Tag Archives: foodie

Chef Christopher Gross hosts 2018 Flavors of Phoenix

The Westin Resort & Spa will be the place to be on the evening of Thursday May 24th as 30 of Arizona’s talented chefs will be cooking for the 2018 Flavors of Phoenix. Started 27 years ago by Phoenix chef Christopher Gross this fund-raiser for the American Liver Foundation has grown to become a nationwide event in over 20 cities.chef Christopher Gross

“I had an idea for this concept over 27 years ago thinking we would raise funds for the liver community, and give guests the best food and wine experience possible–unlike any other,” says Chef Gross. “This event is now in over 20 cities helping people. I’m so proud of Flavors of Phoenix. It’s for me, the best event in the state because of the support of the restaurant community–I thank them very much.”

30 Arizona chefs

Chef Gross will be joined by a roster of 29 chefs many who you already know and several up n coming chefs showing off what they can do for the first time. A few of the chefs joining chef Gross and co-chairs Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro, Fat Ox, House Brasserie & The Mission & Westin Kierland’s own Chris Masco will be…..

Tom D’Ambrosio (Aioli Gourmet), Michael DeMaria (M Culinary), Anthony DeMuro (Different Pointe of View), Frank Desplechin (L’Auberge de Sedona), Ron Dimas (Orange Sky), David Duarte (Finestre Modern Gastronomy), Jacob Ellis (Top of the Rock), Skip Hause (Gertrude’s).

Pictured, clockwise from top right: Founding Chef, Christopher Gross (Wrigley Mansion); Chef Co-Chair, Matt Carter (Zinc Bistro, The Mission, The House Brasserie, Fat Ox); Chef Derek Biazo (Deseo); and Chef Co-Chair, Chris Masco (Westin Kierland Resort & Spa). All photos courtesy of Flavors of Phoenix

Dinner and Silent Auction

The festive evening begins at 6:00 p.m. with a cocktail reception and silent auction before the multi-course dinner. The dinner will highlight signature dishes and flavors of the host chefs and is expected to conclude about 10:30.

Tickets for the evening are $500 per person and will go directly to fund research, education & advocacy efforts of the American Liver Foundation.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

 

 

Chef Michael O’Dowd & Julian Wright to open Las Palmas Cantina in Chandler

Chef Michael O’Dowd is making his way back to the valley’s restaurant scene running the kitchen of restaurateur Julian Wright’s(Pedal Haus Brewery and others) new restaurant Las Palmas Cantina in downtown Chandler. When the restaurant opens in May it will serve coastal cuisine with Yucatan inspiration that Wright found when traveling to Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas of Mexico.

Executive chef Michael O’Dowd

O’Dowd returns to the valley after most recently working in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona as executive chef. When in Phoenix O’Dowd scored the coveted AAA Five Diamond  and Forbes Five Star Award  while executive chef at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” said Wright. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”

Las Palmas Cantina menus

O’Dowd’s menu will highlight the “sand to table” concept with seafood from local fish monger Chula Seafood along with “high country” ingredients. Fish available will include Pompano, Triggerfish, Snapper and more for ceviche and other dishes.

Las Palmas Sandia cocktail

Sweet & spice are tastes you’ll find at Las Palmas Cantina with your shared plates and lighter dishes that will include a jerk chicken Shaken Greens and Cochinta Pibil.

“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” said O’Dowd. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”

Just in time for summer, Las Palmas Cantina’s beverage program will offer refreshing tropical specialty cocktails and Mexican inspired craft beers brewed exclusively for Las Palmas. A selection of tequilas, mezcals and agua frescas will be offered and used as ingredients in the cocktail program.

Need a job

The 5,000 square foot restaurant is currently hiring and those interested can apply in person at the restaurant at 95 W. Boston in downtown Chandler on online at their website.

 

 

New menu and location for Farm & Craft

If you’re air conditioning kicked on this week it means were creeping towards warmer temps and eating lighter & colder foods and drinks to keep cool. In the restaurant scene in means chefs are shifting their menus to lighter seasonal ingredients including  locally grown spring and summer fruits & vegetables. Scottsdale’s Farm & Craft recently added 11 new healthy dishes to their menus.

new menu
Salad

New menu and Happy Hour

Crustless Quiche with cage free eggs, cheddar, chicken sausage, braised kale and chili flake served with a petite salad is one of the two new menu items for breakfast along with Steel Cut Oats with slow cooked coconut milk, turmeric vanilla almond milk, blueberry and apple relish with chia seeds.

