Adventures in Arizona [AZ]

I squeezed in a little bit more adventuring into this IAP and visited Julia for a week in Mesa, Arizona! To be honest, the bulk of our time was spent making a stop motion video called PB + J, but I’ll get to that later. First, tacos:

Backyard Taco
1524 E University Dr
Mesa, AZ 85203


I’m definitely not a taco expert, but these tacos from Backyard Taco were pretty incredible. Packed with flavor and cradled by two soft corn tortillas, my steak and chicken tacos were gone within a few minutes.


They were $1.95 each, and it was hard to limit myself to just two. But this was technically our afternoon snack, so I somehow managed.


Taquitos Jalisco
437 S Gilbert Rd
Mesa, AZ 85204


Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall-ness of Taquitos Jalisco fool you, these tacos were amazing as well. Their menu has a variety of other Mexican food items, but we decided to stick with our taco theme for our day two taco break.



“My carne asada and lengua tacos were pretty small, but had a great overall flavor!” Julia said. “I liked that they weren’t too greasy or oily, but they could have had a little more meat.”

The Arrogant Butcher
2 E Jefferson St
Phoenix, AZ 85004


We celebrated the completion of our video by exploring Downtown Phoenix for an afternoon, and we went halfsies at The Arrogant Butcher for lunch! The Turkey Pastrami (above) was served on a pretzel bun with the perfect amount of crunch, and the coleslaw gave the sandwich a fresh bite. The Smoked Pork Cubano (below) was a warm, crispy sandwich with ham, mustard, pickle, swiss, and “Mojo sauce.”


910 N 5th St
Phoenix, AZ 85004


After lunch, we wandered around Roosevelt Row, a creative district in Downtown Phoenix, and came across gorgeous murals, adorable craft shops, and a cute hand-drawn ad for this ice cream shop called Melt. “Wow, that’s such a cute name for an ice cream shop,” Julia said, and then the rest is history.


It’s a really small shop, and there are some interesting flavors like Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch, but we went with a scoop of Mint Oreo and a scoop of Coffee. The ice cream is served in cute Chinese takeout boxes, and topped with a fortune cookie! Unexpectedly, the combination of mint and coffee was incredible — would highly recommend.


“Courage comes through suffering,” read Julia’s fortune as her brass rat slipped sideways. Hmmmmmmm….

PB + J
Julia’s house
Mesa, AZ

All of those food adventures above were delicious, but the greatest food adventure of my entire trip to Arizona was me and Julia’s PB + J stop motion creation.

For six straight days, Julia and I sat at her dining room table with a camera, tripod, and a lot of earned courage. A few of my favorite frames from the whole thing:


For this peanut frame (above) after the snap, Julia cracked open each individual peanut while my hand stayed in that position.


The frame of the bread popping out of the cardboard (above) was definitely the biggest all-around struggle. Julia used both hands to hold up the string for the cardboard while also finding a way to click the remote, and I had one hand in the frame while the other was holding the bread up with string.



Bon appétit! You can see our behind the scenes struggles here: