Restaurants around the valley are shifting gears to lighter and seasonal focused menus with the arrival of summer. Gilbert’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen recently shifted into their summer menu with the addition of 6 dishes from owner and chef Gio Osso.
With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients including fruits and vegetables these are then new menu items.
Stone Fruit Panzanella – Peach, apricot, cherry, arugula, chevre, day old bread and vanilla balsamic.
Heirloom Grain Salad – Farro, quinoa, blueberry, apply, almonds with white balsamic.
Salmon Croquette with capers and Calabrian chile aioli.
Flat Iron Steak – Cocoa-lavender rub, summer squash hash, charred spring onion and blueberry demi.
Fruite de Mare – Chef’s fresh catch, tomato and white wine.
Summer Dining Experiences
Nico will host a series of “Summer Dining Experiences” with the first scheduled for this Thursday June 14th. The “Gin & Bear It” dinner will pair a 4- course dinner with gin cocktails. The dinner will start at 6:30 and cost $45 ++ per person.
Update: Shortly after I posted this I was informed that due to supply issues this event is being postponed. I hope to have a new date for you in next couple of days.
Negroni Week is coming to an end and one restaurant is ending it in world record-setting style. The Sicilian Butcher will set the record for the Largest Barrel Aged Negroni by combing 3 ingredients into a 500 liter barrel.
Making the World’s Largest Negroni
On Sunday June 10th from 2-4 p.m. customers are invited to witness history as a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to witness the filling of the barrel.
Sheldon Wiley, Beverage Director of The Maggiore Group will use 14 cases each of three Italian spirits, Carpano Antica Formula, Malfy Gin Originale and Campari. Once combined the barrel will hold approximately 132 gallons, 504 bottles and 16,722 ounces of the cocktail.
Wiley currently hold the world record as The World’s Fastest Bartender and holder of two other world records.
The Sicilian Butcher gives back
Once tapped The Sicilian Butcher will be selling Negroni’s for $5 with 25% of sales being donated to CORE(Children of Restaurant Employees). CORE, a non-profit helps to support children of food and beverage service employees going through life altering circumstances.
The Sicilian Butcher is at 15530 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85032. For more information see their website.
Expansion is in the air for downtown Phoenix’s Angels Trumpet Alehouse as owners Sharry & Mat Englehorn are planning to open Angels Trumpet Arcadia in early August. The new location will be housed in the former Sears Auto Center on the southeast corner of Thomas & 44th St.
“We live right around the corner, so we’ve had our eye on this building for years,” says Sharry Englehorn. “We know from personal experience that this stretch of south Arcadia is missing a fun and welcoming all-day hangout, where you can pop in for a tasty lunch or sip drinks on the patio and watch the sun set on Camelback Mountain.”
The past and future of Angels Trumpet Arcadia
The 10,000 square foot mid-century modern building is undergoing needed updating and repairs after decades of dirt and grime as an auto repair shop.
“Originally built as a Ward’s Auto Center in the late 1950s, this is the last remaining building of the former Thomas Mall,” Mat Englehorn says. “So we wanted to honor that history and preserve the wonderful architectural bones, as well as preserve elements of the tire shop by keeping the industrial look, and the beat up floor–just adding a lot of polish.”
Once work is completed the building will also house the owners newest idea of a craft cocktail bar and lounge called Tall Glass. Future plans include a small microbrewery which is being described as “an intimate brewer’s playground”. The same food menu as the downtown Phoenix Angels Trumpet Alehouse will be available as will the indoor/outdoor vibe.
The cocktail lounge will have its own entrance on the west side of the building and feature a cocktail menu made with craft spirits from beer distillers including Rogue Spirits and Ballast Point Brewery’s “Cutwater Spirits” in San Diego.
Tall Glass will offer a small gourmet bar bites menu with guests available to order from the full menu at Angels Trumpet.
