Tag Archives: cocktails

Chef Michael O’Dowd & Julian Wright to open Las Palmas Cantina in Chandler

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.

Executive chef Michael O’Dowd

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.

Las Palmas Sandia cocktail

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.

 

 

Stephanie Izard and Aaron Sanchez headline Nirvana Food & Wine

Update: WWE superstars The Bella Twins will be co-hosting the Rose Parte. Nikki & Brie Bella will join chef Todd English for this Saturday afternoon event. Details below!

A  Master of Taste C dinner has been added and  welcomes actor and winemaker Kurt Russell and his Gogi wines from Santa Ynez Valley. A special line up of chefs will create a menu based on Russell’s library of films including Alex Stratta, Bradford Thompson, Ana Graza, Francois DeMelogue and Sanctuary’s own Beau McMillan.

The dinner at a private Paradise Valley residence is priced at $500 per person with limited seating available. The dinner will be Saturday April 21st from 7-10 p.m.

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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/

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.

 

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.

Speakeasy coming to downtown Gilbert as The White Rabbit opens this fall

With the growth of downtown Gilbert’s dining scene the last few years there has been little original concepts that have opened. Later this year The White Rabbit will open adding an original concept to along Gilbert Road as owners Nick Medina and Corey Potts open the first speakeasy in the east valley.

When The White Rabbit opens in the basement of the Heritage Court Building it will serve  as a meeting place for those who want to start or finish their evening with a classic handcrafted cocktail, glass of wine, local craft beer or distilled spirit.

In addition to the libations served guests will have a true speakeasy experience as the out-of-the-way location, secret door and password allow you entry to the sophistication and ambiance of a by gone era.

The White Rabbit cocktails

Whether it’s a classic Old Fashioned, Tom Collins or trending cocktails and concoctions, all drinks will be made using the highest quality and freshest ingredients. “Drink Experiences” are available for small groups.

A small bites menu including charcuterie boards and olive bowls will also be served.

Help wanted at The White Rabbit

Owners Medina and Potts are looking to hire a General Manager to operate the The White Rabbit and execute the speakeasy experience the way the owners envision.

Passion and the ability to hire, motivate and train the staff are part of what the owners are looking for.

“Gilbert is the perfect place for this concept because while it has many great dining destinations, we are bringing the first authentic high-end bar concept to the area. When guests enter, they will feel like they are stepping into a true speakeasy experience. Right now, we’re excited to hire the right leadership and staff to take that guest experience to the next level.”

Qualified candidates can send a resume to drink@twr.bar

Check back for updates as the opening later in 2018 gets closer.

The White Rabbit will be at 207 N. Gilbert Rd. #002 Gilbert. 85234. Visit there website.

 

 

 

Blind Dragon Karaoke Lounge opens in Scottsdale

Start warming up your singing voice as the Blind Dragon Karaoke Lounge opened this week in Scottsdale. Asian inspired bites, cocktails and a themed private karaoke lounge is all you need to become the next American Idol.

The sleek and modern lounge has locations in West Hollywood and Dubai with owners hope to give guests the ultimate Hollywood/Las Vegas experience.

Blind Dragon Karaoke rooms

6 themed rooms come in sizes that can hold groups of 8, 14 or 20 and each have a flat screen TV and audio system.

Scottsdale’s Blind Dragon was designed by Scottsdale designer George Monzure and features artwork throughout its 8,500 square feet with a mural painted along the length of the wall by the lounge’s main bar. The design is similar to the West Hollywood location designed by John Sofio.Blind Dragon Karaoke Lounge

Reservations recommended

Blind Dragon is opened Thurs. – Sat. nights from 6p.m. – 2a.m. with reservations recommended to reserve your private karaoke room.

Guest will be able to sip on colorful cocktails and snack on Asian inspired bites, small plates and a few heartier plates when not trying to become the next Pink or Usher.

To make your reservation email info@blinddragonscottsdale.com The Blind Dragon Karaoke Lounge is at 7419 E. Indian Plaza Dr.  Suite A. Scottsdale 85251

 

 

 

Tickets for 7th Annual Arizona Cocktail Week-End on sale Jan. 8th

I’m closing the door on 2017 and kicking open 2018 with a vengeance as I inform you that tickets go on sale for 2018 Arizona Cocktail Week-End, Monday January 8th 2018.

Back for its 7th incarnation of spirits tastings, seminars and cocktail competitions organizers have moved the events to growing downtown Phoenix bar & restaurant scene.

The former week-long event is now a 3 day event starting on Saturday Feb. 17- 19th 2018 with several featured events and smaller meet ups at participating bars and restaurants.

Arizona Cocktail Week-end
Photos courtesy of Arizona Cocktail Week

Featured events

Arizona Cocktail Week-End kicks off on Saturday night and The Van Buren will be jamming with the Cocktail Jam. The new downtown music hall will pair craft cocktails with live music to create a unique evening.

Sunday night brings the return of Top Bar, pop up versions of classic and trend setting cocktail bars from around Phoenix and around the globe show off their drink making skills. Taking place at The Croft, Top Bar has previously included The Manhattan Bar from Singapore, London’s The Savoy, Portobello Star & Callooh Callay and Herbs & Rye in Las Vegas.

Additional dinners, tasting and events will be announced and will be held at participating downtown bars and restaurants including Bar Bianco, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Chico Malo and Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

Tickets and $$ raised

Tickets for Arizona Cocktail Week-End start at $40 and part of the proceeds go to new local non-profits Local First Arizona and Child Crisis of Arizona.

AZCW also has its own charity, The Jupiter Foundation which helps provide safety for industry professionals including medical bills and helping when there are no other alternatives.

