Mora Italian introduces a new tasty Happy Hour menu

If you haven’t made your way to Mora Italian yet like me, their new happy hour menu might convince you to head there today. Monday – Friday from 4-6 p.m. you can save some dough on pork ribs, veal meatballs, salumi & cheese and more.

For $20 choose from combos including a Rimini pizza or Salumi Board with a bottle of rose or a carafe of an Aperol Spritz.

Italian
Artichoke soup

Cocktails are also included on the new menu including Sangria & Aperol Spritz for $5, an Americano for $7 and more.

Mora Italian new summer dishes

Celebrity chef & restaurateur lends his culinary creativity to Mora Italian and is showcased in three new dishes for summer. Chef Matt Taylor and his team execute the menus in the kitchen. These new dishes are perfect for lighter and cooler summer dining.

Artichoke Soup with truffle, Parmesan bread and pignoli.

10 oz. Prime Niman Ranch NY Strip with charred potato panzanella and grilled ramp vinaigrette.

Roasted Summer Squash with smoked yogurt, Feta and neonata.

10 oz NY Strip

The Phoenix restaurant offers guests a modern osteria experience with Neopolitan pizzas, pasta dishes, satisfying entrees and delicious desserts. Progressive cocktails and a wine list round out the experience.

Mora Italian is at 5651 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014. (602)795-9943

Celebration of Summer at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.

I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.

Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.

Salmon Belly Tartare
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Negroni Spritz
Ultimate Honeydew

Proof, An American Canteen

Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.

Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America”  along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.

Four seasons Resort at Troon North
Texas BBQ Platter

June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade

July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!

August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.

Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)

Huss Arizona Light Lager

Le Cumbre Elevated IPA

Talavera Restaurant

The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.

Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Brazilian Carrot Cake

Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil

Queen Creek Olives

Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime

Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds

Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde

Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.

Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries

Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry

Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?

The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262

Talavera stamps your passport for a culinary journey this summer

Staying in Phoenix this summer, you don’t have to eat like you are when you head to the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. The resorts signature restaurant, the Spanish steakhouse Talavera offers two unique dining experiences this summer created by Sous Chef Samantha Sanz.

Summer in Seville prix fixe menu for 2

From June 7th – September 1st couples can spend a “Summer in Seville” enjoying wines and captivating dishes from Spanish city of Seville.

The evening starts with a parron of Sangria or bottle of Txakolina, a light and refreshing white wine perfect for summer sipping. Share a dish of tapas and a verduro (vegetable dish) before the main course arrives.

Chef Sanz creates summer version of her signature dish, Paella for the main course. Chorizo Bilbao, prawns, mussels, clams, corn, peas and a flavorful Chermoula verde sauce make up this traditional Spanish meal.

Talavera
Summer Paella

Dine on a Thursday night and enjoy live Flamenco music as you enjoy your meal and view of Pinnacle Peak.

The “Summer in Seville” dinners are served Wednesday – Sunday from 5:30 -9:30 p.m. The cost is $98 per couple.

Talavera features Latin cuisine & cocktails

Chef Sanz creates a one-of-a-kind interactive dinner experience taking you back and forth to South America and Spain for this dinner series.

June 13th- Travel to Brazil and Argentina for a “South American Churrascaria” and dine on tableside carved meats and dishes from live action cooking stations. New world wines from Argentina will be poured as will the classic Brazilian cocktail, Caipirinhas.

July 18th– Head to southern Spain for the “Taste of Andalusia” dinner. Taste the different styles of sherry while enjoying authentic foods of southern Spain. Live cooking stations and tableside dishes will be paired with Spanish wines.

August 29th- Head back to South America for the “Latin Heat” dinner featuring the cuisine of Peru and Colombia. Sip on a Pisco Sour while eating Peruvian Ceviche and a selection of chiles and more.

September 19th- Return to Spain for Basque Country food and beverages at the “Nights in San Sebastian” dinner. Enjoy tapas inspired from the northern Spanish city with cooking stations as you enjoy the cities favorite past time, bar hopping.

Each dinner is $125 per person and include a welcome drink. Reservations for both of dinners can be made by calling 480-513-5039 or visit http://talaverarestaurant.com/

Talavera and the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262

Limited seating for the return of Taste of Quiessence

The award-winning farm to table restaurant Quiessence at The Farm is bringing back its popular Taste of Quiessence dinner experience. As with previous years there is limited seating for the dinners created by chef Dustin Christofolo. The twelve dinners will feature dishes prepared with ingredients from The Soil & Seed Garden at The Farm along with ingredients from local vendors.

12 diners per evening will enjoy the special dinners offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays June 4th – 27th. The three course dinners will change weekly based on ingredients available in the farm. An amuse bosche may be prepared from chef Christofolo. Possible dishes may be…..

limited seating
Cucumber soup. All photos courtesy of Quiessence at The Farm

Chilled Armenian Cucumber Soup with Soil & Seed Garden Tomatoes, Cucumber Ribbons, Grilled Melon Relish, Crème Fraiche, Frito Misto Pineapple Mint.

Hand crafted Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Parisian Carrots, Leeks, Mint.

