Building an award winning wine program is no small task and Jim Gallen is no stranger to building them. Gallen, Food and Beverage Manager at Mountain Shadows Resort, built the Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 “Award of Excellence” wine list for Hearth ’61. Criteria used to judge restaurants for the award include wine pricing, wine director experience, cuisine type & menu pricing and overall wine selection.
Gallen has over 25 years of experience wine buying having been the wine buyer for Phoenix’s Tarbell’s Restaurant and others. It’s the restaurants first honor by Wine Spectator for its diverse list of over 180 wines from around the world.
It’s important for Gallen to build a wine program that compliments Executive Chef Charles Wiley’s cuisine and culinary events.
Hearth ’61 was one of over 3,800 restaurants around the world to be awarded the honor by Wine Spectator. Gallen will grow the wine program to earn the magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” and its highest honor “Grand Award”. The restaurant was one of several Arizona restaurants to earn honors from the magazine including Tarbell’s Tavern and Cafe Monarch.
Hot off the heels of 2019 Spring Arizona Restaurant Week the Arizona Restaurant Association announces dates for Fall 2019. Foodies and foodies in training mark your calendars for Friday September 20th- 29th for 10 days of culinary discovery.
Arizona Restaurant Week showcases local restaurants creating special menus that offer 3 or 4 course prie-fixe menus. For $33 or $44 per person guests can visit restaurants for dishes not served during the rest of the year. Wine pairing are extra.
“Consumer demand for restaurants in Arizona has been the highest it’s ever been and that’s why we see such support each year during both Spring and Fall Restaurant Week,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are proud to be leading the charge in an initiative that helps diners discover some of the best local, chef-driven restaurants as well as support some of the most well-known restaurants in the state.”
This is the 12th anniversary of the twice yearly event with the list of participating restaurants growing every year. Over 70 restaurants around Arizona are confirmed to participate in 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week. To see the list of restaurants participating & menus go to https://arizonarestaurantweek.com/. Restaurants are being added weekly so check back for updates. Photo courtesy of David Blakeman
Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.
I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.
Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Proof, An American Canteen
Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.
Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America” along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.
June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade
July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!
August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.
Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)
Huss Arizona Light Lager
Le Cumbre Elevated IPA
The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.
Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil
Queen Creek Olives
Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime
Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds
Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde
Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.
Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries
Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry
Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?
The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262
Staying in Phoenix this summer, you don’t have to eat like you are when you head to the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. The resorts signature restaurant, the Spanish steakhouse Talavera offers two unique dining experiences this summer created by Sous Chef Samantha Sanz.
Summer in Seville prix fixe menu for 2
From June 7th – September 1st couples can spend a “Summer in Seville” enjoying wines and captivating dishes from Spanish city of Seville.
The evening starts with a parron of Sangria or bottle of Txakolina, a light and refreshing white wine perfect for summer sipping. Share a dish of tapas and a verduro (vegetable dish) before the main course arrives.
Chef Sanz creates summer version of her signature dish, Paella for the main course. Chorizo Bilbao, prawns, mussels, clams, corn, peas and a flavorful Chermoula verde sauce make up this traditional Spanish meal.
Dine on a Thursday night and enjoy live Flamenco music as you enjoy your meal and view of Pinnacle Peak.
The “Summer in Seville” dinners are served Wednesday – Sunday from 5:30 -9:30 p.m. The cost is $98 per couple.
Talavera features Latin cuisine & cocktails
Chef Sanz creates a one-of-a-kind interactive dinner experience taking you back and forth to South America and Spain for this dinner series.
June 13th- Travel to Brazil and Argentina for a “South American Churrascaria” and dine on tableside carved meats and dishes from live action cooking stations. New world wines from Argentina will be poured as will the classic Brazilian cocktail, Caipirinhas.
July18th– Head to southern Spain for the “Taste of Andalusia” dinner. Taste the different styles of sherry while enjoying authentic foods of southern Spain. Live cooking stations and tableside dishes will be paired with Spanish wines.
August 29th- Head back to South America for the “Latin Heat” dinner featuring the cuisine of Peru and Colombia. Sip on a Pisco Sour while eating Peruvian Ceviche and a selection of chiles and more.
September 19th- Return to Spain for Basque Country food and beverages at the “Nights in San Sebastian” dinner. Enjoy tapas inspired from the northern Spanish city with cooking stations as you enjoy the cities favorite past time, bar hopping.
