Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-10-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

TRAVEL Arizona: Hot and cool
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


"Arizonans are like lizards."

I heard this sentence while recently visiting the neighboring cities of Phoenix and Tempe—and it certainly wasn't meant to slam residents. Rather, it was a comment on the habits of people who live in the The Grand Canyon State, as they battle the heat the only sane way possible: avoiding it—at least during the peak of the day.

However, no matter what time of the year you visit these spots, you're able to find attractions and activities ( indoors and outside ) to help you pleasantly pass the time.

Phoenix

This part of the trip started with checking bags at Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Downtown ( 77 E. Polk St.; hamptoninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/arizona/hampton-inn-and-suites-phoenix-downtown-PHXCTHX/index.html )—a site so new my rideshare app didn't have it listed. And may I be among those saying that this chain has progressed a lot in the past few years; not only was the staff very courteous, but everything seemed quite contemporary ( with a spacious gym incorporating the latest technology ).

And being downtown certainly has its advantages. For one, being at this hotel puts one only steps away from the Phoenix campus of Arizona State University ( with its Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication as well as the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, among other things ).

Also in the area is Phoenix Public Market Cafe ( 14 E. Pierce St.; cafe.phxpublicmarket.com/ ), which offers items ranging from biscuits and gravy to a quinoa bowl to sandwiches/burgers to the Forbidden Rice Bowl ( which is made with black jasmine rice ). Linked next to it is the open-air market—open Saturdays at 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and featuring artisan and food vendors all year.

The area we were in also includes the extremely popular spot Matt's Big Breakfast ( 825 N. 1st St.; mattsbigbreakfast.com/ ). Unfortunately, I didn't get to check out, but several people have recommended it—and The Chop & The Chick sounds like a really appealing dish.

And just across the street from Matt's is The Churchill ( 901 N. 1st St.; thechurchillphx.com/ )—home to a variety of small businesses that basically engage in mutualism with each other. Some of the members include State Forty Eight ( which has some really cool T-shirts ), Sauvage Bottle Shop ( which only vends "honest" wines ), Cosas ( which works with with artisans out of Guadalajara, Mexico ) and Freak Brothers Pizza.

As the cafe hinted, Phoenix's culinary scene is extremely vibrant—and diverse. Beckett's Table ( 3717 E. Indian School Rd.; beckettstable.com/ ) offers cast-iron hoe cake; mac 'n cheese ( with optional pancetta ); pineapple bourbon glazed and grilled organic Scottish salmon; Shrimp, Sausage & Super Creamy Local Grits ( the spot's name for this dish—but it's accurate ); and chocolate-dipped bacon S'mores. Enough said ( or written )….

The Clever Koi ( 4236 N. Central Ave.; www.thecleverkoi.com/ ) has some tantalizing offerings, such as Brussels sprouts with Chinese sausage; black-bean pancakes; calamari fries; steamed buns in varieties such as pork belly, kimchi cauliflower and chicken 'n waffle; crispy pineapple duck rice; and noodle dishes like lemon-pepper chicken ramen.

But before hitting the Koi, step into Across the Pond—which is basically across the hall from the restaurant. The amiable bartenders engage in conversation while whipping up cocktails like the Alpaca season and the Ms. Paka—and these drinks have to be seen to be believed.

However, our travel group also engaged in a different type of culinary activity: concocting vegan dishes with the outgoing nutrition expert Melanie Albert at The Farm at South Mountain ( 6106 S. 32nd St.; www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com/ )—which combines Morning Glory Cafe, The Farm Kitchen and Quiessence. However, before becoming chefs, we were given a tour of the impressive crops courtesy of urban farmer Billy Anthony—an informed, engaging guy who resembles Mark Wahlberg, and who gave us the lowdown on items like glacier lettucee, Armenian cucumber and even butterscotch melon. Albert ( expnutrition.wordpress.com/ ) is a walking compendium of nutrition, and I think she could almost convert me to veganism.

To truly understand the history of the art and cultures of this area, head to The Heard Museum ( 2301 N. Central Ave.; heard.org/ ). There are exhibits such as "Color Riot! How Color Changed Navajo Textiles"—but it will be even more personal ones like "Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories" that prove to be the most moving, as it's shown how Native Americans had their identities removed by placing them into "civilized" society via government-operated boarding schools.

However, please take time to take in Phoenix's incredible outdoor scene—and you needn't look any farther than the Desert Botanical Garden ( 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy.; www.dbg.org/ ). It's a huge, alluring site—but don't be surprised if you get closer to nature than you imagine. ( A heron flew down and downed a lizard right in front of us. ) Flashlight tours take place throughout the summer, and a July 27 course which teach photographers how to best capture a sunset.

Tempe

Yes, Tempe is a college town ( with Arizona State University having more than 70,000 students, as of 2016 ), but there's substantially more to do in Tempe than attend college football games and buy ASU memorabilia.

Being a science major in undergrad, one of the options that immediately appealed to me on this trip was visiting ASU's ISTB 4 Gallery of Scientific Exploration ( 781 E. Terrace Rd.; sese.asu.edu/node/457 ). With studies about satellites, meteorites and much more, this is a prime spot to visit—and don't forget about the planetarium show.

