Tag Archives: Arizona

Stephanie Izard and Aaron Sanchez headline Nirvana Food & Wine

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/

Paul Hobbs Crossbarn wines poured at Mowry & Cotton dinner

The Phoenician’s newest restaurant Mowry & Cotton pairs California wines from acclaimed winemaker Paul Hobbs Crossbarn Winery this Friday March 23rd.

The dinner comes on the heels of Mowry & Cotton’s first “Meet at Mowry” social dining series. The community dining styled dinner will feature a reception and 3-course dinner paired with 5 wines from Napa &  Sonoma counties. Director of Winemaking Greg Urmini is the evening’s special invitee and will make his way to each table to speak about the wines and winery.

Mowry & Cotton menu with Paul Hobbs wines

The dinner will feature locally sourced vegetables, fresh game and a variety of seasonal ingredients paired with wines that will compliment the meal. The reception is called for 6:30 p.m. with dinner to start at 7.

TABLE                                                                                                                                           “GAME” BOARD

bruleed foie, confit rabbit, quail egg country paté, fennel mostarda, cherry compote, miso mustard, house pickles, crispy flatbread

FIRST                                                                                                                    CHARRED VEGETABLE SALAD

artichoke, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,

pickled chick peas, herbs, smoked tomato vinaigrette


uni, crab, charred pomelo, thai basil, cracked wheat sourdough

MAIN                                                                                                                      SMOKED LAMB SHOULDER

spring vegetable kraut, pea yogurt, salsa matcha, naan


cipollini onion, broccolini, almond, citrus, cherry


rye crispies, hazelnut, lemon, smoked cherry


almond, fermented rhubarb honey, mulato chile yogurt

DESSERT                                                                                                                                    BLACKBERRY GOAT CHEESE SUNBURST CAKE

whipped white pepper brulee

WINES                                                                                                                                         SAUVIGNON BLANC Sonoma County, 2015

CHARDONNAY Sonoma Coast, 2016

PINOT NOIR Sonoma Coast, 2014


CABERNET FRANC Moon Mountain District, Sonoma County, 2014

Save Your Seat

With limited seating reservations are needed and can be made by calling 480-423-2530 or email 00103RestaurantReservations@luxurycollection.com The cost for the evening is $60 per person plus including tax & tip.

Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival returns to Chandler

Good times return to downtown Chandler on Saturday March 24th as the 9th annual Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival opens its gates at noon.  The festival will be serving up slow cooked foods, cold adult beverages, live entertainment and more til 10 p.m.

Barbecue, Beer and more.

Over 20 BBQ aficionados will be smoking and cooking up finger licking ribs, chicken, pulled pork and many more not BBQ dishes. Local craft beer brewers including SanTan Brewing Company along with national beers and spirits will be poured to cool you and your palate down as a lot of the foods will be bringing the heat. Below is a list of a few of those slow cooking your favorites.

Farmboy Smokehaus – brisket, pulled pork, who hog spit, andoullie sausage, baby back ribs, chicken, chili and Johnny cakes

Harris’ Smokehouse – BBQ pork, beef, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw, & corn

Jamburritos – pulled pork, brisket, hot links, jambalaya

JJ’s Louisiana BBQ – ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, rib tips, hot links, turkey legs, beans & potato salad

Mr. Wonderful’s Chicken & Waffles – waffle and chicken wings, po boys, chicken dirty fries, banana pudding, & cheesecake

Pearson’s Catering – catfish, bayou chicken, gator bites, frog legs, jambalaya & po boys

Sally’s BBQ – loaded ribbon fries with pulled pork, sausage, & corn

SanTan Brewing – chopped brisket or pulled pork sandwich & mac & cheese

BBQ festival
All photos courtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

Live music, tickets and more.

Country music superstar Rodney Atkins headlines the music for the festival  along with food cooking demos, a mechanical bull riding competition. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family with a kids zone.

Tickets and more information can be found at https://www.chandlerbbq.com/

General Admission

$20 Online Presale                                                                      $25 Day of Walk Up Pricing                                                         $10 Veterans & Military Discount Online Presale & Walk Up Pricing $10 Presale at any valley Bashas’ Locations                            *Kids 12 and under receive free general admission                          *General admission includes entry into the festival, access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities. Food and beverages are not included with admission.