Each dinner is $125 per person and include a welcome drink. Reservations for both of dinners can be made by calling 480-513-5039 or visit http://talaverarestaurant.com/
Talavera and the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262
Guests dining for dinner and brunch at Mowry & Cotton will notice new dishes to choose from the next time they dine at the restaurant. Chef de Cuisine Tandy Peterson has added Spring vegetables and proteins to the menu at the award-wining restaurant.
At the modern American restaurant inside The Phoenician Resort, Peterson has chosen lighter and fresh fare for Spring dining. New dishes on the dinner menu include Corn & Chorizo dip with chicharrones, chilis & Oaxaca cheese. Popular American comfort food favorite Chicken Pot Pie is packed with potatoes, sage veloute and Spring vegetables. A fresh tuna steak and Blistering Shishito Peppers are also featured on the new menu.
New brunch menu items feature Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Belgian Waffles with lemon curd, berries and Chantilly cream.
Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician 6000 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. To make reservations to dine with Chef Tandy Peterson call 480.423.2530
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa has announced their lineup for their Winemaker Dinner Series for the rest of 2019. The dinners will feature California wineries paired with a delicious four-course menu prepared by chefs Juan Solorio & Joaquin Estolano Jr.
Dinners will be held in the resorts Alto Ristorante e Bar and will start with an appetizer and wine reception at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7. I recently had the opportunity to taste the several dishes prepared by the creative culinary team and guests are in for an epicurean experience. To see what I dined on visit my Instagram @SandyWass.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa’s Winemaker Dinner Series.
Nickel & Nickel -Thursday, May 23, 2019
Established in 1997, Nickel & Nickel are devoted exclusively to producing 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinctive personality of each vineyard.
Joseph Wagner Wines -Thursday, June 20, 2019
A family of fine wines, Joseph Wagner is made from some of the best regions in California.
Frog’s Leap- Thursday, July 18, 2019
Adhering to the premise that the greatest wines are those that truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance. Frog’s Leap believes the winemaker’s role is to stand back and let the natural beauty of grapes show through.
BV (Beaulieu Vineyards)- Thursday, August 15. 2019
Founded in 1900, BV continues with the spirit of innovation to produce exceptional wines that stand among the world’s finest.
Duckhorn- Thursday, September 19, 2019
Over the past 40 years, Duckhorn has established itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines.
The per person price for June through September is $95++.
Orin Swift- Thursday, October 17, 2019
Combining excellent wines with creative labeling, Orin Swift has grown very fast to become one of the wines most enjoyed.
Plumpjack- Thursday, November 14, 2019
Their wines are a reflection of their unique terroir, the passion and precision of their winemaker, and their commitment to craft wines consistently express the distinct qualities of their estate vineyards in the Oakville appellation.
ZD- Thursday, December 19, 2019
Over three generations, their passion for wine has gained ZD the recognition as one of Napa Valley’s favorite offering unrivaled world-class wines.
The per person price for October through December is $115++.
Reserve your seat
Because seats are limited, reservations are required. To make a reservation call (480)444-1234 ext. 8650. Repeat guests will receive 10% off the new dinner. To see menus as they are planned visit their website. Wines will be available for purchase at a discounted price.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is at 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. Scottsdale 85258.
Today owners Frank Schneider and Cat & Randy Frankel open their new Scottsdale restaurant Modern Oysterbar Chophouse. Combined they have almost a centuries worth of experience on the Phoenix culinary scene including Steak 44, Mary Elaine’s and Mastro’s Ocean Club.
The new 6,000 square foot locally owned restaurant takes over the space vacated by Sonata’s at Scottsdale Rd. and Gold Dust Ave. The modern look offers dark interiors, high top tables in the bar and plush seating for almost 300 people. A private dining room and outside patio can accommodate 30 people in each. The large oyster bar will be the center of attention and seats 12.
“This is not your average steakhouse,” said Cat. “Every detail is being considered to make this a true culinary experience.”
On the menu at Modern Oysterbar Chophouse
Executive Chef Mike Bouwens brings his steakhouse experience at Fleming’s and The Capital Grille to Modern Oysterbar Chophouse. That experience will come in handy with 7 cuts of prime meats on the menu. Plenty of seafood including hot and cold seafood towers from the oyster bar along with grilled fish and Modern’s take on Bouillabaisse are on the menu.
