Looking for a wild time? You'd be hard-pressed to find a more primal party on Friday, April 25, than ZooBrew at the Phoenix Zoo. Now in its third year, the celebration lets Phoenicians make a toast to the animal kingdom while enjoying the zoo's exotic environment (sure beats our usual routine of cracking open a Schlitz and watching Animal Planet). It's also a unique setting for a live rock show; darkly ethereal rock band Evanescence performs on the main stage. Each visitor receives 22 tickets to sample specialty beers and wines, as well as a sirloin dinner from Outback Steakhouse. Proceeds from ZooBrew benefit a much-needed housing upgrade for the three resident orangutans, and also the zoo's archive project. Advance tickets, $50, are recommended. Festivities run from 6 to 10 p.m. at the zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway. For details call 602-273-1341.- Michele Laudig
Vowel Movement: Documentary sheds light on Scrabble Tournament
It's a war of words, and the titans of the tiles are finally racking up some recognition. Scrabylon, a documentary about "the cutthroat world of tournament Scrabble," is set to roll at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt, on Thursday, April 24. Shot mainly during the 2001 World Championships in Las Vegas, Scrabylon profiles the game's A-list, which includes GI Joel Sherman, the world's sole Scrabble pro; Chris Cree, who racked up $256,000 gambling during a Vegas tournament; and John D. Williams Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association. Showtimes are 7 and 8:15 p.m.; tickets are $6 at the door. Call 602-462-5516. - Jill Koch
Tough shot, use the 5-iron, skillet
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From Travel + Leisure to the New York Times, we've noticed that the Valley restaurant scene is a trendy topic these days. Last year it was Bon Appétit magazine that embraced Arizona culinary talent, igniting national interest in local chefs with the Scottsdale Celebrity Chef Golf Invitational and Culinary Weekend.
The second annual event, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation, is hosted by Bobby Flay of New York's Mesa Grill. Other notable chefs tee off with Flay on Saturday, April 26, at Grayhawk Golf Club, where spectators can sample the chefs' exquisite dishes between holes. An afternoon Awards Luncheon and the evening's Grand Tasting feature specialties from some of Scottsdale's best restaurants. There's also a tasty menu of other weekend events.
Laura McMurchie of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau says it's "remarkable" how swiftly Scottsdale has become a gourmet destination. "There are so many great culinary cities out there, but we feel we're really at the level where we can compete with them." For details call 1-888-383-8472. - Michele Laudig