Category Archives: Uncategorized

Arizona wines get all the attention at 9th Annual Grand Wine Festival

Arizona’s largest Arizona wine only event grows even larger this year as the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s Grand Wine Festival spills on to 6th Street from the Heritage Square festival. This, the 9th year of showcasing Arizona wines takes place on Saturday & Sunday January 27th and 28th and grows by 15,000 square feet when 6th Street is closed off this year.

Arizona wines poured

Over 30 Arizona wineries will travel to downtown Phoenix from Elgin, Sonoita and the southern part of our state along with wineries up I-17 in Jerome, Page Springs and the Verde Valley. Dos Cabezas, LDV Winery and Burning Tree Cellars are just a few of the wineries pouring their wines at the 2 day festival while.

Winners of the AZ Central Arizona Wine Competition will be announced at the Grand Wine Gala on Friday evening which is already sold out.

In addition to tasting wine at the festival, attendees will have live music to  enjoy as well as food trucks and other local vendors to visit with.

“We already have a record number of both wineries in attendance and wines being poured at this year’s festival, but now having the extra space will allow for record-breaking attendance numbers as well,” said Brian Predmore, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

Arizona wines
Kurt Dunham owner/winemaker of LDV Winery

Purchase tickets

The festival will start both days at 11 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. on Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 for 6 tasting samples or $20 for 10 samples can be purchased at their website.



Roastery of Cave Creek celebrates 20 years with expansion plans.

The Roastery of Cave Creek (ROC2) has roasted a lot of coffee for Arizona restaurants, resorts and their customers in there 20 years of business. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in late 2017 owners David & Alison Anderson entered 2018 expanding the roastery by 40% of their estate grown and organic coffee.

As Arizona’s premier coffee roaster that supplies local restaurants Rancho Pinot Grill, Tarbell’s,  Richardson’s and Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn with their one of their 20 proprietary blends David reflects on the last 20 years.

Coffee Whisperer David Anderson of Roastery of Cave Creek

“It’s a milestone to be at 20 years and among the leading Arizona coffee producers,” said Anderson. “We’re honored to be working with some of the best chefs and establishments in the ever-expanding Arizona culinary scene, and we have some exciting plans ahead as we continue to grow.”  

Expansion plans

The Anderson’s are all in with their well-rounded business that also consults with cafes & restaurants to help with their coffee programs, menu design and more.

In November Roastery of Cave Creek acquired one of only 5 Kirsch & Mauser 25-kilo UG Retro coffer roaster in the country. The German-made roaster will allow them to roast up to 40% more coffee as they expand their footprint around Arizona.

When David and his staff aren’t in Cave Creek roasting there coffee or getting it to their customers their traveling to countries around the world to source their beans with direct relationships with plantation owners.

“I take great pride in the product we’re putting out there,” said Anderson. “My trips to origin over the last 10+ years inspired me to send my entire staff to see first-hand the people, processes and procedures to take coffee from seed to cup. It gives our team a greater level of appreciation for coffee and a real passion for their work.” 

“The Box” at the Roastery of Cave Creek

With only Whole Foods selling their beans to the public, ROC2 keeps a steel cabinet outside the roastery stocked with bags of coffee beans where people can stop by “The Box”, pick up a bag and leave money in the slot on the honor system. Staring at you from above the “The Box” is a “Karma” sign if you’re thinking of pulling a fast one.

Locals love it and people travel from all over the valley up to Cave Creek to get their beans and bring out of towners by.

ROC2 is at 7003 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek 85331. Visit





J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar brings together a culinary dream team

Housed in a former Arby’s restaurant just east of downtown Scottsdale J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar opened without fanfare as most restaurants do nowadays especially when you consider who’s creating the menu and making sure it’s executed the way it should be.

J’s Kaiyo owner Peji Malihi brought in chef Jason McGrath and sushi chef Todd Register to serve not only sushi but sharable dishes with a Mediterranean and Eastern influenced dishes.  Think Moroccan spiced lamb and crab stuffed and fire charred avocado rolled in exotic Asian spices and seeds.

