2018 AZ Central Wine & Food experience welcomes Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

Over 60 Arizona restaurants and their chefs return November 3rd & 4th for the 4th annual AZ Central Wine & Food Experience. The 2018 experience moves up the road to Monterra at Westworld and includes celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.

Marcus Samuelsson
All photos courtesy of FleurCom Group

The Martha Stewart Experience returns

AZWFE welcomes back The Martha Stewart Experience with a Celebrating with Martha theme for guests to get creative just in time for the holidays. You’ll be able to check out Martha’s newest line of kitchen gear and utensils from Macy’s and QVC.

New to this years event is the The Grateful House where guests can make their own salsa and wine charms. Their will be Master Demo lead by a Grateful Influencer to 40 people on a first come first serve basis.

Join Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

On Saturday award-winning chef Marcus Samuelesson will join the festivities along with local chefs. Sunday welcomes chef and Food Network judge Aaron Sanchez who will mix and mingle with guest and more local chefs.

Chefs from across the valley including Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, Jennifer Russo of The Market by Jennifer Restaurant and Bar and MATCH Restaurant and Lounge chef Alex Stratta will prepare tastes of food.

Get your tickets

Tickets for the two day event are available at their website.

  • Grand Tasting.  $65 limited time offer in advance. Sample delicious bites from Arizona’s most coveted dining establishments. Meet chefs, taste their creations; see cooking demonstrations.  Plus enjoy fine wine, craft beer and distinctive spirits sampling. GT entry at 1pm Sat. and Sun.
  • VIP Grand Tasting. $120 in advance.  For guests who seek all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, they’ll also enjoy private tastings from wineries and distillers, early entry, a VIP Lounge and VIP restrooms. VIP Entry at noon.
  • Chef’s Package Experience with Marcus Samulesson & Aarón Sánchez.  $180 in advance. Enjoy all the benefits of the VIP Grand Tasting, PLUS private meet and greet and book-signing with Marcus Samuelsson Nov. 3 & Aarón Sánchez Nov. 4 [Advance purchase recommended. Tickets subject to sellout.] Chef’s Package begins at 11:30am. Subscribers are eligible for $15 off tickets, available only through azcentral.com/insider.

 

Downtown Chandler to host Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

Food festival season is starting to get ramped up as the summer slowly comes to an end. On of the first festivals is the 7th annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest on Saturday September 15th in downtown Chandler.

This years festival hosts 20 restaurants and food vendors making more tacos than one can eat. Restaurants such as Las Palmas, Taco Guild and Nando’s Mexican Cafe are just a few restaurants breaking out the recipe book to create unique tacos. Specialty Poke tacos, cactus and Korean chicken tacos are a few of the non-traditional tacos being served up at the family friendly event.

Downtown Chandler
Evil Waze. All photos ciourtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

More than just tacos

You can’t eat tacos for all 9 hours of the festival so entertainment from Santana cover band Evil Waze will take the stage. Metalachi, the world’s first and only mariachi heavy metal band will headline the festival.

A custom low-rider car show with In the Streets magazine will show off over 60 cars, bikes and trucks. Lucha libre wrestling and food eating contest will be going on throughout the day.

Get your tickets here

General admission tickets on-line are $10, $15 at the door with kids 12 and under free. The 21 years old + VIP tickets are $100 and available on-line only. VIP ticket holders get a private area, 6 alcoholic beverage tickets, catered food and shaded area. 

The Tequila Tavern tickets are $30 on-line get you 10 tequila samples and unlimited chips and salsa.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership. The non-profit DCCP mission is to use leadership and resources to promote the downtown Chandler area.

Tickets are available at http://www.rockintacoaz.com/ 

The festival is from 12-9 p.m. and is at Dr. AJ Chandler Park in downtown Chandler.

The Downtown Donut Festival is happening and its about time

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.

Downtown Donut Festival

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.

