Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.

 

Lunch with Russ Weis, President of Silverado Vineyards

I recently sat down for lunch at Hearth ’61 with the President of Silverado Vineyards, Russ Weis, when he was in Phoenix. We tasted 3 wines while Russ told us the Silverado story, about life in Napa Valley surviving recent wildfires and about the wines.

Russ was practically born into the wine business as the son of grape growers in Madera, California. Russ started his career in Napa Valley in 1987 at Christian Brothers Winery then went on to Robert Mondavi Winery in 1993. He joined Silverado Vineyards in 2004.

The Silverado Vineyards story

Silverado Vineyards was started in 1981 by Diane Disney and her husband, former football player and movie producer Ron Miller. The 6 historic vineyards owned by the winery date back to the 1800s and are located throughout Napa Valley. The winery is currently owned by Ron and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with plans to keep it in the family for several more generations.

The wines are made by winemaker Jon Emmerich and associate winemaker Elena Franceschi. All wines are “Grown, Produced and Bottled by” the winery, one of a few Napa Valley wineries that can say that. A small portion of grapes are sold to other wineries.

With over 300 acres of vineyards the wines express the differing terroirs, giving each wine its unique complexity and character. The winery and home vineyard are in the Stags Leap District along the Silverado Trail.

Tasting the wines

During our lunch we tasted the 2016 Carneros Chardonnay and proprietary Cabernet Sauvignons GEO and SOLO from the 2014 vintage.

The chardonnay comes from the Vineburg and Firetree vineyards in the cooler southern part of Napa Valley. The wine is aged in French oak barrels with some in new oak. The wine is clean and well-balanced with oak and acidity. Bright fruit that the Carneros region is known for makes this a great wine to drink by itself or paired with food. It made a nice complement to our shrimp cocktail. The chardonnay is the winery’s second largest produced wine, at just under 10,000 cases.

The GEO Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes grown on the Mt. George vineyard in Coombsville. The Millers bought the vineyard in 1987 and was the first vineyard planted to grapes in the Coombsville AVA. A splash of Petit Verdot is blended before the wine was aged for almost 2 years in mostly French oak. The wine was soft and enjoyable with good tannins giving you the typical Cabernet mouthfeel taste of blackberries and cocoa and drinks well. Only 2,200 cases are made.

The SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon was the last of the 3 wines we tasted. Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is named for the fact it’s made from a single clone. The Silverado- Disney Heritage clone was given “Heritage” status by UC Davis because the new clone was carefully observed and had adapted to the unique soil of the Stags Leap District. It’s one of only 3 Cabernets with this status and the only one from Stags Leap District.

The bold fruit comes from the Silverado Vineyard and offers currants, cassis and plum nuances. It’s aged in 100% French oak with 38% new oak. The wine pairs well with grilled red meats and roasts. 2,400 cases were produced.

Visiting the winery

Silverado Vineyards is open daily by appointment. The winery is at 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa CA. 94458. For reservations call 707-257-1770 or visit their website.

Sierra Bonita Grill goes back to its roots with new menus

Change is inevitable in restaurants, some changes follow food trends, decor, some are changes in a brand and customer service. Some changes come often with seasonal availability of ingredients. Some changes are years in the making  and that’s the case at Sierra Bonita Grill.

This is the restaurants first major menu change since 2011 and is about getting back to its roots and paying tribute to Sierra Bonita Ranch. The ranch down in Wilcox is Arizona’s oldest continuous family run ranch and where the restaurant got its name.

The popular central Phoenix restaurants menu is influenced by Southwestern and Mexican cuisine but owner Nate Hopper wanted more of a western influence.

Vegetable Noodles and Shrimp. All photos by Debbie Wolvos

“When I first learned about Sierra Bonita Ranch, I knew that I wanted Sierra Bonita Grill to honor our state’s ranching heritage. The updated menu now puts more emphasize on ‘out on the range’ cowboy-style cooking, while still integrating ingredients prominent in Mexican and Native American cuisine. We’re representing the old west, with a modern approach,” said Hopper.

“From the Ranch” at Sierra Bonita Grill

Longtime favorites Buttermilk Chicken, Grilled Fish & Carne Asada Tacos, Smoked Red or Green Chile Pork Roast and the SBG Signature Burger are staying along with others.

Guests will notice separate lunch and dinner menus with lighter options at lunch and heartier dishes at dinner. Included are more salads like the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with grilled shrimp ($16) and The Bacon Wedge Salad ($16).

Other lighter menu additions include Vegetable and Noodle Shrimp ($28) and Avocado Toast ($10).

Sierra Bonita
Bacon Wedge salad.

