Lunch & Learn at Marcellino Ristorante

If you’ve ever wanted to learn what makes classic Italian cuisine so good now’s your chance as Chef Marcellino Verzino of his namesake restaurant, Marcellino Ristorante is hosting 2 Lunch & Learns  in coming weeks sharing his secrets and recipes.

Pasta & Pesto

Saturday March 18th is when 16 lucky guests will pull up a seat at the chef’s island and will watch and learn as chef Marcellino creates his homemade pasta and delicious pesto.

Gnocchi & Tomato Sauce

Come back on Saturday April 22nd and learn how he makes his Gnocchi and light tomato sauce as you watch chef gracefully make his way around the exhibition kitchen preparing his delicious potato dumplings.

Only 16 seats are available for each of the classes that will start at 1pm and conclude about 3pm. Attendees will dine on salad,  pasta and dessert after his cooking demonstration. Cost for each of the exclusive Lunch & Learns are $35++.

Reserve your seat by calling the restaurant at 480-990-9500.

Marcellino Ristorante is at 7114 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. http://marcellinoristorante.com/

 

 

 

Twin Peaks celebrates International Whiskey Day with their Kentucky Mule on March 27th

Another day another day celebrating a food or drink and on March 27th whiskies from around the world get their own day to shine as somebody has anointed the last Monday of March International Whiskey Day.  To celebrate the two Phoenix area Twin Peaks (Phoenix & Scottsdale) are putting a unique twist on the classic cocktail Moscow Mule with their Kentucky Mule on this festive day.

Twin Peaks will be 86’ing the vodka on this day and using Maker’s Mark Bourbon whiskey in its place for their Kentucky Mule. If you can’t make it out to Twin Peaks to toast International Whiskey Day with the brown spirit you can make your own Mule with Twin Peaks recipe below. Cheers!

Ingredients below yield 1 cocktail

1.5 oz. Maker’s Mark

.5 oz. lemon juice

.5 oz. simple syrup

2 oz. ginger beer

1 lemon wheel

1 mint spring

Directions:

Add Maker’s Mark to a copper mule mug. Add lemon juice and simple syrup and stir with a bar spoon. Top with ice and ginger beer. Garnish with a mint spring and lemon wedge.

Twin Peaks two Valley locations – Camelback (2135 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix) and Scottsdale (8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale). http://www.twinpeaksrestaurant.com/

 

 

Updated: Nice weather to sip and savor for Social Hour on the patio at Beckett’s Table

Update: Beckett’s Table continues to serve  Social Hour but no longer serves it on the patio. It is only in the bar or at the community table.

The calendar may say it’s still winter but our Phoenix temperatures feel like spring has sprung and there is now better way to celebrate our beautiful weather than patio dining at Beckett’s Table. Come join chef and owner Justin Beckett on the patio for Social Hour daily from 5-6:30 and enjoy Happy Hour pricing on selected eats and drinks through the spring.

Beckett’s Table ‘s signature cocktail The Palmaire. Photo courtesy of Serendipit Consulting

Enjoy your time on the covered wrap around patio sipping on a glass of wine or a signature cocktail including The Palmaire which is made with Pomegranate liquor and juice, orange vodka, house made honey, syrup, lemonade and mint. In between sips, taste bites of the creative cuisine of chef Beckett who sources much of his fresh ingredients from within 30 miles of the restaurant.

Beckett’s Table is at 3717 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018. http://beckettstable.com/

 

Burger Battle returns to see who makes the Best Burger in the Valley

The Scottsdale League of the Arts annual Burger Battle returns this Thursday March 9th with more burgers, beers and fun to its new location at the Scottsdale Waterfront at 7 p.m.

The Burger Battle is one of the non-profits more popular events which helps raise money for artists, art programs and art education through several fund-raising events throughout the year.

This years Burger Battle will be emcee’d by local sports writer and sports  talk show host Dan Bickley. Burgers will be served from local restaurants such as Hand Cut Burgers, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company.

In between tasting burgers, side dishes and desserts attendees will be able to play lawn games and dance to the sounds of The Groove Merchants.

After tasting burgers patrons will be able to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award for Best Burger while 5 judges will be selecting the Judge’s Choice Award. 2 winners will then compete in the World Food Championships in November.

Tickets for the competition are $65 when purchased in advance or $75 at the door. VIP tickets are available for $85 and include early entry at 6 p.m., a VIP gift and access to a private lounge. This is a 21 and over event. Tickets can be purchased at http://scottsdalefest.org/

 

 

Murphy’s Law to host Shamrock Fest on St. Patrick’s Day

If it’s the time of year when everybody claims to be Irish & leprechaun sightings are on the rise then it must mean St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, 13 days & counting down to be exact. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day downtown Chandler’s favorite Irish pub, Murphy’s Law is hosting an evening full of games, food, crafty beers, Irish dancing and more for Shamrock Fest on Fri. March 17th.

The Paddy gets started at 4 p.m. across from Murphy’s Law in AJ Chandler Park with live music from locals bands August in Stereo, Radiofix, Retro Connection & Volitale Minds. Festival goers can hangout in The Lucky Leprechaun zone with wee man wrestling, The Kiss Me I’m Irish zone with lawn games, eating contest, cabbage bowling and more fun activities.

