January 2018

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Are You Big Game Ready, Phoenix?

Whether you are a huge Patriots fan, bleed green and silver or just want to watch the commercials while eating something called tater tot nachos, there’s a place for everyone to enjoy Super Bowl LII this Sunday. Kick-off is at 4:30 p.m. Arizona time.

Let’s Taco Bout It: These Aren’t Your Average Tacos, AZ

It’s Tuesday. And that only means one thing: tacos! While we’d never turn up our nose at traditional tacos, sometimes the same old, same old can get, well, old. So, we’ve mixed it up a bit and found some local creative twists on everyone’s favorite Tuesday treat.

Travel Bag Bites: January 2018

As editors of a city lifestyle magazine with a travel section that covers locales far beyond our beloved Phoenix Valley, you can imagine that we get pitched A TON about new and exciting travel offers around the country. Of course, we can’t fit everything into a 200-page monthly magazine that only allots five of those pages to regional travel. Sigh… ’tis the nature of publishing.

But it pains us too much to kill all of our darlings. So each month, we scrape a few travel tidbits off the cutting room floor and bring you Travel Bag Bites – bite-size travel-related goodies (special offers, activities and deals) to snack on while planning your next great escape.

New Around Town: Willcox

The late “Arizona Cowboy” Rex Allen’s hometown is updating its Western roots for a new era.

Just Back From: San Francisco with Justin Beckett

Chef Justin Beckett takes at least one or two trips a year to San Francisco. As someone who’s conquered 24 restaurants in 36 hours during “eat-a-thons” in the city, Beckett knows some fantastic food spots. “I’m a little weird; I don’t go for the $300 dinner… We like to eat simple foods,” Beckett says. After years of traveling with his wife and two kids, the owner of Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail has racked up a handful of family-friendly foodie destinations.

Travel Bag Bites: February 2018

As editors of a city lifestyle magazine with a travel section that covers locales far beyond our beloved Phoenix Valley, you can imagine that we get pitched A TON about new and exciting travel offers around the country. Of course, we can’t fit everything into a 200-page monthly magazine that only allots five of those pages to regional travel. Sigh… ’tis the nature of publishing.

But it pains us too much to kill all of our darlings. So each month, we scrape a few travel tidbits off the cutting room floor and bring you Travel Bag Bites – bite-sized travel-related goodies (special offers, activities and deals) to snack on while planning your next great escape.

New Around Town: Camp Verde

Almost smack dab in the middle of Arizona lies Camp Verde, an outdoors enthusiast’s dream situated on the idyllic banks of the Verde River, whose lush greenery lives up to its verdant moniker. The town has a handy app (visitcampverde.com) to help visitors navigate local attractions, but these three newish ones are top on our radar.

Just Back From: Jalisco with Jeff Smedstad

Chef Jeff Smedstad

Muslims flock to Mecca, hipsters swarm Coachella and Elvis fans go to Graceland. Chef Jeff Smedstad of Sedona’s prized Elote Café heads sur for his annual pilgrimage to the western Mexican state of Jalisco, particularly its capital Guadalajara and its blue agave-ensconced town of Tequila. Smedstad and Elote manager Juan Rojas venture here each year to “look for unique barrels of tequila, to spend time with the different tequila makers… kind of researching the product, the same way people would [with] wine country,” Smedstad says. He shares a few of his Jalisco hot spots.

 

5 New Bands, 15 New Songs Coming to Crescent with Phoenix Rock Lottery

The fifth annual Phoenix Rock Lottery returns to Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 27. Twenty-five local artists will come together bright and early in the morning to form five bands. Then, they get less than 24 hours to write three songs and learn one cover to perform that night.

Stephen Chilton started the event in 2014 to provide a challenge to some of the local talent and a unique show concertgoers won’t find elsewhere. All proceeds will go to Rosie’s House, a nonprofit that brings music education to underserved youth.

