Things we love and loathe this month.

The Lobby

Written by Editorial Staff Category: Valley News Issue: May 2017
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Heat Hike Hacks

Every summer, Phoenicians do the same song and dance: We all retreat into our air-conditioned homes, grocery stores and movie theaters, refusing to venture outside until the triple-digit temps subside. But each year, visitors who aren’t acquainted with our summertime hibernation habits (and some ballsy locals) do brave the sub-hell weather and go for a hike, often with grave consequences. In 2016, there were 279 rescues on Phoenix hiking trails, according to a city spokesperson. To combat this dangerous and expensive pattern, the city and the Arizona Office of Tourism are rolling out their “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” awareness campaign for a third summer. Scott Dunn with the Office of Tourism says the biggest mistakes people make are not bringing enough water and venturing off trail because of crowds. “You don’t have to hike Camelback on a 98-degree day,” he says. “There are so many cooler [and less crowded] hiking possibilities around the Valley.”

— Lauren Loftus

Lost Lake Love

Huge news for Valley music freaks: In a March press conference, Superfly Presents – the promoter behind such music mongo fests as Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Outside Lands in San Francisco – announced plans to stage a similar event in Downtown Phoenix this October. Dubbed Lost Lake, the multi-day event is expected to draw upward of 40,000 fans to Steele Indian School Park. Lineup details were not immediately available, but Superfly founder Kerry Black likened its scope and substance to Outside Lands. Using that metric, we generated this wish list of headliners.

Arcade Fire
The Grammy-winning Québécois rockers played Outside Lands in 2011 and are touring this summer, including a date at Lollapalooza in August.
Odds of playing: 3 to 1
Fleetwood Mac
What better way to christen the Phoenix festival than with native daughter Stevie Nicks and co.? Their current tour wraps in July. Might be hard to start it up again.
Odds of playing: 20 to 1
The British space-rockers hit the festival circuit hard, but their current tour wraps up in Salt Lake City in late September.
Odds of playing: 15 to 1
Jimmy Eat World
The pride of Mesa probably isn’t a headliner-caliber draw for a festival of this size, but it would seem wrong not to book them. We forecast a down-bill appearance.
Odds of playing: 2 to 1


Mood Stabilizer

Downtown gets its own Coachella-style mega-festival this October. If you go, park in the Windsor Square neighborhood. They’ll love it!

The Sonoita Inn unveils a Southern Arizona wine-centric summer stay package. Uh, road trip?

Valley dairy king Danzeisen cracks the lineup at D-backs games. One of its earliest advocates: PHOENIX freakin’ magazine.

Final Four Fan Central hosts capacity crowds in April. Maybe we’ll get another one?

SRP and Phoenix Fire distribute videos on CPR and fire safety. We’re expecting our APS reefer-madness tape any day now.

No go, Joe: Judge declines to delay Arpaio’s contempt trial, holds firm to late April. Good theater? Mabes.

High school football hazing scandal rocks Chandler. It’s definitely not 1959 anymore.

Gov. Ducey signs bill targeting initiative signatures. Is this how democracy dies? By quashing canvassers?




Arizona dining impresario Sam Fox opened his 16th original restaurant, Doughbird, in the Valley this March, but arguably the bigger news for Fox Restaurant Concepts was the simultaneous debut of a True Food Kitchen in Naples, Florida.

That’s right – our own little Phoenix-based dining empire is now bicoastal. It’s a meaningful milestone for Fox, a one-time finance major who dropped out of the University of Arizona in the early ’90s to start his first restaurant, Gilligan’s, and who now sits atop an organization of 6,000 employees. Thankfully, the Valley’s food-concept king still enjoys a good one-off.

Doughbird is your first new concept since Flower child in 2014. Is that your longest dry spell?
“I think so, but I’ve been busy! In the last three years, we’ve opened 25 restaurants nationally. It takes so much energy and time, opening out of state. Traveling, touring real estate, understanding local codes – it’s not like opening a local restaurant. That’s easy.”

You even have one opening in Pennsylvania later this year. Are there any FRC restaurants you haven’t visited yet?
“I’ve been in all the restaurants I’ve opened. But there were a couple openings this year that I missed. The other day we opened two restaurants on the same day – the True Food in Naples and Doughbird,
so I had to miss one.”

What’s the story behind Doughbird? Was it a concept you wanted to do for a long time, or something you invented to suit the location?
“Well, we started working the real estate first and weren’t sure what we were going to do with that corner [in Arcadia]. We wanted something unique and new, because it’s so close to [our other restaurants] in the area. Originally, it was going to be a pizza restaurant. But I felt like I needed another reason to be there... I have pizza about once a month, right? So we needed something else. And I’ve always wanted to do rotisserie chicken… and that’s how we came up with Doughbird. Pizza and chicken.”

Illustration by Mirelle Inglefield

Did you work up the menu in that nifty little food lab in the back of The Henry?
“That’s right. We built the menu in the test kitchen and it just evolved. We cooked for three or four months, sculpting and shaping what the menu should be, and it came out great. I’m very excited.”

You’re on a desert island. You can pick just one Fox restaurant menu, and that’s all you can eat for the rest of your life. Which will it be? And don’t pull that they’re-like-my-children thing.
“The whole menu? It would have to be The Henry because it has breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you picked Flower Child, sure it’s healthy and amazing, but you might get tired of [healthy]. The Henry is healthy and self-indulgent, and has great drinks. So, The Henry for sure.”

