BALLE 2015 Injects New Energy Into Localist Movement

– By Kathryn M. Miller

An enthusiastic crowd officially kicked off the BALLE 2015 Conference the evening of June 10 at the majestic Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix, led by the Valley’s own localist rock star, Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona (

Although the conference was well underway with local tours and an opening Vision Session, the Phoenix Sparks event at the Orpheum truly set the stage for the remainder of this week’s activities.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed conference goers from Arizona and around the country saying, “What Local First Arizona does for Phoenix makes it a stronger city, what you do in your respective cities as passionate localists makes your community stronger and therefore, we are a stronger country because of the work that you do.”

The mayor continued, “Our economy is stronger when we are supporting the health and prosperity and happiness of our local businesses, community leaders and our local organizations.”

And the line-up of Phoenix Sparks speakers went on to underline the mayor’s point.

Speakers included Angela Hughey, ONE Community; Kade Twist, Postcommodity; Oye Waddell, Hustle PHX; Joe Larios, Center for Neighborhood Leadership; Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Cafe; Miguel Jardine, The Local Soil Company; Ann Morton, Artist/Social Practitioner; Joe Johnston, Agritopia; Heidi Jannenga, Web PT; Maynard James Keenan, Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards. Each provided inspiration and the story of their own localist path and shared how their respective businesses and organizations are making an impact within local communities.

BALLE events picked up again this morning and continue into the afternoon with Conference Tracks on a variety of topics ranging from Community Capital and Local First to Soil & Nature and more, followed by and evening Party in the Park at Civic Space Park and after-hours at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour – with more of the same tomorrow. The week of events wraps on Saturday with the final two tours of the 2015 BALLE Conference: Arcosanti Tour and Revitalizing Mainstreet in Rural Arizona Tour.

BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) was founded in 2001 to nurture and curate the emergence of a new economy – one that will support the health, prosperity and happiness for all people and regenerate the vital ecosystems upon which our economy depends. Learn more at

Kitchen Insider: Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Urbano

ChefSilvanaThis month, step into the kitchen of James Beard nominated chef, Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Café and Barrio Urbano. Her recipe for Chilaquiles is a classic morning dish to spice up any weekend.

An authority on bold, regional Mexican cooking, chef Silvana Salcido Esparza has earned a gilded reputation since first opening her original Barrio Café on 16th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix in 2002.

Known for her elevated cooking approach as much as her colorful bravado and fiery point-of-view, her latest vision, Barrio Urbano, is located inside The Yard Phoenix. Here, chef Esparza takes aim at a wider stage of her notable cooking style, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and of course, a serious cocktail program.

Barrio Urbano picks up where Esparza’s Barrio Café left off, pushing and blending the boundaries of what authentic Mexican cooking can be, with personality. From house-made everything, to incorporating exotic varieties of imported Mexican chile, Esparza continues to deliver bold flavors.

Born in Los Angeles, CA, Esparza grew up in nearby Merced, surrounded by the largest agricultural growing region in the world – the San Joaquin Valley. Raised in a family whose rich ancestral heritage dates back to medieval Spain where her family held court as the official pastry chefs for the country’s royal family, the Esparzas eventually emigrated to the New World, to Mexico, in the 1600s, and generations after, California. It was in the Los Angeles area that Esparza’s family legacy of cooking and pastry cemented again, becoming prominent local bakers.

Eventually finding her path to Arizona, Esparza herself took the family’s culinary baton, serving elevated Mexican cuisines with a flair all her own, now considered one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city.

Barrio Urbano is located at 5632 North 7th Street in Phoenix. For more information, call 602.287.9000 or visit

Servings for 2

Los TOTOPOS (tortillas)
6 ea      corn tortillas cut into 8 pieces per tortilla
vegetable oil

Pan fry tortilla chips until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to help absorb the excess oil. (Can substitute high quality store-bought tortilla chips if needed.)

La SALSA (sauce)
10 ea    tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
2 ea     jalapeños
1 ea     garlic clove
¼ ea     onion
salt to taste

You can cook your tomatillos and jalapeños by grilling them or placing them in a 400 degree oven until lightly charred. Remove stems and seeds from jalapeños (you can leave some seeds if you like your salsa spicy). Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Adjust salt to taste.

Los CHILAQUILES (assemble)

In a hot sauté pan, add a drizzle of oil and heat. Add los totopos and la salsa, continue to sauté until the totopos have absorbed the salsa, approximately 3 minutes.
Top with a fried egg (over easy is best!), garnish with sliced avocado and crema Mexicana.  (Can substitute sour cream if needed.)

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