Mixologist Kyla Dahl brings new cocktails to Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild restaurant takes the new year pretty seriously as they’ve introduced new cocktails and food. The new cocktails were crafted by new mixologist Kyla Dahl who comes to Taco Guild after spending the last few years crafting cocktails at Scottsdale’s Liberty Station Smokehouse. It was there she learned to make creative cocktails and make a name for herself in the Phoenix cocktail community.

Chamoyada. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie at Evolve Marketing

New cocktails

Dahl has shaken things up with 7 new cocktails that pair well with Taco Guild’s Mexican food. All the new cocktails are priced at $12 each. Most of the new drinks use tequila or mezcal with a few of the drinks listed below.

      Chamoyada – Chamuccos blanco tequila, hibiscus, orange, mangonada, Tajin.

      Don Juan – Mexican rum, pepitas, lime, lemon, Curacao, dark rum.

·         Ponche – apple-infused gin, mango, orange piloncillo.

Seasonal Mezcal Mule – Mezcal mixed with seasonal flavor, lime and ginger beer

Taco Guild’s new dishes

The new chef driven dishes are spread throughout the menu from appetizers, tacos and dessert. There are 10 new dishes available for lunch and dinner and include…..

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta – citrus chile shrimp, guacamole, tomato corn salsa on top of house-made bruschetta. $12

Fundido – Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese blend with Serrano pepper, caramelized onion, tequila and mushrooms. Guests can now choose to add-on a variety of proteins

The Conquistador – chef’s choice charcuterie and cheese board served with nuts, jam, mustard and house-made bruschetta. $15

Cartel Coffee Beef Taco – Locally roasted Cartel coffee is used to season the beef before slow roasting it then it is topped with fresh jicama, cilantro and avocado. $4.95

Clandestino Shrimp Taco – Citrus-chile marinated shrimp are grilled then topped with avocado, chimichurri and cabbage slaw. $4.95

Chocolate Torte – A rich and dense chocolate torte with cashews, almonds, walnuts, cacao, coconut and sea salt.

Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

Macayo’s Recipe Boxes make great stocking stuffers

Earlier in the year Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants made available a limited amount of recipe boxes and they sold out quickly. I’m glad to report the custom-made wood boxes filled with family recipes are available and will again sell out quickly. If you haven’t bought presents for your favorite foodie or home chef these would make a perfect gift.

Friday December 14th at 9:00 a.m. they will go on sale on-line and at their Mesa, Phoenix and Glendale locations. Each Recipe Box includes 72 family recipes including Spinach Con Queso, Green Chile Pork Stew and Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad.

Each Recipe Box is $35 plus tax with a limit to 2 per person. Macayo’s will donate $5 of each sale to Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-Cap).

The three locations where the boxes will be available are…..

Mesa- 1920 S. Dobson Rd. 85202 (480)820-0237

Glendale- 6012 W. Bell Rd. 85308 (602)298-8080

Phoenix- 3815 N. Central Ave. 85012 (602)264-6141

 

Agave del Scottsdale takes over former Butters space

A new upscale Mexican restaurant, Agave del Scottsdale will open in early 2019 at Mercado del Lago Plaza in Scottsdale. The authentic Mexican restaurant takes over the space vacated by Butters Restaurant at Via de Ventura and Hayden Rd.

Because the owners families have roots in Yucatan, Mazalan, Puebla and Veracruz regions of Mexico and the menu will reflect their unique cuisines. The executive chef is moving to Scottsdale from Mexico City to over see the kitchen and culinary team.

Tequila & chaser. All photos courtesy of Agave del Scottsdale and Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

Fresh seafood, made from scratch moles, tacos along with made to order guacamole are a few of the dishes. Bartenders will make hand crafted cocktails and a variety of mezcal and tequila will be noticeable at the bar.

“We are excited to bring Agave del Scottsdale to the community and share what we are passionate about – genuine Mexican food, diverse tequila, refined hospitality and entertainment,” said Hector Soto, general manager of Agave del Scottsdale.

The 4,000 square foot space will be renovated with vibrant colors, white marble and wooden tables. An exhibition kitchen, open air dining room, outdoor patio and indoor & outdoor bar will offer guests privacy or the ability to dine and socialize.

The restaurant will hire 50-80 employees in the weeks ahead and information can be found on their website.

Once opened Agave del Scottsdale will be served lunch and dinner Mon. – Fri from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. On weekends they will open at 7 a.m. and stay open til 10 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively. During the week the restaurant will offer an exciting happy hour.

 

 

La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval emerges with a new look and menu

Plenty of Mexican food can be found around Phoenix but not many fine dining Mexican food options. One of the best is La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess which offers a new look and menu. One of the things that has not changed is the history and heritage of the restaurant.

According to General Manager Jack Miller, “The leadership at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is committed to making sure the heritage and history of this local dining landmark is honored while bringing the design and menu forward. We are determined to make sure La Hacienda continues to be the top ranked Mexican restaurant in Arizona for another generation.”

