Valley bartenders are rolling up their sleeves and getting their shakers ready as Bar Brawl returns to the Jade Bar. The bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts this friendly competition for its fifth year. This year has bartenders from popular valley hotels and bars going head to head.
Set aside Sunday evenings from July 14th – August 25 to see what cocktails the talented bartenders will be creating. Admission is free and open to the public to cheer on their favorite bartender. Executive chef Beau MacMillian and Jade Bar manager Eddie Garcia will co-host the event with celebrity judges deciding who goes on to the seni-finals.
DJ Hybrid will provide music for the evening and food and drinks will be at happy hour prices.
During the four weeks bartenders will compete with winners going on to the semi-finals then the championship. This years bartenders include….
July 14 Michael Testa – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
vs. Tina McDonald – La Bocca North
July 21 Chris Ortega – The Cambyvs. Samantha Hickman – The Windsor
July 28 Miguel Mora – Hotel Adeline vs. Henry Whittaker – The Brickyard Downtown
Aug. 4 Robert Porter – The Phoenician vs. Colton Brock – Ladera Taverna y Cocina
If all classes were like the six offered at Summer Cocktail Camp I would’ve been an “A” student. For six weeks campers will learn the art of cocktail mixing from local mixologists while making cocktails from new recipes. For one Saturday in June and 5 Sunday’s in July and August from 1 – 3 p.m. classes will be held at restaurants around Phoenix.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://summercocktailcamp.com/ and are sold on first come, first serve basis. Last years camp sold out in only a few days. Phoenix Magazine editor Craig Outhier will be camp counselor for each weeks class along with a revolving list of mixologists. Each class is $38 and 2019’s Summer Cocktail Camp will be at…
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, Henry Whittaker of Century Grand and Matt Steward of Undertow are a few of the mixologists pouring cocktails.
Dom Ruggiero of Hush Public House, Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood 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 Baan 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.
The weekend concludes with the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Program, Owning It. The workshop will bring together 60 women who are in the idea or growth phase of a food related business. A few women will pitch local investors for funding for their project and all will learn how to advance in the culinary industry.
If you haven’t made your way to Mora Italian yet like me, their new happy hour menu might convince you to head there today. Monday – Friday from 4-6 p.m. you can save some dough on pork ribs, veal meatballs, salumi & cheese and more.
For $20 choose from combos including a Rimini pizza or Salumi Board with a bottle of rose or a carafe of an Aperol Spritz.
Cocktails are also included on the new menu including Sangria & Aperol Spritz for $5, an Americano for $7 and more.
Mora Italian new summer dishes
Celebrity chef & restaurateur lends his culinary creativity to Mora Italian and is showcased in three new dishes for summer. Chef Matt Taylor and his team execute the menus in the kitchen. These new dishes are perfect for lighter and cooler summer dining.
Artichoke Soup with truffle, Parmesan bread and pignoli.
10 oz. Prime Niman Ranch NY Strip with charred potato panzanella and grilled ramp vinaigrette.
Roasted Summer Squash with smoked yogurt, Feta and neonata.
The Phoenix restaurant offers guests a modern osteria experience with Neopolitan pizzas, pasta dishes, satisfying entrees and delicious desserts. Progressive cocktails and a wine list round out the experience.
Mora Italian is at 5651 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014. (602)795-9943
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
Connoisseurs of gin make their way to Phoenix in April as the 5th Annual GinWorld sets up shop. During “Gin Week Phoenix” restaurants and bars around Phoenix and Scottsdale will host seminars, tastings and competitions from April 22nd-28th.
“Phoenix is the perfect location to bring our Gin Week festivities,” says Natasha Bahrami, founder of GinWorld and Gin Week events, which has roots in St. Louis, Missouri. “The people, the culture and let’s not forget the weather, are primed for exactly this type of event that celebrates the spirit and spectrum of gin while bringing people together in a fun and engaging environment.”
“Gin Week” kicks off at Bitters Bar in Scottsdale for the “Campari Loves Gin” competition. “Campari Loves Gin” is open to anybody 21 and over and bartenders must be working in a Phoenix area bar/restaurant. Four recipes must be submitted by April 15th on-line at http://ginworld.com/ and must use Campari and sponsored spirits and modifiers. Winning recipe entrants will be invited to the live cocktail competition on April 22nd. Cocktails will be judged on aroma, appearance, balance of ingredients and overall presentation.
Gin Week cocktail specials will be available at Bitters Bar, Blue Clover Distillery, Monroe Bar and Unexpected Art Gallery.
