Travel and review website TripAdvisor has awarded Rusconi’s American Kitchen with its 5th Certificate of Excellence in a row. With this announcement the popular Phoenix restaurant is now part of TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame.
TripAdvisor awards this prestigious honor to business’s who consistently receive great reviews and a four of five rating.
“We’re extremely proud of have received this accolade for five years running because it really shows that our customers are not only happy with our food and service, but also that they want to share their positive experiences at Rusconi’s with others,” says Michael Rusconi, owner and chef of Rusconi’s. “And now to be part of the TripAdvisors’ Hall of Fame is even more humbling.”
Owner and chef Michael Rusconi opened the restaurant more than five years ago to many local and national accolades. Before opening his own restaurant Rusconi re-invented the menu at Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn. He advocates for sustainable food and his resume includes Mobil 4 Stars and nominations for the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame.
The restaurant is open daily serving lunch Tues. -Fri. along with dinner and brunch on the weekend.
Phoenix is on the map of the James Beard Foundation hot off the recent win by FnB’s Charleen Badman’s for “Best Chef: Southwest”. It’s also on the map for the foundations “Taste America” tour scheduled for September 19th- 21st. Phoenix is one of 20 cities chosen to host the event.
Tickets went on sale this week for the three day event for the cross country culinary experience.
Taste America events
The weekend kicks off on Thursday September 19th with the “Raising the Bar” walk around reception at Seventh and Union. Guests will meet rising star chefs and mixologists while sipping on cocktails and tasting culinary creations. Kyla Dahl of Pigtails Cocktail bar and Matt Steward of Undertow are just a couple of the mixologists in attendance.
Dom Ruggerio of Hush Public House and Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper along with others will show off their culinary talents.
Friday night is the “Gala Benefit Dinner” at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa. The cocktail and tasting reception starts at 7 p.m. with tastes created by local chefs Stephen Jones of The Larder & Delta, Cat Bunnag of Glai Ban and others. Guests will then be treated to a three- course dinner menu created by visiting chef Tiffany Derry of Plano’s Roots Chicken Shack, local all-star Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar and host chef Alexander Robinson.
A dessert reception with Danielle O’Day of Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop and Hollie Layman-Sanders of The Royal Palms ends the night.
A silent and live auction will be held during the evening. A portion of the proceeds from dinner and auctions will go to the foundations scholarship programs.
Saturday will bring a cooking demonstrations by one of the all star chefs. Details are still being worked for this event.
Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.
I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.
Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Proof, An American Canteen
Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.
Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America” along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.
June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade
July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!
August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.
Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)
Huss Arizona Light Lager
Le Cumbre Elevated IPA
The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.
Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil
Queen Creek Olives
Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime
Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds
Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde
Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.
Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries
Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry
Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?
The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262
The family-owned Someburros Mexican eatery continues to grow and has announced their 9th location in Uptown Phoenix. It will be the first location outside the east valley when it opens at 7th St and Camelback. Expected top open later this summer, they will be serving award-winning burritos, tacos, enchiladas and more authentic Mexican food.
The fast casual restaurant will also serve frozen margaritas and draft beers to go with your food.
Co-owner Amy Vasquez is very excited about the Uptown Phoenix location as its where she lives. “It’s been a dream of mine for some time to open a Someburros in my neighborhood,” she said. “We know this community, we love this community and we’re raising our own families in this community, so we can’t wait to build our workforce and fanbase within it.”
When George and Mary Vasquez opened the first Someburros in 1986 they insisted on giving back to the community. Their three children continue this tradition of philanthropy at the current 8 locations. When the new location opens it will partner with local schools as part of their community outreach.
“This is a bustling area, and with so many students, professionals and residents around, fast-casual is always in demand,” said Tim Vasquez, of the decision to open in Uptown Phoenix. “We’ve been thinking about expanding to this area for a while now, but we wanted to wait until we could find the perfect place. Now that we’ve found it, we can’t wait to get the doors open.”
To keep up to date on when the new location will open and to find the other location check out their website.
