PHOENIX Magazine Editors’ Picks for February/March 2022
Something to Do
If the 34 pages of unabashed food worship in our 101 Best Dishes in the Valley cover story makes you unbearably hungry, here’s a sure-fire antidote. Benefiting Valley nonprofit meal service Joy Bus, Dish Fest (Sunday, Feb. 27) will feature many of the succulent bites profiled in the issue—representing such culinary heavy hitters as Pa’La, Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion, Valentine and Chula Seafood—plus copious beverage tastings, a food truck court and more. General admission is $90, while a $150 VIP ticket grants access to exclusive vendors and early entrance into the festival. Beer, wine and spirit samples are included with each ticket, including craft beer from Fate Brewing, Arizona vino tastings and Joy Bus’ proprietary IPA from Four Peaks Brewing. Attendees can also offset their imminent food coma by ingesting a cooking class with Joy Bus founder, director and chef Jennifer Caraway. For more information, visit phoenixmag.com/dishfest.
Something to Eat
TJ Culp, chef-owner of Restaurant Progress, and his partner Esther Noh recently launched Sottise, a winsome wine bar and restaurant in the Roosevelt Row arts district. Its French name, which means “folly” or “foolishness,” reflects the couple’s lighthearted approach to this venture. On the wine front, you’ll find geeky delights such as PET-NATs (naturally sparkling, fermented-in-the-bottle wines), but sommelier Oscar Avilla-Prado’s 150-bottle list offers something for every taste and budget. Set in a refurbished 1909 bungalow known as the Knipe House, the cozy space also boasts a limited but disarming French-inflected menu, which skews toward snacks and light bites such as Camembert cheese, escargots and French onion soup. Entrees include a fantastic five-spice roasted duck bolstered with plump, sweet grapes and earthy potatoes. Smothered in a honeyed jus, herbaceous with thyme, it’s the perfect winter dish. 1025 N. Second St., Phoenix, (602) 254-6378, sottisephx.com
Someone to Know
Arizona native Travis Shumake grew up racing go-karts with his father Tripp, a legend in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Now, he’s behind the wheel of a funny car himself, smashing barriers as the first openly gay driver to compete in the NHRA. We recently sat down with Shumake to talk about his debut into the sport of drag racing and what it’s like to be behind the wheel with the engine in front of him and a rainbow parachute behind him.
What are your earliest memories of drag racing?
All of my memories of drag racing are based around Firebird Raceway, which is now Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. My dad was the announcer for the big national event that’s on ESPN every year. He’d pick me up from school early on Fridays and we’d go out to the racetrack for three days. He would be in the announcer’s tower, and I would be down at the starting line with all my VIP credentials, just getting hit in the face with nitro methane and rubber.
How have you been received as the first openly gay driver in the NHRA?
The sanctioning body, along with the drivers and the sponsors, have been amazing. Drag racing has always been the sport of milestones—we had our first African-American champion in the ’70s and female drag racing champion in the ’80s. I’m aware that I’m coming in with a legacy piece that has empowered me to put my foot down and say, ‘I’m here, and I’m queer, and I’m gonna go 300 miles an hour with rainbow parachutes.’”
Somewhere to Go
The Painted Desert
The term “badlands” conjures stark spaces untouched by humanity. However, the strict definition is simply dry terrain where rocks and clay-rich earth have eroded. What that leaves behind isn’t stark but striking—fine-grained strata of vibrant color. See the effect for yourself at Arizona’s fabled Painted Desert. Located inside Petrified Forest National Park, the 93,000-acre high-desert stunner is perfect for a winter-spring day trip and is one of the stars of our annual 52 Weekend Adventures feature. Start at the visitor center for an 18-minute orientation film, then soak up the bold-hued views (at sunset, if possible) along the 6-mile Park Road. Access the visitor center at Exit 311 off I-40. A parking pass is $25 per vehicle and valid for seven days.