Gayle’s Chocolates & Carlson Creek Vineyards plan Vortex Crunch Event

Arizona isn’t just home to many great restaurants, it also is home to many small artisan food producers. One of those is the newly re-located Gayle’s Chocolates in Cottonwood. Gayle’s started in Michigan in 1979 but was recently sold to Sedona residents, Michael and Andrea Portnoy. Friday September 20th will have the Portnoy’s introducing their chocolates at one of their first events, Vortex Crunch Event.

“Six years ago, when we tried Gayle’s we knew it was love at first bite. Now we are taking her creations and bringing them to the southwest. Taking inspiration from the Sedona Vortex’s our newest treat, the Vortex Crunch is sure to be a sweet and salty spiritual experience,” said Co-owner Michael Portnoy.

Carlson Creek Vineyards is partnering with Gayle’s Chocolates for the first of what hopes to be an annual event. Vortex Crunch is the newest addition to the line of homemade chocolates. Loaded with rice krispies, Michigan cherries, almonds, cashews, toffee, glazed orange peel, toasted coconut and a layer of semisweet chocolate. All ingredients combing for a sweet and salty taste.

Carlson Creek will pair their 2014 Rule of Three red blend and 2017 Muscat with the chocolates.

The Vortex Crunch Event will from 12 – 3 p.m. at Gayle’s Chocolates Willy Wonka like factory in their flagship store at 541 N. Main St. Cottonwood 86326. For more information visit their website.

 

Arizona Good Food Expo continues to promote locally sourced foods

Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection is now the Arizona Good Food Expo and returns for its 10th year promoting Arizona sourced foods. This years event will be Monday August 26th at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. The event brings Arizona farmers and food & beverage producers together under one roof to meet face to face with buyers. The event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. is followed by a reception at the resorts signature restaurant, A Different Pointe of View.

“Changing the name to Arizona Good Food Expo better reflects the mission behind the event, to showcase Arizona’s best local food and build lasting relationships between food producers and wholesale buyers, but is more inclusive of the state’s broad range of food buyers who aren’t necessarily chefs,” says Emily Bell, Good Food Programs Manager at Local First Arizona Foundation.

Speakers at Arizona Good Food Expo

Over 75 vendors will provide samples and information for local restaurants, resorts and retail buyers. James Beard award-winner and “vegetable whisperer” Charleen Badman owner and chef of FnB will deliver the keynote speech. Other speakers include chefs Tamara Stanger of Tempe’s Cotton & Copper, Stephen Jones of the larder + delta and Shanti Ride, owner of Whipstone Farm.

“The Arizona Good Food Expo is the ideal setting to ensure the freshest Arizona-grown foods are being served on your plate – whether you shop at the grocery store, are eating at the school cafeteria, or dining out,” says Kimber Lanning, Founder of Local First Arizona Foundation, “The Expo makes it easier for our great chefs and food buyers to source local ingredients and be leaders in Arizona’s food scene. Sourcing Arizona’s homegrown foods is essential to build a healthier Arizona, and the relationships made at the Expo will leverage our agricultural bounty for the benefit of all.”

Tickets for the event are $25 for all day access and $99 for vendor packages. Vendor packages include 2 all day passes, reserved parking, table space and a listing in post event follow up. The deadline to purchase Vendor Packages is August 22nd. Information and purchasing tickets can be found at their website. The Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs Resort is at 11111 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85020.

 

The 9th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival set for Aug. 22 -25

The culinary stars shine bright on southern California when the 9th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival launches for four days in August. Celebrity chefs and local food icons show off the coastal cuisine of southern California cooking. Jerimiah Tower and Nancy Silverton are two of the chefs cooking for guests at diners, cooking demonstrations and more.

The four days start with a series of dinners Thursday evening at restaurants around the city before shifting to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the weekend.

Los Angeles Food & Wine festival events

14 culinary events will span the weekend including…..

