Category Archives: wine

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.

Ocean Prime offers 1/2 off Veuve Clicquot Rosé every Friday

Happy hour never tasted so good especially when you’re sipping on a cold, crisp and refreshing glass of rosé. Ocean Prime on High Street in northeast Phoenix offers up Veuve Clicquot during happy hour every Friday from 5-7p.m. until August 31st.

“Stop and Sip the Rosé” offers guests the opportunity to sip the Veuve Cliquot along with other rosé a reduced prices good for any rosé drinker.

Choose from sparkling, still, domestic or French                                               Miner Rosé, $16 glass/$64 Bottle                                                                              Chandon Rosé, $13 glass/$58.50 Bottle                                                 Veuve Clicquot Rosé $28 glass/$126 Bottle                                                       Notorious Pink Rosé $11 Glass/$44 Bottle

Oysters make for a perfect pairing with rosé  so the award-winning Ocean Prime offers oysters on the 1/2 shell for 1/2 price by the half-dozen for $11. Other happy hour offerings will also be available.

Ocean Prime is at 5455 E. High St. Phoenix 85054. For more information and to find an Ocean Prime near you visit https://www.ocean-prime.com/

Not your typical happy hour at Bar Crudo

Who doesn’t love a good happy hour, food and drink at reduced prices to end the day. Award winning fine dining restaurant Crudo offers happy hour 5 days a week and it’s not your typical bar food, well drinks, house wine or mass-produced beers. Tues.- Thurs. from 5 p.m. til closing and Fri. and Sat. from 5 p.m.-7p.m. in the bar known as Bar Crudo is where you’ll find craft cocktails and gourmet dishes.

Bar Crudo
All photos courtesy of Crudo

Bar Crudo Happy Hour

In the front door to the left is where you’ll find Bar Crudo and be able to take advantage of 23 classic and modern cocktails for only $7 each. Refreshing summer drinks such as Daiquiri, Dark & Stormy and grapefruit tasting Paloma are just a few.

If a cold craft beer is your go to drink during the summer you’re in luck as they’re only $4 a piece. Wine enthusiasts don’t worry, worldly selections are only $6 a glass.

Bar Bites

Why not grab a bite to eat from chef & owner Cullen Campbell as he prepares gourmet bar bites such as homemade and imported cheeses such as Burricota, Grana, Ricotta and Strachiatella. Looking for protein in your meal how about the comfort of a classic Meatloaf Burger. Thick sliced meatloaf topped with Cheddar cheese, Arugula and sweet and sour agrodolce sauce means you won’t need to make dinner when you get home.

The Castlevetrano olives are smoked over local Pecan wood and offer the flavors of the Mediterranean. Don’t forget the popular Crispy Pig Ears that have been a staple at Crudo since opening. Ask yourself when was the last time you’ve seen pig ears on a happy hour menu. Even better is their topped with Fresno chile vinaigrette and chives to bring a bit of heat to this delicacy.

Crudo is at 3630 E. Indian School Rd. (around back) Phoenix 85018. http://www.crudoaz.com

 

Rose All Day Happy Hour at The Thirsty Camel starts May 29th

With so much to see at luxurious Phoenican Resort in Scottsdale you may not realize they have fantastic lobby bar, The Thirsty Camel. Locals looking to escape the heat with a refreshing cocktail, sangria or glass of rose should plan to spend some time at The Thirsty Camel this summer as they start their all day happy hour from 2 p.m. -11 p.m.

Quench your thirst at The Thirsty Camel

Whether you choose to lounge out on the terrace or inside from May 29th until August 31st guests of the AAA 5 Diamond resort can sip on one of my favorite roses, Spain’s Muga or the sparkling Piper Sonoma rose for only $10 a glass or 20% off a bottle.

Prefer a cold beer, sip on Dos Equis , Corona or other beers for only $5. House made red, white or rose Summer Sangria are part of the revolving cocktail list created for the summer. A glass of sangria is $12.

Grab a bite to eat

You can’t have happy hour without a bite to eat and a variety of Sonoran style bites including Carne Asada Quesadilla made with Hanger steak and Grilled Artichoke Flatbread topped with Morel mushrooms, spring onion, pea and Stinging Nettle hot sauce are just a couple of bites available.

The Phoenician Resort is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information check their website.

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.

 

 

 

 

Clever Koi partners to open Italian concept at Scottsdale’s Skysong

It’s good to see when successful restaurateurs plant their flag in re-vitalized neighborhoods, especially if you live in one of those neighborhoods. That’s been the case in my backyard the last year in south Scottsdale, specifically on the Skysong campus.

