Crazy Vegan Burritos In Phoenix – C.A.S.A

After such a positive experience from taking Marilyn’s advice to check out the Treehouse Bakery we decided to take her other recommendation to check out C.A.S.A.  In her words, “It’s random types of food that are all made into burritos.”  We’re pretty big fans of burritos, so why not? And since we were already heading over to Tempe to catch some live music it was the perfect opportunity to check out C.A.S.A. on our way.

CASA Tempe Burrito

While street parking is available we ended up parking in one of the area underground garages.  At just $3 it’s less of a headache that driving around trying to find a spot.  Normally when we check out a new restaurant I have everything pretty well figured out, but this time around we really knew nothing….other than they had vegan fare.  So when we walked up to find that C.A.S.A. was essentially an outdoor bar we were a bit thrown off.  No biggie but it’s something worth noting.  Dining outside in Arizona can be pretty toasty.  Thankfully they have the usual misters that take the temperature down a notch.

CASA Tempe Burrito

CASA Tempe BurritoIt’s also worth noting that after doing some research we found that there is an indoor ‘club’ area where food is also served.  We had no clue since the entrance was tucked away behind a wall. Not to mention, we went by the sign that said, “Order food at the bar.”   Once again, no biggie.

Unlike their online menu their menus at their location not only provide photos but are clearly marked which burritos can be made vegan.  In addition, when talking to the bartender they gave us the heads up about vegan options as well.  Marilyn was right.  There was a wide variety of fare….all made into burritos.  I chose the Mac and Cheese while DH went for the Chinese Takeout.

CASA Tempe Burrito Menu

After taking our seats and a short wait, we received our food and dug in.  Yum!   I will say it wasn’t the best vegan mac and cheese I’ve ever had, but it still hit the spot and had a little bite to it.  As for DH’s burrito.  It contained fried rice, chicken, and spring rolls….yes, all inside of the burrito.  There were absolutely no complaints from him.

CASA Tempe Burrito

While I wasn’t blown away by our experience we found ourselves in Tempe the following week and decided to stop again.  This time around I tried the veganized Chinese Takeout burrito.  Winner!  That vegan Chinese Takeout burrito kicked butt.  The tofu was perfectly prepared.  Not too squishy, not too tough.  And the taste was delicious. Definitely a repeater. DH enjoyed the street tacos he ordered but he was quick to admit that he wished he had gotten the Chinese Takeout again.

CASA Tempe Burrito

CASA Tempe Burrito

When you arrive at C.A.S.A. chances are you’re not going to get warm and fuzzies like you would if you entered your local bar.  That’s not to say the staff isn’t polite, it’s just a different vibe.  Add in the heat of eating outside and attempting to shout your order to the bartender over the loud music, and  I’m sure some may not be that thrilled with the experience.  For us it’s no big deal.  For the chance to get our hands on some food that comes with a different spin and has vegan options we found it worth stepping outside of our normal comfort zone.  We will definitely be returning to try the remaining concoctions that are offered.

C.A.S.A. SunBa’
15 E 6th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
SE Corner of Mill & 6th in Downtown Tempe
Opens daily at 8a
Phone 480.557.8226

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Why I Chose Ford Over Chevy

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen something this past week.  We purchased not one, but TWO cars. Are we crazy?  Nah.

With DH having a 2004 Jeep Wrangler it was time to update.  He’s had his eye on getting a bright green Jeep for awhile.  When we happened to see one on the local lot at the Larry H. Miller Jeep dealership we made the stop.  Not knowing if it was financially possible we started working numbers with the salesman even before taking it for a test drive.  With his 2004 Jeep having such a great engine it made for an excellent trade-in value, and I guess you could say the rest is history.

Green Jeep Wrangler

As for my car…there’s a bit more of a story.  You may remember that I just got a new Chevrolet Spark  in late summer 2013.  I had my eye of the Spark before they were released in the US.  I was in love with the car even before owning it.  So why the heck did I get a new car?

#FactsOnly: Within the first 2 weeks of having the car I had it back to the dealership. The main issue: lack of acceleration. I know that it’s a smaller car and a smaller engine.  Remember, I had a Chevy Aveo before I had the Spark.  But when you go to pull out into traffic and there’s no juice, that’s no good. I repeatedly took it to the dealer and was told that they couldn’t elicit the problem.  In the meantime, I had close call after close call of almost getting hit that I lost count.  In addition, I noticed that my AC wasn’t cooling like it should.  I thought it was just me or the Arizona heat…until I received a recall notice. Once the parts were replaced the temperature was better but still not 100%.