As one of the more popular Phoenix restaurants and because of the limited seating guests wanting the Taste of Quiessence dinner must call 602-276-0601 and mention the dinner. The three course dinner is $45 per person plus tax and tip. The in-house sommelier will pair your dinner with wine for an additional $20.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Taste of Quiessence the restaurant will close for 5 weeks in July & August for research and development.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd St. Phoenix 85042.

Chef + Farmers Market series returns to Hotel Valley Ho

Don’t let this weeks cooler than normal temperatures fool you, the triple digits are coming. When the heat returns many of the Phoenix area farmers markets take the summer off but not at Hotel Valley Ho. Summer is when their Chef + Farmers Market returns indoors at their Sands indoor venue.

Saturday’s from June 22nd – July 13th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. guests can enjoy tastes from local chefs, purchase fresh produce and more goodies from local purveyors. While shopping and tasting enjoy live music and sip on Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s or taste wine and spirits. Valley Ho’s chef Russell Lacasce will provide the tasty bites along with Matt Taylor of Mora Italian and Rene Andrade of Ghost Ranch.

Save room to taste the milkshakes made by contestants of the Battle Freak Shake contest to see who makes the best “Show Stopper” Shake.  The winning shake  will be featured in Augustin Zuzu. All attendees will receive a voucher for 25% off a summer visit to Zuzu.

Each weeks Chef + Farmers Market will have a theme from food to music, here is the schedule.

June 22nd- South of the Border

June 29th- Bada Boom

July 6th- Grillin ‘n’ Chillin

July 13th – Sweet Treats

Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

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.

Chill out this summer at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Looking to get away this summer and cool off, look no further than Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. The luxury resort in Paradise Valley offer guests several ways to chill out whether it be through exercise, food or a refreshing cocktail.

Whether you’re flying in for a few days or live here in town and want to get out of the house these escapes will make your day.

Feel good

Paddle board yoga. All photos courtesy of Jake Goodsell of EMA
  • Paddle Board Yoga                                                                                       Elevate your yoga experience with Paddle Board Yoga. Classes are held in the Infinity pool at 7 a.m. every Thursday – Sunday for just $55 per person.
  • Spa Steals                                                                                                            Guests can escape the heat at the Sanctuary Spa. The 60-minute Swedish Massage and Sanctuary Jewel Facial drop to $119 midweek and $139 weekend (regularly $175/$185). Post treatment, guests can relax in the new Women’s Quiet Room – a windowless, cocoon-like escape designed for tranquility that opened this year.  Guests that enjoy a Monday-Thursday spa treatment receive access to the spa and amenities. Included are the infinity pool, lap pool, steam room, whirlpools, relaxation lounges and fitness center—for the entire day.

The foodie in you

  • Summer in Paradise                                                                                                      Simmer down to a three-course meal by Food Network favorite Executive Chef Beau MacMillan at Elements restaurant. Available for $49 per person (plus 50 percent off select wine bottles), not including tax and gratuity from Sunday to Wednesday, June 3 through Aug. 30.
  • Lunch and Learn                                                                                                              Impress friends with new skills after a culinary lesson from Chef Carl Ruiz, Master Mixologist Tony AbouGanim and Chef Danny Grant. Lunch and dinner events will be Saturdays, Aug. 4, 11, 25 and Sept. 1.
  • Brunch at elements                                                                                              End the weekend on a high note with Sunday brunch at Elements from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Must-tries on the a la carte menu: black truffle benedict on English muffin with breakfast potatoes, nueske’s bacon, grilled asparagus and foie gras hollandaise

Resort cocktail events

Singapore Sling
  • Summer Pour                                                                                                                    Cool off at Jade Bar during The Pour (a very happy two hours) with refreshing drink specials every Monday through Friday between 4 and 6 p.m.
  • Live music and Jaded Nights                                                                                   The sounds of jazz, pop and R&B vocalists take hold at jade bar on Friday evenings from 8 to 11 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. When the sun sets, Jaded Nights begins (9 p.m. to midnight, Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 13-Aug. 26). Choose from food and drink specials like $9 craft cocktails, $8 Korean Wings, $10 Jade Burger or the $2.50 oyster special.
  • Saturday Mixology 101                                                                                              Perfect for a sleepy Saturday afternoon, Mixology 101 features resort mixologists sharing techniques and tastings of four innovative cocktail creations. Courses are held at noon each Saturday except Aug. 4, 11, 25 and Sept. 1. Reservations required and first timers will receive 15% off food during their class.
  • Sunday Bar Brawl                                                                                                  The heat is on for the region’s best bartenders. Sanctuary’s Bar Brawl is back for its fourth season with new additions and surprises on Sundays, July 15-Aug. 26. Details coming soon. I can tell you there will be a new chef pop-up experience, with a special happy hour menu crafted by a local celebrity chef at each Bar Brawl event. Also, each week’s Lunch & Learn celebrity will serve as a guest judge. On Friday’s, guest bartenders will create Red Bull specialty cocktails from 9 – 10:30 p.m., the guest favorite featured at Sunday’s Bar Brawl.

Sanctuary on Camelback is at 5700 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley 85253. For reservations call 855-245-2051 or on-line.