Born & Raised partners Joshua James & Nicholas Campisano

The public private partnership at McDowell & Scottsdale roads has seen the opening of Bitters Bar & Food, an original concept and the third location of New York Bagels & Bialys. Come September they will be joined by Fellow, an osteria & cocktail bar  from the team that’s brought us Clever Koi.

Fellow at Skysong

The all day hang out spot will cater to guests that will want to dine-in on pizza, pasta, salads and cocktails along with those on the run that want to grab n go breakfast and premium coffee drinks. The custom designed 5,000 square feet restaurant is expected to be enjoyed by office workers at Skysong along with residents from surrounding neighborhoods.

This is the third restaurant for the newly founded Born & Raised Hospitality and its partners Joshua James and Nicholas Campisano after their two Clever Koi’s in Phoenix and Gilbert. James known for his mixology skills behind the bar will craft the cocktail menu and build craft beer and around the world wine list.

With high ceilings and communal space Fellow is being designed by architects Local Studio who designed the first Clever Koi in central Phoenix. The design highlight will be a big wooden cube over the bar where 3-D Arizona landscapes of iconic Arizona locations.

With a few months before opening there are always unknowns about certain details at Fellow but on thing is for sure they will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

PNPK opens in north Scottsdale featuring Craft Sliders and Deviled Eggs

PNPK owner Kellie Pruitt took a personal tragedy and turned it into something positive when she re-opened her Grape Bistro as the new PNPK after a 2 year hiatus. The new full service restaurant and wine bar in north Scottsdale opened in late March on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Pinnacle Peak.

Tragedy to PNPK

When a family tragedy occurred in July 2016 Kellie stepped away from running her Grape Bistro to heal. Hiking the nearby Pinnacle Peak(hence the name PNPK) on a regular basis helped her heal and realize something good should come of her situation.

“Earlier this year, I knew I either needed to close or do something new, in part to throw myself into something creative to help myself heal,” said Pruitt. “PNPK has been transformational for me, and now I hope for the Airpark restaurant scene as well.

Bruschetta flight

Flights of sliders and deviled eggs

With its close proximity to the Scottsdale Airport, Pruitt figured flights of sharable plates would be the way for her new place to take off.

The restaurant features 13 Sliders to build a flight from and  7 Devilish Eggs to choose from along with Bruschetta Flights, Charcuterie Flights and more for guest to enjoy a variety of flavors.

Deviled egg flight

Guests can mix & match sliders served on petite Brioche buns such as Crispy Hot Fried Chicken, Short Rib French Dip, Bacon Jam with Angus Beef just to name a few of the variety of proteins between the buns. Sliders can also be served on gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps.

The deviled eggs are not your traditional  eggs with specialties being the Asian Wasabi and citrus slaw, Smoked Salmon with capers & chives and White truffle oil and chives. During Happy Hours guests can enjoy three eggs for $5.

Signature cocktails

Wine, cocktails and beer

Custom wine & beer flights focus on craft beers and wines from around the world. With 30 wines by the glass and 150 more selections by the bottle offering wine drinkers good value or the opportunity to splurge on that special bottle.

The creative cocktail menu pays homage to the surrounding desert and mountains with drinks that include…..

  • The Granite Summit: Bourbon mixed with fresh cherries that have been muddled with vanilla, a touch of sugar and topper of club soda
  • The Trailblazer: Gin combined with fresh strawberries, lemon, basil and a hit of club soda
  • The Gila Monster: A combination of jalapeño simple syrup, grapefruit juice, lime, tequila and sparkling wine (named because it’s got bite!)
  • Hi Jolly: Veev Acai Liqueur is the star here and mixed with fresh mint, lemon and blueberries for a “spirited” antioxidant kick.

A favorite is the signature cocktail  “Tickle Me PNPK Punch” made with sparkling wine, Arizona Prickly Pear and ginger ale. A $1 of each punch is donated to The Friends of Pinnacle Peak Park which is a group of volunteers that help maintain and care for the trail on a daily basis.

PNPK is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. with Happy Hour from 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Find it at 23335 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. 480-305-0907. http://www.pnpkaz.com/

 

 

 

Mario Lopez welcomes Danny Trejo & Frankie Quinones to Cinco de Mario

Not many people have a festival named after them but actor/TV host Mario Lopez is a modern day personality that has his own Cinco de Mario festival and it comes to Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza on Saturday May 5th. Hopefully there is still room on your party schedule as this is a busy day with both the Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo festivities around town.

Cincio de Mario
Actor & host Mario Lopez

It’s Cinco de Mario that will have bad ass actor turned taco & donut entrepreneur Danny Trejo on stage with Mario along with comedian Frankie Quinones and legendary hip hop group Sugarhill Gang.

Cinco de Mario events

Cinco de Mario
chili peppers

The day long festival starts at 11 a.m. and for the next 7 hours festival attendees can head to the Super Mucho Merchado for gourmet foods and traditional Mexican fare in a farmer’s market setting.