2014 Chevrolet Spark

To top off my issues, Sands Chevrolet customer service is one of the worst I’ve ever experienced.  If you know me and DH when it comes to customer service we rarely complain. That’s not to say we are okay with getting walked on or taken advantage of.   However, having both worked in customer service we know how it is to be on the other side of the coin so we tend to have a high tolerance. When to comes to Sands our tolerance ran out long ago.  I’m not going to go into all the details but I will say that I will be sending a letter to GM.

Our experience with the purchase of DH’s Jeep at the Larry H. Miller dealership was fantastic.  No vultures hovering as we entered the dealership, waiting to snatch us up like we repeatedly experienced at Sands.   In fact, since no one came outside to pounce on us we were concerned they weren’t open.  No, they just don’t play that game.  Whew!  We like to keep things real and so do they.  Full transparency.  In our short time there we felt comfortable in our negotiations and obviously walked away with what we feel was a fair deal.  So when the following day came and we were looking for a reputable Ford dealership we had no qualms contacting our Jeep salesman to ask where we should go.  He recommended Sanderson Ford.  So that’s where we went.

204 Ford Fiesta

We had an almost identical experience with Sanderson Ford as we had at the Larry H. Miller dealership.  No vultures.  Just someone who warmly opened the door for us as we entered the dealership and asked, “How can we help you today?”  Transparent. No pressure. Comfortable. Low anxiety.  Easy negotiations.  As if that didn’t already seal the deal, when I test drove the Ford Fiesta (once again AFTER we talked numbers) I instantly fell in love.

I’m generally a no bells and whistles kind of girl.  In fact, my last 2 cars didn’t have power door locks or cruise control. While the Fiesta isn’t over the top with features that aren’t needed the small special touches like Microsoft Sync, ambient lighting, and the ability to go between automatic or manual transmission make it just a little more special. Most importantly it had giddy up.  In fact, while test driving my salesman said, “Come to a complete stop at the bottom of this hill and gun it.”  (What?!  Are you sure?!) And so I did.

I knew then that I was going home with a new Ford Fiesta.

204 Ford Fiesta

Ultimately when making the decision to trade in the Spark it really came down to safety.  I didn’t feel safe.  In a normal situation I would’ve considered both Ford and Chevrolet (I’m lucky to have a brother who’s an engineer for GM and a mom who’s retired from Ford).  However, when it came to choosing the brand of car this time around Chevrolet wasn’t considered.  This had nothing to do with their quality of vehicles but the poor service and communication we received at both Sands Chevrolet and our old dealership in Ohio where we purchased my Aveo.  Quite honestly this is just sad to me.  Dealerships are the face of automobile brands and they leave lasting impressions. While it’s still early times for me to shout praises about both the Larry H. Miller Jeep and Sanderson Ford dealerships, they are off and running.

Stay tuned for future Ford and Jeep adventures!

Ford Fiesta and Jeep Wrangler

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Summer Runnin’

As I sat down to write my next blog post this evening I realized it’s been forever since I’ve written about what’s going on in my running life.  I could say it has to do with all the re-vamping around here or the most recent adventures I’ve taken, but really that’s not the case.  The best explanation is that running in the Arizona summer is comparable to winter running in the north or midwest. Little to no races to run and battling the elements…instead of snow we have the heat.  Most people here in Arizona take to the treadmill or rise at the crack of dawn to get their runs in. Some may be training for fall races, but for some it’s all about getting through this heat to enjoy the perfect weather winter months packed full o’ races.

So, how’s my summer running going?

I refuse to join the treadmill club.  I avoid the treadmill at all costs.  I also LOVE the heat and will take it any day over cold.  Proof?  This past winter when there was just a nip in the air I opted for a few treadmill runs, yet this summer I haven’t run on the treadmill once.  Further proof?  Not only do I run outside in the heat I do it smack dab in the middle of day during my lunch hour.  True story.  Yep, I’m that crazy girl running in 110+ degree heat. I’m sure I’ve received many head shakes from those driving by thinking I’ve lost my mind.  Eh well.

Running

#FactsOnly: While I speak jokingly about being crazy enough to run outdoors in the heat, in reality I don’t take it lightly and make smart decisions.  Like making sure I’m fully hydrated PRIOR to my run, carrying hydration with me at all times, protecting my eyes from the sun, and keeping my distance within reasonable limits.

I’m finally addressing my foot issues. Back in 2012 I began having issues with cuboid.  Due to insurance and our move to Arizona I basically put a ‘bandaid’ over the problem and never dealt with it head on.  Cuboid SyndromeLast year I started having issues again and thought I’d try to fix the problem by trying other shoes.  After trying multiple pairs I thought I may have fixed the problem….but I’ve found that’s not the case.  While I’m still running at this point I believe I’m dealing with 2 different problems that are essentially exacerbating the other.

Last week I finally made it back to the podiatrist.  First up, we dealt with my ingrown toenails.  Not to get into the gory details, but I had a procedure performed that meant cutting all sides of my big toenails and deadening the nerves to prevent then growing back (Not the entire nail, just the sides).

