Connoisseurs of gin make their way to Phoenix in April as the 5th Annual GinWorld sets up shop. During “Gin Week Phoenix” restaurants and bars around Phoenix and Scottsdale will host seminars, tastings and competitions from April 22nd-28th.
“Phoenix is the perfect location to bring our Gin Week festivities,” says Natasha Bahrami, founder of GinWorld and Gin Week events, which has roots in St. Louis, Missouri. “The people, the culture and let’s not forget the weather, are primed for exactly this type of event that celebrates the spirit and spectrum of gin while bringing people together in a fun and engaging environment.”
“Gin Week” kicks off at Bitters Bar in Scottsdale for the “Campari Loves Gin” competition. “Campari Loves Gin” is open to anybody 21 and over and bartenders must be working in a Phoenix area bar/restaurant. Four recipes must be submitted by April 15th on-line at http://ginworld.com/ and must use Campari and sponsored spirits and modifiers. Winning recipe entrants will be invited to the live cocktail competition on April 22nd. Cocktails will be judged on aroma, appearance, balance of ingredients and overall presentation.
Gin Week cocktail specials will be available at Bitters Bar, Blue Clover Distillery, Monroe Bar and Unexpected Art Gallery.
Gin Week ends on April 28th with a Gin Week Festival at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Over a 100 gins will be represented at the festival and attendees can check out educational seminars, meet with distillers and taste the gins. Guest will be able to enjoy the Bloody Mary Bar and Perfect Serve Gin Tonic Bar. Tickets for the festival are $55 and can be purchased on-line.
Phoenix restaurants and food trucks have signed up to create out of this world french fries for only $2-$3. Larger “Sharing” sizes will be available as well. Fries topped with chorizo, lobster and kimchee are just a few of the toppings I’ve heard about.
Festival goers will enjoy French fries from the likes of The Dressing Room, Trapp Haus BBQ and Hibachibot. Make sure you find your way to Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon’s for their Bolognese fries before they sell out. I’ve had them and their delicious.
All fries will be fried in oil from SK Oil Sales, the local fryer oil specialist. I did not know there was such a thing.
Live music from 6 bands including Weird Radicals, Fairy Bones and Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold will entertain the crowd. DJ’s Stoneypie, Reverse Cowboy and Maintenance will be mixing it up too.
Fry fanatics are invited to ride their bikes to the festival and have them valeted by Phoenix Spokes People. Gracie’s Tax Bar will be preparing cocktails along with craft beers and Jarritos sodas.
Fried will benefit Downtown Phoenix Inc. that helps to promote the downtown community.
Tickets for Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival are $15 on only available on-line. The festival goes from 2-10 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.
When Little Rituals opened last week in downtown Phoenix it raised the bar for other hotel bars. Located on the 4th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn the cocktail bar is the mastermind of mixologists Aaron Defeo and Ross Simon. DeFeo is no stranger to hotel bars as he was property mixologist at Tucson’s Casino del Sol Resort. Simon is the owner of downtown’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
The bar joins Broken Shaker ( Miami, L.A., Chicago & NYC) and Death Co. (NYC & Denver) to offer guests and locals a unique hotel bar experience. Open daily from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. guests can expect 30 custom cocktails along with beer, wine and gourmet bites from consulting chef Bob Tam. Interesting touches at the independently owned bar include hand stamped ice, espresso martinis on tap and a pairing menu.
Preparation and education is key
What you don’t see is as important as what you see and sip on. DeFeo and Simon have created a culture of extensive staff training and drink preparation. Cocktails are made with house-made foams, infusions, garnishes, syrups and more. The menu focuses on the use of aromatic vermouth’s and sherry’s.
The cocktails are in 6 categories with 5 cocktails each.
