Southwest Cider Festival offers sips of local & national ciders

With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.Operation Homefront

Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.

“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.

Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

More details are at their Facebook page.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson #103 Mesa 85210

 

Good bye Hawaii, it’s been fun. Until we meet again.

My last two days on Kauai were low-key and relaxing trying to take it all in of my first visit to Hawaii.

Laying low my next to last day.

I stopped for a donut at Daylight Donuts on my way to breakfast at Daddy O’s, a recommendation from locals the night before. I went with early bird special for $6.95. 2 eggs, Portuguese sausage and hash browns. One thing I realized is breakfasts are not exactly man-sized meals(except Da Big Moco at Roland’s Mix Plate) in Lihue. After a blog post I made a lunch run to Historic Kapaa town from the popular Tacos Al Pastor food truck. Bored of fish tacos I went with….al pastor tacos.

I found myself chatting with a California transplant to Hawaii who owns Java Kai coffee shop that I visited a few days earlier. I didn’t get her name but she seemed to adjust well to the culture shock after living on Kauai for 10 years. With 3 business’s and 3 kids she hasn’t slowed down. After lunch I strolled the main drag looking for that special souvenir t-shirt. Pictures and memories only go so far. Found the right t-shirt and what I thought would be my last shaved ice at Ono Ono Shave Ice.

On my way back to Kauai Palms Hotel I stopped into the Koloa Rum Company Store & Tasting Room. The tasting room is at Kilohana, a 104 acre plantation for visitors to explore with a train ride, restaurants, garden and galleries. A great way to get a feel for old Hawaii.

Kale was behind the bar and told me about the rum, distillery and the history of the Kauai sugar industry. I looked for the distillery in Koloa only to find out it’s in the next town over and isn’t open to the public yet.

After a brief nap I made my way to Rob’s Good Time Grill for dinner and couple of tropical drinks. Rob’s is a sports bar serving bar food and was the busiest place in town with most games on TV. Getting there for happy hour and $2 off drinks Ola made good Mai Tai’s using Koala white and dark rums. The pastrami burger was really good and uses locally sourced Kauai beef. The refreshing Mai Tai’s did their thing I and I was done for the night. See you tomorrow.

Good night the party’s over

With a full day ahead of me before my red-eye flight to Phoenix I tried to keep busy. Check out is at 11 a.m., rental car back by 3 p.m. what to do. Hoping to sleep in I didn’t and found my way back to Daylight Donuts before breakfast. With nothing but time on my hands I walked back to Roland’s Mix Plate for breakfast. Roland’s serves the best breakfast in Lihue in my opinion. Back to hotel to relax some more and pack up checking out just before 11.

I decided to swing into the Kauai Marriott Resort to see what it’s about. Glad I did as the beachfront resort is bigger than I thought and offers great views across Nawiliwili Bay.

I strolled the resort to a touristy shopping area and grabbed a lunch from a Kikukchi’s food truck. A local recommended the Ginger Fried Chicken Bao or Hawaiian Club sandwich with Ginger Fried Chicken. I went with Hawaiian Chicken Club sushi roll. A good recommendation. I saw a Shave Ice shack and couldn’t resist, Coconut Cream shave ice was on. Plenty of dining options for resort guests and NCL cruise ship passengers that drops anchor every Thursday. Time to take the car back and wait out the rest of the day at the airport watching football while planes land and take off.

A few things to know about Kauai and Hawaii

  1. It’s often cloudy and humid on the island. Rain in the morning but clears up. Blue sky is shared with clouds almost always over the mountain. Don’t forget sunscreen though. Temps at during my visit were between 83-92 F during the day.
  2. Getting around is pretty easy as Highway 50/56 is the only road that gets around the island from Kekaha to Hanalei. Traffic flows pretty good but slows down to a crawl through Kappa and Wailua most times of the day. You could probably do end to end in less than 2 hours.
  3. Most beaches are public and easily accessible.
  4. If you go to Waimea Canyon, locals suggest early in the day as cloud hamper visibility later in the morning.
  5. Lihue Airport is small and easy to maneuver with 1 terminal only 5 minutes from Lihue center and highways 50/56.
  6. Hotels are not everywhere, most are in the southeastern part of the island between Poipu and Kappa.
  7. Shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops are the norm. The evenings stayed warm in the 70s overnight.
  8. Prices are higher in Hawaii…I noticed gas about $4-$4.08/gallon. Most breakfasts are $9 and up even for a simple breakfast 2 egg breakfast.

I’ll be back to Kauai but first I need to explore Maui, Oahu and The Big Island. Mahoalo!