The new Short Rib Barbacoa. All photos courtesy of The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Authentic dishes at La Hacienda

Influencing the menu comes when chef Richard Sandoval and chef Forest Hamrick visit their families and new restaurants in Mexico. Popular dishes including Lobster Tacos, Filet a la Parilla and table side guacamole returned when La Hacienda re-opened in late September. New dishes include Short Rib Barbacoa and Pescado Zarandeado, a barbecued Sea Bass with charred aioli, heirloom tomato and avocado.

Make sure you try the trio of Sweet Corn Tamales, the sweet spicy mole is “lick the plate” worthy.

Another new attraction are the 21 new specialty cocktails that have been introduced. All use less than four ingredients to highlight a specific flavor. “Smoked Cocktails” highlight the new cocktail menu that use Mezcal to give it the smoky flavor. La Hacienda features over 150 tequilas and a growing selection of Mezcal all picked by Tequila Goddess Katie Schnurr.

Black Currant Margarita

A new look and expansion

The exciting new menu is compliments the new look of La Hacienda created by Judith Testani. Testani is a local designer with her own firm, Testani Design. Testani says “The goal for the re-design of La Hacienda was to align the interior of the restaurant with the sophisticated palette of the chef and menu.”

The Bar at La Hacienda

An expanded lounge and bar allows guests to gather and offer communal dining at high top tables. Tequila bottles are on the new display shelf across from the agave wall crafted by a local artist.

Large light fixtures drop from the ceiling are new as is furniture and accessories from Mexico. Guests will notice light-colored stucco walls, detailed blacked steel and renovated restrooms.

Guest can dine at La Hacienda daily at 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and 10 p.m. on Fri. & Sat. To view the menu and more information view their website.

 

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.

Much anticipated Ghost Ranch to open August 27th

One of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of 2018 is happening as August ends when Aaron Chamblerin’s Ghost Ranch opens on the 27th. It’s been a busy year for Chamberlin having opened Taco Chelo in downtown Phoenix and Ghost Ranch’s neighbor Tempe Public Market. He also sold his central Phoenix restaurant St. Francis to focus on opening Ghost Ranch.

All photos courtesy of Ghost Ranch

Eat at Ghost Ranch

The modern Southwestern restaurant located is on the same corner as TPM at the northeast corner of Rural & Warner. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends.

The menu will focus on cuisine from northern Mexico, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico combining the culinary talents of Chamberlin and chefs Rene Andrade  & Roberto Centeno. Both chefs come to Chamberlin Hospitality from other Phoenix area restaurants and will offer dishes from their upbringing in Nogales.

Ghost Ranch
Chile Relleno

“One of my favorite things in the world is the smell of roasting chiles, and it was that smell that made me want to open up a restaurant that embodied the bold flavors of the Southwest,” said Chamberlin. “Rene and Roberto have such a deep understanding of the history, culture and flavors of the region — they are the perfect talents to help make my dream a reality.”

The menu includes red and green chile smothered enchiladas, cowboy steaks, seasonal vegetables from local farmers and grilled trout from the wood smoking grill. Seasonal soups and salads will be on the menu as well.

A beer and wine list has been carefully created as are signature cocktails made with regional ingredients and spirits.

Follow my Instagram @SandyWass as I will be headed to preview Ghost Ranch next week and will be posting from there.

Ghost Ranch is in the Landis Crossing shopping center at 1006 E. Warner Rd Tempe 85254. http://GhostRanchAZ.com.

Former Z’Tejas chef opens Cocina Madrigal in south Phoenix

After years of honing his culinary skills in restaurants in Mexico City and the United States for somebody else, Leo Madrigal decided to take those skills and open his own restaurant. The Oaxacan born Madrigal did just that recently with the opening of his Cocina Madrigal on the corner of 16th St. & Wood in south Phoenix.

All photos courtesy of Kassidy McDonald at Evolve Marketing

The 1,900 sq. ft. restaurant seats up to 140 people once the patio opens including the bar that’s serving signature margaritas and a unique section of tequila. “From the moment our guests walk into the restaurant, I want them to feel welcomed, appreciated and at home. I’m so excited to share my commitment to service and high quality food at our new location in South Phoenix,” says Madrigal.

Cocina Madrigal signature dishes

Madrigal wanted to always share his vision of Mexican cuisine at his own restaurant after working in restaurants such as Z’Tejas, Eddie V’s and Taco Guild after arriving from Houston. The menu is inspired by growing up in Oaxaca and he giving it an American twist with such dishes as Oaxacan Con Queso with American & Oaxacan cheese, Mango Steak Salad, Tres Mushrooms Enchiladas and Grilled Elote with Cotija cheese.

Mexican food staples tacos, enchiladas and burros are given Madrigals twist as well.