 

 

 

 

Hula’s Modern Tiki celebrates New Year’s Eve with all day party

With New Year’s Eve on a Sunday this year and a day off on Monday you can say good-bye to 2017 & hello to 2018 starting at 10:30 in the morning at Hula’s Modern Tiki in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Photo courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

New Year’s Eve daytime

Stop in on your way home from church or a hike for Hula’s weekend brunch and all day Happy Hour. Hula’s island inspired brunch includes Eggs Benedict w/ Spam, ham and more will be served until 2:30 p.m.

Happy Hour drinks flow from 10:30 a.m. –  6p.m. with $6 signature tropical cocktails including Dark & Stormy, Zombie and the award-winning Painkiller. Sparkling wine and Mimosa’s will be $3 for day drinking.

Hula's Modern Tiki
Eggs Benedict with Spam. Photo courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

Hula’s at night

Once the sun sets and 2018 gets closer by the second Hula’s continues to party the night away. The kitchen will be cooking up island favorites until 10:00 p.m.  and $3 glasses of Champagne flowing starting at 6:00 p.m.

Ring in the new year at Hula’s at midnight and you’ll be offered a complimentary Champagne toast.

Make your way to Hula’s in Scottsdale at 7213 E. 1st Ave. 85251 or in Phoenix at 4700 N. Central Ave #122 85012. For more information check their  website

 

 

Downtown Deli Tavern breathes new life into a classic corner deli

Phoenix restaurant group Genuine Concepts wanted in on the growing restaurant and bar scene happening in downtown Phoenix and have announced a Monday December 18th opening of their 12 restaurant, Downtown Deli Tavern.

Downtown Phoenix old timers may have eaten at the original Downtown Deli before it closed a couple of years ago after 46 years of serving patrons breakfast & lunch. Genuine Concepts owners Tucker Woodbury and Jim Riley purchased the property and have given it a new vibe while keeping true to its roots.

Unlike the original deli the tavern will serve lunch, dinner and cocktails until late in the evening and early morning with its corner bar atmosphere.

“It seemed to me that there has been a little bit of a land rush in downtown Phoenix and now that other companies and businesses are coming, we wanted to make sure that we put our stake in the ground and held onto a spot,” Woodbury states.

Eating at Downtown Deli Tavern

Executive Chef Justin Woodard’s menu is comfort food inspired with dishes such as Mom’s Meatloaf, Omelet and Hash, Turkey Noodle Soup, Egg Salad Sandwich and signature Fried PB&J and Smothered Browns will create a buzz.

The full menu is available all day as will be the $.50 cup of coffee along with grab n go items and weekly list of 7 for $7 food items.

“The food we have created for The Downtown Deli Tavern should resonate with its over the top comfort food that we can all identify with,” says Woodard. “Food to me is all about the memories and this place has a menu that will leave a lasting impression on its guests. Food should be fun, not too fussy and simple. I think we’ve done a great job of creating a menu that reflects that.

Classic Cocktails

Beverage director Chris Hardin is keeping it simple with basic and classic cocktails with his modern twist including White Russian, Salty Dog, Deli Old Fashioned and the Strong Island Iced Tea.

Proud of its Arizona roots all draft beers at Downtown Deli Tavern all Arizona brewed.

“The Downtown Deli Tavern will be equal parts food and bar and we hope that people recognize that end even though its a little bit quirky, we love old buildings and we love old Phoenix and this project has been around for so long, why change things too much. We are going to let people figure it out for themselves when they visit,” says Woodbury. “It’s very classic rock. It has an approachable space, with friendly people and affordable pricing.”

Downtown Deli Tavern is at 130 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004 and will be open Monday-Wednesday 10:30am-11pm, Thursday 10:30am-12am, Friday 10:30am-2am, Saturday 3:00pm-2:00am & will be closed on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar brings together a culinary dream team

Housed in a former Arby’s restaurant just east of downtown Scottsdale J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar opened without fanfare as most restaurants do nowadays especially when you consider who’s creating the menu and making sure it’s executed the way it should be.

J’s Kaiyo owner Peji Malihi brought in chef Jason McGrath and sushi chef Todd Register to serve not only sushi but sharable dishes with a Mediterranean and Eastern influenced dishes.  Think Moroccan spiced lamb and crab stuffed and fire charred avocado rolled in exotic Asian spices and seeds.

J's Kaiyo
chef Jason McGrath. Photos courtesy of Chanelle Sinclair

J’s Kaiyo Sushi

All three are committed to the freshest ingredients including seafood for the sushi bar. So much so that the sushi bar is closed on Sunday’s because they can’t get their daily delivery of fresh seafood. Chef Register knows his sushi too as he comes to J’s Kaiyo from Roka Akor and RA Sushi and plans to use all fresh fish daily to maximize freshness and flavor.

“The focus is always on keeping the dishes fresh, clean, and simple,” McGrath says. “The only thing you’ll find in our freezers is our mochi ice cream.” As Malihi likes to say, “the roll speaks for itself,” there is no need for heavy sauces, creams, or batters to give their sushi mouthwatering flavor. “It’s all about sharing creative, quality food with the community,” McGrath says.

Family friendly and Izakaya

J’s Kaiyo is a family friendly restaurant named after Malihi’s son and McGraths nephew Jayden that includes a kid’s menu. McGrath practically grew up in the kitchen as his father Robert is an award-winning chef known for his work at The Roaring Fork and other local establishments and food festivals.

Adults will love the Japanese sake menu at J’s Kaiyo along with a full complement of craft cocktails, wines and beers. Communal drinking and sharing of sake known as “Izakaya” in Japan is encouraged as sake has a unique flavor profiles.

J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar is open Monday Friday for lunch & dinner starting at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday’s for dinner.

The restaurant is at 4412 N. Miller Rd.Scottsdale 85251 480-427-2526. For more info visit their website.