Category Archives: food festival

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/

Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival returns to Chandler

Good times return to downtown Chandler on Saturday March 24th as the 9th annual Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival opens its gates at noon.  The festival will be serving up slow cooked foods, cold adult beverages, live entertainment and more til 10 p.m.

Barbecue, Beer and more.

Over 20 BBQ aficionados will be smoking and cooking up finger licking ribs, chicken, pulled pork and many more not BBQ dishes. Local craft beer brewers including SanTan Brewing Company along with national beers and spirits will be poured to cool you and your palate down as a lot of the foods will be bringing the heat. Below is a list of a few of those slow cooking your favorites.

Farmboy Smokehaus – brisket, pulled pork, who hog spit, andoullie sausage, baby back ribs, chicken, chili and Johnny cakes

Harris’ Smokehouse – BBQ pork, beef, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw, & corn

Jamburritos – pulled pork, brisket, hot links, jambalaya

JJ’s Louisiana BBQ – ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, rib tips, hot links, turkey legs, beans & potato salad

Mr. Wonderful’s Chicken & Waffles – waffle and chicken wings, po boys, chicken dirty fries, banana pudding, & cheesecake

Pearson’s Catering – catfish, bayou chicken, gator bites, frog legs, jambalaya & po boys

Sally’s BBQ – loaded ribbon fries with pulled pork, sausage, & corn

SanTan Brewing – chopped brisket or pulled pork sandwich & mac & cheese

BBQ festival
All photos courtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

Live music, tickets and more.

Country music superstar Rodney Atkins headlines the music for the festival  along with food cooking demos, a mechanical bull riding competition. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family with a kids zone.

Tickets and more information can be found at https://www.chandlerbbq.com/

General Admission

$20 Online Presale                                                                      $25 Day of Walk Up Pricing                                                         $10 Veterans & Military Discount Online Presale & Walk Up Pricing $10 Presale at any valley Bashas’ Locations                            *Kids 12 and under receive free general admission                          *General admission includes entry into the festival, access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities. Food and beverages are not included with admission.

VIP Pass (21+ over only)

$175 Online Presale Only – now through 3/23/18 OR when tickets are sold out                                                                                        Includes: six beers, unlimited soft drinks and water, catered food throughout the day, front stage access/view, private air-conditioned restrooms, private seating, shaded area, entry into the festival and access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities.

 Corral Pass (21+ over only)

 $75 Online Presale Only – SOLD OUT

 

We all won at Devour Culinary Classic

As the weekend is here and plans are being made for baseball games, food festivals and more I’m still reminiscing about last weekends Devour Culinary Classic . Moving to the Desert Botanical Garden for the first time it looked to me that all was good on Sunday when I got a chance to go.The great weather, spacious & pretty DBG,  great food and people made for a winning combination. There was also a little competitive spirit on both days as 8 judge’s walked through all 10 tasting zones tasting food from many if not all the restaurants participating.

Saturday’s winners

The judges picked these dishes as their winners on Saturday.

Excellence in Presentation 
  • Winner: Cibo
    • Arancini no.1 – Pan Fried rice balls with mozzarella and green peas
    • Arancini no. 2- Pam fried rice balls with mozzarella and lamb
  • Runner Up: Phoenix Public Market
    • Arizona Citrus Salad – goat cheese, pistachios, local dates, sweet shallot honey vinaigrette, micro greens
Excellence in Innovation
  • Winner: True Food Kitchen
    • Grilled Cauliflower Planks – black walnut pesto, truffle tahini, aleppo chili
  • Runner Up: Helio Basin Brewery
    • Venison Sausage
Excellence in Taste 
  • Winner: Gallo Blanco
    • Flapjacks with Plantains Foster
  • Runner Up: Dust Cutter
    • Huevos Rancheros / Sonoran Native Tepary Bean Chili, Ground bison, quail egg and chorizo espuma

      Differnt Pointe of View’s runner-up Muscovy Duck

Sunday’s winners

Good to see Sedona & Flagstaff restaurants Elote Cafe and Shift  catching the attention of the judge’s.

