PHOENIX Magazine Editors’ Picks for August/September 2021
A look at August and September through the eyes of our sister publication.
Somewhere to Go
Under Canvas Grand Canyon
Attention, outdoor lovers: There’s still time to realize your seasonal Grand Canyon glamping fantasy. Located midway between the town of Williams and the Grand Canyon South Rim, Under Canvas operates a colony of shockingly comfortable, safari-style guest tents set in a pinyon and juniper forest. Featuring plush king-size beds, upscale West Elm furnishings, private adjoining patios, en-suite bathrooms with rain showers and a wood-burning stove for chilly nights, the canvas super-tents are a far cry from the family camping trips of yore. Activities include yoga classes, acoustic live music and evening s’mores around a communal campfire. Season runs through Oct. 25. undercanvas.com
Something to Eat
Free agent chef Cassie Shortino has found a new home—two of them, actually. Having exited Tratto, the brilliant Chris Bianco-owned restaurant where she was twice named semifinalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award, Shortino has launched Shorty’s Charpit, a pop-up concept she will activate once or twice a week at two alternating locations: The Wayward Taphouse on Grand Avenue and Wren House Brewing Co. on 24th Street. For now, her menu is super short: There’s always a steak sandwich and always macaroni salad, but the second side changes often. It might be Frites Street french fries, grilled corn on the cob, potato salad or something else summery and satisfying. To keep abreast of Shortino’s whereabouts, follow her on Instagram at @cassieshortino or @shortyscharpit.
Something to Do
Immersive Van Gogh
Step into “Starry Night” and other masterpieces at this one-of-a-kind digital art installation. Traveling from city to city, the exhibit brings to life the legendary works of Vincent Van Gogh by merging state-of-the-art technology with theatrical storytelling and world-class animation, illuminating the painter’s artistic genius with a curated selection of images from his 2,000-plus lifetime catalog of masterworks complemented by classical music. The hour-long, timed-entry, walk-through experience features digitally projected social distancing circles on the gallery floors to ensure appropriate spacing as you wander in, around and through the works of the Dutch post-impressionist artist. The event takes place at Lighthouse Artspace in Old Town Scottsdale (4301 N. Scottsdale Road) through Nov. 28. Visit vangoghphx.com for times and ticket information.
Someone to Know
James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network star Scott Conant (Chopped)— recently named a member of PHOENIX magazine’s 2021 Great 48 class—cherishes the slower lifestyle he’s adopted since moving to Scottsdale from New York City five years ago. “It’s really like I’m coming home to a resort,” he says. While he still operates restaurants around the country and travels to shoot TV shows, he’s settled nicely into the Valley dining scene with Mora Italian and The Americano. Being homebound during the pandemic allowed him to finish his latest cookbook, “Peace Love Pasta,” which is designed for home cooks and comes out in September.
Do you still cook at home, or is that like bringing your work from the office?
Well, it’s really been a big thing for me lately, that difference between home cooking and cooking in restaurants. It’s a completely different mindset. I like to take some of the organizational processes from the restaurants into my home, even though it’s home cooking.
Tell us a little about your cookbook.
It’s just food that I cook for my family. My wife is Turkish, so there’s a little bit of a Turkish chapter of some of the stuff that we cook at home. Obviously, there’s a big pasta section. There’s a lot of food that I cook for my kids. There are some large-format, entertainment-style things as well. But it’s really all done from a home perspective, and I tested every single recipe at home myself during quarantine. It was a great time to write a book.
Where do you like to eat in the Valley, besides your own restaurants?
I love Binkley’s. I’m dying to try Wrigley Mansion. I’d love to see what chef Christopher Gross is doing there. I have been a big fan of his for years. Beau Mac [MacMillan] is a great friend, I love his food; I love what he does in general. He’s just a great person at The Sanctuary. I mean, the list goes on and on. Chris Bianco is such a mensch. And Alex Stratta just opened up Campo, which I’m dying to try. He’s a world-class chef in this market. Andreoli Italian Grocer also—I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention owner Giovanni Scorzo. That’s my favorite Italian restaurant in the country, Andreoli. I love it. I can’t go there because I eat too much, but I talk about it every chance I get.