The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar opens at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The 6th location of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar has opened in north Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Across from Dave & Buster’s The Whining Pig will be the neighborhoods go to wine and beer bar that occupies more than 4,000 square feet.

Photos courtesy of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar

The friendly and knowledgeable staff pours wines from around the world and over 125 craft beers from rotating taps. A selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and meat & cheese plates are available off the limited menu.

Vintage boards games and other forms of entertainment make the place good hang out with friends and family.

The bar opens daily at 1 p.m. and stays open til the late evening and early morning hours.

Sunday Brunch now served at Parma Italian Roots

On the success of lunch and dinner Parma Italian Roots now offers Sunday Brunch. The recently opened West Coast style Italian restaurant in Scottsdale serves traditional brunch favorites with a modern Italian twist from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Chef Chris Gentile’s Italian influence and California Coastal style cooking uses sweet and savory ingredients that offer guests a unique brunch experience. Bold flavored dishes include Strawberry Marscapone Pancakes, Short Rib South of the Border Hash, Parma Benedict and Breakfast Calzone. All these delicious sounding breakfast options are $13.

Sunday Brunch
Breakfast Calzone. All photos courtesy of Awe Collective

For those that “Don’t Like Breakfast” choose the Gnocchi ($13), Pappardelle Bolognese ($15) or one of the other four lunch options.

You can’t do Sunday brunch without cocktails and Parma offers $12 bottomless Mimosa’s and more.

Parma Italian Roots is at 20831 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. (480)-292-9900 www.ParmaItalianAZ.com

Scottsdale’s BLK Live offers a new upscale Social Hour menu

Scottsdale’s live entertainment venue and restaurant BLK Live has introduced a new Social Hour menu in time for the holidays. Friends and co-workers looking to celebrate can enjoy upscale comfort food, cocktails, beer and wine at special pricing.

The best part is the upscale happy hour is available twice a day Thursday – Sunday from 4 – 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. – close. Guests can enjoy Kobe meatballs, bourbon-glazed seared pork belly and crunchy coconut shrimp with mango chutney. Creative signature cocktails are offered at a reduced price along with $4 domestic drafts, well drinks and house wines are poured with $5 imported and craft beers.

BLK Live is at 7301 E. Butherus Dr. Scottsdale 85260. For more information visit their website.

Coffee 101 is in session at Press Coffee’s Scottsdale Waterfront location

Ever wonder where your morning cup of coffee came from and how Press Coffee determines what coffee’s to roast then sell, those questions will be answered in Coffee 101. Classes at the Scottsdale Waterfront’s “Speakeasy” classroom start tomorrow. The Scottsdale Quarter and Ocotillo locations have taught the popular class on Saturday mornings.

I recently took the class and learned which roasts I prefer, taste profiles and more.

Coffee experts will teach the “cupping” method of tasting coffee, the roasting process and where coffee originated when you take the 1-hour class.

Coffee 101 starts at 10 a.m. on the 1st & 3rd Saturday’s(tomorrow) at the Scottsdale Waterfront and Chandler (Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, Jan. 6, Jan. 20) with Scottsdale Quarter classes on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays.

Classes cost $20 and you receive a $10 gift card when class lets out.

Seating is limited and you can save your seat by going to http://presscoffee.com/tastings

The Scottsdale Waterfront is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. #145 across from Nordstrom’s.

 

 

Business as usual at TEXAZ Grill as owner decides to sell

Rather than closing restaurants as owners move on they are finding new owners to keep them up and running. Yesterday I posted about The House Brasserie getting new owners, today TEXAZ Grill has a new owner.

After 33 years owner Steve Freidkin was ready to move on but didn’t want to close his famous Phoenix restaurant. Selling almost a million Chicken Fried Steaks and Texas style food new owners, the Nguyen family don’t plan any changes.

The new owners

The Nguyen’s moved to Arizona in 2007 from Houston where they immigrated to in 1989. They have been longtime fans of the restaurant ever since and are looking forward to taking it over.

“Our entire family is excited to take the reins at TEXAZ Grill and continue the proud traditions started by Steve Freidkin and Jim Mitchell way back in 1985,” says Long Nguyen. “Most important, we want TEXAZ fans to know their restaurant is in good hands, and we look forward to serving up Phoenix’s best steaks, chicken fried steaks and more for another 33 years.”

Long time staff and management will stay in place to continue serving comfort classics like steaks, chili and BBQ.

Former owner

Friedkin will stay on board with the new owners through November and will then become a customer.

