February 2018

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Fire Sale

To offset budget cuts, businesses can now buy ad space on Mesa firetrucks – signaling a trend some consumer watchdogs say is cause for alarm.

Survival of the Fibbest?

Scottsdale survivalist and Discovery Channel star Todd Jostes is accused of bilking multiple women out of thousands of dollars.

Recipe Friday: The Quartiere’s Bolognese

Erick Geryol, owner of new Tempe Italian spot The Quartiere, is sharing his Bolognese sauce recipe because he wants to shed some light on the thick, slow-simmered, full-flavored ragu. “It’s something everyone can make at home and I think it’s one of the best sauces out there.”

When shopping for ingredients, look for Fontanini Italian sausage, a brand that Geryol grew up with in the Midwest. “You can’t cook Italian food without it,” he says. Also, if you don’t have the time or patience to make demi-glace, you can pick some up pre-made at Whole Foods.

Because the sauce is sturdy, remember to pick hearty pasta to match – something like gemelli, fettuccine or pappardelle, Geryol says. “You need something to support the weight of the sauce.”

Open Road?

As strip-club brawls go, it was fairly pedestrian. No guns. No knives. No strippers, even. But it did produce a corpse, and a host of questions about Arizona’s outlaw-biker power structure.

The Giving Tree

Oranges, lemons and grapefruits no longer fuel Arizona’s economy, but they sweeten our lives in other ways.

February Team Picks: Classic Arizona

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 February! As we celebrate your state’s 106th birthday, we’re asking ourselves, “February 14 is Arizona’s statehood day! Which dish embodies Arizona for you?”

Recipe Friday: J’s Kaiyo Short Ribs

As the name suggests, J’s Kaiyo Sushi + Bar is a sushi restaurant. But it’s so much more than that, says the eatery’s Executive Chef Jason McGrath. “We have a strong sushi program and that’s definitely our guiding light, but we also have a really good hot menu.”

McGrath shares the short rib recipe from his hot menu, which can be made in the oven or a slow cooker (that is, if This Is Us hasn’t scared you off from the set it and forget it lifestyle).

It’s important to sear the meat over high heat to lock in all the flavors, and after braising the ribs for about four hours, they’re so tender McGrath guarantees you won’t need a knife.

“Short ribs are time consuming, but they’re really hearty and a good, clean and simple dish,” McGrath says. “These are old school short ribs.”

Sidenote: These short ribs were called “the best” she’s had in a long time by our dining critic, Nikki Buchanan in January. Read the review here.

The Arizona Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge Is Back!

The best thing about February is back. No, not the Super Bowl. Politely buzz off, Valentine’s Day. Bye bye, Mr. Groundhog! We’re talking Girl Scout Cookies. Bless the Thin Mint gods.

Recipe Friday: Brat Haus Superfood Salad

When you think about Brat Haus, the popular artisan sausage eatery in Scottsdale, superfood salad probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But Brat Haus Executive Chef Jeffrey Schoening aims to switch that up a bit. “We want to diversify our clientele because not everyone wants sausages, french fries and chicken wings,” he says.

Schoening started playing around with ingredients to make a salad that was healthy, but still filling enough to satisfy someone with a hearty appetite. “I’m 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, and if I eat a salad, it needs some body to it,” he says. That’s where the grains – like quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat – come in.

The beauty of this salad is that you can use whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator, Schoening says. “It’s anything goes. And the salad dressing is good on everything.”

Film Review: Saturday Church & Desperado LGBT Film Festival

A little awkward, like any 14-year-old’s coming-of-age story, Saturday Church is an original, heartfelt musical of Ulysses’ odyssey to self acceptance – like many of the films at the ninth annual Desperado Film Festival.

Valentine’s Day Fun for Love’s Many Forms

The season of love is upon us. Cupid decals are cluttering store windows, Fry’s Food Stores have ordered so many red roses and oversize teddy bears that they open special tents to house it all in the parking lots, and any type of candy that can be heart-shaped, will be heart-shaped. Whether or not cupid has struck you with his arrow, we’ve compiled the best breakfasts, dinners and activities in the Valley to keep you entertained and well-fed on the most romantic day of the year.

Recipe Friday: Butternut Squash Pancakes

With cold and flu season peaking, Constance Bradley of Scottsdale Integrative Acupuncture says it’s a good time to load up on nutrients and foods that boost the immune system. “I’m always thinking about what I can do with an ingredient that I see in the store this time of year besides chop it up and roast it because that gets really boring after a while.”

