DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Devour Phoenix Launches eGift Card, Redeemable at Over 25 of the Valley’s Best Independent Restaurants
Devour Phoenix, a city-wide coalition of independent restaurants operating under the Local First Arizona (LFA) umbrella, has launched an eGift card that is redeemable at over 25 of its member restaurants. The Devour eGift card can be purchased online and can be printed, emailed as a gift, or redeemed from a mobile phone. The Devour eGift cards are available for purchase at $10, $25, $50, or $100 values.
“This is the first gift card of its kind in the Phoenix area,” said Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona. “There has never been an option to purchase a gift card that was redeemable at multiple independent restaurants. We are proud that these restaurants are collaborating together in this effort to highlight Phoenix’s amazing local dining scene.”
Participating restaurants accepting the Devour eGift card include Barrio Cafe, Beckett’s Table, Bliss/ReBAR, Cibo, Federal Pizza, FEZ, Gallo Blanco, The Gladly, green Vegetarian and Nami, Hula’s Modern Tiki, Joyride Taco House, Maizie’s Cafe & Bistro, Otro Cafe, The Parlor Pizzeria, Phoenix Public Market Cafe, Pizza People Pub, Postino, Shine Coffee, Short Leash Hot Dogs, Southern Rail, St. Francis, Switch, Tuck Shop, Urban Beans and Tertio Wine Bar, The Vig, Vovomeena, and Windsor/Churn.
“We are really excited to be part of this powerful group of restaurants that showcase the vibrant restaurant scene that Phoenix has to offer,” said Lauren Bailey, LFA board member and co-owner of Upward Projects, the restaurant group that manages Postino, Joyride Taco House, Federal Pizza, and Windsor/Churn. “The Devour eGift card allows the diner to experience a carefully curated list of Phoenix gems or give this amazing gift to someone else.”
The Valley’s independent restaurant scene has expanded over the past ten years, and has drastically improved in quality and diversity as well. This year, six Arizonans were named James Beard Award semi-finalists, one of the most prestigious recognitions in the dining industry. Semi-finalists included Silvana Salcido Esparza of Barrio Cafe, as well as Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s Restaurant, Charleen Badman of FnB Restaurant, Sam Fox of Fox Restaurant Concepts, Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft, and Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco. In addition to excellent food, Phoenix restaurants ensure their meals are paired with the right beverage. For example, Beckett’s Table has been recognized three years in a row with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for having an outstanding wine menu. Valley restaurants have also consistently made it on to national lists of best restaurants, including Yelp’s 2014 Top 100 Places to Eat in the US (Postino, Short Leash Hot Dogs), Esquire’s Best New Restaurants (Virtu Honest Craft, 2013; Barrio Queen, 2012), and many others.
“Devour Phoenix is a selection of some of the best restaurants that Phoenix has to offer. We believe the Devour eGift card will be a great opportunity to introduce Arizonans and visitors to Phoenix’s innovative and award-winning dining scene, said Lanning. “The Devour eGift card will also be a great alternative to big box gift cards for birthdays, special occasions, and holidays. By purchasing a Devour eGift card, the purchaser is choosing to keep his or her money in the local economy by supporting Phoenix’s independent restaurants. And that is a foodie’s best gift.”
Gift cards can be purchased at https://devourphoenix.instagift.com/.
Anyone who has survived a summer in Phoenix knows that the sun and excessive heat it brings can easily dissuade you from setting foot outside during daylight hours.
With that in mind, Roosevelt Row is flipping the script on the summer heat and encouraging its businesses and their patrons to become creatures of the night with its Vampire Hours promotion. Participating merchants are asked to keep their doors open from 4pm-9pm beginning June 5th and continuing through September 1st.
Their hope is that this will provide a more pleasant way for people to visit their favorite spots on Roosevelt Row throughout the hot summer months.
Businesses may offer special Vampire Hour-related discounts or promotions. The launch of these extended hours also coincides with Phoenix Comicon, taking place June 5th-8th. With thousands of people expected to attend the comic book and gaming convention in downtown, there may be additional discounts for attendees.
