Category Archives: Food and Wine

Rancho Pinot celebrates 25 years with throwback dinner series

Most of us don’t know what we’re doing 6 days from now let alone 6 months from now but in this case advanced planning is needed. Scottsdale’s Rancho Pinot celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year and is celebrating with 4 Throwback dinners as owner Chrysa Robertson invites her mentors and those she’s mentored to help re-create meals from the past.Rancho Pinot

The dinners will take place over 4 weeks in November.

Rancho Pinot has been serving customers farm to table meals using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients long before it was cool and Robertson helped start the first Phoenix chapter of Slow Food International.

What does she attribute to surviving 25 years with the ups and downs of owning a restaurant?

“My tightknit family taught me to appreciate and love food early on,” said Robertson. “I’ve always believed that in addition to food, it’s about hospitality. I could never do what I do without the support and talent of all the people – my family – who work with me. When guests come to Rancho Pinot, they’re coming to my home. I want my guests to feel good, taken care of and to have a civilized dining experience.”

Rancho Pinot Throwback dinners

Chrysa honed her kitchen skills in California before returning to Arizona to open Rancho Pinot in 1993. The dinners pay homage to those who inspired her and whom she’s inspired including FnB chef/owner Charleen Badman and Sacha Levine who’s opening her own restaurant.

The wine will be flowing as Rancho Pinot strolls down memory lane with theses weekly dinners.

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Girls Night

A dinner featuring several of Chef Robertson’s counterparts at Rancho over the years, including Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Sacha Levine formerly of Ocotillo Restaurant, Michelle Mango of Mango Cakes, Shannon Plowman of La Vie in Pinetop and Wendy Lair, a personal chef in Northern California.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Wine Night

A nod to Master Sommeliers, Wine Night features two Rancho Pinot alums, MS Bobby Stuckey and MS Christopher Tanghe, as they work the floor, pouring special bottles paired with an equally extravagant menu.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 Southern California Days

Mentor and inspiration, Nancy Silverton – currently Mozza and Chi Spaca in LA – formerly of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, joins friend Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA, to remember Chef Robertson’s time working in Los Angeles in 1990 with a fun and collaborative menu.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 Northern California Days
Celebrating Chef Robertson’s Napa Valley experience with Terra Restaurant’s Chef Hiro Sone and former sous chef, Jim Neal, this evening brings the famed flavors of Napa Valley to the Sonoran Desert for a can’t-miss culinary dinner event.

Starting in October you can RSVP by calling Rancho Pinot at 480-367-8030 or email to ranchopinot@hotmail.com

Rancho Pinot is at 6208 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250. For more information see their website.

Stephanie Izard and Aaron Sanchez headline Nirvana Food & Wine

Update: WWE superstars The Bella Twins will be co-hosting the Rose Parte. Nikki & Brie Bella will join chef Todd English for this Saturday afternoon event. Details below!

A  Master of Taste C dinner has been added and  welcomes actor and winemaker Kurt Russell and his Gogi wines from Santa Ynez Valley. A special line up of chefs will create a menu based on Russell’s library of films including Alex Stratta, Bradford Thompson, Ana Graza, Francois DeMelogue and Sanctuary’s own Beau McMillan.

The dinner at a private Paradise Valley residence is priced at $500 per person with limited seating available. The dinner will be Saturday April 21st from 7-10 p.m.

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Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts the return of Nirvana bringing together celebrity chefs, local mixologists and California winemakers. Guests will enjoy  4 days of fine dining, mix and mingling with chefs Stephanie Izard and other events at the luxurious mountainside resort from April 19th – 22nd.

Resort executive chef Beau MacMillan will welcome back chefs Scott Contant and Todd English along with Aaron Sanchez and Chuck Hughes for the second year of this event highly anticipated event.

“Scottsdale is an emerging hotbed for culinary expression, and Sanctuary is the ideal backdrop to bring together the nation’s top talent. We look forward to building on our community’s passion for fine food and drink during this second installment of Nirvana,” said Michael Surguine, Sanctuary’s vice president and managing director.

Nirvana 2018

8 events are planned over the four days including dinners, tastings and a golf tournament. Below are the details of the days events.

Bourbon Street Blues

Hosted by mixologist Jason Asher; presented by Bulleit Bourbon

Thursday, April 19, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $150 per person.