Cocina Madrigal is open for lunch and dinner Sun.- Thurs. from 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. with Happy Hour Mon. – Fri. from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Cocina Madrigal is at 4044 S. 16th St. Phoenix 85040. (602)243-9000 For more information check their Facebook page.

 

The Rafter Room offers cocktails upstairs in Tempe’s Social Hall

The Rafter Room opened this weekend offering guests a rum and tequila focused cocktail list. The newest cocktail hideaway is upstairs in the loft of Tempe’s Social Hall which opened in January. With the completion of The Rafter Room the two-story facility offers guests over 10,000 square feet of space perfect for happy hour and hanging out.

Social Hall cocktails

The Rafter Room design

The Rafter Room was designed Camila Gibbs and offers ” a moodier, edgier evolution” compared to downstairs. The converted barn has triple vaulted ceilings, vintage voting booth lights, patina walls and a raised stage for presentations and live music. According to co-owner Mike Kenney “The space has an industrial, secret hideaway type of vibe that really sets it apart from the restaurant down below.”

All photos courtesy of Social Hall

Social Hall cocktail and food offerings

The Latin inspired menu downstairs will be available upstairs with Pork Belly Street Tacos, Chicano Steak Frites and Huevos Rancheros and more. “Expect an elevated tequila and rum bar program, small-batch and barrel-aged spirits, among other offerings,” said Kenney.

The cocktail program was created to compliment the menu of Social Hall.

Social Hall is at 715 S. McClintock Dr. Tempe 85281. 480-747-3851. For more information see their website.

Chef Michael O’Dowd & Julian Wright to open Las Palmas Cantina in Chandler

Chef Michael O’Dowd is making his way back to the valley’s restaurant scene running the kitchen of restaurateur Julian Wright’s(Pedal Haus Brewery and others) new restaurant Las Palmas Cantina in downtown Chandler. When the restaurant opens in May it will serve coastal cuisine with Yucatan inspiration that Wright found when traveling to Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas of Mexico.

Executive chef Michael O’Dowd

O’Dowd returns to the valley after most recently working in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona as executive chef. When in Phoenix O’Dowd scored the coveted AAA Five Diamond  and Forbes Five Star Award  while executive chef at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” said Wright. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”

Las Palmas Cantina menus

O’Dowd’s menu will highlight the “sand to table” concept with seafood from local fish monger Chula Seafood along with “high country” ingredients. Fish available will include Pompano, Triggerfish, Snapper and more for ceviche and other dishes.

Las Palmas Sandia cocktail

Sweet & spice are tastes you’ll find at Las Palmas Cantina with your shared plates and lighter dishes that will include a jerk chicken Shaken Greens and Cochinta Pibil.

“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” said O’Dowd. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”

Just in time for summer, Las Palmas Cantina’s beverage program will offer refreshing tropical specialty cocktails and Mexican inspired craft beers brewed exclusively for Las Palmas. A selection of tequilas, mezcals and agua frescas will be offered and used as ingredients in the cocktail program.

Need a job

The 5,000 square foot restaurant is currently hiring and those interested can apply in person at the restaurant at 95 W. Boston in downtown Chandler on online at their website.

 

 

Mario Lopez welcomes Danny Trejo & Frankie Quinones to Cinco de Mario

Not many people have a festival named after them but actor/TV host Mario Lopez is a modern day personality that has his own Cinco de Mario festival and it comes to Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza on Saturday May 5th. Hopefully there is still room on your party schedule as this is a busy day with both the Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo festivities around town.

Cincio de Mario
Actor & host Mario Lopez

It’s Cinco de Mario that will have bad ass actor turned taco & donut entrepreneur Danny Trejo on stage with Mario along with comedian Frankie Quinones and legendary hip hop group Sugarhill Gang.

Cinco de Mario events

Cinco de Mario
chili peppers

The day long festival starts at 11 a.m. and for the next 7 hours festival attendees can head to the Super Mucho Merchado for gourmet foods and traditional Mexican fare in a farmer’s market setting.

Attendees will be able to sample tacos and more from El Jefe, The Mission, Don Jose Mexican food and other local food producers. Make your way to the craft beer garden and rose wine garden to quench your thirst from all the spicy foods.

Fun will be had when “Saved By The Bell” alum and  festival host Mario judge’s a “Saved by The Bell”  look a like contest and local bands Mariachi Rodriguez and Ritmo Latino perform before we get down with the Sugarhill Gang’s old school performance.

A lounge to watch The Kentucky Derby will be available.

Comedian Frankie Quinones

Getting your tickets

General Admission tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Mansion VIP tickets are $100 online in advance and get a plate of food from The Mission, 5 drink tickets, private bar and a lounge area.

Experience it all and a meet & greet with Mario Lopez with VIP Mario Sky Deck for $200 online in advance that gets you food & drink all day from The Mission and high-end lounge furniture to relax in.

Entry to craft beer & rose garden is $20 for 8 tasting tickets.

Kids under 12 are free.  Purchase your tickets here.