Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exploring Phoenix: Awatukee

 Since Ed and I have just started getting to know all the different neighborhoods of the "East Valley," our new home area, I thought it might be fun to give you all an introduction as well! These are all areas we considered living, and are all very nice.

Ahwatukee is called the area's "biggest' cul-de-sac" and is bordered by the South Mountain to the side, the 10 freeway to the east, and that red line to the south. It's the most southern of the main Phoenix suburbs and in 2010 had a population of 77,249 (info courtesy of wikipedia). For some perspective, Ed'll be working where it says "Tempe" on the map and downtown Phoenix is where it says, well, Phoenix. We'll be living East (and a little north) from Ahwatukee. 

We were drawn to Ahwatukee initially because it's close to nature and trails (South Mountain is a popular hiking spot), 

is supposed to have a good community feel, and a bit smaller and quieter than neighboring cities (plus lots of nice south mountain views). 
East Ahwatukee wouldn't be too bad of a commute for Ed, either, and it has a great school district, Kyrene. 

Our hotel was in this area, so we probably got to know it the best! We were both struck with, especially at night, how quiet it was! The sidewalks and hillsides were also beautifully landscaped and, especially with it being spring.

Spending the past week in Ahwatukee, our feelings about it didn't change that much. It lived up to our expectation as a quiet, pretty place near trails. Ed checked out these trails and felt pretty "meh" about them, but it's hard to compare desert to redwoods. While we won't be calling this area home, a little part of us is sad to not be living in this nice area.

Food in Awatukee:
Awatukee had a few good places listed, though we ended up at pretty casual restaurants that hadn't be preplanned. 

We ate out twice in this area, the first night to "The Pita Jungle."

This was a chain, but an excellent one at that. It was in a shopping center, not unlike one you'd find just about anywhere. It had a theater, and lots of restaurants surrounding it. Since we'd eaten a heavy lunch, this place was perfect!

The best part? Sitting outside at eight o'clock at night in a tank top and skirt. The plus side of the 95 degree day was the perfect evening for dining outside. We can't wait to do more of that once we move!

We both got really good salads! Mine was broiled chicken with a great citrus dressing, and Ed's was seared ahi tuna with a tropical sesame dressing. I wish we had more places like this in the Bay Area.  

Afterwards, we made a quick stop at the local Fresh and Easy (a popular chain here!) to pick up lunch stuff for the week and then went back to the complex for some self serve frozen yogurt. It was so pleasant spending time in the quiet outdoors and it made for the perfect relaxing first night. 

For our second meal, we went with the recommendation of one of our realtors, to head to Macayo's, a popular mexican restaurant. We definitely went towards the end of dinner hour, but again, it wasn't too crowded (more elderly people equals an earlier dinner?). 

The inside was decorated very cutely with giant plastic birds hanging from the ceiling, and let us try out Arizona mexican food. 

I went with "traditional" and got the Sonoran enchilada sampler. Verdict? Very cheesy and mild (I preferred mine with about a cup of salsa dumped on it. However, the servers were excellent and very friendly. 

So, based on our first experiences, the food over here (and the atmosphere) was pretty quiet and subdued. We hear rumors of Pita Jungles closer to our new home, and the Mexican wasn't something I'd return and get. However, I'm sure there are lots of other great restaurants to explore!

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