Bulleit Bourbon hosts Kentucky Derby party at Turf Paradise

Many weeks and months go into preparation for the two and half-minute Kentucky Derby. Not just the horses and trainers in Louisville at Churchill Downs but at bars and restaurants celebrating around the country.

On May 4th the place to be is Phoenix’s Turf Paradise racetrack to get into the derby day spirit. No better place to show off your head wear and sip on a Mint Julep other than the All New Bulleit Bourbon Derby Dayclub. Tickets will be sold out by the time the races start at this all day party.

Photo courtesy of Dorian and LDH Consulting

The air-cooled track-side tent opens at 10:30 a.m. with live racing starting at 11:30 where you can cheer and bet on your favorite horses. The Kentucky Derby will be shown live later in the afternoon.

Tickets for General Admission for the Dayclub are $30 in advance with reserved seating $60 per ticket. Inside you’ll have access to track side betting, a cash bar for Mint Juleps, beer, wine and cocktails, a DJ and “65 inch TVs to watch the race. The Fried & Frizzy food truck will be outside the tent serving up fried chicken and champagne.

Kentucky Derby
Photo courtesy of Rose-Moser-Allyn Public Relations

Prefer to sit in the first few rows to see all the action than pony up $1,000 for a first row table with a bottle complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon, $750 for second row table with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or $500 for third row table with a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne.

Other Phoenix area bars and restaurants will be celebrating the fastest 2 minutes in sports. Reserve your seat at Mowry & Cotton, Dorian and Arcadia Tavern to watch all the fun.

Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass, Twitter @SandyWasserman and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks/

Festival in the Pines makes its return to Flagstaff after 10 years

It’s never to soon to plan a summer getaway out the the Phoenix heat in the summer. Flagstaff is a easy getaway for Phoenicians and the 4th of July is one of the more popular weekend. Flagstaff will be bursting this year with the return of The Festival in the Pines after a 10 year hiatus. The popular festival if formerly know as “Summerfest”.

Festival in the Pines is from supporter of the arts Andrew Maguire. “We really felt a need for the return of a family-oriented festival that presents art enthusiasts with some of the country’s finest artists along with great entertainment, food and fun for all,”. “We had been doing the festival for 23 years prior to its hiatus and we’ve received such demand for its return that we’re thrilled to make it happen.”

The festival will be held at Fort Tuthill Coconino County Fairgrounds on April 4th -6th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Local food trucks will keep festival goers fed while enjoying over 150 artists and their collections and live music.

The festival will coincide with other 4th of July festivities in Flagstaff which was named the “#1 destination in U.S. for Independence Day festivities” by Travel & leisure magazine.

The fairgrounds are at 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop off I-17. For more information go to http://www.888artfest.com/flagstafffestivalinthepines/

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.

Street Eats Food Truck Festival tickets now on sale.

In days your new year’s resolutions will be shot to hell and you’ll still be writing 2018 on documents. With holiday season almost behind us it’s time to focus on the food events of 2019 in the Phoenix area. The Street Eats Food Truck Festival is one of the first food festivals and returns to Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.

Food truck fans save the date of February 16th & 17th when over 60 of the Phoenix areas best food trucks show up to serve their fans. Many Phoenix restaurants started as food trucks and many restaurants now offer food trucks to serve up their food.

From 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day people can sample $2 foods, enjoy live music and food contests on the grass fields. Kids can join the fun as their will be a big kid’s zone for them.

Street Eats Food Truck Festival tickets & participants

No matter your diet or mood there is a food truck in attendance for everybody. Popular food truck Mediterranean Majik, Bama BBQ 4 Ever, Press Italian Street Food and Queso Good are a few food trucks announced.

General Admission tickets are $12 each and VIP tickets are $75. VIP tickets get 6 drink tokens, 4 food tokens private bathrooms and access to the lounge. Kids under 12 and parking are free.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here. Salt River Fields is at 7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale.

 

Southwest Cider Festival offers sips of local & national ciders

With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.Operation Homefront

Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.

“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.

Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

More details are at their Facebook page.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson #103 Mesa 85210

 

Sandy Takes on Kauai

I made my way for my first visit to the Hawaiian islands and chose The Garden Island of Kauai. Follow my escapades as I hope to include more travel posts to Pulling Corks and Forks.

Kauai Day 1

I tend to travel solo and on a budget so I found a great direct flight from Phoenix to Lihue for under $500. Lihue is a quiet town that’s used like the other towns on Kauai as people pass through to get around the island. The island isn’t very big so you can drive it in a couple of hours.

