New summer inspired sandwiches on the menu at Zookz

Central Phoenix’s Zookz Sandwiches added three new sandwiches to their menu this week with the hot summer months and lighter eating in mind. Whether you’ll be enjoying them for breakfast or lunch owner Carole Meyer’s goal is to please their loyal customers through their taste buds.

Zookz Egg white frittata sandwich. All photos courtesy of Carole Meyer

Zookz new sandwiches

The toasted and round sandwiches offer customers a mix of poultry, vegetables and dairy and flavors that are sweet, savory and spicy. The three new are….

Parmesan cheese topped with chicken marinated in honey balsamic vinaigrette and tossed with black beans, sweet corn, feta cheese and sunflower seeds. $8.50 (includes a side salad)

Parmesan cheese, egg white frittata topped with tomatoes, avocados and kale tossed in Zookz zinger sauce. $5.75

Zookz crunchy chicken salad with apples, cranberries and roasted almonds in Zookz sweet heat mustard sauce. $8.50 (includes a side salad)

Simple summer salads

Sandwiches aren’t the only menu items that are healthy and light made for summer eating. Their side salads are a fresh and tasty addition to each of the sandwiches, customers can choose from Garbanzo Bean salad with feta, roasted red peppers, green onion in a lemon zest yogurt dressing or Potato salad with black beans, green onion, corn and chipotle sauce. Even better is when you have both side salads as you meal to get maximum flavors.

Craving a sweet to end your meal try the new Caribbean Beet Cake. Yes beets, giving you a unique tropical flavor.

Zookz is in Uptown Plaza 100 E. Camelback Rd. (Camelback & Central Ave.) Phoenix 85012 and is open Mon. – Fri. 7 a.m. -4 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. https:/zookzsandwiches.com

 

Easter weekend is hopping at The Wigwam resort

Those looking for a family friendly Easter celebration in Phoenix’s west valley have few choices when it comes to celebrating with the classic resort style brunch. Good news as the historic AAA Four-Diamond Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park is celebrating on both Saturday and Sunday April 15th & 16th.

Easter bunny breakfast at The Wigwam

Kids get ready as the Easter Bunny will be hopping in to the resort’s Aztec Ballroom on Saturday morning for a special breakfast from 8 a.m. – 11a.m. The scrumptious menu includes French Toast, mini waffles, an omelette station along with Applewood smoked bacon, Wigwam potatoes, fresh fruit and an assortment of danishes. Breakfast with the Easter Bunny is $25 for adults and $15 for kids  3-12 years old.

After breakfast head out to the resorts lawn for the Easter Eggstravaganza for Egg Roll Races, Easter Bunny Hopping Trail, egg dyeing and animals from the nearby Wildlife World Zoo. The Easter Bunny will be available for photos and other activities are planned. The Eggstravaganza is free and open to the public and runs from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sunday Easter Brunch

Those looking for a traditional Easter Brunch buffet should head to the Wigwam Ballroom from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday where they can choose maple peppercorn glazed ham, carved pepper crusted sirloin and seared salmon. An omelette station along with pancakes and penne pasta with basil pesto and goat cheese will also be available. Reservations are required and the cost is $48 for adults, $20 for kids 3 – 12 years old and free for kids under 2 years old.

A four course brunch will be available in Litchfield’s Restaurant that will feature an appetizer course with your choice of field greens, antipasti or fresh berries. Guests can choose from Caprese Benedict, smoked salmon flatbread, shrimp & grits or Huevos Rancheros for an entrée. A dessert station with a selection of truffles, fruit tarts. macrons and other desserts will be available to end your meal. Reservations for Sunday Brunch can be made by calling (623)935-3811. For more information go to http://www.wigwamarizona.com/

 

U.S. Egg launches “secret” menu items, get a sneak peek here.

The 1st U.S. Egg was hatched back in 1986 with the Gebran family purchasing it in 1991 and hatching 5 more locations across the valley in the last 26 years. To celebrate the 31st anniversary of the opening of the 1st restaurant U.S. Egg has unveiled a “secret menu” for its loyal customers.

Jalapeno Scramble photo courtesy of U.S. Egg

The  restaurant serves breakfast and lunch and the 8 “secret” menu items will be available all day, every day at all 6 locations. All menu items include fresh ingredients and creative flavors for its classic and unique menu items. U.S. Egg is one of the first restaurants to offer a gluten-free menu and is known for their Protein Pancake.

