Craig Outhier, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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Anchors Away: Rocky Point made its long-awaited debut as a cruise hub in January when the Astoria, a vintage trans-Atlantic ocean liner operated by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), departed from the Sonoran town’s still-under-construction deep sea port. The 11-day sail of the Sea of Cortez that followed (including stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and other beach cities on the “Mexican Riviera”) was scheduled to be repeated twice in January before CMV put the...

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Star-Crossed: Looking for a wedding date? L’Auberge de Sedona suggests February 20, 2020. That’s the calendar square pegged by British astrologer Carolyne Faulkner as the best day to get married due to key planets aligning for commitment, stability and sacred contracts. Gamely, the resort created a Celestial Ceremonies package pegged to the date, good for “star bathing” and other astro-themed experiences – along with the wedding ceremony itself, of course, in one of Arizona’s most...

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1. Chef Lee Hillson’s resurrected pasta carbonara at T. Cook’s. The resort restaurant’s longtime chef is back, and he’s bringing egg yolks with him. royalpalmshotel.com 2. Tipping back a Zombie at the new High Street location of Hula’s Modern Tiki. If anyplace needs a dose of tiki swerve, it’s North Phoenix. hulasmoderntiki.com 3. Crushing some of those delicious-looking wood-roasted oysters at Persepshen. Named the No. 3 best new restaurant in the Valley by PHOENIX dining...

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Still Cookin’: The recent implosion of UK-based travel firm Thomas Cook has evidently not affected the operations of subsidiary Condor Airlines, the German budget carrier that started hauling Phoenicians nonstop to Frankfurt two summers ago. Euro-curious Valley residents can book travel out of Phoenix starting in April for about $700 round trip. condor.com Up the Junction: One of our favorite airfare deals this winter is the $97 nonstop round-trip fare to Grand Junction, Colorado, in...

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Stuffed lobster at Bluewater Grill on December 10. The Camelback clam-peddler returns with its all-inclusive $45 holiday mashup. bluewatergrill.com Breakfast with Santa at the Montelucia on December 14 and 21. Ho, ho, ho, little one-percenters! $55/adult, $40/child. Kids 5 and under free. omnihotels.com Eating more, drinking more at train-station-themed Century Grand. The UnderTow sister property instantly becomes the Valley’s premier culinary amusement park. centurygrandphx.com Trying the charred octopus at FLINT by Baltaire. The Esplanade space...

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The new happy hour menu at The Covenant in Paradise Valley Lite. Killer roasted Brussels sprouts with Andouille sausage, amazing beet-scallop duos (pictured) and $6 French 75s. thecovenantaz.com The three-course “Thanksgiving to Go” menu at Liberty Station. Because cooking is hard. libertystationtavern.com As many bao sandwiches as we can eat at Deez Buns in Tempe. Particularly the tangy, fish-saucy pho bun – which does taste uncannily like a bowl of pho. facebook.com/deezbunsaz A new gastropub-ish...

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Trailing Off: Enchantment Resort in Sedona, profiled at the top of this Explore section, is certainly all-in with the trail thing. In late October, the 218-room resort – epically ensconced in lush Boynton Canyon – broke ground on the Trail House, a one-of-a-kind staging lounge for hiking and biking that will open in summer 2020. More details to come. enchantmentresort.com Leaf-Peeper Alert: With prime fall color lasting just a few weeks in Arizona, Amara Resort...

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Burning Man for mountain bikers? We’re intrigued. From November 14-17, Sedona’s Enchantment Resort hosts its second annual Ride the Red Rocks, a three-night “crash course into mountain biking” set in the heart of beautiful Boynton Canyon. Guests of all skill levels will embark on a variety of exhilarating guided rides through captivating red rock scenery and canyon trails, and enjoy gourmet dining at the resort’s Native American-influenced flagship restaurant, Che Ah Chi. They’ll also have...

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Coconino Missionary: Mormon Lake Lodge, one of Arizona’s true high-elevation treats, has a new equine-themed package designed to lure Valley folks to the mountains for a quickie autumn getaway. The Giddyap Mountain Getaway package ($198-$239/night) includes a 90-minute horseback ride for two, plus breakfast, lunch or dinner. Offer good through October 15. mormonlakelodge.com Making Like Magnum: If Hawaii travel is in your fall/winter plans, the Hotel Wailea in Maui offers this sweetener: a joyride in...

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Since its humble origins as a one-day lineup of folk-rock bands at WestWorld, the McDowell Mountain Music Festival – now known as M3F – has evolved into the Valley’s premier homegrown live-music event. And the 2020 lineup – unveiled this morning by festival founder John Largay – is its biggest, and arguably most star-studded yet. 35 recording artists will perform March 6-8 at Margaret T. Hance Park in Downtown Phoenix, including indie-folk superstar Bon Iver, Aussie synth-rockers...

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