The biggest change on the dinner menu is the “From The Ranch” section featuring steaks, chops and chicken. A few include a 14 oz. NY Strip ($38), an 18 oz. split bone-in Ribeye ($42), a 10 oz. bone-in Pork Chop (24) and half roasted chicken ($27). Entrees come served with a choice of side dish and homemade sauce.

Side dishes include a baked potato, seasonal vegetables, green chile mac ‘n’ cheese or green chile scalloped potatoes. Choose a sauce from a selection of horseradish cream, roasted tomatillo, roasted guajillo chile au jus, and chimichurri.

Sierra Bonita Grill is at 6933 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, Ariz., 85014. 602-264-0700 To see their new menus check out their website.

 

The Phoenician Tavern to attract resort guests and locals when it opens

What was once Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician Resort transforms into The Phoenician Tavern this spring. The new restaurant and bar will offer guests a relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of the resorts golf course. When The Phoenician Tavern opens it will be part of  the final phase of the properties three-year multi-million dollar re-model.

The new restaurant and bar will be attractive to resort guests and locals with its comfortable and contemporary design.

“It’s a friendly, traditional, tavern-style ambiance, where you can catch the game or enjoy a beer with your neighbors, but it also happens to have some of the most stunning views around,” said The Phoenician’s Director of Food & Beverage Lisa Mercer.

The Phoenican Tavern
All photos courtesy of Awe Collective

The Phoenician Tavern menu

Chef de Cuisine Michael Press has created a menu of “pub grub” favorites with ingredients of the highest quality at the AAA Five Diamond resort. Gourmet burgers, fish & chips, appetizers and more will be available for lunch, happy hour and dinner.

12 regional craft beers will be on tap along with almost 50 canned and bottled beers. Signature cocktails including The Blueberry Manhattan, Blood Orange Martini and more will also be available.

Win Happy Hour for a year

Before the tavern opens 100 locals will be picked to win a custom key for happy hour pricing for a year. A Sunday Funday prize pack will also be up grabs. Included will be a round of golf for 2, happy and dinner and an overnight stay at the resort. To enter both giveaways and more information head to https://www.thephoeniciantavern.com/

The Phoenician Resort is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

 

 

Chef Sacha Levine brings her cooking and philosophy to Singh Meadows Cafe

You probably tasted dishes Sacha Levine has prepared at restaurants FnB, Rancho Pinot Grille and Ocotillo and never knew it. Sacha is one of the most respected chefs in the Phoenix restaurant community that many have never heard of, until recently.

Levine runs the kitchen at Singh Meadows Cafe in Tempe where her locally sourced dishes available Friday, Saturday & Sunday’s from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

“I have been a huge proponent of local, seasonal, and vegetable-driven food for the bulk of my career,” said Levine. “Preservation has always been a staple for me. We keep the larder stocked with pickles, sauces, and ferments that are sold in the market as well as used in the kitchen.”

Dishes from Sacha Levine

Working alongside Levine in the kitchen is Carlos Carbajal and Kevin Dragos helping to prepare breakfast and lunch. The menu offers a variety of delicious meal attractive to vegetarians, vegans and those looking for gluten-free options.

When I was there one Saturday morning recently it was hard for me pass up the Smoked Brisket Breakfast sandwich.

All dishes are under $12 and include Kimchi Fried Rice with pork belly, Indian Breakfast Tacos and Huevos Rancheros. Taste of the Meadows offers ricotta, honeycomb, fresh fruit, dates, pistachios and grilled Noble Bread.

On my next visit I’m going to have to try the Jerk Turkey Tacos.

“Cooking at Singh Meadows is a sort of coming home for me,” added Levine. “Working at the farm as a young cook helped to define me in the kitchen today. I am close to the source of what I get most excited about in the kitchen – beautiful, local produce.”

In addition to the fresh flavor of Levine’s menu, Singh Meadows offers fresh pressed and squeezed juices and a coffee bar. Fresh produce from Singh Farms is available as is locally sourced foods.

Singh Meadows is at 1490 E. Weber Dr. Tempe 85281. http://www.facebook.com/SinghMeadows

 

 

Starfire Grille introduces new chef and tee’s up a new menu

Scottsdale’s Starfire Grille has introduced new chef Robin Murphy along with a new menu. The restaurant is inside the clubhouse of the Starfire Golf Club in Scottsdale and is part of a $750,000 update at the course.

Chef Murphy bring her passion for food to Starfire and has cooked for Madonna, The Arizona Cardinals and other celebrities.

Starfire Grille
Starfire Grille Chef Robin Murphy

New additions at Starfire Grille

The biggest addition to the menu are wood fired pizzas cooked in the new wood fired pizza oven. Guests will be able to build their own pizza or order the Tomato & Basil, Meat Lover’s or Everything pizza. All pizzas are just $10- $13.