Tall Glass will open in the late afternoon until midnight and Angels Trumpet will open daily at 11 a.m. until midnight. For more information and updates see their Facebook or Instagram page @AngelsTrumpetAlehouse
Who doesn’t love a good happy hour, food and drink at reduced prices to end the day. Award winning fine dining restaurant Crudo offers happy hour 5 days a week and it’s not your typical bar food, well drinks, house wine or mass-produced beers. Tues.- Thurs. from 5 p.m. til closing and Fri. and Sat. from 5 p.m.-7p.m. in the bar known as Bar Crudo is where you’ll find craft cocktails and gourmet dishes.
Bar Crudo Happy Hour
In the front door to the left is where you’ll find Bar Crudo and be able to take advantage of 23 classic and modern cocktails for only $7 each. Refreshing summer drinks such as Daiquiri, Dark & Stormy and grapefruit tasting Paloma are just a few.
If a cold craft beer is your go to drink during the summer you’re in luck as they’re only $4 a piece. Wine enthusiasts don’t worry, worldly selections are only $6 a glass.
Why not grab a bite to eat from chef & owner Cullen Campbell as he prepares gourmet bar bites such as homemade and imported cheeses such as Burricota, Grana, Ricotta and Strachiatella. Looking for protein in your meal how about the comfort of a classic Meatloaf Burger. Thick sliced meatloaf topped with Cheddar cheese, Arugula and sweet and sour agrodolce sauce means you won’t need to make dinner when you get home.
The Castlevetrano olives are smoked over local Pecan wood and offer the flavors of the Mediterranean. Don’t forget the popular Crispy Pig Ears that have been a staple at Crudo since opening. Ask yourself when was the last time you’ve seen pig ears on a happy hour menu. Even better is their topped with Fresno chile vinaigrette and chives to bring a bit of heat to this delicacy.
The unofficial start of summer is a week a way with Memorial Day weekend on the horizon and local restaurants are getting a head start on summer specials. Scottsdale’s Hash Kitchen is one restaurant with specials now available.
Hash Kitchen summer specials
The breakfast and lunch restaurant offers 3 specials to make the summer go by a little easier for you and your wallet.
Bloody Wednesday’s gets you 50% off all Bloody Mary’s every Wednesday’s now until October 1st. Known for their Bloody Mary Bar with over 40 toppings guests can Build Their Own Bloody Mary(BYOBM) or go with The Original or The Virgin.
“Bottomless” Mimosa’s are available every Monday-Friday(except holidays) for penny refills after you’ve bought your first at $9. Refresh yourself with a blueberry, mango, guava, red grapefruit and other flavored Mimosas all summer long.
Mom Monday’s lets kids under 12 eat free until October 1st when mom or dad purchase an adult entrée except on holidays.
New locations planned
Today there are 2 Hash Kitchen locations in Scottsdale but later this year there are plans to open 2 more locations in Chandler and Arcadia. Scottsdale locations are at Gainey Village at 8777 N. Scottsdale Road and another at 14838 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. For more information check their website.
Staying cool and comfortable is at the top of the priority list for the summer months. One of the best ways is to refresh oneself is to stay hydrated and Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale has several ways to quench your thirst and keep you cool this summer.
Chilled signature cocktails, Bloody Mary’s or Mimosa’s at the bar, frozen desserts and wine in the dining room are just a few of the ways Zuzu helps you beat the heat on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Chill out in the Zuzu Lounge
In the Zuzu Lounge guests can enjoy craft cocktails daily including the bubbly prosecco Fizzy Lifting Drink made with Aperol, club soda, Campari infused blood orange foam and carbonated blackberry.
Looking for a more tropical cocktail then the Second Star to the Right is for you. The tiki styled drink includes two types of rum, tequila, sake, guava nectar, passion fruit puree, orange & pineapple juices and pear-lemon marmalade.
Saturday’s & Sunday’s offers a Bloody Mary + Mimosa Bar from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. during brunch for guests to build their own drink.
Summer in the dining room
Start your dinner of with a cold dessert as Zuzu pastry chef Audrey Enriquez continues to dazzle guests with her monthly “Show Stopper” shake. The large dessert combines a variety of house made desserts for the whole table to enjoy. Cinnamon Horchata is May’s shake of the month.