Attendees will be able to sample tacos and more from El Jefe, The Mission, Don Jose Mexican food and other local food producers. Make your way to the craft beer garden and rose wine garden to quench your thirst from all the spicy foods.

Fun will be had when “Saved By The Bell” alum and  festival host Mario judge’s a “Saved by The Bell”  look a like contest and local bands Mariachi Rodriguez and Ritmo Latino perform before we get down with the Sugarhill Gang’s old school performance.

A lounge to watch The Kentucky Derby will be available.

Comedian Frankie Quinones

Getting your tickets

General Admission tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Mansion VIP tickets are $100 online in advance and get a plate of food from The Mission, 5 drink tickets, private bar and a lounge area.

Experience it all and a meet & greet with Mario Lopez with VIP Mario Sky Deck for $200 online in advance that gets you food & drink all day from The Mission and high-end lounge furniture to relax in.

Entry to craft beer & rose garden is $20 for 8 tasting tickets.

Kids under 12 are free.  Purchase your tickets here.

 

Rancho Pinot celebrates 25 years with throwback dinner series

Most of us don’t know what we’re doing 6 days from now let alone 6 months from now but in this case advanced planning is needed. Scottsdale’s Rancho Pinot celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year and is celebrating with 4 Throwback dinners as owner Chrysa Robertson invites her mentors and those she’s mentored to help re-create meals from the past.Rancho Pinot

The dinners will take place over 4 weeks in November.

Rancho Pinot has been serving customers farm to table meals using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients long before it was cool and Robertson helped start the first Phoenix chapter of Slow Food International.

What does she attribute to surviving 25 years with the ups and downs of owning a restaurant?

“My tightknit family taught me to appreciate and love food early on,” said Robertson. “I’ve always believed that in addition to food, it’s about hospitality. I could never do what I do without the support and talent of all the people – my family – who work with me. When guests come to Rancho Pinot, they’re coming to my home. I want my guests to feel good, taken care of and to have a civilized dining experience.”

Rancho Pinot Throwback dinners

Chrysa honed her kitchen skills in California before returning to Arizona to open Rancho Pinot in 1993. The dinners pay homage to those who inspired her and whom she’s inspired including FnB chef/owner Charleen Badman and Sacha Levine who’s opening her own restaurant.

The wine will be flowing as Rancho Pinot strolls down memory lane with theses weekly dinners.

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Girls Night

A dinner featuring several of Chef Robertson’s counterparts at Rancho over the years, including Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Sacha Levine formerly of Ocotillo Restaurant, Michelle Mango of Mango Cakes, Shannon Plowman of La Vie in Pinetop and Wendy Lair, a personal chef in Northern California.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Wine Night

A nod to Master Sommeliers, Wine Night features two Rancho Pinot alums, MS Bobby Stuckey and MS Christopher Tanghe, as they work the floor, pouring special bottles paired with an equally extravagant menu.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 Southern California Days

Mentor and inspiration, Nancy Silverton – currently Mozza and Chi Spaca in LA – formerly of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, joins friend Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA, to remember Chef Robertson’s time working in Los Angeles in 1990 with a fun and collaborative menu.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 Northern California Days
Celebrating Chef Robertson’s Napa Valley experience with Terra Restaurant’s Chef Hiro Sone and former sous chef, Jim Neal, this evening brings the famed flavors of Napa Valley to the Sonoran Desert for a can’t-miss culinary dinner event.

Starting in October you can RSVP by calling Rancho Pinot at 480-367-8030 or email to ranchopinot@hotmail.com

Rancho Pinot is at 6208 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250. For more information see their website.

Stephanie Izard and Aaron Sanchez headline Nirvana Food & Wine

Update: WWE superstars The Bella Twins will be co-hosting the Rose Parte. Nikki & Brie Bella will join chef Todd English for this Saturday afternoon event. Details below!

A  Master of Taste C dinner has been added and  welcomes actor and winemaker Kurt Russell and his Gogi wines from Santa Ynez Valley. A special line up of chefs will create a menu based on Russell’s library of films including Alex Stratta, Bradford Thompson, Ana Graza, Francois DeMelogue and Sanctuary’s own Beau McMillan.

The dinner at a private Paradise Valley residence is priced at $500 per person with limited seating available. The dinner will be Saturday April 21st from 7-10 p.m.

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Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts the return of Nirvana bringing together celebrity chefs, local mixologists and California winemakers. Guests will enjoy  4 days of fine dining, mix and mingling with chefs Stephanie Izard and other events at the luxurious mountainside resort from April 19th – 22nd.