Because not everybody is a fan of pizza new sandwiches were added including The Italian Meatball and The Batman. Served on Naan bread The Batman is filled with bacon, arugula, mozzarella, tomato and avocado aioli.

The Batman. All photos courtesy of Rose+Moser+ Allyn Public Relations

“We are so excited to introduce these new menu items, and our new wood fired pizzas,” said Chef Robin Murphy. “At the Starfire Grille we are proud to support local farmers, producers and artisans and everything we serve is made fresh on site with the best ingredients available.”

The Starfire Grille offers Happy Hour and they’ve added clams and mussels to the menu. Sunday Brunch is served from 10 a.m – 1 p.m. and offering brunch favorites on a rotating menu.

Updated golf course

For the golfer’s there is an expanded 300 yard driving range and new course layouts with 5 tee boxes. The changes that are expected to speed up your game and will be attractive to all skill levels. Golfers will notice new landscaping on the 18 hole King Course and still offering a park like setting.

Starfire Golf Club is open daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily and is at 11500 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85260. For more information visit their website.

 

 

The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale now offers weekend brunch

In the heart of old town Scottsdale sits the colorful Saguaro Hotel and it’s signature restaurant La Senora. The trendy hotel started serving weekend brunch in January offering breakfast starting at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For those looking for a more lunch inspired brunch the All Day menu starts at 11 a.m.

The breakfast menu includes Chiliquiles Verdes, Avocado Toast, Banana Foster Buttermilk Pancakes and a Citrus Cured Steelhead Trout Bagel.

The All Day menu includes Chicken Tinga Quesadilla, Cactus Tacos and The Saguaro’s take on a Sonoran Hot Dog. Like the breakfast menu there’s more offered to choose from.

The Trout Bagel. All photos courtesy of Erin Weinstock at Sydell Creative

Executive chef Caesar Vasquez takes pride in the authenticity and house made ingredients in the traditional dishes served. From the house made chorizo and berry compote at breakfast or the corn tortillas for tacos all are made from scratch.

The Saguaro Scottsdale Brunch Specials

Two new specials are offered during weekend brunch, Gluten Free Churros($9) and Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight($12).

The Gluten Free Churros are made in-house and prepared when ordered. Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon they come served with Mexican caramel (Cajeta) and chocolate dipping sauces.

Watermelon
“Eating out with friends can be difficult when dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying your favorite foods,” said Maritza Portillo, Director of Food & Beverage Outlets. “Not at The Saguaro! Here, we created a dish that everyone

can share. Our churros are so good, we’re sure you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten-free!”
The Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight compliments your sweet, spicy or savory relaxing weekend brunch . The Saguaro Classic, Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Mimosa’s offer a refreshing start to the day. “Your drinks should be as beautiful as your surroundings. We took the colorful tones of The Saguaro and the unique flavors of the desert landscape to create a mimosa flight that is sure to impress,” said Portillo.
Hand-crafted cocktails are available by the glass or by the pitcher including The Saguaro Belle. Sweet and spicy it’s made with pineapple vodka, sparkling wine, honey, jalapeno and lime.
The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale is at 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information or to see the full menus visit their website.

 

 

Mixologist Kyla Dahl brings new cocktails to Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild restaurant takes the new year pretty seriously as they’ve introduced new cocktails and food. The new cocktails were crafted by new mixologist Kyla Dahl who comes to Taco Guild after spending the last few years crafting cocktails at Scottsdale’s Liberty Station Smokehouse. It was there she learned to make creative cocktails and make a name for herself in the Phoenix cocktail community.

Chamoyada. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie at Evolve Marketing

New cocktails

Dahl has shaken things up with 7 new cocktails that pair well with Taco Guild’s Mexican food. All the new cocktails are priced at $12 each. Most of the new drinks use tequila or mezcal with a few of the drinks listed below.

      Chamoyada – Chamuccos blanco tequila, hibiscus, orange, mangonada, Tajin.

      Don Juan – Mexican rum, pepitas, lime, lemon, Curacao, dark rum.

·         Ponche – apple-infused gin, mango, orange piloncillo.

Seasonal Mezcal Mule – Mezcal mixed with seasonal flavor, lime and ginger beer

Taco Guild’s new dishes

The new chef driven dishes are spread throughout the menu from appetizers, tacos and dessert. There are 10 new dishes available for lunch and dinner and include…..

