Morning Squeeze lets kids eat free until August 31st

The kids are out of school and if their not at camp one way to keep them happy is to feed them. Feeding them all summer cad add up so Scottsdale’s and Tempe’s Morning Squeeze is letting kids eat free all summer.

Until August 31st kids 12 and under can eat for free during breakfast or lunch, no purchase is necessary. The offer is good Monday – Friday and is for dine-in only.

Morning Squeeze
Egg My Way with bacon and potatoes. All photos courtesy of Morning Squeeze.

Choose from Mouse Pancakes, French Toast Sticks with maple syrup, 1 Egg My way with bacon and potatoes or Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French fries.

With a dog friendly patio, the restaurant is one of the more popular Scottsdale restaurants and has been serving breakfast and lunch since 2013. Your dog even has it’s own Tail Wagger’s menu to order from.

The restaurants are open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Morning Squeeze is located at 4233 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and 690 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, 85287. Visit their website for more information.

Local eats in suburban New Jersey, NYC and Saratoga Springs

Like many of us living in Arizona, I too came from somewhere else. Across the river from New York City in suburban New Jersey I grew up on take-out pizza, diner food, and bagels. Despite many New York and New Jersey transplants opening restaurants serving food from our home state those foods just taste better back east. Whenever I head back for a visit I head for my favorite foods and I was back a couple of weeks ago.

Most people wouldn’t visit these family restaurants in suburban Bergen County unless you’re visiting family or friends in the area. But if you live there or happen to be traveling through the small towns that dot the metro area they’re easy to find.

Let’s eat

When you don’t know what you want or everybody wants something different a local diner is always a good call. So with family who flew into town we headed to to Matthews Colonial Diner in Waldwick. Wanting a char-broiled burger I opted to eat healthy knowing there would be plenty of food this week. The Beet & Goat Cheese Salad was a solid and out of the ordinary choice for me. My family knowing my eating habits gave me the “are you feeling ok” look when the word salad came out of my mouth.

Seems like Italian food reigned the week with 2 or 3 meals as we wound having pizza or pasta delivered. A favorite of my sister and her family is The Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus. Whether we walk over to dine-in or have it delivered it rarely disappoints. Ordering take-out I went pasta free ordering Chicken Scarpello with sausage, pepperoncini, mushrooms, garlic and a touch of garlic. So good I may have to head back sooner than later to get it again.

New Jersey
Chicken Scarpello from The Sicilian Sun

Wednesday lunch had a group of 20 family and friends at the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern for a 4 course lunch. Lots of history at this place that was constructed in 1796. The entree course had your typical, beef, chicken and fish option along with Bolognese Tagliatelle. I had the latter, I told you there was a lot of Italian food.

In the city

A trip to New Jersey isn’t complete without a visit to New York City. Thursday I caught a ride to lower Manhattan’s Financial District to play tourist and walk off the calories I consumed.

Getting into the city early I grabbed a a quick lox, egg & tomato bagel from the Park Place location of Lenwich, a local chain of sandwich shops I’ve never experienced before. Not my typical bagel and lox combination but it gave me the fuel I needed to pound the pavement.

Meeting a friend for lunch who had little time we opted for “street meat” from a food truck nearby. The city is know for it’s food trucks and carts offering a quick and reasonably priced lunch. We went for Mediterranean food and I opted for a falafel sandwich and my friend with a chicken and rice. Filling portions for only $5 each. The weather was one of the nicer days so we opted for a park bench to eat and chat.

New Jersey
NYC Falafel

Back on the Jersey side

Thursday dinner had us ordering in…… pizza from Anthony Franco’s Pizzeria. A visit to Jersey wouldn’t be a visit to Jersey without a couple of pizza pies. Sausage, onions, mushrooms and more topping our pies a few slices for now and few left for later.

In between rain drops on Friday I decided to give in to my burger craving at Red Cedar Market Season Kitchen for their RCM Mushroom and Swiss burger. This busy cafe made the best burger I’ve had in a while. Made to order and cooked to my preferred medium rare and drizzled with truffle oil and served with delicious fries.

New Jersey
RCM Mushroom & Swiss burger

Dinner had heading to the State Line Diner, a couple of miles south of the New York state border on Route 17. So much to choose from I didn’t know what I was going with until the words “Roat Beef & Swiss Cheese Triple Decker sandwich with a side of Steak Cut Onion Rings” came out. The rare roast beef was good but I wish I hadn’t ordered the onion rings as I compared them to a hometown favorite pile from the defunct Louie’s Charcoal Pit.

A quick trip upstate to Saratoga Springs

Saturday afternoon I drove up the New York Thruway to visit a friend I met in Arizona who re-located back home to upstate New York.