Nirvana will kick off with a grand New Orleans-style festival, complete with a dazzling array of food and drinks. Live jazz will set a Mardi Gras mood featuring the Valley’s top mixologists. Guest are encouraged to dress in their best masquerade attire. Participating mixologists include Jason Asher, Brian Blevins, Maxton Kennedy, Bobby Kramer, Eric Wilson, and Libby Longlott. Chefs are Paul Boehmer, Audrey Enriquez, George Frasher, Brian Lieske, Beau MacMillan, Landon Post, and Lenard Rubin.

Master of Taste Dinner A

Hosted by chefs Matt Carter and Mark Stark; winemakers Rich Aurilia and Dan Kosta

Thursday, April 19; 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary experiences pairing top chefs from the Scottsdale area and California’s Sonoma County with a notable winemaker. The first of two such evenings will showcase the fine vintages of Napa’s Red Stitch Wines with owner Rich Aurilia, a former San Francisco Giants shortstop, and his wine mentor Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne. This very special event will be hosted at one of Sanctuary’s most luxurious private estate homes. Casa Seven’s dramatic glass wall affords dinner attendees a spectacular view of the valley below.

 Flutes & Coops

Hosted by chefs Stephanie Izard and Chuck Hughes, presented by Möet & Chandon and Woodford Reserve

Friday, April 20, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Sanctuary Ballroom and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/ $150 GA per person

Fried chicken and Champagne prove to be an inspired pairing as an all-star line-up of local chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes, fine bubbly and live music thanks to American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville All-stars. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite chef. Participating chefs and mixologists include Lindsay Autry, Jacob Cutino, Rochelle Daniel, Michael DeMaria, Eddie Diaz, Ron Dimas, Jacob Ellis, Stephen Jones, James Garron, Kiefer Gilbert, and Bernie Kantak.

Master of Taste Dinner B

Hosted by chefs Dustin Valette and Christopher Gross; winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer

Friday, April 20, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s second winemaker evening puts the spotlight on pioneering Napa vintner Tuck Beckstoffer and his eponymous Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. This intimate dinner will be hosted at Casa Seven, one of Sanctuary’s glorious private estate homes.

Celebrity Golf Tournament

Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. registration and 8:45 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $2,000 per foursome

Golf enthusiasts can tee off their day on Mountain Shadows, one of Phoenix’s premiere courses, with Nirvana’s fun-filled celebrity tournament. Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef (including Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan), star mixologist or notable sports figure, with plenty of food, beer, wine and spirits on hand to fuel an unforgettable round.

 Rosé Parté

Hosted by chef Todd English

Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; $135 per person

A refreshing alternative for those who prefer pink to golf course green, this new-to-Nirvana event will pair fine bites with fashionable rosé against a backdrop of spectacular desert views.

Best of the West

Hosted by chef Scott Conant (Mora Italian) and mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim

Saturday, April 21, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/$150 GA per person

Nirvana’s closing night will bring together the best chefs in the West for a grand finale-worthy walk-around tasting that will take guests to indoor and outdoor settings throughout the resort. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs, including Justin Beckett, Cullen Campbell, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Russell LaCasce, Branden Levine, Gio Osso, Jeremy Pacheco, James Porter, Joseph Rodger, Caleb Schiff, Matthew Taylor, and Chuck Wiley.

Tequila & Tortillas

Hosted by chef Aarón Sánchez and mixologist Maxton Kennedy

Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $135 per person

Because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Nirvana’s Southwestern-style show-stopping farewell brunch promises tequila, tequila and more tequila. Festival-goers can shake off the sleep with palate-wakening Mexican specialties and live music to celebrate their final morning in paradise. Participating chefs: Rene Andrade, Jason Asher, Lee Hilson, Beau MacMillan, Aaron May, Julio Mata, Peter McQuaid, Doug Robson, Lenard Rubin, Samantha Sanz, Ana Garza and Suny Santana.

Ticket packages and purchase

There are several ticket packages available whether you want the full Nirvana Experience or pick and choose which events time permits. Resort packages are also available with more information and to purchase tickets at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/

Paul Hobbs Crossbarn wines poured at Mowry & Cotton dinner

The Phoenician’s newest restaurant Mowry & Cotton pairs California wines from acclaimed winemaker Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Winery this Friday March 23rd.

The dinner comes on the heels of Mowry & Cotton’s first “Meet at Mowry” social dining series. The community dining styled dinner will feature a reception and 3-course dinner paired with 5 wines from Napa &  Sonoma counties. Director of Winemaking Greg Urmini is the evening’s special invitee and will make his way to each table to speak about the wines and winery.