VIP Pass (21+ over only)

$175 Online Presale Only – now through 3/23/18 OR when tickets are sold out                                                                                        Includes: six beers, unlimited soft drinks and water, catered food throughout the day, front stage access/view, private air-conditioned restrooms, private seating, shaded area, entry into the festival and access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities.

 Corral Pass (21+ over only)

 $75 Online Presale Only – SOLD OUT


Village of Elgin Distillery wins national award for rum

Whether it’s a local chef, restaurant, beverage or food Arizonans always like to see our homegrown business’s win awards and earn national and international attention, respect and acclaim. Raise your glass for a recent win for Village of Elgin Distillery and its Regal de Vida Rum.distillery

The American Craft Beverage’s distillery was won Best in Show and Best in Class- Rum during the American Craft Spirits Association’s Convention and Trade Show. It was at the Fifth Annual Judging of Craft Spirits awards dinner that the winners were announced.

Regal de Vida beat over 500 entrants from 37 states and the District of Columbia that were considered by judges in 6 main categories….Whiskey, Gin, Rum ,Vodka, Grain Spirits and Brandy & Specialty Spirits.

Village of Elgin Distillery distills other award-winning spirits including Arizona Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Tombstone Arizona Bourbon, Tombstone Single Pot Malt Whiskey, Tombstone Arizona Rye, Double Black Rum and other ultra-premium artisanal spirits at their southeastern Arizona distillery.  To produce high quality small batch spirits the distillery uses artisanal distilling techniques.

The Tasting Room is currently open 10 am – pm  Thursday – Monday  (10 am – 5 pm  Saturday). Tuesday/Wednesday by appointment. The Village of Elgin Winery is in the heart of Elgin at 4731Ž2 Elgin Road, Elgin, AZ 85611. Call them at 520-329-5266


The Bar opens in Arcadia with The Dude watching over

The owners that have brought the Phoenix restaurant scene Arcadia’s and downtown Phoenix’s Nook Kitchen and the revamped Dilly Dally Lounge have opened The Bar.

Located along the bustling Indian School Rd. down the street from their other Arcadia restaurants The Bar pours “The Big Lebowski” inspired cocktails and plates up approachable bar food.

Owner Frank Vairo says, “We’re excited to add The Bar to our growing restaurant group and happy to be a part of this neighborhood. The Bar is a kitschy place for innovative cocktails along with familiar bar-style food that’s been elevated with fresh ingredients and house-made menu items.”

The Bar
Photos courtesy of Annie Marum

Cocktails at The Bar

Fans of the late ’90s cult film The Big Lebowski are encouraged to stop in after bowling a few games to sip on unique cocktails such as the “Dudebro” which combine Absolut vodka,  St. George coffee and Irish cream or The Bar’s version of the classic Margarita “Go With the Flow” which combines Absolut Lime vodka, Deep Eddy lemon, Aperol, sweet & sour juice and splash of soda over ice.

Not feeling “The Dude” in you, classic cocktails such as an Old Fashioned and others are prepared with enthusiasm and skill.

Approachable bar food

Using locally sourced ingredients for his house made dishes, chef Nick Larosa takes bar food up a couple of notches as he prepares comfort food staples. Scratch made potato skins & onion rings, Thick Cut Bacon BLT and the Double Decker American Burger on Noble Bread to name a few.

His proudest menu item is his own creation, John Blaze Honey  Hot Wings also known as “JBHH”. Hot wing fans will appreciate chef Nick’s signature dish and will notice how seriously he takes his mild and blazing hot wings.

A Cookies n Cream Reese’s Pieces Sundae is a good way to cure your craving for something sweet for dessert.

The Bar is open daily from 3 p.m. -2 a.m. and is at 3174 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Check out there website for more information.


