Spend any considerable amount of time ‘on the run,’ and the inevitable question, “Do you miss home?” finds its way into most conversations. Obviously, you miss your family and friends, but in this day and age, they’re all only a click away (pending wifi). After a while, however, you start to notice things missing from your daily routine that you might’ve taken for granted. So I made a small list of things about Phoenix that I found myself noting to take full advantage of upon return. These, my friends, are those:

Four Peaks Brewery
fourpeaks-2CourtesyFourPeaksI’ve been told countless times about the quality of beer all over Europe. Sadly, I seemed to have missed those places this summer. Quantity? Not an issue. Ever. When it comes to quality, however, the local breweries here in AZ still rank #1 in my experience. Of the many that deserve honorable mentions, Four Peaks stands out to me for their beer (8th St Ale is my jam), food (AZChicken Rolls… Well… my food jam), ambience (can’t beat that patio on a warm winter’s day), and… very important here… proximity to my house (AZ DUI laws are a m*therf*cker and it’s an $8 cab ride from my front door). Sunday afternoons are perfect for getting together with my peeps, recapping the week’s giggery, and sipping away on a pitcher or three.
-I just read that they were voted by Travel Channel as America’s favorite craft brewery! Congrats!

Camelback Mountain
downloadOne of the most iconic pieces of the Phoenix skyline has been here for eons longer than any man made structure. Anytime you’re coming in for a landing, you’re bound to hear someone pointing out Camelback Mountain to a friend or a stranger (I’ve been that guy). Soon after, of course, you’ll hear someone else snicker “huh huh, cameltoe” (been that guy, too… still funny). For me, as well as MANY others, it’s much more than a fixture of scenery. The climb to the top is no joke and is my favorite way to burn off those Sunday afternoons mentioned above. In addition to the sharp spike in heart rate and ass-sweat, the hike provides me with a sense of accomplishment, a chance to convene with inner-Mike, and a 360degree view of the city I proudly call home. Awwww.

Whole Foods
Whole-Foods-Market-LogoIt may seem strange to some that a guy whose FB/IG statuses predominantly tout his appetite for various mind numbing poisons would wake up everyday searching for beet juice, wheat germ, and riboflavin. I call it my “balancing act,” or “everything in maximation.” Anyone who has spent a considerable time on the road knows how hard it can be to keep their yang in check, especially when there is so much yin available! So, when I’m home, I take full advantage of the Tempe Whole Foods salad bar for all of my organic, raw-energy needs. All the fixins of your everyday salad bar (lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, celery, etc), but waaay more! On the one side you get all the barely palatable, mega nutrient-laden raw fare (kale, zucchini, broc, cauli, beets, etc). Hit the flip side for the stuff that helps you muscle it all down (potato/chicken/tuna salad, hummus, Asian noodles, jalapeƱos, and much more). Splash that down with a bottle of Kombucha or something from the juice bar and BOOM!!! Daytime Mike is back in the ring to take another swing!

Pita Jungle
PitaJungleWhen I first moved to the valley, 15 years ago(!), a new friend took me to Pita Jungle for the first time. If for no other reason, I still herald this friend as one of the lifelong variety. I won’t debate whether it should be considered “health food” or not, as I raaaaarely get a salad, but it’s better than most in that department. I’ve had just about everything on the menu and have never been disappointed in the least, but the Philly Chicken Pita? Ooohhhhh, it’s all cheezy n shit. There’s also always cool local art hung on the walls, and they serve beer.

The Scenery
The sunsets, the mountains, the desert landscape… Incredible, indeed, but not what I’m talking about here. The first sign of being home when walking through Sky Harbor Intl from ANYWHERE? The chicks, bro! Yes, there are beautiful ladies everywhere in the world (lawdy knows I’ve checked), but Phoenix really is a geographical oddity in that sense! I’m not sure if it’s the year round sun, something in our re-routed water supply, or cuz we’re the plastic surgery capital of the world, but it doesn’t seem to matter if they’re 19 or 60, somebody’s doing something right. To quote my buddy, Trevor (who shall remain nameless), “even the ugly ones are hot!” Cheers to you, ladies of the P.H.X.!
The dudes seem to keep it pretty tight, too, but like the sunsets, mountains, and landscape, that’s for someone else to blog about.

Well, while it’s always nice to get away for a while, there are things that keep bringing you back home. There are a few of mine. Would love to hear about the things you miss while you’re out and about in the comments below.

Thanks, kids!
– Mike


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