My Sneak Peek of Arizona Restaurant Week Dine – Around

Celebrating Arizona’s more than 8,500 restaurants and their 260,000 employees while making Arizona a top culinary destination.

With the always popular Arizona Restaurant Week starting in just 10 days May 18th- 27th, the Arizona Restaurant Association invited myself and a few other lucky media people to take tour, and taste, of 4 of Scottsdale’s newest restaurants participating in Spring 2013 celebration. Here is a sample of what you can expect.

Top to bottom : cappuccino dei Funghi, Insalata manago & Caprese
Top to bottom : cappuccino dei Funghi, Insalata manago & Caprese

We met at Taggia at The Firesky Resort & Spa to taste a sampling of the 3 choices they will be offering for their 1st course.
The Cappuccino dei Fungi was a personal favorite as I love all things mushrooms, this mushroom soup uses Portobello and porcini along with some truffle spuma.
The Caprese was a soft burrata, yellow heirloom tomato slice and pink peppercorns.
Insalata Manago is roasted red peppers wrapped in thinly sliced mango tossed with pickled red onions and arugula.
All were prepared by executive Chef Massimo De Francesca and his staff. To read more about Taggia see my post about Massimo’s coastal Italian cuisine

Peter Rabbit cocktail
Peter Rabbit cocktail

On to our next stop at Searsucker we were provided with transportation by Uber the newest way to catch a ride with their app on your cell phone for on-demand car service with professional drivers.
Greeted at Searsucker with a Peter Rabbit cocktail we enjoyed a sampling of Farm Bird lollipops with snake bite hot sauce for those of us who enjoy a little heat with their chicken.
The squid “sweet heat” is Searsucker’s unique take on calamari with sweet and spicy a taste.

After a quick ride in one of Uber’s Escalades we arrived at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse for our main course of Sirloin steak or salmon filet. My filet was perfectly cooked to medium rare and was served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. There is nothing wrong with a good steak from Peter Luger’s alums Ben & Jack and their first foray outside of NYC.

Ben & Jack's Steahouse's Sirloin steak w/ mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse’s Sirloin steak w/ mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli

Almost full, we all saved room for dessert and we were off to Davati Enocteca for executive chef Peter DeRuvo’s Millie Foglie which is berry sauce and whip cream in between a puff pastry and a drizzle of creme anglaise. A perfect way to end the evening as the dessert was not to heavy and cured my daily sweet tooth. www.davantiscottsdale
Davanti Enoteca's Millie Foglie
Davanti Enoteca’s Millie Foglie

Based on what I tasted and saw this should be another record-setting week for the twice annual culinary celebration and reservations are highly recommended if you plan to check out your favorite restaurant or get to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.

Chompie’s is inviting everyone to eat like a kid on June 5th and Big Apple Bargains for the month of May

People of all ages able to order off the new Chompie’s Kids Menu and Chompie’s will make a donation from every kids meal purchased to Phoenix nonprofit Playworks to help end bullying in schools.

Chompies eat like a kid

On Wednesday, June 5th, 2013, Chompie’s, Arizona’s New York Deli invites people of all ages to “Eat Like a Kid” by ordering a Kids Meal* from their new kids menu (normally just for kids 10 and under). For every Kids Meal purchased, Chompie’s will make a donation to Playworks Arizona, a nonprofit organization that seeks to transform schools and end bullying by providing play and physical activity at recess and throughout the school day.

The new Chompie’s Kids Menu includes 19 delicious Chompie’s favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as their famous Jewish Sliders (featured on Travel Channel’s Man v. Food), Long Island French Toast served with bacon or turkey sausage and their Checkered Cab Cheeseburger served with choice of Fresh Fruit Salad, French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries or House-made Potato Chips.

The kids menu also includes a tasty gluten-free friendly section! Prices for the Kids Meals start at just $3.79. People can also order off the main menu that day. “Everyone Can Eat Like a Kid Day” is valid from open to closing on June 5th at all four of Chompie’s locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Chandler.

*No substitutions. Dine In only. Limit one kids meal per person. Offer excludes beverages, cookie/desserts and additional sides. Not valid with any other offers, coupons, discounts or promotional gift cards.

Please visit to view the Kids Menu and to learn more about Everyone Can Eat Like a Kid Day and Playworks.