Once arriving I made my way to Broadway, the main drag in Saratoga Springs, waiting for my friend to get off work. The best weather of my visit had people out & about on this late Saturday afternoon and I found Druthers Brewery for a cold Raspberry Nut Brown Ale. It hit the spot before I strolled the downtown to Congress Park to taste the spring water known for in the area.

Meeting my friend at Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquors where she got off work but not before I tasted New York State made sangria and sparkling wine.

With other friends taking the train from Boston for an overnight visit the plan was for a festive Paella dinner. After wine, a generous portion of charcuterie and realizing it was late our Paella dinner was tabled until Sunday brunch. Made from scratch with each the chicken, shrimp and chorizo cooked separately we all watched and helped prepare as we sipped on our cups of Spot Coffee, an upstate coffee roaster.

New Jersey
The Cortile at Solevo

Dinner on Sunday night in Saratoga had us paying a visit to get this, a new Italian restaurant Solevo Kitchen & Social. For an appetizer we ordered the tasty Eggplant Chips drizzled with Calabrian Chili Honey and basil. My friends ordered the Sunday Sauce, rigatoni and meatballs in a San Marzano plum tomato sauce and Gnochhi with wild mushrooms, arugula, rosemary in a brown butter sauce.

After seeing several Items I’d already had that week I went with The Cortile, a mix of prosciutto, sweet peas, ground veal in a plum tomato & cream sauce with tagliatelle. Red wine and my Pinky Ring cocktail accompanied our meal and all were satisfied for our walk home.

Back to Jersey then back to Arizona

After a fun visit upstate I made my trip back down to New Jersey Monday morning. Deciding to raid my sisters cabinets and refrigerator for late lunch and early dinner I opted not to order….Italian food for dinner. Despite my best efforts to taste my niece and nephews Chicken Parmigna their like me very protective of their food. Early Tuesday I was on a plane back to my current home, Scottsdale.

More New Jersey and New York eats on my next visit east. See my Instagram for pictures of my visit @SandyWass

 

Matt’s Big Breakfast announces Scottsdale for its next location

With 4 locations around the valley Matt’s Big Breakfast has announced that its 5th location will be in Scottsdale. After teasing and getting feedback from customers on social media the southwest corner of Scottsdale Rd & Thunderbird will be the new location. When it opens this fall people will line-up for one of the iconic names on the valley’s breakfast scene.

“Scottsdale was hungry,” said Matt Pool, owner and namesake of the most important meal of the day. “Local fans have even submitted suggestions on vacant spots for us to take over!”

This will be the eateries first franchised location taking on the atmosphere of the neighborhood. The menu, fundamentals and culture will be staying the same.

Matt’s Big Breakfast has received national attention with mentions in the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Eater. An appearance on The Food Network also helped put them on the national map.

Matt's Big Breakfast
French Toast

Relying on locals at Matt’s Big Breakfast

Sourcing ingredients from local purveyors customers in Scottsdale can expect sweet and savory dishes from Griddle Cakes to Salami Scrambles. The Big Butter Burger is a favorite of many and pays tribute to Pool’s Wisconsin upbringing.

“One of our main priorities is to avoid growing simply for the sake of growth, and to instead let it happen organically, and with the right people taking the reins of each new restaurant we open,” said Pool. “While this new location may have minor stylistic differences from existing Matt’s restaurants, guests will get to enjoy the same quality, consistency & superior service that they’ve come to expect from the Matt’s Big Breakfast family.”

Since opening in downtown Phoenix in 2004 the eatery has opened in Tempe, Arcadia and Sky Harbor Airport.

“We’re thrilled to add a Scottsdale location to the Matt’s Big Breakfast family,” Pool said. “Local fans will find everything they love about Matt’s at the new location – they just don’t have to drive as far now to enjoy it.”

For more information about Matt’s Big Breakfast checkout their website.

Meat the Ball to open at Biltmore Fashion Park next week

Stefano Fabbri, owner of popular Phoenix restaurants Mora Italian and Pomo Pizzeria announced he’s opening a new restaurant, Meat the Ball. The full-service restaurant will open Thursday March 21st at the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Meat the ball
Photos courtesy of Kassidy Mcdonald at Evolve Marketing and PR.

The menu will include an impressive line-up of meatballs made with sausage, veal, salmon and more. In addition to meatballs the restaurant will offer appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts.

“I’m thrilled to introduce Meat the Ball, a mini restaurant with a big personality centered on the quintessential meatball and its street food friends. We will have authentic recipes prepared with locally sourced and organic products to celebrate today’s healthy dining, Italian style,” says Fabbri.