The much-anticipated opening of Changing Hands Bookstore’s new Phoenix location this evening — along with First Draft, a coffee, wine and beer bar — provides a perfect opportunity to kick off your summer reading, regardless of whether you prefer ink-and-paper, audio, or e-books. Dive into our series of suggestions with these books exploring the fascinating and frustrating push-and-pull energy of siblings.
“There may be no relationship…that’s closer, finer, harder, sweeter, happier, sadder, more filled with joy or fraught with woe, than the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters,” says Jeffrey Kluger, who wrote The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us.
This nonfiction work examines the genetic drive for competition between siblings, myths and truths about birth order, the dynamics of blended families, and “favorite child” guilt. “The longer life expectancies get,” says Kluger, “the more of us will arrive in an old age in which we’ve outlive a spouse and other loved ones, and our kids have scattered.” He continues, “Sibs are often the only ones left — and often the people who know you and love you the best.”
Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev use 16 pages of photos and plenty of personal narrative for In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe — A Dwarf Family’s Survival of the Holocaust.
In the perilous years of World War II, an extended family of seven Jewish dwarf adults and many of their normal-sized siblings, spouses, cousins, and friends managed to survive Auschwitz thanks to the fascination they held for Dr. Josef Mengele, who conducted endless painful research.
Another true tale of determination comes from Kabul, Afghanistan, where Kamila Sidiqi protected and provided for her siblings by establishing a dressmaking business under the repressive Taliban regime. The Dressmaker of Khair Kahan by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon describes Sidiqi’s courage and ingenuity as she faced gender oppression along with practical challenges including a lack of electricity and possible punishment for her efforts.
True Sisters is based on the very real 1856 disaster of the doomed Martin Handcart Company, which sent Mormon converts on a journey of 1,300 miles by foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City. Sandra Dallas used journals and historical accounts to describe strong women in catastrophic adversity — more than a quarter of the 575 members of the expedition froze or starved to death, but Dallas’s characters, including several families, tackle trials of faith and great hardship bolstered by friendship.
See the American West from a completely different — and violently skewed — angle in Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, a gritty novel about professional killers Eli and Charlie Sisters. Beavers, bears, horses, alcohol, gold, guns, and grievous injuries play a part in the brothers’ gritty quest, woven with stylized, deliberately choreographed sentences reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit.
Kevin Wilson’s first novel The Family Fang enters the quirky, surreal world of parents Camille and Caleb Fang, performance artists who are perfectly comfortable using their children as props in their pieces of public drama. Daughter Annie (“Child A”) and son Buster (“Child B”) return home after personal and professional humiliations, only to discover their crucial roles in the Family Fang’s loftiest work of art. Wilson has a gift for addictively dry humor and refreshing prose, and it’s rumored that Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman are slated to star in a film adaptation.
Another debut comes from Eleanor Brown, who successfully gambles with an unusual first-person plural narrative in The Weird Sisters. The title and its eponymous sisters are all named for Shakespearean characters, and the setting is a deeply academic family in which everyone is always reading. Rose, Bean, and Cordy take risks to step beyond birth-order expectations in a story rich with memorable descriptions and turns of phrase.
“I have never looked into my sister’s eyes,” writes Lori Lansens in the voice of her character Rose, who takes turns narrating The Girls with her conjoined twin Ruby.
“Raise your right hand,” Rose continues. “Press the base of your palm to the lobe of your right ear. Cover your ear and fan out your fingers — that’s where my sister and I are affixed, our faces not quite side by side, our skulls fused together…I have carried my sister like an infant since I was a baby myself, Ruby’s tiny thighs astride my hip, my arm supporting her posterior, her arm forever around my neck.” While the 29-year-old sisters may be forced to share nearly everything physically, they still maintain secrets and an emotional distance in unusual ways.
Lionel Shriver’s novel Big Brother delves into interdependence of a different stripe when Pandora attempts to rescue her enormous brother from his life-threatening obesity by becoming his full-time live-in weight-loss coach, jeopardizing her own marriage to a fitness freak in the process.
For a warm-weather romantic respite, visit the cool Pacific Northwest setting of the Friday Harbor series by Lisa Kleypas, whose beautifully edited and consistently strong, smooth writing lends extra dimension and appeal to her contemporary and historical novels. The first three books of the series — Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, Rainshadow Road, and Dream Lake — introduce the three Nolan brothers and their sister Victoria, exploring complex sibling relationships and hints of supernatural influence.