Excellence in Presentation 

  • Winner: Kai
    • Smoked Ocean Trout, Squash Escabeche, Huitlacoche Chumeth, Black Tepary Miso.
  • Runner Up: FnB / The Inbetweens
    • Fresh vegetable salad with sugar snap peas and country ham

Excellence in Innovation

  • Winner: Shift
    • Beef tongue Philly Cheese steak
  • Runner Up: The Dressing Room
    • Tako Yaki Hushpuppy with a Tomato Sriracha Jam

Excellence in Taste 

  • Winner: Elote Cafe
    • Spicy Anasazi beans with local heritage barley and mesquite corn bread
  • Runner Up: Different Point of View
    • Grain Mustard Soy Grilled Muscovy Duck; Sweet Corn Milk Griddle Cakes & Bliss Maple Drizzle , Kumquat Shallot Jam, Duck Cracklings, Basil Oil

Excellence in Distinction: FnB

Runner up: Kai

 

Crushbrew Festival sneak preview party at Oh-So Brewery Arcadia

Craft beer fans don’t have to wait until the 3rd annual Crushbrew Festival  to kick off on Saturday February 17th to taste a collaboration beer to be poured. Crushbrew has partnered with Oh-So Brewery to create 2 beers with the Crushbrew Saison to debut at a sneak peek preview party for the festival on Thursday February 1st at Oh-So’s Arcadia location.

The Crushbrew Festival will bring over 40 brewers, wineries and distillers  from around the country to  downtown Scottsdale’s Civic Center Plaza along with food trucks and live entertainment for the  5 hour event.

Beer collaborations

The Crushbrew Saison is a crisp and dry beer with flavors of bubblegum, banana and clove for beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

For the Crushbrew Collab Barrel Aged Saison Oh-So partnered with Carlson Creek Vineyards to use their rose wine barrel to age the beer. A hint of rose and oak are noticeable on the palate. The Barrel Aged Saison will be ready for its debut on the 17th.

Crushbrew Festival & Sneak Party tickets

Tickets are available on-line for the Sneak Preview Party for $10 for the 3 hour party to start at 6:30 p.m. and for the festival. General Admission tickets are $45 for entry & 10 drink tickets and $95 for VIP Area Access.

 

 

3rd Annual Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to Margaret T. Hance Park

Phoenix is known for its pizza reputation whether your prefer artisan brick oven pizza, Chicago deep dish or a slice of thin New York style. It’s no wonder we’ve seen national and regional pizza restaurants invade the Phoenix area in the last few years. There’s no better way to debate who makes the best pizza than tasting pizza from some of Phoenix’s favorite pizza makers at the 3rd Annual Phoenix Pizza Festival on Saturday, November 18th.

Pizza festival
Photos by Flargus

Previous Phoenix Pizza Festival pizza makers

At last years festival pizza aficionados had the chance to purchase slices,  pies and more from pizza makers like Fabio on Fire, La Piazza Al Forno PHX, Nello’s, Rosati’s and others.

Festival goers washed down their pizza with beer from local craft brewers such as Mother Bunch Brewing, O.H.S.O Nano- Brewery, Helio Basin and more. Those attending this years festival can expect much of the same.

In addition to pizza there will be dessert food trucks, food related vendors, live bands, lawn games and a kid’s zone because you can only eat so much pizza before you need a break.

Get your tickets

A limited amount of tickets for the Phoenix Pizza Festival are only available on-line for $10 with the festival going from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Margret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.

The Phoenix Pizza festival partners with Downtown Phoenix Inc. as the charitable beneficiary of the event. The non-profit helps to promote the revitalization of  downtown Phoenix  by supporting local business’s and events.

 

 

 

$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.

 

Slider Throwdown returns to Kierland Commons for charity

As memories of last years Slider Throwdown fall deeper into our subconscious we are made aware of this years Throwdown that is slated for Sunday November 12th from 12-3p.m. back at Kierland Commons.

For only $30 each attendees will be able to sample all the sliders and 3 non-alcoholic drink tickets. After tasting the sliders people will be able to vote the “People’s Choice” award along with “slider expert” judges for to see which food truck will wine “Best Slider”.

