Treat Yourself to a Vegan Cupcake at Treehouse Bakery

Treehouse Bakery proves to Phoenix residents that you don't need eggs and butter in order to create a decadent baked good. You can, in fact, skip the animal products and craft cupcakes, scones, even lavish wedding cakes using only plant-based ingredients. It's welcome news for local vegans and anyone who wants a slightly healthier sweet.

Treehouse's bakers dole out some standard treats on a daily basis, like gluten-free coconut macarons, homemade pop-tarts in ever-changing flavors, and personal five-inch apple pies. Pecan bars, faux chocolate chip cookies, and brownies are on the menu, too. If you hit Treehouse Bakery on Saturday morning, you have a 50/50 chance of grabbing a gooey cinnamon roll (they're served every other Saturday). However, the Treehouse team really shines when it comes to customizing vegan cakes and cupcakes for birthdays, weddings, and other special events.

Don’t Miss the Charity Pie Night Benefiting the Foundation for Blind Children on November 24th

Practical Art is always showcasing pieces created by local talents, but on the fourth Friday of every month, this art gallery and boutique does even more for the community via its charity night. On Friday, November 24th, Practical Art will host Charity Pie Night Benefiting the Foundation for Blind Children, a local nonprofit organization that's supporting kids with special needs all across Phoenix.

From 7 to 9 p.m. on the 24th, you can come to Practical Art and make a donation in order to receive a slice (or several slices) of Vonceil's Pies, crafted by another local small business owner. For a $10 donation, you can hang out and savor a single slice, whereas a $15 donation earns you as many tastings of different pies as your stomach can handle. You'll also have time to browse the unique handmade creations in the boutique, and if you find something you like, note that 10% of purchases made during this time will be donated to the Foundation for Blind Children.

Enjoy Some of the City’s Best Pies at the Phoenix Pizza Festival

Pizzas crafted using flatbread. Pies wrapped up into a cone shape and served to-go. Classic thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas. You'll find all of these (and many more) at the Phoenix Pizza Festival on Saturday, November 18th. This slice-centric fest will attract about 15 local pizza makers to show off their slices, and you can enjoy them for just $2 to $4 apiece.

One variety of pizza that can't be missed is the cone-shaped pie from Kono Pizza. Its chefs wrap up their pies into open-mouthed cylinders with ingredients like mozzarella, tomato sauce, and fresh basil, plus meatballs, pepperoni, or even chicken. You can chow down without ever sitting down. Saffron Jak offers other unique Middle Eastern pizzas crafted using flatbreads. They come topped with ingredients like saffron chicken and Bulgarian feta. Don't miss your chance to enjoy these unusual eats at Margaret T. Hance Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10, and slices are pay-as-you-go.

Taste Test Classic American Comfort Food at the Mac and Cheese Cook-Off at Chopper John’s

Known for lots of live music, Chopper John's is also locally famous for its quintessential American pub food—including mac and cheese. So it's the perfect place to host the Mac and Cheese Cook-Off on Sunday, November 12th at 5:30 p.m.

Using Chopper John's own mac and cheese as the gold standard, four judges will taste test amateur mac and cheese dishes and crown the winner, then award them a cash prize. Each chef pays $20 to be entered into the competition, so the size of the pot depends on how many sign up. If you want to be part of the fun, sans the cooking, come to Chopper John's to taste a few of the mac and cheese dishes, grab a pint, and watch the game on November 12th.

Learn How to Launch Your Own Podcast at the Podcast It Yourself Workshop

Chuck Tomasi and Tee Morris are some of the biggest names in the podcasting business. In fact, they co-authored Podcasting for Dummies, a book that presents the basic must-haves of a successful podcast. So they're the perfect duo to host Podcast It Yourself on Saturday, October 28th in Phoenix.

Chuck Tomasi, considered one of the "grandfathers" of podcasting, will kick off the event at 4 p.m. with his keynote speech. Spend the half-hour presentation learning all about what he's learned over the course of a career that included the production of more than 1,000 podcast episodes and hundreds of videos. Then split off to enjoy the lectures and activities that accompany your chosen track of podcast best practices, hardware, or software. It all ends at 7:45 p.m. with a book signing of Podcasting for Dummies, followed by an after party. A ticket is $20.