Here are the Big Apple Bargins for the remainder of May.
May 8th – May 14th
Sliced Deli Meats
Buy 1 lb. get 1/2 lb. of equal or lesser value Free!
excludes Tongue
Prices range from $9.99 lb.-$17.99 lb.

May 15th – May 21st
Homemade Deli Salads
Buy 1 lb. get 1/2 lb. of equal or lesser value Free!
Prices range from $4.99 – $16.99 lb.

May 22nd – May 29th
Homemade Soups
Chicken Noodle, Matzo Ball, Split Pea, Beef Barley,
Sweet&Sour Cabbage, Soup Du Jour
Buy 1-quart get 1-pint Free!
(Reg. $7.99 Qt.)

Chompies Big Apple Bargains are not valid with any other coupon,
offer, or discount, on catering, or with promotional

Dinner with friends at Taggia at FireSky Resort in Scottsdale

Recently I had the opportunity to dine with friends at Taggia, the Coastal Italian Cuisine restaurant, located inside FireSky Resort and Spa just north of downtown Scottsdale. Under the guidance of executive chef Massimo De Francesca, a Toronto native, we dined on a tasting menu of selected dishes which were all beautifully presented and all had unique flavors and a combination of flavors not usually found in Italian cuisine. These are a few of my favorites.

Right out of the gate I was impressed with the Shrimp Escabeche and it’s use of coconut and lobster oil. Served with watercress and sliced red onion these shrimp were perfectly cooked and the coconut offered a tropical flavor which showcased Chef Massimo’s outside the box thinking.

Shrimp Escabeche
Shrimp Escabeche

Cod Fritters don’t exactly scream Italian but made me scream “I want more” as the salt cod was served a top a smear of chipolte aioli which served as a nice contrast to the fried Cod giving it a hint of spice. Several cubes of hearts of palm are served offering a cool and crisp flavor.

Cod Fritters with chipolte aioli & heart of palms
Cod Fritters with chipolte aioli & heart of palms

Since it is Italian inspired, a pasta course was served and the tender Gnocchi was served in a soy-brown butter and tossed with chorizo, crab and English peas. Upon first reading it on the menu and the ingredients I thought to myself it was a twist on surf and turf with the use of crab and chorizo. Both almost melted in my mouth with the help of the soy-brown butter.

Gnocchi with crab, chorizo and English peas
Gnocchi with crab, chorizo and English peas

Palate refreshers were offered before our final course along with carefully selected wines chosen by restaurant manager Brian Blanke which included Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio from Collio, Italy for the early courses. Arizona Stronghold “Dayden” pink wine which is a blend of Zinfandel & Tempranillo from Cochise County in southern Arizona was poured for the middle courses of Duck Carpaccio, Veal and Gnocchi. The 06 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva was poured giving it the chance to breathe as it was paired with the final course.

Arizona Stronghold "Dayden" pink wine
Arizona Stronghold “Dayden” pink wine

The final plate before dessert was Coulette, which is a part of the beef sirloin that offers a soft and sweet flavor. Paired with bone marrow and over a bed of braised escarole it came served with fingerlings potatoes and cipolline onions offering a sweet taste. A rich flavor along with the juices of the beef made for a decadent beef course.


Dessert was served in 2 parts the first being Sabayon which is a foamy, mousse like dessert that was served strawberries and blackberries. Traditional bread pudding was then served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream along with house made limoncello which made for an excellent way to end one of the better meals served in recent memory.

A goodie bag was given to each invitee on our way out and I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my favorite desserts, a pair of mini cannolis. A return visit is in the future as the food and hospitality were very welcoming and delicious.

Bread pudding
Bread pudding

Taggia is opened 7 days a week serving
Breakfast 7:30am -10:30am Daily
Lunch 11:30am -2:30pm Daily
Dinner 5:30pm -9:00pm Sunday & Monday
5:30pm -10:00pm Tuesday – Saturday

Lounge opens at 11:00am daily.

Taggia & FireSky Resort and Spa is located 4925 North Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251 480.424.6095

Celebrate Mother’s Day at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar With a Special Three-Course Brunch Menu

On the most special day for moms, treat them to a three-course brunch at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Guests can enjoy innovative brunch favorites for $36.95 per guest. In addition, each mom will receive a $25 dining card valid for a future visit.