St. Patrick’s Day traditional corned beef & cabbage

Local and craft beers will be available in the Bagpipes & Brews lounge as you listen to bagpipe players then make your way to the Four Leaf Clover food court for traditional corned beef and cabbage, bangers & mash, Sheperd’s Pie and more.

General admission tickets for this 21 & over event are available on-line for $8 and $10 at the door. VIP tickets are available only on-line for $80 and include 6 drink tickets, a private bathroom, catered food, private seating and front stage access. Tickets can be purchased at http://holyshamrocks.com/

Part of the proceeds from Shamrock Fest will be donated to the non-profit Downtown Chandler Community Foundation (DCCF) which helps to mobilize leadership & resources for the development of downtown Chandler as a regional destination for shopping, culture, living & the arts. http://www.downtownchandler.org/

 

 

 

Where to eat when in downtown Las Vegas

Are you a foodie who doesn’t like all the pomp & circumstance of the Las Vegas strip and their celebrity chef driven restaurants and buffets and prefer the character and history of downtown Las Vegas but want to avoid the touristy chain restaurants along the Fremont St. Experience continue reading this post.

I spent 4 days last weekend in downtown Las Vegas and for several meals stepped outside the Fremont St. Experience to explore several local restaurants of interest. Not to say I didn’t eat a meal or 2 in the hotels which will get a mention here but I wanted to see where the locals eat.

Day 1

The drive to Vegas up Route 93 where restaurants are hard to come by until you get to Wikieup is where we stopped for a quick-lunch at Luchia’s where my turkey club sandwich on homemade sourdough bread really hit the spot. Luchia’s is the last chance to eat before you get to I-40 & Kingman with only a couple of options a few miles before you get to Luchia’s.

After checking in at the downtown Las Vegas staple Golden Nugget, Ziggy and I made our way to the Artisan Hotel for a wine tasting & tapas at Barcelona Restaurant. The Artisan Hotel is off the strip and may be my new favorite hotel with its dark lobby and art decor with many paintings from Van Gogh, Picasso and more lining the walls along with statues and sculptures around the lobby. The tapas were satisfying and included Empanadas, tacos, croquettes and more at happy hour prices of $5 or $6. Washed down with the wines from Rock n Roll Wines it made for a great 1st night in town. http://www.artisanhotel.com/

Several hours later the we found our self  hungry and decided on a couple of slices of pizza from Pizza Lotto (in the El Cortez & Casino) after a beer at Atomic Liquors(another must visit) several blocks down Fremont St. among the hipsters and locals. This pizza snob thought the slices were spot on like you’d find in NYC.

Day 2

We passed on the all you can buffets and Denny’s for breakfast and made our way down Carson St. to Eat on a recommendation from a friend. Waiting outside til they opened at 8 was worth it as my corned beef hash was one of the best I had and Ziggy’s chicken fried steak looked real good. This breakfast & lunch joint almost had me coming back for the Truffled Egg sandwich but will save it for my next visit. Owner/Chef Natalie Young’s place commands a line on most mornings and for good reason with her breakfast providing the fuel we needed for our chilly mid-morning hike in the Red Rocks west of town near Summerlin. http://eatdtlv.com/#

After burning off our breakfast with the aforementioned hike Ziggy had mentioned Chicago Brewing Company’s large Bloody Mary’s served with appetizers attached. We went next door to the Four Queens Hotel & Casino for lunch which started with my Ghost Mary that came with mozzarella stick wrapped with bacon and spicy chile pepper. The Bloody Mary was made with a spicy ghost pepper Bloody Mary mix and I didn’t find either to be as spicy as expected but both disappeared real quick. My Muffelatta sandwich did me good til our next meal. Ziggy went with his hometown favorite Chicago dog and was underwhelmed with the diced tomatoes as opposed to sliced ones.

Dinner consisted of appetizers during our hosted Happy Hour at Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar inside the Golden Nugget. Nachos, Ahi Tacos and Margaritas tasted the way they would at any other Mexican restaurant. No complaints here.

Day 3

Waking up Saturday morning had me indecisive about where to go for breakfast and I decided to keep it simple with a donut and coffee from Donut Bar on Carson St. After waiting with others til they opened at 8(see a trend here) more indecisiveness kicked in with all my donuts choices including The Big Poppa Tart with a Pop Tart in the middle and many more, see my Instagram video for more (@SandyWass). On this day I went with the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Roll and a large coffee from Portland’s Stumptown Roasters. The Las Vegas location is the 3rd with the other 2 in San Diego. http://www.donutbar.com/

A banquet style lunch was in the Golden Nugget and was good piece of steak but lets jump to dinner at Chow. Dining solo for dinner I went back down Fremont St to Chow, Natalie Young’s (of eat.) southern & Chinese food joint that is open for lunch & dinner(closes at 8pm). I started with a Pork Belly bun followed by 2 pieces of southern fried chicken. The overnight brined chicken was crispy  and good and the pork belly bun made me wanting more than 1.  I will definitely be back for noodles and more. http://www.chowdtlv.com/

