Arizona Good Food Expo continues to promote locally sourced foods

Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection is now the Arizona Good Food Expo and returns for its 10th year promoting Arizona sourced foods. This years event will be Monday August 26th at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. The event brings Arizona farmers and food & beverage producers together under one roof to meet face to face with buyers. The event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. is followed by a reception at the resorts signature restaurant, A Different Pointe of View.

“Changing the name to Arizona Good Food Expo better reflects the mission behind the event, to showcase Arizona’s best local food and build lasting relationships between food producers and wholesale buyers, but is more inclusive of the state’s broad range of food buyers who aren’t necessarily chefs,” says Emily Bell, Good Food Programs Manager at Local First Arizona Foundation.

Speakers at Arizona Good Food Expo

Over 75 vendors will provide samples and information for local restaurants, resorts and retail buyers. James Beard award-winner and “vegetable whisperer” Charleen Badman owner and chef of FnB will deliver the keynote speech. Other speakers include chefs Tamara Stanger of Tempe’s Cotton & Copper, Stephen Jones of the larder + delta and Shanti Ride, owner of Whipstone Farm.

“The Arizona Good Food Expo is the ideal setting to ensure the freshest Arizona-grown foods are being served on your plate – whether you shop at the grocery store, are eating at the school cafeteria, or dining out,” says Kimber Lanning, Founder of Local First Arizona Foundation, “The Expo makes it easier for our great chefs and food buyers to source local ingredients and be leaders in Arizona’s food scene. Sourcing Arizona’s homegrown foods is essential to build a healthier Arizona, and the relationships made at the Expo will leverage our agricultural bounty for the benefit of all.”

Tickets for the event are $25 for all day access and $99 for vendor packages. Vendor packages include 2 all day passes, reserved parking, table space and a listing in post event follow up. The deadline to purchase Vendor Packages is August 22nd. Information and purchasing tickets can be found at their website. The Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs Resort is at 11111 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85020.

 

Real, Wild & Woody helps craft beer fans beat the heat

Cold beer makes the summer a lot cooler, how about 350+ craft beers in the air conditioned Phoenix Convention Center. That’s what craft beer fans will enjoy at the 6th annual Real, Wild & Woody festival on Saturday July 27th. The festival is presented by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and will feature over 75 breweries from the southwest.

Real, Wild & Woody is Arizona’s largest indoor beer festival featuring rare and unconventional beers from over 40 Arizona breweries. Dragoon Brewing Co., Grand Canyon Brewing Co. and others will be pouring their most unique “real, wild & woody” creations. Enjoy up to 20 cask conditioned ales a.k.a Real, beers fermented with wild yeast strains a.k.a Wild or barrel aged beers a.k.a Woody.

The festival has also helped new breweries introduce themselves to beer fans.

“This year, I am especially thrilled to be introducing the VIP experience,” said Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for our most fervent fans to have first, full access to the entire venue, an hour before we open to the public. Along with the exclusive access, there is a VIP meal option that will provide attendees with a three-taco meal (with vegetarian options) & a dessert. We’ll also be featuring distilled products from some of our breweries exclusively in the VIP area.”

Real, Wild & Woody tickets and info.

The events goes from 2-6 p.m. with tickets to the 21 & over tasting online for $60 and $80 for VIP. 1 p.m. entry and an optional(VIP+) multi-course for $20 is available with your VIP ticket. Tickets will be $20 more when purchased at the festival. In addition to beer their will bites to eat from Phoenix restaurants, interactive games, live music and a rock wall.

For more information go to their website and to see the full line-up of brewers use the social beer app Untappd.

The Phoenix Convention Center is at 100 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Crow’s Dairy and Deep Sky Vineyard tasting at Farmboy Market

Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches will be hosting a “Meet the Producers” tasting Thursday July 18th at their shop. The tasting will pair wines from Deep Sky Vineyard with cheeses from Crow’s Dairy along with meats, grains and produce.

Deep Sky Vineyard is located in Elgin and specializes in Malbec and Rhone varietals. Crow’s Dairy specializes in goat cheese at their dairy in Buckeye.

The casual tasting will include a reception followed by three courses with owners Wendell Crow of Crow’s Dairy and Kim & Phil Asmundson of Deep Sky Vineyard.

The menu of pairings is as follows.

