As I type Ocean 44 Chief Executive Chef Marc Lupino is on his way back to Scottsdale after a quick fishing trip to Alaska. Lupino left Wednesday for Cordova to fish the Copper River for King Salmon before the fishing season opens for commercial fishing.
This unique opportunity has Lupino and a small group of people fishing Thursday into Friday before returning to Scottsdale. Once he returns he will prepare the fish for guests Friday evening. It doesn’t get much fresher than that, especially for a restaurant so far from the Copper River.
Once in the kitchen the fish will be braised in spring water, butter and lemon. Can’t make it in tonight, the fish will be on the menu in coming weeks as more fish are caught.
Celebrating the Copper River King Salmon
This annual event as the fishing season opens has restaurants anticipating the arrival of this rich and flavorful fish. Restaurants in Seattle celebrate it’s arrival as Alaska Airlines delivers thousands of pounds of the fish Friday morning.
The airline’s “Salmon Thirty Salmon” even displays a 129 foot image of the wild caught salmon.
2019 is expected to be better than 2018 for the salmon harvest.
Ocean 44 is at 4748 N. Goldwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251.
Diana Brandt a.k.a Arizona Foodie is looking to blow your mind with “Smoked”, her food event on March 23rd. Bringing together local chefs and creative cocktails she wants people to hang out and enjoy what the local culinary scene has to offer.
“I wanted to create an event that captures the quality and talent of the Arizona Food scene but also keep it very intimate,” says Brandt. “There’s something primal about cooking with fire and it’ll be really cool for the guests to interact with the Chefs and watch them as they prepare distinctive dishes. It’s going to be lit. You will be amazed how creative these Chefs will get. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!”
Chefs will be left to create whatever dishes they want as long as there is an element of smoke. Expect to taste dishes from these chefs scheduled to participate.
Matt Carter from The Mission, Zinc Bistro and Fat Ox
Stephen Jones from The Larder + The Delta
Aaron May from Malibu Burger, The Goodwood Tavern, The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen and Over Easy
Jason Alford of Bulthaup Az
Walter Sterling from Ocotillo
Alex Levine from Starlite BBQ
Adam Allison of Handlebar Diner
Chef Dell from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Chef Paulo from Obon Sushi Bar Ramen
Justine Dachel of Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe
Ketel One, Seagram’s, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker and Union Mezcal are sponsoring the event and guests will be able to sip on their creative cocktails in the Bulleit Smoked Lounge.
They won’t just be creating cocktails but their own brand experience. Wander over to the Seagram’s Airstream trailer with a photo booth and dry ice cocktails. Ketel One Botanicals will decorate their space with fresh flowers and guests can created their own smoked candles. Johnnie Walker and Union will create their own fun experiences too.
“I truly want the Smoked experience to be available to everyone. So I’m keeping this upscale event affordable so the ticket price doesn’t kill the budget,” says Brandt. “I’m hoping that this event will show many of the people that follow me how amazing our food scene is and get them out of their routines and into these restaurants.”
You probably tasted dishes Sacha Levine has prepared at restaurants FnB, Rancho Pinot Grille and Ocotillo and never knew it. Sacha is one of the most respected chefs in the Phoenix restaurant community that many have never heard of, until recently.
Levine runs the kitchen at Singh Meadows Cafe in Tempe where her locally sourced dishes available Friday, Saturday & Sunday’s from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“I have been a huge proponent of local, seasonal, and vegetable-driven food for the bulk of my career,” said Levine. “Preservation has always been a staple for me. We keep the larder stocked with pickles, sauces, and ferments that are sold in the market as well as used in the kitchen.”
Dishes from Sacha Levine
Working alongside Levine in the kitchen is Carlos Carbajal and Kevin Dragos helping to prepare breakfast and lunch. The menu offers a variety of delicious meal attractive to vegetarians, vegans and those looking for gluten-free options.
When I was there one Saturday morning recently it was hard for me pass up the Smoked Brisket Breakfast sandwich.
All dishes are under $12 and include Kimchi Fried Rice with pork belly, Indian Breakfast Tacos and Huevos Rancheros. Taste of the Meadows offers ricotta, honeycomb, fresh fruit, dates, pistachios and grilled Noble Bread.
On my next visit I’m going to have to try the Jerk Turkey Tacos.
“Cooking at Singh Meadows is a sort of coming home for me,” added Levine. “Working at the farm as a young cook helped to define me in the kitchen today. I am close to the source of what I get most excited about in the kitchen – beautiful, local produce.”
In addition to the fresh flavor of Levine’s menu, Singh Meadows offers fresh pressed and squeezed juices and a coffee bar. Fresh produce from Singh Farms is available as is locally sourced foods.
Scottsdale’s Starfire Grille has introduced new chef Robin Murphy along with a new menu. The restaurant is inside the clubhouse of the Starfire Golf Club in Scottsdale and is part of a $750,000 update at the course.
Chef Murphy bring her passion for food to Starfire and has cooked for Madonna, The Arizona Cardinals and other celebrities.
New additions at Starfire Grille
The biggest addition to the menu are wood fired pizzas cooked in the new wood fired pizza oven. Guests will be able to build their own pizza or order the Tomato & Basil, Meat Lover’s or Everything pizza. All pizzas are just $10- $13.
