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.

Hops Meets Chevre at HB Hanratty’s Pub Beer + Cheese Pairing Celebrates American Cheese Month

This sounds like a good time, I’ll be there.
Beer + Cheese Pairing Celebrates American Cheese Month

Calendar Listing
South by Northwest: When Arizona Beer Meets Oregon Cheese
Friday, October 14, 2011
6 – 9 pm
$25 – buy tickets at the bar

HB Hanratty’s Pub
537 E. Camelback Rd.
Phoenix, AZ


On Friday, October 14, people can learn the art of pairing beer and cheese in the best way possible – by tasting some of the best of both. HB Hanratty’s Pub and the Cheese Chick are hosting South by Northwest to celebrate American Cheese Month. Guests will get hearty samples of Oregon cheeses paired with Arizona beers for $20.

When the Cheese Chick reminded the esteemed Mr. HB Hanratty that October was American Cheese Month, an event to celebrate was inevitable. The gentleman is known for being a bit on the cheesy side himself, but that aside, his long-standing bar at 7th Street and Camelback is better known as a place to sample some of the fine Arizona craft beers being brewed in the state.

At the event, guests will get to sample four Oregon cheeses new to the Arizona market from Oregon Farmstead & Artisan Cheeses, Rivers Edge Chevre, Rogue Creamery, Tumalo Farms and Willamette Valley Cheese. They will be paired with beers from San Tan Brewery, Sonoran Brewery and Sleepy Dog.

The $20 ticket includes generous portions of cheese paired with gourmet crackers and cheese-friendly condiments, 4 tasters of beer and a pint of your favorite.

To RSVP, visit HB Hanratty on Facebook and respond to the event posting. One ticket per person will be held with each RSVP until 7pm. After 7pm, those tickets will be made available for walk ins. All payment made at the door.

Twitter Links:@hbhanrattys

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Red Hills of Lake County

North of the Napa Valley is Lake County where farms, fields and vineyards roll through the rural countryside. This is where in 1999 Mitch and Tracey Hawkins and David Boises started growing grapes & started producing wine in 2004. 18 acres planted to mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Hawk and Horse Vineyards is certified organic(CCOF) and serves as a ranch in addition to vineyards and  is located in the Red Hills AVA of lake County.

Making 2 wines under the guidance of well respected winemakers Dick Peterson and Scott Harvey, Hawk and Horse show off how good Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon can be.

The 2007 Cabernet is the 3rd release and is a burst of dried currants and cocoa. Aged for 18 months in French oak this wine is medium bodied and offers nice tannins with a long, lingering finish. With only 430 cases produced this wine is a great example of what a well balanced wine should be and should sell out at $65 so get yours soon.

As much as we loved the CS with our rib eyes, we almost went bonkers over their 2006 Latigo dessert wine. This delicious, amber wine is made with CS grapes and then fortified with brandy. The wine is aged for 26 months and when ready to drink is a mouthful of cherries, raisins and cranberries that is medium in body and consistency. Only 200 cases were made and is perfect for the upcoming fall and holiday season. Approx. $45

SMASHBURGER ROLLS OUT POPULAR ‘WINDY CITY BURGER’ TO PHOENIX Local Chicago burger to be available for a limited time

Smashburger, the nation’s fastest growing “better burger” concept, is pleased to announce it is bringing its Chicago-inspired Windy City burger to the Phoenix area for a limited time from September 26 through October 30. Starting today, SmashFans in Phoenix and across the country can enjoy a taste of Chicago’s favorite flavors captured in the Windy City burger, a juicy, smashed-to-order burger that’s made with fresh, never frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef, topped with layers of melted cheddar cheese, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato, and Gulden’s® spicy mustard on a hand-cut pretzel roll. Smashburger specializes in creating localized menu offerings by combining regional taste profiles with the brand’s unique “smashing” technique that creates a juicy burger you can taste in every bite. Until now, the Windy City burger was only found on Smashburger menus in Chicago, but consumer interest in local recipes from other cities inspired Smashburger to take the burger national. In conjunction with this delicious limited time offering, Smashburger is pleased to announce the launch of its ‘Win a Taste Bud Tour of Chicago’ sweepstakes in which Smashburger guests can enter to win a free trip to the hometown of the Windy City burger, Chicago, Illinois. The prize package includes airfare for two, a two-night stay in a luxury hotel and $1,000 in spending cash to explore the tastes and flavors of Chicago. To enter, Smashfans can make a purchase at any Smashburger nationwide from September 26 through October 30, 2011 and simply enter the validation code found on the bottom of their dining receipt at From the registered entries, one lucky winner will be selected. During each week of the Windy City burger’s stay, participants will also be entered to win Smashburger coupons and one SmashFan will be chosen to receive FREE Smashburger for a year! “In every market we enter, we take the time to create a unique burger experience for that city that incorporates local taste preferences and our Windy City burger has been particularly successful in its hometown of Chicago,” said Tom Ryan, founder and chief concept officer of Smashburger. “We received great feedback from our guests after rolling out our Sin City burger as a national limited time offer last spring, and we’re eager to give them another chance to enjoy a local favorite from another city.” Smashburger also serves a variety of marinated grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, grilled and split hot dogs, entrée salads, and a variety of signature sides like hand-tossed rosemary and garlic-seasoned Smashfries, sweet potato Smashfries, crispy haystack onions, and veggie frites. Smashburger guests can pair their meals with handspun Häagen-Dazs® shakes, malts and floats and an array of local craft bottled beers and wine.