The Legends Dinner at Chi SPACCA: The widely credited father of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower joins queen of the Mozza-Plex Nancy Silverton at her white-hot Chi SPACCA. This epic, one-night-only pairing promises a lifetime of bragging rights to the 40 festival-goers fortunate enough to snag a ticket.

Dinner at Otium: Fans of Netflix’s “The Final Table” can pull up a chair to watch 2018 season winner Tim Hollingsworth share the spotlight with rising star chef Travis Swikard at Hollingsworth’s downtown masterpiece, The Broad museum-adjacent Otium. 

The Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan: In a city known for great burgers, the best are going bun to bun to win the coveted LAFW Golden Burger Show Trophy. Host Alvin Cailan, of YouTube’s “The Burger Show,” joins celebrity judges Seth Rogen, Tiffani Thiessen and Adam Richman in this juicy battle of the beef.

LA’s Faves & Craves: In one short stroll, festival-goers can take in the breathtaking diversity of L.A.’s culinary landscape as the city’s own Jet Tila hosts a showcase of the most crave-worthy dishes of 25 local chefs. L.A’s finest tacos, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, fried chicken and Asian-inspired specialties will share one location for one afternoon.

Meat Me at LAFW’s Great Steak-out & BBQ: Meat master Curtis Stone of Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant and 25 other great tamers of the flame are bringing their A+ game to LAFW. Surf, sides, caviar and Big Cabs will complement the slabs at this event evoking the nation’s greatest steakhouses and BBQ joints.

Sunday Brunch So Hard: Those lucky enough to score one of the very limited VIP tickets to LAFW’s grand finale enjoy rare pre-event access to Jeremiah Tower, the illustrious self-taught chef dubbed “The Last Magnificent” by Anthony Bourdain. Standard tickets are anything but shabby, too, at the culinary legend’s brunch-to-end-all-brunches.

To see a full list of events, more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.

Tickets are on sale for the Phoenix Pizza Festival in downtown Phoenix

It will be a slice of heaven on Saturday November 16th as the Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to downtown Phoenix. Tickets are on sale for the 6 hour festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. Get there by bike, light rail or car to the conveniently located park that will host close to 20 pizza makers, dessert stations and more. Live music, lawn games and a kid’s zone will keep you busy in between bites and sips.

Grab a slice of pizza for $2-$4 or a whole pie and other tasty bites and wash it down with beer from local craft brewers.

Previous years pizza makers included Il Bosco, La Piazza, Freak Bros. and Nello’s. This year’s list is still being compiled and will be available soon at https://www.phoenix.pizza/

Downtown Phoenix Inc. has partnered with the Phoenix Pizza Festival as beneficiary. The community organization helps to promote the growth of downtown Phoenix and by supporting local business’s with events.

Tickets are on sale for the festival at the link above and are $10. The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004. Photo courtesy of Flargus.

 

Customers and staff help Liberty Market create 31 unique burgers

When you wake up tomorrow it will be August 1st or as Gilbert’s Liberty Market calls it “Burger Days”. For 31 days in August the restaurant serves a unique burger for their annual celebration of the American comfort food. For this years event executive chef David Traina created the list of burgers with input from loyal customers and staff.

Customers ordering a burger on a given day may find other than locally raised beef between the buns. Bison, elk and a veggie burger will be served and all will have unique flavor profiles and toppings. All burgers are a 1/2 pound and many will have an international spin.

Miso Sticky burger. All photos courtesy of Sarah Roberson

Customers save your receipts

Save your receipts from each burger visit as you will be rewarded with gift cards. A $50 Liberty Market gift card will be given to customers who eat 10 different burgers. If you stop by for all 31 burgers a $250 gift card is yours. Customers will have until the end of the first week of September to redeem their gift cards.

Here is the list of 31 burgers.

1- Short Rib – AZ raised beef patty, blue cheese sauce, roasted onion and arugula on onion bun.

