Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest returns to Civic Space Park

The end of September should bring cooler temperatures but this is Phoenix so it could still be warm for the annual Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest. Quench your thirst at this German inspired festival that started as a wedding in 1810 and lasted for several days. The annual celebration continues around the world feasting and drinking for several days. Our downtown festival only lasts 6 hours on Saturday September 28th at Civic Space Park.

The doors open at 3:00 p.m. with authentic German food such as pretzels, brats, currywurst, schnitzel, spatzel and sauerkraut from Brat Haus, Eur Haus food truck and others. Huss Brewing makes sure the beer keeps flowing pouring their beers along with 8 German beers on tap.

“The Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest is a chance for everyone to be German for the day,” said owner of HDE Agency, Landon Evans. “Oktoberfest is a long-running tradition in Germany and we love bringing it to Cityscape providing an authentic experience, live entertainment and plenty of fun.”oktoberfest

Funkhaus Brass Band will be playing New Orleans style music and games Corn Hole & Jenga will keep people entertained. Servers from Hooter will be serving food and drinks and will host a Stein Holding contest and Beer Maid contest. Save room and enter the brat eating contest.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to ICM Food & Clothing Bank. Since 1983 ICM has provided basin needs such as food, clothes, diapers and more to poor families.

Tickets are $10 online and $15 day off. Groups of 4 can get tickets for $30 online for a 50% savings. Food and beverage sold separately. Civic Space park is at 424 N. Central Ave.

Real, Wild & Woody helps craft beer fans beat the heat

Cold beer makes the summer a lot cooler, how about 350+ craft beers in the air conditioned Phoenix Convention Center. That’s what craft beer fans will enjoy at the 6th annual Real, Wild & Woody festival on Saturday July 27th. The festival is presented by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and will feature over 75 breweries from the southwest.

Real, Wild & Woody is Arizona’s largest indoor beer festival featuring rare and unconventional beers from over 40 Arizona breweries. Dragoon Brewing Co., Grand Canyon Brewing Co. and others will be pouring their most unique “real, wild & woody” creations. Enjoy up to 20 cask conditioned ales a.k.a Real, beers fermented with wild yeast strains a.k.a Wild or barrel aged beers a.k.a Woody.

The festival has also helped new breweries introduce themselves to beer fans.

“This year, I am especially thrilled to be introducing the VIP experience,” said Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for our most fervent fans to have first, full access to the entire venue, an hour before we open to the public. Along with the exclusive access, there is a VIP meal option that will provide attendees with a three-taco meal (with vegetarian options) & a dessert. We’ll also be featuring distilled products from some of our breweries exclusively in the VIP area.”

Real, Wild & Woody tickets and info.

The events goes from 2-6 p.m. with tickets to the 21 & over tasting online for $60 and $80 for VIP. 1 p.m. entry and an optional(VIP+) multi-course for $20 is available with your VIP ticket. Tickets will be $20 more when purchased at the festival. In addition to beer their will bites to eat from Phoenix restaurants, interactive games, live music and a rock wall.

For more information go to their website and to see the full line-up of brewers use the social beer app Untappd.

The Phoenix Convention Center is at 100 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Dave Andrea opens 2nd Brat Haus in Uptown Phoenix

It took Brat Haus owner Dave Andrea a while to find the right location for the second location of his popular beer garden. The location came to be at 16th St. and Bethany Home Rd. in Uptown Phoenix and is now open. A slight departure from its popular Scottsdale restaurant as the Phoenix location will be “adult casual” with counter service.

“This second location is a chance for us to fully realize the original idea I had for Brat Haus, which was more geared toward the quick service model,” said Brat Haus owner, Dave Andrea. “The main goal, like what we’ve done in Scottsdale, is to foster a community of people from the neighborhood who are looking for a casual spot to enjoy specialty beers, delicious food and a fun atmosphere.”