This year’s artists includes Scott Hessel of the Gin Blossoms, Tom Linton of Jimmy Eat World, Mark Glick of AJJ, Nicole Laurenne of The Darts/The Love Me Nots and more. PHOENIX magazine got the chance to catch up with Chilton, Hessel and Laurenne about tomorrow’s show.

Recipe Friday: True Food’s Kale Guacamole

It’s hard to imagine going to a Super Bowl party that didn’t include a sizeable bowl of chunky guacamole surrounded by crisp, salty tortilla chips. If you’re a guacamole devotee, you’ve probably got your own special recipe that you trot out for parties. But if you want to try something different, the folks at True Food Kitchen have provided a recipe to help you take your guacamole game up a notch and even make it a little healthier by adding kale.

Avocado and kale are both superfoods loaded with vitamins and cancer-fighting elements, says Brad Brunin, manager of culinary standards at True Food Kitchen. In other words, this guacamole is good for you times two.

“It’s simple, but it has the extra wow factor,” Brunin says. “It’s a great accompaniment to vegetables and you can use it as a dipping sauce, put it in sandwiches… or you can eat it with a spoon.”

January Team Picks: Eating in 2018

Each month, we of the PHOENIX magazine editorial team ask ourselves a different question about our favorite dining and drinking experiences in the Valley. Our picks are usually hidden in the back of the magazine among our Dining Guide restaurant listings. Not any more. Our picks are going digital! Feel free to follow us on social media (at least, those of us who tweet) and be sure to tag us (@PhoenixMagazine on Twitter and @PHXMagazine on Instagram) on pics of your favorite picks.

Happy January! As we welcome the new year with open arms, we’re asking ourselves, “What are you most excited to eat in 2018?”

Recipe Friday: Chick-In Falafel

Have you ever wondered what’s in a falafel? For the uninitiated, falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food made from garbanzo beans and spices, rolled into a ball and fried in oil until they become crunchy and golden brown. Typically, they’re stuffed in pita or served with hummus.

Yariv Elazar, owner of Chick-In, a popular student eatery located on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, makes about 200 servings of authentic Israeli falafel from scratch every day. He’s sharing the recipe for his vegan and gluten-free falafel, but cautions that aside from the garbanzo beans, most everything else will depend on your taste buds. If you like garlic, add more garlic; and if you swoon for cilantro, double down. What really matters? “The freshness of the ingredients is the key to a good falafel,” he says.

Recipe Friday: The Nile Cafe’s Chai Tea Scones

If you’ve ever thought about making scones, but you’re not an avid baker, Michelle Donovan of the café inside the historic Nile Theater in downtown Mesa has a “pretty simple recipe” for you. “It’s really hard to mess it up,” she says.

Donovan offers a pair of tips for making the scones: If you don’t want to use vegan butter, use vegetable shortening instead; and make sure the dough isn’t too wet or the dough will fall flat and the scones will be “ugly.” But to be fair, even when scones are ugly, they’re still delicious.

Three Resolution-Friendly Phoenix Mocktails

2018. January. New Year, New You. It’s resolution go-time… so what’s on your list?

A few of the people at the PHOENIX offices are partaking in the clumsily-named Drnuary: no drinking for the entire month of January. New York writer John Ore claims responsibility for inventing the portmanteau of “dry” and “January” in this Slate article, though the concept of abstaining from alcohol during the first month of the year is not a new one. “Janupause” has long been popular in the U.K., while getting generally healthier has always been the No. 1 new year’s resolution. Think of Drynuary as a sort of wringing out after all the egg nog, mudslides and endless wine of the holidays.

Recipe Friday: The Place’s Winter Avocado Toast

It’s almost hard to find a breakfast menu these days that doesn’t have avocado toast on it. Some are simple – plain avocado smeared on toast – while others are more elaborate. Ryan Mead, co-owner of The Place in DC Ranch, says avocado toast isn’t on his regular menu, but he offers a special seasonal version. Currently, he’s whipping up winter avocado toast topped with roasted butternut squash laced with maple syrup.

