James Beard Foundation Pop-Up Dinner to Celebrate Diversity of American Cooking

Phoenix will welcome the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America® Wednesday, Feb. 26, for a pop-up dinner as part of the larger national tour, which brings delicious food and thought-provoking conversation surrounding the nonprofit’s mission of cultivating a better food world for all.

Spotlighting issues within the Foundation’s Good Food for Good™ platform, including food waste reduction, sustainability, inclusivity and chef advocacy, the seventh annual cross-country food series will highlight the organization’s mission-forward impact programs and initiatives, while dishing out tasty bites to the food-loving community of Phoenix.

Taste America’s Phoenix Pop Up Dinner starts at 6pm Wednesday, Feb. 26, at Wrigley Mansion. The intimate dinner will feature a menu crafted by Taste America visiting all-star Kristen Kish and local all-star and host Chef Christopher Gross. The dinner will celebrate the diverse flavors, cuisines, and backgrounds that contribute to American cooking.

The Foundation has partnered with Food Recovery Network to ensure that Taste America events are Food Recovery Verified, meaning that all surplus food from the series will be recovered and donated to hunger-fighting nonprofits, who support food-insecure individuals, in each city. Through Food Recovery Verified, the Foundation can do its part to reduce food waste and hunger at the community level. 

This year marks the seventh time that the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America has visited Phoenix. Expanding for the first time to span nearly a full year, Taste America 2019–20 will travel to Atlanta; Boston; Charleston, SC; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles; Louisville, KY; Miami; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Nashville; New Orleans; Philadelphia; Portland, OR; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

Tickets start at $225. For a more exclusive experience, tickets for dining in a private dining room are available for $500 and up to $1,000 for a personal experience while dining in the kitchen. The Taste America Phoenix Pop-Up Dinner is presented by Capital One. Additional information can be found at www.jamesbeard.org/events/taste-america-phoenix-pop-up-dinner.

Pearl Jam North American Spring Tour Coming to Gila River Arena Saturday, April 11

In support of their upcoming Gigaton album release, Pearl Jam will embark on a North American tour including a stop at Gila River Arena Saturday, April 11.

Pearl Jam’s North American tour is in addition to the band’s previously announced European summer tour. Full details can be found at pearljam.com/tour.

Pearl Jam will release their 11th studio album, Gigaton, on Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records March 27, 2020 in the U.S. Internationally, the album will be released and distributed by Universal Music Group. Produced by Josh Evans and Pearl Jam, Gigaton marks the band’s first studio album since GRAMMY award-winning Lightning Bolt, which was released on October 15, 2013.

Gigatonis available for pre-order now at www.pearljam.com. The first single, “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” will be released in the coming weeks.

“Making this record was a long journey,” explains Mike McCready. “It was emotionally dark and confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption. Collaborating with my bandmates on Gigaton ultimately gave me greater love, awareness and knowledge of the need for human connection in these times.”

Gigaton’s cover features Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist Paul Nicklen’s photo “Ice Waterfall.” Taken in Svalbard, Norway, this image features the Nordaustlandet ice cap gushing high volumes of meltwater.

Tickets for Pearl Jam’s North American concerts will be made available through a Ticketmaster Verified Fan registration and ticket presale, a Ten Club presale for eligible members and a general public ticket sale. More details on all of those points of sale follow.

Ticketmaster Verified Fan registration closes Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 11:59pm PT. To register, visit https://verifiedfan.ticketmaster.com/pearljam. The Verified Fan presale then begins Thursday, Jan. 23, at 10am venue local time.

Sixth Annual ‘It’s Art for Land’s Sake’ Seeks Entries — Deadline is Feb. 7

The 20129 first place winner, “Desert Jewels” by Peggy Orbon

Early inhabitants of Arizona were drawn to the awe-inspiring landscape that is the Sonoran Desert. Its unique flora and fauna continue to draw people from all over the world to it today. Desert Foothills Land Trust understands the importance of preserving this special place for the survival of the species that dwell here and for the enjoyment of generations to come. It’s a landscape worthy of not only protecting forever but immortalizing through art as well. It’s Art for Land’s Sake is a juried art exhibit and sale designed to promote conservation and wildlife protection through representational art.

The Land Trust is hosting the sixth annual exhibit and sale at the Desert Foothills Library March 6–19 with an opening reception Thursday, March 5, from 6–8 pm. The public is invited to attend the reception, and the exhibit will be open for the duration during regular library hours. The library is located in Cave Creek at 38443 North Schoolhouse Road.

