The Waste Management Phoenix Open is known as the "Greatest Show on Grass" because of the amazing desert views, the mild "winter" weather, on top of the obviously talented golfers. It's set apart from the other stops on the PGA Tour because the fans cheer, boo and heckle like it's any other sport and most etiquette from the gallery is thrown out the window. Perhaps that's why it's generally the most well-attended stop on the Tour.
This year, fans are encouraged to wear green on Saturday, February 5th, to create the "Greenest Show on Grass." For everyone who wears green (including players, caddies, vendors and fans), the Thunderbirds will donate money to Arizona Clean & Beautiful.
The much-anticipated lineup for the concerts at the Birds Nest have also been announced. Here are the headliners:
Wednesday, February 2 - The Doobie Brothers
Thursday, February 3 - O.A.R.
Friday, February 4 - Slightly Stoopid
Saturday, February 5 - MetalHead
Check out the full schedule for each night.
No matter which day you go to the Open, if you want a good seat - especially on the famed 16th hole - be sure to get there early. If you want a chance to see your favorite player up close, head to the front nine, since most of the crowd stays at the end of the course. And if you need to wet your whistle after all the cheering, the Thundebirds food booth generally has the cheapest beer, best food (the famous Thunderdogs) and shortest lines.
See the official Waste Management Phoenix Open site for more details.
*UPDATE* Vitamin T has closed.
CityScape in downtown Phoenix seems to be celebrating another grand opening of another business, shop or restaurant every week. Thursday, Aaron May's much-anticipated eatery, Vitamin T, opened to a crowd.
Chef Aaron May is known for his other things-we-love-about-town, Over Easy, The Lodge, Iruña, 18 Degrees, Mabel's on Main, (and previously Sol y Sambra and Autostrada). But Vitamin T is totally different from all these; it refers to "Vitamina T" in Mexico, referring to the four Ts: tacos, tamales, tortas, tequila. All of which, and more, are available at the new digs.
It's designed to be reminiscent of Mexican street food: you order at a counter (albeit indoors), your food is prepared in front of you, and there aren't any seats - just barrels on-end outside to stand around (for now, anyway). The flow actually works out pretty well, as they've been busy in their opening days. It's also perfect for grabbing a bite pre- or post-game at US Airways or Chase Field, both just a block or two away from Vitamin T's location on the east side of CityScape.
When you go to dig into your food, it's immediately obvious that this is not the a run-of-the-mill Mexican food chain. The tacos, tortas and tamales all have a fresh mix of cabbage, green onion, cilantro and lime juice, and usually more (top it with your own fresh salsa from the salsa bar too). The barbacoa tacos are incredibly tasty, due to the coffee and chili de arbol-rubbed beef brisket, but the pibil with slow cooked pork shoulder and the free range chicken are also winners.
If you're on the hungrier side, go for the tortas. The sandwiches are huge (one customer exclaimed, "Ohmygosh this is so heavy in the bag!"), and will keep you full, if not readying you for a siesta. You can also try an Aaron May favorite - the Sonoran Dog, which is a bacon-wrapped all beef hot dog in a bolillo roll with the [Mexican] fixin's and black bean spread. No, it's not one of the 'T's but it's a signature, nonetheless. You can't really go wrong with anything here.
Vitamin T (at CityScape)
1 East Washington St.
When it's warm in the Phoenix summers, locals don't fret. Why? Pools are abundant (and all the local resorts are the places-to-be) and cool, sweet treats are all around. The pop-up of gelato and yogurt places can't be missed, but it's not a fad - they're taking a cue from two of the best spots around: Sugar Bowl and Mary Coyle. These are two of the most drool-worthy, diet-ditching parlors, who - in their "vintage" states - have become pillars of Phoenix, especially in the summer.
So you're in Old Town Scottsdale, moseying along, and BAM you see the big pink corner, with the colorful letters that bring so much joy: Sugar Bowl. People who've grown up in Phoenix all have stories about when they were little and got to go to Sugar Bowl. It's a special place. They serve lunch and dinner, but let's be honest - you're going for the ice cream. It's smooth, creamy and in any of it's iterations - the sundaes, the parfaits, the cones - you can't get away from the parlor feel - not that you'd want to. (A certain blogger, by the way, recommends the Old Dutch Chocolate hot fudge.)
It's old-time dining at it's best, and the whole experience can't be missed.
But across town, Mary Coyle is the place to be for cool treats.
Similar to Sugar Bowl, Mary Coyle is a staple in Phoenix. They also serve food that you get, but it's not what you go for. Again, it's the ice cream. And they make no bones about the 16% butterfat content - it's on banners in the store - but when you taste it, you don't have a care in the world if it was 16 or 66% butterfat.