Second Annual Cupcake Love-In Bakes Up a Sweet Day 
for Local Charity ….Peace, Love and Giving Return to the Hotel Valley Ho this Fall

Scottsdale, AZ (September 26, 2011) – The small but almighty cupcakes unite once again on Sunday, October 30, 2011, for the second annual Cupcake Love-In at the Hotel Valley Ho as local bakers and restaurants join together to support Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS). The “Love-In” is growing. After 2010’s successfully sold out inaugural event, this year is slated to feature upwards of 40 or more participating bakers, a few hundred more attendees and the addition of a special VIP hour before the main event. Most importantly, this year’s larger numbers translate to more dollars for CASS with 100% of all ticket sales along with all raffle ticket sales donated directly to the charity. For over 25 years as the largest provider of shelter and supportive services for homeless individuals in Arizona, CASS provides shelter to more than 1,000 people each night including many veterans and families.

This year’s Cupcake Love-In is bringing back the popular Kids Corner decorating station, the infamous cupcake eating contest for the young-at-heart grown ups, a host of raffle prizes, photo booth and the cupcake competition judged by a panel of celebrity bloggers and beloved local foodies. Giving the day that extra cherry on top are returning emcees, ABC 15’s Andi Barness and Thomas Smith (aka: The Culinary Comedian). A few new components to this year’s Love-In are the special VIP hour taking place just before the main event and a Kids Costume Contest in celebration of Halloween weekend.

The event will take place from 11am – 2pm on Sunday, October 30 with the VIP hour from 10am – 11am. Tickets to the Cupcake Love-In are $20 for adults, $50 for VIP entry and $5 for children ages 10 and under. Tickets are available online only at For more information about the event, visit and to learn more about Central Arizona Shelter Services please visit

Fleming’s Raises Two Glasses For Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

New Stiletto Cocktail and Cline Cashmere Wine Only $6 during “5 for $6 ‘til 7”

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar raises not just one but two glasses honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month with on its new “5 for $6 ‘til 7” bar menu. Fleming’s new signature cocktail The Stiletto and Cline Cellar’s Cashmere wine will raise funds for organizations providing research and support in the fight of the disease.

The Stiletto martini is Fleming’s newest Skinny Cocktail. Fleming’s Director of Wine Maeve Pesquera created the 99-calorie drink in celebration of the women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer. The Stiletto is Fleming’s first gin-based skinny cocktail. It muddles Hendrick’s Gin with fresh blackberries, Monin, and lime juice and is topped with a float of diet ginger ale.

During October, 100% of the sales of The Stiletto will be donated back to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade was launched in 1992 as a small pioneering program in the U.K. Avon in the U.S. adopted the Crusade the following year. Over the last 17 years, Avon philanthropy has raised and donated more than $640 million to breast cancer programs around the world, supporting cutting-edge research to find a cure for or prevent breast cancer as well as programs that enable all patients to access quality care.

Also in October, Cline Cashmere wine will be featured by the glass on the “5 for $6 ‘til 7” menu. Cline Cellars is making a $25,000 donation to Living Beyond Breast Cancer through the sales of Cashmere during the month. Guests ordering Cline Cashmere will receive a complimentary pink ribbon wine charm (available after October 5).

