Best of Phoenix®

Best Of 2006

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Best Of :: People & Places

BEST APPLETINI

The appletini is the quintessential frou-frou cocktail. Flirty. Tasteful. Fun. Grilled Expedition at Desert Ridge Marketplace offers an appletini that's shaken, not stirred, and garnished with a Granny Smith apple slice. Its house special martini isn't exactly a trade secret just vodka with a splash of sour apple liquor but the restaurant's bartenders manage to get just the perfect combination of sweet and tart. This is an apple that will definitely sink its teeth into you.

BEST GARDEN BAR
House of Tricks

The Tricks' garden has Eden beat, no contest. Built around two old houses in downtown Tempe well off the beaten beer-spilled path of Mill Avenue the trellised, bricked, vine-covered spot is the perfect place to sit at the bar or relax at a table, with a good glass of wine. And one more thing we can guarantee: No one in Eden knew how to cook the way the Tricks do with menu temptations like marinated quail with a coffee honey vinaigrette or pistachio-crusted rack of lamb. Paradise.

114 E. 7th St., Tempe, 85281
MAP
480-968-1114
BEST PLACE TO GET NAKED
El Dorado Hot Springs

According to the Bible, our ancient ancestors Adam and Eve grew ashamed at their nudity in the Garden of Eden after sampling forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge, and thusly, mankind was forever cursed with a sense of body modesty. Well, you can finally feel good about dropping trou outside the confines of your residence (without getting thrown in the cooler) inside the confines of El Dorado Hot Springs. This picturesque mineral-water spa located 45 miles west of the Valley is a clothing-optional compound with a bounty of bathing pools and tubs filled with natural H2O pumped straight from a subterranean spring. Five private areas located inside fenced areas and historic buildings including a small post office where old-school civil servants soaked their letter-carrying carcasses back in the day allow you to take a dip away from the prying eyes of the public for only $10 an hour per person. If you're feeling a bit more exhibitionistic, there's also a semi-private pool for $7.50 an hour per person. Cell phones and cameras are forbidden, however, so you needn't worry about any saucy pics of your skinny-dipping adventures getting posted on the Internet.

41225 W. Indian School Rd., Tonopah, 85354
MAP
623-386-5412
BEST GARDEN OF EDEN IN THE DESERT
The Wright House

Phoenix summers are hell. By August, the only flowers left alive in this town are on night-blooming cactuses. Wright House proprietors Peggy and Michael Wright must have made a pact with Satan's gardener, because somehow their lush landscaping manages to stay green and flowering nearly all year. The property houses three buildings a historic cottage house, an English ballroom and a recently added French villa that can be rented for weddings, special occasions and private parties. Wrought-iron fences and delicate gazebos are covered with ivy and fragrant jasmine. Stone walkways snake through country gardens planted with roses and perennials bursting in vibrant shades of fuchsia, pink and saffron. The best part? There's not one goddamned cactus on the lot.

636 W. University Dr., Mesa, 85201
MAP
480-833-0902
BEST PLACE TO PISS OFF GOD
Apollo's Greek God Revue on Sundays

For those of you who specialize in committing the most profane acts of immorality, now you can royally piss off God in a variety of ways at Apollo's Greek God Revue. As if the infamously sassy GLBT clientele that frequents Apollo's wasn't enough to get on the Lord's bad side, now guests can further annoy the Most High with the overt idolatry of Dionysian-loving tranny sing-alongs, the likes of which some fundamentalists might say could invoke the wrath of God with more urgency than the folks in those little towns called Sodom and Gomorrah. To add injury, the party happens every Sunday night, a day typically reserved by the rightest of the right for spiritual fasting and meditation. Perhaps the guys at Apollo's view their wacky Sunday night Greek drag extravaganzas as worshipful in their own way. Since the Lord hasn't struck them down yet, be sure not to miss a week; that would really light up this already fabulous party!

5749 N. 7th St., Phoenix, 85014
MAP
602-277-9373
BEST WAY TO TURN YOUR BLACK THUMB GREEN
Garden Territory at The Farm

So your last houseplant turned black, you think putting leftover meat loaf in your orchid's pot means you've fed it, and you've now proven (multiple times) that you can, in fact, kill a cactus. No worries. The folks at Garden Territory have heard it all before. The shop offers gardening classes for all skill levels, from novice to seasoned grower. Learn how to plant an herb garden, grow tomatoes, or design and execute a backyard flower bed. Most of the instructors are self-proclaimed "Barn Goddesses" ex-hippies who now hover somewhere between corporate clone and tree-hugger. These ladies are so relaxed from morning yoga and afternoon aromatherapy that you could accidentally kill their whole demonstration garden and they'd just give you a hug.

6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix, 85042
MAP
602-276-6360
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BEST APPLETINI: Grilled Expedition at Desert Ridge Marketplace

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