2- Carne Asada – AZ raised beef patty, drunken beans, grilled green onions, cotija cheese, and guacamole on onion bun.

3- Buffalo Blue Cheese Fry* – bison patty, curly fries, buffalo cheese sauce, blue cheese, and chives on a pretzel bun.

4- French Onion – AZ raised beef patty, sherry caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese, fresh garlic aioli, and au jus, on a Ciabatta bun.

5- Philly Cheese Steak – AZ raised beef patty, Cheese Whizz, roasted peppers, provolone cheese and onions on Ciabatta bun.

6- Torta Style – AZ raised beef patty, topped with adobo braised pork, beans, jalapeño salsa, crema, cotija cheese, avocado, and cabbage slaw, on a bollio bun.

7- The Issac – AZ raised beef patty, pesto aioli, fried fresh mozzarella, bacon, and tomato on an Italian rosemary bun.

8- Chicken Katsu – AZ raised beef patty, fried chicken, jalapeño aioli slaw, and Katsu sauce on a sesame bun.

9- Cajun Shrimp – AZ raised beef patty, roasted red bell peppers and onions, and Tabasco aioli on a Ciabatta bun.

10- Breakfast Nduja – AZ raised beef patty, sunny side up egg, grain mustard, Seahive cheese, and arugula on ciabatta round.

11- Anti-Pasto – AZ raised beef patty, fried mozzarella, salami, marinated artichoke, roasted red peppers, pesto, and arugula on a Kalamata olive bun.

12- Korean BBQ – AZ raised beef patty, Korean bbq sauce, cabbage nauc cham slaw, sesame seeds, rice wine cucumbers, on a brioche bun.

13- Whiskey Onion – AZ raised beef patty, BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese, and whiskey onions on fried cheddar cheese as the bun.

14- Hatch-Frito – AZ raised beef patty, brisket patty, pepper jack cheese, chipotle bbq aioli, and Fritos on a chili cheese bun.

15- Bourbon BLT – AZ raised beef patty, bourbon brown sugar bacon, oven dried tomato aioli, and butter lettuce on onion bun.

customers
Buffalo Blue Cheese burger

16- Piggly Wiggly* – AZ raised beef patty, hatch cheddar, pulled pork, sliced ham, fried onion straws, yellow BBQ sauce, and chicharrones on an onion bun.

17- Crab Salad – AZ raised beef patty, marinated crab salad, cambozola cheese, Tabasco aioli, and butter lettuce on a brioche bun with 9 grain topping.

18- Burrata Burger – AZ raised beef patty, truffle dressed arugula, bacon, tomato, and black pepper aioli on Italian olive oil bun.

19- Miso Sticky* – AZ raised beef patty, miso and maple glazed pork belly, pickled cucumber and carrots, red onion, thin jalapeño slices, butter lettuce, sesame seeds, and gochujang aioli, on a bollio bun.

20- Pepper Jack Sausage – AZ raised beef patty, Beehive Barely Buzzed cheese, roasted onions, cajun aioli on a ciabatta roll.

21- Ma’s Meatloaf – AZ raised beef patty bacon meatloaf, arugula, roasted garlic onion and horseradish aioli on a brioche bun.

22- Cuban Mojo –  house blend patty (orange, lime zest, garlic cumin oregano, cilantro, Fresno chiles) Manchego cheese, grilled yellow onions and Anaheim chiles, avocado, and tequila-lime aioli, on an onion bun.

23- Cheesy Tot* – AZ raised beef patty, onion dip ranch, tater tots, hatch chile cheese curds on an onion bun.

24- Crispy Carmen – AZ raised beef patty, chilaquiles, sunny side up egg, tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese, on a ciabatta bun.

25- Mac Daddy* – AZ raised beef patty, jalapeño bacon mac and cheese, BBQ short rib, grilled red onion, cheddar cheese, and sriracha aioli on a jalapeño Ciabatta bun.

