Casa Terra will be Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant

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.

Shishito peppers

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.

Purple Sweet Potato. All photos courtesy of Ampersand PR

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….

Appetizers

·      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.

Hearty entrees

·      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.

Desserts

·      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.

Jicama Crudo

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.

Tanzy Restaurant to serve Christmas and New Year’s Eve dinners

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.

Pomo Pizzeria named in BuzzFeed’s 25 Best Pizzerias in America

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.

Fat Ox offers a truffle filled weekend in the Italian countryside, kind of.

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

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Wild Salmon with black truffle, salsify, Meyer lemon, mushroom crumble

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Fior de Latte Gelato with fresh-shaved white truffle

Or

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.

 

 

 

 

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

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.

Naked BBQ

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.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

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.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

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.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

Local chefs celebrate Devour Culinary Classic’s 10th anniversary

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.”

culinary
Photos courtesy of Devoured

Culinary events

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.

Ticket sales and packages

General admission tickets go on-sale on Monday Nov. 9th at https://classic.devourphoenix.com/tickets

Tickets for 1 day are $105 and include all service fees. A new two-day VIP ticket package is $205 with entrance allowed 90 minutes early.

More details will become available in coming months on their website.

2018 AZ Central Wine & Food experience welcomes Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

Over 60 Arizona restaurants and their chefs return November 3rd & 4th for the 4th annual AZ Central Wine & Food Experience. The 2018 experience moves up the road to Monterra at Westworld and includes celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.

Marcus Samuelsson
All photos courtesy of FleurCom Group

The Martha Stewart Experience returns

AZWFE welcomes back The Martha Stewart Experience with a Celebrating with Martha theme for guests to get creative just in time for the holidays. You’ll be able to check out Martha’s newest line of kitchen gear and utensils from Macy’s and QVC.

New to this years event is the The Grateful House where guests can make their own salsa and wine charms. Their will be Master Demo lead by a Grateful Influencer to 40 people on a first come first serve basis.

Join Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

On Saturday award-winning chef Marcus Samuelesson will join the festivities along with local chefs. Sunday welcomes chef and Food Network judge Aaron Sanchez who will mix and mingle with guest and more local chefs.

Chefs from across the valley including Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, Jennifer Russo of The Market by Jennifer Restaurant and Bar and MATCH Restaurant and Lounge chef Alex Stratta will prepare tastes of food.

Get your tickets

Tickets for the two day event are available at their website.

  • Grand Tasting.  $65 limited time offer in advance. Sample delicious bites from Arizona’s most coveted dining establishments. Meet chefs, taste their creations; see cooking demonstrations.  Plus enjoy fine wine, craft beer and distinctive spirits sampling. GT entry at 1pm Sat. and Sun.
  • VIP Grand Tasting. $120 in advance.  For guests who seek all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, they’ll also enjoy private tastings from wineries and distillers, early entry, a VIP Lounge and VIP restrooms. VIP Entry at noon.
  • Chef’s Package Experience with Marcus Samulesson & Aarón Sánchez.  $180 in advance. Enjoy all the benefits of the VIP Grand Tasting, PLUS private meet and greet and book-signing with Marcus Samuelsson Nov. 3 & Aarón Sánchez Nov. 4 [Advance purchase recommended. Tickets subject to sellout.] Chef’s Package begins at 11:30am. Subscribers are eligible for $15 off tickets, available only through azcentral.com/insider.