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PHOENIX Magazine Editors’ Picks for April/May 2024

What’s inside the latest edition of our sister publication. Pick up a copy of PHOENIX, on newsstands now, or go to phoenixmag.com.

Someone to Know

Dr. Frank Agnone and Chris Bianco

To lead off the 30th edition of our annual Top Docs feature, we sat down for a spicy meatball of a Q&A with Phoenix internal medicine specialist Agnone and his most famous patient—a certain James Beard Award-winning chef and celebrity pizzaiolo. Bianco, who in his early career battled “baker’s lung”—an allergic condition triggered by airborne flour—was eager to share the spotlight with one of the doctors who helps him manage the condition. Here’s a taste.

Chris, what was this doctor able to do that the others weren’t?
Bianco: It’s not like someone finally found the antidote. I’ve had asthma since I was 5 years old, but I always ignored dealing with it because I saw it as a weakness. I had to make changes, and I needed somebody who could speak to me in a relatable way. We had a lot of similarities—we both had an Italian-American upbringing, so that helped. I need somebody who can call BS on my life.

Did it help that the whole Valley was literally hungry to see Chris? I mean, we all wanted to see him back at Pizzeria Bianco.
Agnone: As providers, we seek transformation no matter who the patient is, because we get off on that! That’s edifying, it’s what keeps us from burning out. We’re always looking for the next transformation buzz.

Find the complete Q&A, along with those of 17 other Top Docs, in our March/April issue.

Somewhere to Go

Oceanside

Managing editor Leah LeMoine summons her inner California girl in this issue’s Great Escapes travel narrative on Oceanside, a beach town in San Diego’s North County. “Like a pair of sisters sprawled side by side on beach loungers, two new resorts lie on some of the best beachfront real estate in Oceanside,” she writes. “Mission Pacific Beach Resort and The Seabird Ocean Resort & Spa opened adjacent to the historical Oceanside Pier in 2021 as part of the largest beach development in San Diego County in more than 50 years.” She bops between the properties throughout her travelogue, which also includes forays to Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside Public Library, The Ozone boutique and the Tremont Collective shopping complex. Most importantly: She embarks on a mission to find the best tacos in town. Read the full story to see which reigned supreme.

Something to Eat

PYRO

Since opening last November near the new Global Ambassador hotel, this Japanese-American bistro has been the “hot” buzzword in Valley dining circles. “Yes, the pun is annoying, but facts are facts,” writes PHOENIX dining critic Nikki Buchanan in her review of the restaurant, which leads off our March/April Eat Beat dining coverage. Buchanan gave high marks to Pyro’s Forbes-lauded design and gushed over dishes such as fluke crudo—raw morsels of Korean flounder “anointed with nori oil, then sprinkled with smoked chile and fleur de sel with a smattering of dried black lime to add a bit of bitterness and complexity.” Meanwhile, grilled Ibérico pork “eloquently illustrates why the restaurant is named PYRO. It’s charred, juicy and sticky with a sweet glaze of soy-based tare.” Overall, the review reads as a qualified rave, with Buchanan calling the flagship entrée menu impressive but “a mixed bag,” marred by “small, easily fixable details.” Find more of her hot takes in this month’s Eat Beat.

Something to Buy

Shop at Monsoon Market

Monsoon Market is a hidden gem—emphasis on the “hidden,” co-founder Michela Ricci says in this issue’s Curator section. “It’s tucked away in this very unassuming building” on Seventh Street and Osborn Road. “It’s a discovery moment in itself—you have to kind of find us, and when you do, it’s like opening up a whole other world.” A world filled with more than 100 different rotating food, drink and merch vendors. “We wanted to create a store as a love language,” co-founder Koral Casillas says. The duo chose the name as an homage to Arizona’s summer storms when they opened the shop in 2021. Now, their hip bodega has one of the state’s largest selections of natural wine and an even bigger array of nonalcoholic beverages. “Curation as a service is what we do,” Ricci says. “It’s not like we have one or two distributors that give us these products. A lot of them are one-offs.”

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