October 1 – 31, 2011

The Stiletto: $6 from 5-7pm / $9.95 after 7pm
Cline Cashmere: $6 from 5-7pm / $11 by the glass

Fleming’s has four restaurants in Phoenix located in Scottsdale, DC Ranch, Chandler and Peoria.
o Scottsdale: 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd. / 480-596-8265
o DC Ranch: 20753 N. Pima Rd. / 480-538-8000
o Chandler: 905 N. 54th St. / 480-940-1900
o Peoria: 9712 W. Northern Ave. / 623-772-9463


Celebrity Chef Stephanie Izard Partners with Local Chefs To Host Unique Dining Experience in Scottsdale

This looks like a fun event!

WHAT: Celebrity Chef Stephanie Izard is coming to Scottsdale to host an event with Chef Beau MacMillan (elements) and Chef Randy Zweiban (Province, Chicago & Phoenix). Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a multi-course dinner featuring recipes from Izard’s newly launched cookbook – Girl in the Kitchen (available October 5, 2011, Chronicle). Izard will also draw inspiration for the evening’s dishes from Arizona’s local and seasonal produce making this a truly tailored and unique experience for guests.

WHY: This stop in Scottsdale is part of the nationwide “Goat Tour,” which will bring Chef Stephanie Izard into cities across the country to celebrate the release of her new cookbook Girl in the Kitchen as well as raise money for Share Our Strength. As Izard makes her way across the U.S., she will team up with fellow James Beard nominees, Food & Wine Best New Chefs and celebrity chef friends to bring the events to life.

For more information on Izard’s “Goat Tour”, visit

Share Our Strength is a national non-profit aimed at ending childhood hunger in America by 2015. Izard has been involved with Share Our Strength for many years, participating in their chef focused Chicago event, Taste of the Nation. For more information on Share Our Strength, visit

WHO: Selected as one of the Best New Chefs in 2011 by Food & Wine, Stephanie Izard is the chef/partner of the Chicago restaurant Girl & the Goat. A 2011 James Beard ‘Best New Restaurant’ nominee, Girl & the Goat has been praised by high-profile publications such as Saveur, New York Times, Food & Wine, Better Homes and Gardens and others. Izard is the first and only woman to win Bravo’s Top Chef (Season 4/2008) and is the only winner of the original version of the show to take the title of “Fan Favorite.” She is also a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

In addition to the local culinary talents of Chefs MacMillan and Zweiban, are national cocktail designer Kim Haasarud, a.k.a. the Liquid Chef, who will be joined by local cocktail maestro Travis Nass of Rancho Pinot, and wine and spirits aficionado, Dave Johnson. Diners will also get a chance to experience Mulch Coffee, the java bar for The Accidental Yard and coffee kings Brian Clemens and Jason Calhoon.

WHEN: Sunday, October 16, 6:30pm

WHERE: The Accidental Yard
3811 North Brown Avenue
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

TICKETS: Tickets will be available online at starting September 27 at 10am. Tickets are $150 per person and include dinner, open bar and wine tastings, meet and greet with the chefs and a signed copy of “Girl in the Kitchen”.

INTERVIEWS: Stephanie Izard is available for photo opportunities and can discuss her new cookbook “Girl in the Kitchen” and her dedication to Share Our Strength in an in-studio interview.

CONTACT: Sharon J. Krieger, Ride Marketing + PR

Welcome to America Project’s “The Congo in Context” Dinner.

The Welcome to America project started in the days after the tragedy Sept. 11, 2001 and helps political refugees by delivering furniture and other household goods to homes they have relocated to in the Phoenix area. WTAP often does dinners with refugees in an effort to raise awareness and culture of there homeland(s) and use it as a fund raiser for expenses incurred running WTAP.

The most recent dinner was with refugees, culture and food from Congo or Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Congo was 1st settled by Belgian settlers and gained independence in 1960. It is the 2nd largest country in Africa and is rich in minerals such as gold and diamonds. Several languages are spoken in Congo with French and Swahili are the most spoken.

We dined on foods that are similar to those found here. Goat meat is eaten quite a bit in Congo and was served with vegetable and Basmati rice seasoned and mixed with raisins, along with chicken and vegetable stew. The goat meat was nice treat as I was not sure what to expect.

Dr. Joseph Kimbuende who left Congo over 20 years ago and now teaches at Phoenix College spoke about the current situation in Congo and about it’s rich history and culture. Recent refugee Dieudonne Mubalama spoke also. Music and dance was performed by Penuel Ministry Choir.

If you are interested in donating furniture and household goods or to make a monetary donation, or to partner with WTAP you can reach them at 602-490-0088 or