The 1,500 square foot restaurant will look like a 50’s style diner and decorated with pop-art and a retro theme.

Meat the Ball will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Biltmore Fashion Park is at 2502 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016. For more information visit their website.

Tryst Cafe brings its healthy menu to new Chandler location

Owners Lisa and Sami Khnanisho have had their award-winning Tryst Cafe in the Desert Ridge neighborhood of north Phoenix for 9 years before expanding. With numerous offers to come to all parts of the valley they decided on a south Chandler location. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Tryst serves naturally delicious assortment of sandwiches, salads, breakfast classics and more.

“We are excited to bring our affair with naturally delicious food to Chandler,” Co-Owner Lisa Khnanisho says. “The new location brings everything Tryst Cafe is about to the next-level.”

Egg Benedict

The healthy menu offers something for every diet and has been hailed by the vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian communities. Banana Quinoa Pancakes, Hawaiian 2-Egg organic Breakfast, Avocado Toast, Pork Adobo Tacos and a Bison Burger are a few of the dishes available.

The full service restaurant offers a walk-in coffee & juice bar, organic beverages including botanicals, Kombucha and a full bar.

The 3,500 square foot restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, a private dining room and meeting space for 14 people.

“Our menu is natural, healthy, and clean with something for everyone from the vegan diner to the meat-and-potatoes lover,” Khnanisho explains. “We believe everyone can have an affair with naturally delicious food.”

Bison Burger

As part of the grand opening celebration Tryst Cafe will host an Organic Wine Taste & Vote event. On March 13th in Chandler (20th at Desert Ridge) guests can taste 5 organic wines and vote for one to be added to the wine list. The 21+ event is $10 per person with guests tasting appetizers. Guests staying for dinner will receive a free dessert.

Tryst Cafe is at 4205 S. Gilbert Rd Chandler 85249 and 21050 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information visit their website.

CB Live doesn’t stop the party during new Om-Lit! Brunch

If you like loud DJ pumped music with your morning coffee, Bloody Mary or Mimosa there’s plenty of Phoenix restaurants that will keep the party going into the afternoon. The newest is served up CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace which kicked off their Om-Lit! brunch this past Sunday.

“We are so excited to launch OM-LIT! at CB Live. Phoenix has some of the best brunch weather in the country and with our amazing patio and a menu like the one we’ve created, we’re thrilled to start making a splash for breakfast, in addition to lunch and dinner.” said Ryan Handelsman, marketing and business director for CB Live.

The boozy breakfast starts every Sunday at 11 a.m. with a new breakfast menu along with Bottomless Mimosas and BYO Bloody Mary’s. The menu includes breakfast classics with inventive twists such as eggs benedict, fried chicken and waffles and omelettes. Healthy food options such as coconut oatmeal are available as well.

Throughout out brunch DJ Myth and DJ V-Easy pump out music from their turntables at the stage above the bar.

CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace is at 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information see their website.

Farmboy American Fare fights childhood hunger with Red Tractor Lunchbox program

Full service caterer Farmboy American Fare has begun a boxed lunch service for perfect group picnics, sales meetings and more. “The Red Tractor Lunchbox” program offers lunch for groups of 10 or more and a portion of all boxes sold will benefit childhood hunger programs. 25 cents from each box sold will be donated to the Association of Arizona Food Banks (AAFB). When ordering online customers can choose to donate more.

“Growing up on the farm, you didn’t think twice about helping someone in need. It’s just what you did to be a good neighbor,” said Zach Gibbs, owner of Farmboy American Fare. “The Red Tractor Lunchbox” giving campaign is our way of carrying on that tradition. I can’t think of a better way to do that than by feeding people, which is what we love to do.”

Each meal comes individually boxed and customers can choose from salads, sandwiches, wraps and BBQ. A Blue Ribbon Prime Rib Sandwich, Harvest Bounty Plate, Southern Fried Chicken are a few options. Executive chef Mike Scoplitte brings over 30 years of experience to Farmboy American Fare. In addition to catering Farmboy also schedules pop-up dinners offering fun culinary experiences.

One in four children in Arizona don’t get consistent meals they need to grow and thrive. “Children who are focused on their growling tummies can’t focus on learning,” said Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of AAFB. “Through special grants and donations like the “Red Tractor Lunchbox” giving campaign, we work to support our community in making sure kids get the nutrition they need through programs such as the Summer Food Service Program, School Meals and Alternative Breakfast Models.”

Once prepared the lunch boxes will be delivered to your door or office and may arrive via tractor.

To place an order visit their website.

