A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.

 

Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.

 

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.

The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar opens at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The 6th location of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar has opened in north Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Across from Dave & Buster’s The Whining Pig will be the neighborhoods go to wine and beer bar that occupies more than 4,000 square feet.

Photos courtesy of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar

The friendly and knowledgeable staff pours wines from around the world and over 125 craft beers from rotating taps. A selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and meat & cheese plates are available off the limited menu.

Vintage boards games and other forms of entertainment make the place good hang out with friends and family.

The bar opens daily at 1 p.m. and stays open til the late evening and early morning hours.

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.

BBQ, smoked meats and a pitmasters journey at Naked BBQ

There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.

I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman  at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.

He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.

Naked BBQ

Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.

Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.

After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd  Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.

Brisket, ribs and pork shoulder in the smoker

Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.

The meats at Naked BBQ

The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.

Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.

Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.

Naked BBQ
Tray 2

Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).

Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.

Sauce it up

If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.

If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.

Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.

The 2 locations of Naked BBQ are..

2340 W. Bell Rd Phoenix 85023 Lunch only Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or til the meats gone. Fri. & Sat.  11a.m. 8 a.m.

10240 N. 90th St. Suite 105. Scottsdale 85258. Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. & Sun. til 9 p.m.

 

 

High quality and affordable steakhouse coming to Carefree

December is a busy month so you’ll want to keep a day open as Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will be opening in Carefree. It will be the newest concept from the Keeler Hospitality Group who owns the Liberty Station Tavern and Smokehouse in DC Ranch and north Scottsdale. You won’t find the stuffy pretentious steakhouse vibe yet a more social house atmosphere.

“We are extremely elated about the introduction of this new concept and are looking forward to providing it to the diners of Carefree and to our city’s visitors from near and far,” says Paul Keeler, president and CEO of Keeler Hospitality Group. “Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will satisfy the need for a high-value, top-of-the line steakhouse dining experience in Carefree while also staying true to the approachable and comfortable atmosphere the surrounding community.”

Steakhouse
Photos courtesy of Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse

A steakhouse menu in Carefree

Keeler Hospitality Group Executive Chef Anthony Apolinar will lead the culinary team. Apolinar knows his meat as he’s been working at both Liberty Station locations.

The menu at Keeler’s will feature specialty cuts of Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood, chicken and classic American comfort food.

Diners will enjoy sharable “For the Table” starters Lobster Mac & Cheese, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Cakes, Mussels and more. Steakhouse staples French Onion Soup and bisque’s along with Caesar, Wedge, Cobb and Mixed Greens salads will be offered.

“Neighborhood Favorites” entrees include Double Bone-In Pork Chops, seared Lamb Loin Chops and Braised Short Ribs. Specialty sides will complement your main dish including Blue Cheese Cream Spinach, White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Risotto and loaded hash browns.

Classic cocktails, Arizona beers and a well-balanced selection of wine by the bottle and the glass will be available.

Social house atmosphere in Carefree

A high-end comfortable atmosphere will welcome guests with several seating area offering a neighborhood feel. An island bar will attract guests to the open kitchen and outdoor dining will be available on the patio or rooftop deck.

Guests can enjoy lunch or dinner at Keeler’s Mon. – Sat. from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dinner from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs and til 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Happy Hour will be available daily from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and brunch Sun. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will be at 7212 Ho Hum Rd. Carefree 85377.

 

Huss Brewing Co. celebrates 5 Years of Chasing Dreams

One of Arizona’s favorite craft beer brewers, Huss Brewing Co. celebrates its 5th anniversary with a festival. The “5 Years of Chasing Dreams” festival will be Saturday October 27th at Singh Meadows in Tempe. The brewery was started by Leah and Jeff Huss.

“When we started five years ago, Jeff would brew the beer, filter the beer, deliver the beer and sell the beer out of the back of our very beat up F-150 pickup truck.” says Leah Huss. Huss Brewing now have a Tempe and Phoenix Taproom and legions of fans(myself included) can find the beers throughout Arizona on tap in restaurants and in cans in retailers.

The fun starts at 4 p.m. and will include live music from Huss’s Uptown Taproom GM Mike Chapman and Nashville based Los Colognes will headline. Award-winning Huss’s Family of Beers and seasonal & small batch beers will be poured and gourmet food served from local chefs.

The family friendly event will offer a kid friendly roast your own S’mores kit.

Tickets for the 5 Years of Chasing Dreams festival are $10 with food and beer purchased separately. Kids under 15 are free and tickets can be purchased here.

Singh Meadows is at 1490 E. Weber Dr. Tempe 85281.

 

Nothing’s better than BBQ, Bourbon & Beer at Mowry & Cotton

The Phoenician’s Mowry & Cotton restaurant is again hosting their signature BBQ, Bourbon & Beer Feast on Saturday October 27th. Chef de Cuisine Tandy Peterson cooks BBQ favorites smoked spare ribs and whole roasted pig paired with local beers and bourbon. Resort guests and locals are invited to this all-you-can-eat feast.

Guests will be able to sample beers from Four Peaks Brewing Co., Huss Brewing and Phoenix Ale House. Sip on bourbon from Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve.

The 21 & over event offers guests the chance to mix & mingle as they sample food and drink on the patio and at stations inside the restaurant.

Seating is limited and tickets are $70 plus tax & gratuity and include unlimited food and 6 drink samples. The event goes from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling 480-423-2530 or by email. For more information visit their website.