Starting June 4th, every Sunday – Thursday guests can get 1/2 all bottles of wine when you dine at Zuzu. Guest can enjoy this deal all summer thru September 16th.
Monday Night’s Chef Table continues through the summer with wine dinners. The monthly four-course dinner is prepared by executive chef Russell LaCasce and his culinary team that pairs with wines from around the world.
“Farmer in the House’ is the theme for the dinner on May 20th with Duncan’s Trading Company and JUSTIN Wines.
June 18th brings New Mexico’s Gruet Winery to Zuzu.
July 16th special rose dinner brings four wineries to the table. -Chateau Gassier, Ferrari-Carano, WillaKenzie and Veuve Cliquot wines will be paired & poured.
The dinners start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and are $75 per person plus tax and tip. Reservations can be made by calling 480-376-2600 or by going to their website.
It’s good to see when successful restaurateurs plant their flag in re-vitalized neighborhoods, especially if you live in one of those neighborhoods. That’s been the case in my backyard the last year in south Scottsdale, specifically on the Skysong campus.
The public private partnership at McDowell & Scottsdale roads has seen the opening of Bitters Bar & Food, an original concept and the third location of New York Bagels & Bialys. Come September they will be joined by Fellow, an osteria & cocktail bar from the team that’s brought us Clever Koi.
Fellow at Skysong
The all day hang out spot will cater to guests that will want to dine-in on pizza, pasta, salads and cocktails along with those on the run that want to grab n go breakfast and premium coffee drinks. The custom designed 5,000 square feet restaurant is expected to be enjoyed by office workers at Skysong along with residents from surrounding neighborhoods.
This is the third restaurant for the newly founded Born & Raised Hospitality and its partners Joshua James and Nicholas Campisano after their two Clever Koi’s in Phoenix and Gilbert. James known for his mixology skills behind the bar will craft the cocktail menu and build craft beer and around the world wine list.
With high ceilings and communal space Fellow is being designed by architects Local Studio who designed the first Clever Koi in central Phoenix. The design highlight will be a big wooden cube over the bar where 3-D Arizona landscapes of iconic Arizona locations.
With a few months before opening there are always unknowns about certain details at Fellow but on thing is for sure they will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
The Westin Resort & Spa will be the place to be on the evening of Thursday May 24th as 30 of Arizona’s talented chefs will be cooking for the 2018 Flavors of Phoenix. Started 27 years ago by Phoenix chef Christopher Gross this fund-raiser for the American Liver Foundation has grown to become a nationwide event in over 20 cities.
“I had an idea for this concept over 27 years ago thinking we would raise funds for the liver community, and give guests the best food and wine experience possible–unlike any other,” says Chef Gross. “This event is now in over 20 cities helping people. I’m so proud of Flavors of Phoenix. It’s for me, the best event in the state because of the support of the restaurant community–I thank them very much.”
30 Arizona chefs
Chef Gross will be joined by a roster of 29 chefs many who you already know and several up n coming chefs showing off what they can do for the first time. A few of the chefs joining chef Gross and co-chairs Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro, Fat Ox, House Brasserie & The Mission & Westin Kierland’s own Chris Masco will be…..
Tom D’Ambrosio (Aioli Gourmet), Michael DeMaria (M Culinary), Anthony DeMuro (Different Pointe of View), Frank Desplechin (L’Auberge de Sedona), Ron Dimas (Orange Sky), David Duarte (Finestre Modern Gastronomy), Jacob Ellis (Top of the Rock), Skip Hause (Gertrude’s).
Dinner and Silent Auction
The festive evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction before the multi-course dinner. The dinner will highlight signature dishes and flavors of the host chefs and is expected to conclude about 10:30.
Tickets for the evening are $500 per person and will go directly to fund research, education & advocacy efforts of the American Liver Foundation.
For more information and to purchase tickets click here.
PNPK owner Kellie Pruitt took a personal tragedy and turned it into something positive when she re-opened her Grape Bistro as the new PNPK after a 2 year hiatus. The new full service restaurant and wine bar in north Scottsdale opened in late March on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Rd. and Pinnacle Peak.