Because squash is so plentiful right now, Bradley, a nationally board-certified acupuncturist, devised a recipe for summer squash pancakes. Since she lives in a house divided (her husband favors sweet flavors and she likes savory), the recipe can be altered to swing either way.

Butternut squash is rich in vitamins A, B and C, provides more potassium than a banana and is laden with zinc, magnesium and calcium. “Squash is amazing. Everyone should be eating it.”

Alien AZ: Arizona’s Top Three Extraterrestrial Events

In honor of exploring all things alien at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico, for the February 2018 Great Escape, we are rounding up our own state’s top three UFO stories.

According to information from the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network, Maricopa County was recorded as having the second-most UFO sightings between 2001 and 2015 compared to all U.S. counties. In all, there were 2,523 reported sightings in 15 years. Los Angeles County was the number one place to spot a UFO.

What’s in Your… Purse with Carey Peña

Emmy Award-winning news anchor, TV host and podcaster Carey Peña lets us peek into her purse

Real Bullets!

Embrace the shrub in the herbal, apricot-enriched Real Bullets! cocktail from Scottsdale’s Counter Intuitive

Chopstick Nights

Score bargain bibimbap and other bites at these upscale Asian happy hours.

Starch Your Engines

Gourmet bread service? Just roll with it.

Amuse-Bouches February 2018

Tasty local news bites to whet your appetite

Indian Crêpes

Masala dosai are a gentle introduction to exotic Indian fare at Ruchi Vegetarian South Indian Cuisine

Heft Bread

Baker Tom Brecke uses airborne bacteria and a sourdough starter to craft heavenly loaves of his old-school Heft Bread

Breaking Bad

Get egg on your face with these recently opened Valley brunch joints.

Second Story Liquor Bar

With its fourth chef in as many years, the swank Scottsdale gastropub may have found a keeper.


With a new-ish chef and sharper service, the legendary farm-to-table restaurant remains a Phoenix date-night classic.

Madame Question Mark

Widely rebuked for two election fumbles, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan says she’s rehabilitated and ready for re-election – that is, if she doesn’t become governor first.

Delicious Duos

These cupid-struck Valley culinarians prove that couples who cook (for the masses) together, stay together

Roswell & Carlsbad

Boldly go where only the brave have gone before in this otherworldly slice of southeast New Mexico.

Clayton Keller

The Arizona Coyotes’ slapshot scholar is a front-runner for the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy

Sister Act

Celebrating its 75th anniversary, nun-run Xavier College Preparatory has changed as much as Phoenix itself – yet some habits remain the same.

Art Break: Studio Snapshot with Charmagne Coe

Surrealist painter Charmagne Coe surrounds herself with sentimental and centering objects in her home studio

Music Notes: Melodrama Masters

Melodrama Masters: Collins vs. Del Rey

Top 3 Arts Events February 2018

Our top picks for February’s best arts events

Forgive, Never Forget

Scottsdale veteran Marc Raciti chronicles life after war in I Just Want to See Trees: A Journey Through P.T.S.D.

Artist of the Month: Travis Ivey

Travis Ivey creates complex murals using packing tape in lieu of paint

Brush with Destiny

Chalk up your walls and furniture with Urban Oasis Décor’s locally brewed chalk paint.

Listen Local

Arizona-borne podcasts are popping in the Valley of the Sun.

Daring Deadlifts

Test your muscles’ mettle in these Valley powerlifting gyms.

Business Buzz – Finger on the Puls

Service industry interrupter Puls forecasts Phoenix as its primary market in 2018.

Land ‘Zo – Rocky Waters

Arizona’s and Sonora’s governments have secured funding to reignite construction on Rocky Point’s long-stalled cruise terminal. But if they build it, will Arizonans really come?

Baked Expectations

Wood-fired ovens have sparked a caveman-cooking renaissance in ultramodern Valley restaurants.

Jail Break

Can Sheriff Paul Penzone’s kinder, gentler use of the Tent City grounds help high-risk inmates from returning to jail?

Standard Policy

Arizona lawyers and HR professionals: Employers need to be proactive in nipping out sexual harassment.

A Strong Time Coming

Chiropractor Dr. Jimmy Yuan disarms pro athletes with humor and a fix-it approach to pain

Love on Picacho Peak

Share your Arizona trail adventures on our monthly hiking page

The Lobby

Things we love and loathe this month

52 Weekend Adventures 2018

Take your seat, fasten your belt and please keep your hands and arms in the vehicle at all times – our annual rollercoaster tour of Arizona’s best weekend travel destinations is about to leave the gate. New this year: souvenir suggestions for every trip!

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.