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The death of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey got us thinking about one of the group’s signature songs Take it Easy, which that was written by Frey along with Jackson Browne. Frey sang the lead vocals, one of which put a dusty old town along Route 66 forever on the map of rock and roll lyrics destinations:

“Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

 Winslow, Arizona was forever immortalized in the song "Take it Easy," written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. Visit the town that sits along historic Route 66.

Standing on a Corner Park in Winslow Arizona

Standing on a Corner Park in Winslow Arizona

In Winslow they embraced this burst of fame and created “Standing on a Corner Park” at the intersection of Route 66 and North Kinsley Avenue. You can’t miss it, there’s a giant highway shield of Route 66 painted in the road. Since the song doesn’t mention exactly which corner in Arizona the writer was standing on this one was chosen. It’s in the center of town so it works just fine.

Visiting Standing on a Corner Park Winslow Arizona

In a mural created by artist John Pugh there is indeed a reflection of a girl slowing down to take a look. To add even more realism, a bright red 1960 Ford flatbed truck is parked in the street for a unique photo op. While Winslow doesn’t get quite the foot traffic of tourists crossing Abbey Road in London does, we were surprised by the steady flow of people on a winter’s day. It’s estimated that 100,000 people a year visit Standing on a Corner Park.

standing on a corner park Winslow Arizona

The centerpiece of the park is a denim-clad statue holding an acoustic guitar called “Easy” which was created by sculptor Ron Adamson. While it does bear a passing resemblance to Jackson Browne, it was created to represent all songwriters. It was installed in September 1999. Upon Glenn Frey’s death the statue became a setting for tributes to the Eagles songster.

Winslow Arizona Glenn Frey memorial

 

Photo courtesy Standin’ on the Corner Park

Winslow itself is a pretty interesting town to visit. You can stay in the historic La Posada Hotel which is a former Santa Fe Railroad hotel from 1929. East of town there are a few relics from Route 66’s glory days of welcoming travelers and even a spot where the road literally ends.

Arizona Route 66 near Winslow Minnetonka store

Route 66 peters out below, replaced by the interstate.

Arizona end of Route 66 Winslow

Visiting Standing on a Corner Park in Winslow Arizona

Address: Intersection of 2nd Avenue (Old Route 66 eastbound) and North Kinsley Avenue. Winslow is 58 miles east of Flagstaff. You’ll take I-40 to get to Winslow so make sure to exit the interstate to get downtown.

Hours: 24/7

Admission: Free

Web site: StandinOnTheCorner.com

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Sonoran hot dogs are considered by many to be Tucson, Arizona’s signature street food. Since we’re crazy for a good hot dog (such as Buffalo’s chargrilled beauties) we had to give them a try.

These southwestern treats are not for fat and cholesterol wimps, so readers beware! Read more

One of my early food memories is from when I was nine years old and my mom took us on a trip of a lifetime out West. In Arizona we went to a rodeo where I had my first taste of Navajo fry bread. Just like it sounds, it was a hunk of dough that was deep-fried, what’s not to like?

It was a lot to absorb for a kid from Long Island. (And did I absorb it, I was quite a chubby child.) That taste of Navajo frybread led to a lifelong love of fried dough, resulting in my latent donut fetish, although that’s probably not a good thing.

We were in northern Arizona recently where my taste buds perked up with signs stating “Navajo fry bread tacos” and “Indian tacos.” What? Is there a way to improve upon the humble fry bread?

Navajo fry bread tuuvi cafe half eaten (640x493)

We were staying in Tuba City on the western end of Navajo Nation and stopped for a meal at the Tuuvi Cafe. The restaurant is conveniently attached to a gas station and every table was packed; since we were the only anglos there I figured the food would be pretty authentic.

The waitress assured me that the fry bread taco was the best we’d find anywhere, so how could I resist? (To make things a bit confusing the Tuuvi Center is Hopi-owned so they eschew the “Navajo” designation and simply call theirs a “Tuuvi taco.”) When she brought out my plate with a massive heaping of food I looked around to see how many other people were joining me.

