The 9th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival set for Aug. 22 -25

The culinary stars shine bright on southern California when the 9th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival launches for four days in August. Celebrity chefs and local food icons show off the coastal cuisine of southern California cooking. Jerimiah Tower and Nancy Silverton are two of the chefs cooking for guests at diners, cooking demonstrations and more.

The four days start with a series of dinners Thursday evening at restaurants around the city before shifting to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the weekend.

Los Angeles Food & Wine festival events

14 culinary events will span the weekend including…..

The Legends Dinner at Chi SPACCA: The widely credited father of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower joins queen of the Mozza-Plex Nancy Silverton at her white-hot Chi SPACCA. This epic, one-night-only pairing promises a lifetime of bragging rights to the 40 festival-goers fortunate enough to snag a ticket.

Dinner at Otium: Fans of Netflix’s “The Final Table” can pull up a chair to watch 2018 season winner Tim Hollingsworth share the spotlight with rising star chef Travis Swikard at Hollingsworth’s downtown masterpiece, The Broad museum-adjacent Otium. 

The Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan: In a city known for great burgers, the best are going bun to bun to win the coveted LAFW Golden Burger Show Trophy. Host Alvin Cailan, of YouTube’s “The Burger Show,” joins celebrity judges Seth Rogen, Tiffani Thiessen and Adam Richman in this juicy battle of the beef.

LA’s Faves & Craves: In one short stroll, festival-goers can take in the breathtaking diversity of L.A.’s culinary landscape as the city’s own Jet Tila hosts a showcase of the most crave-worthy dishes of 25 local chefs. L.A’s finest tacos, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, fried chicken and Asian-inspired specialties will share one location for one afternoon.

Meat Me at LAFW’s Great Steak-out & BBQ: Meat master Curtis Stone of Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant and 25 other great tamers of the flame are bringing their A+ game to LAFW. Surf, sides, caviar and Big Cabs will complement the slabs at this event evoking the nation’s greatest steakhouses and BBQ joints.

Sunday Brunch So Hard: Those lucky enough to score one of the very limited VIP tickets to LAFW’s grand finale enjoy rare pre-event access to Jeremiah Tower, the illustrious self-taught chef dubbed “The Last Magnificent” by Anthony Bourdain. Standard tickets are anything but shabby, too, at the culinary legend’s brunch-to-end-all-brunches.

To see a full list of events, more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.

Rick Bronson to open coffee bar & speakeasy on High Street.

Things are perking up on High Street with the announcement of The Stir and Gin and Reel opening later this year. Comedian and entrepreneur Rick Bronson is behind the “old school” coffee shop and speakeasy concept. If all goes as planned with construction coffee, cocktails and conversation will begin in September.

“The Stir and Gin and Reel is unlike anything in the North Phoenix/North Scottsdale area,” says owner and proprietor Rick Bronson, who also owns Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy on High Street. “I take great pride in creating concepts with environments that encourage the spirit of human connection as it once existed and that people long for today.”

Coffee, cocktails and food.

The Stir will be serving coffee beverages, coffee cocktails, food and ice cream daily at 6 a.m. Enjoy a “Kick in the Pants” made with cold brew, rum, cold brew liqueur, Mexican Coke & cream or a Coffee Old Fashioned.

For breakfast or lunch diners can enjoy pastries, sandwiches and salads including the BBLT(bacon, lettuce, tomato and turkey). Small plates at the bar will include Deviled Eggs, Lobster Canapes and a Caprese Salad. Boozy milkshakes and alcohol-less ice cream treats will also be available.

At 3 p.m. Gin and Reel opens if you can find the hidden entrance at the back of The Stir. The intimate speakeasy will have the atmosphere of Old Hollywood with vintage photos, directors chairs at the bar and black & white films playing. Prohibition era cocktails like the Manhattan or Sazerac will be served until 10 p.m. weeknights and 2 a.m. on weekends.

The Stir and Gin and Reel will be at 5415 E. High Street, Suite 103. Phoenix 85054.

The Little Woody celebrates “Christmas in July” for charity

The weather may not feel like Christmas but you can get in the spirit of the holiday for 3 days later this month. July 25th- 27th is when The Little Woody will celebrate “Christmas in July” with special events and festive cocktails to support New Pathways for Youth.

The Arcadia speakeasy kicks of the three days on Thurs. 7/25 with “Christmas Carol Karaoke” from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. On Fri. the 26th guests are encouraged to wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt to win a prize from 8-11 p.m. Santa Claus makes an appearance on the 27th and enjoy a bowl of homemade chili with jolly St. Nick. On the 27th The Little Woody will be collecting school supplies.

New Pathways for Youth helps children from 12-21 years old suffering from abuse, poverty, neglect and substance abuse. Mentors help them with life skills and personal development through workshops and retreats to get them on track for better life they desire.

There is no cost to attend “Christmas in July”, food and drink will be available for purchase.

The Little Woody is at 4228 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018. For reservations call (602)955-0339 or visit their website.