Gin Week ends on April 28th with a Gin Week Festival at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Over a 100 gins will be represented at the festival and attendees can check out educational seminars, meet with distillers and taste the gins. Guest will be able to enjoy the Bloody Mary Bar and Perfect Serve Gin Tonic Bar. Tickets for the festival are $55 and can be purchased on-line.
A recent post announced the Arizona Tiki Oasis weekend, they have now added a kick-off happy hour Hula’s Modern Tiki in Scottsdale. The Tiki Time Happy Hour starts at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday April 11th. The public is welcome to join tiki fans who are calling Scottsdale and Hotel Valley Ho home for the weekend.
Guests will enjoy $6 Signature Tropical Cocktails, $6 Island- style starters and more until 6:00 p.m. It will be the first opportunity for guests to purchase Arizona Tiki Oasis collectible souvenirs and merchandise.
Tiki fans in Phoenix can take advantage of Hula’s Tiki Time Happy Hour at their location on 7th St. The Phoenix location is not hosting the event.
For one weekend in April tiki culture takes over Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho when Arizona Tiki Oasis comes to town. The three-day Polynesian lifestyle event offers seminars, live music, art, cocktails and food April 12-14th. Tiki Oasis started in Palm Springs as a fund-raiser in 2000 before moving to San Diego.
“We are thrilled to introduce Tiki Oasis’ rich and varied history to Scottsdale travelers and locals. Hotel Valley Ho is the ideal location for the largest and longest-running Tiki festival in the world, as the property perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the 1950s that we celebrate through classic Tiki culture.” – Tiki Oasis / AZTO organizers Otto and Baby Doe Stroheim.
Arizona Tiki Oasis events
The Tiki-Tiki-Ho-Ho Luau will kick off the weekend around the OH pool with a traditional pig roast and poke bar. Over 60 international tiki artists will take part in a pop-up art show at the marketplace including Japan’s Mookie Sato and LA’s Josh Angle a.k.a Shag. A pool side fashion show from Fashion by Robert Black is also scheduled.
Over 20 seminars are planned with topics such as History of Tiki Culture in the Southwest and Tropical Drink Mixology. Authors Sven Kirsten, Beachbum Berry and Shannon Mustipher will also make appearances.
At night tiki torches will light up roof top parties and cocktail lounge styled dinners. In between seminars Tikiphiles can lounge around the pool sipping on fruity colorful drinks. Spa treatments will be available at the VH Spa and guests can explore the city with the hotel’s new Insider Mid-Century Tour of Scottsdale.
Tickets are sold a la carte with seminars starting at $10 to an evening hotel pass for $80. Limited tickets for the opening nights luau are $99 until April 12th.
Part of the proceeds from the weekend will go to the Arizona Preservation Foundation. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.
Celebrity chefs, food, wine and sunshine what could be better. Not much for five days in April when the 3rd annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival returns to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. The popular culinary event celebrates food, wine and cocktails with tastings, events, parties and dinners.
Making their return this year will be celebrity chefs Robert Irvine and Todd English along with Jose Garces. They will join local chefs Christopher Gross, Matt Carter, Scott Contant and host Beau MacMillan.
Two exiting new events have been added to this years calendar Wood, Wine & Wagyu and Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox. Below are all the details of all the events scheduled.
Wood, Wine & Wagyu
Hosted by Chef Beau MacMillan, David Rose and Jason Asher; presented by Woodford Reserve and ZD Wines
Wednesday, April 24, 7-10 p.m.; Paradise Views Patio & Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax per person
Nirvana 2019 will kick off with an intimate, sit-down, family-style dinner featuring Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms cooked over a wood fire by local and national chefs. The dinner also includes craft cocktails made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, specialty wines, a Davidoff cigar reception, and live entertainment.
Master of Taste Dinner 1
Hosted by legendary winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer and Top Chef Alum Bruce Kalman
Wednesday, April 24; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability
The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary gatherings that pair top regional and local chefs with a notable winemaker. The first of four such evenings puts the spotlight on Napa’s Tuck Beckstoffer Wines with pioneering winemaker Tuck himself playing host. The dinner experience will be elevated by Sanctuary’s stunning valley views, seen through the dramatic glass walls of Villa Mariposa, one of Sanctuary’s ultra-exclusive private homes.
