My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge returns April 13th

Do your friends and family tell you that you make delicious salsa or margaritas? If so then you may want to enter My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge or the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off. All entrants have until March 20th to to sign up for the April 13th event at Sloan Field in Mesa.

Not only could you win money with the best recipe but you’ll help to raise money for the Arizona Hemophilia Association. This is the 35th annual fundraiser for the organization.

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Anybody can win a piece of the $3,500 in prizes awarded to winner, first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up by the judges. You also have the chance to win Arizona Diamondbacks tickets. Individuals, non-profits and restaurants/business will compete for the winning salsa in three categories…Hot, Mild and Anything Goes.

Professional and celebrity judges will pick the winners in a double-blind tastings based on color, taste, after taste and more.

My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off

At 12:30 bartenders from across the area will shake things up to win the $500 grand prize for best margarita. Audience members can bid on the winning margaritas with proceeds going to the hemophilia association. They will also be able to bid on vacation packages, sports memorabilia and more.

To enter the contest go to https://salsachallenge.com/contestants/

During the 8 hour event their will be live music, a kid’s zone, a 5K run and more festivities.

The festival starts at 10 a.m. at Sloan Park 2330 E. Rio Salaldo Pkwy in Mesa. For more information and to purchase tickets head to their website

 

Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade launches Spring Seasonal Menu

With Spring approaching the need to keep hydrated becomes necessary and there’s no better way that with lemonade. Just in time is Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade releasing their new Spring Seasonal menu of lemonades, smoothies, bowls and more.

It also celebrates the Grand Opening of their new Happy Valley location. The Happy Valley location joins locations in Scottsdale, Tempe and Ahwatukee.

Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade Spring menu

The seasonal menu will be available from March 15th – May 31st. Here is the list of new Spring Seasonal menu.

Desert Vibes Lemonade – Served raw and cold pressed, this refreshing mango, strawberry lemonade is mixed with a hint of fresh turmeric. The ombré yellow, orange, red color reminiscent of the colorful desert sunsets.

Desert Vibes Smoothie Bowl. – Similar to the lemonade, the colorful bowl is flavored high with tropical coconut taste and a hint of sparkling kombucha.

Blue Hawaii Toast – Sea inspired toast topped with house made cashew butter spread with blue spirulina, and star cut kiwi, blueberry, organic coconut flakes and local honey.

Paleo Mint Chip Smoothie – A pastel twist on the fan-favorite drink. Nutrient dense and delicious, the mint chip smoothie uses fresh mint, kale and raw cacao, with a drizzle of cacao sauce.

Pea Flower Lemonade – Served raw and cold pressed, this lemonade’s rich purple color comes from Butterfly Pea Flower, which turns a pinkish lavender when fully mixed into the mojito lemonade. It features sprigs of mint and a hint of lime.

Adaptogen Cold Brew – Cold brew mixed with the new adaptogen* blend and coconut cream is a must-try.

Breakfast Cold Brew Smoothie – A morning kick bursting with flavor and nutrients. This smoothie is hand crafted with almond butter, adaptogens*, raw cacao, MCT oil, and paleo/grain-free/organic vegan protein. The best way to start your day!

*The local lemonade shop is introducing a new adaptogen blend on the menu that offers a hybrid of four of nature’s best adaptogen mushrooms which have a wide range of health benefits including immunity support, hormone balance, energy boost and many disease fighting benefits.

To find the closest Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade to you check out their website.

 

 

Meat the Ball to open at Biltmore Fashion Park next week

Stefano Fabbri, owner of popular Phoenix restaurants Mora Italian and Pomo Pizzeria announced he’s opening a new restaurant, Meat the Ball. The full-service restaurant will open Thursday March 21st at the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Meat the ball
Photos courtesy of Kassidy Mcdonald at Evolve Marketing and PR.

The menu will include an impressive line-up of meatballs made with sausage, veal, salmon and more. In addition to meatballs the restaurant will offer appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts.

“I’m thrilled to introduce Meat the Ball, a mini restaurant with a big personality centered on the quintessential meatball and its street food friends. We will have authentic recipes prepared with locally sourced and organic products to celebrate today’s healthy dining, Italian style,” says Fabbri.