Food trucks competing include:

Two Fat Guys Grilled Cheese                                                                         Mango Flats                                                                                                                     Aioli Burger                                                                                                                     Food Diva                                                                                                                        Head to Hoof                                                                                                                    Left Coast Burrito                                                                                                    Emerson Fry Bread

One restaurant will partner with the Slider Throwdown to offer a signature cocktail at the chosen restaurant.

Proceeds from this years event will be donated to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation(AFFCF). The money raised will help foster children enjoy their childhood despite unfortunate circumstances.

Kris Jacober, Director of the AFFCF, says, “We help these children through difficult circumstances by providing them with resources and allowing them to take part in enjoyable activities that promote self-esteem.”

You can help by purchasing you Slider Throwdown tickets and having a good time enjoying the delicious sliders.

 

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale hosts annual “Live & Local” event

If you attend charity events around the Phoenix area you’ve probably been to “Live & Local” event hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale.

Always a favorite on the charity circuit and one of the biggest fund-raisers of the year for BGCS, 2017’s event will be on Sunday Nov. 12th at The District at Desert Ridge in north Phoenix.

“It’s an honor to bring recognition to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, an organization we’ve passionately supported for many years,” said Stacy Bennett, GoDaddy Corporate Responsibility Lead. “Beyond supporting a worthy cause, we’re looking forward to getting the community together to enjoy local food, libations and entertainment.”

Food and entertainment

The red carpet dining and entertainment event starts at 6 p.m and honors Arizona’s dining, cocktail and live music communities.

Presented by GoDaddy and co-sponsored with the Arizona Restaurant Association this years event includes delicious bites to eat from local restaurants such as Tryst Cafe, The Thumb, Chef Wade’s Bistro on Wheels, Chase’s Diner, The Melting Pot, Postino, Bertha’s, Taste of New Mexico, and The Dhaba.

Under the stars, guests can dance to live entertainment from local bands that will take the stage from 6p.m. – 9p.m.

Get your Live & Local tickets

General Admission tickets are $65 and give guests access to live entertainment, beer garden, wine tasting and 20 samples from restaurants.

VIP tickets are $150 with cocktail bar with drinks crafted by mixologists, upgraded wines, 10 additional restaurants for VIP’s and the after party from 9p.m.-11p.m.

“We are grateful for the partners and sponsors who come together, work hard and put on such an amazing event to help us continue to serve children and teens in need throughout Greater Scottsdale,” said Dr. Lisa Hurst, BGCS CEO.

Tickets and information can be found here.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

2nd annual Rock the Guac comes to The Camby Hotel

Calendars are starting to fill up with food festivals and the like with another just announced as Rock the Guac is scheduled on National Guacamole Day on September 16th at The Camby Hotel in Phoenix. 12 Phoenix area chefs will create their version of guacamole for guests to sample and celebrate the delicious food.

Rock the Guac
Matt Carter at last years event. All photos courtesy of Rock the Guac

Rock the Guac chefs

Rock the Guac is brought to us by the same people who brings us Arizona Taco Festival in mid-October. The 12 valley chefs preparing their guacamole for the friendly competition are….

Forest Hamrick- La Hacienda – 2016 Rock The Guac winner

Dushyant Singh- Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel

Richard Hinojosa- CRUjiente Tacos

Aaron Pool- Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup

Alex Stratta- Match at The FOUND:RE Phoenix

Mel Mecinas- Private Chef

Aaron May- Goodwood Tavern, Malibu Burger Co.

Jennifer Russo- The Market by Jennifer’s

Fidencio Alatriste- Toro Latin Restaurant

Laura Gonzalez- Taqueria Centro

George Alatriste- The Mission

Beau MacMillan- Elements

Get Tickets

The event starts at 6p.m. and tickets are only available online for $40 in which each guest has unlimited guacamole, 2 drink tickets for margaritas and beer, a taco station hosted by The Camby.  If you’ve ever been to the Arizona Taco Festival then you know there will be plenty of fun and live entertainment on this lively evening. Tickets available here.

Part of the proceeds from Rock the Guac will be donated to Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona, a non-profit which heals homeless and abused children thought art and expression.