Pastry Chef Samantha Frankel background includes Kierland Common’s Zinc Bistro and will show off her dessert and cheese charcuterie skills.
Dylan Frankel will be handling the beverage program at Modern that will include 4 wines, 2 specialty cocktails and beer on tap. Dylan honed his bar skills at Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers and Zinc Bistro.
“We are showcasing the best in meats, raw seafood and in house desserts. The cocktail component is equally as impressive,” said Randy.
The bar opens daily at 4 p.m. and dinner service begins at 5.
Modern Oysterbar Chophouse is at 10050 N. Scottsdale Rd. #127 Scottsdale 85253. To see the full menu and make a reservation head to their website.
Looking for a unique experience during the holiday’s and into 2019 then head to Mountain Shadows Resort. Whether you prefer to sip champagne or look in to space the Paradise Valley resort offers both in the month of December.
The “Cocktails Under the Cosmos” will give star-gazers the chance to look through a telescope for Sagittarius, December’s astrological sign. An expert astronomer will guide you through the galaxy on Tuesday. December 11th from the resorts Camelback Overlook rooftop deck. Enjoy themed cocktails or sparkling wine and passed hors d’oeuvres as you search the night’s sky. The resort is perfect for stargazing as Paradise Valley has low light pollution and a scenic back round.
Tuesday January 8th 2019 ring in the new year with a viewing of Capricorn and Tuesday February 11th is the search for Aquarius. All astrological signs are welcome.
December’s viewing is from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. January & February’s viewing is from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
December’s Sunday Supper Club at Hearth ’61 is paired with champagne and sparkling wine. The December 16th dinner offers guests four courses with Tattinger Champagne from France and California’s Domaine Carneros.
Executive chef Charles Wiley and his culinary team will prepare warm duck confit, an organic beet salad with proscuitto, prime ribeye with maitake mushrooms and pear ricotta souffle cake with a huckleberry sauce. Dinner comes served in full view of the exhibition kitchen in their comfortable dining room.
The dinner starts at 6 p.m. and is $94 ++ per person. Which do you prefer and who will win the battle? Find out by reserving your seat by calling 480-624-5400.
Mountain Shadows is 5445 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.
The family behind Steak 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse are putting the final touches on their newest restaurant, Ocean 44. The restaurant will open the first week of December. Guests familiar with the Mastro family restaurants will enjoy another first class dining experience. The restaurant is on Goldwater Boulevard just across from Scottsdale Fashion Square where Harkins Camelview Theater used to stand.“We are so excited to be opening Ocean 44 this fall and bringing our world-class seafood experience to the Valley,” said Jeff Mastro, founder and partner of Prime Steak Concepts. “Ocean 44 will keep the tradition of intimacy and the upscale vibe of our Steak 44, while giving our guests an exciting coastal feel.”
The Ocean 44 menu
Chef Siegfried Hohaus will oversee the kitchen and created a unique menu with Chief Executive Chef Mark Lupino. The menus seafood is of the highest grade and from sustainable sources coming from around the world. Since Chef Hohaus helped open Mastro’s Ocean Club they felt he would be a good fit at Ocean 44. The Mastro’s sold the Ocean Club in 2007.
An abundant a la carte menu will include great steaks along with non-traditional seafood dishes. Dishes include Heirloom Tomato Crab Stack, Smoked Salmon Hash Brown Pizza, Lobster Bake, wood roasted shellfish and Colossal Shrimp Cocktail.
“This is different than anything we have done in the past, the atmosphere is second to none, featuring a blend of dining settings ranging from dramatic to intimate. At the core of the Ocean 44 experience is our chef sourced, highest graded sustainable fresh seafood from around from the world, enhanced with unique and interesting appetizers and side dishes that go beyond the traditional seafood menu,” said Mastro.
The Testani Design Troupe designed the 12,000 square foot restaurant. Guests will be able to view the culinary team in action through the glass expo kitchen with nearby seating. The restaurant will offer several dining areas whether you prefer the main dining floor, two dining bars or private dining rooms.
The Mastro’s have a reputation for serving the highest quality food with luxury personal service in an upscale atmosphere.
Ocean 44 will serve only dinner and the menu and more information can be found here.