The 1,500 square foot restaurant will look like a 50’s style diner and decorated with pop-art and a retro theme.

Meat the Ball will be open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Biltmore Fashion Park is at 2502 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016. For more information visit their website.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s day now at Thirsty Lion Gastropub

No reason to wait til March 17th to celebrate the luck of the Irish as Thirsty Lion Gastropub’s have already started. Their St. Patrick’s Day Season Specials is available until the 17th and includes 9 edible options with a modern twist.

Bacon Cheddar Potato Cakes

Irish favorites include Traditional Scotch Eggs, Irish Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef Mac & Cheese and Oven Roasted Lamb Shank.

Raise your glass of Irish whiskey, beer and craft cocktails with your meal.

$2 of every Flight of Irish Whiskey, Irish Mule and Irish Old Fashioned will be donated to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. The foundation helps to fight childhood cancer.

celebrate
Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich

Rotating taps of Guinness Irish Stout and an Arizona Black & Tan, SanTan’s Devil’s Ale and Guinness are being poured.

Celebrate at the 3 Thirsty Lion Gastropub’s in the Phoenix area at Scottsdale Fashion Square, Tempe Marketplace and SanTan Village.

Tryst Cafe brings its healthy menu to new Chandler location

Owners Lisa and Sami Khnanisho have had their award-winning Tryst Cafe in the Desert Ridge neighborhood of north Phoenix for 9 years before expanding. With numerous offers to come to all parts of the valley they decided on a south Chandler location. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Tryst serves naturally delicious assortment of sandwiches, salads, breakfast classics and more.

“We are excited to bring our affair with naturally delicious food to Chandler,” Co-Owner Lisa Khnanisho says. “The new location brings everything Tryst Cafe is about to the next-level.”

Egg Benedict

The healthy menu offers something for every diet and has been hailed by the vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian communities. Banana Quinoa Pancakes, Hawaiian 2-Egg organic Breakfast, Avocado Toast, Pork Adobo Tacos and a Bison Burger are a few of the dishes available.

The full service restaurant offers a walk-in coffee & juice bar, organic beverages including botanicals, Kombucha and a full bar.

The 3,500 square foot restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, a private dining room and meeting space for 14 people.

“Our menu is natural, healthy, and clean with something for everyone from the vegan diner to the meat-and-potatoes lover,” Khnanisho explains. “We believe everyone can have an affair with naturally delicious food.”

Bison Burger

As part of the grand opening celebration Tryst Cafe will host an Organic Wine Taste & Vote event. On March 13th in Chandler (20th at Desert Ridge) guests can taste 5 organic wines and vote for one to be added to the wine list. The 21+ event is $10 per person with guests tasting appetizers. Guests staying for dinner will receive a free dessert.

Tryst Cafe is at 4205 S. Gilbert Rd Chandler 85249 and 21050 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information visit their website.

Myke’s Pizza finds a permanent home in an expanded Cider Corps

If you’ve been to downtown Mesa at night in the last few years you’ve smelt delicious pizza being made. The aromas come from Myke Olsen of Myke’s Pizza, the pop-up who will soon have a permanent home inside Cider Corps. It’s part of Cider Corps expansion to accommodate the growing demand for the its popular ciders.

Myke's Pizza
Photo courtesy of Myke’s Pizza

From pop-up to fast casual at Myke’s Pizza

Myke’s pop-up is outside of Cider Corps and before was around the corner on Main St. Myke’s Pizza has received many accolades since he started making pizzas in 2016 with fans making the trip to Mesa.

Making pizza one at a time on a table top oven the new home will allow Myke to make five pizzas at once in the Renato wood-fired oven. Myke has only made pizzas at the pop-up but once the build out is done he will offer side dishes and salads.

Cider Corps expansion

When Cider Corps opened in 2017 brothers Josh and Jason Duren knew they were onto something but didn’t expect they’d need to expand less than two years later. They’re using 2,000 square feet to add a new bottling line fermentation tanks. Until now they’ve only been able to keg ciders and the bottling line will let customers take the ciders home. Bottles will also allow for retail placement on store shelves.