Kauai
Hanalei Bay

Landed about 3 p.m. island time and was starving after an 6 plus hour flight so I made my way to Kauai Beer Company for fish tacos and a cold Lihue Lager. Good food and the place was filed with locals for a lazy Thursday afternoon. After a quick bite I had time to kill before I could check in to my hotel so I went exploring in rented car. Just a couple of miles from town is Kilua Falls and spectacular view from above. A selfie and few other pictures and I continued to drive to get the lay of the land so my next day would be easier.

I decided to chill out at my hotel after exploring as I was still 3 hours ahead and getting sleepy. Not very fancy places to stay nearby so I wound up at a budget friendly hotel my first night. No bells and whistles, decent wi-fi and coffee in the morning. Good night and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Kauai Day 2

Kiluea Lighthouse
Kiluea Lighthouse

Still on Arizona time I woke up before the roosters who by the way rule the island, they’re in neighborhoods, beaches and on the mountain roads. No need to set the alarm as you’ll start to hear them about 4 a.m.

Walked Lihue waiting for a place to open for breakfast at 6:30, made it to Roland’s Mix Plate for Da Big Loco. Moco Loco is local breakfast bowl of beef patty with eggs your way and gravy over rice. Roland’s serves with crispy pork belly on top. Much needed fuel for the day exploring the island with left over rice and mushroom gravy.

Roosters rule Kauai

I left the hotel about 7:45 and made my way up towards Oloekao Falls and up the mountain road through neighborhoods to see what was a top the mountain. I pulled into the Scared Forest home to Rudraksha trees a.ka. Blue Marble Tree and shrine of Ganesha. Holy in the Hindu world. Continued my way up the mountain til the roads got a bit rough for my rental car.

Down at the bottom of the mountain I made plans to go kayaking and hiking the next day before I proceeded up the Kuhio Highway through the small towns including Kappa’a where I post this adventure. Stopping along the way to check out the surf I take pictures before I get to Kiluea National Monument and the lighthouse and continued past Jurassic Kahili Ranch where several scenes in Jurassic Park were filmed. Open fields, trees and mountains, if you’ve seen the films you should recognize the area.

I continued up the windy road through the hills pulling off at several Scenic Lookouts to view and photograph the mountains and the sea.

The road ends in Hanalei a small village situated between mountains and the Hanalei Bay. I had lunch at L & L BBQ, a Hawaiian chain serving good Hawaiian BBQ. Plenty of food trucks and other food offerings are available on the strip of less than a mile long. After lunch I went to JoJo’s Shaved Ice as shaved ice is big in Hawaii and I was told about JoJo’s from a friend in Phoenix. Hanalei is slightly touristy but nothing compared to the bigger islands and worth the drive and a visit.

Sacred Forest and Ganesha Shrine

I was told of the Okolehao hiking trail(about 1.5 miles) outside of town by a couple of locals and I went to check it out as it would lead up the mountain with a beautiful views. After hiking a 100 or so yards I realized with a muddy trail and no water I wasn’t ready so I put the hike on hold til I came back prepared. The highway used to continued on to Ha’ena until earlier this year for about 6 miles but is now closed from landslides and flooding in April.

I took a leisurely ride back the way I came and pulled off a Kapa’a and hung out for the night. This is where you’ll find most of the activity on the island along with neighboring Wailua. Hotel, resorts, beaches, shopping and restaurants in this 3 mile stretch that hugs the beach at times. I visited some of the resorts to check them out and most were filled with families vacationing. Kapa’a and Wailua also has a good mix of local transplants and natives here for the surf and laid back lifestyle.

So as you can see a busy first couple of days getting my way about the island. Days ahead will have activities I’ve scheduled so check back to see if I survived them. Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for up to date food finds and scenery from each day.

Enjoy Arizona only beers, wines and spirits at 1st annual AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival

Arizona is on the worldwide map with its craft beers, wines and spirits with the trophies and awards given over the last few years. To showcase all things Arizona there will be the first ever AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival at Salt River Fields on November 3rd.

Arizona
Photo courtesy of Salt River Fields

The beers, wines and spirits will be made exclusively for the festival and use Arizona yeast, hops, grapes and water.

With a great view of the McDowell Mountains from the concourse of Salt River Fields festival goers will be able to sample from 2-5 p.m.

Over 30 brewers, wineries and distillers are scheduled to participate and the list keeps growing. SanTan Brewing Co., Helton Brewing, Elgin Distillery, Cellar 433 and McFate Brewing are a few of those announced.