 

 

Quiesscence at the Farm offers “Locals Only” dining experiences

Those of us that stick it out through the long hot summer deserve an award and  Quiessence at the Farm is doing that, kind of. The award-winning farm to table restaurant is bringing back two popular dining experiences for locals before they take time off.

Locals dining experiences

Before chef Dustin Christofolo and staff shut down the restaurant from July 1st – August 9th they will be offering a limited seat dinner “Taste of Quiessence”. Tuesday-Thursday’s June 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th will offer 12 guests per night the opportunity to taste seasonal vegetables and more on a nightly changing Tasting menu. QuiessenceThe first come, first serve dinners will offer guests seasonal ingredients from the farm and from other Arizona vendor as part of the 3-course dinner.

The Taste of Quiessence dinners are $45++ per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $20 per person.

Thursday Wine Flight

When the restaurant re-opens in August after a research and development hiatus guests can join them for Thursday Wine Flights with a trio of tapas. Level 2 sommelier Alison Sponberg will select wines to pair with chef Christolofo’s special menu for the evening.

The three-week themes will be…

August 16 – “Southwest is Best”                                                                                  August 23 – “Farmers, Friends, and Friuli”                                                             August 30 – “Summer in the South of France”

Cost for the wine and food pairing experience is $40 per person++.

Guests can make reservations for both experiences by calling 602-276-0601 and can make reservations for August’s Thursday Wine Flights during the July hiatus. Be sure to mention the wine flights to receive the special menu and price.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85042. Visit their website for more information.

Summer menu now available at Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Restaurants around the valley are shifting gears to lighter and seasonal focused menus with the arrival of summer. Gilbert’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen recently shifted into their summer menu with the addition of 6 dishes from owner and chef Gio Osso.

Heirloom Grain Salad

Summer menu

With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients including fruits and vegetables these are then new menu items.

  • Stone Fruit Panzanella – Peach, apricot, cherry, arugula, chevre, day old bread and vanilla balsamic.
  • Heirloom Grain Salad – Farro, quinoa, blueberry, apply, almonds with white balsamic.
  • Salmon Croquette with capers and Calabrian chile aioli.
  • Diver Scallops with sweet corn nage, crispy prosciutto, balsamic marinated mushrooms.
  • Flat Iron Steak – Cocoa-lavender rub, summer squash hash, charred spring onion and blueberry demi.
  • Fruite de Mare – Chef’s fresh catch, tomato and white wine.

    Stone Fruit Panzanella

Summer Dining Experiences

Nico will host a series of “Summer Dining Experiences” with the first scheduled for this Thursday June 14th. The “Gin & Bear It” dinner will pair a 4- course dinner with gin cocktails. The dinner will start at 6:30 and cost $45 ++ per person.

For more information or to make a reservation visit http://www.nicoaz.com/

Nico Heirloom Kitchen is at 366 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234 (480)584-4760.

Cool off this summer with refreshing cocktails and wine at Zuzu

Staying cool and comfortable is at the top of the priority list for the summer months. One of the best ways is to refresh oneself is to stay hydrated and Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale has several ways to quench your thirst and keep you cool this summer.

Chilled signature cocktails, Bloody Mary’s or Mimosa’s  at the bar, frozen desserts and wine in the dining room are just a few of the ways Zuzu helps you beat the heat on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Zuzu
Show Stopper shake. All photos courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Chill out in the Zuzu Lounge

In the Zuzu Lounge guests can enjoy craft cocktails daily including the bubbly prosecco Fizzy Lifting Drink made with Aperol, club soda, Campari infused blood orange foam and carbonated blackberry.

Looking for a more tropical cocktail then the Second Star to the Right is for you. The tiki styled drink includes two types of rum, tequila, sake, guava nectar, passion fruit puree, orange & pineapple juices and pear-lemon marmalade.

Saturday’s & Sunday’s offers a Bloody Mary + Mimosa Bar from 9:00 a.m. –  2:30 p.m. during brunch for guests to build their own drink.

Summer in the dining room

Start your dinner of with a cold dessert as Zuzu pastry chef Audrey Enriquez continues to dazzle guests with her monthly “Show Stopper” shake. The large dessert combines a variety of house made desserts for the whole table to enjoy. Cinnamon Horchata is May’s shake of the month.

Starting June 4th,  every Sunday – Thursday guests can get 1/2 all bottles of wine when you dine at Zuzu. Guest can enjoy this deal all summer thru September 16th.

Monday Night’s Chef Table continues through the summer with wine dinners. The monthly four-course dinner is prepared by executive chef Russell LaCasce and his culinary team that pairs with wines from around the world.

  • “Farmer in the House’ is the theme for the dinner on May 20th with Duncan’s Trading Company and JUSTIN Wines.
  • June 18th brings New Mexico’s Gruet Winery to Zuzu.
  • July 16th special rose dinner brings four wineries to the table. -Chateau Gassier, Ferrari-Carano, WillaKenzie and Veuve Cliquot wines will be paired & poured.

The dinners start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and are $75 per person plus tax and tip. Reservations can be made by calling 480-376-2600 or by going to their website.