“We’re excited to have the ability to provide our cider not just to craft beverage bars but also to more restaurants and package stores,” said Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

Myke's Pizza
Mango cider Slushie. Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

The new  tanks allow four times more cider to be made and the opportunity to experiment with fermentation styles and techniques. The expansion also includes a new patio along Robson St. that will seat 40 people.

“When we started Cider Corps, we wanted the taproom to be a place where people could gather to honor great sacrifice and discover great cider,” he said. “What we also discovered was an amazing culinary community that’s committed to showing off what’s local to our state.“

The new partnership is what Duren hoped would happen when he opened Cider Corps.

During the build out of Myke’s Pizza will be there Wednesday – Saturday nights and will add Tuesday once completed. When Myke isn’t making pizza Cider Corps will still have food trucks available.

Cider Corps has extended their hours during spring training to stay open later.

The cidery is at 31 S. Robson St. Mesa 85210  and information about Myke’s Pzza can be found on his website.

“Smoked” to feature local chefs & cocktails at unique food event

Diana Brandt a.k.a Arizona Foodie is looking to blow your mind with “Smoked”, her food event on March 23rd. Bringing together local chefs and creative cocktails she wants people to hang out and enjoy what the local culinary scene has to offer.

“I wanted to create an event that captures the quality and talent of the Arizona Food scene but also keep it very intimate,” says Brandt. “There’s something primal about cooking with fire and it’ll be really cool for the guests to interact with the Chefs and watch them as they prepare distinctive dishes. It’s going to be lit. You will be amazed how creative these Chefs will get. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!”

Smoked foods

Chefs will be left to create whatever dishes they want as long as there is an element of smoke. Expect to taste dishes from these chefs scheduled to participate.

Matt Carter from The Mission, Zinc Bistro and Fat Ox

Stephen Jones from The Larder + The Delta

Aaron May from Malibu Burger, The Goodwood Tavern, The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen and Over Easy

Jason Alford of Bulthaup Az

Walter Sterling from Ocotillo

Alex Levine from Starlite BBQ

Adam Allison of Handlebar Diner

Chef Dell from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Chef Paulo from Obon Sushi Bar Ramen

Justine Dachel of Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe

Smoked Cocktails

Ketel One, Seagram’s, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker and Union Mezcal are sponsoring the event and guests will be able to sip on their creative cocktails in the Bulleit Smoked Lounge.

They won’t just be creating cocktails but their own brand experience. Wander over to the Seagram’s Airstream trailer with a photo booth and dry ice cocktails. Ketel One Botanicals will decorate their space with fresh flowers and guests can created their own smoked candles. Johnnie Walker and Union will create their own fun experiences too.

Purchasing tickets

“I truly want the Smoked experience to be available to everyone. So I’m keeping this upscale event affordable so the ticket price doesn’t kill the budget,” says Brandt. “I’m hoping that this event will show many of the people that follow me how amazing our food scene is and get them out of their routines and into these restaurants.”

This is at 21+ over event. Tickets for the event are sure to sell out and are available at https://www.arizonafoodiemag.com/events/smoked-hosted-by-arizona-foodie . Tickets are $35 and get all food and drink samples with entry at 1 p.m. VIP tickets are $50 and gain entry at 12:00.

Smoked will be at Ocotillo Restaurant at 3243 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85012.

Little Rituals opens and it’s not your traditional hotel bar

When Little Rituals opened last week in downtown Phoenix it raised the bar for other hotel bars. Located on the 4th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn the cocktail bar is the mastermind of mixologists Aaron Defeo and Ross Simon. DeFeo is no stranger to hotel bars as he was property mixologist at Tucson’s Casino del Sol Resort. Simon is the owner of downtown’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

Little rituals owners Aaron DeFeo & Ross Simon. All photos courtesy of Little Rituals

The bar joins Broken Shaker ( Miami, L.A., Chicago & NYC) and Death Co. (NYC & Denver)  to offer guests and locals a unique hotel bar experience. Open daily from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. guests can expect 30 custom cocktails along with beer, wine and gourmet bites from consulting chef Bob Tam. Interesting touches at the independently owned bar include hand stamped ice, espresso martinis on tap and a pairing menu.