U.S. Egg “secret” menu items

  • Jalapeno Scramble – eggs, chorizo, cilantro, tomatoes, jalapenos, onions and Jack cheese. Served with hash browns and a tortilla. 11.49
  • Durango Burrito – eggs, chicken, green chilies and jack cheese. Topped with salsa and served with hash browns. 11.49
  • South Beach French Toast – French toast topped with blueberries, bananas, strawberries and fresh whipped cream. 11.49
  • Manhattan Skillet – Italian sausage, green peppers, onions, Jack cheese served on a bed of hash browns with an English muffin and two eggs. 11.49
  • Roast Beef Melt – roast beef, melted cheddar cheese, tomato and mayonnaise served on a grilled sourdough bun with a side of fries or coleslaw. 11.49
  • Hawaiian BBQ Chicken – barbeque chicken is topped with grilled pineapple and melted Swiss cheese served with fries or cole slaw. 11.49
  • BLLT – bacon, lettuce, tomato and turkey served on whole wheat toast served with fries or cole slaw. 11.49
  • Southwestern Chicken Melt – chicken breast, melted cheddar cheese, green chili sauce served on a grilled sourdough bun with a side of fries or cole slaw. 11.49
    South Beach French Toast. Photos courtesy of U.S. Egg

    In addition to good food U.S. Egg recently started selling their own locally roasted signature blend Guatemalan Sunrise coffee.

To find a U.S. Egg near you visit http://www.useggrestaurant.com/

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Chef Charles Wiley to open Hearth ’61 at new Mountain Shadows resort

A lot has been going on the last few years at the corner of 56th St & Lincoln Dr. in Paradise Valley as the old Mountain Shadows resort makes way for the new & modern Mountain Shadows resort. Phoenix area foodies have been anxiously awaiting what popular chef Charles Wiley will be doing with the resorts signature restaurant. We now know he will be opening Hearth ’61 in early March.

The seasonal ingredient driven restaurants name Hearth ’61 pays tribute to 1961, the year Paradise Valley was incorporated and a “Hearth” being a centerpiece of the resort and the Paradise Valley community.

Duncan carrots

Chef Wiley will be using his friendships he’s built over the years at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and at Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu with farmers and other local purveyors to fuel his menu that will marry rich flavors with traditional cooking styles and techniques on the evolving menu. The restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A few of the dishes from the menu are…..

Niman Ranch Dry Aged Tomahawk- A 40-oz. bone in rib-eye, dry aged 28 days, roasted garlic, rosemary truffle butter

George’s Bank Sea Scallops – sauce romesco, buttered mushrooms, ancient barley, charred spring onion, fennel pollen

Charred Eggplant & Hayden Mills Ancient Grains – red quinoa, white sonora & farro berries, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, roasted peppers, ricotta salata

Ginger Roasted Carrots – tahini yogurt, chervil

Floor to ceiling windows to view the surrounding Camelback & Mummy Mountains and desert, a sunken living room lounge, open kitchen and above ground wine cellar surrounded by glass are just a few of the design and decor features that honor a time from the past along with modern ambience.

The 5’s courtesy of Hearth ’61

“It is truly an honor to be a part of this iconic project, the rebirth of Mountain Shadows,” said Wiley. “We will rely on all the relationships we’ve cultivated over the years with local farmers and artisans to craft a rustic yet vibrant cuisine. The culinary team we’ve assembled is nothing less than extraordinary, and we’re excited to present menus featuring a perfect balance of innovation and tradition”.

The inventive menu of chef Wiley’s at Hearth ’61 will be complimented by an ingredient driven cocktail program that features 2 original cocktails, The 5 C’s referring to Arizona’s cotton, copper, cattle , citrus and climate industries which will feature locally distilled Commerce Gin, grapefruit & lemon juice and muddled basil leafs. The Forty-Rod which uses High West whiskey, corn milk, lime juice, ginger – cayenne syrup and garnished with a corn husk is inspired by the strong whiskey drinks of the old west.

 

 

 

SumoMaya announces a new chef & Bottomeless Brunch on weekends

Chefs move from one restaurant to another like athletes get traded or sign with a new team. Scottsdale’s SumoMaya has announced that they have brought on a new chef to run their team in the kitchen. Roberto Madrid comes to SumoMaya from Deseo Restaurant at The Westin Kierland Resort in north Scottsdale.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Wolvos

One of the first tasks chef Madrid will be overseeing is the new weekend “Bottomless Brunch” the restaurant has begun serving on Saturdays and Sundays. As the popularity of leisurely brunching has become on weekends, SumoMaya’s $39 brunch includes Bottomless Margaritas, Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Michaelidas along with a few of rounds of foods. For those who chose not to indulge with cocktails brunch is $29.

While sipping on your cocktails guests can then choose from a family style menu for the “First Round” that includes Smoked Salmon Lox, Sweet Mexican Pastries, fresh fruit & granola and more.

Photo courtesy of Debbie Wolvos

On to the “Second Round” where options include….assorted sushi rolls selected by chef Madrid, SumoMaya’s popular Guacamole w/ Pomegranate or Ribeye with tostatdas, Huevos Revueltos Al Abanil with scrambled eggs or Bread Migas + Chorizo.

Diners then choose an entree from the creative menu that includes Sweet Potato Waffles with sliced bananas, Waygu Steak + Eggs with corn arepa, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce or Market Vegetable Scramble with crispy quinoa amongst others. Popular weekday menu items such as Kimchee + Egg Fried Rice with mushroom and Korean chili aioli, Enchiladas Suiza, Pork “Al Pastor” Pad Thai will be available.

