The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar opens at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The 6th location of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar has opened in north Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Across from Dave & Buster’s The Whining Pig will be the neighborhoods go to wine and beer bar that occupies more than 4,000 square feet.

Photos courtesy of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar

The friendly and knowledgeable staff pours wines from around the world and over 125 craft beers from rotating taps. A selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and meat & cheese plates are available off the limited menu.

Vintage boards games and other forms of entertainment make the place good hang out with friends and family.

The bar opens daily at 1 p.m. and stays open til the late evening and early morning hours.

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.

I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman  at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.

He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.

Naked BBQ

Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.

Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.

After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd  Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.

The meats at Naked BBQ

The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.

Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.

Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).

Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.

Sauce it up

If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.

If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.

Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

KOVO Modern Mediterranean to open in northeast Phoenix

Long time restaurateur Yianni Ioannou opens his new restaurant KOVO Modern Mediterranean in mid-September on the northeast corner of Shea & Tatum. Growing up in Cyprus he came to the United States and operated Greek restaurants learning all aspects of the restaurant industry.

According to Ioannou, “We are excited to bring to the Valley the simple, delicious flavors and bright spices of the Mediterranean. This area of the globe is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences. This diversity of cuisine will be showcased at KOVO in a modern, approachable way.”

Traditional dishes at KOVO Modern Mediterranean

KOVO Modern Mediterranean will highlight traditional dishes from family recipes, Yianni’s travels throughout the region and his time in the Greek restaurants. A wood fired oven will cook pizzas and other specialties including lamb, beef and organic chicken. KOVO is Greek for “to carve” and the meats will be cooked vertically in a rotisserie style in the open kitchen.

Shared plates such as hummus, tzatziki, grilled eggplant, grilled octopus and Hallumi will be served along with cheese boards and bruschetta. Savory and sweet pastries including Spanokapita and Baklava will also be served and available for take-out.

Signature cocktails, craft beers and old and new world wines will be served.

The 4,000 square foot restaurant will have an open feel and modern design. Mediterranean tiles and ocean blue accents will highlight design features. The dining room, bar and patio has room for more than 140 guests.

Kovo Modern Mediterranean will be open 7 days a week with lunch and dinner Monday – Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is at 10625 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, Ariz., 85028. For updates and information check out http://www.kovomedi.com/

 

Ocean Prime heats up your love life with a Summer Date Night

Has your love life cooled off as our summer temperatures have heated up, if so head to Ocean Prime for a Summer Date Night with your special someone. Every Thursday until September 20th couples can enjoy a 3-course all-inclusive dinner to share and heat things up in your love life.

All photos courtesy of Ocean Prime

The menu is as follows….

Shared Appetizer — Choice of:

  • Caesar Salad with Crisp Romaine, Parmesan Garlic Dressing and Brioche Croutons
  • Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Golden Oak Mushrooms

Shared Entrée —

  • Chateaubriand 16-ounce sliced Filet with Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes and Bordelaise Sauce. Additional enhancements offered include Shrimp Scampi ($15); Sea Scallops $16 for 2); and Lobster Tail ($26)

Share Dessert — Choice of:

  • New York Style Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Crust
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with Peanut Butter Mousse and Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache

The dinner is $95 and reservations can be made by calling 480-347-1313 or going to their website.

Ocean Prime is at 5455 E. High Street Phoenix 85054.