Podiatrist

Next up, I’m finally going to shell out the $300+ out of pocket for custom insoles.  The podiatrist genuinely believes this should take care of my problem.  I’ve also invested in orthotic flip flops.  (I swear they are cuter than they sound!) Like everyone else in Arizona I basically live in the sandals so it’s just as important to have appropriate support the other 90% of the time that I’m not running.

Finally, it’s time to head back to the drawing board for running shoes.  I’m a self-proclaimed Mizuno Maniac but it may be time to step away and try something outside of their line.  Not sure what I will end up with since that all depends on my updated analysis and what feels right, but you can guarantee I’ll let ya’ll know.

Shoes

I miss the trails. After last year’s awesome Ragnar Trail experience I had full intentions of being a captain again, but after deep thought I decided against it. As embarrassed and sad as I am to admit it it’s been close to 2 months since I’ve hit the trail…hiking or running. While I love the heat, dealing with the hot sun out on the trails is no joke.  Add in rattlesnakes and last year’s possible rattlesnake run in, I’m kind of spooked. To say that I’m anxious to get back on the trails is an understatement.

Trail Running

I’m debating a fall race. As you know, I’ve already registered for the Zion Half in March 2015 but chances are I’ll do another race before then.  Quite frankly fall has creeped up on me faster than I realized. In fact, it wasn’t until a coworker brought up her fall race plans that I realized I better get on it if I plan to race come October/November. Of course, this all depends on possible pending vacation plans (no you haven’t missed where we hope to go…that’s a whole different post).  Women’s Half?  Las Vegas Strip at Night?  I dunno. Even thinking about starting to train for a race in this heat is tough. Yep, I know I said I prefer running in the heat over the cold, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  If I said it once I’ve said it a million times: running is a humbling experience. I’m reminded of this more often than not….especially in the heat.

Medals

Last but not least…one thing that hasn’t changed….I Just Run. And I love it. No matter what the season.

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Tasty Vegan Baked Goods in Phoenix – Treehouse Bakery

As I stated in another review last month, once we became settled in Phoenix I got into the habit of not seeking out new vegan options simply out of laziness.  However, in the past month I’ve really focused on hitting up new locations.  I’m not real sure how I did that with all of my crazy travel adventures but good vegan food will do that to you!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I have a SERIOUS sweet tooth.  I need my sweets! One location I’ve had my eye on for awhile has been Treehouse Bakery.  Per their site:

‘We create hand-crafted artisan vegan cupcake, cookies, muffins, pies, and uncheesecakes with all natural and organic ingredients whenever possible. All of our items are completely vegan, egg, and dairy free.’

Treehouse Bakery

Unfortunately I’ve never made a point to get down to their location before they closed for the day.  However, about a month ago we stopped to have DH’s ears pierced at our favorite location in Phoenix, HTC Piercing, and got to talking about vegan food with our fave piercer Marilyn.  She said, “You HAVE to go to Treehouse,’ and went on and on how she loves their delicious treats and how she takes her son to Treehouse on a weekly basis.  So, it was about time we made the stop.  So we did….the next morning.

Treehouse Bakery

Located on Grand Ave in the Arts & Small Business District, Treehouse has taken an old storefront and converted it into their own little bakery.  This area of Phoenix has a worn out old-time feel that is really making it’s way through revitalization, which is something I love to see.

Treehouse Bakery

Treehouse Bakery

We were welcomed with an abundance of tasty treats to choose from.  Not only do they have your basic vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, but they always have treats with their own special twist. Margarita, rocky road, chocolate chip, churro, or strawberry champagne cupcakes anyone? The list really is never ending.  In addition, they also have freshly baked cookies, coffee cake, donuts, homemade pop tarts, and cinnamon rolls.  ALL VEGAN! (P.S. They have gluten-free options too!)

Treehouse Bakery

Honestly, it was so hard to choose that I went with several options….and none disappointed.

Something I’ve come to expect and accept is that when you find vegan delicacies chances are you’ll be paying a premium.  That’s not the case with Treehouse.  I was able to get everything I ordered for the price I’ve paid for one baked good at another one of my favorite vegan locations in Phoenix.  Not bashing, just keeping it real.Treehouse Bakery

Sadly, Treehouse Bakery isn’t too close to our home (which may be a good thing!),  but I definitely plan to return and would highly recommend anyone stop by.  Whether you’re vegan or not, if you have a sweet tooth chances are you’ll love it!

Treehouse Bakery
1348 W Roosevelt St
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone 480.560.5233

Closed Monday
Tues-Sat 10-6
Sun 10-2

Credit cards accepted

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Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)
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Looking for more vegan food in Phoenix and beyond? Check out my Vegan Travel, Reviews, & Recipes.