The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
A 6.5-pound behemoth of a burrito can really only have one name: the Big Papi. At Papi Chulo's Mexican Grill & Cantina these giants of gastronomy, which were recently featured in Phoenix Magazine, are waiting to be conquered by challengers willing to dethrone current champion Stephanie Torres, a competitive eater who has appeared in the Nathan's Famous Women's Hot Dog Eating World Championship. On the regular menu, Papi Chulo's executive chef combines Mexican tradition with Sonoran familiarity to craft authentic Southwestern dishes with a down-home feel. The staff serves regular lunch specials, Mexican favorites such as chiles rellenos, and breakfast specialties including huevos rancheros and chorizo and eggs.
Inside the spacious dining room, imported Mexican furniture sits below exposed wooden beams bearing wrought-iron chandeliers ideal for illuminating a special meal or supporting the weight of a masked Zorro impersonator. Attended by a sunny wait staff, the bar slings specialty margaritas and happy-hour specials every day that patrons can enjoy indoors or on the outdoor patio in full view of Camelback Mountain. Papi Chulo's also hosts regular events including poker nights on Mondays and live comedy every Friday and Saturday night.
Fran Mancuso got her first job in the restaurant industry when her family opened an italian-ice shop in 1969. The 14-year-old Fran did her schoolwork between tables, but those shifts led her to a lifelong career. As the dessert parlor became a gourmet Italian restaurant, which in turn became a franchise of restaurants in Arizona and California, Fran moved up the ranks to become the director of operations for Mancuso Restaurants Inc. Bobby's serves the Old-World Italian cuisine that the family has honed for decades in a modern lounge setting that can play host to a lively night out or a romantic meal.
From tables in the two-floor lounge, patrons dig into their Italian-style dinners of natural pork, milk-fed veal, cage-free chickens, and fresh seafood shipped in daily. Crab-stuffed mushrooms whet appetites for housemade gnocchi with veal meatballs and pistachio-crusted lamb chops. The carefully designed interior blends old Hollywood and Las Vegas–style glamour, bathed in red, orange, and blue lights. Guests walk up a curving staircase to enjoy the second-story area surrounded by gauzy curtains parted to grant clear views of a wall covered with portraits of famous musicians named Bob. Live music fills the air nightly with live jazz, R & B, and blues from musicians who genuinely have the blues.
Arrivederci co-founder Franco was born in Sorrento, a seaside village in Southern Italy where he began studying Italian food. Over the next 25 years, Franco honed his craft and began imagining a health-conscious style of Italian cuisine that focuses on fresh ingredients, no preservatives, and more veggies. After being named "Master of Italian Cuisine" by the Italian Council of Chefs, Franco met his current business partner, Max, and began putting his ideas into practice.
The walls of Arrivederci's dining room are covered with sketched murals and stenciled roman lettering, leading first-time visitors to wonder if the entire restaurant was crafted in an artist's studio. Earthen clay tiles guide the eye to a wooden bar with painted accents of wreaths, angels, and full wine glasses that tempt the hands of the gullible. White tablecloths boast thinly sliced salmon and beef carpaccios, twirled and rolled pasta dishes, and veal and chicken entrees in delicate wine sauces. After finishing off a wine bottle in the cozy sun porch, guests can get a closer look at the dining room's murals, which feature traditional Roman scenes of chiseled gladiators drinking tea and dishing the latest tunic trends.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.
Fresh, high-quality ingredients are the keys to Yogurtology's appeal, allowing guests to indulge in dessert while doing good for their bodies. In addition to diligently preparing fruit toppings daily, the staff members hand-cut each hunk of candy bar, creating delectably bite-size pieces that can be scattered over yogurt along with gummy candies, flakes of coconut, and more than 60 other garnishes, many of which are gluten-free and are carefully kept from commingling with the other ingredients. The resident "yogurtologists" also apply their attention to detail to the shop's atmosphere, replenishing and cleaning up the toppings bar throughout the day, helping to maintain a crisp, neat vibe.
Of course, toppings are only half the story. The stars at Yogurtology are the frozen yogurts, which range from classics to inventive flavors like pomegranate raspberry, Tart Nouveau, and award-winning Oatmeal Cookie. The self-serve machines offer up two no-sugar-added and two dairy-free options daily in order to accommodate dietary restrictions, and the shop shows respect to man's best friend by carrying cups of organic "doggie" yogurt.