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…..
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.
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.
Rather than closing restaurants as owners move on they are finding new owners to keep them up and running. Yesterday I posted about The House Brasserie getting new owners, today TEXAZ Grill has a new owner.
After 33 years owner Steve Freidkin was ready to move on but didn’t want to close his famous Phoenix restaurant. Selling almost a million Chicken Fried Steaks and Texas style food new owners, the Nguyen family don’t plan any changes.
The new owners
The Nguyen’s moved to Arizona in 2007 from Houston where they immigrated to in 1989. They have been longtime fans of the restaurant ever since and are looking forward to taking it over.
“Our entire family is excited to take the reins at TEXAZ Grill and continue the proud traditions started by Steve Freidkin and Jim Mitchell way back in 1985,” says Long Nguyen. “Most important, we want TEXAZ fans to know their restaurant is in good hands, and we look forward to serving up Phoenix’s best steaks, chicken fried steaks and more for another 33 years.”
Long time staff and management will stay in place to continue serving comfort classics like steaks, chili and BBQ.
Friedkin will stay on board with the new owners through November and will then become a customer.
“After three plus decades as owner, chief cook and bottle washer at TEXAZ Grill, I’m ready to ride off into the sunset,” says Steve Freidkin. “But first I had to make sure that my staff and our customers, who are both like family to me, were all in great hands. It was very important to me that TEXAZ remains a family run restaurant.”
“The staff makes TEXAZ Grill great, and I know that they will have the same friendly service and use the same recipes that we’ve had for the past 33 years, including chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, TEXAZ Red Chili, pecan pie, and more.”
Discussions about pizza and who makes “The Best” is part of the pizza culture. When a new list comes out we all scan it to see if we’ve been to any and if we agree. I know I’ve got my opinions and favorites. Phoenix does have a pretty good if not great reputation for its pizza community. Most often we think of Chris Bianco and his Pizzeria Bianco’s when we think of great pizza in Phoenix. Chris laid the foundation for pizza in Phoenix with its reputation for tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes. It should come as no surprise that other pizzerias have opened following the Bianco brick oven model and have garnered national respect in the pizza community. Pomo Pizzeria in downtown Phoenix (a few blocks from Bianco) is the only Arizona pizzeria to make BuzzFeed’s The 25 Best Pizzerias in America.
Pomo came in at #14 on the list voted on by guests. The Principe pizza is featured on BuzzFeed list but the pizzeria considers The Diavola as their signature pizza. The Diavola has tomato sauce, spicy salame, mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Pomo uses fresh ingredients and uses traditional pizza making techniques going back hundreds of years to Naples.
I’d agree, when I’ve visited any Pomo location I’ve always enjoyed their pizzas, I just need to get there more often.
Pomo Pizzeria has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Phoenix. For more information visit their website.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t make any plans for the week of February 17th-24th 2019 until you’ve bought your tickets to Devour Culinary Classic. Named by the New York Times as the Best Culinary Festival in the Southwest DCC returns to the Desert Botanical Garden for its 10th anniversary.
“Our main objective is to support the development and promotion of the culinary and extended local food community and culture in Arizona, bringing deserved local and national attention to our state’s food scene,” said Thomas Barr, Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Ten years later after this event started, we can really see the effect it has had on building Phoenix and Arizona as a culinary destination.”
Like in previous years culinary events are planned during the week leading up to the two-day event. The week kicks off on Sunday the 17th with Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Location and times are not yet confirmed.
On Thursday the 21st is Devour the World at the Japanese Public Garden in downtown Phoenix. From 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. guests will enjoy the international flavors of Phoenix. The line-up of local chefs is still being planned. $75
The weekend at Desert Botanical Gardens
With locals chefs such as James Porter chef/owner of Terra farm + manor, Tamara Stanger chef at Cotton & Copper will be there as will headliner Silvana Salcido Esparanza. Esparanza is owner/chef of Barrio Cafe and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
“Does it get any better than strolling through the magnificent Southwest landscape, noshing on deliciously crafted small plates while sipping Arizona wines under the springtime desert sun? Not to me, or to the thousands of enthusiastic attendees who sell out Devour year after year,” said Howard Seftel, renowned and retired Arizona food critic who has attended the Devour Culinary Classic over the last decade.
The full line-up of chefs and restaurants is still being finalized for the two-day event.
