Monthly Archives: June 2010

Independence Day Events

Of course, there are tons of events happening for good ol’ Fourth of July, but we couldn’t list every family barbecue, so we stuck with our top events in the area, and some new events that you really should try out:

Tempe July 4th Celebration

July 4th at Tempe Town Lake

4th of July Kickoff Late Night Feast (yes, it’s  a long title)
On Friday, July 2nd, Pasta Bar in downtown Phoenix is hosting a “Whole Hog Roast” from 10pm – 2pm. It’s only $20 for the pig, pasta and phun (Phun, as Pasta Bar is calling it, is $20 bottles of wine and $3 beers, ages 21 and up for the phun, of course).  This will just be starting on the heels of First Friday, so it looks like you’ve got a whole plan for Friday night.

Pasta Bar
705 N 1st Street
Phoenix

Fabulous Phoenix Fourth

The biggest Independence Day event in Phoenix is celebrating its 25th birthday this year as well, so there’s double reason to celebrate. From 6-10pm on Sunday, July 4th, Steele Indian School Park will be bustling with games, food, activities, bands (on three stages), and a classic car exhibit. Even the Phoenix Fire Department will have a spray zone to cool everyone down. The best part – indeed – are the fireworks which are altogether amazing. If you haven’t been, this is the year to try something new. (Oh, and it’s FREE!)

Steele Indian School Park
3rd Street and Indian School
Phoenix, AZ
More Info

July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival

Starting at 4pm on the holiday, Tempe Town Lake will turn into a wonderland of bounce houses, rock climbing walls, games, food and music. The fireworks launch off the Mill Avenue bridge and display over the water – really a sight to see. The tickets cost $8 at the gate ($15 for two), but you can get them for $6 at Fry’s stores around town.

Tempe Beach Park
620 North Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ. 85281
More Info

“Disney” in Concert

The Arizona Biltmore is hosting the Phoenix Symphony for a 90-minute performance of classic Disney songs, from movies like Mary Poppins to The Lion King.  After the show, guests will head out to the Squaw Peak Lawn – beautiful in and of itself – for a “petite finale” of fireworks. For my advice, I’d extend the night and sip on adult beverages on the patio as well. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. Tickets are $38, kids 12 and under are $28

Arizona Biltmore
2400 E Missouri Ave
Phoenix, AZ

Independents Week

It’s no secret that here at The Hot Sheet, we’re driven to showcase the best of the indie shops. Local businesses are what separates one city from another – one business from another. The charm, unique personality, service and – let’s just face it – they’re more fun places to be.

So as if you didn’t have enough reason to visit a local boutique, restaurant, coffee shop, bar (okay, you get the gist), then this is your week – Independents Week. From today (June 28) through July 4, you get 20% off your purchases at participating members of Local First Arizona, a local non-profit to support independently owned businesses. And because Local First is such a cool organization, pretty much all your favorite places are on the list. (Check out the full list of participating shops.)

But just in case – in all your excitement – you are perplexed about where to visit first, here are a few of our top picks (click their pic to check ’em out):

frances

Urban Cookies

Urban Cookies

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

The Willows

The Willows

Bunky Boutique

Bunky Boutique

Heard Museum

Heard Museum

See, now your week was looking busier than you thought! To get your 20% off Golden Coupon, and to see a full list of participants, check out the Local First site. Happy outings!

El Chorro

Ah, El Chorro – One of the icons of Phoenix dining, as much for it’s food (including their famous sticky buns) as for the view – a straight shot of Camelback Mountain from the north side.

Herb Garden at El Chorro

It started out in the ’30s as a girls’ school, then became a restaurant for all the hip-and-happening in the ’50s. It had been run for decades by the same sweet couple, the Millers. But in 2009, after the Millers had said goodbye, Jacquie Dorrance (her husband, Bennett, an heir of Campbell’s Soup) purchased it and set out to remodel a pillar of old Phoenix.

The Dorrances are known around town – if not personally, than in their philanthropy. The planetarium at the Arizona Science Center and the sculpture garden at Phoenix Art Museum bear the Dorrance name. So for their next project to be El Chorro was fitting to their history here and their love of Phoenix. The public, though, held its collective breath as rumors swirled about whether or not the new version of the restaurant would live up to its name.

El Chorro has been open for months now, and the verdict is in: It is every bit as amazing as the original (and maybe even more).

El Chorro in Phoenix, AZ

The views of Camelback Mountain were improved upon by nearly doubling the patio dining areas, the interior and exterior are bridged by a huge bar, and the inside of the restaurant was completely redesigned to be brighter. In every sense, though, it is the glamorously rustic space you hope for, and the feeling of the old El Chorro hasn’t changed, thanks in part to the photos of old Phoenix set on the walls, the socializing under the sky, and yes – even the sticky buns are back.

There are also new, tucked-away areas that provide loads of charm. The patio has more fireplaces for the winter with big, cushy chairs (and by the way, misters run throughout the patio so even in the summer, the patio is 85 degrees), there is the organic garden, and beautiful lawns for events.

The food is equally impressive, even in the bar which draws the happy hour crowd to nosh on delicious appetizers and cool beverages.

El Chorro Dining

All-in-all, El Chorro is not to be missed. It is in the top 5 places I would recommend to my own family and friends coming to town, so take that, dear readers, as a good recommendation.