Tragedy to PNPK
When a family tragedy occurred in July 2016 Kellie stepped away from running her Grape Bistro to heal. Hiking the nearby Pinnacle Peak(hence the name PNPK) on a regular basis helped her heal and realize something good should come of her situation.
“Earlier this year, I knew I either needed to close or do something new, in part to throw myself into something creative to help myself heal,” said Pruitt. “PNPK has been transformational for me, and now I hope for the Airpark restaurant scene as well.
Flights of sliders and deviled eggs
With its close proximity to the Scottsdale Airport, Pruitt figured flights of sharable plates would be the way for her new place to take off.
The restaurant features 13 Sliders to build a flight from and 7 Devilish Eggs to choose from along with Bruschetta Flights, Charcuterie Flights and more for guest to enjoy a variety of flavors.
Guests can mix & match sliders served on petite Brioche buns such as Crispy Hot Fried Chicken, Short Rib French Dip, Bacon Jam with Angus Beef just to name a few of the variety of proteins between the buns. Sliders can also be served on gluten-free buns or lettuce wraps.
The deviled eggs are not your traditional eggs with specialties being the Asian Wasabi and citrus slaw, Smoked Salmon with capers & chives and White truffle oil and chives. During Happy Hours guests can enjoy three eggs for $5.
Wine, cocktails and beer
Custom wine & beer flights focus on craft beers and wines from around the world. With 30 wines by the glass and 150 more selections by the bottle offering wine drinkers good value or the opportunity to splurge on that special bottle.
The creative cocktail menu pays homage to the surrounding desert and mountains with drinks that include…..
The Granite Summit: Bourbon mixed with fresh cherries that have been muddled with vanilla, a touch of sugar and topper of club soda
The Trailblazer: Gin combined with fresh strawberries, lemon, basil and a hit of club soda
The Gila Monster: A combination of jalapeño simple syrup, grapefruit juice, lime, tequila and sparkling wine (named because it’s got bite!)
Hi Jolly: Veev Acai Liqueur is the star here and mixed with fresh mint, lemon and blueberries for a “spirited” antioxidant kick.
A favorite is the signature cocktail “Tickle Me PNPK Punch” made with sparkling wine, Arizona Prickly Pear and ginger ale. A $1 of each punch is donated to The Friends of Pinnacle Peak Park which is a group of volunteers that help maintain and care for the trail on a daily basis.
PNPK is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. with Happy Hour from 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Find it at 23335 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. 480-305-0907. http://www.pnpkaz.com/
Chef Michael O’Dowd is making his way back to the valley’s restaurant scene running the kitchen of restaurateur Julian Wright’s(Pedal Haus Brewery and others) new restaurant Las Palmas Cantina in downtown Chandler. When the restaurant opens in May it will serve coastal cuisine with Yucatan inspiration that Wright found when traveling to Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas of Mexico.
O’Dowd returns to the valley after most recently working in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona as executive chef. When in Phoenix O’Dowd scored the coveted AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star Award while executive chef at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” said Wright. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”
Las Palmas Cantina menus
O’Dowd’s menu will highlight the “sand to table” concept with seafood from local fish monger Chula Seafood along with “high country” ingredients. Fish available will include Pompano, Triggerfish, Snapper and more for ceviche and other dishes.
Sweet & spice are tastes you’ll find at Las Palmas Cantina with your shared plates and lighter dishes that will include a jerk chicken Shaken Greens and Cochinta Pibil.
“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” said O’Dowd. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”
Just in time for summer, Las Palmas Cantina’s beverage program will offer refreshing tropical specialty cocktails and Mexican inspired craft beers brewed exclusively for Las Palmas. A selection of tequilas, mezcals and agua frescas will be offered and used as ingredients in the cocktail program.
Need a job
The 5,000 square foot restaurant is currently hiring and those interested can apply in person at the restaurant at 95 W. Boston in downtown Chandler on online at their website.