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.

Chill out this summer at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Looking to get away this summer and cool off, look no further than Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. The luxury resort in Paradise Valley offer guests several ways to chill out whether it be through exercise, food or a refreshing cocktail.

Whether you’re flying in for a few days or live here in town and want to get out of the house these escapes will make your day.

Feel good

Paddle board yoga. All photos courtesy of Jake Goodsell of EMA
  • Paddle Board Yoga                                                                                       Elevate your yoga experience with Paddle Board Yoga. Classes are held in the Infinity pool at 7 a.m. every Thursday – Sunday for just $55 per person.
  • Spa Steals                                                                                                            Guests can escape the heat at the Sanctuary Spa. The 60-minute Swedish Massage and Sanctuary Jewel Facial drop to $119 midweek and $139 weekend (regularly $175/$185). Post treatment, guests can relax in the new Women’s Quiet Room – a windowless, cocoon-like escape designed for tranquility that opened this year.  Guests that enjoy a Monday-Thursday spa treatment receive access to the spa and amenities. Included are the infinity pool, lap pool, steam room, whirlpools, relaxation lounges and fitness center—for the entire day.

The foodie in you

  • Summer in Paradise                                                                                                      Simmer down to a three-course meal by Food Network favorite Executive Chef Beau MacMillan at Elements restaurant. Available for $49 per person (plus 50 percent off select wine bottles), not including tax and gratuity from Sunday to Wednesday, June 3 through Aug. 30.
  • Lunch and Learn                                                                                                              Impress friends with new skills after a culinary lesson from Chef Carl Ruiz, Master Mixologist Tony AbouGanim and Chef Danny Grant. Lunch and dinner events will be Saturdays, Aug. 4, 11, 25 and Sept. 1.
  • Brunch at elements                                                                                              End the weekend on a high note with Sunday brunch at Elements from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Must-tries on the a la carte menu: black truffle benedict on English muffin with breakfast potatoes, nueske’s bacon, grilled asparagus and foie gras hollandaise

Resort cocktail events

Singapore Sling
  • Summer Pour                                                                                                                    Cool off at Jade Bar during The Pour (a very happy two hours) with refreshing drink specials every Monday through Friday between 4 and 6 p.m.
  • Live music and Jaded Nights                                                                                   The sounds of jazz, pop and R&B vocalists take hold at jade bar on Friday evenings from 8 to 11 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. When the sun sets, Jaded Nights begins (9 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 13-Aug. 26). Choose from food and drink specials like $9 craft cocktails, $8 Korean Wings, $10 Jade Burger or the $2.50 oyster special.
  • Saturday Mixology 101                                                                                              Perfect for a sleepy Saturday afternoon, Mixology 101 features resort mixologists sharing techniques and tastings of four innovative cocktail creations. Courses are held at noon each Saturday except Aug. 4, 11, 25 and Sept. 1. Reservations required and first timers will receive 15% off food during their class.
  • Sunday Bar Brawl                                                                                                  The heat is on for the region’s best bartenders. Sanctuary’s Bar Brawl is back for its fourth season with new additions and surprises on Sundays, July 15-Aug. 26. Details coming soon. I can tell you there will be a new chef pop-up experience, with a special happy hour menu crafted by a local celebrity chef at each Bar Brawl event. Also, each week’s Lunch & Learn celebrity will serve as a guest judge. On Friday’s, guest bartenders will create Red Bull specialty cocktails from 9 – 10:30 p.m., the guest favorite featured at Sunday’s Bar Brawl.

Sanctuary on Camelback is at 5700 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley 85253. For reservations call 855-245-2051 or on-line.

 

 

Indoor farmer’s market at Hotel Valley Ho in June and July

With local farmer’s markets growing in popularity the last few years in Phoenix it comes as no surprise when it heats up many farmer’s markets take the summer off. Hotel Valley Ho’s executive chef Rusell LaCasce’s solution is to have an indoor farmer’s market and invite a few chef friends.

On Saturday June 23rd & 30th and July 14th & 21st guests can escape the heat at the hotels’ Sands event venue from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Farmer’s market chefs & vendors

Guests will enjoy small bites prepared by local chefs Matt Carter, Gio Osso and Beau Macmillan while they shop for produce and handcrafted goods. At the Zuzu booth Chef LaCasce and Pastry Chef Audrey Enriquez will be selling homemade pastries including pies, scones and other homemade treats.

