Downtown Mesa to host 2nd annual Southwest Cider Festival

Over 300 cider enthusiasts including myself made their way to downtown Mesa last year for the inaugural Southwest Cider Festival. I’m happy to announce that tickets are on sale for the 2nd Southwest Cider Festival on Saturday October 19th at Cider Corps. Refreshing samples of local and out of state ciders will be poured along with live music, food trucks and more. People are still discovering this new and unique beverage according to Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

“Craft cider is so different from mass produced drinks and even from traditional European ciders,” Duren explained. “We’re experimenting with flavor profiles and techniques that make this a really unique beverage without artificial flavoring or added sugars. The festival is a chance to sample the variety out there and really support the craft cider community.”

The festival goes from 4-8 p.m. and General Admission tickets are $35. Tickets include 15 sample tickets and a commemorative glass. VIP tickets are $50 and get early entry at 3 p.m., a t-shirt, 20 sample tickets and commemorative glass. Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite.

The event will be outside at Cider Corps in downtown Mesa at 31 S. Robson St.  85210. For updates check out the Facebook page.

Desert Mountain Club’s “The Mountain Chef” food truck hits the road.

North Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain Club has introduced Arizona’s first golf club owned food truck “The Mountain Chef”. Currently the food truck will be around the community for residents, club members and special events before hitting the road. “The Mountain Chef” serves dishes from the 10 clubhouse restaurants and grills around the community including the new Seven Clubhouse.

Seven Clubhouse is named for the new 7th golf course in Desert Mountain that opened a few months ago. Chef de Cuisine Greg Guerva will be serving up favorites including the Seven Burger, Glazed Short Ribs and adult milkshakes. Before coming to Desert Mountain Guerva had worked at Sumo Maya and North Italia.

“We’ve seen this trend at other high-end golf clubs around the country, but we are proud to be the first exclusive golf club here in Arizona to own our own truck and be servicing our diverse cuisine out of it,” said Chef Guevara. “Many items we create out of our 10 restaurants at Desert Mountain right now can be served out of ‘The Mountain Chef’ truck, with a little notice, of course.”

In coming weeks “The Mountain Chef” will be serving food around the valley for special events and available for catering. For more information check out their website.

 

 

 

Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest returns to Civic Space Park

The end of September should bring cooler temperatures but this is Phoenix so it could still be warm for the annual Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest. Quench your thirst at this German inspired festival that started as a wedding in 1810 and lasted for several days. The annual celebration continues around the world feasting and drinking for several days. Our downtown festival only lasts 6 hours on Saturday September 28th at Civic Space Park.

The doors open at 3:00 p.m. with authentic German food such as pretzels, brats, currywurst, schnitzel, spatzel and sauerkraut from Brat Haus, Eur Haus food truck and others. Huss Brewing makes sure the beer keeps flowing pouring their beers along with 8 German beers on tap.

“The Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest is a chance for everyone to be German for the day,” said owner of HDE Agency, Landon Evans. “Oktoberfest is a long-running tradition in Germany and we love bringing it to Cityscape providing an authentic experience, live entertainment and plenty of fun.”oktoberfest

Funkhaus Brass Band will be playing New Orleans style music and games Corn Hole & Jenga will keep people entertained. Servers from Hooter will be serving food and drinks and will host a Stein Holding contest and Beer Maid contest. Save room and enter the brat eating contest.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to ICM Food & Clothing Bank. Since 1983 ICM has provided basin needs such as food, clothes, diapers and more to poor families.

Tickets are $10 online and $15 day off. Groups of 4 can get tickets for $30 online for a 50% savings. Food and beverage sold separately. Civic Space park is at 424 N. Central Ave.

Downtown Chandler gettin’ ready to host 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

It’s now August which means the metro Phoenix food festival calendar is starting to fill up. One of the first festivals of the season on September 14th is the 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest. Once again downtown Chandler’s Dr. A.J. Chandler Park hosts the day long event.

taco street fest
All photos courtesy of Claire Natale at Evolve Public Relations

Over a dozen local restaurants and food trucks including Ghett Yo Taco, Taco Chiwas and Willie’s Taco Joint will be serving up tacos and more. Festival goers will enjoy cold beverages such beer Micheladas, margaritas and fresh fruit frescas.

“The Rockin’ Taco Street Fest is one of our most popular signature events that we produce,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We strive to build our community style events to be the best Arizona has to offer with activations that enhance the attendee’s experience. We look to reach 15,000 at this year’s celebration.”

Live music, eating competitions, a car show, wrestling and more will keep festival goers entertained for the 9-hour event. The family friendly event goes from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will have a Kid’s Zone. “While the food is a featured element at Rockin’ Taco Street Fest, we strive to create an experience for our attendees,” said Evans. “We have a bit of something for everyone whether it’s shopping, refreshing drinks, food aficionados, great entertainment and the list keeps going.”

Taco Street Fest donates and tickets

The 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Junior Achievement of Arizona. The local non-profit helps young people gain knowledge and skills to be an economic success as they plan for their future. They also help to educate them to make smart academic and financial decisions.

Tickets for the festival are available online. Starting today those looking to save money sponsors Food City and Basha’s are selling 50% off tickets until September 14th. Kids under 12 are FREE. Dr. A.J Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. chandler.

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.