Mowry & Cotton menu with Paul Hobbs wines

The dinner will feature locally sourced vegetables, fresh game and a variety of seasonal ingredients paired with wines that will compliment the meal. The reception is called for 6:30 p.m. with dinner to start at 7.

TABLE                                                                                                                                           “GAME” BOARD

bruleed foie, confit rabbit, quail egg country paté, fennel mostarda, cherry compote, miso mustard, house pickles, crispy flatbread

FIRST                                                                                                                    CHARRED VEGETABLE SALAD

artichoke, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,

pickled chick peas, herbs, smoked tomato vinaigrette

SEAFOOD DIP

uni, crab, charred pomelo, thai basil, cracked wheat sourdough

MAIN                                                                                                                      SMOKED LAMB SHOULDER

spring vegetable kraut, pea yogurt, salsa matcha, naan

HALF GRILLED PHEASANT

cipollini onion, broccolini, almond, citrus, cherry

GRILLED ASPARAGUS

rye crispies, hazelnut, lemon, smoked cherry

ROASTED SPRING ONION

almond, fermented rhubarb honey, mulato chile yogurt

DESSERT                                                                                                                                    BLACKBERRY GOAT CHEESE SUNBURST CAKE

whipped white pepper brulee

WINES                                                                                                                                         SAUVIGNON BLANC Sonoma County, 2015

CHARDONNAY Sonoma Coast, 2016

PINOT NOIR Sonoma Coast, 2014

CABERNET SAUVIGNON Napa Valley, 2014

CABERNET FRANC Moon Mountain District, Sonoma County, 2014

Save Your Seat

With limited seating reservations are needed and can be made by calling 480-423-2530 or email 00103RestaurantReservations@luxurycollection.com The cost for the evening is $60 per person plus including tax & tip.

Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

Two chefs are better than one at The Market Restaurant +Bar

We’ve seen a lot of chefs combine forces as one way to share the higher costs of running a restaurant(s) these days. The latest duo to design a strategy is local chefs Jennifer Russo of The Market Restaurant + Bar at Jennifer’s and chef David Duarte. The duo started this week with a culinary commencement dinner featuring both chefs preparing dinner for their “space share” concept.

Sharing space at The Market Restaurant + Bar

The “space share” strategy will allow the two chef’s to work independently while sharing the same equipment, dining room etc.  Jennifer will continue to serve brunch, lunch and dinner her customers have been coming back for.

The Market Restaurant + Bar will be open Sat. and Sun. from 9a.m.-3p.m. for brunch, Wed. Thurs. & Fri. from 11 a.m.- 10p.m.  and the 1st & 3rd Sat. for dinner from 5p.m. – 10p.m.

Chef Duarte’s new concept

Chef David Duarte’s “Finestre Modern Gastronomy” will serve dinner at The Market on Sun, Mon,Tues. and the 2nd & 4th Sat. from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Finestre Modern Gastronomy will serve a 5, 7, or 9 course seasonal menu that can be paired with or without wine. Prices will range from $60- $225 per person based number of courses and wine pairing.

“It’s truly my honor to share the space at The Market with David. He’s a culinary genius and will offer a stellar menu that is sure to wow guests,” said Russo.

The Market Restaurant + Bar is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. #Ste. A Phoenix 85018. For more information and to make a reservation call 602-626-5050 or at http://themarketphx.com/

Arizona wines get all the attention at 9th Annual Grand Wine Festival

Arizona’s largest Arizona wine only event grows even larger this year as the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s Grand Wine Festival spills on to 6th Street from the Heritage Square festival. This, the 9th year of showcasing Arizona wines takes place on Saturday & Sunday January 27th and 28th and grows by 15,000 square feet when 6th Street is closed off this year.

Arizona wines poured

Over 30 Arizona wineries will travel to downtown Phoenix from Elgin, Sonoita and the southern part of our state along with wineries up I-17 in Jerome, Page Springs and the Verde Valley. Dos Cabezas, LDV Winery and Burning Tree Cellars are just a few of the wineries pouring their wines at the 2 day festival while.

Winners of the AZ Central Arizona Wine Competition will be announced at the Grand Wine Gala on Friday evening which is already sold out.

In addition to tasting wine at the festival, attendees will have live music to  enjoy as well as food trucks and other local vendors to visit with.