Guests will also be able to sample cocktails, purchase drinks from the full bar and listen to live music from Trio Rio while they shop.

Local purveyors including MJ Bread, Crow’s Dairy, Twisted Infusion Farms and Ruze Cake House will be on hand with other Arizona purveyors.

A refrigerate bag check will be available for your purchases while you enjoy the morning.

Purchase tickets

Tickets for the farmer’s market are available on-line for $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Your ticket gets you chef’s bites, cocktail samples and a 25% off gift certificate at Zuzu. A $10 voucher for use at the market with a purchase of $20 or more is also included.

Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

 

Pita Jungle launches Seasonal Crafts Menu June 19th

People want options for their diet and next weeks launch of their Seasonal Crafts Menu, Pita Jungle gives customers options. With 7 new dishes, 7 protein options and 3 sides guests will have plenty of options to mix and match with.

4 new drinks will also be available on their cocktail menu along with a new Vegan and Gluten-Free menu.

Veggie-Quinoa Stir Fry with Kimchi. All photos courtesy of Pita Jungle.

Seasonal Crafts Menu

Whether your diet allows you to eat all on the menu or you prefer Vegan or Gluten Free dishes all diets are accommodated.

  • Avocado Hummus Tostada: baked corn tortilla, avocado hummus, Tuscan kale and cabbage slaw, avocado, pickled onions, garlic, pico de gallo, jungle damage green sriracha and cumin-yogurt sauce
  • Barley & Beluga Lentil Fetoosh Bowl: toasted barley, beluga lentils, Tuscan kale, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, red bell pepper, radish, red and green onions, garlic, fresh jalapeno, fresh mint, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, pomegranate vinaigrette and pita chips
  • Veggie-Quinoa Stir Fry with Kimchi:  red quinoa, broccoli, carrots , mushrooms, baby spinach, red onions,  minced garlic and ginger, cage free egg, jungle damage green sriracha and kimchi
  • Crouching Kale & Hidden Berry Bowl: Tuscan kale, blueberry, pomegranate seeds, carrots, fresh jalapeno, white and red cabbage, red bell peppers, garlic, ginger, fresh mint, toasted almonds and Thai-tahini dressing
  • Avocado & Garbanzo Southwest Bowl: avocado, chickpeas, red quinoa, roma tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, celery, roasted jalapenos, organic blue corn chips, pickled onions, fresh mint and parsley, minced garlic, pumpkin seeds, cumin and herb-honey-apple-cider vinaigrette
  • Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich: gluten-free brownie, vanilla ice cream, strawberry and blueberry
  • Super Perfect Yogurt Delight: barley, pomegranate seeds, pistachio, blueberry, local AZ honey, Greek yogurt, cinnamon and rose-water

    Avocado Hummus Tostada

Sides and Protein Add-Ons

Add a protein or experience one of these new side dishes to satisfy your appetite.

Sides:

  • Lebanese Potato Salad (contains eggs)
  • Gingered Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Barley & Beluga Lentils

Protein Add-Ons:

  • Wood-Fired Norwegian Salmon
  • Grilled Marinated All-Natural Chicken Breast
  • Mediterranean Meatballs (grass-fed beef)
  • Taco Style Ground Beef (grass-fed)
  • Organic Baked Marinated Tofu
  • Cage-Free Skillet or Boiled Egg
  • Baked Falafel

To find a Pita Jungle location near go to http://www.pitajungle.com/

Quiesscence at the Farm offers “Locals Only” dining experiences

Those of us that stick it out through the long hot summer deserve an award and  Quiessence at the Farm is doing that, kind of. The award-winning farm to table restaurant is bringing back two popular dining experiences for locals before they take time off.

Locals dining experiences

Before chef Dustin Christofolo and staff shut down the restaurant from July 1st – August 9th they will be offering a limited seat dinner “Taste of Quiessence”. Tuesday-Thursday’s June 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th will offer 12 guests per night the opportunity to taste seasonal vegetables and more on a nightly changing Tasting menu. QuiessenceThe first come, first serve dinners will offer guests seasonal ingredients from the farm and from other Arizona vendor as part of the 3-course dinner.

The Taste of Quiessence dinners are $45++ per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $20 per person.

Thursday Wine Flight

When the restaurant re-opens in August after a research and development hiatus guests can join them for Thursday Wine Flights with a trio of tapas. Level 2 sommelier Alison Sponberg will select wines to pair with chef Christolofo’s special menu for the evening.