26- Pastrami Style – AZ raised beef patty, sauerkraut, and 1000 Island dressing on marble rye.

27-Veggie – house made red bean and rice patty, Cajun tofu, and cashew butter on rustic bun.

28- Far East – AZ raised beef patty, topped with greens, wontons, hoisin aioli, tamarind-ginger glaze on seeded Kaiser roll.

29- Green Goddess – AZ raised beef patty, Green Goddess dressing, fried zucchini, roasted portobello mushrooms, lemon ricotta, and arugula on a rustic bun.

30- Lobster-Prosciutto* –  AZ raised beef patty, brie, Boston lettuce, classic aioli on a french bun.

31- Elk Burger – AZ raised beef patty, speck, peppadews, Gruyere cheese, spring mix, and whole grain mustard sauce on a garlic bun. 

Liberty Market is at 230 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert.

$1 pizza slices at Spinelli’s Pizzeria for first 500 people

Who doesn’t love a large slice of pizza, I do and if you do too be one of the first 500 customers at Spinelli’s Pizzeria on Thursday August 1st. That’s when the Mill Ave. pizzeria celebrates it’s 5th anniversary by selling $1 pizza slices of cheese and pepperoni. Wash it down with $.75 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and fountain drinks all day long.

“I moved from Philadelphia to Arizona in 2008 and immediately noticed a void for late night food, especially places with full service dining,” said Christopher Palma, owner of Spinelli’s Pizzeria. “After the sudden death of my best friend in 2010, I was motivated to take a chance and chase my dream of owning my own business. After three years of waiting it out and numerous deals that fell through, I was finally able to secure our home…….”

Known for large slices of Philadelphia style pizza and sandwiches, Spinelli’s is a hit with ASU students and pizza enthusiasts since opening in 2014. They are one of the first pizzerias to serve CBD oil infused slices of pizza and cocktails.

“We want to celebrate Spinelli’s successes during the past five years and invite our friends, neighbors and regulars to join us,” added Palma. “Their support is really what has allowed us to accomplish this milestone and we want to take this opportunity to thank the community that has given so much to us.”

Spinelli’s Pizzeria is at 420 S. Mill Ave. Tempe 85281 and opens daily at 11 a.m.

 

Hot Dog toppings are not the usual at The Larry Phx in July

Were you one of the 150 million people expected to eat a hot dog on July 4th, I did? If not The Larry Phx is celebrating National Hot Dog Month during the month of July.

Mine was topped with just mustard but chef Luis Arellano has created three unique hot dogs that out do typical toppings.

Each week starting Monday July 8th the downtown Phoenix restaurant will offer a new one.

Larry Sonoran Dog (July 8-12) – Bacon, tomato, avocado cream, mustard, ketchup, cotija, mayo

Kimchi Dog (July 15-19) – Cheese sauce, house pickles, gochujang mayo

Okonomoyaki Dog (July 22-31) – Savory cabbage pancake, plum sauce,  bonito, nori, kewpie mayo.

The Larry Phx is at 515 E. Grant St. 85004 and is open Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. 6 p.m.

Free Sriracha at Pita Jungle Saturday on June 29th.

I personally don’t see the fuss over Sriracha but I know there is a cult like following for the hot sauce. Pita Jungle is giving away a free bottle of their own labeled Sriracha on Saturday June 29th. The day commemorates when Pita Jungle opened its first location in Tempe and the hottest day on record in Arizona. The year was 1994 and the heat made it up to 128 degrees that day.

Visit any Pita Jungle location except Sky Harbor, Scottsdale Fashion Square and Grand Canyon University from open to close and spend $40 to get your free bottle. You must mentioned that promotion and dine-in to receive your bottle. There is a 1 bottle limit per tab.

Pita Jungle started producing their own line of Sriracha in 2018 and offer three flavors Red, Green and Ghost. You can purchase bottles at all 21 locations for $5.99 each.

“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.