“After three plus decades as owner, chief cook and bottle washer at TEXAZ Grill, I’m ready to ride off into the sunset,” says Steve Freidkin. “But first I had to make sure that my staff and our customers, who are both like family to me, were all in great hands. It was very important to me that TEXAZ remains a family run restaurant.”

“The staff makes TEXAZ Grill great, and I know that they will have the same friendly service and use the same recipes that we’ve had for the past 33 years, including chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, TEXAZ Red Chili, pecan pie, and more.”

TEXAZ Grill is at 6003 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016. www.TEXAZGrill.com

The popular House Brasserie is under new ownership

Scottsdale’s The House Brasserie changed ownership recently with the new owners looking to continue serving great food and service. Opened in 2012 by chef Matt Carter, Brian Raab and Terri Ellisnor it became one of old town favorite restaurants. It got its name because it’s housed in the second oldest house in Scottsdale.

New owner Joseph Ieraci, an ASU graduate, has the restaurant industry in his blood as a 2nd generation restaurateur. Ieraci returned to the valley from his native southern California in search of a restaurant but not just any restaurant. “My wife, Julie, and I absolutely fell in love with The House Brasserie because we could tell it had been hand-built and run with a lot of love.” Ieraci was attracted to the unique location of the house which is surrounded by patios, tall trees and a cozy inside dining room.

Head Chef Brandon Jedd stays with Ieraci continuing to serve global inspired dishes using gourmet ingredients and French cooking techniques. Jedd has been overseeing kitchen operations at The House for several years after starting as a line cook.

“As hard as it was for us to say goodbye to The House, we’re so excited it’s in great hands with Joseph Ieraci and chef Brandon Jedd,” says Brian Raab. “With the success of The Mission in Downtown Scottsdale as well as at Kirkland Commons, plus Fat Ox, it just made sense to have a single owner-operator who can give this amazing restaurant the attention it deserves.”

Ieraci will bring back the seasonal weekend brunch but for now is serving dinner Tuesday – Sunday from 5-10 p.m.

The House Brasserie is at 6936 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

Pomo Pizzeria named in BuzzFeed’s 25 Best Pizzerias in America

Discussions about pizza and who makes “The Best” is part of the pizza culture. When a new list comes out we all scan it to see if we’ve been to any and if we agree. I know I’ve got my opinions and favorites. Phoenix does have a pretty good if not great reputation for its pizza community. Most often we think of Chris Bianco and his Pizzeria Bianco’s when we think of great pizza in Phoenix. Chris laid the foundation for pizza in Phoenix with its reputation for tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes. It should come as no surprise that other pizzerias have opened following the Bianco brick oven model and have garnered national respect in the pizza community. Pomo Pizzeria in downtown Phoenix (a few blocks from Bianco) is the only Arizona pizzeria to make BuzzFeed’s The 25 Best Pizzerias in America.

Pomo came in at #14 on the list voted on by guests. The Principe pizza is featured on BuzzFeed list but the pizzeria considers The Diavola as their signature pizza. The Diavola has tomato sauce, spicy salame, mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.

Pomo uses fresh ingredients and uses traditional pizza making techniques going back hundreds of years to Naples.

I’d agree, when I’ve visited any Pomo location I’ve always enjoyed their pizzas, I just need to get there more often.

Pomo Pizzeria has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Phoenix. For more information visit their website.

Fat Ox offers a truffle filled weekend in the Italian countryside, kind of.

Just back from northern Italy executive chef & co-owner Matt Carter is wasting no time showing off his bounty. It’s truffle season and Carter’s putting together an Italian inspired dinner using the white and black treasures.

The dinners will be on a special menu from Thurs. Nov. 8th – 11th. The rustic Italian dinner will take Carter back to his recent expedition in the Italian countryside.

Carbonara Tajarin with white truffle, Parmesan, pancetta

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Wild Salmon with black truffle, salsify, Meyer lemon, mushroom crumble

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Fior de Latte Gelato with fresh-shaved white truffle

Or

Add to any entrée (market price)

For more information or to make a reservation call 480-307-6900 or visit www.IloveFatOx.com

Fat Ox is at 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253.

 

 

 

 

Southwest Cider Festival offers sips of local & national ciders

With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.Operation Homefront

Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.

“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.

Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

More details are at their Facebook page.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson #103 Mesa 85210

 

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.

I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman  at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.

He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.

Naked BBQ

Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.

Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.

After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd  Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.

The meats at Naked BBQ

The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.

Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.

Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).

Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.

Sauce it up

If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.

If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.

Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.