The Arcadia Tavern has started serving breakfast on Saturday & Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. In addition to breakfast the popular Arcadia restaurant is offering weekend specials at lunch and dinner. That’s not all going on at the corner of Indian School Rd. and 48th St., healthy and gluten-free options are now available.
“Our customers have been asking for healthier and lighter options, as well as gluten free items,” said Scott Hilber, owner. “We listened and we’re really excited about the new menu”
Weekend breakfast, lunch & dinner
Start you day watching your favorite football team with Yogurt Parfait, Breakfast Burritio & Tacos, Pancakes and Chilaquiles. You can’t eat breakfast on the weekend with out a Bloody Mary and for $5 you can build your own.
Featured during lunch and dinner are a Veggie Burger($12.99), Chicken Salad sandwich or wrap($10.99) or a Lafayette Salad($12.99). I’d be ordering the Western Burger($13.99) with bacon & onion jam, Pepperjack cheese, onion ring, Applewood bacon and BBQ sauce on a Brioche bun.
Seasonal favorite soups such as French Onion, Creamy Tomato Basil & Corn Chowder are available by the cup or bowl. Kid friendly options are available at all three meals.
Gluten-Free and healthy menu options
Many popular dishes are still available but guests will have new salad options that include Kale & Quinoa, Caprese Salad and the previously mentioned Chicken Salad and Lafayette Salad.
Gluten-free options include the Arcadia Cobb and Steak salads, Tavern Wings, Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Camelback Mountain of Nachos. Several other options are available from all the menus.
The Arcadia Tavern is open 7 days a week starting at 11 a.m. Mon.- Fri. and 9 a.m. Sat. & Sun. For more information check out their website.
Chef and owner Cullen Campbell has transformed his award-winning restaurant Crudo to Bar Pesce. The change takes place today with a new menu inspired by the modern Italian Crudo’s known for and Vietnamese, Japanese and South American cuisine.
Campbell has always wanted a fish focused restaurant (pesce is Italian for “fish”) and feels now is the time.
“After six incredible years, I’m excited to introduce all-new flavors and amazing new dishes here at Bar Pesce,” Cullen Campbell says. “While we’ll always be rooted in modern Italian, we’ll now be bringing the best coastal cuisine from around the world to the heart of Phoenix.”
On the menu at Bar Pesce
Some things haven’t changed including Campbell’s commitment to using farm fresh ingredients and culinary traditions with modern twists. Fresh handmade pastas will still be available and meats & seafood will continue to be grilled over local pecan wood.
Crab Mi Roll is a new appetizer, Swordfish Belly and Steak Fiorentina will be a few of the new additions.
Head Bartender Kyle Landry has created a new cocktail menu with 10 cocktails. Cocktails include Less Is More a.k.a. baby Irish Coffee and Adam’s Apple made with tequila, apple, lemon, jalapeño, apple bitters and sugar. Cocktails are available in both the restaurant and adjacent cocktail lounge.
A new global wine list is available to compliment the menu and will be stored in a new wine cellar.
An exciting new look includes partitions to break-up the dining room along with new contemporary lighting. Guests will also notice new table settings and gold-hued wall paper.
Bar Pesce is open Tues. – Sat. from 5-10 p.m. and is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and three local Phoenix restaurants are raising money all month-long. By purchasing a featured menu item you will be helping to fight a disease that affects us all. Both non-profits are also local to the Phoenix area.
Don’t be a chump, check for a lump!……
……is the name a of a local non-profit that helps fight breast cancer through education, prevention and direct assistance. They provide free wigs, mammograms and treatment and is benefiting from Babbo Italian Eatery. When you order the Pasta Valducci part of the proceeds will be donated for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Enjoy a bowl of penne pasta tossed with Kalamata olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a pink sauce. Babbo has a goal of raising $10,000.00 during the month-long fundraiser with the dish available at all 8 locations. For more information visit Babbo’s website and http://www.checkforalump.org/
Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Farm & Craft
Save Your Melons is the month-long fundraiser at Farm & Craft in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Both locations are donating a portion of proceeds from their Forbidden Fruits(watermelon) drinks to I’mpact One for the month of October. Scottsdale’s location is at 4302 N. Scottsdale Rd 85251 and Phoenix is at The Colony 5538 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014. http://impactone.pink/
Drink Pink at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
The Gilbert location will also donate to I’mpact One a portion of the proceeds from Dierks Pink Lemonade. Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is at 323 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234.
Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.
Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint