All posts by Sandy Wasserman

I've been in and around the the Phoenix wine and restaurant for over 17 years. I've seen and learned a lot and now I'm sharing it for the world to see.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria announces Scottsdale location

The Phoenix area has been a popular place for Chicago area transplants for years its been the last couple of years that they’ve been able to get what some consider to be the best deep dish pizza in Arizona. With Giordano’s, Gino’s East and Lou Malnati’s arriving in the last couple of years it’s been Lou Malnati’s that has continued its expansion with recent announcement of a 2nd location and this week’s announcement of its 3rd in north Scottsdale.

Lou Malnati’s coming to Scottsdale

The anticipated opening of the third location in north Scottsdale is still a year away but fans of the popular pizzeria will enjoyed the largest of the Arizona locations when it opens. It will be in the new Chauncey Lane development near Scottsdale Rd. and Loop 101.

When the restaurant opens it will be 10,000 square feet with an outdoor patio and will employ over 150 people and offer a full bar in the restaurant.

Deep Dish Pizza

Malnati’s is known for its deep dish pizza that uses California grown vine ripened tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese from a Wisconsin dairy and scratch made dough that hold it all together with its flaky and buttery crust.

2nd location announced

A few weeks back word came that the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix will get the 2nd location which will be for take out, delivery and catering. The pizzeria will share space with local neighborhood restaurant Kitchen 56 on the southeast corner of 56th St & Indian School Rd.

The building is currently under renovation to give Kitchen 56 a fresh look and accommodate Lou Malnati’s. This location is scheduled to open in the fall.

If north Scottsdale fans of the deep dish pizza can’t wait til the summer of 2018 to get their fill of deep dish pizza the can head to the original Arizona location in Uptown Plaza at 100 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85012. http://www.loumalnatis.com/

 

Taco Guild introduces Old World and New World brunch menu

Housed in an old church in central Phoenix, Taco Guild has been named by the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” as one the best Mexican restaurants in the country and become a local favorite for traditional Mexican cuisine with the modern touch of executive chef Dan Santos. Diners can now experience these unique dishes on the weekend as Santos has introduced a brunch menu.

The brunch menu includes 10 new items, 5 from the Old World with classic Mexican dishes and 5 from the New World with a modern and contemporary twist.

“This is the biggest overhaul to the brunch menu we have made and we are excited to share it with our guests,” says Santos. “As with all our dishes we aim for mastery and offer diners a truly unique and special experience.

Guild Torta

Old World and New World brunch at Taco Guild

These delicious sounding new dishes include bold flavors and fresh ingredients can be enjoyed on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Old World menu items:                                                                     

 Chiliquiles corn chips, spicy tomato sauce, menonita cheese, two eggs prepared your way and your choice of protein. Served with borracho beans. 9.95

Corn Cakes with Sausage & Eggs Griddled corn cakes, house-made beef and pork sausage patties, spicy tomato sauce and two eggs prepared your way. 9.95

Plantain Brulee Cornmeal Pancakes Cornmeal pancakes, plantains, spiced brown sugar, honey cinnamon butter and spiced maple syrup. 9.95

Chorizo con Papas & Eggs Southwestern potatoes, chorizo, peppers, onions and two eggs prepared your way. Served with house-made tortillas. 8.95

Coconut French Toast Tres leches custard flavored with cinnamon and cardamom, torta bread. Topped with toasted coconut, mango, strawberries, honey cinnamon butter and spiced maple syrup. Served with house-made beef and pork sausage patties. 9.95

Coconut French Toast

 New World menu items:

 Huevos Rancheros Quinoa Bowl Southwestern seasoned quinoa, spiced crema, salsa fresca, avocado and two eggs prepared your way. 8.95

Coffee Steak Hash & Eggs Coffee seasoned steak, Southwestern potatoes, onion and peppers. Served with two eggs prepared your way and borracho beans. 10.95

Guild Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle House-made cornmeal waffle, guild chicken, spiced maple syrup, honey cinnamon butter and serrano pepper. 9.95

Guild Torta Your choice of protein, peppers, onions, avocado, two eggs, menonita cheese, Southwestern potatoes and toasted torta roll. 9.95

Guild Parfait Orange agave fat-free yogurt, fresh mint, berry compote and house-made granola. 4.95

Taco Guild is at 546 East Osborn Rd. Phoenix http://www.tacoguild.com/

 

 

Let these restaurants host your Fantasy Football draft party

With a few pre-season NFL games already played Fantasy Football draft parties are being planned in the next few weeks. There’s no better way to draft your winning team than in a festive environment surrounded by big screen TV’s, food and beer.