Arizona restaurants don’t lack for diversity with many ethnic and specialty foods and restaurants available. With fine dining restaurants dwindling Casa Terra will bring vegan fine dining to the forefront when it opens in January 2019. Well known vegan chef and author Jason Wyrick opens Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant in downtown Glendale.
Wyrick’s menu will be plant-based regionally focused Mexican and Mediterranean fare with a fusion twist. His food preparation will include classic and modern cooking techniques offering flavorful meals appealing to all.
According to Wyrick, “I’ve done a lot in my career as a chef, and the one thing that truly inspires me is exploring vegan cuisine and sharing it with people. For the past decade, I’ve had countless requests to open a restaurant. I’ve realized for a while that despite being one of the largest cities in the country with a burgeoning food scene, Phoenix doesn’t have a plant forward fine dining restaurant, and we need one. Casa Terra had to be the next step in my culinary journey.”
The menu at Casa Terra
Wyrick will serve only dinner with his seasonal menu of small plates, wood fired pizzas and sharable entrees. Because of the wide variety of choices Casa Terra offers Wyrick encourages exploring a variety of dishes. The exhibition kitchen will offer guests a glimpse of the food preparation. A few of the dishes include….
· Charred Padrón Peppers: Calabrian chile caramel, candied ginger, sesame seeds, and Aleppo chiles. · Jicama Crudo: escabeche, avocado puree, orange segments, garlic chips, lemon zest, sea salt, and basil-chile oil. · Tapas Tacos: handmade tortillas, pibil mushrooms, shredded smoked seitan, and almond and chile de arbol salsa.
Thin crust wood fired pizza
· Margherita: marinara, mozzarella, local olive oil, local basil and cracked pepper. · Salted Agave and Local Apple: fleur de sel, Aleppo chile, salted ricotta, pomegranate seeds, and herbs. · Carnitas with Mojo Pepita Sauce: almond queso fresco ricotta, tequila shallots, and chile threads.
· Smoked Mushroom Cazuela: trumpet and oyster mushrooms in a cazuela, arroz, split peas, apples, garlic chips, cippolini pico and mole amarillo. · Saffron Chorizo Risotto: Nicoise olives, stewed peppers, asparagus, gold leaf, yerba buena. · Housemade Gnocchi: sweet potato, Merguez sausage, and preserved lemon pesto.
· Coconut Flan with Mezcal-Apricot Preserves: citrus zest, mole negro and candied pine nuts. · House Churros: piloncillo cajeta, spicy pecans, and bourbon-vanilla ice cream. · Mexican Chocolate Torte: espresso ganache, gold leaf, spiked cream and raspberry coulis.
Fun and creative cocktails will be offered as will a thoughtfully prepared wine list for pairing with your meal.
Casa Terra will be open Sun. – Thurs. from 4-9 p.m. and Fri. & Sat. from 4-11 p.m. and will be at 6835 N. 58th Dr. Glendale 85301. (623)680-7468. For more visit their website.
Whether you’re ready or not the holidays are here and if you prefer to shop til you drop and leave the cooking to someone else you’re not alone. Tanzy Restaurant at the Scottsdale Quarter is ready to serve you and your family whether it’s Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
3 days of Christmas at Tanzy Restaurant
James Beard award-winning chef Sherry Yard is preparing a 4 course tasting menu starting Sunday Dec. 23rd through Christmas Day. The menu includes Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi, Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad and Herb Crusted Prime Rib. Your meal ends with a “Concord Cake”, a trio of mousse, cake and meringue with a caramelized Apple Tart Tatin. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice there’s a special gift from chef Yard.
There is a vegetarian option that substitutes maple glazed butternut squash for the prime rib.
Cost for the meal is $68 per person with an optional $30 wine pairing available. Children 12 & under are $20 and iPic Access Members pay $58. The vegetarian option is also $58.
5 courses on New Year’s Eve
Ring in 2019 with a 5-course dinner and live music starting at 5 p.m. Dinner goes past midnight and includes Ossteria Caviar, Tanzy Roasted Beet & Burrata, Grilled Lamb Chops with Seared Scallops followed by Raspberry & Vanilla Baked Alaska.
Prefer a vegetarian meal, opt for the Tempura Wild Mushroom and Black Truffle Risotto.
