love to see what you think! Try the crocodile or rabbit. They even offer ostrich and javelina! Are you up for the challenge, mate?

Local Breeze

Since I'll be at the downtown ASU campus next semester, I thought I would explore the area around it. A few weeks ago, I met up with my boyfriend, Jared, in downtown Phoenix. I wanted to find a good restaurant in the area, so I turned to a local magazine, called Phoenix Magazine. There, I searched through a few downtown diners, and came across one that caught my eye, Local Breeze. I immediately wrote down the name and directions.

Approaching the cafe, I came to find that Local Breeze is a patio cafe nestled on the corner of a time-worn neighborhood just blocks from ASU's downtown campus. I almost missed the place when driving by. It's not your typical restaurant. It really can be mistaken for an old cottage. And that's just what it is. An aged home renovated into a popular urban cafe for local Phoenicians.

What's great about this place is you have a choice between four different styles of dining. If you're not into the outdoors, you can sit inside at one of their few small indoor tables. For the outdoorsy type, sit on top of the rocks under a large patio umbrella. Relax on a padded couch or chair next to the fireplace. Or sit at the bar or a table underneath their covered wooden patio.

The food is diverse. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet eclectic. And the service is friendly. Not to mention, the bathroom decor is unorthodoxly fantastic! This is a place that should not be missed if visiting downtown Phoenix. You will literally feel at home at Local Breeze.