County Fair

Written by Craig Outhier Category: Valley News Issue: May 2015
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El Splitsville

What is it about mouth-watering Mexican food that drives a wedge between friends and colleagues? While compiling this month’s Mexican Food Guide, we couldn’t help but notice that most high-profile culinary divorces in the Valley involve its most respected Mexican restaurant brands. Most have something to do with all that spicy cuisine.

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza v. Restaurateur Steve Rosenfield

How It Went Down
Two years after opening Barrio Queen with Rosenfield, Esparza sold her stake to him, creating two “Barrio” groups in the Valley.

Reason for the Split
Rosenfield doesn’t like pomegranate seeds in his guac? It’s a mystery.

Chef Doug Robson v. Clarendon Hotel owner Ben Bethel

How It Went Down
Robson abruptly closed Gallo Blanco at The Clarendon in late January, leaving Bethel with no restaurant just a few days before the Super Bowl.

Reason for the Split
Bethel and Robson’s wife evidently weren’t besties.

Chef Jeff Smedstad v. Restaurateur Azucena Tovar

How It Went Down
Smedstad sold his stake in Los Sombreros to Tovar and moved to Sedona to start Elote Cafe.

Reason for the Split
Their actual divorce.

Arizona's new Driver's License

Staycation, Anyone?
A bill that would have lifted Arizona driver’s licenses to federal standards died in committee limbo this past legislative session. No big deal in terms of your day-to-day Arizona existence – after all, when was the last time an FBI agent carded you at a nightclub? – but come January 1, 2016, Arizona’s failure to comply with the Real ID Act may render that piece of plastic in your wallet as worthless as a chewing gum wrapper when you present it to a TSA agent at an airport. Supporters of SB 1273 were hopeful that similar legislation could be attached to another bill, but you might want to hold off on those plane tickets to Paris, just in case.

HOT MIC: “Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.”
– Viral statement made by Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen to colleagues during a legislative discussion in March.