Mario Lopez welcomes Danny Trejo & Frankie Quinones to Cinco de Mario

Not many people have a festival named after them but actor/TV host Mario Lopez is a modern day personality that has his own Cinco de Mario festival and it comes to Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza on Saturday May 5th. Hopefully there is still room on your party schedule as this is a busy day with both the Kentucky Derby & Cinco de Mayo festivities around town.

Cincio de Mario
Actor & host Mario Lopez

It’s Cinco de Mario that will have bad ass actor turned taco & donut entrepreneur Danny Trejo on stage with Mario along with comedian Frankie Quinones and legendary hip hop group Sugarhill Gang.

Cinco de Mario events

Cinco de Mario
chili peppers

The day long festival starts at 11 a.m. and for the next 7 hours festival attendees can head to the Super Mucho Merchado for gourmet foods and traditional Mexican fare in a farmer’s market setting.

Attendees will be able to sample tacos and more from El Jefe, The Mission, Don Jose Mexican food and other local food producers. Make your way to the craft beer garden and rose wine garden to quench your thirst from all the spicy foods.

Fun will be had when “Saved By The Bell” alum and  festival host Mario judge’s a “Saved by The Bell”  look a like contest and local bands Mariachi Rodriguez and Ritmo Latino perform before we get down with the Sugarhill Gang’s old school performance.

A lounge to watch The Kentucky Derby will be available.

Comedian Frankie Quinones

Getting your tickets

General Admission tickets are $15 online and $20 at the door. Mansion VIP tickets are $100 online in advance and get a plate of food from The Mission, 5 drink tickets, private bar and a lounge area.

Experience it all and a meet & greet with Mario Lopez with VIP Mario Sky Deck for $200 online in advance that gets you food & drink all day from The Mission and high-end lounge furniture to relax in.

Entry to craft beer & rose garden is $20 for 8 tasting tickets.

Kids under 12 are free.  Purchase your tickets here.

 

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/

Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival returns to Chandler

Good times return to downtown Chandler on Saturday March 24th as the 9th annual Great American Barbecue & Beer Festival opens its gates at noon.  The festival will be serving up slow cooked foods, cold adult beverages, live entertainment and more til 10 p.m.

Barbecue, Beer and more.

Over 20 BBQ aficionados will be smoking and cooking up finger licking ribs, chicken, pulled pork and many more not BBQ dishes. Local craft beer brewers including SanTan Brewing Company along with national beers and spirits will be poured to cool you and your palate down as a lot of the foods will be bringing the heat. Below is a list of a few of those slow cooking your favorites.

Farmboy Smokehaus – brisket, pulled pork, who hog spit, andoullie sausage, baby back ribs, chicken, chili and Johnny cakes

Harris’ Smokehouse – BBQ pork, beef, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, beans, coleslaw, & corn

Jamburritos – pulled pork, brisket, hot links, jambalaya

JJ’s Louisiana BBQ – ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket, rib tips, hot links, turkey legs, beans & potato salad

Mr. Wonderful’s Chicken & Waffles – waffle and chicken wings, po boys, chicken dirty fries, banana pudding, & cheesecake

Pearson’s Catering – catfish, bayou chicken, gator bites, frog legs, jambalaya & po boys

Sally’s BBQ – loaded ribbon fries with pulled pork, sausage, & corn

SanTan Brewing – chopped brisket or pulled pork sandwich & mac & cheese

BBQ festival
All photos courtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

Live music, tickets and more.

Country music superstar Rodney Atkins headlines the music for the festival  along with food cooking demos, a mechanical bull riding competition. There’s plenty of fun for the whole family with a kids zone.

Tickets and more information can be found at https://www.chandlerbbq.com/

General Admission

$20 Online Presale                                                                      $25 Day of Walk Up Pricing                                                         $10 Veterans & Military Discount Online Presale & Walk Up Pricing $10 Presale at any valley Bashas’ Locations                            *Kids 12 and under receive free general admission                          *General admission includes entry into the festival, access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities. Food and beverages are not included with admission.