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta – citrus chile shrimp, guacamole, tomato corn salsa on top of house-made bruschetta. $12

Fundido – Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese blend with Serrano pepper, caramelized onion, tequila and mushrooms. Guests can now choose to add-on a variety of proteins

The Conquistador – chef’s choice charcuterie and cheese board served with nuts, jam, mustard and house-made bruschetta. $15

Cartel Coffee Beef Taco – Locally roasted Cartel coffee is used to season the beef before slow roasting it then it is topped with fresh jicama, cilantro and avocado. $4.95

Clandestino Shrimp Taco – Citrus-chile marinated shrimp are grilled then topped with avocado, chimichurri and cabbage slaw. $4.95

Chocolate Torte – A rich and dense chocolate torte with cashews, almonds, walnuts, cacao, coconut and sea salt.

Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

Kazimierz Wine Bar gets new life with wine, whiskey and a new owner

Everybody was surprised to wake up in October to hear that Kazimierz Wine Bar had closed the night before. The iconic wine bar in downtown Scottsdale was a favorite “speakeasy” for the wine crowd and fans of live jazz. The bar gets a new lease on life this week as restaurateur Tommy Plato takes over the space opening Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar.

Plato founded The Gelato Spot and owns Second Story Liquor Bar around the corner from Kazimierz. The atmosphere will be the same but guests will see a new decor, furniture, a VIP area and whiskey program.“Peter was a pioneer in Old Town and what he created here with Kazimierz in this space is exactly what Scottsdale needs,” said Tommy Plato.  “I’m excited to keep this tradition alive but with an updated twist on a high-end establishment where you can go to have after-dinner drinks, light bites and great live music all night long in an upscale environment that caters to wine and cocktail enthusiasts,” said Plato.

New menu at Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar

Happy hour will be offered daily from 4 – 7 p.m. and a new full menu will be available until closing. Plato will introduce a new chef, menu and Whiskey Ambassador Program when the Kazimierz opens on Thursday, January 24th.

Kazimierz Wine Bar
All photos courtesy of Rose+Moser+Allyn Public and Online Relations

The new menu will include charcuterie plates, bruschetta, oysters, flatbreads and more. Ingredients will be sourced from local purveyors including Noble Bread and Chula Seafood. Desserts are Plato’s strong point from his experience at The Gelato Spot.

Whiskey selections

Over 100 wines and 500 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes offerings from the U.S., Scotland, Ireland and Japan will be available. Included will be hand-picked selections and rare bottlings.

“Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar is the perfect blend of good food, upscale atmosphere and the best wine and whiskey selection in Old Town. I am so excited to bring a new late-night concept to a familiar place that has had an incredible following for many years,” said Plato.

Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar is at 7137 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. 480-495-3004

 

 

 

 

TasteAbout Scottsdale to raise money for wounded military personnel

Expecting over 3,000 people to converge on Kierland Commons next weekend organizing TasteAbout Scottsdale is no easy feat. It’s nothing compared to what wounded military personnel have gone through serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military personnel will benefit from the hungry attendee’s as TasteAbout Scottsdale has partnered with Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors.

The food and beverage event takes place Saturday January 26th from 2 -9 p.m. with over 30 restaurants participating. In addition to tasting food and drinks there will be live music, a Burger Beatdown and speed painting.

“We are thrilled to bring together so many food and beverage purveyors all in one place to highlight the unique culinary talents in Arizona and benefit an important cause,” says Erik Merkow, founder and CEO of TasteAbout Scottsdale. “With every event, we take great pleasure in finding a platform for residents and visitors of the area to discover some of the best local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and more in a fun and entertaining atmosphere, while also giving back to the community.”

TasteAbout Scottsdale participants

The list of popular local restaurants, breweries and distilleries that will be providing sips and tastes is updated daily. Popular restaurants serving up include Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Famous 48, Kasai, Modern Oyster & Chophouse and Eggtasy to name few. Sip on beer from San Tan Brewing, Grand Canyon Brewing and Beer Research Institute.

Frankly Organic Spirits, Arizona Distilling and Dulce Vida Tequila will be pouring their spirits.

Local foodies will judge which popular chef serves the best and most creative burger at the Burger Beatdown. Guests will vote for Best Dish, Best Craft Beer, Best Drink and Best sweet Dish.

Once all votes are tallied the winners will be notified in the days after the event.

Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors.

Former NFL player Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors is a non-profit that builds and remodels homes for handicapped military personnel.

Artist Katia Von Kral will be showing off her “speed painting” talents for the event. Proceeds from her paintings sold at the event will be donated to the non-profit.

Tickets for the 21 and over event are available at Eventbrite. General Admission tickets are $65 per person and includes all tastes of food and drinks. VIP tickets are $85 and include 2 tokens for full pour drinks, VIP Garden access, Express Entry. Ultra VIP Tickets are $125 and come with 5 full pour drink tokens, a VIP swag Bag, VIP Garden Access and express entry.