The Phoenix restaurant will offer 100 seats, 52 inside and 48 outside on the dog friendly patio. The European styled menu offers imported beers and specialties including brats, pretzels, burgers and house made dips. Happy hour will be offered with $2 off glasses of wine and draft beers and the restaurants signature Giant Bavaria Pretzel for $10. Take out is also available.

“Uptown Phoenix is an eclectic neighborhood with an incredible mix of businesses and people,” said Andrea. “It’s growing rapidly and we’re excited to be a part of that. The timing is perfect for us to introduce our concept to the community.”

Brat Haus is open daily from 11 a.m. -10 p.m. and is at 6025 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016 and 3622 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

Summer Savings and Kids Eat Free at Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

Heading out to lunch and dinner during the hot summer months can be quite a chore. So locally owned Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers is motivating you with Summer Savings including Kids Eat Free a few locations.

Beginning May 28th at their Arcadia, Shea, 7th St and Gilbert(Higley) locations kids  12 and under get a free meal when an adult meal is purchased all day Tuesday. The Kid’s Meal’s are available everyday too and include Cheeseburger Sliders, Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese, Mmmac & Cheese and more. A small drink and fries are included for $7.50.

Summer Savings
Cheeseburger Fries. All photos courtesy of Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers

More Summer Savings

That’s just one of the ways to get you to come out in the heat. Other Summer Savings include the return of the popular Summer Secret Scratch Off. 50,000 scratch off cards are ready to be given away at all locations. When redeemed on a future visit guests will receive 10% and have a chance to win these prizes.

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • 2-night staycation at a luxury resort, $200 tab at Bourbon & Bones and a complimentary lunch at Famous 48
  • Golf Foursome at a Scottsdale golf course
  • Up to 30% off next visit

    Summer Savings
    Cheeseburger Sliders

Summer Savings also include the featured deals on food and beer daily including.

  • Monday – Mac Daddy Monday. All day, $13.50 unlimited toppings on MMMac & Cheese
  • Happiest Hour in Town. Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers is known for its generous weekly happy hour featuring select appetizers, domestic and craft beer specials.
  • Tuesday – Cantastic Tuesday. All day, $3 any canned beer and half-off bottles of wine
  • Wednesday – Pimp Your Burger. All day, $13.50 with unlimited toppings
  • Thursday – Trivia Thursday. $8.50 tot chos, $5 Dos Equis Mugs, $4 White Claws, $5 Jack Daniels Cocktails
  • Every Day Ice Cold Beer Buckets.  “Buy 6, Save $6;” “Buy 12, Save $12.”  Fans can mix and match from a selection of 100 canned and bottled beers.

With 10 locations in around Phoenix and 2 more on the way find a Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers  near you at https://www.coldbeers.com/

I spent my Spring Break eating my way through Salt Lake City

Most people spend their Spring Break heading to beaches or somewhere exotic. I spent my Spring Break road tripping to Salt Lake City to explore the city and food scene. I enjoyed meals at locally owned restaurants based on the recommendation of my friend who has spent the last year living in the area.

The 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City we knew we’d have to stop for at least one meal on the way up. Heading through Page and past Lake Powell into southern Utah you don’t have a lot options once you cross the border. Most meals were under $20 with a couple just above.

First 24 hours in Utah

We decided to stop for dinner in Kanab and pulled into Big Al’s Burgers Drive-In. Kanab is the main route as you head from eastern Arizona to the national parks of southern Utah and points north. A nice little town before you head up the back roads towards I-15. Big Al’s is exactly what you’d expect, burgers, fries, shakes and a few other drive-in favorites. I went with Double Rustler Burger value meal, a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Friendly service and made to order food made for a positive first impression of the Utah food scene. It was also my first experience being asked if I wanted “Fry Sauce”. Expect to be asked for this mayo ketchup combo in Utah when ordering fries and other fried foods. I declined as I prefer only ketchup but did taste my friends sauce. It was exactly what you’d expect.

After we made our way through the canyons and over the mountain pass into the night and a snowstorm we arrived late in the night at our destination.