Guests are invited to celebrate Mother’s Day with the entire family. Fleming’s offers a special three-course brunch menu for children under 12 available for $17.95. Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 12, 2013
Open early from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and open during regular dinner hours at each location.

Brunch begins with a choice of appetizer including Lobster Bisque, Modern Caesar or Fresh Seasonal Fruits; followed by a choice of entrée including Prime Rib with a Trio of Sauces or Baked Brioche French Toast with a Walnut Crisp, among other mouth-watering choices, and ends with a choice of dessert including a classic White Chocolate Bread Pudding. The full menu is available online at

Guests can choose to accompany the celebration with one of our specially hand-crafted cocktails including the Bellapolitan ($8.95), Scottish Beauty ($9.95) or Blood Orange Mimosa ($7.95).

All locations – there are four Fleming’s in Phoenix in Peoria, Chandler, North Scottsdale at DC Ranch and Scottsdale at Lincoln Road.

o Scottsdale: 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd. / 480-596-8265
o DC Ranch-North Scottsdale: 20753 N. Pima Rd. / 480-538-8000
o Chandler: 905 N. 54th St. / 480-940-1900
o Peoria: 9712 W. Northern Ave. / 623-772-9463

Abe’s of Scottsdale Deli Is Offering Guests a Delicious Breakfast Special!

What’s better than starting your day with a delicious breakfast? One that doesn’t’ break the bank! Abe’s of Scottsdale Deli has created a mouth-watering breakfast special for guests to enjoy every Monday – Friday between 8am – 11am. Enjoy a delicious combination of the following for $5.49
abes breakfast

· Two eggs – any style

· Your choice of breakfast potatoes, cottage cheese, tomatoes, or fresh fruit

· Toast or a bagel with shmear or butter

· Bottomless coffee or hot tea

· Add bacon, sausage, or ham to your meal for $2.00 more

Abe’s of Scottsdale Deli
10050 N. Scottsdale Rd. Suite 127
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(Off of Scottsdale Road and Gold Dust, located conveniently behind
California Pizza Kitchen)

As always, all of Abe’s menu specialties are available including piled high sandwiches, homemade soups and traditional East coast deli specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner will be available.

Abe’s of Scottsdale deli and restaurant belongs to a very different delicatessen era, the glamorous age of 1930s Times Square delis where Broadway performers ducked out between shows for a pastrami on rye. With mouth-watering breakfast, lunch, and dinners, Abe’s of Scottsdale Deli set the standard by serving their guests the ultimate in east coast tradition by providing a unique mix of traditional deli favorites, atmosphere and service.

Abe’s offers a family tradition with table service as well as walk up ordering at our deli counter for your fresh daily hot sliced favorites like our own recipe pickled corned beef and pastrami along with smoked fish and all the traditional deli specialties. The dining room is stylish, with cityscape photos from these yester-years. Abe’s will have the classic deli bustle, filling its customers plates with piled high deli sandwiches, matzo-ball soup, delectable salads, NY style bagels with lox and schmear, and so much more! Abe’s brings a traditional deli experience daily from 8am-8pm Monday-Thursday, 8am-8pm Friday, 8am-8pm Saturday, and 8am-8pm Sunday in a contemporary, friendly, and social atmosphere.

For more information, visit and like them on Facebook

Experience the next generation of smoked fish at Chompie’s

Chompie’s, the Smoked Fish Experts, Launches the Most Fresh and Unique Approach to Smoked Fish Available in Phoenix

smoked fish picture

Chompie’s, Arizona’s New York Deli, is introducing their new and improved smoked fish menu featuring authentic Norwegian Smoked Fish selections that will excite and satisfy the new generation of fish loving foodies as well as long-time smoked fish loyalists. Smoked fish has long been a Jewish tradition as well as a tradition at Chompie’s. In ancient times, when kosher meat was not always available, fish was an important staple of the Jewish diet.
“For over 34 years, Chompie’s has always strived to provide the freshest, most enjoyable, and most authentic experience and food possible, while keeping up with the times, which is why we are introducing the new smoked fish menu,” said Neal Borenstein, Executive Vice President and owner of Chompie’s.