*** For photos and videos see Facebook & Twitter @SandyWasserman and Instagram @SandyWass*** Feel free to comment and subscribe to my blog and social media.

 

 

 

Crushbrew Festival sneak preview party at Oh-So Brewery Arcadia

Craft beer fans don’t have to wait until the 3rd annual Crushbrew Festival  to kick off on Saturday February 17th to taste a collaboration beer to be poured. Crushbrew has partnered with Oh-So Brewery to create 2 beers with the Crushbrew Saison to debut at a sneak peek preview party for the festival on Thursday February 1st at Oh-So’s Arcadia location.

The Crushbrew Festival will bring over 40 brewers, wineries and distillers  from around the country to  downtown Scottsdale’s Civic Center Plaza along with food trucks and live entertainment for the  5 hour event.

Beer collaborations

The Crushbrew Saison is a crisp and dry beer with flavors of bubblegum, banana and clove for beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

For the Crushbrew Collab Barrel Aged Saison Oh-So partnered with Carlson Creek Vineyards to use their rose wine barrel to age the beer. A hint of rose and oak are noticeable on the palate. The Barrel Aged Saison will be ready for its debut on the 17th.

Crushbrew Festival & Sneak Party tickets

Tickets are available on-line for the Sneak Preview Party for $10 for the 3 hour party to start at 6:30 p.m. and for the festival. General Admission tickets are $45 for entry & 10 drink tickets and $95 for VIP Area Access.

 

 

Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese truck hits the streets of Phoenix

Your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy made have hit a speed bump as Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese truck is now roaming the streets of Phoenix serving every bodies favorite side dish turned entrée.

When Chef Wade realized there was no food truck focusing on Mac-n-Cheese he converted his Bistro on Wheels to serve only cheesy noodle goodness. The decision was made easier as mac-n-cheese was his best-selling selling item for years.

“I wanted to take something simple that everybody loves and really turn up on the volume on flavor profiles and interesting ingredient combinations,” says Simpson of his new concept. “At the end of the day, it’s about making our customers happy and feeding them great tasting, good quality food.”

Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese & more

Chef Wade has created some unique options for his truck including Truffle Mushroom Mac-n-Cheese, the spicy Southwest Mac-n-Cheese with green chiles and smoked pork, Lobstah Mac-n-Cheese and Nawlin’s Mac-n-Cheese with Andouille sausage, shrimp and Cajun spices.

Chef Wade has All American options on the menu including a Tomato & Bacon Burger topped with you got it mac-n-cheese, a Grilled Ham & Mac-n-Cheese sandwich on Texas Toast.

If you’re trying to stick to your New Year’s resolution Chef Wade offers a healthy & vegan option, Mac-n- Trees with broccoli, cauliflower, Butternut Squash and Cashew puree.

Classic Mac-n-Cheese can be customized to every bodies taste with additional toppings that include pesto, hot dog, bacon and more. For the adventurous eater order the Special Mac-n-Cheese and don’t ask for any specific ingredients and Chef Wade will surprise you.

Chef Wade’s continues to cater events around the valley serving customizable menus.

For more information see his website or call 602-301-8672

 

 

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.

 

Drip Coffee and Espresso truck to hit the streets of Phoenix

If you don’t have the energy to walk to your nearby coffee shop to get your cup of “go-go juice” you soon will be able to have it come to you. That is if you find yourself along the route of the new Drip Coffee and Espresso truck that will start traveling the streets of  Phoenix  in late August or early September.

Owner Jeff Rorvig is combing his restaurant experience and his passion for coffee to bring this new innovative way to bring coffee to the people.

“I love coffee and I’ve wanted to be in this business for a long time. My life has taken many twists and turns, but I’m excited to follow my dreams with Drip Coffee and Espresso. We can’t wait to hit the streets!” Rorvig said.

Drip Coffee and Espresso will offer a wide selection of caffeinated and un-caffeniated drinks from CULT Coffee Roaster including drip, iced and nitrogen infused coffee, cappuccino, lattes and mochas.  Flavored & Chai teas, Italian sodas and energy drinks will also be available along with locally made pastries.

Signature drinks have been brewed up for Drip Coffee and Espresso including the “Rising Sun,” which is made with coffee, espresso, milk, Mexican chocolate and whipped cream. If you need that extra boost to get you through your day then you’ll want either the “Buzzer,” a quad shot Mexican mocha or the “Zipper,” drip coffee with quad shot of espresso or “Perk Me Up,” drip coffee with double shot of espresso.

When the truck hits the streets you’ll be able to find where it’s headed by checking Twitter, Facebook or their soon to be completed website http://azdripcoffee.com/