Reception: Chevre & 2016 Nebula (Rosé) Crooked Sky Farms Watermelon and  Feta Cheese with Fresh Mint

1st Tasting: Chevre & 2015 Aurora Viogner 2017 Crooked Sky Farms Sweet Corn and Crow’s Dairy Cotija Cheese Dip with Sourdough Crostini

2nd Tasting: 2015 Supernova Mourvedre (Red) with Goat Herbed Chevre and Shaved AZ Grass Raised Pecan-Smoked Sirloin with Hayden Mills Blue Beard Flour Crackers

3rd Tasting: 2015 Eclipse Malbec-Grenache (Red) and Goat Quark Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruit Topping.

The tasting will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased at Eventbrite.

Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches is at 1075 W. Queen Creek Rd. #1 Chandler 85248.

Free Sriracha at Pita Jungle Saturday on June 29th.

I personally don’t see the fuss over Sriracha but I know there is a cult like following for the hot sauce. Pita Jungle is giving away a free bottle of their own labeled Sriracha on Saturday June 29th. The day commemorates when Pita Jungle opened its first location in Tempe and the hottest day on record in Arizona. The year was 1994 and the heat made it up to 128 degrees that day.

Visit any Pita Jungle location except Sky Harbor, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Grand Canyon University from open to close and spend $40 to get your free bottle. You must mentioned that promotion and dine-in to receive your bottle. There is a 1 bottle limit per tab.

Pita Jungle started producing their own line of Sriracha in 2018 and offer three flavors Red, Green and Ghost. You can purchase bottles at all 21 locations for $5.99 each.

Limited seating for the return of Taste of Quiessence

The award-winning farm to table restaurant Quiessence at The Farm is bringing back its popular Taste of Quiessence dinner experience. As with previous years there is limited seating for the dinners created by chef Dustin Christofolo. The twelve dinners will feature dishes prepared with ingredients from The Soil & Seed Garden at The Farm along with ingredients from local vendors.

12 diners per evening will enjoy the special dinners offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays June 4th – 27th. The three course dinners will change weekly based on ingredients available in the farm. An amuse bosche may be prepared from chef Christofolo. Possible dishes may be…..

limited seating
Cucumber soup. All photos courtesy of Quiessence at The Farm

Chilled Armenian Cucumber Soup with Soil & Seed Garden Tomatoes, Cucumber Ribbons, Grilled Melon Relish, Crème Fraiche, Frito Misto Pineapple Mint.

Hand crafted Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Parisian Carrots, Leeks, Mint.

As one of the more popular Phoenix restaurants and because of the limited seating guests wanting the Taste of Quiessence dinner must call 602-276-0601 and mention the dinner. The three course dinner is $45 per person plus tax and tip. The in-house sommelier will pair your dinner with wine for an additional $20.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Taste of Quiessence the restaurant will close for 5 weeks in July & August for research and development.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd St. Phoenix 85042.

Chef + Farmers Market series returns to Hotel Valley Ho

Don’t let this weeks cooler than normal temperatures fool you, the triple digits are coming. When the heat returns many of the Phoenix area farmers markets take the summer off but not at Hotel Valley Ho. Summer is when their Chef + Farmers Market returns indoors at their Sands indoor venue.

Saturday’s from June 22nd – July 13th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. guests can enjoy tastes from local chefs, purchase fresh produce and more goodies from local purveyors. While shopping and tasting enjoy live music and sip on Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s or taste wine and spirits. Valley Ho’s chef Russell Lacasce will provide the tasty bites along with Matt Taylor of Mora Italian and Rene Andrade of Ghost Ranch.

Save room to taste the milkshakes made by contestants of the Battle Freak Shake contest to see who makes the best “Show Stopper” Shake.  The winning shake  will be featured in Augustin Zuzu. All attendees will receive a voucher for 25% off a summer visit to Zuzu.

Each weeks Chef + Farmers Market will have a theme from food to music, here is the schedule.

June 22nd- South of the Border

June 29th- Bada Boom

July 6th- Grillin ‘n’ Chillin

July 13th – Sweet Treats

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

“Hot Brand” awarded to Aridus Wine Co. by Wine Business Monthly

Willcox’s Aridus Wine Company received national recognition in February when Wine Business Monthly named it a “Hot Brand”. The annual list is compiled with wineries, growers, vintners and wines that are making a statement in the wine industry.

“We are enormously honored and thrilled,” said founder/proprietor Scott Dahmer, “to be recognized by this honor, which comes on a national scale and in a field of very distinguished other contenders.”

