Best Of :: People & Places
Those of you in the East Valley have surely grown accustomed to the political campaign billboards of Mormon men. Often, it appears to be an arms race to see which candidate can get more children dressed in white on the billboard. In most cases, the children were sired by the candidate. That's because believers equate procreative prowess with leadership skill. Being pictured with children is intended to imply that the candidate loves children. And usually, in Arizona, it is precisely these candidates who most want to gut education. See more children? Then fear for the children. But one East Valley politician has gone a different direction with the ol' exploit-the-children-for-political-gain game. State Senator John Huppenthal poses with his children on his campaign signs, but he is not Mormon. You can tell. He has only two children. But wow, what a pair! Huppenthal's two daughters are now all grown up (well, they look it. We're not checking IDs here). They have the seductive dark eyes of their mother's Persian heritage. Harem eyes. Long, flowing, raven-black hair, heaving oh, stop it. At first, one imagines Huppenthal is catering to the Mormon crowd, this time by making it look like he has three wives. But no, this is a much simpler sales tactic. Babes sell chicken wings. Why the hell can't they sell right-wings? When most fathers have daughters this attractive, they lock them up in the tower to protect them from leering eyes. Huppenthal, on the other hand, plasters their picture all over the tower. And for the record, we are completely super-duper all for it. Now if we could just get Donna Wallace to adopt some hotties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!