Jade Bar to host battle of the bartenders

Valley bartenders are rolling up their sleeves and getting their shakers ready as Bar Brawl returns to the Jade Bar. The bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts this friendly competition for its fifth year. This year has bartenders from popular valley hotels and bars going head to head.

Set aside Sunday evenings from July 14th – August 25 to see what cocktails the talented bartenders will be creating. Admission is free and open to the public to cheer on their favorite bartender. Executive chef Beau MacMillian and Jade Bar manager Eddie Garcia will co-host the event with celebrity judges deciding who goes on to the seni-finals.

DJ Hybrid will provide music for the evening and food and drinks will be at happy hour prices.

During the four weeks bartenders will compete with winners going on to the semi-finals then the championship. This years bartenders include….

July 14 Michael Testa – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

vs. Tina McDonald – La Bocca North

July 21 Chris Ortega – The Camby vs. Samantha Hickman – The Windsor

July 28 Miguel Mora – Hotel Adeline vs. Henry Whittaker – The Brickyard Downtown

Aug. 4 Robert Porter – The Phoenician vs. Colton Brock – Ladera Taverna y Cocina

Aug. 11 – Semi-finals

Aug. 18 – Semi-finals

Aug. 25 – Championship

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa is at 5700 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

 

Vegan restaurant Casa Terra creates new summer menu

After opening earlier this year Arizona’s only upscale vegan restaurant Casa Terra has revamped the menu in time for summer. Owner and chef Jason Wyrick draws inspiration for the menu for his plant forward cuisine from Mexico and the Mediterranean.

According to Wyrick, “As the temperature rises, our eating habits greatly change. With the summer menu, I wanted to focus not only seasonal ingredients but lighter, incredibly tasty food that would appeal to dining out in the summer in the Valley.”

Vegan pizzas and more

The new menu offers something for everybody including pizzas, small plates, soups, salads and entrees. Thin crust 12 inch pizza’s are made in a wood fired oven and can be made with gluten free dough. New dishes to the summer menu include…..

Pizza

-Margherita: marinara, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and Aleppo chilis 
-Arizona Sunset: mole amarillo, queso fresco, smoked mushroom, epazote, cilantro, pine nuts
-Sausage and Sage: garlic cheese sauce, sausage, fennel, and crispy sage
-Pesto and Market Veg: preserved lemon pistachio pesto, ricotta, mojo roasted market veggies

Small plates

-Crispy Artichoke Tacos: gluten-free tempura artichokes, harissa, mojo aioli, cabbage, pickled saffron cauliflower & onions ($12)
-Garnachas & Smoked Pulled Porq: sweet potato masa cakes, ancho fig and mezcal salsa, queso fresco, pepitas, smoked porq, pickled onions ($13)
-Trumpet Mushroom ‘Calamari’: gluten-free tempura trumpet mushrooms, chipotle mojo aioli, grilled lemon ($13)
-Cheese Plate: ricotta, mozzeralla, queso fresco, seasonal preserves, harissa, olives, warm flatbread ($16)

House made soups, salads and entrees

-Summer Gazpacho: heirloom tomato and watermelon, ricotta, watermelon pico, and pine nuts ($8)
-Madelyn’s Salad: twisted infusion greens, watermelon, avocado, ricotta, bac’n olive oil, fig balsamic, toasted pine nuts, pepitas ($12)
-Enchiladas Mole: roasted squash & sweet potato, smoked mushrooms, huitlachoche, mole poblano, crema, queso fresco, and pico de gallo ($19)

Dessert and cocktails

Save room for dessert including Cheesecake ($12), a Churro Swirl with Ice Cream of the Moment ($10), or Seasonal Sorbet ($7).

Casa Terra now serves beer, wine and liquor with its vegan menu in mind. A few of the signature cocktails include….

-’84 El Camino: mezcal, grapefruit liqueur, lime
-Paper Cactus: reposado tequila, aperol, averna, lemon
-Seasonal Spiked Sorbet: seasonal fruit, festive garnish, mezcal or spirit of choice.

Casa Terra is at 6835 N. 58th Dr. Glendale 85301.

Summer Cocktail Camp tickets on sale for cocktail mixing classes

If all classes were like the six offered at Summer Cocktail Camp I would’ve been an “A” student. For six weeks campers will learn the art of cocktail mixing from local mixologists while making cocktails from new recipes. For one Saturday in June and 5 Sunday’s in July and August from 1 – 3 p.m. classes will be held at restaurants around Phoenix.

Tickets can be purchased online at https://summercocktailcamp.com/ and are sold on first come, first serve basis. Last years camp sold out in only a few days. Phoenix Magazine editor Craig Outhier will be camp counselor for each weeks class along with a revolving list of mixologists. Each class is $38 and 2019’s Summer Cocktail Camp will be at…

  • June 29th (Sat)- The Gladly
  • July 7th- Social Hall
  • July14th- Mowry & Cotton
  • July 28th- Clever Koi (Gilbert)
  • August 4th- The Phoenician Tavern
  • August 11th- Chico Malo

 

Mora Italian introduces a new tasty Happy Hour menu

If you haven’t made your way to Mora Italian yet like me, their new happy hour menu might convince you to head there today. Monday – Friday from 4-6 p.m. you can save some dough on pork ribs, veal meatballs, salumi & cheese and more.