Daily Rituals (Boilermakers, Siroco Spritz and a precisely-chilled, grapefruit-finished Session Martini)
Delicious Rituals (exciting flavor combinations such as the honey, citrus and curry-spiced Daiqurry)
Cooling Rituals (heat-busting combos such as the frothy Amalfi Frappe or the cucumber-y Touch of Evil)
Stirred & Silky Rituals (elegant twists on classics such as the sherry-spiked Cask of Amontillado)
Indulgent Rituals (complex flavors such as the Cartographer with overproof rum, cardamom and creole bitters)
Shared Rituals (ever-changing selection of punches, pitchers and the aforementioned Bubbles & Fries)
Apertivo hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily and offers discounted prices on a rotating list of cocktails, beer, wine and bites.
The bar bites menu offers 10 dishes including Beet Carpacio, Millionaire’s Bacon Board and Carbonara Lo Mein from the Hong Kong born chef Tam. Make sure you save room for the High Spirited Desserts.
The hotel is at 132 S. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. 602-603-2050. Visit the website and their Facebook page for more information.
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.
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.
Farmer’s markets have become very popular around Phoenix the last few years. It’s hard to not to find a farmer’s market in each of the valley’s communities. One of the longest running farmer’s markets is the Open Air Market at The Phoenix Public Market in downtown Phoenix. The Open Air Market happens every Saturday morning and on Saturday February 16th it will celebrate its 14th anniversary.
Drop by between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to find local vendors offering seasonal fresh produce, foods and healthy products. Many of the vendors have been there from the beginning.
For the celebration there will be live music, a special anniversary raffle, giveaways and more. Kids can have their face painted, participate in a scavenger hunt and make kids crafts.
9 a.m. Native Seed/ SEARCH Workshop: Spring Gardening in the Desert. 10 a.m Yoga with Sutra Studios. 11 a.m. A cooking demonstration
The Open Air Market is a non-profit organization that creates a sense of community by supporting small farmers and business’s. They help strengthen the sustainable food systems and make healthy products available in the local community.
They’ve awarded vendor scholarships four times a year and work as a small business incubator. They’ve helped to support over a dozen local farms over the years.
The Market is at 721 N. Central Ave. (McKinley & Central) Phoenix 85004. For more information visit their website.
Discussions about pizza and who makes “The Best” is part of the pizza culture. When a new list comes out we all scan it to see if we’ve been to any and if we agree. I know I’ve got my opinions and favorites. Phoenix does have a pretty good if not great reputation for its pizza community. Most often we think of Chris Bianco and his Pizzeria Bianco’s when we think of great pizza in Phoenix. Chris laid the foundation for pizza in Phoenix with its reputation for tacos, burritos and other Mexican dishes. It should come as no surprise that other pizzerias have opened following the Bianco brick oven model and have garnered national respect in the pizza community. Pomo Pizzeria in downtown Phoenix (a few blocks from Bianco) is the only Arizona pizzeria to make BuzzFeed’s The 25 Best Pizzerias in America.
Pomo came in at #14 on the list voted on by guests. The Principe pizza is featured on BuzzFeed list but the pizzeria considers The Diavola as their signature pizza. The Diavola has tomato sauce, spicy salame, mozzarella, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Pomo uses fresh ingredients and uses traditional pizza making techniques going back hundreds of years to Naples.
I’d agree, when I’ve visited any Pomo location I’ve always enjoyed their pizzas, I just need to get there more often.
Pomo Pizzeria has locations in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Phoenix. For more information visit their website.
Trapp Haus BBQ owner Phil Johnson celebrates his 6th month anniversary with a party tonight and is offering new specials. Johnson who is also the pitmaster throws a party tonight as the popular First Friday Artwalk happens. Guests celebrate with an all-you-can-eat whole hog roast for $10/adults & $5 for kids. The party with live music starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 or when there is no more hog to eat.
Johnson will be taking his recipes on the road later this month when he heads to Kansas City to compete in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. From there he heads to Milwaukee show what he knows about BBQ with a cooking demonstration and class at the Journal Sentinel Wine & Food Experience.
New specials and offerings are now available until further notice.
Slab Saturday’s– Every Saturday $25 St. Louis Ribs all day long.