“We already have a record number of both wineries in attendance and wines being poured at this year’s festival, but now having the extra space will allow for record-breaking attendance numbers as well,” said Brian Predmore, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

Arizona wines
Kurt Dunham owner/winemaker of LDV Winery

Purchase tickets

The festival will start both days at 11 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. on Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 for 6 tasting samples or $20 for 10 samples can be purchased at their website.

 

 

Hall Wines to be paired at The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s

After a short holiday hangover the first week of January, 2018 starts quickly on the Phoenix food and wine scene. The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s is hosting its first wine dinner of 2018 Wednesday January 10th as it pairs with Hall Wines from Napa and Sonoma Counties at the Arcadia Lite neighborhood restaurant.

Hall Wines & pairings

The 6-course family style meal will be paired with 5 wines from Hall Wines and its Sonoma partner Walt Wines.

The first 3 courses paired will be paired with Walt Wines chardonnay & pinot noirs from Sonoma with the bigger reds saved for the last 2 courses from Hall Wines in St. Helena.

Walt Chardonnay                                                                                                       Seared Diver scallop with a citrus beurre blanc, blood orange, crispy shallots and chive oil with corn nut dust

Walt Pinot Noir Blue Jay                                                                                            Pan-seared breast of canard duck with sweet potato fondant drizzled with a balsamic cherry reduction topped with kale crisp      

Walt Pinot Noir la Brisa                                                                                                         Pappardelle pasta  with porcini mushroom crème and dehydrated prosciutto, Cherve and oregano leaves

Hall Merlot                                                                                                                         Coq au vin prepared with  pearl onions, baby root vegetables and lardon in classic presentation

Hall Cabernet                                                                                                                     Tri-colored peppercorns and flakey salt crusted rib eye with wilted greens and potato crème and Chef’s red wine reduction

Sweet                                                                                                                                            Chocolate shortbread cookie with macerated berries and dark

This classic pairing dinner starts at 6:30 the evening of the 10th. $85 per person.

RSVP to 602-626-5050. The Market is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018. http://themarketphx.com/

 

Wine Tip Wednesday for Wine Tasting Party from LDV Wine Gallery

Wine tasting parties are a fun and popular way to get together with friends and learn a bit about wine. Peggy Fiadaca, co-owner of LDV Wine Gallery in Scottsdale offers up 5 tips to host a successful wine tasting party.

Below are her tips or you can watch Peggy’s Wine Tip Wednesday Youtube video

  1. Set a structure or theme for the evening
    1. Determine how many people you’re going to invite
    2. Set a price point for the wine
  2. Basic guidelines to the party
    1. Make sure each person gets at least a 2 oz pour
    2. Have a dump bucket and a pitcher of water
    3. Have neutral goodies such as crackers to clear the palette
  3. Have a good scoring sheet
    1. Find online or on LDV website
    2. Fun to have a prize for winner who brings the best wine
  4. Think about the order you’re going to pour each wine
    1. White wine before red wine
  5. Learn about the theme if you are the host                                                       1. Understand characteristics of the wine you are using as the theme

To learn more about LDV  Wine Gallery check out their website

$10 off tickets for next weekends AZCentral.com Food & Wine Experience

Hopefully those that are reading this bought their tickets for next weekends AZCentral.com Food & Wine Experience since I posted the announcement back in July. If not, now is the time as my readers can save $10 off tickets for the 3rd annual AZCentral. com Food & Wine Experience presented by Cadillac using the promo code at the bottom of this post.

Since the announcement Martha Stewart confirmed she will be in attendance at the popular event.

Schedule of food and wine events.

First a quick review of schedule events of the 2-day food festival on November 4th & 5th at Salt River Fields.

  • Grand Tasting.  Tickets in advance are $85 and offer unlimited sampling of chef creations; access to chef demonstrations and panels; and tastings of fine wines, craft beers and distinctive spirits. Saturday or Sunday
  • VIP Grand Tasting.  Tickets in advance are $120 and guests enjoy all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, plus entry at noon, access to the VIP Lounge, and private tastings from wineries and distillers. Preferred parking and VIP restrooms
  • The Cellar.  A $20 upgrade to any ticket above, the wine seminar offers special tastings and an insider’s knowledge of wines sampled; led by the winemaker or wine ambassador.
  • The Chef’s Package.  A $180 ticket, a private meet & greet with a special guest chef of national renown.  Details coming soon
  • Private Dining ‘Experiences.’ A schedule of separately ticketed private dining Experiences created by popular chefs and restaurateurs will be announced soon.  Experiences can occur within the event footprint or at participating restaurants.