For $20 choose from combos including a Rimini pizza or Salumi Board with a bottle of rose or a carafe of an Aperol Spritz.

Italian
Artichoke soup

Cocktails are also included on the new menu including Sangria & Aperol Spritz for $5, an Americano for $7 and more.

Mora Italian new summer dishes

Celebrity chef & restaurateur lends his culinary creativity to Mora Italian and is showcased in three new dishes for summer. Chef Matt Taylor and his team execute the menus in the kitchen. These new dishes are perfect for lighter and cooler summer dining.

Artichoke Soup with truffle, Parmesan bread and pignoli.

10 oz. Prime Niman Ranch NY Strip with charred potato panzanella and grilled ramp vinaigrette.

Roasted Summer Squash with smoked yogurt, Feta and neonata.

10 oz NY Strip

The Phoenix restaurant offers guests a modern osteria experience with Neopolitan pizzas, pasta dishes, satisfying entrees and delicious desserts. Progressive cocktails and a wine list round out the experience.

Mora Italian is at 5651 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014. (602)795-9943

Celebration of Summer at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.

I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.

Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.

Salmon Belly Tartare
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Negroni Spritz
Ultimate Honeydew

Proof, An American Canteen

Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.

Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America”  along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.

Four seasons Resort at Troon North
Texas BBQ Platter

June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade

July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!

August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.

Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)

Huss Arizona Light Lager

Le Cumbre Elevated IPA

Talavera Restaurant

The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.

Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Brazilian Carrot Cake

Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil

Queen Creek Olives

Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime

Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds

Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde

Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.

Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries

Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry

Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?

The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262

Bulleit Bourbon hosts Kentucky Derby party at Turf Paradise

Many weeks and months go into preparation for the two and half-minute Kentucky Derby. Not just the horses and trainers in Louisville at Churchill Downs but at bars and restaurants celebrating around the country.

On May 4th the place to be is Phoenix’s Turf Paradise racetrack to get into the derby day spirit. No better place to show off your head wear and sip on a Mint Julep other than the All New Bulleit Bourbon Derby Dayclub. Tickets will be sold out by the time the races start at this all day party.

Photo courtesy of Dorian and LDH Consulting

The air-cooled track-side tent opens at 10:30 a.m. with live racing starting at 11:30 where you can cheer and bet on your favorite horses. The Kentucky Derby will be shown live later in the afternoon.

Tickets for General Admission for the Dayclub are $30 in advance with reserved seating $60 per ticket. Inside you’ll have access to track side betting, a cash bar for Mint Juleps, beer, wine and cocktails, a DJ and “65 inch TVs to watch the race. The Fried & Frizzy food truck will be outside the tent serving up fried chicken and champagne.

Kentucky Derby
Photo courtesy of Rose-Moser-Allyn Public Relations

Prefer to sit in the first few rows to see all the action than pony up $1,000 for a first row table with a bottle complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon, $750 for second row table with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or $500 for third row table with a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne.

Other Phoenix area bars and restaurants will be celebrating the fastest 2 minutes in sports. Reserve your seat at Mowry & Cotton, Dorian and Arcadia Tavern to watch all the fun.

Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass, Twitter @SandyWasserman and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks/

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix now offers weekend brunch

The new location of Taphouse Kitchen at Shea & 32nd St. has started serving weekend brunch. The brunch menu offers classic breakfast favorites and cocktails. Taphouse Kitchen favorites including Fish Fry Everyday Baby !!, their Signature Burger and more are available at brunch. Brunch is available on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Taphouse Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Taphouse Kitchen

Here are a few highlights from the brunch menu.

  • Eggs Benedict. Sourdough, smoked turkey, poached eggs, guacamole, smoked tomato, hollandaise sauce
  • Croque Monsieur. Sourdough, ham, gruyère, béchamel sauce
  • French Toast. Challah bread, cinnamon, vanilla bean crème brûlée, fresh berries
  • Pastrami Hash. Shaved pastrami, TapHouse taters, two sunny side up eggs, whole grain mustard hollandaise
  • Grilled Cheese. Sourdough, mushrooms, fontina, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, fried egg
  • Biscuits and Gravy. Cheddar biscuits, jalapeño sausage gravy, two eggs any style
  • Simple Breakfast. Two eggs any style, TapHouse taters, toast, choice of bacon or sausage

Brunch Cocktails

  • Mimosa. Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Orange Mango
  • Sangria. Seasonal red or white
  • THK Bloody Mary with local Paddington vodka
  • Strawberry-Peach Bellini
  • Basil Grapefruit Gimlet
  • Cucumber Press

Pizza at Taphouse Kitchen

The Phoenix location also serves “forno” style thin crust pizza. The handcrafted pizzas come with traditional pizza toppings including Meatball, Pepperoni and a White Pizza.

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix is at 3131 E. Shea Blvd. 85028 and in Scottsdale at 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd #108 85250. For more information go to their website.