Day 4

Our final day in Vegas had us in town long enough for breakfast before we hit the road back to Scottsdale. We headed to east Las Vegas to drop of our buddy G. Scott. East Las Vegas is mostly chain restaurants and drive thrus but we did discover Blueberry Hill Family Restaurant before we hit the highway out-of-town. This locally family owned restaurant has 4 Vegas locations and we found ourselves at the east Flamingo Rd location. Good, affordable breakfast and lunch comfort foods such as pancakes, waffles and more on the big menu. I went again with a corned beef hash skillet which almost defeated me but I didn’t let it happen. The always full coffee cup was perfect on this Sunday morning and we left full enough that a lunch stop on the road was not even necessary. http://www.blueberryhillrestaurants.com/

After paying our bill we hit highway south toward Arizona with me thinking of when I can return to Vegas for more local eats as we barely scratched the surface and left me  wondering about others we missed. Ciao for now Las Vegas!

 

 

Spring Training returns to Phoenix with home run food & drink deals

In just a few days umpires around the valley will be yelling “Play ball” starting the month-long 2017 Cactus League season for baseball teams and fans. Restaurateurs are well aware of locals and the influx of visitors to see their favorite teams and many are offering a game day and month-long food and drink specials around the Phoenix area. Below is a list of restaurants offering spring training deals around the Phoenix area.

Chompie’s Chipolte Ranch burger

The Scottsdale Charros

If you don’t want to miss any of the fun, you won’t have to stray from the Scottsdale Stadium to get a delicious bite to eat. The Scottsdale Charros make Spring Training an experience to remember with the Charro Lodge. This unique and special feature of Scottsdale Stadium is the perfect spot for a VIP feel with the patio-style seating with all-inclusive food and beverage.

You also get an outstanding view of the game you can’t find anywhere else in the stadium. You won’t find old fashion ballpark food here! The Charro Lodge has had a variety of local and national restaurants showcasing their menus, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers and Postino. All proceeds from the Lodge go right back into supporting local charities and SUSD schools.

Kelly’s at SouthBridge

To enjoy the cool weather and feel the awesome Old Town atmosphere, hit Kelly’s at SouthBridge before or after your spring training game. Their spacious outdoor patio, adorned with bright red umbrellas, is hard to miss. Kelly’s is just a few minutes away from Scottsdale Stadium and is the perfect place for some pre/post game day drinks. Kelly’s is at 7117 E 6th Avenue, in Scottsdale. For more information, visit www.kellysatsouthbridge.com.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill

Heading to Sloan Park or Scottsdale Stadium? The patios at Thirsty Lion in Tempe and Scottsdale are the perfect place for a quick drink either before or after those spring training games. You’ll find great food, more than a dozen big screen TVs and over 50 beers on tap. Don’t forget to take the trolley from Tempe Marketplace to Sloan Park! For more information, visit thirstyliongastropub.com.

Burger Theory

Burger Theory is surrounded by FIVE Spring Training facilities! They will have a weekly drawing now through the end of March to win a pair of game tickets. Bring in your baseball ticket from any facility after the game and receive 10% off of your bill. Want to stay longer than a post-game lunch?

Stay and play at Burger Theory with their Room with a Brew hotel package. This package includes your choice of two craft beers daily! Enjoy them at the pool, in Burger Theory or delivered to your room. Burger Theory is at 4401 E. McDowell Road. For more information, visit www.burgertheoryphx.com

Photo Courtesy of Fired Pie

MATCH Cocktails & Cuisine

Cubs fans can hang out at the Cub Hub at the Found:RE hotel and take advantage of daily specials at MATCH Cocktails & Cuisine 7 days a week from 4:20 – 6:20 pm. With a Windy City menu created by executive chef Akos Szabo just show your game day ticket and get 10% off your bill. Just look for the W flag hanging outside the hotel at 1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. https://www.foundrehotels.com

Drexyl Modern Cuisine

Show your ticket stub from that day’s game at Drexyl and receive a $1 You Call It glass of wine, beer or spirits with your purchase. Limit 1 per customer. Drexyl is at 8877 N Scottsdale Rd #402, Scottsdale

El Palacio

Craving Mexican food? Head to El Palacio in Chandler and they will give you half off any appetizer with your game day ticket all month-long. El Palacio 2950 E Germann Rd, Chandler, AZ 85249 http://www.epfamilyrestaurants.com/

Chompie’s Deli

Who doesn’t love Buy 1 Get 1 Free and all 5 Chompie’s area locations are offering a free Angus burger or Hot dog free with the purchase of 1. With 6 burgers and 2 hot dogs to choose from this dine in deal is home run. Not valid on March 17th. For a Chompie’s location near you check out www.chompies.com

Fired Pie

If pizza is your go to game day meal the Fired Pie’s Mesa Riverview’s location will give you a $1 off any entree w/ a Sloan park ticket stub and give you a free ride to see the Cubs play at nearby Sloan Park. Fired Pie at Mesa Riverview is at 1003 N. Dobson Rd www.firedpie.com