Since this is our California travel issue, and you know the state pretty well, can you give us some recs? Besides FRC joints, of course.
• “My absolute favorite place on the whole West Coast is Nobu in Malibu. They have this wonderful patio and my wife, my buddies and I will sit out there and have a four-hour lunch... have a bottle of rosé, great food, great company, and the waves are crashing right there in front of you. The building is unbelievable. The people-watching is off the charts. It’s just perfect.”
• “I’m a day-drinking kind of guy, so I love hitting Napa when I’m in Northern California. I like a place called Bouchon... incredible shellfish platter and oysters, and amazing wine list, naturally.”
• “In downtown L.A. there’s a great coffee place called Zinc. Incredible coffee, but the best thing is the cinnamon popover.”

Do you have plans to scale out Doughbird?
“Not yet. When we open something new, the only concern is, let’s make a great restaurant. Not get ahead of ourselves. Let the public decide. And we do have successful restaurants we haven’t expanded. Like Olive & Ivy and The Henry... but actually, for The Henry we are doing a second one in L.A. So that will be my favorite L.A. spot when it opens.”


O'Pinion by Mike O'Neil

Senatorial Two-Steppin’

One must feel a small pang of sympathy for Arizona’s two U.S. senators. On a near-daily basis, they’re forced to perform an exotic hopscotch routine between pragmatism and principle dealing with a Republican president neither likes very much.

We’re talking Dancing with the Stars-caliber footwork. John McCain and Jeff Flake might even want to audition for the show after their terms end – which might be sooner than they’d hoped, if they trip up along the way.

The fundamental question: How do these Republican senators maintain the requisite party loyalty without selling their political souls? Each raised serious objections to President Donald Trump during his primary campaign, and though each eased off in the wake of his victory, they continue to voice reservations on policy and character.

McCain’s reservations are most dramatic in the foreign policy arena. The six-term senator is an unreconstructed foreign policy hawk who has been quick to argue for military action. He supported the Iraq invasions and the “surge” in Iraq. He saw President Obama’s response to ISIS in Syria as belated and argued for a more robust response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea and military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. His saber-rattling stayed on tempo as Russia transitioned from Cold War Soviet communism to post-glasnost Putinism. Full American commitment to NATO is one of his core foreign policy commitments. And on and on.

Trump has taken opposite positions on most of these matters. He even claimed to oppose the Iraq invasion – a more dovish position than that of Hillary Clinton, even. Which brings up an interesting dilemma for McCain: His positions on foreign policy really do resemble those espoused by Clinton. Of course, party pragmatism compelled him to don a fig leaf during the presidential campaign, to characterize Clinton as an unsuitable commander-in-chief. He unconvincingly seized upon Clinton’s e-mail problem and “Benghazi” as disqualifying. Really? Against an opponent who doesn’t support NATO and seems friendly toward – even beholden to – Russia? It wasn’t believable. I’d bet a sizeable fraction of my net worth that, in the privacy of the voting booth, McCain voted for Clinton last November.

McCain has more latitude to criticize Trump than does Flake, since he won’t face the voters again for six years. (Some assume the 80-year-old won’t run again. I’m not one of them.) Flake will face a Republican primary in about a year and a half, and a general election shortly thereafter. His posture toward a Republican president could have more immediate political consequences.

Despite his greater risk, Flake has disagreed with Trump over a wider range of issues than has McCain. As Rollcall described it: “[He] has vocally criticized his party’s freshly elected president, raised little money, and backed a moderate approach to an immigration overhaul.” Flake has even clashed with Trump face-to-face. And he’s been dismissive of the president’s core commitment: “There’s not going to be a 700-mile wall,” he told Politico. He also came out strongly against Trump’s travel ban, writing in a op-ed: “Enhancing long-term national security requires that we have a clear-eyed view of radical Islamic terrorism without ascribing radical Islamic terrorist views to all Muslims.”

Flake, along with McCain, was a member of the “Gang of Eight” senators who proposed a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. Although he’s been tightlipped on the subject recently, he has not wavered publicly like McCain. Famously, McCain veered hard right when running for re-election in 2010, becoming the “build the danged fence” candidate. (Successfully fending off right-wing primary challenger J.D. Hayworth in the process.)

McCain ran for president under the banner “Country First,” but for most of Washington, in either party, a truer tagline would be “Party First” (or, perhaps more fittingly, “Me First”). Some elected officials deviate from the country-first principle a little less than others, including Arizona’s two U.S. senators. I will give them credit for taking a few tepid steps in that direction – small, halting steps that stand out only in relation to most of their peers, whose feet remain firmly rooted in orthodox party clay. The Washington rule is “Party First” – and rarely anyone breaks the mold.

Mike O’Neil is a sociologist and pollster who hosts the public affairs program The Think Tank on KTAR-FM 92.3.


“On March 9, I had just packed up from a shoot at Sneaky Big Studios when [PHOENIX] associate art director Angelina Aragon noticed something interesting in the parking lot. It turned out to be a roadrunner perched on the wall, with what seemed like his lunch [in his beak]. I hesitated in grabbing my camera – I thought he would run off by the time I was ready – but I managed to grab my camera and fire off a few frames to capture him!”

— Rob Ballard
Professional Photographer



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