Resort executive chef Beau MacMillan will welcome back chefs Scott Contant and Todd English along with Aaron Sanchez and Chuck Hughes for the second year of this event highly anticipated event.

“Scottsdale is an emerging hotbed for culinary expression, and Sanctuary is the ideal backdrop to bring together the nation’s top talent. We look forward to building on our community’s passion for fine food and drink during this second installment of Nirvana,” said Michael Surguine, Sanctuary’s vice president and managing director.

Nirvana 2018

8 events are planned over the four days including dinners, tastings and a golf tournament. Below are the details of the days events.

Bourbon Street Blues

Hosted by mixologist Jason Asher; presented by Bulleit Bourbon

Thursday, April 19, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $150 per person.

Nirvana will kick off with a grand New Orleans-style festival, complete with a dazzling array of food and drinks. Live jazz will set a Mardi Gras mood featuring the Valley’s top mixologists. Guest are encouraged to dress in their best masquerade attire. Participating mixologists include Jason Asher, Brian Blevins, Maxton Kennedy, Bobby Kramer, Eric Wilson, and Libby Longlott. Chefs are Paul Boehmer, Audrey Enriquez, George Frasher, Brian Lieske, Beau MacMillan, Landon Post, and Lenard Rubin.

Master of Taste Dinner A

Hosted by chefs Matt Carter and Mark Stark; winemakers Rich Aurilia and Dan Kosta

Thursday, April 19; 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary experiences pairing top chefs from the Scottsdale area and California’s Sonoma County with a notable winemaker. The first of two such evenings will showcase the fine vintages of Napa’s Red Stitch Wines with owner Rich Aurilia, a former San Francisco Giants shortstop, and his wine mentor Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne. This very special event will be hosted at one of Sanctuary’s most luxurious private estate homes. Casa Seven’s dramatic glass wall affords dinner attendees a spectacular view of the valley below.

 Flutes & Coops

Hosted by chefs Stephanie Izard and Chuck Hughes, presented by Möet & Chandon and Woodford Reserve

Friday, April 20, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Sanctuary Ballroom and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/ $150 GA per person

Fried chicken and Champagne prove to be an inspired pairing as an all-star line-up of local chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes, fine bubbly and live music thanks to American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville All-stars. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite chef. Participating chefs and mixologists include Lindsay Autry, Jacob Cutino, Rochelle Daniel, Michael DeMaria, Eddie Diaz, Ron Dimas, Jacob Ellis, Stephen Jones, James Garron, Kiefer Gilbert, and Bernie Kantak.

Master of Taste Dinner B

Hosted by chefs Dustin Valette and Christopher Gross; winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer

Friday, April 20, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s second winemaker evening puts the spotlight on pioneering Napa vintner Tuck Beckstoffer and his eponymous Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. This intimate dinner will be hosted at Casa Seven, one of Sanctuary’s glorious private estate homes.

Celebrity Golf Tournament

Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. registration and 8:45 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $2,000 per foursome

Golf enthusiasts can tee off their day on Mountain Shadows, one of Phoenix’s premiere courses, with Nirvana’s fun-filled celebrity tournament. Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef (including Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan), star mixologist or notable sports figure, with plenty of food, beer, wine and spirits on hand to fuel an unforgettable round.

 Rosé Parté

Hosted by chef Todd English

Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; $135 per person

A refreshing alternative for those who prefer pink to golf course green, this new-to-Nirvana event will pair fine bites with fashionable rosé against a backdrop of spectacular desert views.

Best of the West

Hosted by chef Scott Conant (Mora Italian) and mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim

Saturday, April 21, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/$150 GA per person

Nirvana’s closing night will bring together the best chefs in the West for a grand finale-worthy walk-around tasting that will take guests to indoor and outdoor settings throughout the resort. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs, including Justin Beckett, Cullen Campbell, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Russell LaCasce, Branden Levine, Gio Osso, Jeremy Pacheco, James Porter, Joseph Rodger, Caleb Schiff, Matthew Taylor, and Chuck Wiley.

Tequila & Tortillas

Hosted by chef Aarón Sánchez and mixologist Maxton Kennedy

Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $135 per person

Because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Nirvana’s Southwestern-style show-stopping farewell brunch promises tequila, tequila and more tequila. Festival-goers can shake off the sleep with palate-wakening Mexican specialties and live music to celebrate their final morning in paradise. Participating chefs: Rene Andrade, Jason Asher, Lee Hilson, Beau MacMillan, Aaron May, Julio Mata, Peter McQuaid, Doug Robson, Lenard Rubin, Samantha Sanz, Ana Garza and Suny Santana.

Ticket packages and purchase

There are several ticket packages available whether you want the full Nirvana Experience or pick and choose which events time permits. Resort packages are also available with more information and to purchase tickets at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/