Sweet treats & wine at the Chocolate and Wine Experience on Jan. 27th.

Nothing says decadence and delight on a Friday night than chocolate and wine do and if both tickle your fancy the way it does mine then circle Friday January 27th on your calendar and get your tickets for the Chocolate and Wine Experience at The Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale.

This tasty event is hosted by The Scottsdale League of the Art as it kicks off its 2017 fund-raising season by bringing together chocolate from local chocolate makers, gourmet cuisine and local wines and craft beers. Highlights of the evening include a s’mores station,  a chocolate 101 teaching, chocolate martinis and a spiked hot chocolate bar.

Guests attending the Chocolate and wine Experience will taste samples of chocolate from Zak’s Chocolate, Nutwhats, XO confections and more. Food, wine and beer will be provided by EVO, Aioli’s Gourmet Burgers, Yancy Fancy Cheeses, Grand Canyon Brewing Company, Aridus Wine Company and others.

The Walken’s will be performing a wide range of classic cover tunes as guests meander through the night enjoying the festive atmosphere.

The money raised helps the non-profit Scottsdale League of the Arts support and promote the arts and arts education throughout the Phoenix area with several popular fundraisers a year including the Scottsdale Culinary Festival and The Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner.

Pre-sale tickets are on sale for $60 and early admission for $75 with entry an hour earlier & a champagne welcome. Tickets at the door will be $70. All guest will enjoy un-limited tastes of food, 12 drink sample tickets and access to all activities. The doors open at 7pm for early guests and 8pm for general admission.

The Saguaro Scottsdale, 4000 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 and tickets can be purchased at http://www.scottsdalefest.org/

Liberty Station opening in February by owners of Market Street Kitchen

Options are good and the residents of north Scottsdale will have another dining option when Liberty Station opens in February. The new restaurant will be where Scottsdale Rd. meets Carefree Highway and is from Keeler Hospitality Group, owners of Market Street Kitchen in DC Ranch.

The menu will be focused on American comfort food with a regional twist including specialties from Boston where the Keeler family is from. Lunch and dinner will be served with Executive Chef Michael Hunn and Chef de Cuisine Dan Watts running the kitchen where they will source local ingredients for much of the menu.

Creekstone Farms will be supplying the meats with much of it being smoked in-house in a custom smoker and will include Texas brisket, Carolina pork shoulder and my favorite, St. Louis spare ribs.

The bar will include classic cocktails, local craft beers and a variety of wines.

“Liberty Station is truly the definition of ‘neighborfood.’ You will enjoy a scratch-made meal that is relatable and incredibly tasty, while greeting friends and neighbors in our very comfortable dining room. We’ll have community tables, a very large bar and two patios. We want our neighbors to become friends at Liberty Station,” said Paul Keeler, President of Keeler Hospitality Group.

Liberty Station will be a place for all to enjoy as their will be vegan and vegetarian options including Vegan gnocchi and a Portobello sandwich on Udi’s bread and over a dozen Gluten-free options. A few of the menu highlights will be….

  • Tavern Mac & Cheese with cheddar cream, bacon breadcrumbs and Pasilla chiles, $10 (shared appetizer).
  • Piggy Wings, grilled pork shank with sticky BBQ sauce, $9 (shared appetizer).
  • Liberty Chopped Salad, with white balsamic dressing, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and pepitas, $8
  • Boston Lobster Roll with lemon aioli and celery on a brioche roll, $18 (lunch menu).
  • All American Chicago Hot Dog with mustard, tomato, onion, house relish and sport peppers, $8 (lunch menu).
  • Chopped Brisket Grilled Cheese with smoky cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese and a grilled tomato, $12 (lunch menu).
  • New England Clam Boil with Littleneck clams, rock shrimp, new potatoes, corn and hot link sausage, $24 (dinner menu).
  • Kobe Meatloaf with shoestring onions, ketchup vinegar glaze and mashed potatoes, $17 (dinner menu).

Once opened Liberty Station will be serving lunch daily at 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Dinner service begins at 5:00 p.m. nightly. Happy Hour is offered at the bar Monday – Sunday from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Brunch will be served Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

 

Del Taco adds turkey meat to the menu for healthy eating options.

Have you already given up on that New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and lose those pounds you put on since Thanksgiving. Well you’re not alone as 80% of people with New Year’s resolutions will give up by February. Del Taco, the nations 2nd leading Mexican quick service restaurant, has added seasoned turkey meat to their menu and can be substituted for the seasoned ground beef to keep you on the healthy eating track all year-long.