Here are a few restaurants that are celebrating the start of football season and are ready to host your Fantasy Football draft party so let your league commissioner know where to go.

Thirsty Lion Fantasy Football draft party

The Phoenix area Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill’s are offering Happy Hour menu when you reserve a table for your draft party. $1 off pints of beer, $4.95 well drinks, wine & house margaritas will help you wash down wings, pizza and more  delicious food.

For more information about a Thirsty Lion near you in Scottsdale, Tempe or Gilbert visit http://www.thirstyliongastropub.com/

Twin Peaks free room and gift cards

Phoenix and Scottsdale’s Twin Peaks restaurants are offer a free room for your draft party along with a draft board to help organize your league.

In addition the commissioner gets a $50 gift card and each player gets a $10 gift card and gets entered into free Twin Peaks for a year.

Twin Peaks is located at 2135 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix and 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale. http://www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com/

Uptown Alley’s free room rental

Surprise’s bowling alley and laser tag venue, Uptown Alley is offering a free room, AV equipment and a $5 game card when you book your draft party until Sept. 6th with a minimum of 10 people.

The new menu at their Red Embers Bar & Grill will be available with additions that include pulled pork potato skins, pizza rolls and sliders.

To make a reservation at Uptown Alley call 623-277-5867 or visit http://uptownalleysurprise.com/

 

Drip Coffee and Espresso truck to hit the streets of Phoenix

If you don’t have the energy to walk to your nearby coffee shop to get your cup of “go-go juice” you soon will be able to have it come to you. That is if you find yourself along the route of the new Drip Coffee and Espresso truck that will start traveling the streets of  Phoenix  in late August or early September.

Owner Jeff Rorvig is combing his restaurant experience and his passion for coffee to bring this new innovative way to bring coffee to the people.

“I love coffee and I’ve wanted to be in this business for a long time. My life has taken many twists and turns, but I’m excited to follow my dreams with Drip Coffee and Espresso. We can’t wait to hit the streets!” Rorvig said.

Drip Coffee and Espresso will offer a wide selection of caffeinated and un-caffeniated drinks from CULT Coffee Roaster including drip, iced and nitrogen infused coffee, cappuccino, lattes and mochas.  Flavored & Chai teas, Italian sodas and energy drinks will also be available along with locally made pastries.

Signature drinks have been brewed up for Drip Coffee and Espresso including the “Rising Sun,” which is made with coffee, espresso, milk, Mexican chocolate and whipped cream. If you need that extra boost to get you through your day then you’ll want either the “Buzzer,” a quad shot Mexican mocha or the “Zipper,” drip coffee with quad shot of espresso or “Perk Me Up,” drip coffee with double shot of espresso.

When the truck hits the streets you’ll be able to find where it’s headed by checking Twitter, Facebook or their soon to be completed website http://azdripcoffee.com/

 

 

 

 

2nd annual Rock the Guac comes to The Camby Hotel

Calendars are starting to fill up with food festivals and the like with another just announced as Rock the Guac is scheduled on National Guacamole Day on September 16th at The Camby Hotel in Phoenix. 12 Phoenix area chefs will create their version of guacamole for guests to sample and celebrate the delicious food.

Rock the Guac
Matt Carter at last years event. All photos courtesy of Rock the Guac

Rock the Guac chefs

Rock the Guac is brought to us by the same people who brings us Arizona Taco Festival in mid-October. The 12 valley chefs preparing their guacamole for the friendly competition are….

Forest Hamrick- La Hacienda – 2016 Rock The Guac winner

Dushyant Singh- Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel

Richard Hinojosa- CRUjiente Tacos

Aaron Pool- Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup

Alex Stratta- Match at The FOUND:RE Phoenix

Mel Mecinas- Private Chef

Aaron May- Goodwood Tavern, Malibu Burger Co.

