PHOENIX Magazine Editors’ Picks for October/November 2021
A sneak peek of what’s inside the latest edition of our sister publication. Read the full stories and more by picking up a copy of PHOENIX, on newsstands now.
Something to Eat
Unveiled just before the pandemic struck, in January 2020, this risk-taking Tempe steakhouse escaped our notice for 18 months. According to PHOENIX food critic Nikki Buchanan, it was well worth the wait. “I don’t think I’ve ever had better pork belly,” Buchanan raves, recalling “three small, meaty slabs with charred lids that are aromatic and crunchy with ‘everything bagel’ seasoning… the loinlike meat beneath ribboned with buttery fat. We then swished our forks through cinnamon-whipped cream cheese, inky fig gastrique, truffle hot sauce and a puddle of nutty sesame seed sauce.” Specializing in steakhouse standards with French and Asian influences, the restaurant also makes prize-worthy bone marrow with horseradish chimichurri and chunky pork belly-red jalapeño marmalade; blackened octopus with chorizo and peperonata; and a duo of orange-cured crispy duck leg confit and silken chamomile tea-poached duck breast. “It’s a fantastic little find,” Buchanan says of the under-the-radar gastropub.
Location: 7660 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, (480) 590-6755, peppermillaz.com
Hours: Tues.-Thurs, 3-9 p.m.; Fri., 3-10 p.m.; Sat. 5-10 p.m.
Highlights: Roasted bone marrow ($22); roasted pork belly ($14); grilled octopus ($22); ancho-crusted NY strip ($43); duo of duck ($47); Peppermill burger ($16); chile relleno ($9 during happy hour)
Somewhere to Go
El Capitan Canyon
When it comes to vacationing outdoors, not everyone is into the idea of roughing it in the wilderness without a toilet or running water. If you prefer a beachside glamping experience, pitch your—metaphorical—tent at El Capitan Canyon. Founded in 1970, this sustainable nature-lodging resort sits on 2,500 acres of Santa Barbara coastline and includes 350 acres of tree groves along the seasonal El Capitan Creek. Visitors can stay in a cedar cabin, safari tent or adventure yurt sites that sleep up to six people. Guests have access to attractions including a serenity garden, yoga classes, heated pool, various hiking trails, a llama and goat farm, local wine tastings and more. “This is a great opportunity to get away and spend time in nature with the luxury amenities we provide,” says general manager Richard Good. The property operates in a car-free canyon to preserve area wildlife and air quality. Be on the lookout for fun fall packages coming in October and November. elcapitancanyon.com
Something to Do
Noche en Blanco
White parties aren’t the sole domain of rappers and East Coast trust-funders. In the Valley, Hance Park Conservancy and City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department put a Southwest spin on the tradition with Noche en Blanco, a multicultural community dinner under the stars with live performances. Dress code: cocktail attire—en blanco, claro que si! Revelers can purchase single-seat tickets ($25) or tables for eight ($200), and all proceeds benefit Hance Park Conservancy’s efforts to maintain the park for generations to come. Guests can BYOB and BYOPicnic, or pre-order gourmet picnics ($50/person, vegetarian option $40/person) and alcohol. This year’s fiesta features Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and takes place on Saturday, Oct. 30, from 5-10 p.m. on Hance Park’s East Lawn (116 E. Moreland St., Phoenix). hanceparkconservancy.org/noche-en-blanco
Someone to Know
Meet the Phoenix city councilman and newly elected vice mayor who has an eye on ending police brutality.
You say you think you suffer from “impostor syndrome.” Why?
I’ve always had this feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be where I was. I grew up undocumented. I wasn’t supposed to be in the country. Friends of mine passed away in high school, went to jail. I wasn’t supposed to graduate. I went to community college, then to Arizona State University for a B.A. in history. What drove me was that anger and frustration of what my community was going through.
Your son, Chimal, is 15, and your daughter, Yaretzi, just turned 5. What do they think of their dad being vice mayor of the city?
They’re used to the oddness of me being on TV, doing protests and traveling. My wife, Alexis, is elected now. She’s on the Roosevelt School District board. She’s always been really active. So it hasn’t been a big shift for them. I think that’s a good measurement that I haven’t changed too much.
In your view, what’s the most important issue facing the city?
Housing. It’s the cornerstone of everything else. If someone has a house, they can get a better job or figure out what their life is going to look like. The way that prices are skyrocketing and gentrification is happening…it’s a crisis, and it’s only going to get worse.