The three-week themes will be…

August 16 – “Southwest is Best”                                                                                  August 23 – “Farmers, Friends, and Friuli”                                                             August 30 – “Summer in the South of France”

Cost for the wine and food pairing experience is $40 per person++.

Guests can make reservations for both experiences by calling 602-276-0601 and can make reservations for August’s Thursday Wine Flights during the July hiatus. Be sure to mention the wine flights to receive the special menu and price.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85042. Visit their website for more information.

Summer menu now available at Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Restaurants around the valley are shifting gears to lighter and seasonal focused menus with the arrival of summer. Gilbert’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen recently shifted into their summer menu with the addition of 6 dishes from owner and chef Gio Osso.

Heirloom Grain Salad

Summer menu

With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients including fruits and vegetables these are then new menu items.

  • Stone Fruit Panzanella – Peach, apricot, cherry, arugula, chevre, day old bread and vanilla balsamic.
  • Heirloom Grain Salad – Farro, quinoa, blueberry, apply, almonds with white balsamic.
  • Salmon Croquette with capers and Calabrian chile aioli.
  • Diver Scallops with sweet corn nage, crispy prosciutto, balsamic marinated mushrooms.
  • Flat Iron Steak – Cocoa-lavender rub, summer squash hash, charred spring onion and blueberry demi.
  • Fruite de Mare – Chef’s fresh catch, tomato and white wine.

    Stone Fruit Panzanella

Summer Dining Experiences

Nico will host a series of “Summer Dining Experiences” with the first scheduled for this Thursday June 14th. The “Gin & Bear It” dinner will pair a 4- course dinner with gin cocktails. The dinner will start at 6:30 and cost $45 ++ per person.

For more information or to make a reservation visit http://www.nicoaz.com/

Nico Heirloom Kitchen is at 366 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234 (480)584-4760.

Score World Cup deals at Over Easy Biltmore

Soccer fans are getting ready for the World Cup that starts June 15th thru July 15th and Over Easy Biltmore has the games on live. Start your mornings by coming in to  get food and drink deals when the games are on.

World Cup deals

When the games are televised live customers can score these food and drink deals.

  • $1 off Red or Green Chilaquiles with choice of pork or chicken (Reg price: $9)
  • $1 off Hot or Iced Irish Coffees (Reg price: $8)
  • $4 Biltmore Sunrises

The Biltmore Sunrise was created just for the event and is perfect for the mornings here in Phoenix when the games will be televised. It layers tequila, orange juice, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine.

Over Easy Biltmore is at 2398 E. Camelback Rd. (NE corner of 24th St & Camelback) Phoenix 85016. EatAtOverEasy.com

Iced Irish Coffee

 

The Sicilian Butcher to end Negroni Week in a big way

Update: Shortly after I posted this I was informed that due to supply issues this event is being postponed. I hope to have a new date for you in next couple of days.

Negroni Week is coming to an end and one restaurant is ending it in world record-setting style. The Sicilian Butcher will set the record for the Largest Barrel Aged Negroni by combing 3 ingredients into a 500 liter barrel.

Making the World’s Largest Negroni

On Sunday June 10th from 2-4 p.m. customers are invited to witness history as a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to witness the filling of the barrel.

Sheldon Wiley and owner Joey Maggiore

Sheldon Wiley, Beverage Director of The Maggiore Group will use 14 cases each of three Italian spirits, Carpano Antica Formula, Malfy Gin Originale and Campari. Once combined the barrel will hold approximately 132 gallons, 504 bottles and 16,722 ounces of the cocktail.

Wiley currently hold the world record as The World’s Fastest Bartender and holder of two other world records.

The Sicilian Butcher gives back

Once tapped The Sicilian Butcher will be selling Negroni’s for $5 with 25% of sales being donated to CORE(Children of Restaurant Employees). CORE, a non-profit  helps to support children of food and beverage service employees going through life altering circumstances.

The Sicilian Butcher is at 15530 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85032. For more information see their website.

 

 

 

 

Ocean Prime offers 1/2 off Veuve Clicquot Rosé every Friday

Happy hour never tasted so good especially when you’re sipping on a cold, crisp and refreshing glass of rosé. Ocean Prime on High Street in northeast Phoenix offers up Veuve Clicquot during happy hour every Friday from 5-7p.m. until August 31st.

“Stop and Sip the Rosé” offers guests the opportunity to sip the Veuve Cliquot along with other rosé a reduced prices good for any rosé drinker.

