Friday, November 28, 2014

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Roast Hunters

PHM 500x500 FPOBack in 1979, Ric and Judy Brecheisen traveled to Europe and drove around in a Volkswagen bus with their children, stopping at coffeehouses across the continent to try new brews. That flavorful family vacation led to a family-run business when the joe-inspired Brecheisens returned to the Valley and founded Passport Coffee & Tea in Scottsdale in 1983.

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¶lim¶Café, Coffee, Joe?

PHM 500x500 FPOPour-overs, brew bars and local roasters – coffee has experienced a delicious evolution in the last decade. Discover new frontiers of caffeinated ecstasy with our guide to all that’s coffee in the Valley.

Coffee. Most Americans can’t get through the day without at least a cup – 58 percent of consumers age 18 and older drink it daily, according to a 2012 survey by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Coffee has become more than a daily wake-up ritual or a jolt to the system during afternoon slumps. Its consumption has moved into the domain of wine, fine spirits, craft beer and gourmet food, with baristas being elevated to artisans and a cup of coffee telling a story about where it grew, how it got to you and the personality of who roasted it and who brewed it. It’s no longer liquid energy to mindlessly swill – it’s an experience to be evaluated, with flavor and aroma profiles and brewing skills, and, of course, enjoyed.

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Salt of the Hearth

PHM 500x500 FPOHow to make meats and veggies sizzle on Himalayan salt slabs.

What if we told you that you could cook just about anything on a big, pink slab of 900-degrees-hot Himalayan salt? Cooking with salt slabs is more like an art than it is cooking; the salt is absorbed into whatever is sizzling on the slab, so there’s no need for seasoning beyond a sprinkling of pepper. Intrigued? Chef Jacques Qualin of J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician, who has been a chef in both Paris and New York, showed us everything from how to heat the slab to how to obtain the perfect salty crust on an entrée.

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Local Gift Guide 2014

PHM1214Flash-4-ShopHomogenous holiday shopping got you down? Step up your gift game with Arizona-made goods.

‘Tis the season for eggnog, fruitcake, twinkling lights, pumpkin-spice-flavored everything and trampling fellow shoppers for limited sales on mass-manufactured products at big-box stores. Eliminate the latter aspect by going local for your gifts.

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¶lim¶2014 Best New Restaurants

PHM1114Feat-1

It’s that time of year again. Our Super Bowl of the savory. Our Emmys of the edible. Our roundup of the year’s elite new purveyors of Valley food-craft.

Warning: Perusing this article may be dangerous for your waistline.

How we picked them: Each of our PHOENIX magazine food writers compiled a Top 10 list of their favorite new restaurants in the Valley. We tallied the scores and used a weighted scale to favor the restaurants that appeared most often – and disadvantage those our writers visited, but left off their lists.

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Gentlemen, Start Your Allegros

PHM1114Flash-4-AllegrosSports and sound collide as Phoenix International Raceway and Phoenix Symphony put on a car-themed concert.

Start your engines. Rev ‘em up. Burn rubber.

When you read those phrases, do you think of fast-paced music? If so, you’re on the same aural-auto plane as composer Larry Blank, who guest-conducts the Phoenix Symphony’s “Sound of Speed” concert showcasing car-themed music on Thursday, November 6. Emceed by Dukes of Hazzard alum Tom Wopat, the concert is presented in conjunction with the 50-year anniversary of Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace will guest-conduct the national anthem, and featured selections will include “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” by John Adams, orchestrations from James Bond films and an eponymous original opening arrangement by Blank. “What Larry’s going to be doing creatively is really demonstrating that collision between cars, racing and music, by incorporating sounds of cars and horns and all of that into the piece itself,” Phoenix Symphony President and CEO Jim Ward says.

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Farmers’ Market Finder

PHMPF13Peruse produce and frolic among food trucks at these open-air oases.

Autumn is finally here, and while we may not have crisp breezes and piles of crackly umber leaves underfoot, we do have a fun season-marker of our own: the return of farmers’ markets in full force, blanketing every corner of the Valley in their locally-grown, hand-picked, homespun bounty. To find the market nearest you and its fall-spring hours, consult this handy guide.

Read more: Farmers’ Market Finder

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