A complimentary glass of champagne is included with your $95 per person dinner. The optional wine pairing is an additional $35 and iPic Access members and vegetarian option is $85.
Afterwards stroll over to the iPic Theater next door for a relaxing movie to end your evening.
To make your Christmas or New Year’s Eve reservations at Tanzy Restaurant call (480)483-3255 or visit their website.
Tanzy Restaurant and the Scottsdale Quarter are at 15257 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85254.
Discussions about pizza and who makes “The Best” is part of the pizza culture. When a new list comes out we all scan it to see if we’ve been to any and if we agree. I know I’ve got my opinions and favorites. Phoenix does have a pretty good if not great reputation for its pizza community. Most often we think of Chris Bianco and his Pizzeria Bianco’s when we think of great pizza in Phoenix. Chris laid the foundation for pizza in Phoenix with its reputation for tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes. It should come as no surprise that other pizzerias have opened following the Bianco brick oven model and have garnered national respect in the pizza community. Pomo Pizzeria in downtown Phoenix (a few blocks from Bianco) is the only Arizona pizzeria to make BuzzFeed’s The 25 Best Pizzerias in America.
Pomo came in at #14 on the list voted on by guests. The Principe pizza is featured on BuzzFeed list but the pizzeria considers The Diavola as their signature pizza. The Diavola has tomato sauce, spicy salame, mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Pomo uses fresh ingredients and uses traditional pizza making techniques going back hundreds of years to Naples.
I’d agree, when I’ve visited any Pomo location I’ve always enjoyed their pizzas, I just need to get there more often.
Pomo Pizzeria has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Phoenix. For more information visit their website.
Just back from northern Italy executive chef & co-owner Matt Carter is wasting no time showing off his bounty. It’s truffle season and Carter’s putting together an Italian inspired dinner using the white and black treasures.
The dinners will be on a special menu from Thurs. Nov. 8th – 11th. The rustic Italian dinner will take Carter back to his recent expedition in the Italian countryside.
Carbonara Tajarin with white truffle, Parmesan, pancetta
Wild Salmon with black truffle, salsify, Meyer lemon, mushroom crumble
Fior de Latte Gelato with fresh-shaved white truffle
Add to any entrée (market price)
For more information or to make a reservation call 480-307-6900 or visit www.IloveFatOx.com
Fat Ox is at 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253.
There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.
I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.
He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.
Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.
Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.
After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.
Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.
The meats at Naked BBQ
The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.
Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.
Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.
Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).
Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.
Sauce it up
If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.
If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.
Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.
Don’t make any plans for the week of February 17th-24th 2019 until you’ve bought your tickets to Devour Culinary Classic. Named by the New York Times as the Best Culinary Festival in the Southwest DCC returns to the Desert Botanical Garden for its 10th anniversary.
“Our main objective is to support the development and promotion of the culinary and extended local food community and culture in Arizona, bringing deserved local and national attention to our state’s food scene,” said Thomas Barr, Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Ten years later after this event started, we can really see the effect it has had on building Phoenix and Arizona as a culinary destination.”
Like in previous years culinary events are planned during the week leading up to the two-day event. The week kicks off on Sunday the 17th with Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Location and times are not yet confirmed.
On Thursday the 21st is Devour the World at the Japanese Public Garden in downtown Phoenix. From 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. guests will enjoy the international flavors of Phoenix. The line-up of local chefs is still being planned. $75
The weekend at Desert Botanical Gardens
With locals chefs such as James Porter chef/owner of Terra farm + manor, Tamara Stanger chef at Cotton & Copper will be there as will headliner Silvana Salcido Esparanza. Esparanza is owner/chef of Barrio Cafe and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
“Does it get any better than strolling through the magnificent Southwest landscape, noshing on deliciously crafted small plates while sipping Arizona wines under the springtime desert sun? Not to me, or to the thousands of enthusiastic attendees who sell out Devour year after year,” said Howard Seftel, renowned and retired Arizona food critic who has attended the Devour Culinary Classic over the last decade.
The full line-up of chefs and restaurants is still being finalized for the two-day event.