Wine Business Monthly singled out the 2015 Syrah as part of the profile which was made by winemaker Lisa Strid. The syrah comes from several local vineyards and is usually the first reds to be harvested each year. Strid likes to pioneer new varietals to the area and likes working with the challenging climate of the region.

Part of consideration for the “Hot Brand” award was the growth of the winery and its commitment to offer all “estate sourced” wines. The high elevation winery and vineyards is in Chiricahua Hills appellation of southeastern Arizona.

Hot Brand choice

Erin Kirschenmann, Wine Business Monthly editor, explains that “every year,
when Wine Business Monthly “Our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in non-West Coast, “traditional” winemaking states, or those who might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques.”

The winery was founded in 2012 as a custom crush facility for the regions wineries in what was an old apple warehouse. Aridus is Latin for “dry or arid”  which is what the terroir offers, good for winemaking.

The Aridus Tasting room in Willcox is at 145 N. Railview Ave. the winery is nearby. The old town Scottsdale tasting room is at 7173 E. Main St. 85251. For more information visit their website.

Merkin Vineyards opens its wine bar in downtown Scottsdale

Shelves are stocked, menus have been printed and Merkin Vineyards have opened their wine bar in downtown Scottsdale. The Jerome based winery flipped the “Open” sign Thursday March 14th as the bureaucracy paperwork was complete.

Wines from Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars will be poured their 7 days week. The location has a rich history in the Scottsdale wine community as the tasting room is housed in what was the wine eccentric restaurant FnB and most recently cocktail bar Counter Intuitive.

Merkin Vineyards wines

You’ll find mostly Spanish and Italian varietals poured at the wine bar from high elevation vineyards. Grapes for Merkin and Caduceus wines are grown at the wineries estate vineyards in Verde Valley and Willcox. The vineyards encompass 110 acres and the wines are made by MJ & Jen Keenan, Tim White and Erin Center. All wines are sustainably made.

A small menu of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses are available. The fruits and vegetables are grown at the wineries Verde Valley greenhouse, gardens and orchards. Other Arizona farmers provide for what they don’t grow.

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. It’ s at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251 and you can visit their website for more information.

Myke’s Pizza finds a permanent home in an expanded Cider Corps

If you’ve been to downtown Mesa at night in the last few years you’ve smelt delicious pizza being made. The aromas come from Myke Olsen of Myke’s Pizza, the pop-up who will soon have a permanent home inside Cider Corps. It’s part of Cider Corps expansion to accommodate the growing demand for the its popular ciders.

Myke's Pizza
Photo courtesy of Myke’s Pizza

From pop-up to fast casual at Myke’s Pizza

Myke’s pop-up is outside of Cider Corps and before was around the corner on Main St. Myke’s Pizza has received many accolades since he started making pizzas in 2016 with fans making the trip to Mesa.

Making pizza one at a time on a table top oven the new home will allow Myke to make five pizzas at once in the Renato wood-fired oven. Myke has only made pizzas at the pop-up but once the build out is done he will offer side dishes and salads.

Cider Corps expansion

When Cider Corps opened in 2017 brothers Josh and Jason Duren knew they were onto something but didn’t expect they’d need to expand less than two years later. They’re using 2,000 square feet to add a new bottling line fermentation tanks. Until now they’ve only been able to keg ciders and the bottling line will let customers take the ciders home. Bottles will also allow for retail placement on store shelves.

“We’re excited to have the ability to provide our cider not just to craft beverage bars but also to more restaurants and package stores,” said Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

Myke's Pizza
Mango cider Slushie. Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

The new  tanks allow four times more cider to be made and the opportunity to experiment with fermentation styles and techniques. The expansion also includes a new patio along Robson St. that will seat 40 people.

“When we started Cider Corps, we wanted the taproom to be a place where people could gather to honor great sacrifice and discover great cider,” he said. “What we also discovered was an amazing culinary community that’s committed to showing off what’s local to our state.“

The new partnership is what Duren hoped would happen when he opened Cider Corps.

During the build out of Myke’s Pizza will be there Wednesday – Saturday nights and will add Tuesday once completed. When Myke isn’t making pizza Cider Corps will still have food trucks available.

Cider Corps has extended their hours during spring training to stay open later.

The cidery is at 31 S. Robson St. Mesa 85210  and information about Myke’s Pzza can be found on his website.

A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.