J's Kaiyo
chef Jason McGrath. Photos courtesy of Chanelle Sinclair

J’s Kaiyo Sushi

All three are committed to the freshest ingredients including seafood for the sushi bar. So much so that the sushi bar is closed on Sunday’s because they can’t get their daily delivery of fresh seafood. Chef Register knows his sushi too as he comes to J’s Kaiyo from Roka Akor and RA Sushi and plans to use all fresh fish daily to maximize freshness and flavor.

“The focus is always on keeping the dishes fresh, clean, and simple,” McGrath says. “The only thing you’ll find in our freezers is our mochi ice cream.” As Malihi likes to say, “the roll speaks for itself,” there is no need for heavy sauces, creams, or batters to give their sushi mouthwatering flavor. “It’s all about sharing creative, quality food with the community,” McGrath says.

Family friendly and Izakaya

J’s Kaiyo is a family friendly restaurant named after Malihi’s son and McGraths nephew Jayden that includes a kid’s menu. McGrath practically grew up in the kitchen as his father Robert is an award-winning chef known for his work at The Roaring Fork and other local establishments and food festivals.

Adults will love the Japanese sake menu at J’s Kaiyo along with a full complement of craft cocktails, wines and beers. Communal drinking and sharing of sake known as “Izakaya” in Japan is encouraged as sake has a unique flavor profiles.

J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar is open Monday Friday for lunch & dinner starting at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday’s for dinner.

The restaurant is at 4412 N. Miller Rd.Scottsdale 85251 480-427-2526. For more info visit their website.


Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not of fan of “year in review’s” (do we really to review of 2016 again) and “best of” lists but thinking how to end the year with a post I find it would be valuable to review some of my journey of 2016 and give myself a clearer path for 2017’s journey.

The year that was 2016

The year of 2016 was a year of transition taking on new challenges in my real estate career but you don’t want to hear about that do you (if you do check my real estate blog . Leisure wise my blog and influence has found structure with regular posts on restaurants events and news, wine, beer and more for Phoenix, Arizona and beyond. My burger reviews came to a screeching stop with the Examiner as they shuttered in early July. As you can imagine my burger consumption feels as if it’s slowed and I will make up for that in 2017 I’m sure. 2016 was pretty much a fun year personally and an interesting year to be on planet earth.

2016 was the 1st year in  long while in which I did not set foot on an airplane as the only travel was out-of-state heading to Laguna Beach for a weekend in February to play poker at uncle Bob’s house. In 2017 I will definitely return to the friendly skies for travel with travel planned for Florida and beyond as the year goes on.

Visits to restaurants and meals with friends this year included returning to favorites of the past such as Zuzu, Zinburger, Caffe Boa, RnR among many more and made 1st visits and bites from restaurants such as Drexyl, Char Kitchen + Bar, Ahi Poke, Worth Takeaway along with a long list of others.

Despite the running around I missed out on one of my favorites sandwiches all year…The Il Purista at Defalco’s Italian Deli in Scottsdale. A monthly visit for me, this pile of prosciutto and hand pulled mozz is a reward I will grant myself in the 1st couple of days of 2017. Other foods I’ve denied myself(not many) will find a home in my belly again in 2017.

Experience more experiences in 2017

I’m not much of a goal setter or resolution maker at year’s end but I want to experience more experiences in 2017. Simple and frivolous such as learning to like and enjoy Caesar salads or starting a new exercise regimen or months ahead a plan to do and see more via short and long-range travel in this my bounce back year. Listening to classical music is a genre I would like to enjoy more of and have already started as Kalinnikov’s “Symphony #2 In A  Major” is playing as I post these words for you. Soothing and sometimes mellow classical music can be relaxing during life’s hectic pace.

Continuing to break bread and raise a glass with my Friday lunch crew & with fellow bloggers, foodies and friends, new & old,  always remain high on my list.

For Pulling Corks and Forks I hope to resume and grow these words and forge new relationships & partnerships while continuing to share my experiences and provide insight & inspiration so every body can experience more experiences through senses of sight, taste, smell and hearing. Plans continue to grow my social media presence and share what I know will be high on my list.