Participating restaurants

During the Grand Tasting over 60 local restaurants will be sharing tastes of their cuisine that have put them on the culinary map. Here are a few of the restaurants and chefs that will be serving up their special dishes.

  • Jennifer Russo, The Market by Jennifer Russo
  • Aaron Poole, Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup
  • Paul Haworth, Cartel Coffee Lab
  • Charles Wiley, Hearth `61 at Mountain Shadows Resort
  • Russell LaCasce, ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
  • George Frasher, Frasher’s Smokehouse
  • Chef Joshua James “Chef J” Amonson, Bourbon & Bones Chophouse | Bar

$10 off tickets

To get your $10 off your tickets click here and enter the promo code “Insta10“.

See you there.

 

Voila French Bistro to host authentic French wine dinner

If you’re a fan of white table cloth draped tables and authentic French cooking paired with wine then circle Sunday November 5th on your calendar and make a reservation for a 3-course dinner at Voila French Bistro in Scottsdale.

Your hosts Chef Jean-Christophe Gros and his wife Segolene re-located to Scottsdale from France in 2015 where Chef Gros as a Master French Chef spent 30 years working in restaurants  with Michelin star ratings.

Voila French Bistro menu

Once you walk in the doors you’ll feel as if you’re in Paris and this 3-course menu will make you wish you were there.

LE CABILLAUD :                                                                                                     Chilled Cod and Spinach Papillotte Over Tomato Tartare and Niçoise Olive Tapenade
Chardonnay
***
LE CHAUSSON DE VOLAILLE:                                                                   Chicken Wellington With Porcini Mushrooms and Napa Cabbage Stuffing
Pinot Noir
***
LE SAINT-HONORE A LA POIRE:                                                                      Puff Pastry with Poached Pear and a Praline Butter Cream and a Dark Chocolate Sauce
Crément

The early dinner will start at 5 p.m. and conclude by 8 p.m. Price is $65 per person with reservations required that and can be made by calling 480-614-5600. More information about the restaurant can be found on their website.

Voila French Bistro is at 10135 Via Linda. Scottsdale 85258

The who, what, where & when for the 2018 Devour Culinary Classic

Details are starting to emerge about one of the highly anticipated food festivals of the southwest as the 2018 Devour Culinary Classic is less than 7 months away.

This 2 day food event takes place on Saturday and Sunday March 3rd & 4th 2018 and moves this year to the Desert Botanical Garden on the Phoenix/Scottsdale border. Skip breakfast as this annual event opens its doors each day at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m.

“Just like all the participants in the Devour Culinary Classic, the Garden is proud to fly the ‘locally grown’ flag,” says Desert Botanical Garden Executive Director Ken Schutz. “We look forward to hosting the event in 2018.”

Local First Arizona started Devour Culinary Classic almost 10 years ago and has become a model food event around the country for supporting locally owned restaurants, wineries, brewers and more.

“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 Kimber Lanning, founder of the event and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “We believe we’ll be even better suited to showcase Arizona’s one-of-a-kind culinary culture with Desert Botanical Garden as our host.”

Devour Culinary Classic chef talent

As of the end of August, over 30 chefs from around Arizona are confirmed to strut their stuff with the list continuing to grow. A few of the names you can expect to see are…..

Bernie Kantak The Gladly & Citizen Public House, Danielle Leoni The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Kat and Brad Moore Short Leash Hot Dog, Jeff Smedstad Elote Cafe, Tamara Stanger Helio Basin Brewing Co. (Winner of last year’s Devour Excellence Award)

Ticket packages, Week of Experiences and more.

Before the Classic goes off there are two events leading up to the festive weekend. The Devour Classic Bartending Competition shakes things up on Fri. February 25th from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. and the Seven Chefs Singh Along prepare a meal under the stars on Wed. February 28th from 5:30- 8:30 p.m. More details can be found on event links.

Tickets go on sale for members of Local First Arizona localist program, Desert Botanical Garden and Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance to all events of November 1st, 2017 and to the public on November 13th, 2017. Tickets are limited to all events and non-members should consider membership to above groups for pre-sale tickets.

3 ticket packages are available for those that want to experience much of what the event has to offer. Early entry, Cooking demonstrations, access to wine and spirits tents, meet and greet with chefs and more are available. The single day packages are The Tasting Package $105The Connoisseur Package $165 and The VIP Package $205. See ticket link above for individual package perks.

As details continue to become available be sure to check the website for updates.