Chompie’s has branded its entire new line-up of smoked fish “Gen-S”–the next generation of smoked fish in terms of selection (wider variety and new tastes), superior quality and sustainability, appealing to Gen-X’ers and Gen-Y’ers hungry for modern twists on traditional deli offerings with expectations beyond those of the generations before them. Simply put, Chompie’s Gen-S ain’t your grandma’s smoked fish; in fact, it knocks it out of the water.

The new smoked fish selections found both on the dining menu and in the fresh deli case include:

Nova Lox: The grand-daddy of them all, this traditionally smoked Norwegian salmon has the perfect balance of flavors. It’s good with just about anything!

Pastrami Smoked Salmon: Traditionally smoked Norwegian salmon with pastrami seasoning, making for an irresistibly sweet and tangy flavor.

Gravlox: An old world style of smoked Norwegian salmon that is also brined and seasoned with a traditional dill and pepper blend. A very unique, slightly salty flavor.

Smoked Whitefish: Wood-Fire smoked, our Whitefish is from the fresh waters of the Great Lakes. The gleaming golden skin is a deli tradition like no other.

Smoked Black Cod: Also known as Sablefish, one of the most coveted smoked fish varieties world-wide, our version has an irresistible flavor. Typically caught in the east Pacific, between Alaska and California.

Baked Salmon: Wood-Fire smoked over a unique blend of hardwoods, our baked (a.k.a. Kippered) salmon has an especially smoky flavor. Try it on its own or in our Baked Salmon Salad.

The new smoked fish menu includes selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including Gluten-Free Friendly and Deli take out as well.

A sample of the new smoked fish menu at Chompie’s:

Pastrami Smoked Salmon: “LEO” lox sautéed with crunchy fried capers, onions, and scrambled eggs. Served with Potato Latke hash brown, choice of bagel and cream cheese 10.99

Lox Sampler Platter for Two: Nova Lox, Gravlox, Pastrami Smoked Salmon, Plain and Veggie Cream Cheese, leaf lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, capers, and choice of two bagels 22.99

Smoked “Sashimi: Thinly sliced Gravlox, smoked black cod, spinach cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, red onion and a choice of bagel 16.99

Deluxe Salad Sampler: Baked Salmon Salad, Whitefish Salad and Shrimp Vinaigrette salad served with a choice of bagel, plain cream cheese, Greek olives, lettuce, tomato and onion 19.29

(Gluten-Free Friendly) Smoked Salmon BLT; Nova Lox, bacon, leaf lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on Gluten free flatbread, served with homemade potato chips 11.79 Sub GFF Bagel 1.29; Sub Flavored Cream Cheese .69

9301 E. Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale 85260
fax 480-860-8422
Mon-Sun 6am-9pm

1160 E. University Dr.
Tempe 85281
fax 480-557-0709
Mon-Fri 6am-9pm
Sat-Sun 7am-9pm

3481 W. Frye Rd
Mon-Sat 6am-9pm
Sun 6am-8pm

Paradise Valley
4550 E. Cactus Rd #324
Mon-Sat 6am-9pm
Sun 6am-8pm

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Celebrates Spring with Filet & Lobster Combination

Seasonal Favorite Available Now through April 7 for $37.95

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is at it again and welcomes spring with the return of its iconic Filet & Lobster combination. Now through April 7 at all Fleming’s locations, guests can enjoy a tender Filet Mignon and a sweet North Atlantic Lobster Tail, plus a starter course and a side, all for only $37.95. (plus tax + gratuity).

Guests will start the experience with their choice of the Wedge Salad with crisp iceberg lettuce with grape tomatoes, red onions and crumbled blue cheese or French Onion Soup baked with gruyere and parmesan cheeses. The generous filet mignon—Fleming’s leanest cut—and broiled lobster tail with drawn butter are accompanied by sautéed Spaghetti Squash with lime butter.

The Filet & Lobster option is not on the regular menu and is only available upon request.

o Scottsdale: 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd. / 480-596-8265
o DC Ranch-North Scottsdale: 20753 N. Pima Rd. / 480-538-8000
o Chandler: 905 N. 54th St. / 480-940-1900
o Peoria: 9712 W. Northern Ave. / 623-772-9463

If not in the Phoenix area go to find a location near you and make reservations, please visit

Culver’s Hosts “Day of Giving!” Benefitting the Phoenix Children’s Hospital


Phx childrens hospitalCulver’s is hosting its 2nd annual “Day of Giving” event on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Culver’s is partnering with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and is inviting the public to stop by one of their 14 Valley locations to donate!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Visit one of the 14 Culver’s restaurant locations and help support Phoenix Children’s Hospital and its world-class care. Simply enjoy your favorite burger, sandwich, dinner or your favorite fresh frozen custard and Culver’s will donate 10% of its proceeds to Phoenix Children’s Hospital!

