Ocean Poke Company to open with week long specials

It seems like Poke, the Hawaiian raw fish salad, is the biggest food craze of 2017 much like the FroYo was a few years back. It seems like every other week there is a new Poke restaurant or location opening around Phoenix and the week of March 27th is no different. Ocean Poke Company opens along the popular restaurant row of Indian School Road in Phoenix.

The fast casual Ocean Poke Company offers fresh “poke bowls” with vegetables, grains, noodles, fruits, sauces and proteins which are healthful and energizing. During the week-long celebration many daily specials will be available.

“Our options are a little different—we wanted to feature both signature bowl ideas for poke fans who want to make it easy—and customizable options with more variations for those who really want to create their ultimate bowl,” said Ocean Poke Co. Co-Founder Chad Ahrendt.

The 7 signature bowls are offered with 2 protein scoops for $10 and 3 protein scoops for $12 and include

  • OPC: White Rice, Tuna, Salmon, Cucumber, Carrots, Watermelon Radish, Wasabi, Green Onion, OPC Sauce
  • Cali: White Rice, Imitation Crab, Cucumber, Avocado, Green Onion, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi, Sesame Seeds, Spicy Mayo
  • Kim Chi: Tofu Noodles, Albacore, Shrimp, Kimchi, Daikon Sprouts, Pickled Red Onion, Green Onion, Masago, Sesame Seeds, OPC Sauce
  • Heat Check: White Rice, Spicy Tuna, Cucumber, Jalapeno, Wasabi, Green Onion, Daikon Sprouts, Chile Flakes, OPC Spicy Sauce
  • Go Hawaiian: Mixed Greens, Cucumber, Edamame, Green Onion, Sesame Seeds, OPC Sauce
  • Citrus: Tofu Rice Noodles, Albacore, Scallop, Mango Relish, Edamame, Watermelon Radish, Coconut Flake, Citrus-Ponzu Sauce
  • Go Green:Quinoa, Mixed Greens, Cucumber, Watermelon Radish, Carrot, Green Onion, Avocado, Daikon Sprouts, Edamame, Pickled Red Onion, OPC Sauce

Ocean Poke Co. is the brainchild of 4 successful entrepreneurs & Phoenix natives Chad Ahrendt, Chris Mercato, Charles Richardson and Brian Delia who bring many years of combined experience to the company.  “We have managed many businesses in the natural health industry, and I know this will help impact Ocean Poke Co. for the positive,” said Richardson.

Below is the schedule of daily specials.

March 27 & 28: 50% off your bowl

March 29 & 30: Buy one bowl, get one free (equal or lesser value)

March 31: A percentage of proceeds will benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital

April 1: Free Cali Bowl or $8 off any other bowl, 11 am – 1 pm

Ocean Poke Company is at 3619 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018 and hours are 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Sun-Thursday) and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays. http://www.oceanpokeco.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.

 

 

 

Chompie’s celebrates National Bagel Day with #BagelLove giveaway Feb. 9th

Mark your calendar for next Thursday February 9th as it’s a day to celebrate at Chompie’s Delicatessen. They will celebrate National Bagel Day and their 38th anniversary with a little #BagelLove as all 5 Phoenix area Chompie’s will be giving away a FREE bagel w/ cream cheese with any Take-A-Way purchase…. that can include buying just a cup of coffee.

With over 30 bagel & bialys varieties and 13 handmade cream cheese flavors to spread on your bagel, guests will have a hard time deciding which combination to choose. The daily made bagels go quick and when there all gone so is the giveaway. A one bagel per person rule applies.

The New York style bagels made by Chompie’s are lightly crisp on the outside with a chewy & soft inside making for a favorite boiled and baked treat that helped put Chompie’s on the map back in 1979 when they opened their 1st location at 32nd St. & Greenway Rd. in north Phoenix. Now with 5 full service restaurants, deli counters, catering and a bagel factory the Borenstein family sure know how to share the #BagelLove.

To get your #BagelLove on Feb. 9th head to your favorite Chompie’s location. http://www.chompies.com/ 

Scottsdale:          9301 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale 85260     480-860-0475

Tempe:                1160 E. University, Tempe 85281              480-557-0700

Phoenix:              4550 E. Cactus Rd. 85032                            602-710-2910

Chandler:            3481 W. Frye Rd., Chandler 85226          480-398-3008

Glendale:            7700 W. Arrowhead Towne Center          623-344-3104

 

 

 

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.