After sleeping in and eggs and coffee at my friend’s place for breakfast we made our way for a mid-afternoon dim sum lunch at Cafe Anh Hong. In a small strip mall full of far east restaurants Anh Hong wasn’t the traditional dim sum restaurant. No ladies pushing carts full of dim sum delicacies but a picture menu under the plexiglass table top. Tell them what you want and everything is made to order. Many dim sum favorites to satisfy your dim sum cravings.

A late dinner was a homemade 24 hour sous vide short rib over risotto prepared by my host was so good I had to mention it.

Breakfast & lunch in Salt Lake City

Waking up the next morning we made our way to the Draper location of La Barba Coffee. Considered one of the if not the best coffee in SLC we sat there sipping our coffee pondering where to go for breakfast. Sipping on a Guatemalan drip coffee I paid more attention to it than I normally would a cup of coffee, it was good cup.

Desiring a breakfast burrito we drove to Taqueria El Gallo Loco in Sandy. I went with Chorizo burrito which was a little light on chorizo for my liking. My friend went with a bowl of Tripe thoroughly enjoying it. We ordered the Flan for dessert (yeah at breakfast) and glad we did, it was topped with toasted coconut and was so good. The owner and our server were friendly and offered good service. I’d give them another shot at a Chroizo burrito.

A mid-afternoon lunch had me desiring an Italian deli sandwich and my friend knew right where to go. We made our way to the 15th & 15th location of Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli where I went with The Caputo. Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone and all the fixings. They dress it with balsamic vinegar as opposed to red wine vinegar which was an interesting choice. Served on an artisan roll I’d come back again. Check off Italian deli off my list.

Enjoying the neighborhood that Tony’s is in we went across the street to Sweetaly for a cup of gelato. It hit the spot after my meaty sandwich.

Park City here we come

With the ski town of Park City less than an hour away we headed into the mountains for lunch. It’s “Mud Season” in Park City so some restaurants close down for a few weeks. We found out the hard way when we wanted to grab a bite to eat at High West Distillery & Saloon. We wound up the brew pub of Wasach Brewing with brunch in full effect. Sipping on an Apricot Hefe with my Wasach burger made for a tasty Park City experience. The Wasach burger is made with buffalo meat and topped with a spicy Cajun remoulade.

I vetoed lunch a Tekila for the brew pub but my friend highly recommends it.

In case you’re wondering dinner at friend’s house back in SLC for homemade corn chowder and cake.

Final day in Salt Lake City

A lazy Sunday morning had us getting a slow start and finally motivating in early afternoon. We picked up a friend and decided to head for something new to me.

A couple of doors down from dim sum was Kungfu Hotpot where I experienced Hotpot cooking for the first time. A pot of mild and spicy boiling broth we filled it with beef, pork, mushrooms, vegetables and more letting it cook to our desired temperatures. The All-You-Can-Eat restaurant had us ordering more piles of beef, greens and seafood balls until I threw down my chopsticks and said “no more”. An interesting experience I’m not sure I could find in Phoenix.

Just a few miles from downtown SLC we made our way to Temple Square to see the gardens, the state capitol and the University of Utah. One last stop before we headed to my friend’s place for the night, Dolcetti Gelato. The Blueberry Balsamic & Rosewater treat to finish my foodie visit to SLC hit the spot after the spicy hotpot.

SLC looks to have a great restaurant scene as I scanned local magazines and websites. Locally owned restaurants and several chains I’ve never seen before looked interesting. I hope to return one day to eat my way through more of what there is to offer. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City on a Sunday be aware that many restaurants aren’t open, even those you’d expect to be including coffeehouses.

To see pictures of my trip to SLC follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

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/

 

 

Huss Brewing’s CenPho Citrus IPA brewed with locally donated fruit

Huss Brewing Co. is accepting locally grown citrus for their up-coming seasonal bottling, CenPho Citrus IPA. Central Phoenix (CenPho) residents are invited to drop off citrus from their trees in exchange for two pints of the new beer when released. Drop off your citrus by January 14th 2019 at Huss’s Taproom in Uptown Plaza.