The biggest differentiator are the flavors Mary Coyle has. At any time, there are about 30 flavors, including some bright, fruity ones (black raspberry, fresh honey banana, burgundy cherry) that at least sound healthy, right? But then there are the indulgences (butter brittle, maple walnut, chocolate almond) that will send you flying. Their "standard" flavors like chocolate, peppermint chip and rocky road are done the way an Iron Chef does french fries - perfectly.
So when you need to cool down, head to Sugar Bowl or Mary Coyle - or better yet, go to both. Conduct your own taste test and see what you think of these treats.
4005 North Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
5521 North 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85013-1701
Tucked just slightly back from the bustling 7th Street and McDowell intersection in downtown Phoenix is a new coffee shop - Giant Coffee - that is already drawing the eye and the taste buds of locals in the know.
It's no surprise that it's a success, considering it's from restaurateurs Matt and Erenia Pool. You know them from Matt's Big Breakfast and Roosevelt Tavern, and it's obvious that Giant Coffee is going to be as big in their repertoire.
Right away, it's got that hip, urban but very cozy feel. The long, communal table in the middle makes it feel open and friendly, instead of crowded and invasive like other places that try the same concept. But there's also plenty of room for private conversations with tables lining the sides. Half the reason you go to a place like Giant is for the atmosphere, and this definitely pays off.
Now to the grub: The coffee is delicious, more mild and less acidic than other places. Expect the usual offerings from the drink menu, but all are very well executed. Their specialty is their daily drip, from a single location, so you can taste beans from all over the world day-by-day. Their treats are also amazing. The blackberry-bran-honey muffin is incredibly delicious - and filling - and chock full of local ingredients.
A couple notes: they neighbor Bunky Boutique in their new location, so stop by when you can visit both places. Also, Giant doesn't take cards, only cash, so come prepared.
It's great to see a new place open with a totally different vibe, it's worth checking out for your morning - or afternoon - or evening cup of Joe.
1437 N 1st St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Going to any of the art museums in town is always inspiring, but when a big show comes to town, you just can't miss it.
Phoenix Art Museum now presents Cézanne and American Modernism, a collection of numerous artists showing some of the best pieces in post-Impressionist modern art.
Cézanne was called "the father of us all" by both Matisse and Picasso, and in this collection you'll see numerous works from Cézanne, Morgan Russel, Marsden Hartley and other top artists of the time. The exhibit runs through September 26.
You'll see works like Cézanne's Five Apples, Bathers, View of the Domain Saint-Joseph and more. You'll also see:
...and other amazing pieces from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. It's truly a must-see.
Phoenix Art Museum
1625 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Of course, there are tons of events happening for good ol' Fourth of July, but we couldn't list every family barbecue, so we stuck with our top events in the area, and some new events that you really should try out:
4th of July Kickoff Late Night Feast (yes, it's a long title)
On Friday, July 2nd, Pasta Bar in downtown Phoenix is hosting a "Whole Hog Roast" from 10pm - 2pm. It's only $20 for the pig, pasta and phun (Phun, as Pasta Bar is calling it, is $20 bottles of wine and $3 beers, ages 21 and up for the phun, of course). This will just be starting on the heels of First Friday, so it looks like you've got a whole plan for Friday night.
705 N 1st Street
Fabulous Phoenix Fourth
The biggest Independence Day event in Phoenix is celebrating its 25th birthday this year as well, so there's double reason to celebrate. From 6-10pm on Sunday, July 4th, Steele Indian School Park will be bustling with games, food, activities, bands (on three stages), and a classic car exhibit. Even the Phoenix Fire Department will have a spray zone to cool everyone down. The best part - indeed - are the fireworks which are altogether amazing. If you haven't been, this is the year to try something new. (Oh, and it's FREE!)
Steele Indian School Park
3rd Street and Indian School
July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival
Starting at 4pm on the holiday, Tempe Town Lake will turn into a wonderland of bounce houses, rock climbing walls, games, food and music. The fireworks launch off the Mill Avenue bridge and display over the water - really a sight to see. The tickets cost $8 at the gate ($15 for two), but you can get them for $6 at Fry's stores around town.
Tempe Beach Park
620 North Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ. 85281
"Disney" in Concert
The Arizona Biltmore is hosting the Phoenix Symphony for a 90-minute performance of classic Disney songs, from movies like Mary Poppins to The Lion King. After the show, guests will head out to the Squaw Peak Lawn - beautiful in and of itself - for a "petite finale" of fireworks. For my advice, I'd extend the night and sip on adult beverages on the patio as well. Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm. Tickets are $38, kids 12 and under are $28
2400 E Missouri Ave