The Del Taco w/ turkey courtesy of Del Taco

The seasoned turkey meat has 40% less fat than the traditionally served seasoned beef and can be enjoyed with The Del Taco, one of the best-selling menu items at no extra cost for $1.39.

Other menu items that would be great for turkey substitution are the Signature Taco Salad and Del Taco’s 3 Handcrafted Ensaladas that all have less than 600 calories with dressing and are prepared to order.

“We’re committed to giving our guests the greatest value and variety in the industry, and that means creating options for Del Taco fans who are resolving to eat better in 2017,” said Noah Chillingworth, Del Taco’s Vice President of Marketing. “By substituting our seasoned turkey in any menu item that traditionally comes with seasoned beef, our guests can still satisfy their Mexican food cravings while cutting out nearly half the fat.”

Other low-calorie options on the Del Taco menu include Fresca Bowls packed with fresh ingredients without the tortilla and Street Tacos with 170-180 calories each are topped with roasted chile salsa, diced onions, fresh cilantro and hand sliced avocados wrapped in warm corn tortillas.

For a limited time guests can “Buy 1 Turkey Taco, Get 1 Free” when the join the Raving Fan EClub at https://deltaco.com/turkey

Chillingworth continued, “Our menu truly has something for everyone, from value and convenience seekers to those with hearty appetites or in search of better-for-you options, Del Taco caters to a diverse audience with even broader tastes.”

 

 

The new year means new menu items at Burger Theory

As the new years rolls in Phoenix’s Burger Theory rolls out new menu items for those who will quickly forget their new year’s resolutions. Burger Theory already puts unique twists on the classic burger and with these additions they will be spicing it up with the Ultimate Sriracha burger and the On the Border burger. A Breakfast burger has also been added for those who like breakfast all day.

All the burgers on the menu use Angus chuck, brisket and short rib beef  for their single and double patty burgers.

New non-burger menu items include Crispy Fish Sandwich, Sriracha Steak Salad and Nacho Fries and the sweet signature dessert Apple Crumb Mason Jar. Over 30 local craft beers are poured to wash down your burger, salad or sandwich.

Below is a list of all the new menu items at Burger Theory.

Nacho Fries – Creamy nacho cheese, bacon, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and served with ground beef or chicken. 9

Sriracha Steak Salad – Mixed greens, tomato, red onions, cucumber, bleu cheese and Sriracha ranch dressing.  13

On the Border – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo, grilled onions, guacamole, lettuce and KGB sauce. 11

Ultimate Sriracha – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, bacon, grilled onions, tomato, Sriracha mayo. 12

Breakfast Burger – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted cheddar cheese, bacon, fried egg, roasted garlic mayo and KGB sauce. 11

Crispy Fish Sandwich – Parmesan panko crusted cod filet, tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and a toasted potato bun. 11

Spicy Chicken Wrap – Crispy chicken tenders, buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato, bleu cheese dressing wrapped in a flour tortilla. 12

Oven Roasted Chicken – Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and grilled vegetables. 18

Sriracha Ribeye – Ribeye house marinated in a Sriracha glaze, smashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. 24

Apple Crumb Mason Jar – House made apple pie filling is layered with cinnamon apple pie crumble, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. 5

Burger Theory is at 4401 E. McDowell Rd. Phoenix 85008. Next to the Holiday Inn. http://burgertheoryphx.com/

 

Pillsbury Wine Co. pairs wine with food at House of Tricks for exclusive dinner.

Sam Pillsbury owner & winemaker of Pillsbury Wine Co. will be pouring his wines alongside the flavorful foods prepared by the House of Tricks kitchen on Thurs. Jan. 12th 2017.

The evening will include a four course dinner along with wines direct from the winery in Cochise County where Sam grows and produces his award winning wines.

Photo courtesy of House of Tricks

As you sip your wine & savor the flavorful foods Sam will be talking about his wines, the Arizona wine industry and why the wine & food for the dinner were paired with each other.

The setting for the dinner is the highly acclaimed House of Tricks in downtown Tempe that is know for it’s seasonal menu of local ingredients, creative wine list and intimate dining patio dining.

The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s hosts Meyer Family Cellars wine dinner

Wake up folks & shake off that holiday hangover, things are about to rock n roll on metro Phoenix’s restaurant, wine, beer & cocktail scene in 2017. One of the 1st events is the Meyers Family Cellars Wine Dinner at The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s on Wed. January 11th.

