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Family Brunch

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Sunday Brunch, or any meal on any day, is not the same when you have kids.  Once you become a mom, and unless baby is at home with a sitter, eating an actual meal in peace is merely wishful thinking.  But sometimes you still want to feel normal and enjoy the things you once took for granted: atmosphere, ambiance, crowd and, of course, the menu.

When Father’s Day was approaching, I knew a reservation had to be made.  Not only was this my husband, Anthony’s, first Father’s Day but braving a crowd and chancing a high maintenance baby was still easier that prepping, cooking and cleaning (yikes!) So, what restaurants are still cool to go but also family friendly?

El Chorro, in Paradise Valley, has always been a place to be and be seen. From Sunday Brunch to noted events like Thanksgiving Eve, you know you’re amongst Valley royalty at this spot. El Chorro was originally built as a school for girls in 1934 and then, in 1937, converted to a restaurant and lodge.  Clark Gable, Milton Berle and other prominent figures visited the lodge in its early days and in the 1950s, the lodge became a favorite of Arizona families and local celebrities, including David Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright.

After reviewing their brunch menu, this seemed like the perfect place for our Father’s Day.

When we arrived El Chorro was packed but we were seated immediately. The large patio equipped with misters, bar, dining room and back rooms makes it appealing for all, noting a happy mix of families and childless groups, young and old.


Our daughter, Mia Valentina, slept the entire brunch! Although I was stunned it was welcomed; I actually had a chance to talk to the man of the day without adorable baby in arms.  We received the great service El Chorro is known for, mingled with friends who were also celebrating their and, ultimately, had an enjoyable afternoon.


Even if you haven’t eaten at El Chorro, you may have heard about their infamous Sticky Buns.   I assure you, they are even better than you imagine.


Anthony is definitely a foodie and this special, the Surf N’ Turf Eggs Benedict, was right up his alley.


Since Mia was sleeping and I had a bottle on hand if needed, I had one drink. After choosing very carefully, I decided on a summer specialty cocktail, the Lavender Lemon Drop Martini.  Ketel Citroen, house grown lavender simple syrup, lemon, Chambord and lavender infused sugar rim. Once I can drink with ease, I will go back for this. Yes, it was THAT delicious.


So, not only is El Chorro a prime destination for cocktails, fine dining and events but the Sunday Brunch is great for family time.  Check out their brunch any Sunday from 8am – 2pm.  Reservations suggested!



10 Things to Do This Weekend: Family Edition

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It’s nearing the hottest part of the year, and for many Phoenician families that means holing up inside air-conditioned buildings until October. Thankfully, Phoenix continues to offer a variety of fun activities inside, from musicals and summer camps to a well-known circus, so the kids can still have fun. Here are AFM’s top activities for the weekend of June 27-29.


10 Things to Do This Weekend: Family Edition

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Have you ever wanted to break a world record? Well AMF needs your help this weekend to beat the record for the “Most People Bowling Simultaneously.” If the alley isn’t your forte, take the kids down to The Phoenician and experience the new Surge splash pad. For a more cultural outing, head on over to the Juneteenth Celebration at the Tempe History Museum and take in some of that soul food goodness. There’s plenty of variety for your family weekend. Allons-y!




Splash Pad 101

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If you’re childless, you may question the necessity of splash pads.  That was me one year ago ( pre pregnancy plus an eleven week old daughter.)  I can almost remember sitting at True Foods at the Scottsdale Quarter, probably drinking my second glass of wine, wondering why parents would even consider sprinklers on concrete and imagining the last time the pads were properly cleaned. If you don’t have a pool, won’t your friends let you bring your kids swimming? Can you not find a babysitter so you can enjoy lunch at True Foods?

scottsdale quarter splash pad

Fast forward nine months and eleven weeks and I am a mom, so I now realize how valuable summer outings are. Even though we have a pool, mommy dearest needs to get out of the house just as much as baby does.  My daughter, Mia Valentina, can’t even crawl yet and I’m already planning splash pad trips. Not to mention my brilliant baby is in awe over bright colors, absolutely loves the outdoors and thinks anything water-related is the coolest thing (like the bath and pool.) I do have some mom friends that can accompany me when my husband is at work (because somebody needs to work) but, even if I didn’t, I know moms and dads are vying to make new friends, so never skip play time because you’re intimidated of going solo.


Are you a newbie to splash pads? Here’s some friendly advice to keep you and your family feeling cool:

  1. Swim Diapers are a must. Don’t try to skip them. Your poor child will look like they have a beach ball in their diaper plus mall cops will check.

  2. Play in the splash pads, not any hot puddles of stagnant water (duh.)

  3. Drinking chlorine isn’t so great – watch your kids and bring water and snacks.

  4. Make sure your tots are wearing swim shoes or sandals.

  5. Even the grownups get wet, so dress appropriately.

  6. 2pm - 5pm tends to bethe hottest part of the day.  Try to plan your adventure earlier in the day.
  7. Don’t be delusional. Even though this is a water activity, it’s still triple digits in Phoenix. Bring sunscreen, hats and sun protective wear. If your splash pad doesn’t have ample shade options, take a sun shade or umbrella. Sunburns are especially dangerous for tots.

desert ridge splash pad 

So, you’re now ready to check out the ever so refreshing family activity.  Splash pads have become so popular, they’re everywhere in the Phoenix-land area, from the West Valley to the East Valley. Here’s a list of some of our favorite pads in the Valley.

  • Kierland Commons Splash Pad
  • The Splash Pad at Scottsdale Quarter
  • Tempe Beach Splash Playground
  • Tempe Marketplace Splash Pad
  • The Phoenix Zoo's Leaping Lagoon
  • Kidsplash Fountain at Desert Ridge Marketplace
  • Westgate City Center Fountain Park
  • Splash Park at Rio Vista Community Park in Peoria
  • Adventure Park Splash Pad at Anthem Community Park


Have you been to a splash pad yet this summer?  Send us your tips so we can include them!


10 Things To Do This Weekend in Phoenix: Family Edition

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From screams of fright this Friday the 13th to celebrating dads on Father’s Day, this weekend is sure to be a festive one full of family fun! We’ve scoured the Valley’s upcoming events and chosen our top 10 ways for your family to spend the action-packed weekend of June 13 – June 15.


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