Huss employees will be accepting donations and giving certificates until enough citrus is collected for brewing.

CenPho Citrus IPA

The beer will make it’s debut on Feb. 9th at the Arizona Strong Beer Festival then around central Phoenix. Those that donated citrus and received a certificate can cash in for 2 pints on Feb. 16th at Huss’s Citrus Festival at the Uptown Taproom.

The craft beer will be poured at local hangouts and community events around central Phoenix including.

2/9 – AZ Strong Beer Festival

2/10 – Willo Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

2/11 – AZ Beer Week (variety of CenPho bars, restaurants and neighborhood stores)

2/16 – Citrus Fest at Huss Brewing Co. Taproom at Uptown Plaza

2/24 – Coronado Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

3/2 – Melrose Neighborhood M7 Street Festival (inside the Huss Brewing Co. Beer Garden)

Central Phoenix citrus

The beer is celebrating Huss Brewing and central Phoenix State Rep. Laura Pastor helping to create Arizona’s first experimental citrus trees. Imported from California the trees are planted on the Orangewood estate of William J. Murphy at 7514 N. Central Ave. Murphy built the Arizona Canal and founded numerous Phoenix and Glendale neighborhoods.

“We love to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible, and citrus is such a great flavor for a fresh seasonal beer,” says Leah Huss, who owns Huss Brewing Co. with her husband Jeff. “So as soon as we met Councilwoman Pastor and heard about the deep citrus roots in the historic neighborhoods surrounding our Uptown Taproom, we knew this was the perfect way to, literally, share a beer with our neighbors.”

Visit their website for more information and drop off citrus at 100 E. Camelback Rd.

 

 

 

 

Varsity Tavern opens on Mill Ave. for food, fun and drinks.

Texas-based Reign Group is about to open their second concept this year along Tempe’s Mill Ave. When the Varsity Tavern opens in early December it will be located upstairs from Rodeo Ranch which opened in August.

Varsity Tavern will offer a dine, drink and play atmosphere both day and night with over 8,000 square feet of fun. A wrap around balcony will offer guests a great view of Mill Ave., Sun Devil Stadium and the sunset.

“With Varsity Tavern, we’re pushing the dining and entertainment limits on Mill. Ave.” says Josh Regan, co-owner of Reign Group. “We fully expect these concepts help Mill Ave. become an undisputed epicenter of the dine-drink-play movement in the valley” says Reagan.

Shrimp and Pasta. All photos courtesy of Duality PR & Varsity Tavern

Dine

Executive chef Albert Hernandez is no stranger to the Mill Ave. dining scene as he was the executive chef at Monti’s La Casa Vieja. The menu is inspired by James Beard award-winning chef Robert McGrath who helped Hernandez create the Texas style food with an Arizona twist.

The menu includes unique dishes such as Pot Roast sliders, Meat Toothpicks with Chimichurri & mashed potatoes and the Sloppiest Of Jospeh’s on an Onion Roll. Brunch will be served on Sundays and Mondays and offer Potted Huevos Rancheros, Big Benny and Bananas Foster french Toast.

Drink

Guests can expect a wide range of cocktails, craft beers and wine at Varsity Tavern. Whether it’s a Bloody Mary at Sunday brunch or bottle service on a Friday night all will quench people’s thirst.

A full-time craft cocktail artist is on staff and has created cocktails such as Spicy Margarita and Blueberry Mojito.

Play at Varsity Tavern

The sports bar turned nightclub atmosphere will offer DJ spinning most nights and hi-def television’s for sports fans. Nightly promotions will offer Gold Fish Races on Monday’s and Bada Bingo on Wednesday’s. A lively Happy Hour also happens on a regular basis.

Varsity Tavern is on the southeast corner of Mill Ave. & 5th St. Hours are Mon. – Wed. 11 a.m. – midnight, Thurs. & Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sat 10:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m. – midnight. For more information visit their website.

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.