Photo courtesy of Meyer Family Cellars 

Wine and food pairings

The 5 course family style dinner will pair white & red wines from Meyer Family Cellars with a delicious sounding menu from Jennifer’s loaded with vegetables, meats and seafood from locally sourced purveyors. Here is a peek at the menu.

Meyer Family Chardonnay- Escarole + pear + Marcona almonds + parmesan + creamy Sumac dressing

Crab Gnocchi-House made dumplings + lump crab + ricotta + roasted tomatoes + creme + basil + wilted greens + ricotta salata

Meyer Family Syrah-Crispy pork belly + spiced plum sauce + grilled plums + lemon + chive. Organic Polenta + Hayden Flour Mills Organic Yellow Polenta + grilled corn

 Meyer Family “Fluffy Billows”- Miso marinated + red wine braised short ribs + roasted baby tri-colored carrots + cipollini onions + broccolini + crispy shallots

Meyer Family “Spitfire”- Sharp cheddar + pistachio + honey. Danish blue + pear + mache. Comte + dried fruit + caramelized pecans

Meyer Family Cellars

Like many small wineries it’s a family affair started at a young age, which is how Matt Meyer caught the wine bug. Hanging around his families winery & vineyard at Silver Oak down in Napa Valley, Matt realized he would carry on the family love for northern California and wine making.

Matt and his wife Karen share wine making responsibilities at the Mendocino county winery. Karen got hooked on wine after working a harvest in Margret River near her childhood home of Perth, Australia. The couple met in 1999 when both were working crush at Argyle Winery in Oregon.

Matt’s mom Bonny runs the business side of the winery much like she did in the Silver Oak days. She is Bonny from the famed “Bonny’s Vineyard” bottling from Silver Oak.

Reserve your seat

This dinner starts at 6:30 and costs $70 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 602-579-5327. The Market is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. Suite A. Phoenix 85018. http://themarketphx.com/

 

Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not of fan of “year in review’s” (do we really to review of 2016 again) and “best of” lists but thinking how to end the year with a post I find it would be valuable to review some of my journey of 2016 and give myself a clearer path for 2017’s journey.

The year that was 2016

The year of 2016 was a year of transition taking on new challenges in my real estate career but you don’t want to hear about that do you (if you do check my real estate blog http://www.SandySellsRealEsateAZ.com) . Leisure wise my blog and influence has found structure with regular posts on restaurants events and news, wine, beer and more for Phoenix, Arizona and beyond. My burger reviews came to a screeching stop with the Examiner as they shuttered in early July. As you can imagine my burger consumption feels as if it’s slowed and I will make up for that in 2017 I’m sure. 2016 was pretty much a fun year personally and an interesting year to be on planet earth.

2016 was the 1st year in  long while in which I did not set foot on an airplane as the only travel was out-of-state heading to Laguna Beach for a weekend in February to play poker at uncle Bob’s house. In 2017 I will definitely return to the friendly skies for travel with travel planned for Florida and beyond as the year goes on.

Visits to restaurants and meals with friends this year included returning to favorites of the past such as Zuzu, Zinburger, Caffe Boa, RnR among many more and made 1st visits and bites from restaurants such as Drexyl, Char Kitchen + Bar, Ahi Poke, Worth Takeaway along with a long list of others.

Despite the running around I missed out on one of my favorites sandwiches all year…The Il Purista at Defalco’s Italian Deli in Scottsdale. A monthly visit for me, this pile of prosciutto and hand pulled mozz is a reward I will grant myself in the 1st couple of days of 2017. Other foods I’ve denied myself(not many) will find a home in my belly again in 2017.

Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not much of a goal setter or resolution maker at year’s end but I want to experience more experiences in 2017. Simple and frivolous such as learning to like and enjoy Caesar salads or starting a new exercise regimen or months ahead a plan to do and see more via short and long-range travel in this my bounce back year. Listening to classical music is a genre I would like to enjoy more of and have already started as Kalinnikov’s “Symphony #2 In A  Major” is playing as I post these words for you. Soothing and sometimes mellow classical music can be relaxing during life’s hectic pace.

Continuing to break bread and raise a glass with my Friday lunch crew & with fellow bloggers, foodies and friends, new & old,  always remain high on my list.

For Pulling Corks and Forks I hope to resume and grow these words and forge new relationships & partnerships while continuing to share my experiences and provide insight & inspiration so every body can experience more experiences through senses of sight, taste, smell and hearing. Plans continue to grow my social media presence and share what I know will be high on my list.

To follow my 2017 journey of food, wine, friends and other worldly experiences please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter @SandyWasserman Instagram @SandyWass or Like on Facebook www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks

See you in 2017!