VIP Pass (21+ over only)

$175 Online Presale Only – now through 3/23/18 OR when tickets are sold out                                                                                        Includes: six beers, unlimited soft drinks and water, catered food throughout the day, front stage access/view, private air-conditioned restrooms, private seating, shaded area, entry into the festival and access to all entertainment, zones, vendors, interactive experience and activities.

 Corral Pass (21+ over only)

 $75 Online Presale Only – SOLD OUT

 

We all won at Devour Culinary Classic

As the weekend is here and plans are being made for baseball games, food festivals and more I’m still reminiscing about last weekends Devour Culinary Classic . Moving to the Desert Botanical Garden for the first time it looked to me that all was good on Sunday when I got a chance to go.The great weather, spacious & pretty DBG,  great food and people made for a winning combination. There was also a little competitive spirit on both days as 8 judge’s walked through all 10 tasting zones tasting food from many if not all the restaurants participating.

Saturday’s winners

The judges picked these dishes as their winners on Saturday.

Excellence in Presentation 
  • Winner: Cibo
    • Arancini no.1 – Pan Fried rice balls with mozzarella and green peas
    • Arancini no. 2- Pam fried rice balls with mozzarella and lamb
  • Runner Up: Phoenix Public Market
    • Arizona Citrus Salad – goat cheese, pistachios, local dates, sweet shallot honey vinaigrette, micro greens
Excellence in Innovation
  • Winner: True Food Kitchen
    • Grilled Cauliflower Planks – black walnut pesto, truffle tahini, aleppo chili
  • Runner Up: Helio Basin Brewery
    • Venison Sausage
Excellence in Taste 
  • Winner: Gallo Blanco
    • Flapjacks with Plantains Foster
  • Runner Up: Dust Cutter
    • Huevos Rancheros / Sonoran Native Tepary Bean Chili, Ground bison, quail egg and chorizo espuma

      Differnt Pointe of View’s runner-up Muscovy Duck

Sunday’s winners

Good to see Sedona & Flagstaff restaurants Elote Cafe and Shift  catching the attention of the judge’s.

Excellence in Presentation 

  • Winner: Kai
    • Smoked Ocean Trout, Squash Escabeche, Huitlacoche Chumeth, Black Tepary Miso.
  • Runner Up: FnB / The Inbetweens
    • Fresh vegetable salad with sugar snap peas and country ham

Excellence in Innovation

  • Winner: Shift
    • Beef tongue Philly Cheese steak
  • Runner Up: The Dressing Room
    • Tako Yaki Hushpuppy with a Tomato Sriracha Jam

Excellence in Taste 

  • Winner: Elote Cafe
    • Spicy Anasazi beans with local heritage barley and mesquite corn bread
  • Runner Up: Different Point of View
    • Grain Mustard Soy Grilled Muscovy Duck; Sweet Corn Milk Griddle Cakes & Bliss Maple Drizzle , Kumquat Shallot Jam, Duck Cracklings, Basil Oil

Excellence in Distinction: FnB

Runner up: Kai

 

3rd Annual Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to Margaret T. Hance Park

Phoenix is known for its pizza reputation whether your prefer artisan brick oven pizza, Chicago deep dish or a slice of thin New York style. It’s no wonder we’ve seen national and regional pizza restaurants invade the Phoenix area in the last few years. There’s no better way to debate who makes the best pizza than tasting pizza from some of Phoenix’s favorite pizza makers at the 3rd Annual Phoenix Pizza Festival on Saturday, November 18th.

Pizza festival
Photos by Flargus

Previous Phoenix Pizza Festival pizza makers

At last years festival pizza aficionados had the chance to purchase slices,  pies and more from pizza makers like Fabio on Fire, La Piazza Al Forno PHX, Nello’s, Rosati’s and others.

Festival goers washed down their pizza with beer from local craft brewers such as Mother Bunch Brewing, O.H.S.O Nano- Brewery, Helio Basin and more. Those attending this years festival can expect much of the same.