An Indian fry bread taco is just like the names says: Take a large portion of ground beef, mix it up with spices and peppers, melt some cheese on top, cover it with lettuce and tomatoes and plop the whole thing on a hubcap-sized piece of freshly fried dough. Picture eating a cheeseburger with all the fixings on a giant donut and you get the idea.

The meat was perfectly spiced with a bit of heat but not too much. The frybread underneath stayed crispy for the first few minutes before it gave into the juicy beef assault. I finished most of the topping but barely made a dent in the main event, the frybread.

navajo indian fry bread

A dessert fry bread at Fry Bread House in Phoenix.

The verdict: A Navajo frybread taco is one of those things you should try once. But for me, as much as I love donuts, the combination of fried bread and beefy taco filling was a bit much. But Arizonans love it, in 1995 they voted it the state dish of Arizona.

A week later we stopped at Fry Bread House in Phoenix for a piece of hot fry bread adorned with just cinnamon and sugar that melted into the crispy dough. That was more to my taste.

What do you think, does the Navajo fry bread taco sound too good to pass up?

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Ask someone about their favorite pizza and you’re likely to end up in a heated discussion. Some prefer New York, others Chicago’s deep-dish while New Haven white clam pizza often gets a nod.

For years I’ve been reading that Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona makes the best pizza in America. That’s a pretty bold statement. Since I’m a bit obsessed with pizza I scurried to Phoenix, with my somewhat jaded eyes wide open, to test the claims made about Pizzeria Bianco.

First a little background. Pizza chef Chris Bianco is a native New Yorker who moved to Phoenix in the 1980s. He had a gift for making pizza which he honed during a two-year stint in Italy. When he returned to America in 1994 he became a pioneer making artisanal pizza in the U.S.

pizzeria bianco phoenix

He starts out with high-protein flour, San Marzano tomatoes and house-made mozzarella. The pizzas are baked for three minutes at 800 degrees in a wood-fired brick oven and arrive at the table with the crust still crackling. Bianco’s devotion to fresh ingredients and locally sourced products is legendary; earning a James Beard Award in 2003 and accolades from the likes of the New York Times and Racheal Ray.

But is it really the best pizza in America?

The menu at Pizzeria Bianco is refreshingly simple: a few appetizers, salads and six pizzas. We went with the classic, a Margherita with just tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. Oh, and a side order of house-made crispy Italian bread and olive oil; you can never have too many carbs.

pizzeria bianco wood burning oven

When the pizza arrived it looked like something out of a magazine on “What pizza should look like.” The crust had reacted properly to the extreme heat of the oven and was buckled with charred air bubbles, just how I like it. The basil was torn into big enough chunks so you still knew it was basil and the melted cheese made itself one with the bright red sauce. Underneath the crust was just how I like it; charred in bits from the brick floor of the oven.

The feel of the pizza was just right. I grew up in New York so I’m a pizza folder and each slice folded nicely. There was enough spring in the crispy crust that it didn’t crack. The crust had just the right blend of crispy and chewy.

pizzeria bianco crust

The sauce gave a full tomato feel but Larissa thought it could have used some spices, if there were onions in it we didn’t pick it up. Fresh mozzarella is usually more bland than regular so she also ended up sprinkling a little salt on her slice. I’m not as into salt so I went without.

At $15, the 12″ pizza was not cheap but with the bread dish we were able to fill up on a single pie at lunch. One pie probably wouldn’t be enough for dinner for two people but I couldn’t see spending $30 on two pizzas.

pizzeria bianco pizza peels (640x491)

What does “best” really mean?

But back to the original question, is Pizzeria Bianco the best pizza in America? Well no, but is there really a “best” pizza, or anything for that matter? It certainly ranks as one of our top pies and we’re glad we made it to Phoenix to check out what all the fuss was about. Rather than rest on its laurels, Pizzeria Bianco still puts out a top-notch pizza. But it’s really not fair to make it live up to “best pizza in America” status.

The reality is that because of Chris Bianco there are now many places out there emulating him and creating outstanding pizzas every day. And from what I’ve read about the unassuming chef, I think he’d be just fine with that.

Are you hungry for some more pizza? Here’s our story about tasting pizza on six continents to seek the best pizza in the world.

What is your favorite pizza place?

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