Artists of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to submit their work. There is an entry fee of $25 per piece and all works of art must be 2D and representational of a Desert Foothills Land Trust preserve. The entry deadline is Friday, February 7, 2020 at 4pm. Entry forms and a complete copy of the rules and guidelines can be found on the Land Trust website at www.dflt.org. Entrants may also call 480.488.6131 or email info@dflt.org for more information.

All proceeds will be for the benefit of Desert Foothills Land Trust and/or Desert Foothills Library.

Rocky Point Sees Its First Cruise Ship Set Sail

After much anticipation and planning, the first cruise liner departed Thursday, Jan. 9, from Puerto Peñasco, Mexico, commonly known in the United States as Rocky Point. The Astoria Cruise Liner, owned and operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, is currently sailing around the Sea of Cortez and returning back to Rocky Point Jan. 20.

“This is a major step in Rocky Point’s development and growth,” stated Keith Allen, director of sales of a new and contemporary condo development Encantame Towers and founding member of Peñasco Business Coalition. “With the launch of this cruise, we are hoping that Rocky Point, with its unique location on the Sea of Cortez, will be seen as a premier, local cruise ship port. It’s just another wonderful amenity added to this safe, beautiful beach town.”

The Astoria set sail on the cruise titled “Treasures of the Sea of Cortez.” Over the course of the 11-day voyage, the ship will take passengers to eight ports along the Sea of Cortez, including Topolobampo, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Bahia Loreto, Santa Rosalia and Guaymas. The ship itself has 250 cabins and can hold around 550 people. In addition, Cruise and Maritime Voyages arranged ground transportation from Phoenix and Tucson to Rocky Point. Most of the passengers are anticipated to be Arizonans and people from surrounding western states.

“With so many transplants to the Southwest from other parts of the U.S., there’s a huge number of people who’ve yet to experience the charm of Rocky Point first-hand,” said Steve Schwab, founder and president of Casago, a leading property management and vacation rentals company, founding member of Peñasco Business Coalition, and passenger on the Astoria. “This is yet another reason for first-time and seasoned visitors to experience Rocky Point and all its year-round offerings.”

“Puerto Peñasco is well prepared for the already growing tourism our community is seeing and we are proud to see the launch of the much-anticipated cruise, Treasures of the Sea of Cortez,” said Puerto Peñasco Mayor Kiko Munro. “New businesses, new development, and the hard work of our public safety officials make Puerto Peñasco an ideal beach destination for many Arizonans.”

There are three scheduled departures from Rocky Point for the Treasures of the Sea of Cortez Cruise on Jan. 9, Jan. 20 and Jan. 31. Following these three cruises, the Astoria will move on to other scheduled cruises launching from England in 2020. Cruise and Maritime Voyages will determine the 2021 schedule of the Astoria at a later date.

More information on the Treasures of the Sea of Cortez cruise can be found at https://us.cruiseandmaritime.com/cruise/r008/treasures-of-the-sea-of-cortez.

Alice and David Are a Dynamic Duo Wishing for a Forever Family

— By Clint Williams
Aid to Adoption of Special Kids

Eight-year-old Alice is fearless as she moves smoothly up the rock climbing wall at Sky Zone in Scottsdale and confidently slaps the buzzer.

She then carefully works her way down the wall — and then starts back up. Practice makes perfect and Alice is nothing if not willing to practice.

Cheering her on is younger brother David, 7. And when it’s his turn to tackle the wall, Alice keeps a watchful eye as the protective — and a little bit bossy — big sister.

The siblings form a dynamic duo, says Brianna, a child specific adoption recruiter with Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK).

“Alice is a girly girl,” Brianna says. “She likes all things glittery and sparkly.

“David enjoys playing outside. He is very tidy, and he likes to make his bed every single morning.”

Both are active and giggly. Both do well in school and love routine. Both love macaroni and cheese. The two have never lived without each other.

“They have a very strong relationship together and it’s important that they maintain that relationship throughout their lives,” Brianna says, adding that it is also import the two stay in Arizona.

The siblings would thrive in a forever home that has two parents with an abundance of energy.

“The perfect forever family for Alice and David is one that has the time, patience and understanding to work with them,” Brianna says.

Alice and David would do well in a family with other children, but, because of allergies, they can’t live in a home with cats or dogs.


For more information on children in foster care eligible for adoption, call Aid to Adoption of Special Kids at 602.930.4900, or visit www.aask-az.org.

Whiskey and Popcorn Reviews… ‘1917’ Immerses You Into the Battlefield Unlike Any Other War Movie

Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan

—By Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle

(center) George MacKay as Schofield in “1917,” co-written and directed by Sam Mendes.