 

Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery brings healthy food to Chandler

Locals and visitors in the Ocotillo neighborhood of Chandler have a new restaurant focusing on healthy food to visit. Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery opened this week offering gluten-free, vegan and Keto and all around healthy food.

Chef Steven Fowler created the menu bringing years of experience working around the valley. His culinary track record includes T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms, EVO, The Boulders Resort and Tonto Bar and Grill.

Greekin’ Out Bowl. All photos courtesy of Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery

The healthy menu at Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery is composed of salads, sandwiches, superfruit bowls, specialty dishes and cauliflower crust pizzas. The restaurant will serve the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The fast casual restaurant also offers a kiosk diners guests to order on their own.

The restaurant will be open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Mon. – Thurs., 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Sat. and Sun. from 8 a.m. –  9 p.m.

Cherish Farm Fresh Eatery is at 2551 W. Queen Creek Rd. Chandler 85248. (480)350-7245. For more information visit website.

Check out the new lunch menu at Ghost Ranch in Tempe

One of the “Best New Restaurants” in 2018 was Ghost Ranch which recently introduced a new lunch menu. The south Tempe restaurant opened in August and it’s not un-common for a restaurant to make changes to their menu. Seasonal availability of ingredients is one of the biggest reasons restaurant mix it up on a regular basis.

With then popularity of the local restaurant scene to keep people coming back you need to offer new and exciting dishes on a regular basis. New restaurants open daily around the Phoenix area and people can easily be distracted with the latest and greatest restaurant.

New lunch menu

The new lunch menu offers a variety of delicious meals for everybody and includes….

Torta—Chile Colorado braised pork, avocado, tomato, cabbage slaw, aioli, Noble Telera Bread and served with choice of Rancho Papas or side salad.

Tacos—Choice of protein (pork, steak or chicken), homemade tortillas, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, red and green salsas. Served with rice and beans.

EnchiladasChoice of pork, chicken or veggie with red or green sauce. Served with rice and beans.

Rice Bowl—Choice of pork, chicken or veggies, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and cotija.

Soup and Salad—Cup of Pumpkin Soup and ½ salad.

Ghost Ranch also mixed it up with their Happy Hour menu. Everyday from 3 – 6p.m. guests can enjoy selected $3 appetizers, $5 selected wines by the glass, cocktails and well drinks or $1 off beer.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Tempe 85284.

Sierra Bonita Grill goes back to its roots with new menus

Change is inevitable in restaurants, some changes follow food trends, decor, some are changes in a brand and customer service. Some changes come often with seasonal availability of ingredients. Some changes are years in the making  and that’s the case at Sierra Bonita Grill.

This is the restaurants first major menu change since 2011 and is about getting back to its roots and paying tribute to Sierra Bonita Ranch. The ranch down in Wilcox is Arizona’s oldest continuous family run ranch and where the restaurant got its name.

The popular central Phoenix restaurants menu is influenced by Southwestern and Mexican cuisine but owner Nate Hopper wanted more of a western influence.

Vegetable Noodles and Shrimp. All photos by Debbie Wolvos

“When I first learned about Sierra Bonita Ranch, I knew that I wanted Sierra Bonita Grill to honor our state’s ranching heritage. The updated menu now puts more emphasize on ‘out on the range’ cowboy-style cooking, while still integrating ingredients prominent in Mexican and Native American cuisine. We’re representing the old west, with a modern approach,” said Hopper.

“From the Ranch” at Sierra Bonita Grill

Longtime favorites Buttermilk Chicken, Grilled Fish & Carne Asada Tacos, Smoked Red or Green Chile Pork Roast and the SBG Signature Burger are staying along with others.

Guests will notice separate lunch and dinner menus with lighter options at lunch and heartier dishes at dinner. Included are more salads like the Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with grilled shrimp ($16) and The Bacon Wedge Salad ($16).

Other lighter menu additions include Vegetable and Noodle Shrimp ($28) and Avocado Toast ($10).

Sierra Bonita
Bacon Wedge salad.

The biggest change on the dinner menu is the “From The Ranch” section featuring steaks, chops and chicken. A few include a 14 oz. NY Strip ($38), an 18 oz. split bone-in Ribeye ($42), a 10 oz. bone-in Pork Chop (24) and half roasted chicken ($27). Entrees come served with a choice of side dish and homemade sauce.

Side dishes include a baked potato, seasonal vegetables, green chile mac ‘n’ cheese or green chile scalloped potatoes. Choose a sauce from a selection of horseradish cream, roasted tomatillo, roasted guajillo chile au jus, and chimichurri.

Sierra Bonita Grill is at 6933 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, Ariz., 85014. 602-264-0700 To see their new menus check out their website.