El Chorro Lodge
5550 E Lincoln Dr.
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

Free Father’s Day at Science Center

Arizona Science Center

It’s hard to find the perfect Father’s Day gift – that’s for sure. And you can only do so many barbecues, right? Well this Father’s Day, June 20, the Arizona Science Center is offering free admission for dads, all day long, courtesy of Dixon Golf.

It’s perfect timing, too, because they have some amazing exhibits open now, including Goose Bumps – the Science of Fear, the new Solarville gallery from APS, and Dixon Golf will be showing the science of the sport, from the dimples of a golf ball to the angles of a wedge. Their regular exhibits, including the Psychology space (the echo chamber is awesome), the weather center in the Forces of Nature space and the Dorrance Planetarium are all must-dos while there.

If you’ve never been, the Science Center is pretty much all hands-on and demonstrations – it’s way better than boring science class. There are four stories of exhibits and something for every age level within each section. Get there early on Father’s Day (one of the first 500 dads) and get a coupon booklet worth $300 from Dixon Golf. See? What more reason do you need to go.

Arizona Science Center
600 E Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Arizona Restaurant Week

Just announced, Arizona Restaurant Week has firmed up the dates for 2010, and will be returning from September 18 – 26. (Wallets and palates rejoice!) This year will feature over 100 restaurants, each offering three-course meals for either $29 or $39 per person, of course not including drinks, tax and tip.

Every year this is the must-do week of culinary exploration, and water coolers are filled with chatter about “What did you try?” Each year we get asked for our top picks, and withholding judgment until the full list is out, here are some big highlights:

Culinary Dropout
J&G Steakhouse
Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
True Food Kitchen
Tuscany

A more comprehensive (and ever-growing) list can be accessed here. Some of the Phoenix area’s top chefs are already on the list and given previous years’ participation, we’re expecting a lot more to join soon.

One notable highlight this year –  restaurants will have the option to offer gluten-fee dishes, which will be noted on the Arizona Restaurant Week web site, so if gluten is not your friend, make sure to check the options first.

Oh, and feel free to log your anticipation of the event on twitter, with the hashtag #ARW2010.

Judgment of AZ Wine

Arizona wines have become recognized in the industry (even accepted by wine snobs) over the last few years, but everyone’s first question is – how do they fare compared to the best of California, Europe and elsewhere?

So Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB (with his wife and chef, Charleen), decided to host a private blind tasting of Arizona wines, not an unlikely move for a restaurant that only serves Arizona wines. But they didn’t skimp and they got the best of the best to taste, including Gary Vaynerchuk (host of web-sensation WineLibraryTV and NYT bestseller Crush It), Laura Williamson (one of only 108 Master Sommeliers in the world), Anne Rosenzweig (chef/food anthropologist from NYC), Tadeo Borchardt (winemaker from Neyers Vineyards in Napa) and local chefs Mark Tarbell and Chris Bianco (yes, of that Pizzeria Bianco).

Ten whites and ten reds were tasted, five of each were from Arizona, the other five from around the globe, and after an intense waiting period while Sommelier Journal tabulated the scores, results were announced. And my friends, it tasted delicious. Arizona wines won the top ranking in both whites and reds, and just like the Judgment of Paris (have you ever seen the movie “Bottle Shock?”), gasps and cheers rang out from the audience.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Whites:
1. Callaghan 2008 ‘Lisa’s (AZ)
2. Santa Margherita 2008 Pinot Grigio (Italy)
3. Cakebread Cellars 2008 Chardonnay (CA)
4. Caduceus 2008 ‘Dos Ladrones’ (AZ)
5. Carlson Creek 2008 Chardonnay (AZ)
Reds:
1. Caduceus 2008 ‘Nagual del Judith’ (AZ)
2. Condado de Haza 2006 Ribiera del Duero (Spain)
3. Keeling Schaefer 2007 ‘Three Sisters’ Syrah (AZ)
4. Arizona Stronghold 2008 ‘Nachise’ (AZ)
5. Mollydooker 2008 ‘The Boxer’ Shiraz (Australia)

Here’s all the participants:

1. Page Springs 2008 La Serrana (AZ)
2. Callaghan 2008 ‘Lisa’s (AZ)
3. Santa Margherita 2008 Pinot Grigio (Italy)
4. Conundrum 2008 Meritage (CA)
5. Caduceus 2008 ‘Dos Ladrones’ (AZ)
6. Freitas 2009 Malvasia Bianca Private Reserve (AZ)
7. Carlson Creek 2008 Chardonnay (AZ)
8. Doyenne 2006 Metier (WA)
9. Turley 2007 ‘The White Coat’ (CA)
10. Cakebread Cellars 2008 Chardonnay (CA)

Reds:
1. Cotes du Rhone 2006 E. Guigal (France)
2. Carlson Creek 2008 Sangiovese (AZ)
3. Arizona Stronghold 2008 ‘Nachise’ (AZ)
4. Ruffino 2007 ‘Aziano’ Chianti Classico (Italy)
5. Dos Cabezas 2008 ‘El Campo’ (AZ)
6. Mollydooker 2008 ‘The Boxer’ Shiraz (Australia)
7. Caduceus 2008 ‘Nagual del Judith’ (AZ)
8. Keeling Schaefer 2007 ‘Three Sisters’ Syrah (AZ)
9. Chateau Lynch Bages 2005 Paulliac ‘Grand Cru’ (France)
10. Condado de Haza 2006 Ribiera del Duero (Spain)

Congratulations to all! Now scoot out to FnB to get your taste of the goodness:

FnB Restaurant
7133 E Stetson Drive, Ste. 2
Scottsdale, AZ 85251