We all won at Devour Culinary Classic

As the weekend is here and plans are being made for baseball games, food festivals and more I’m still reminiscing about last weekends Devour Culinary Classic . Moving to the Desert Botanical Garden for the first time it looked to me that all was good on Sunday when I got a chance to go.The great weather, spacious & pretty DBG,  great food and people made for a winning combination. There was also a little competitive spirit on both days as 8 judge’s walked through all 10 tasting zones tasting food from many if not all the restaurants participating.

Saturday’s winners

The judges picked these dishes as their winners on Saturday.

Excellence in Presentation 
  • Winner: Cibo
    • Arancini no.1 – Pan Fried rice balls with mozzarella and green peas
    • Arancini no. 2- Pam fried rice balls with mozzarella and lamb
  • Runner Up: Phoenix Public Market
    • Arizona Citrus Salad – goat cheese, pistachios, local dates, sweet shallot honey vinaigrette, micro greens
Excellence in Innovation
  • Winner: True Food Kitchen
    • Grilled Cauliflower Planks – black walnut pesto, truffle tahini, aleppo chili
  • Runner Up: Helio Basin Brewery
    • Venison Sausage
Excellence in Taste 
  • Winner: Gallo Blanco
    • Flapjacks with Plantains Foster
  • Runner Up: Dust Cutter
    • Huevos Rancheros / Sonoran Native Tepary Bean Chili, Ground bison, quail egg and chorizo espuma

      Differnt Pointe of View’s runner-up Muscovy Duck

Sunday’s winners

Good to see Sedona & Flagstaff restaurants Elote Cafe and Shift  catching the attention of the judge’s.

Excellence in Presentation 

  • Winner: Kai
    • Smoked Ocean Trout, Squash Escabeche, Huitlacoche Chumeth, Black Tepary Miso.
  • Runner Up: FnB / The Inbetweens
    • Fresh vegetable salad with sugar snap peas and country ham

Excellence in Innovation

  • Winner: Shift
    • Beef tongue Philly Cheese steak
  • Runner Up: The Dressing Room
    • Tako Yaki Hushpuppy with a Tomato Sriracha Jam

Excellence in Taste 

  • Winner: Elote Cafe
    • Spicy Anasazi beans with local heritage barley and mesquite corn bread
  • Runner Up: Different Point of View
    • Grain Mustard Soy Grilled Muscovy Duck; Sweet Corn Milk Griddle Cakes & Bliss Maple Drizzle , Kumquat Shallot Jam, Duck Cracklings, Basil Oil

Excellence in Distinction: FnB

Runner up: Kai


Upscale Toca Madera coming to Scottsdale Fashion Square

With all the development going on around downtown Scottsdale you may have missed that Scottsdale Fashion Square was doing a major renovation on the north side off the Camelview parking lot. The new luxury wing will include upscale restaurants with Los Angeles based Toca Madera being one and Ocean 44 the other.

This will be the third location for Toca Madera with a restaurant in Dubai and the flagship West Hollywood restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern approach.

Adobo Steak

“Making something already exceptional even better is driving the luxury renovation at Scottsdale Fashion Square, and that means creating opulent settings for shoppers to unwind and refresh,” said Michael Guerin, Senior Vice President of Leasing, Macerich.

“The addition of market-exclusive culinary concepts like Toca Madera, along with some of the world’s most respected retail brands, reinforces the property’s reputation as the market’s dominant luxury destination.” 

Toca Madera eats

The menu emphasizes organic and locally sourced ingredients for bold flavors and plenty of options for diners including plenty of gluten-free and vegan dishes.

On the menu currently at the West Hollywood restaurant are Ensenada style fish tacos, A La Roca with American Wagyu beef, Enchiladas de Mole, Chipolte Dusted Tofu Tostadas and the popular Churro Ice Cream Sandwich.

Spill out cafe seating will be available for people to enjoy a bite to eat while sipping on a tequila or mescal, a farm to glass cocktail that uses fresh ingredients or a glass of wine from around the world.

Scottsdale is a market we’ve always wanted to be in,” said Tosh Berman, CEO and Co-founder of The Madera Group. “With Scottsdale Fashion Square’s exciting luxury expansion happening, we knew this was going to be the perfect location for us. We look forward to introducing Toca Madera to the community and showcasing what will be the ultimate in luxury dining.”

Check back for updates or visit their website.