In addition to pizza there will be dessert food trucks, food related vendors, live bands, lawn games and a kid’s zone because you can only eat so much pizza before you need a break.

Get your tickets

A limited amount of tickets for the Phoenix Pizza Festival are only available on-line for $10 with the festival going from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Margret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix.

The Phoenix Pizza festival partners with Downtown Phoenix Inc. as the charitable beneficiary of the event. The non-profit helps to promote the revitalization of  downtown Phoenix  by supporting local business’s and events.

 

 

 

$10 off tickets for next weekends AZCentral.com Food & Wine Experience

Hopefully those that are reading this bought their tickets for next weekends AZCentral.com Food & Wine Experience since I posted the announcement back in July. If not, now is the time as my readers can save $10 off tickets for the 3rd annual AZCentral. com Food & Wine Experience presented by Cadillac using the promo code at the bottom of this post.

Since the announcement Martha Stewart confirmed she will be in attendance at the popular event.

Schedule of food and wine events.

First a quick review of schedule events of the 2-day food festival on November 4th & 5th at Salt River Fields.

  • Grand Tasting.  Tickets in advance are $85 and offer unlimited sampling of chef creations; access to chef demonstrations and panels; and tastings of fine wines, craft beers and distinctive spirits. Saturday or Sunday
  • VIP Grand Tasting.  Tickets in advance are $120 and guests enjoy all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, plus entry at noon, access to the VIP Lounge, and private tastings from wineries and distillers. Preferred parking and VIP restrooms
  • The Cellar.  A $20 upgrade to any ticket above, the wine seminar offers special tastings and an insider’s knowledge of wines sampled; led by the winemaker or wine ambassador.
  • The Chef’s Package.  A $180 ticket, a private meet & greet with a special guest chef of national renown.  Details coming soon
  • Private Dining ‘Experiences.’ A schedule of separately ticketed private dining Experiences created by popular chefs and restaurateurs will be announced soon.  Experiences can occur within the event footprint or at participating restaurants.

Participating restaurants

During the Grand Tasting over 60 local restaurants will be sharing tastes of their cuisine that have put them on the culinary map. Here are a few of the restaurants and chefs that will be serving up their special dishes.

  • Jennifer Russo, The Market by Jennifer Russo
  • Aaron Poole, Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup
  • Paul Haworth, Cartel Coffee Lab
  • Charles Wiley, Hearth `61 at Mountain Shadows Resort
  • Russell LaCasce, ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
  • George Frasher, Frasher’s Smokehouse
  • Chef Joshua James “Chef J” Amonson, Bourbon & Bones Chophouse | Bar

$10 off tickets

To get your $10 off your tickets click here and enter the promo code “Insta10“.

See you there.

 

Slider Throwdown returns to Kierland Commons for charity

As memories of last years Slider Throwdown fall deeper into our subconscious we are made aware of this years Throwdown that is slated for Sunday November 12th from 12-3p.m. back at Kierland Commons.

For only $30 each attendees will be able to sample all the sliders and 3 non-alcoholic drink tickets. After tasting the sliders people will be able to vote the “People’s Choice” award along with “slider expert” judges for to see which food truck will wine “Best Slider”.

Food trucks competing include:

Two Fat Guys Grilled Cheese                                                                         Mango Flats                                                                                                                     Aioli Burger                                                                                                                     Food Diva                                                                                                                        Head to Hoof                                                                                                                    Left Coast Burrito                                                                                                    Emerson Fry Bread

One restaurant will partner with the Slider Throwdown to offer a signature cocktail at the chosen restaurant.

Proceeds from this years event will be donated to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation(AFFCF). The money raised will help foster children enjoy their childhood despite unfortunate circumstances.

Kris Jacober, Director of the AFFCF, says, “We help these children through difficult circumstances by providing them with resources and allowing them to take part in enjoyable activities that promote self-esteem.”

You can help by purchasing you Slider Throwdown tickets and having a good time enjoying the delicious sliders.