When it comes to the world wars, the Second World War seems to capture much of the imagination and romance of Hollywood. World War I not so much. And perhaps that’s due to there being a “less clear” enemy. There aren’t Nazis in WWI. But the First World War has plenty to offer when it comes to storytelling. Writer/director Sam Mendes proves this in his film 1917.

A truly immersive experience, 1917 follows two British soldiers as they set out on a ride-or-die mission across No-Man’s land. What makes 1917 truly spectacular is the one-shot technique, which makes the film feel like it’s all one continuous shot.

The film 1917 is Rated R. It opens Jan. 10.

George MacKay as Schofield in “1917,” the new epic from Oscar®-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes.

(Photos courtesy of Universal Studios)

Whiskey and Popcorn is a movie podcast by local film critics Kaely Monahan and Tuesday Mahrle. You can hear their full movie reviews on whiskeyandpopcorn.org.

HER Certified Auto Review: 2019 Camry TRD 4-Door V6 Sedan

Click to learn more about Cathy.

By Cathy Droz –

When your bestie turns 70, you take a girl’s weekend to celebrate.  We didn’t go very far, the Boulders resort in Carefree, but we needed a few drivers with cargo space or in my case, a cool car to drive around in.  You also offer to drive because everyone wanted to take a spin in my red Camry TRD, thanks to Toyota.

The Camry was introduced in 1982… and as we all said this weekend… This is not your “Mother’s Camry.” Still a leading model for the Toyota brand, this TRD was taken to a whole new level. In fact, I challenged one of the ladies to a short race against her Targa, Porsche. At one point she got behind the wheel so she could see and feel for herself the power and tenacity of the Camry.  She was impressed.

Maybe we’re turning 70 but we haven’t lost our love of cars, speed and luxury and of course the color red.  Check out the video to see just what went on that weekend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkwxnW0etY8&t=21s

Standard and Performance

  • 5L V6 Engine, 301 hp @6600 rpm/287 lb-ft @ 4700rpm
  • 8-speed transmission w/ paddle shifters
  • TRD tuned Front and Rear Suspension

Safety and Convenience

  • Pre collision w/pedestrian detection, lane departure alert
  • VSC, TRAC, ABS BA and SST
  • Backup Camera

Exterior and Interior

  • Audio – 7-inch Screen 6 speakers
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay Compatible
  • Display with TRD start up display
  • Aero Kit with Red Pin Striping, Red TRD Badge
  • Red Seatbelts
  • TRD Rear Spoiler
  • TRD Logo Headrest

For more go to www.toyota.com and www.hercertified.com for more Toyota reviews.

MSRP:  $31,040

As Tested: $32,920

The special color red is optional @ $425.00


For additional HER Certified Auto Reviews, visit www.hercertified.com.

2020 for Good — or Not?

Rabbi_headshot2

Click to learn more about Rabbi Kravitz

By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. 

As you read this column, the newest year 2020 has already arrived. It’s the year we will refer to in the phrase “hindsight is 2020.” So, if this newest year does grant us the opportunity to reflect on the past, what do we see?

2019 was a year of amazing pain and conflict in the United States, not just in the streets of our cities, our schools, our houses of worship, but even in the halls of our government. It was 12 months filled with murder, rancor, swearing, bullying, harassment and mis-statements or lies. No matter the side of the aisle where you sit, 2019 presented itself as the opportunity to challenge and argue, besmirch and belittle anyone and everyone who is different. Hardly a day went by without someone using public or social media to verbally spit in the eye of someone else, without apology.

Seldom did we hear or read of people doing good for each other, except the occasional tribute to America’s military or vets. All the rest of us were fair game for targeting. We sent our “thoughts and prayers” to millions around the world who became cannon fodder for monarchs and oligarchs. Many praised ill-informed leaders. Thousands attempted to bury — online, sometimes in person — those who did not uphold their “values.” We felt the derision of those who saw human beings differently, and who made us the objects of their lunacy, the focus of their fury. Compassion and truth evaporated.

2019 was not a good year. True, we had some successes in medicine to heal the hurting; we saw advances in communication to connect us; and we responded with millions of dollars to care for victims of man-made and climate-made disasters. Nevertheless, 2019 now is over. How many hundreds of thousands remain hostages to war and displacement, seeking freedoms no longer offered, because of squandered resources.

Ours now is the responsibility to make 2020 a year where we can proudly say next year at this time — in hindsight — 2020 was better, because we worked together to make it so.


Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D., is known Valley-wide for his more than three decades of support for civil and human rights, and the positive efforts of law enforcement. A volunteer police chaplain, he regularly lectures on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at rrlkdd@hotmail.com.


Photo by Andrew Zuber; courtesy of Scopio.