Choose from sparkling, still, domestic or French                                               Miner Rosé, $16 glass/$64 Bottle                                                                              Chandon Rosé, $13 glass/$58.50 Bottle                                                 Veuve Clicquot Rosé $28 glass/$126 Bottle                                                       Notorious Pink Rosé $11 Glass/$44 Bottle

Oysters make for a perfect pairing with rosé  so the award-winning Ocean Prime offers oysters on the 1/2 shell for 1/2 price by the half-dozen for $11. Other happy hour offerings will also be available.

Ocean Prime is at 5455 E. High St. Phoenix 85054. For more information and to find an Ocean Prime near you visit https://www.ocean-prime.com/

Fresh fish market Chula Seafood coming to central Phoenix

With the resurgence of the neighborhood butcher, fish monger and doughnut maker popular local fish market Chula Seafood announced it will open a 2nd location at Uptown Plaza in central Phoenix in the fall.

All photos courtesy of Chula Seafood

Catching the fish

Jim Heflin founded Chula Seafood in 2009 and captains the San Diego based 68 foot F/V Chula which catches fresh fish in the cold waters of the Pacific. Chula uses a harpoon and hooks to catch fish as nets drag up anything in their path off the bottom of the ocean. The use of hooks and harpoon offers sustainability and is environmentally friendly.

Several times a week fresh fish is shipped to Phoenix in a refrigerated truck to Jim’s son Jon and Hogan Jamison who run the Scottsdale market and restaurant. The Scottsdale location opened to rave reviews for its quality and sustainable fishing methods in 2015.

If they don’t catch it they have fresh fish flown in weekly from sustainable sources. Chula Seafood is a favorite among local restaurateurs who purchase their fish for their menus from Chula Seafood.

Chula Seafood Uptown

When it opens, the new location will offer a fresh fish market and sit down restaurant like its first location in Scottsdale. The Phoenix location will be larger with 60 seats including a 6-seat bar. A larger menu overseen by executive chef Juan Zamora and implemented by Kyle Kent, formerly of Artizen at The Camby will be created.

Fried, sautéed, grilled fish are a few of the ways the fresh fish will be prepared and will also include raw shellfish, sashimi, salads and poke. The new location will also offer beer and wine and grab-n-go selections will also be available.

The Scottsdale location is at 8015 E. Roosevelt St. 85257. 480-621-5121. Check out their website for updates and information.

 

Owners of Angels Trumpet Alehouse to open 2nd location in lower Arcadia

Expansion is in the air for downtown Phoenix’s Angels Trumpet Alehouse as owners Sharry & Mat Englehorn are planning to open Angels Trumpet Arcadia in early August. The new location will be housed in the former Sears Auto Center on the southeast corner of Thomas & 44th St.

“We live right around the corner, so we’ve had our eye on this building for years,” says Sharry Englehorn. “We know from personal experience that this stretch of south Arcadia is missing a fun and welcoming all-day hangout, where you can pop in for a tasty lunch or sip drinks on the patio and watch the sun set on Camelback Mountain.”

The past and future of Angels Trumpet Arcadia

The 10,000 square foot mid-century modern building is undergoing needed updating and repairs after decades of dirt and grime as an auto repair shop.

“Originally built as a Ward’s Auto Center in the late 1950s, this is the last remaining building of the former Thomas Mall,” Mat Englehorn says. “So we wanted to honor that history and preserve the wonderful architectural bones, as well as preserve elements of the tire shop by keeping the industrial look, and the beat up floor–just adding a lot of polish.”

Once work is completed the building will also house the owners newest idea of a craft cocktail bar and lounge called Tall Glass. Future plans include a small microbrewery which is being described as “an intimate brewer’s playground”. The same food menu as the downtown Phoenix Angels Trumpet Alehouse will be available as will the indoor/outdoor vibe.

Tall Glass

The cocktail lounge will have its own entrance on the west side of the building and feature  a cocktail menu made with craft spirits from beer distillers including Rogue Spirits and Ballast Point Brewery’s “Cutwater Spirits” in San Diego.

Tall Glass will offer a small gourmet bar bites menu with guests available to order from the full menu at Angels Trumpet.

Tall Glass will open in the late afternoon until midnight and Angels Trumpet will open daily at 11 a.m. until midnight. For more information and updates see their Facebook or Instagram page @AngelsTrumpetAlehouse