 

Liberty Station opening in February by owners of Market Street Kitchen

Options are good and the residents of north Scottsdale will have another dining option when Liberty Station opens in February. The new restaurant will be where Scottsdale Rd. meets Carefree Highway and is from Keeler Hospitality Group, owners of Market Street Kitchen in DC Ranch.

The menu will be focused on American comfort food with a regional twist including specialties from Boston where the Keeler family is from. Lunch and dinner will be served with Executive Chef Michael Hunn and Chef de Cuisine Dan Watts running the kitchen where they will source local ingredients for much of the menu.

Creekstone Farms will be supplying the meats with much of it being smoked in-house in a custom smoker and will include Texas brisket, Carolina pork shoulder and my favorite, St. Louis spare ribs.

The bar will include classic cocktails, local craft beers and a variety of wines.

“Liberty Station is truly the definition of ‘neighborfood.’ You will enjoy a scratch-made meal that is relatable and incredibly tasty, while greeting friends and neighbors in our very comfortable dining room. We’ll have community tables, a very large bar and two patios. We want our neighbors to become friends at Liberty Station,” said Paul Keeler, President of Keeler Hospitality Group.

Liberty Station will be a place for all to enjoy as their will be vegan and vegetarian options including Vegan gnocchi and a Portobello sandwich on Udi’s bread and over a dozen Gluten-free options. A few of the menu highlights will be….

  • Tavern Mac & Cheese with cheddar cream, bacon breadcrumbs and Pasilla chiles, $10 (shared appetizer).
  • Piggy Wings, grilled pork shank with sticky BBQ sauce, $9 (shared appetizer).
  • Liberty Chopped Salad, with white balsamic dressing, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and pepitas, $8
  • Boston Lobster Roll with lemon aioli and celery on a brioche roll, $18 (lunch menu).
  • All American Chicago Hot Dog with mustard, tomato, onion, house relish and sport peppers, $8 (lunch menu).
  • Chopped Brisket Grilled Cheese with smoky cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese and a grilled tomato, $12 (lunch menu).
  • New England Clam Boil with Littleneck clams, rock shrimp, new potatoes, corn and hot link sausage, $24 (dinner menu).
  • Kobe Meatloaf with shoestring onions, ketchup vinegar glaze and mashed potatoes, $17 (dinner menu).

Once opened Liberty Station will be serving lunch daily at 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Dinner service begins at 5:00 p.m. nightly. Happy Hour is offered at the bar Monday – Sunday from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Brunch will be served Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

 

The new year means new menu items at Burger Theory

As the new years rolls in Phoenix’s Burger Theory rolls out new menu items for those who will quickly forget their new year’s resolutions. Burger Theory already puts unique twists on the classic burger and with these additions they will be spicing it up with the Ultimate Sriracha burger and the On the Border burger. A Breakfast burger has also been added for those who like breakfast all day.

All the burgers on the menu use Angus chuck, brisket and short rib beef  for their single and double patty burgers.

New non-burger menu items include Crispy Fish Sandwich, Sriracha Steak Salad and Nacho Fries and the sweet signature dessert Apple Crumb Mason Jar. Over 30 local craft beers are poured to wash down your burger, salad or sandwich.

Below is a list of all the new menu items at Burger Theory.

Nacho Fries – Creamy nacho cheese, bacon, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and served with ground beef or chicken. 9

Sriracha Steak Salad – Mixed greens, tomato, red onions, cucumber, bleu cheese and Sriracha ranch dressing.  13

On the Border – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted pepper jack cheese, pico de gallo, grilled onions, guacamole, lettuce and KGB sauce. 11

Ultimate Sriracha – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, bacon, grilled onions, tomato, Sriracha mayo. 12

Breakfast Burger – Angus chuck, brisket and short rib patty, melted cheddar cheese, bacon, fried egg, roasted garlic mayo and KGB sauce. 11

Crispy Fish Sandwich – Parmesan panko crusted cod filet, tartar sauce, shredded lettuce and a toasted potato bun. 11

Spicy Chicken Wrap – Crispy chicken tenders, buffalo sauce, lettuce, tomato, bleu cheese dressing wrapped in a flour tortilla. 12

Oven Roasted Chicken – Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and grilled vegetables. 18

Sriracha Ribeye – Ribeye house marinated in a Sriracha glaze, smashed potatoes and grilled vegetables. 24

Apple Crumb Mason Jar – House made apple pie filling is layered with cinnamon apple pie crumble, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. 5

Burger Theory is at 4401 E. McDowell Rd. Phoenix 85008. Next to the Holiday Inn. http://burgertheoryphx.com/