Ladera Taverna y Cocina to support Sunnyslope High School’s Vikingtown Program in May

Phoenix’s Sunnyslope neighborhood has become a hot bed for local restaurants in the last couple of years and one of the newest restaurants, Ladera Taverna y Cocina is supporting Sunnyslope High School’s Vikingtown program.

Throughout the month of May, Ladera will contribute 20% of your bill on full priced menu items to the Vikingtown program when you mention Sunnyslope High School or the Vikingtown program. Money raised will go towards upcoming leadership training program.

Vikingtown is a 3 day leadership retreat for students this Fall in Prescott for students age fourteen to eighteen to learn more about themselves and others while learning leadership and communication skills. The goals of the retreat are to get students out of school to learn about others and discuss the barriers that may affect learning about others.

While on the retreat students stay in cabins with other students of different backgrounds and ethnicities with staff members staying in each cabin as well.

Genuine Concepts, the owner of Ladera (The Vig, Little Woody & other restaurants) takes pride in giving back to the communities in which their restaurants and bar are located. After meeting with Vikingtown and school leaders Genuine Concepts knew the program would be a good fit for Ladera Taverna to give back to the Sunnyslope community.

Ladera is excited to support the cause and students and makes it easy as possible for their customers to contribute simply by showing up to eat and mentioning the program or the school.

Ladera Taverna y Cocina is at 8729 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85020 http://www.laderaphx.com

 

 

 

 

 

FREE Barbecue sandwiches at Joe’s Real BBQ in exchange for food donations

To give is to receive they say and Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert is hoping to give away 5,000 FREE pulled pork or chicken sandwiches hoping to receive cans of food (hopefully fruit) or boxed cereal donations for the Open Arms Care Center.

It’s all part of Joe’s 17 year tradition of its annual Free Barbecue Day next Wed. May 3rd as owners Joe Johnson and Tim & Tad Peelen give back to the community and their loyal customers. The trio has given away over 77,000 meals since over the years as part of their Customer Appreciation Days which happen several times a year.

Joe’s Real BBQ rules for the day.

As you can imagine giving away 5,000 sandwiches is no small task so a few simple rules apply. Meals will be served from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • Only one meal per person
  • Must be present to receive free meal
  • No take out
  • No other menu items will be offered

Free BBQ Day menu

Those attending this popular event will be served a delicious meal of

  • Choice of a pulled pork or chicken breast sandwich
  • Fresh homemade coleslaw, BBQ Pit Beans, and a drink.
  • There will be children’s sized sandwiches available for the little ones

Open Arms Care Center food drive

Food donations are not required to get a free meal  but they are encouraged as an opportunity to help the Open Arms Care Center which helps those in need. Open Arms is a Gilbert based non-profit and all volunteer center and neighbor of Joe’s Real BBQ that provides food and clothing to the homeless and less fortunate. For more information about Open Arms go to http://www.openarmscc.com/

The nationally acclaimed Joe’s Real BBQ is at 301 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert AZ. 85234 and has a location in Terminal 4 (before security) at Sky Harbor Airport. For more information check out http://www.joesrealbbq.com/

 

 

 

 

 

A Decade of Delicious as Arizona Restaurant Week returns in May

What started out 10 years ago with 93 restaurants has blossomed in to a twice yearly foodie event that is Arizona Restaurant Week. Mark your calendars for the week of May 19th – 28th when the 2017 Spring Arizona Restaurant Week returns with over 150 planned to participate.

Nook Kitchen’s Lamb Shank

The Arizona Restaurant Association started sponsoring the state wide event in the Fall of 2008 to help promote the states restaurant industry and increasing awareness of Arizona restaurants. Diners will have the opportunity visit new restaurants along with favorites who will offer unique 3 course prix-fixe menus for $33 or $44 per person.

Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “Arizona Restaurant Week has remained a strong culinary driver to many local chefs and restaurant owners as well as a treasured memory maker for diners. It’s hard to go wrong, and we are delighted to be celebrating ten years of making folks happy.”

Match Cuisine’s Whole Roasted Sea Bream for Arizona Restaurant Week

Arizona Restaurant Week has helped local restaurants become a dining destination for foodies from around the country and the world. Since the 1st Arizona Restaurant Week it has expanded to a Spring foodie extravaganza in 2011 and a Arizona Breakfast Weekend was added a few years later. 2017 Fall Restaurant Week is planned for September 15th – 24th and Arizona Breakfast Weekend will take place from July 27th – 30th will more details to come about the 10 year anniversary celebration in September.

10 restaurants including Don and Charlie’s, Cowboy Ciao, Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn and Roaring Fork have participated in all 10 years.

With a variety of restaurants like Match Cuisine & Cocktails, Mancuso’s, Nook Kitchen, Salty Sow, White Chocolate Grill and all 4 Ajo Al’s Mexican Cafe’s to choose from foodies can expect reservations to fill up quickly so planning ahead is essential. Check http://arizonarestaurtweek.com for participating restaurants and updates of those being added to the growing list.

 

 

LDV Wine Gallery offers Tuesday night Supper Club

Tuesday is often considered one of the slowest, least productive days of the week, 2 days from the previous weekend and 3 days til the next still climbing the hump to get over the hump that is Wednesday. LDV Wine Gallery is helping to break up the monotony with its monthly Supper Club, the first Tuesday of the month.

Photos courtesy of LDV Wine Gallery

Hosted by LDV owner Peggy Fiadaca and owner & winemaker Kurt Dunham the wine inspired menu will transport you to the vineyards via your palate and imagination.

