“Battle Freak Shake” invites you to build your Show Stopper Shake

Ever want to have one of your homemade culinary creations on the menu at your favorite restaurant? Now’s your chance as you have until May 1st to submit your best milkshake recipe to Hotel Valley Ho’s “Battle Freak Shake” contest.

Once submitted online the Zuzu culinary team will review recipes & ingredients before picking the finalists on June 1st. The finalist will make their milk shake for them and the top shakes will go to “Battle Freak Shake”. The winner will….Have their shake featured as the Showstopper Shake in August, 3 night stay at hotel w/ upgraded guest room, Dinner for 2 at Zuzu and 2 90-minute VH Spa treatments. And of course bragging rights.

3 shakes will be featured at each of the hotel’s Chef + Farmer’s Market events. Guests and chef judges will vote for a winner who goes to the final market event of the summer to be crowned the winning shake.

Get fried on 4/20 at Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival

I know what the organizers were smoking when they were planning the first annual Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival. The 4/20 food festival will be at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Fried is from the food festival folks behind the Downtown Donut Festival and Phoenix Pizza Festival.

Phoenix restaurants and food trucks have signed up to create out of this world french fries for only $2-$3. Larger “Sharing” sizes will be available as well. Fries topped with chorizo, lobster and kimchee are just a few of the toppings I’ve heard about.

Festival goers will enjoy French fries from the likes of The Dressing Room, Trapp Haus BBQ and Hibachibot. Make sure you find your way to Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon’s for their Bolognese fries before they sell out. I’ve had them and their delicious.

All fries will be fried in oil from SK Oil Sales, the local fryer oil specialist. I did not know there was such a thing.

Live music from 6 bands including Weird Radicals, Fairy Bones and Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold will entertain the crowd. DJ’s Stoneypie, Reverse Cowboy and Maintenance will be mixing it up too.

Fry fanatics are invited to ride their bikes to the festival and have them valeted by Phoenix Spokes People. Gracie’s Tax Bar will be preparing cocktails along with craft beers and Jarritos sodas.

Fried will benefit Downtown Phoenix Inc. that helps to promote the downtown community.

Tickets for Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival are $15 on only available on-line.  The festival goes from 2-10 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Save the date: Arizona Restaurant Week is 2 months away

It’s hard to believe we’re closer to the end of our busy season here in Phoenix than the beginning. In the next month spring training fans and winter visitors will head home to wait out the hot Arizona spring and summer. Restaurants will cut back their hours of operation and food festivals will go on hiatus for a few months. Don’t worry foodies we still have 10 days in May of Arizona Restaurant Week to look forward to. Save the date of Friday May 17th – Sunday May 26th and make your reservations soon.

save the date
Oysters at Buck & Rider

Arizona Restaurant Week is when many local restaurants entice new and returning customers with unique 3 course prix-fixe tasting menus for $33 or $44. It’s a great reason to visit a new restaurant or favorite one.

“Arizona Restaurant Week has become one of the most popular dining events in the state,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO, Steve Chucri. “We are proud to have a hand in sharing our state’s culinary chops with residents and visitors alike, and give our local restaurants a platform to showcase their amazing talents through a fun and creative outlet.”

Many Phoenix restaurants participate as well as restaurants from around the state including Tucson and Flagstaff. Restaurants are being added daily to the list as are their menus being submitted. Here is a short list of a restaurants participating.

Prado

Elements

Hearth 61

Mother Bunch Brewing Co.

Roaring Fork

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

The Melting Pot

Four Peaks Brewing Company

Dorian

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

The Canal Club

Buck & Rider

Save the date
Dessert at Dorian

If you’re a long-range planner save the date of September 20th – 29th 2019 as Fall Arizona Restaurant Week has been announced.

To keep up to date of restaurants and their menus visit http://arizonarestaurantweek.com/

Arizona Tiki Oasis kicks off the weekend at Hula’s Modern Tiki

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.

Photos courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

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.

Hula’s Modern Tiki is at 7213 E. 1st Ave. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge returns April 13th

Do your friends and family tell you that you make delicious salsa or margaritas? If so then you may want to enter My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge or the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off. All entrants have until March 20th to to sign up for the April 13th event at Sloan Field in Mesa.

Not only could you win money with the best recipe but you’ll help to raise money for the Arizona Hemophilia Association. This is the 35th annual fundraiser for the organization.

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Anybody can win a piece of the $3,500 in prizes awarded to winner, first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up by the judges. You also have the chance to win Arizona Diamondbacks tickets. Individuals, non-profits and restaurants/business will compete for the winning salsa in three categories…Hot, Mild and Anything Goes.

Professional and celebrity judges will pick the winners in a double-blind tastings based on color, taste, after taste and more.

My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off

At 12:30 bartenders from across the area will shake things up to win the $500 grand prize for best margarita. Audience members can bid on the winning margaritas with proceeds going to the hemophilia association. They will also be able to bid on vacation packages, sports memorabilia and more.

To enter the contest go to https://salsachallenge.com/contestants/

During the 8 hour event their will be live music, a kid’s zone, a 5K run and more festivities.

The festival starts at 10 a.m. at Sloan Park 2330 E. Rio Salaldo Pkwy in Mesa. For more information and to purchase tickets head to their website

 

Nirvana Food & Wine Festival grows to five exciting days

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 Food & Wine
Bella Twins. Photo courtesy of Jaime Scalici

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.

Nirvana tickets and resort packages

Because of the popularity of the event tickets will sell out and can be purchased at https://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/. Sanctuary Resort is offering several Nirvana packages and can be booked at https://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/nirvana-2019-packages/

“Smoked” to feature local chefs & cocktails at unique food event

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!”

Smoked foods

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

Smoked Cocktails

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.

Purchasing tickets

“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.”

This is at 21+ over event. Tickets for the event are sure to sell out and are available at https://www.arizonafoodiemag.com/events/smoked-hosted-by-arizona-foodie . Tickets are $35 and get all food and drink samples with entry at 1 p.m. VIP tickets are $50 and gain entry at 12:00.

Smoked will be at Ocotillo Restaurant at 3243 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85012.

A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch launches Five C’s Supper Series

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of The Grand Canyon becoming part of The National Park Service. February is the month in which Arizona became a state and The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is celebrating both with a new Five C’s Dinner Series.

Brick chicken with Oyster Mushrooms. All photos by Debby Wolvos

On Feb. 21, March 28, April 25, May 30 and June 20 the resorts signature restaurant, Kitchen West will prepare unique 3-course menu. Each dinner will celebrate each of the five C’s that Arizona is known for Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton and Climate. The family style dinners are inspired by Arizona’s roots and southwestern cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Rick Dupere.

Western style cooking techniques including searing in cast iron skillet over a wood fire will give meats bold and hearty flavors. Guests will dine on citrus salads, butcher boards followed by entrees that include rib-eyes, sea bass, roasts and more. Seasonal and locally sourced ingredients will be used if available. Here are the  complete menu’s for all five dinners.

The Blueberry Maude Mule

Each dinner is $85 per person plus a 20% gratuity and taxes. Each dinner will start with a cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. with appetizers and Arizona wines. Dinner will follow at 6:30 and will be paired wine or a cocktail.

With limited seating reservations are required and can be made by calling Angelica at 480-596-7525.

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
Braised Short Ribs

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is at 7700 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale 85258.

Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.