Category Archives: Mexican food

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.

 

Upscale Toca Madera coming to Scottsdale Fashion Square

With all the development going on around downtown Scottsdale you may have missed that Scottsdale Fashion Square was doing a major renovation on the north side off the Camelview parking lot. The new luxury wing will include upscale restaurants with Los Angeles based Toca Madera being one and Ocean 44 the other.

This will be the third location for Toca Madera with a restaurant in Dubai and the flagship West Hollywood restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern approach.

Adobo Steak

“Making something already exceptional even better is driving the luxury renovation at Scottsdale Fashion Square, and that means creating opulent settings for shoppers to unwind and refresh,” said Michael Guerin, Senior Vice President of Leasing, Macerich.

“The addition of market-exclusive culinary concepts like Toca Madera, along with some of the world’s most respected retail brands, reinforces the property’s reputation as the market’s dominant luxury destination.” 

Toca Madera eats

The menu emphasizes organic and locally sourced ingredients for bold flavors and plenty of options for diners including plenty of gluten-free and vegan dishes.

On the menu currently at the West Hollywood restaurant are Ensenada style fish tacos, A La Roca with American Wagyu beef, Enchiladas de Mole, Chipolte Dusted Tofu Tostadas and the popular Churro Ice Cream Sandwich.

Spill out cafe seating will be available for people to enjoy a bite to eat while sipping on a tequila or mescal, a farm to glass cocktail that uses fresh ingredients or a glass of wine from around the world.

Scottsdale is a market we’ve always wanted to be in,” said Tosh Berman, CEO and Co-founder of The Madera Group. “With Scottsdale Fashion Square’s exciting luxury expansion happening, we knew this was going to be the perfect location for us. We look forward to introducing Toca Madera to the community and showcasing what will be the ultimate in luxury dining.”

Check back for updates or visit their website.

Aaron Chamberlain’s Taco Chelo opens March 9th along Roosevelt Row

Food is an art form in itself but many restaurants are creating space for other forms of art and downtown’s Phoenix’s new Taco Chelo combines food and art when it opens on Friday March 9th.

The team bringing Taco Chelo to life is restaurateur Aaron Chamberlain, artist Gennaro Garcia and chef Suny Santana.

“Taco Chelo celebrates great food as well as great art, creating an experience unlike anything else in the Valley,” said Chamberlin, of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Café fame. “In terms of culinary and artistic talent, we’ve got the real deal, and it’s showcased in our menu, on our walls and throughout the restaurant in its entirety.”

Taco Chelo art

The 1,000 square foot Taco Chelo was designed by the internationally acclaimed Garcia and the restaurant adorns his art work that includes custom-made pieces from Mexico.

“What we worked to create here is an experience that caters to all senses,” Gennaro said. “I see this restaurant project as an ongoing art installation and a collaboration of the visual and culinary arts”.

In the kitchen

Chef Suny Santana will be for sure preparing tacos, but his menu goes beyond that creating dishes he learned from his mother as child on a farm in Monterrey Mexico.

Recipes include chicharrones, chips & guacamole and pinto beans stewed with bacon and pico de gallo known as “frijoles a la charra”. Salads are also available as is beer, wine and cocktails.

Chef Santana and Taco Chelo already has a fan in Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, “Downtown is experiencing a renaissance, now home to world-class arts, culture, nightlife and great culinary concepts that showcase the flavor of Phoenix,” says Stanton. “Taco Chelo — a restaurant with an emphasis on both food and art — is a great fit for Roosevelt Row. I can’t wait to try what Chef Suny Santana is cooking up!”

Taco Chelo will be open Sun. – Thurs. from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. and is at 501 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix 85004. 602-368-5316. For more information check out their website.