David Spade at Stand Up Live: A Comedy Icon Comes to Phoenix on October 21st

David Spade has lived in the spotlight for nearly 20 years, ever since he hit it big with his role on Just Shoot Me and, subsequently, snagged a spot on Saturday Night Live. With his group of famous friends and two decades' worth of star-studded parties, Spade had a lot to spill when he released his first memoir in 2015. When David Spade performs at StandUp Live in Phoenix on Saturday, October 21st, you can bet he'll touch on some of these aspects of his career during his set.

Since Spade got his start performing standup, you can expect to see an ease when he takes the stage and delivers laugh-inducing anecdotes with his signature dose of wit. Grab a general admission ticket to the show online ($42.50), and be a member of the audience when David Spade comes to town.

Learn How to Create a Thriving Home Garden at the Herb Life Class

In the dry desert climate of Phoenix, it can be difficult to get your garden plants to flourish. Delicate herbs can sometimes be the biggest challenge since some of them are so sensitive to heat and climate. But Dig It Gardens' team manages to cultivate a colorful array of thriving plants, despite the temperature, and they can teach you how to do the same thing at home.

Come to the Herb Life class from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 14th to learn all about creating and maintaining your own herb garden. You don't need a plot of land to do it—a large planter or a few small pots should suffice. And once you master the basic principles of gardening in the desert, you'll have a variety of new ingredients at your fingertips when you go to cook, infuse oils, or even craft artisanal cocktails. Admission to the class is $10 for adults and kids get in for free.

Casa Anejo: Enjoy Tequila and Tacos

"Wood-fired" is a term you probably associate with Italian eateries, but Casa Anejo is about to change all that. This recently opened taqueria in Phoenix operates under the direction of a DIY Network TV host and designer, so there's creativity at every turn—including the kitchen. This wood-fired oven is used to craft the components of tacos, sear street corn, and cook quesadillas.

Come to Casa Anejo on Taco Tuesday to taste test three tacos for $8 total. Try the Spicy Chorizo Double with jack cheese, black beans, habanero peppers, lettuce, and crema—and perhaps add the fusion short rib tacos with charred poblanos and pickled onion. Round out your trio with a swordfish or carnitas taco, and don't forget a margarita for $5. You may also want to come by on the weekends when a live DJ spins beats in house.

Enjoy Fresh Air and Fun at the Meet Me Downtown Phoenix Social Walk/Run Every Monday Night

The Meet Me Downtown Phoenix Social Walk/Run is designed to get city dwellers out of their abodes and into the fresh air for some socializing and exercise. Every week, runners and walkers meet at The Park Street Food Bar at 5:15 p.m. on Monday night to embark on an adventure through the city.

Everyone goes at whatever pace they find comfortable, following a three-to-five-mile path through Phoenix. Every athlete receives a route guide before the run begins, so it's impossible to get lost, even if you fall behind. Meet back at The Park Street Food Bar around 6:30 for the "closing ceremonies," complete with awards and prizes. Even if you don't win any special accolades, you'll still get a stamp that earns you discounts at eateries around the city if you go out to dinner that evening. Joining the run is free.

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Ballet Under the Stars: A Free, All-Ages Event Rings in the Fall

One of the perks of Arizona living is that the end of the summer doesn't really signal the end of outdoor fun. You can remain active in your outdoor pursuits well into the fall. In fact, the outdoor performance series Ballet Under the Stars kicks off on Thursday, September 21st, the final day of summer.

It carries the community into autumn with a lineup of professional ballet performances at parks around the area. It comes to Beardsley Park on the 21st, stops at Fountain Park on the 22nd, and lands at Steele Indian Park on the 23rd. The Tempe Center for the Arts Amphitheater and the Estrella Lakeside Amphitheater host the ballet company on September 28th and 30th, respectively. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket and some snacks to share as the performers from Ballet Arizona recreate both classic and contemporary shows, complete with lavish costumes, lighting, and music. The events are free and open to the public.

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