Jennifer Russo- The Market by Jennifer’s

Fidencio Alatriste- Toro Latin Restaurant

Laura Gonzalez- Taqueria Centro

George Alatriste- The Mission

Beau MacMillan- Elements

Get Tickets

The event starts at 6p.m. and tickets are only available online for $40 in which each guest has unlimited guacamole, 2 drink tickets for margaritas and beer, a taco station hosted by The Camby.  If you’ve ever been to the Arizona Taco Festival then you know there will be plenty of fun and live entertainment on this lively evening. Tickets available here.

Part of the proceeds from Rock the Guac will be donated to Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, a non-profit which heals homeless and abused children thought art and expression.

 

Alex Stratta takes over the kitchen at MATCH: Restaurant & Cocktails

It was less than a year ago that I reported that James Beard Award winning chef Alex Stratta took over culinary operations at The Herb Box , well that short-lived stint has come to an end. Chef Stratta has taken his culinary talents to MATCH:Restaurant & Cocktails in The Found:Re Hotel in Phoenix.

New menu debut

The first change will take place in September when chef Stratta will debut a new menu for the wood-fired and local focused restaurant. “We are testing new recipes and seeking the perfect balance of flavor and relatable dishes that suit the tastes of our local residents and out-of-town guests,” said Stratta. “The wood fired oven and grill will continue to take center stage as we evolve our menu.”

He and his team will continue to focus on simple, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients that will be presented in an artful style to coincide with the hotels art inspired decor and design.

The Alex Stratta culinary history

The globe-trotting chef has collected awards for his Las Vegas restaurants Stratta & ALEX and his first stint in Phoenix at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort. He’s also worked for famed chefs Alain Ducasse in Monaco at Louis XV in The Hotel de Paris and Daniel Boulud in New York at Le Cirque. He’s also made the finals on Top Chef Masters, Italian Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. In addition to his James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” award he’s been named a Food & Wine Best New Chef, several AAA Five Diamond awards and a two star rating from the Michelin Guide for ALEX.

MATCH is at 1100 N. Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix https://www.matchphx.com/

 

August is here as Liberty Market’s Burger Daze returns

Every August Gilbert’s Liberty Market serves up 31 different burgers for its annual Burger Daze promotion and this August is no different.

Liberty Market
Fried Chicken burger photo courtesy of Sarah

Planning for 31 burgers

Planning started shortly after 2016’s Burger Daze ended as executive chef David Traina started thinking of combinations for new burgers while also including a few favorites on this years list. In January chef Traina started to make the burgers for consideration to see how they went from paper to palate in an effort to finalize this years burgers. Chef Traina should know about burgers as he was Delux Burger’s first executive chef before making his way to Liberty Market.

According to Traina ” I’m really excited about this years burgers and we start with a favorite from last year, the  Coffee burger the Beehive cheese is an awesome addition to that one. Our End of Daze burger is going to be worth the wait.”

Gift card challenge

Owner Joe Johnson knows how to motivate his customers to come by Liberty Market on a daily basis to try each days special burger. Save those receipts as Joe is giving away a $50 Liberty Market gift card to those that come in and eat 10 burgers during the month. If you can stomach all 31 burgers you’ll have earned a $250 gift card. Those that accomplish either one of these challenges will have until the end of the first week of September to provide the receipts for verification and get their Liberty Market gift card.

Monte Cristo burger photo courtesy of Sarah

Burger Daze daily line up

Most of the burgers are made from local, natural ground chuck beef while others are made from buffalo meat and a vegan black bean pattie. Below is the list of all 31 burgers , one for each day of the month.

 #1 Tuesday – Coffee Burger: beef patty, Beehive Barely Buzzed Cheese, candied bacon, and onion whipped cream on a hawaiian bun.

 #2 Wednesday – Monte Cristo Burger: beef patty, swiss cheese, shaved ham, strawberry jam and powdered sugar, served open face on griddled bread pudding.

 #3 Thursday – Spanish Burger: beef patty, manchego cheese, chimichurri aioli and sliced Spanish chorizo on panella bun.

 #4 Friday – Ultimate Buffalo Burger: buffalo patty, pickled carrots and celery, St. Pete’s blue cheese, Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce on kaiser bun.