Unless it falls on a holiday the dinners are scheduled for May 2, June 6, July 11, August 1, September 12, October 3, November 7 and December 5. With previous dinners having sold out and seating for 20 people reservations are required for these 3 course dinners paired with 3 LDV wines.

The casual atmosphere will allow guests to learn the recipes for the dinner, get a chance to socialize with other guests and understand the vineyard to table journey.

Below is a sample menu from a previous dinner and will change on a monthly basis as seasonal ingredients become available.

Starters

Beef Barley Soup with Crusty Noble Bread

2013 Syrah

 

Thai Spicy Noodles with Shrimp

2013 Sky Island Viognier

 

Entrées

Mesquite Grilled Rack of Lamb Provence with Rosemary Potatoes and

Mixed Squash Matchsticks

2012 Petite Sirah

 

Mesquite Grilled Marinated Beef Tri Tip with Southwestern Corn Relish and Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

2013 Sky Island Petite Sirah

 

Desserts

Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberries

2012 “The Signature” Petite Sirah

 

Decadent Espresso Cheesecake

2013 Grenache

 

To make a reservation for the Supper Club you can call 602-320-1485 or 480-664-4822 or email info@LDVWinery.com

LDV Wine Gallery is at 6951 E. 1st St. Scottsdale 85251 http://www.ldvwinegallery.com/

 

Foodie “Nirvana” coming to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

When we hear the word “Nirvana” we automatically think of the “grunge rock” band of the 1990’s. Definitions of the word slightly vary but many consider it the “ultimate state of happiness” which is what the culinary and marketing team at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa are hoping for as they were brainstorming for a name of their new culinary festival.

Chef Todd English. All photos Courtesy of Eric Mower & Associates

An exciting 4 days is planned from April 27th- 30th as festival goers will be able to mix & mingle with celebrity chefs Todd English, Robert Irvine and Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan as they team up with other visiting chefs and Phoenix area chefs, wine makers and mixologists for themed dinners, tastings and a golf tournament.

With our beautiful weather and sunsets you may want to turn the festival into a vacation and stay at Sanctuary in one of their suites, casitas or a private home. A 2 night minimum is required and rooms start $479 per night plus tax & resort fee.

Sanctuary on Camelback infinity pool courtesy of Eric Mower & Associates

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/ with the schedule of events below. Part of the proceeds from the festival will benefit HopeKids, an organization that provides events and support for families with a child who has cancer or other life threatening diseases.

Torch

Hosted by celebrity chef and television personality Robert Irvine and local celebrity mixologist Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow

Thursday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $125 per person

Torch will kick-off the festival with a poolside Polynesian fantasy. Mixologists will compete at eight stations, as guests rub shoulders with an esteemed panel of judges to select winners of the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice awards.

Birds and Bubbles

Hosted by chef, restaurateur, author and television personality Todd English

Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; The Views Ballroom, Lawn; $135 per person, $225 VIP

Fried chicken and Champagne come together in an inspired pairing as guest chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes and bubbly. The all-star local line-up includes Stephen Jones (The Larder + The Delta and Homeboy’s Hotsauce), Cullen Campbell (Crudo and Okra), Justin Beckett (Southern Rail), Jeremy Pacheco (LON’s at The Hermosa Inn), Gio Osso (Virtù at The Bespoke Inn) and Beau MacMillan. They will be joined by visiting chefs from Palm Beach, Fla.: Clay Conley (Buccan and Grato) and Lindsay Autry (The Regional Kitchen & Public House). Festival-goers who book VIP admission enjoy personal time for 45 minutes with their favorite chefs.

American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville Allstars, whose “Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” sung by Otto James, topped the country charts in 2008, will provide live entertainment throughout the evening. His songs have also been recorded by major artists like Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Ricky Skaggs, and Rascal Flatts (“I’m Movin’ On”).

Master of Taste honoring Chuck Wagner

Friday, April 28, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

Chuck Wagner, owner and winemaker of Caymus Vineyards, and scion of the legendary Napa Valley vintner family, will be the guest of honor at an intimate dinner at one of Sanctuary’s elegant private estate homes.  The evening will showcase the exceptional vintages of the Wagner Family of Wine and three generations of winemaking talent. Preparing the feast will be local chefs Christopher Gross (Christopher’s and Crush), Matt Carter (Fat Ox and The Mission), Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s and Tarbell’s Tavern), and Beau MacMillan.

Golf Tournament

Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m. registration and 12 noon tee; Mountain Shadows; $400 per player

Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef, star mixologist or notable sports figure at this fun-filled celebrity golf tournament being played at the long-awaited Mountain Shadows course at the base of Camelback Mountain. Plenty of food, beer and spirits will round out an unforgettable day on the links.

Best of the West

Hosted by chef/restauranteur (Mora Italian) and Chopped judge Scott Conant

Saturday, April 29, 7-10 p.m.; Praying Monk and elements restaurant; $145 per person, $225 VIP

Sanctuary’s signature restaurant, elements, and its indoor/outdoor Praying Monk venue will be the setting for Nirvana’s final evening event. More than a dozen elegant restaurant stations will be manned by celebrated chefs from throughout the West, including James Porter (Terra Farm + Manor), Samantha Sanz (Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale Troon North), Sean Currid (Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails) and Beau MacMillan. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.

New Orleans Jazz & Bourbon Brunch

Sunday, April 30, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; elements; $85 per person

Nirvana will come to a rousing finale with a N’Awlins-style jazz brunch complete with live music and a Bourbon twist, serving up everything from étouffée to feather-light beignets at this fun sit-down event.

 

 

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!