Free local Delivery– On-line orders in the downtown Phoenix area from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday Friday.
Weekday Sammitch Specials-$2.00 off any Sammaitch Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Beats, Beer & Q- On Fridays
Trapp Haus BBQ is at 511 E. Roosevelt Phoenix 85004. 602-466-5462. For more information check their website.
Zookz Sandwiches honors the millions of sandwiches eaten everyday in the United States with featured sandwich every week in August. Both locations of the locally owned sandwich shop will be taking 25% off each of the featured sandwiches during National Sandwich Month.
Each pressed and closed sandwich is filled with meats, cheeses, eggs and fruits for one of a kind sandwich. Zookz is open for breakfast and lunch with the sandwiches coming from owner Carole Meyer that are inspired by her grandmother’s recipes.
You have a couple of days left to get this weeks featured sandwich with the new sandwich starting on Monday.
Week of Aug 6th-12th: Cheddar, crispy bacon, tomatoes and thinly sliced turkey topped with Chipotle and green onion scallop potatoes
Week of Aug 13th – 19th: Parmesan cheese & turkey topped with a kale slaw, pineapple, shredded coconut and roasted almonds in Zookz Voodoo Dressing.
Week of Aug 20th – 26th: Brie, ham, apricot preserves and roasted almonds
Week of Aug 27th – 31st: Cheddar, Monterey Jack cheeses and thinly sliced ham topped with a Creamy Sriracha and green onion Mac and Cheese
Zookz are at 100 E. Camelback Rd. (Uptown Plaza) Phoenix 85012 and One N. 1st St. (Downtown & closed weekends.) Phoenix 85004. For more information go to http://zookzsandwiches.com
It was only a matter of time before one of America’s favorite treats, the donut, got its own festival. The first Downtown Donut Festival is from the folks that bring us the Phoenix Pizza Festival the day before making for a great foodie weekend. The donut festival will be on Sunday November 18th at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix from 11 a.m. -3 p.m.
Donuts and more
Over 15 donut makers from around Phoenix will be frying up the dough and to a crowd expected to reach 2,000 people. Donuts will be sold for $1 per along with donut holes, donut samples and other donut creations in a multitude of flavors.
Enjoy the donuts then have fun at a Mimosa Bar, craft beer garden, wine tasting, lawn games and live music. The festival is for the whole family and their will be a craft zone for the kids.
There will also be a vendor marketplace for festival goers can get a head start on the holiday shopping season.
Downtown Donut Festival tickets
Tickets for the festival are available on-line at https://www.downtowndonutfest.com/ for $8. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Downtown Phoenix Inc. which promotes downtown Phoenix by supporting local business’s and events.
Riding on the success of their restaurant The Dressing Room the founders are opening The Larry a few blocks further south in downtown Phoenix’s warehouse district. The breakfast, lunch and happy hour hangout will be opening on Monday August 13th and will be open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Larry in The Lawrence building
The owners chose the warehouse district for its tech focused business community and to create a sense of community south of downtown. Located in The Lawrence Building, The Larry will have both indoor and outdoor seating among its modern decor.
“The breakfast, lunch and happy hour concept is one that really resonates with the Downtown Phoenix crowd,” said owner Kyu Utsunomiya. “The Larry is that spot where you can come network during lunch hour or catch up with a friend over cocktails after work.”
What to eat and drink
Executive chef Luis Arellano has created a healthy and colorful menu of dishes from around the world including Soba Noodle Salad and Korean Fried Chicken sandwich. A revolving pizza selection will be available along with other dishes and several meals will be available for grab-n-go.
Baristas will be serving desserts and preparing coffee drinks to give you the energy needed to get through the day. Specialty cocktails including Pisco Punch are also on the menu.
Grand opening week specials
To make good with the neighbors and make new friends The Larry will be offering a half price menu during opening week ending on Friday the 17th.
An entire years worth of coffee(1 cup per week) is being given away and you can get in on it by going to their website to enter.