Preparation and education is key

What you don’t see is as important as what you see and sip on. DeFeo and Simon have created a culture of extensive staff training and drink preparation. Cocktails are made with house-made foams, infusions, garnishes, syrups and more. The menu focuses on the use of aromatic vermouth’s and sherry’s.

The cocktails are in 6 categories with 5 cocktails each.

  • Daily Rituals (Boilermakers, Siroco Spritz and a precisely-chilled, grapefruit-finished Session Martini)
  • Delicious Rituals (exciting flavor combinations such as the honey, citrus and curry-spiced Daiqurry)
  • Cooling Rituals (heat-busting combos such as the frothy Amalfi Frappe or the cucumber-y Touch of Evil)
  • Stirred & Silky Rituals (elegant twists on classics such as the sherry-spiked Cask of Amontillado)
  • Indulgent Rituals (complex flavors such as the Cartographer with overproof rum, cardamom and creole bitters)
  • Shared Rituals (ever-changing selection of punches, pitchers and the aforementioned Bubbles & Fries)

Apertivo hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily and offers discounted prices on a rotating list of cocktails, beer, wine and bites.

The bar bites menu offers 10 dishes including Beet Carpacio, Millionaire’s Bacon Board and Carbonara Lo Mein from the Hong Kong born chef Tam. Make sure you save room for the High Spirited Desserts.

The hotel is at 132 S. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. 602-603-2050. Visit the website and their Facebook page for more information.

Step up to the plate! Spring Training food & drink deals around Phoenix

It still feels like winter around the country but the boys of summer have arrived in Phoenix for spring training. The 2019 season shouldn’t disappoint nor will the food and drink deals Phoenix restaurants are offering fans. Don’t trash those Cactus League game ticket stubs too quickly because they will score you a food and drink deals at your favorite restaurant.

Here’s my line-up for this years food and drink deals.

Original Breakfast HouseStart your day loading up on 5 new breakfast meals for just for spring training. Chile en Nogada Omelette, Steak and Portabella Mushroom Hash, Shrimp and Grits, Cajun Andouille Sausage and Gouda Scramble  and Tres Leches Pancakes. No ticket stub needed. Original Breakfast House is at 13623 N. 32nd St. Phoenix 85032.

Arcadia TavernSame day game day ticket stub from any team will score you a draft beer for a penny! 4801 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 85018.

Cider CorpsCubs and A’s fans take your game day ticket stub from one of the Mesa stadiums for $1 off  a pint of cider. On March 14th all pint are $3.14 for National Pi Day(ticket deal not available this day).  Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson Mesa 85210.

Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

DorianFirst select glass of wine, bottle of beer or well cocktail for $3 with same day game ticket. 7419 E. Indian Plaza Drive, Suite B Scottsdale 85251.

FOUND:RE Phoenix HotelNeed a place to stay when in town, check in with the Play Ball Package and receive 10% off standard room rate, a bucket of beers and peanuts & Cracker Jacks. Reservations good from Fed. 22nd – March 28th. FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003.

Urban MargaritaFree steak, chicken or carnitas taco with same day game ticket from any game. Urban Margarita is at 6685 W. Beardsley Rd., #180, Glendale 85308.

Urban Margarita.

Starlite BBQAll day happy hour pricing with same day ticket stub starting Thurs. Feb. 21st. for 1 drink or food item outside normal happy hour times. Starlite BBQ is at 7620 E Indian School Rd #101, Scottsdale 85251.

Thai Chili 2 Go- All 6 Phoenix area location will trade you your same day ticket stub for a FREE drink or order of Thai Dumplings. See website for a location near you.

Thai Chili 2 Go dumplings

Fired Pie- Score 10% off all pizzas when you dine-in after the game with same day game ticket. Find one of their 19 locations near you at http://firedpie.com/

Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants- Show your ticket stub and get a FREE Famous Cheese Crisp. Over 20 Happy Hour food and drink deals are priced $3-$8. Steal 2nd and take 3rd with that deal. Available at all 8 locations around Phoenix. http://www.macayo.com/

 

 

A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.