To follow my 2017 journey of food, wine, friends and other worldly experiences please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter @SandyWasserman Instagram @SandyWass or Like on Facebook

See you in 2017!


Saturday is Jerry Day at SanTan Brewing Company

Jerry Day at SanTan 2016-01The lazy hazy days of summer return when Grateful Dead fans come out to celebrate the birthday of the bands late singer, guitarist, songwriter Jerry Garcias’s birthday at SanTan Brewing Company in downtown Chandler.

With the bands music playing and tie die shirts brightening up the day, SanTan will be tapping “Standing on the Moon” Nitrogenated Moonjuice IPA and Grateful Dead cover band, Monkey & The Engineer will be jamming from 2- 5pm.

There is no cost to celebrate the big day so invite your friends through SanTan’s Facebook event page here: SanTan Brewing Company is located in Downtown Chandler at 8 S. San Marcos Place.

Burger Review: The Farm Fresh burger at Burger Theory

Photo credit: Burger Theory
Photo credit: Burger Theory
As mentioned in a recent post I have decided to include my burger reviews on this blog after the site where I was reviewing burgers decided to cease operations, after 293 burger reviews this is my 1st review on this blog. By reviewing burgers on this blog I will have the freedom to express my thoughts without the restrictions of a corporate entity and will be a work in progress while I explore the right format I want to take it in. If you’ve read my burger reviews on the other site you will see a resemblance but I hope to mix it up and expand on it a bit without losing the burger review aspect of it. I often dine out with friends but will review only the burger I ate but our dining experience and opinions may be included.

The recently opened Burger Theory connected to the Holiday Inn & Suites on McDowell Rd. at 44th St seemed like an out of the way place for a sit down burger restaurant despite the heavily trafficked intersection. As my dining companions arrived we weren’t sure if this was an independently owned restaurant renting space from the hotel or part of the hotel, many indications led us to believe it’s part of the hotel’s corporate structure. Regardless of who owns and runs it we were there for burgers and with 6 1/3 lb. burgers of Angus chuck, brisket and short rib blended beef and another 4,300+ ways to Build Your Own Burger we dove into the menu to see which burger each of us would go for.

Although all of the burgers sounded delicious I opted for the Farm Fresh burger with a single patty for $10 (a double patty is $14) and comes topped with a Portobello mushrooms, grilled onions, diced roasted red peppers, iceberg lettuce (on the bottom half), goat cheese and roasted garlic mayo in between a toasted potato bun that looked and tasted like you ordinary hamburger bun. All came served in a plastic basket lined with Burger Theory wax paper.
Burger theory
Although satisfying I felt there was a heavy hand when it came to the Goat Cheese and that’s not easy to admit as I love Goat cheese but the strong flavor took away from the flavors of the vegetables and made the roasted garlic mayo un-necessary. The burger which is cooked to order was cooked pretty much the way I like it and had drops of juices dripping after the first few bites. Sides are not included in the price and a side of fries will set you back another $3.50.

I was somewhat happy with the Farm Fresh burger but felt a bit let down with a 1/3 lb burger for $10 with sides being extra. There are better burgers around town for your burger dollar. I decided to include a picture from the Burger Theory website and a photo of my actual burger. Had I been served the burger from there website this could’ve been a better burger.

Burger Theory is at 4401 E. McDowell Rd. Phoenix, Arizona 85008 602-358-0924 and is open for lunch and dinner from Mon-Thu. 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat. 11am-12am and Sunday 11am-11pm

A message from Sandy

binkleys burger

Good morning friends, foodies, burger enthusiasts and strangers,
Thanks you for returning to this site on a consistent basis. As many of you know I have written burger reviews for the in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale and surrounding areas for the last 6 years. Those days will soon be behind me as the will no longer exist after on or about July 10th, 2016. As for now you have until then to check any of my 293 reviews and articles until the links disappear. and

Going forward my plan is to incorporate burger reviews into this blog as a new feature and am spending the weekend brainstorming as how to best pull it off.

Serious feedback is welcome and I look forward to your continued support on this food journey.

Have safe and Happy July 4th weekend,