Bourbon Street Blues
Hosted by Food Network’s Marc Murphy and Dead Rabbit’s Jillian Vose
Thursday, April 25, 7-9 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $135 plus tax per person
This grand New Orleans-style celebration returns for a second year, with guests encouraged to don Mardi Gras-inspired attire while mingling and noshing on an extraordinary spread of food and drinks. Live music will set the beat for guests to dance while the Valley’s top mixologists set the party vibe with inspired cocktail creations.
Master of Taste Dinner 2
Phenom winemaker Jesse Katz pairs up with Chef Dustin Valette
Thursday, April 25; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s second winemaking evening features rising star Jesse Katz, innovative founder of Aperture Cellars from Alexander Valley, California, which focuses on Bordeaux varietals and demonstrates an expression of art both inside the bottle and out, and the highest-rating varietal from California, Devil Proof Vineyards.
Flutes & Coops
Hosted by Todd English and D Vincent Williams and the Nashville All-Stars; presented by Veuve Cliquot
Friday, April 26, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Views Ballroom, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax VIP/ $150 plus tax GA per person
Fried chicken gets fancy during this Champagne-focused soiree, featuring Veuve Clicquot and some of the country’s biggest culinary talent. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite participating chefs and mixologists including Bar Brawl’s Season 2 champion Kiefer Gilbert.
Master of Taste Dinner 3
Hosted by winemakers Dan Kosta and Rich Aurilia with Chef François de Melogue
Friday, April 26, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s third Master of Taste Dinner brings together legendary winemaker Dan Kosta of AldenAlli (Sonoma, California) with former San Francisco Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia, now a partner in Red Stitch Wine Group (Napa Valley, California).
Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox
Chef host Matt Carter welcomes celebrity mixologist Jillian Vose, Jason Asher and Micah Olsen with top chef Bruce Kalman
Friday, April 26, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fat Ox, 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale; $125 plus tax per person
Nirvana’s first-ever late-night event will be an exclusive, roped-off, live-DJ affair at one of Scottsdale’s sexiest restaurants. Fat Ox chef Matt Carter and mixologist Jillian Vose, formerly of Sanctuary’s own jade bar and now owner of New York City’s hottest cocktail bar, The Dead Rabbit, will headline the see-and-be-seen party. Guests will rub shoulders with the best of Nirvana’s celebrity chefs and local mixologists, including Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow and former GQ Bombay Sapphire’s “most inspired bartender”.
Celebrity Golf Tournament
Hosted by The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella
Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m. registration and 9 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $$400 per player
Neighboring Mountain Shadows’ Short Course will play host to Nirvana’s hugely popular celebrity golf tournament, hosted by Matt Ginella of The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Famous faces from the worlds of sports, food and drink will pair up with foursomes for a day on the greens geared towards fun, including delectable small bites, a luncheon buffet and beverages.
Rosé Parté at Wrigley Mansion
Wrigley Mansion’s Chefs Christopher Gross and Jamie Hormel welcome celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Lindsay Autry, mixologist Libby Lingua, the Bella Twins and musical guests The Potash Twins
Saturday, April 27, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wrigley Mansion, 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix; $150 plus tax per person
The rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, returning to Nirvana by popular demand, this time to Phoenix’s storied and elegant iconic mansion, Wrigley Mansion. Also returning to the Nirvana scene are The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie Bella of WWE fame, stars of E! Network’s Total Bellas, and the inspiration behind Belle Radici wines. Guests will enjoy fabulous pairings of rosé and fine food while exploring the historic environs.
Best of the West
Hosted by Chef Scott Conant and celebrity mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim
Saturday, April 27, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $250 plus tax VIP/$175 plus tax GA per person
The West’s most beloved Arizona chefs will gather for an evening send-off, celebrating Nirvana 2019 with a spectacular walk-around tasting event and an incredible variety of wines. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.
Master of Taste Dinner 4
Hosted by Tim Martin of Tusk Wines
Saturday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s final Master of Taste Dinner spotlights winemaker Tim Martin, founder of Napa’s luxury wine brands Tusk Estates, Immortal Estate and Belle Radici. Tim joins Arizona legends Chuck Wiley, Mark Tarbell, Vincent Guerithault, and Alex Stratta for this amazing night of food, wine and special music guests.
Tequila & Tortillas
Hosted by Iron Chef Jose Garces and renowned artist Genero Garcia
Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $150 plus tax per person
¡Salud! Tequila is the star of Nirvana’s farewell brunch featuring Southwestern specialties and the best of the blue agave plant. Live music makes it a fiesta to remember as Nirvana bids adios to its 2019 showcase.
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.”