Because not everybody is a fan of pizza new sandwiches were added including The Italian Meatball and The Batman. Served on Naan bread The Batman is filled with bacon, arugula, mozzarella, tomato and avocado aioli.
“We are so excited to introduce these new menu items, and our new wood fired pizzas,” said Chef Robin Murphy. “At the Starfire Grille we are proud to support local farmers, producers and artisans and everything we serve is made fresh on site with the best ingredients available.”
The Starfire Grille offers Happy Hour and they’ve added clams and mussels to the menu. Sunday Brunch is served from 10 a.m – 1 p.m. and offering brunch favorites on a rotating menu.
Updated golf course
For the golfer’s there is an expanded 300 yard driving range and new course layouts with 5 tee boxes. The changes that are expected to speed up your game and will be attractive to all skill levels. Golfers will notice new landscaping on the 18 hole King Course and still offering a park like setting.
Starfire Golf Club is open daily from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily and is at 11500 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85260. For more information visit their website.
As Phoenix restaurants fill up with New Year’s Eve reservations diners decide where to dine for a final meal of 2018. Mora Italian offers a 4 course prie fixe menu starting at 4 p.m. The Italian influenced menu offers guests a wide range of flavors from Chef Scott Conant and his culinary team. This will be the only dining option at Mora on NYE.
The modern Italian menu is as follows….
First (choice of)
Radicchio & Endives- blood orange, pignoli, black olives
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.
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.
One the heels of the successful opening of The Sicilian Butcher, chef Joey Maggiore and wife Cristina of The Maggiore Group have announced a 2nd location in Chandler. The new location is scheduled to open in December and will be at Primegate at Fashion Center. The Maggiore’s were impressed with modern architecture of Primegate that fits with their classic Italian and modern concept.
“In addition to the incredible location, what really drew me to PRIMEGATE over other possibilities was that the architecture and setting was unlike anything else we’d seen. I thought about how positively that would reflect our brand too,” Maggiore said. “This is a rare project where we have the chance to create a banner location that will generate buzz in the community. We will be able to provide a top-notch neighborhood experience for our customers, whether they are lunching out, dining in or taking out, all in a high-end, high exposure destination.”
The Sicilian Butcher decor
The 4,600 square foot restaurant features roll-up doors that leads to a large outdoor patio for dining and lounge area. Water features and art create a lively and energetic atmosphere for guests stopping in for a drink or staying for a meal.
A signature Build-Your-Cannoli Bar
The Sicilian Butcher in Chandler will be the first to feature a build-your-own cannoli bar in the market. The line forms behind me because cannoli is one of my favorite desserts.
Similarly the northeast Phoenix restaurant is known for its fresh made in-house pastas and charcuterie boards along with craft meatballs. The food at The Sicilian Kitchen combines a modern twist with old world traditions. Guests can expect the same when the new restaurant opens in Chandler.
The restaurant will offer to-go meals and a marketplace and will serve classic Italian wines.
The Sicilian Kitchen is the fourth concept of the family owned Maggiore Group with restaurants in Phoenix & San Diego. The others are Hash Kitchen, Tomaso’s When in Rome and the Phoenix classic Tomaso’s which opened in 1977.
The Sicilian Kitchen at Primegate will be at 3151 W. Frye Rd. Chandler 85226. For more information visit their website.
Class is back in session at Marcellino Ristorante with new themes and recipes for his monthly cooking class. Limited seating is available at the Chef’s Island where Marcellino will share his secrets to making his hand-crafted Italian cuisine.
Class participants will enjoy lunch following class that includes the main dish from the cooking demonstration along with a salad and dessert.
Classes are from 1 p.m. – 3p.m. with the first class starting in 2 weeks. Reservations can be made by calling 480-990-9500.
Saturday, September 22
Cost: $35/per person
Menu: Chef’s fresh pasta and sauce featuring Italian Brocoli di Rape and Salsiccia (sausage)
Saturday, October 20
Cost: $40+/per person
Menu: Ravioli filled with fresh spinach and creamy ricotta cheese
Saturday, November 17
Cost: $40/per person
Menu: Pollo Saporito — humanely raised chicken breast sautéed with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and tomato
Saturday, December 15
Cost: $35/per person
Menu: “Christmas Eve in Italy” featuring Scialatielli alle Vongolle — handcrafted pasta sautéed with Manila clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine and red pepper flakes.
Trapp Haus BBQ owner Phil Johnson celebrates his 6th month anniversary with a party tonight and is offering new specials. Johnson who is also the pitmaster throws a party tonight as the popular First Friday Artwalk happens. Guests celebrate with an all-you-can-eat whole hog roast for $10/adults & $5 for kids. The party with live music starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 or when there is no more hog to eat.
Johnson will be taking his recipes on the road later this month when he heads to Kansas City to compete in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. From there he heads to Milwaukee show what he knows about BBQ with a cooking demonstration and class at the Journal Sentinel Wine & Food Experience.
New specials and offerings are now available until further notice.
Slab Saturday’s– Every Saturday $25 St. Louis Ribs all day long.
Free local Delivery– On-line orders in the downtown Phoenix area from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday Friday.
Weekday Sammitch Specials-$2.00 off any Sammaitch Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Beats, Beer & Q- On Fridays
Trapp Haus BBQ is at 511 E. Roosevelt Phoenix 85004. 602-466-5462. For more information check their website.