Jock Holliman

The Phoenix Open’s shhhhaman has quieted crowds for more than 20 years

Gorilla Theater

In 1970, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner flew a gorilla from Baltimore in his DC-9 “Bunny Jet” hoping the ape would find love at the Phoenix Zoo

Art Break: Studio Snapshot with Amy Guerrero

Moss Points North macramé artist Amy Guerrero weaves custom fiber art

Top 3 Arts Events

Our top picks for January’s best arts events

Infinite Pest

Mindy Tarquini’s The Infinite Now entrances with a young-adult heroine.

Artist of the Month: William LeGoullon

Photographer William LeGoullon immortalizes found objects that have been shot in the desert

The Saks of Second-Hand

Hunt for designer duds at discounted prices at Phoenix resale boutique Poor Little Rich Girl.

Om Em Gee

Arcadia’s Current Meditation studio brings mindfulness to the masses.

Djembe Dance

African dance classes teach rhythm and community.

Business Buzz

Scottsdale’s K-MOTION is poised to bring high-tech instruction to the world’s fairways.

Land ‘Zo – Prime Location

Does the West Valley have what it takes to bring Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters to Arizona?

Rich Student, Poor Student

Pricy campus-area apartments give ASU students an honorary bachelor’s degree in gentrification.

Golden Phoenix

Our sunshine and stellar coaches give Olympic athletes a power boost.

Pharma Chameleon

Literally overnight, Valley billionaire John Kapoor went from cancer-pain-fighting hero to accused opioid pusher. We tell the story of his tumble – and of the executives, doctors and patients who fell with him.

Expedition: Prescott

We visited the legendary high-country hamlet to seek out its less-obvious charms.

#KamoLyfe on the Barnhardt Trail

Share your Arizona trail adventures on our monthly hiking page. This month: #KamoLyfe

Innovation U

According to U.S. News & World Report, Arizona State University is leading the nation in innovation – ahead of Stanford, MIT and every other U.S. institution of higher learning. Not bad for a former No. 1 “party school.”

The Lobby

Arizona veterans are nearly four times more likely to take their own lives than civilians, according to a new study by the Arizona State University Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety.

Escape to Food Mountain

Pound for pound, the greatest Arizona dining town is… Flagstaff? Led by a cadre of motivated restaurateurs, the mountain hamlet of 70,000 is scoring hit after restaurant hit.

No Hijab Required

In a swift two years, activist Shayna Stevens converted to Islam and rose to prominence in the Council on American-Islamic Relations Arizona. Is it tokenism, or something more?

Black Pepper Pink Melon

Warm yourself with Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails’ Black Pepper Pink Melon.

Vino Populi

Tie on an after-work glass of vino at these no-hassle neighborhood wine bars.

‘Shuka Doop

Savory, stew-like shakshuka brings a touch of the tribe to Valley brunch menus

Where To Eat 2018

Another year, another glorious eruption of must-try restaurants, visionary chefs, hot food trends and celebrity recommendations. Find them all here, in our top o’ the year salute to Valley dining.

Roasted Plantains

Chef Danielle Leoni coaxes caramel sweetness out of the roasted plantains at The Breadfruit & Rum Bar.

Raw-Milk Kefir

Up your levels of good gut bacteria with creamy raw-milk kefir from Casa Grande’s Fond du Lac Farms

New Year Eats

A roundup of interesting new neighborhood spots for your 2018 dining plans.

Gallo Blanco

Chef Doug Robson resurrects his beloved Downtown cantina, answers the prayers of taco lovers everywhere.

J’s Kaiyo Sushi + Bar

The son of a Scottsdale culinary cowboy makes his own mark with a creative, well-executed Asian menu that reaches far beyond the norms of neighborhood sushi.

Raindrop Near Vision Inlay

Frustrated with reading glasses? Learn how to improve near vision without them.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.