On the lunch and dinner menus you’ll find Vegan Ceviche prepared with Golden beets, radish, cherry tomato, avocado, lime, tomato chili sauce, cilantro, served with flax tortilla chips.

Flatbread

An Asian inspired Chilled Raw Pad Thai Spiral with zucchini and carrot, bean sprouts, shredded brussels, raw almond, chili almond butter and tamarind honey and  Seared Cauliflower Steak with smoked paprika coconut butter served with harissa aioli and cucumber yogurt are just a few new dishes.

The Happy Hour menu has been updated as well.

Farm & Craft Uptown

Phoenix fans of Farm & Craft will be glad to know by the end of April the new location will be open on 7th St. at The Colony. The new location will seat more people with a larger patio and bar than Scottsdale and will create their own signature cocktails and menu items.

The Scottsdale location is at 4302 N. Scottsdale Rd. and the Uptown location is 5538 N. 7th St. For more info go to www.ilovefarmandcraft.com/

 

 

 

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.

 

Broadway Burger & Beer special at Miracle Mile Deli

If you follow me on Instagram @SandyWass quite often you’ll see  burger pics I’ve eaten. It should come as no surprise that when I heard Miracle Mile Deli was doing a week-long burger & beer special I wanted to know more and spread the word. The Broadway Burger & Beer Special is the family owned deli’s way of saying “Welcome to Spring” and the outdoor grilling season.

From April 16th – 22nd you can score a Broadway Burger and a cold refreshing pint of craft beer for only $13.

The Broadway Burger comes with aged cheddar, crispy bacon, Green Leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion and Miracle Mile dressing. A side of French Fries or side item of your choice and kosher dill pickle come with your burger.

Miracle Mile Deli is at 4433 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016

 

 

 

Rancho Pinot celebrates 25 years with throwback dinner series

Most of us don’t know what we’re doing 6 days from now let alone 6 months from now but in this case advanced planning is needed. Scottsdale’s Rancho Pinot celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year and is celebrating with 4 Throwback dinners as owner Chrysa Robertson invites her mentors and those she’s mentored to help re-create meals from the past.Rancho Pinot

The dinners will take place over 4 weeks in November.

Rancho Pinot has been serving customers farm to table meals using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients long before it was cool and Robertson helped start the first Phoenix chapter of Slow Food International.

What does she attribute to surviving 25 years with the ups and downs of owning a restaurant?

“My tightknit family taught me to appreciate and love food early on,” said Robertson. “I’ve always believed that in addition to food, it’s about hospitality. I could never do what I do without the support and talent of all the people – my family – who work with me. When guests come to Rancho Pinot, they’re coming to my home. I want my guests to feel good, taken care of and to have a civilized dining experience.”

Rancho Pinot Throwback dinners

Chrysa honed her kitchen skills in California before returning to Arizona to open Rancho Pinot in 1993. The dinners pay homage to those who inspired her and whom she’s inspired including FnB chef/owner Charleen Badman and Sacha Levine who’s opening her own restaurant.

The wine will be flowing as Rancho Pinot strolls down memory lane with theses weekly dinners.

Thursday, November 1, 2018 Girls Night

A dinner featuring several of Chef Robertson’s counterparts at Rancho over the years, including Charleen Badman of FnB in Scottsdale, Sacha Levine formerly of Ocotillo Restaurant, Michelle Mango of Mango Cakes, Shannon Plowman of La Vie in Pinetop and Wendy Lair, a personal chef in Northern California.

Thursday, November 8, 2018 Wine Night

A nod to Master Sommeliers, Wine Night features two Rancho Pinot alums, MS Bobby Stuckey and MS Christopher Tanghe, as they work the floor, pouring special bottles paired with an equally extravagant menu.