All 14 Culver’s locations Valley wide!

10% of the proceeds will be donated to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital to help support Phoenix Children’s Hospital in its care for children and their families.

Deer Valley
1825 W. Deer Valley Dr
Phoenix, AZ 85027
PH 623-580-4567

Cave Creek
20835 N Cave Creek Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85024
PH 602-788-1616

825 E. Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85014
PH 602-595-7876

Metro Center
10225 N 28th Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85051
PH 602-861-2000

Paradise Valley Mall
4506 E Cactus Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85032
PH 602-889-5057

3155 W Ray Rd
Chandler, AZ 85226
PH 480-268-7249

8271 W Ludlow Dr
Peoria, AZ 85381
PH 623-242-8826

16145 West Bell Rd
Surprise, AZ 85374
PH 623-218-6575

1025 N Avondale Blvd
Avondale, AZ 85323
PH 623-792-8649

Casa Grande:
2453 E Florence Blvd
Casa Grande, AZ 85194
PH 520-426-4225

8668 E Shea Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
PH 480-636-8480

5127 N 99th Ave
Gendale, AZ 85305
PH 623-328-9282

1841 S Greenfield Rd
Mesa, AZ 85206
PH 480-892-2430

1909 S. Country Club Dr
Mesa, AZ 85210
PH 480-733-5330

Phoenix franchisee hopes Shark’s like sushi too

Fast-casual and customer creativity is a concept that Phoenix foodies have come to embrace, and the build-your-own sushi roll bar franchise is about to see how much Shark’s really like sushi on Friday’s episode of ABC’s hit reality show, Shark Tank. The pitch will be fed to the sharks on Friday, February 15 at 9 p.m. EST.

Shane & Sherri Sender
Shane & Sherri Sender

While the franchise was created by two Austin-based brothers and co-founders Yuen and Peter Yung, the concept has been very successful for Valley couple, Shane and Sherri Sender, who opened the Phoenix location at 1515 N. 7th Ave. on February 2, 2012. The fast-casual couple also owns and operates 11 Subway franchises in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

Very much like Subway, when customers visit How Do You Roll?, they can create their own sushi by choosing proteins like raw tuna to grilled chicken and a variety of fruits and vegetables. The restaurant also boasts vegan and gluten-free foods to satisfy diverse dietary needs. Don’t worry, if you would rather not make your own roll, they have a pre-made roll menu to order from.

While the owners are not at liberty to say what the outcome is on Friday’s episode, they will still be celebrating the store success.

For more information on How Do You Roll? please visit

Chompie’s celebrates 34 years in business on Valentines Day with never before offered all you can eat pancakes for just $3.34!

To celebrate their 34 years in business, Chompie’s, Arizona’s New York Deli since 1979 is offering All-You-Can-Eat Buttermilk Pancakes for just $3.34 on their anniversary, February 14th, 2013. This is the first time, in their 34 year history, that Chompie’s has done an all-you-can-eat pancake offer.


The traditional buttermilk pancakes are made fresh-from-scratch from a Borenstein family recipe dating back for generations–and are made the “Chompie’s” way…. huge! Customers have referred to them as “As Big as My Face!”

The all-you-can-eat pancakes offer is available at all four Chompie’s locations for dine-in only on February 14, 2013, between the hours of 6 a.m. -2 p.m. This one-day only pancake offer is an incredible deal, as pancakes are regularly $5.69 for a two stack, and $6.69 for a three stack.

In addition, Chompie’s, Arizona’s New York Deli is offering two more anniversary specials:

Buy 3, Get the 4th Free – Limited Edition, Valentine’s decorated, baked-from-scratch, large size, authentic N.Y. style Black & White cookies. Available Monday February 11th through Thursday, February 14th. Supply is limited and may vary by location, so please call ahead for larger orders.

Chompie’s Rewards Bonus: Get 75 bonus points (valid for $5 off on your next visit) when you fully complete your Chompie’s Rewards registration on February 14, 2013.

Visit for more details.