PHOENIX Magazine Editors’ Picks for June/July 2023
Something to Buy
Shop local online
Imagine Etsy but tailored for Arizonans—an online marketplace where you can shop for homemade goods and be part of a community of local entrepreneurs from various walks of life. That’s the idea behind Shop Local First, the e-commerce arm of Local First Arizona, which we spotlight in our Curator section. “Shop Local First marketplace was introduced to combat the increasing competition for Arizona’s locally owned businesses from online mega retail giants,” says Sophia Lovasz, director of retail entrepreneurship for Local First Arizona, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform and a support system for local businesses throughout the state. With the use of advanced analytics and advertising on platforms such as Google and Facebook, Shop Local First amplifies the online presence of each local business significantly. “It is a great way to keep the local economy working,” says Gabe Hagen, owner of Tempe’s Brick Road Coffee, which has been selling its beans via Shop Local First since the business opened in January 2022. Tara Ijai, owner of Glendale-based sunglasses, clothing and accessories company Love Glasses Revolution, agrees. “Shop Local First leaders are just as passionate in helping us as we are about our craft.”
Somewhere to Go
Get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway with our cover story, a love letter to in-state travel. We detail 11 trips that showcase the beauty and diversity of the Arizona “high country.” The traditional nickname for the Colorado Plateau, the high country spans four states and includes high-elevation forests and deserts. In Arizona, that encompasses Prescott, the White Mountains and much of Northern Arizona. For the sake of inclusion, we broaden the term to include any part of Arizona more than 3,000 feet in elevation, which makes parts of Southern Arizona eligible, too. Our staffers and travel writers fanned out across the state to bring you the best “elevated” experiences, from a retro stay at The Shady Dell Vintage Trailer Court in Bisbee to off-roading in the Hualapai Mountains to helicoptering over Lake Powell and landing on Tower Butte. Can’t get enough Arizona adventuring? Keep the travel voyeurism going with the companion feature, “Trail Tale,” an excerpt from journalist Tom Zoellner’s new memoir “Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona.” He paints an evocative portrait of the Arizona Trail as it wends from the Grand Canyon across the Mogollon Rim. Read it and taste the magic of the high country.
Something to Eat
Painted above the open kitchen of chef-owner Gio Osso’s Piccolo Virtù in Old Town Scottsdale is Leonardo da Vinci’s famous maxim: “La semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione,” which means “simplicity is the ultimate satisfaction” in Italian. Delicious examples of simplicity and sophistication are found on every plate, writes our dining critic, Nikki Buchanan, in her glowing review. Piccolo (which means “little” in Italian) is temperamentally the middle child in Osso’s family of Virtù restaurants, she says, landing somewhere between come-as-you-are Pizzeria Virtù and elegant, expensive Virtù Honest Craft. Forced to pick a favorite of the restaurant’s signature crudi, Buchanan “might go with sea urchin, afloat in a puddle of smoked tomato broth with raw quail egg and salmon roe; or yellowtail, set atop a swirl of smoked tomato purée and strewn with crunchy garlic crumbles.” Also not to be missed: “Carbonara ’22, a soulful riff on the classic pasta, which boasts egg-enriched spaghetti alla chitarra made with grano arso (burnt grain) and tinted black.” Redolent with flavors of smoke and earth, it’s generously ladled with carbonara’s famously creamy sauce, composed of egg, Pecorino Romano and nubbins of salty-sweet, caramelized pancetta, and topped with garlicky breadcrumbs and a dab of uni for a microburst of brine.
Someone to Know
Jake Fischer is that rarest of things, according to arts writer Robrt L. Pela: a visual artist whose career took off right out of college. Fischer, whose oil-on-laminated-plywood paintings have shown in galleries around the world, had barely completed his Master of Fine Arts degree at Arizona State University in 2013 before local galleries began lining up to show his work. He left for Manhattan soon after but recently returned to his home state to teach art at a college-prep school in Flagstaff. Pela caught up with the Ahwatukee native in our art news column, Scoop. “I use an implied narrative, with spaces people can relate to,” Fischer told Pela of his dark, layered canvases that capture intimate nighttime cityscapes and streetscapes. Fischer is represented by Downtown Phoenix’s Bentley Gallery, where his new exhibition—a series of portraits of windows—is on display through June 10. “Windows can be literal or metaphorical,” he says. “They can be flat glass that reflects light, or they can be an opening into what’s in the room beyond them.”