Share your own sibling-related book suggestions in the comments, and watch for our next list of summer reading ideas.
Librarian Teresa Becker contributed to this article.
- Changing Hands carries new and used books, and friendly staff members can help you with special orders
- 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85013 — 602-274-0067
- 6428 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe, 85283 — 480-730-0205
- Find a dazzling array of books in the Phoenix Public Library and Maricopa County Library systems
- Visit the Maricopa County Reads Summer Reading Program website and register yourself — or your whole family — to read your way to a free book
- Brown, Eleanor. The Weird Sisters (2011)
- Dallas, Sandra. True Sisters (2012)
- deWitt, Patrick. The Sisters Brothers (2011)
- Kluger, Jeffrey. The Sibling Effect: what the bonds among brothers and sisters reveal about us (2011)
- Koren, Yehuda & Eilat Negev. In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The remarkable story of the Lilliput Troupe: A dwarf family’s survival of the Holocaust (2005)
- Shriver, Lionel. Big Brother (2013)
- Lansens, Lori. The Girls (2007)
- Tzemach Lemmon, Gayle. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: five sisters, one remarkable family, and the woman who risked everything to keep them safe (2011)
- Wilson, Kevin. The Family Fang (2011)
Coming up: Delicious tales, scientific curiosities, and stories of love gone wrong
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Celebrate Mother’s Day/Week at the Phoenix Public Market
If you are a mom, have a mom, know a mom, or want to be a mom, join us at the Phoenix Public Market for a celebration of “All Things Mom” the week of Mother’s Day, May 5-11, 2014!
May 7: “Moms In The City” at the Wednesday Night Open Air Market
Gather your girlfriends to sip wine and shop local at the Open Air Market on Wednesday, May 7, 5-8 pm! Featuring local food and wine, a cooking class with Chef Aaron Chamberlin, jewelry, arts, and craft vendors, live music, and manicures and pedicures from Spa Fly.
May 9: Food Truck Friday
During our weekly Food Truck Friday event, 11 am to 1:30 pm, vendors will offer special treats and discounts to celebrate Mother’s Day.
May 10: Mamapalooza at the Saturday Open Air Market
Join us for a day of family-oriented fun at the Open Air Market on Saturday, May 10, 8 am to 1 pm! Featuring mimosas and bloody marys from the Café, Make-a-Bouquet for mom with local flowers from Maya’s Farm, live music, and kids activites. 90+ local vendors including farmers, ranchers, locally prepared food, arts, and crafts. We’ll have special vendors for this market who offer items that make great gifts including skin care products, jewelry, and more.
The Phoenix Public Market Cafe will have food and cocktail specials all week long. Also, on Sunday, May 11, 8-10 am, visit the Cafe to learn and taste variations in coffee brewing techniques. Cartel Coffee will be demonstrating full immersion brewing methods versus filter drip brew methods, while you taste the difference.
As an independent chronicler of all things downtown, DPJ takes a comprehensive approach to covering the urban living movement in Phoenix and, with this Conversation series, spotlighting the people who make it move.
“We should always assume that things can be better.”
Cindy Dach wears half a dozen hats at least and has been a key player in the revitalization of the Roosevelt Row area. She is a board member of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.; co-owner and general manager of Changing Hands Bookstore, which is about to open a Phoenix location in Uptown (Camelback Road and 3rd Avenue); owner of Made Art Boutique on Roosevelt and 5th Ave.; co-founder of Eye Lounge, a contemporary artists run collective on Roosevelt Street; co-founder of Arizona Chain Reaction (now Local First Arizona); co-founder and board member of the Roosevelt Row CDC; and one of the driving forces behind the annual Pie Social, the RoRo Chili Festival, and the Feast on the Street, just to name a few.
She and her partner, Greg Esser, moved to Phoenix from Denver in the mid-nineties and immediately set about seeking community. Even finding brunch back in those days was a challenge. “We always ended up at IHop, because there weren’t any other choices,” said Dach. They began taking steps to build the community they craved by creating Eye Lounge, which was originally an artist collective exhibiting at various locations.