Make sure you save room for dessert(easier said than done, I know) as the unique Liquid Cheesecake Brulee or Bunelos, those delicious cinnamon donuts sweetened with condensed milk and dulce de leche are served family style.

Both early riser and those who like to sleep in on weekends can take advantage of brunch as SumoMaya serves from 9a.m. – 3p.m. on weekends.

SumoMaya is at 6560 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250.

 

 

Eating my way through Delray Beach, Boca Raton & Boynton Beach.

Some live through stereotypes, some live in stereotypes and from time to time I live in a stereotype. That is the case when I travel to visit family in southeastern Florida towns of Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Boynton Beach. Certain aspects feel like a Seinfeld episode when Jerry is visiting his parents in “Del Boca Vistas”. The best times revolve around food and eating out and all that come with the experience. On a recent visit I ate out for most meals in strip mall eateries or dockside by the water and these are my chronicles, see if my experiences sound familiar.

Most were simple meals with family and friends catching up and watching life go by as its high season in south Florida with snow birds, families visiting parents & grandparents and full-time residents.

Shortly after arriving in time for a mid-morning breakfast on the way back from the airport we decided on my aunts favorite greasy spoon, The Green Owl III in Boynton Beach. Breakfast and lunch served with simple staples of eggs, French toast, pancakes and the special of the day, Scrapple. I’m not entirely sure what Scrapple but you don’t see it here in Phoenix very often. I can say the eggs, corned beef hash and slice of French toast is exactly what you’d expect. Not huge portions but good solid breakfast foods with the regulars and an always full & hot cup of coffee with change back from a $10 in most cases. Cash only!

As often as I’ve visited in my 40 something years to this area there’s always a  favorite or 2 on the eating schedule. For dinner we made reservations at the family favorite Banana Boat on the Intercoastal Waterway in Boynton Beach. It was my 1st visit in a long time at this nautical & beach themed restaurant where seafood is good and fresh. The French Onion soup was spot on for bargain price of $6.95 before I stepped out of my seafood comfort zone and went with filet of Macadamia crusted Key West Grouper. The fish was good and flaky and the Orange Rosemary sauce was vibrant and delicious. http://bananaboatboynton.com/

We passed on desert as we headed down to the bustling Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach to Doc’s All American for soft serve ice cream. Doc’s pre-dates any of my visits back to when my aunt grew up in the area and Doc’s was the place to go for food and fun when she was in high school.

I know what you’re saying, where’s the stereotypes and Seinfeld episode in all of this. That picture comes into play when family continues to arrive and we head to Saturday morning breakfast at Poppie’s Restaurant & Delicatessen  in Delray Beach where Miltary Trail meets Linton Blvd. This staple for gossip, big portions and people watching is slowly filing with regulars for morning coffee or after tennis at the club. Walking by the glass encased meats and deli favorites right to our table or booth I don’t remember but you get the drift. I expect Jerry, George and Elaine to coming strolling through the door any second as if they’re visiting Jerry’s parents. http://www.poppiesdelidelray.com/

I went with a platter of eggs, home fries, corned beef hash & a bagel. Big portions tasting the way it should as if we were up in New York deli.

For lunch, plans get made with our hometown friend for our traditional sushi lunch at Lemongrass Asian Bistro www.lemongrassasianbistro.com/  in downtown Boca Raton among the Bentley’s and Rolls Royce’s. This was our first visit to Lemongrass as our previous sushi place a couple blocks away has jumped on the ramen & noodle bandwagon. The sushi was fresh and filing as was it’s presentation. The Summer Roll(Vietnamese spring roll, not sushi) was one of favorites with its mint and shrimp stuffed goodness. Our favorite roll was the Aloha Roll with pineapple and more and my Bento box of sashimi and a “Sex on the Moon” roll was perfect.

During our late lunch I was informed dinner would be of the early bird kind at 4:30 for Chinese food. Up I-95 a few exits back to Delray Beach in a nondescript strip mall is Bird Nest Tree. http://www.birdnesttree.com/

My sister & I must have been the youngest patrons of this (stereo)typical Chinese food restaurant with dim lighting, leather booths and round tables. I opted to skip dinner as the taste of sushi still lingered on my palate and dinner plans with friends in Ft. Lauderdale was only an hour or so away. I did nosh on the large fried wontons on the table and grabbed a taste of Kung Pao chicken before our server scolded me and slapped a “sharing” charge on my families bill. It all looked and smelled like good Chinese food, maybe next visit for a full experience.

That’s not the end of my eating escapades as other meals were had at the country club, in homes of friends and family and at the wedding which brought all of us to Florida, that’s another post in itself. If you find yourself traveling the roads of these parts, these and other restaurants from previous visits make for good eating and people watching.