Blue Light: The Visible Danger

By Stephen Cohen, O.D.

Over the past decade, our lives have been transformed due to smart phones, tablets and other handheld devices. These devices are backlit by LED light. Also, legislation has been implemented that require that incandescent light bulbs be replaced by more energy efficient LED bulbs. Unfortunately, this change in technology has come with a price tag: these devices emit high levels of “blue light.”

Think about the colors of the rainbow. On the spectrum, blue light is right next to ultraviolet radiation (UV). We know that UV (which we cannot see) can be damaging to our skin and to our eyes. Its neighbor, blue light, has been found to cause numerous problems in higher and extended doses.

Although the sun is the major source of all wavelengths of light, including blue light, we have experienced a tremendous increase in blue light exposure in other settings, such as in our office, on our laptop and even in our beds when we tend to use our smart phones and tablets before going to sleep.

Here are some of the challenges we now face. Blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. Using a smart phone in bed for a short time in anticipation of sleep actually wakes us up. Apple, for example, has come up with an adjustment to turn down the blue light at night in an attempt to counteract this problem for its iPhone users. Blue light also causes significant eyestrain. This can affect visual comfort, moods and behavior, whether for adults in an office, or, more significantly, for children in a classroom.

Blue light (which has been found to penetrate deeper into our eyes) has been implicated as a contributing factor to developing Macular Degeneration later in life. Protecting your eyes now will not only help to improve your quality of life today, it can also help in the future. There are now coatings that can be applied to lens surfaces of eyeglasses that block UV, glare, and blue light. This can enhance clarity (since the “blue” end of the visible spectrum tends to be more distorting), reduce strain and protect your eyes. Special filters on computer/tablet screens can reduce blue light exposure. Using the adjustment settings on your smart phone can also reduce exposure to higher levels of blue light.

We are familiar with the term “unintended consequences,” where some advances in technology provides benefits but can also cause unanticipated challenges. Such is the case with lighting changes that were made for environmental benefits, as well as digital device technology. So, while we help to protect our environment, let’s protect our eye health and visual comfort as well.


Photo credit: Japanexperterna.se via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Cartel Coffee Lab Heads North with Two New Phoenix Locations

The longstanding Tempe-based coffee purveyor, Cartel Coffee Lab, known for sourcing and roasting some of the best coffee from around the world is launching new locations in Paradise Valley and Uptown Phoenix. Located at the northeast intersection of Tatum and Shea, the Paradise Valley location is scheduled for a grand opening Dec. 20 . (Open holiday hours 7am–3pm through Christmas Eve; 6am–8pm regular hours.) Visitors can look forward to free coffee all day and a chance for one winner to receive free coffee for a year. The 1,200 square foot Paradise Valley location features a state of the art La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine, draft cold brew and Chemex pour overs of rotating single origin coffees.

As a part of its continuing partnership with boutique hospitality brand ARRIVE Hotels, Cartel will be opening inside ARRIVE’s upcoming hotel at Fourth Avenue and Camelback in Uptown Phoenix in 2020. This will be the third in a series of successful cafe/hotel partnerships after locations in Palm Springs and Austin.

“We’ve always been cautious when it comes to choosing locations or partners; both of these new cafes represent a lot of consideration and these are two communities we are excited to grow with,” said Jason Silberschlag, owner and co-founder of Cartel.

Husband and wife Jason and Amy Silberschlag began Cartel 12 years ago with a mobile cart, which will now have expanded into 10 retail locations across three states supported by their two Arizona roasteries in Tempe and Tucson. “From day one, it’s been about neighborhood cafe culture first and foremost,” said Amy. “We can’t wait to make new friends in North Phoenix!”

It isn’t just the Silberschlags who are excited.

“I’m personally thrilled that they’ll be just across the street from me,” says Woo Jonathon, general manager of neighboring restaurant The Covenant. “I’m always up for more local business in Paradise Valley.”

The name Cartel Coffee Lab was inspired by oil cartels; instead of stifling competition, Cartel has an ambitious goal to band together like-minded coffee producers and professionals to drive customer appreciation for hard work and quality. To date, Cartel partners with 110 rotating coffee farms spread across the globe who are guaranteed to be paid 30 percent to 150 percent above their costs, far above pricing set by Fair Trade.

Through the years, Cartel has received recognition from the likes of Alton Brown, Vogue and Food & Wine as a gold standard in specialty coffee craft and service. The secret is in their 90 percent retail focus, which has allowed them to prioritize the experience of the end user in all their decisions.

For additional information, visit www.cartelcoffeelab.com or find Cartel Coffee Lab on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Photos courtesy of Cartel Coffee Lab
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