After a while, they discovered inexpensive property in a blighted area along Roosevelt Street, and in 2001 they bought a building, rolled up their sleeves and create a permanent gallery for Eye Lounge. In reflecting on that time, Dach said, “Wayne Rainey and Kimber Lanning had begun doing things on Roosevelt then as well. We didn’t originally know each other, but we were all focused on creating a place for the arts and artists, and so we found each other.”
The impact of creating a community for artists and the arts on Roosevelt has been exponential. First Fridays went from a few hundred urban pioneers willing to seek out galleries on Jackson Street, Roosevelt Street and Grand Avenue, and exploded during those early years. Thousands of people now flock to Roosevelt and the area supports several galleries, retail stores, coffee houses, and restaurants.
“We didn’t originally know each another, but we were all focused on creating a place for the arts and artists, and so we found each other.“
Along the way, Dach and her cohorts established the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization to further the unique cultural character and creative assets of the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Fellow Roosevelt Row and Evans Churchill District neighbors worked together to create innovative grassroots community building events, such as the annual Pie Social, and the Chili Festival.
In addition to infusing the area with the arts, Dach and others recognized the negative impact of the empty lots and created A.R.T.S. (Activated Reuse of Temporary Spaces) initiatives to focus on activating these dead spaces. To date these programs have included the creation of a temporary A.R.T.S. Market on First Fridays, the development of the innovative Valley of the Sunflowers project, and support of The Lot: What Should Go Here? Pop Up Park at 2nd Street and Roosevelt.
Dach believes that the development of the ASU Downtown campus and the coming of light rail have been key to the rebirth of the area. “It started with the nursing school. Suddenly you noticed lots of young women with ponytails out and about,” says Dach, laughing. “But as more and more of the schools moved downtown they brought a whole range of young people into the neighborhood,” she continues. “And they are looking for things to do and places to hang out.”
Dach believes that Downtown Phoenix, Inc. can make Phoenix more competitive. “The ratings system for development is good and DPI can help us grow the city in a smarter way.” Her advice for the organization? “DPI needs to allow for diversity in the widest possible sense to participate in change-making.” As she puts it, “We should always assume that things can be better.”
Cindy Dach, along with fellow DPI board members, Kimber Lanning, and Tim Eigo represent a powerful, grassroots movement that has brought a whole new kind of energy and promise to downtown. Their place at the table speaks to the impact they’ve had in creating the community they were seeking all those years ago.
In addition to her commitment to Roosevelt Row, Cindy is a staunch supporter of bringing a great bookstore to central Phoenix. It took eight years for Tempe-based Changing Hands to find the right location and circumstances to open a Phoenix store. Dach is confident that Phoenix can support the venture. “Phoenix is ready for a bookstore, but I think we have some bad habits to break.” She explains, “It’s very obvious and for good reason the Phoenix community has been buying their books online. I hope they don’t experience sticker shock and that they realize that it’s not just the book they are buying at full retail value, they’re buying the experience, they’re buying the store, they’re buying the bookseller who’s going to recommend the book.”
“But as more and more of the schools moved downtown they brought a whole range of young people into the neighborhood. And they are looking for things to do and places to hang out.”
Ultimately, Dach believes that Phoenix is not only ready, but deserves a great bookstore. “Phoenix deserves another great community gathering place; we have some great gathering places, but we’re ready for another model and I think the bookstore could be it.”
When did Dach realize that Phoenix was her place? She says it wasn’t one moment, but a series of little moments. “I remember working on Eye Lounge and going to Portland’s covered in dust and having conversations with people about what downtown needs. I began to feel like maybe I do have a place here. It really was like ‘if you build it they will come.’ I began to feel that I did have a purpose, to be involved, and that it’s fun to be involved.”
Dach believes that one of the most amazing things about Phoenix is the people. You say ‘hey, I have shovels and we need to clear this lot’ and, lo and behold, they show up. Phoenix just wants to know how to help.”
When asked about the possibility of an Enhanceed Municipal Services District for the Roosevelt area, Dach said, “In my head it can be great to see a community being able to take care of itself, because these services just don’t exist now. You can whine and complain and ask for them, but they’re not coming and at the end of the day it’s going to come down to the community having dialogue. What I love about the process we’re about to enter, it’s going to be the best way to engage everyone.”