Friday, March 27, 2015


A Dry Eat

PHM0814PFILE02Community leaders create oases of nutrition across the “food deserts” of Phoenix.

South Phoenix resident Chris Child, 35, eyes a gallon jug warily, silently calculating the risks of transporting it home. He passes over the milk, meat and veggies and loads up on pop-top canned goods. In the 18 months the Montana transplant lived in the Valley without a car, he was rarely able to purchase fresh produce or even a frozen meal. “I had to be especially concerned about dairy products,” he says. “And if I was walking, I could only buy what fit in a backpack.”

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Sordid Affairs

MIXED MEDIA: As badly as the recent Veterans affairs scandal has tarnished the agency’s reputation – secret waiting lists, 115-day wait times, deadly neglect – Americans still trust it more than Congress. According to a recent USA Today poll, one in five people think the government is doing an “excellent or good” job providing veterans with medical care, the VA’s lowest rating since 2007. Bleak numbers, to be sure – unless you happen to work alongside the Kyrsten Sinemas and Trent Franks of the world.

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Tapped Out?

PHM 500x500 FPOArizona breweries battle restrictive liquor laws to keep pace as craft beer flourishes across the U.S.

Brewmaster Andy Ingram stands behind the bar at Four Peaks’ Tasting Room on Wilson Street in Tempe and considers the grim alternative confronting the state’s largest craft brewery if it wants to keep up with growing demand for its beer. “The statute says we have to surrender our retail licenses, which means we’d have to close the north Scottsdale and Phoenix Sky Harbor restaurants and let go of 200 people,” he says.

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Teed Off

PHMPF03Is the Wigwam’s decision to downsize acres of golfing green just par for the course in an ailing industry?

The storied Wigwam resort created a stir in the golf industry and Litchfield Park in April when it announced plans to convert about 50 acres of golf course into condominiums and apartments. Was this the long-feared first step in correcting the Valley’s saturated golf course market? Sort of.

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ALL in the Family

PHM0614Flash-1-3A Mormon-founded Valley support group for LGBT Mormons seeks to create acceptance for the gay and faithful.

At the Phoenix Pride parade celebrating the Valley’s LGBT community this April, there was something unusual among the big blonde wigs and boom boxes blaring “YMCA” – a group of about 40 people, dressed in their Sunday best, modestly marching behind a banner that read “Mormons Building Bridges.”“We’re marching because we love our LGBT brothers and sisters, and we want them to know it,” says Vickie Johnson, a Mormon, and the mother of a gay son.

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The Brat of Bratwurst

PHM0614Flash-1-4We’ve always liked Payton Curry. We like his food. We like his brashness. We like his crazy, carrot-colored locks. And we’ve never withheld our affection for the chef, once devoting our Spotlight page to the former Digestif frontman. His Old Town beer hall, Brat Haüs, is hailed in this very issue (page 158).

But we feel compelled to defend our excellent dining writer, Gwen Ashley Walters, who was made to pay after penning a less-than-glowing review of the chef’s latest venture, Taco Haus, in our May issue. Soon after publication, Curry posted a photo of Gwen – who tries to maintain anonymity during her restaurant visits, in the classic tradition of food critics – on Twitter.

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Taste Tests

0614PHMPF02From yuck to yum: ASU’s Conditioned Feeding Lab aims to change your plate by changing your palate.

Boiled Brussels sprouts pile on a plate, emitting an acrid funk. Waterlogged cauliflower hulks menacingly. Salmon smells too fishy, churning up stomach acid and memories of seasickness. You can’t get up until you clean your plate.

Everyone has these epicurean nightmares, these childhood food phobias dogging palates well into adulthood. At Arizona State University’s Conditioned Feeding Lab, a research course for select post-graduate students, three scientists seek to dismantle your distastes and teach you to like – even love – your dietary demons and eat more of the healthy food you fear. They claim they can help you eat less of the junk you love, to boot.

Read more: Taste Tests