Tickets are limited and are $50 for 12 drink samples and access to food trucks to purchase food. V.I.P tickets are available at $65 and allow entry an hour early at 1 p.m. Designated drivers pay only $19 and get a free swag bag. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the festival website.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is at 7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale, AZ

Downtown Chandler to host Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

Food festival season is starting to get ramped up as the summer slowly comes to an end. On of the first festivals is the 7th annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest on Saturday September 15th in downtown Chandler.

This years festival hosts 20 restaurants and food vendors making more tacos than one can eat. Restaurants such as Las Palmas, Taco Guild and Nando’s Mexican Cafe are just a few restaurants breaking out the recipe book to create unique tacos. Specialty Poke tacos, cactus and Korean chicken tacos are a few of the non-traditional tacos being served up at the family friendly event.

Downtown Chandler
Evil Waze. All photos ciourtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

More than just tacos

You can’t eat tacos for all 9 hours of the festival so entertainment from Santana cover band Evil Waze will take the stage. Metalachi, the world’s first and only mariachi heavy metal band will headline the festival.

A custom low-rider car show with In the Streets magazine will show off over 60 cars, bikes and trucks. Lucha libre wrestling and food eating contest will be going on throughout the day.

Get your tickets here

General admission tickets on-line are $10, $15 at the door with kids 12 and under free. The 21 years old + VIP tickets are $100 and available on-line only. VIP ticket holders get a private area, 6 alcoholic beverage tickets, catered food and shaded area. 

The Tequila Tavern tickets are $30 on-line get you 10 tequila samples and unlimited chips and salsa.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership. The non-profit DCCP mission is to use leadership and resources to promote the downtown Chandler area.

Tickets are available at http://www.rockintacoaz.com/ 

The festival is from 12-9 p.m. and is at Dr. AJ Chandler Park in downtown Chandler.

2018 Slider Throwdown returns to Kierland Commons

The 2018 Slider Throwdown returns for another year of tasty slider goodness on Sunday Nov. 18th. at north Scottsdale’s Kierland Commons. The Throwdown will benefit Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation.

Guests who throw down the $35 admission will enjoy sliders from local food truck companies Buzz N Bee, Aioli Burgers, Food Diva and more. Local “Slider Experts” will decide who will be awarded the Best Slider with guests voting for the People’s Choice award.

The price of admission includes samples of all sliders and 3 non-alcoholic drink tickets. A Kierland Commons restaurant will partner with the Throwdown promoters to create an exclusive cocktail to purchase in the restaurant.

Petite cheeseburger

Proceeds will be donated to AFFCF which is dedicated to giving foster children a normal childhood. Most importantly they prepare the children for adulthood with scholarships and programs.

“Through our organization, we are able to help foster children navigate the difficult and often unchartered waters of foster care by providing them with valuable resources as well as opportunities to participate in childhood activities that promote confidence and independence so they can grow into responsible, happy adults,” says Kris Jacober, Director of the AFFCF.

AFFCF has awarded more than $5.7 million to 26,000 children in foster care.

The event will be from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. with tickets available for purchase at http://affcf.org/sliderthrowdown

Local restaurants entice Cactus League fans with food and drink specials

The games have begun for the month-long Cactus League season and Phoenix area restaurants are tempting baseball fans and locals to stop in with food and drink specials. Here are a few local restaurants to cheer your favorite team at before or after the game.

Cactuss League
Photo courtesy of Kassidy McDonald

Cactus League food specials

Fired Pie’s locations in the Phoenix area are offering game day ticket holders 10% off when they dine in after the game. To find a location near you check their website.

Thai Chili 2 Go is giving away a free dumpling appetizer at all 5 valley locations with purchase and a game day ticket stub. To find a location and hours check here.

Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

Mesa’s Cider Corps is extending their hours thru March 31st and offering a $1 off all pints when you bring in a same day ticket stub from Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium and Sloane Park. Hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Mon. – Sat. with food trucks on site Fri. & Sat. http://cidercorpsaz.com/

One of Tempe’s newest restaurants Quartiere welcomes baseball fans to come check out their community driven Italian restaurant.  Until April 1st fans can bring any 2018 Spring Training ticket stub for 1/2 off an appetizer or entrée when you purchase an entrée. Pizzas, pastas, salads and more are available at Quartiere

McFate Brewing is bringing fans attending games at Scottsdale Stadium a pop-up beer garden beyond the center field fence at The Clayton House. On game day the beer garden opens 90 minutes before game time with live music, food and of course beer.  No ticket necessary.  The Clayton House is at 3719 N. 75th St. Scottsdale.