 #5 Saturday: Chilaquiles Burger: beef patty, chilaquiles,  sunny side up egg, tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese on a jalapeno ciabatta bun.

 #6 Sunday: Liberty Joe Burger: beef patty, housemade sloppy joe and cheddar cheese on hawaiian bun. 

 #7 Monday: Gordita Burger: beef patty, pico de gallo, lettuce, pepper jack cheese on housemade fried gorditas. Served with tortilla chips.

 #8 Tuesday: California Burger: beef patty, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, and monterey jack cheese on a croissant.

 #9 Wednesday: Shrimp Po’ Boy Burger: two 4 oz patties, fried shrimp, coleslaw, and housemade remoulade on a baguette.

 #10 Thursday: The Thai Ramen Burger: beef patty, ramen noodles, thai basil, cilantro, seasoned pork and red chili peanut sauce on a panella bun.

 #11 Friday – Onion Ring Burger: beef patty, fried onion ring, smoked cheddar, sauteed red onion, potato chips and BBQ sauce on kaiser bun. 

 #12 Saturday – Short Rib Burger: beef patty, braised short ribs, fresh mozzarella and shaved parmesan on ciabatta bun.

 #13 Sunday – Croque Madame Burger: beef patty, shaved ham, swiss, fresh tomato, sunnyside up egg, smothered with bechamel, served open faced on challah toast.

#14 Monday – The Elvis Burger: beef patty, cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, peanut butter, and pickles on a housemade waffle bun.

 #15 Tuesday – The Boursin Burger: beef patty, herbed Boursin Cheese, caramelized onions and fresh arugula on a hawaiian bun.

 #16 Wednesday – The Black Bean Butternut Burger (Vegan): black bean & butternut squash patty, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, and baby greens on a kaiser bun.

 #17 Thursday – The Greek Burger: beef patty, feta cheese, nicoise olives, oven dried tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce on a potato bun.

 #18 Friday – The Poached Pear Burger: white wine poached pear, cambozola, bacon and spring mix on hawaiian bun.

 #19 Saturday – The Louie Burger: beef patty, crab salad, chopped bacon, avocado, red leaf lettuce, and Russian dressing on a pretzel bun.

 #20 Sunday – The BBQ Pork Burger: beef patty, house made BBQ pulled pork with creamy coleslaw on seeded kaiser.

 #21 Monday – The Brie and Mushroom Burger: beef patty, brie cheese, truffled mushrooms, watercress, and oven dried tomato aioli on an onion brioche bun.

 #22 Tuesday – The Fried Chicken Burger: beef patty, fried chicken, bacon, jack cheese, ranch and jalapeno chips on a hawaiian bun.

 #23 Wednesday – The Korean Beef Burger: beef patty, korean style short ribs, kimchi, radishes and sesame seeds on a hand cut bun.

 #24 Thursday – The Serious Grilled Cheese Burger: beef patty, fontina, jack and cambozola , shaved cornichons on a panella bun.

 #25 Friday – The Fresh Grind Burger: house ground brisket, ribeye, and short rib patty, fontina cheese, tempura fried oyster mushroom, and demi glace, served open face on a polenta cake. 

 #26 Saturday – The Savory Dossant Burger: beef patty, gruyere cheese, crispy bacon, and roasted garlic aioli, on an Onion Dossant

 #27 Sunday – The Elote Burger: beef patty, fire roasted corn, mexican spice blend, lime aioli,pepper jack, cotija, Fresno peppers, and cilantro on jalapeno ciabatta bun.

 #28 Monday – The Curry Masala Burger: beef patty, grilled halloumi cheese,curried onions and tomatoes, and masala aioli, on a brioche bun.

 #29 Tuesday – The Basil Pesto Burger: beef patty, basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, fried zucchini and arugula on ciabatta bun.

 #30 Wednesday – The Chile Relleno Burger: beef patty, cheese stuffed relleno, shredded lettuce, green enchilada sauce and cotija cheese, on a panella bun.

 #31 Thursday – THE END OF DAZE BURGER: house ground beef patty, hatch chile cheese, foie gras, duck bacon, truffle aioli, and parmesan tuile on toasted brioche.