Thursday, November 15, 2018 Southern California Days

Mentor and inspiration, Nancy Silverton – currently Mozza and Chi Spaca in LA – formerly of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, joins friend Suzanne Tracht of Jar Restaurant in LA, to remember Chef Robertson’s time working in Los Angeles in 1990 with a fun and collaborative menu.

Thursday, November 29, 2018 Northern California Days
Celebrating Chef Robertson’s Napa Valley experience with Terra Restaurant’s Chef Hiro Sone and former sous chef, Jim Neal, this evening brings the famed flavors of Napa Valley to the Sonoran Desert for a can’t-miss culinary dinner event.

Starting in October you can RSVP by calling Rancho Pinot at 480-367-8030 or email to ranchopinot@hotmail.com

Rancho Pinot is at 6208 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250. For more information see their website.

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/

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

 

Aaron Chamberlain’s Taco Chelo opens March 9th along Roosevelt Row

Food is an art form in itself but many restaurants are creating space for other forms of art and downtown’s Phoenix’s new Taco Chelo combines food and art when it opens on Friday March 9th.

The team bringing Taco Chelo to life is restaurateur Aaron Chamberlain, artist Gennaro Garcia and chef Suny Santana.

“Taco Chelo celebrates great food as well as great art, creating an experience unlike anything else in the Valley,” said Chamberlin, of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Café fame. “In terms of culinary and artistic talent, we’ve got the real deal, and it’s showcased in our menu, on our walls and throughout the restaurant in its entirety.”

Taco Chelo art

The 1,000 square foot Taco Chelo was designed by the internationally acclaimed Garcia and the restaurant adorns his art work that includes custom-made pieces from Mexico.

“What we worked to create here is an experience that caters to all senses,” Gennaro said. “I see this restaurant project as an ongoing art installation and a collaboration of the visual and culinary arts”.

In the kitchen

Chef Suny Santana will be for sure preparing tacos, but his menu goes beyond that creating dishes he learned from his mother as child on a farm in Monterrey Mexico.

Recipes include chicharrones, chips & guacamole and pinto beans stewed with bacon and pico de gallo known as “frijoles a la charra”. Salads are also available as is beer, wine and cocktails.

Chef Santana and Taco Chelo already has a fan in Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, “Downtown is experiencing a renaissance, now home to world-class arts, culture, nightlife and great culinary concepts that showcase the flavor of Phoenix,” says Stanton. “Taco Chelo — a restaurant with an emphasis on both food and art — is a great fit for Roosevelt Row. I can’t wait to try what Chef Suny Santana is cooking up!”

Taco Chelo will be open Sun. – Thurs. from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. and is at 501 E. Roosevelt St. Phoenix 85004. 602-368-5316. For more information check out their website.

 

 

Two chefs are better than one at The Market Restaurant +Bar

We’ve seen a lot of chefs combine forces as one way to share the higher costs of running a restaurant(s) these days. The latest duo to design a strategy is local chefs Jennifer Russo of The Market Restaurant + Bar at Jennifer’s and chef David Duarte. The duo started this week with a culinary commencement dinner featuring both chefs preparing dinner for their “space share” concept.

Sharing space at The Market Restaurant + Bar

The “space share” strategy will allow the two chef’s to work independently while sharing the same equipment, dining room etc.  Jennifer will continue to serve brunch, lunch and dinner her customers have been coming back for.

The Market Restaurant + Bar will be open Sat. and Sun. from 9a.m.-3p.m. for brunch, Wed. Thurs. & Fri. from 11 a.m.- 10p.m.  and the 1st & 3rd Sat. for dinner from 5p.m. – 10p.m.

Chef Duarte’s new concept

Chef David Duarte’s “Finestre Modern Gastronomy” will serve dinner at The Market on Sun, Mon,Tues. and the 2nd & 4th Sat. from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Finestre Modern Gastronomy will serve a 5, 7, or 9 course seasonal menu that can be paired with or without wine. Prices will range from $60- $225 per person based number of courses and wine pairing.

“It’s truly my honor to share the space at The Market with David. He’s a culinary genius and will offer a stellar menu that is sure to wow guests,” said Russo.

The Market Restaurant + Bar is at 3603 E. Indian School Rd. #Ste. A Phoenix 85018. For more information and to make a reservation call 602-626-5050 or at http://themarketphx.com/