Mill Avenue is the main thoroughfare in downtown Tempe—with dozens of shops, restaurants and other inviting spots/events, like the Fourth of July celebration. There are brand-name spots like Urban Outfitters, but there are also spots like Lotions & Potions, Hackett House Gift Shop and Nowadays Creative Lab. ( There are also the Phoenix Premium Outlets, with stores such as Calvin Klein, Elie Tahari and Michael Kors, and Arizona Mills; the latter being in Tempe. )

Snakes & Lattes ( 20 W. 6th St.; www.snakesandlattes.com/location/tempe/ ) is a really cool spot to visit. Not only are there great bites to grab ( including various pizzas and poutines ) as well as enough beer options to drive an indecisive person nuts, but there's a large game library—with everything from Monopoly to trivia games to role-playing pasttimes.

Art is an extremely prominent part of Tempe—from the statues that dot the city to the murals honoring women that line Mill Avenue. ( She Tempe is a public art project that was installed in September 2017; eight local female artists were invited to create custom works of art. )

Also, there's the impressive Tempe Center for the Arts ( 700 W. Rio Salado; www.tempecenterforthearts.com/ ) for those who'd like to witness something more cultured. ( Upcoming events include a run of the controversial production Dutchman, the 80th-anniversary celebration of Blue Note Records and the immersive theater installation "Flight"—although I might have to return next March to catch "Legends of Freestyle, featuring Coolio and Rob Base." )

And the center is right by the Tempe Town Lake, a two-mile-long, man-made body of water where one can go paddleboating ( or paddleboarding )—and which provided one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever witnessed. In addition, do not miss the entrancing Valley Metro bridge that flashes rainbow colors whenever a train passes.

Like Phoenix, Tempe has its share of impressive restaurants. Local chain Culinary Dropout ( 149 S. Farmer; www.culinarydropout.com/locations/tempe-az/ ) has some fine contemporary American fare—as well as staffers who all seem to resemble models. However, my favorite restaurant had to be House of Tricks ( 114 E. 7th St.; www.houseoftricks.com/ )—and it's not just because of the name. The spot is on break until July 25, but when it reopens there will be dishes such as grilled salmon with chive risotto cake and toasted green chili cornbread BLT served at this stately spot.

And I certainly had fun at Four Peaks Brewing Co. ( 1340 E. 8th St.; www.fourpeaks.com ), which has several delicious, gut-busting dishes ( like Get in My Belly, which comes with Peach Ale-braised pork belly )—but a tour of the facilities that includes samples, factoids about processing the drinks, and even ghost stories ( told by the amiable Cole ). As for the products, there's something for almost everyone, from Oatmeal Stout to Lima ( spiked Limeade ) to the ever-popular Kilt Lifter ( a Scottish ale ).

And last, but certainly not least, is the hotel where we resided: The Graduate Tempe ( 225 E. Apache Blvd.; www.graduatehotels.com/ ), which is worth the price of admission alone, as they say. With a retro Southwest decor that is immensely appealing ( complete with student-ID keycards ), the Graduate is unlike any other hotel in which you'll probably ever stay. And don't forget to hit the exercise room ( which has weights and a peloton bike, among other things ) and The Normal restaurant, which has every comfort food imaginable, it seems—including a wonderful butterscotch cheesecake.

Many thanks go to Visit Phoenix and Tempe Tourism for arranging this incredible trip. Yes, there's some heat in Arizona—but this state is pretty cool in a lot of ways.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

The Camino Project, an experiment in travel 2019-08-20 - Far removed from the constructs of your typical theater experience, Theatre Y evokes participation, both physical and emotional. The Camino Project is an ...


Gay News

DINING Travelle dinner, National Bao Day, Winestyr Fest, ladies' night 2019-08-20 - —On Wed., Aug. 21, Travelle at The Langham Chef Jeff Vucko will collaborate with Granor Farm Chef ( and Ruffage author ) Abra ...


Gay News

Event promotes LGBTQ tourism in Israel 2019-08-16 - On Aug. 8 at Goddess and the Baker, 225 N. Lasalle St., the Israel Ministry of Tourism hosted a happy hour. The ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Driftless and daring: Mineral Point, Wisconsin 2019-08-07 - Thousands of years ago when the glaciers razed the Midwest and flattened the landscape, they left certain areas untouched, unmarred. These areas—known as ...


Gay News

Gay tourism group cancels Ethopian trip after death threats 2019-06-26 - Dan Ware, the owner of Chicago-based Toto Tours—which has a mostly gay clientele—has cancelled an October trip to Ethiopia after receiving death threats ...


Gay News

TRAVEL Portland: Something for everyone 2019-05-24 - First things first: Portland isn't nearly as granola as I thought it might be. Before visiting the Western city for the first time, ...


Gay News

LGBTQ activists travel to Springfield for Advocacy Day 2019-05-19 - On May 15, Equality Illinois hosted the annual Advocacy Day in Springfield, Illinois, in partnership with other statewide LGBTQ organizations. The daylong event ...


Gay News

STAYCATION REVIEW The Langham Chicago 2019-05-08 - The Langham Chicago ( 330 N. Wabash St.; http://www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/chicago/ ) has earned plaudits from various publications, including five stars from Forbes. However, I ...


Gay News

MUSIC Trans singer-educator talks music, teaching, traveling 2019-04-09 - For singer-educator Tommy Lamont, living an authentic life as a trans woman has been a decades-long journey that culminated in publicly coming out ...


Gay News

NYC Pride announces World Pride opening ceremony June 26, Whoopi Goldberg to host 2019-04-05 - NEW YORK, NY, APRIL 05, 2019 — NYC Pride, the host of WorldPride 2019. Stonewall 50,formally unveiled today the location and initial talent ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.