In the heart of old town Scottsdale sits the colorful Saguaro Hotel and it’s signature restaurant La Senora. The trendy hotel started serving weekend brunch in January offering breakfast starting at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For those looking for a more lunch inspired brunch the All Day menu starts at 11 a.m.
The breakfast menu includes Chiliquiles Verdes, Avocado Toast, Banana Foster Buttermilk Pancakes and a Citrus Cured Steelhead Trout Bagel.
The All Day menu includes Chicken Tinga Quesadilla, Cactus Tacos and The Saguaro’s take on a Sonoran Hot Dog. Like the breakfast menu there’s more offered to choose from.
Executive chef Caesar Vasquez takes pride in the authenticity and house made ingredients in the traditional dishes served. From the house made chorizo and berry compote at breakfast or the corn tortillas for tacos all are made from scratch.
The Saguaro Scottsdale Brunch Specials
Two new specials are offered during weekend brunch, Gluten Free Churros($9) and Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight($12).
The Gluten Free Churros are made in-house and prepared when ordered. Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon they come served with Mexican caramel (Cajeta) and chocolate dipping sauces.
“Eating out with friends can be difficult when dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying your favorite foods,” said Maritza Portillo, Director of Food & Beverage Outlets. “Not at The Saguaro! Here, we created a dish that everyone
can share. Our churros are so good, we’re sure you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten-free!”
The Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight compliments your sweet, spicy or savory relaxing weekend brunch . The Saguaro Classic, Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Mimosa’s offer a refreshing start to the day. “Your drinks should be as beautiful as your surroundings. We took the colorful tones of The Saguaro and the unique flavors of the desert landscape to create a mimosa flight that is sure to impress,” said Portillo.
Hand-crafted cocktails are available by the glass or by the pitcher including The Saguaro Belle. Sweet and spicy it’s made with pineapple vodka, sparkling wine, honey, jalapeno and lime.
The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale is at 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information or to see the full menus visit their website.
Fall arrived early here in Scottsdale and right on time for the new seasonal menus at Zuzu. The retro Hotel Valley Ho’s signature restaurant last week debuted a new menu for all three meals and dessert.
Executive chef Russell LaCasce created the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and left the dessert menu for new pastry chef Lisa Graf. The new dishes offer ingredients for the Fall season and many ingredients are sourced locally.
What’s new on the menus
The new menus offer something for all diets and palates including spicy, sweet, meaty and those who like vegetables.
Breakfast and brunch fans will enjoy Cereal Milk Stuffed French Toast, made with Fruity Pebble crumbs, cereal milk pastry cream, maple syrup and whipped cream.
Lunch offers a Korean BBQ burger, Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and The John Berry. The latter is full of spaghetti squash, cherry heirloom tomatoes, spinach, pesto, pine nuts, 3 jumbo shrimp and Parmesan cheese.
Dinner serves up two new starters such as Burrata and a Baby Back Rib Stack with mango chipolte BBQ sauce.
Entrees include Jidoori Half Chicken, Braised Beef Short Rib and the 60-Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse. The Portehouse is brined with aji pepper & maple and comes served with brussel sprouts and candied kombucha squash.
Make sure you save room for dessert
This is pastry chef’s Lisa Grafs first menu since joining Zuzu. Diners will enjoy Butterscotch Creme Brulee, Baked Alaska and The Troubled German Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake is made with chocolate sponge cake, German chocolate filling, graham pretzel crust, espresso cheesecake, buttercream and ganache.
The famous Showstopper Shake celebrates the arrival of the state fair for the month of October. A Twinkie shake base, a fried cheesecake ball, funnel cake and more make this dessert a fun for at least two people.
Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.
Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint
Correction: Richard was promoted to Executive Sous Chef of the resort, not Hearth ’61.
In less than a year at Mountain Shadows Resort, Banquet Chef Richard Garcia has been promoted to Executive Sous Chef at the Paradise Valley resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61. Garcia will be working under the guidance of Executive Chef Charles Wiley. This isn’t the first time the duo have worked together as they helped re-open Hotel Valley Ho in 2005.
New Mexico born Garcia spent time in Santa Fe where he found his love for food and cooking from local chefs. In 1998 he worked at Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe learning how to cook southwestern cuisine before attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute. After earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts he returned to Santa Fe to work at the El Dorado Hotel.
Garcia returned to Scottsdale’s Avalon in his first sous chef position before heading to Trader Vic’s as sous chef. He joined Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu as their first chef de cuisine before being promoted to executive sous chef.
He was re-united with Wiley in late 2017 when he accepted a position at Mountain Shadows as banquet chef.
Wiley is thrilled to have him at Hearth ’61 as he brings his innovative cooking style using simple ingredients to the menu.
It was less than a year ago that I reported that James Beard Award winning chef Alex Stratta took over culinary operations at The Herb Box , well that short-lived stint has come to an end. Chef Stratta has taken his culinary talents to MATCH:Restaurant & Cocktails in The Found:Re Hotel in Phoenix.
New menu debut
The first change will take place in September when chef Stratta will debut a new menu for the wood-fired and local focused restaurant. “We are testing new recipes and seeking the perfect balance of flavor and relatable dishes that suit the tastes of our local residents and out-of-town guests,” said Stratta. “The wood fired oven and grill will continue to take center stage as we evolve our menu.”
He and his team will continue to focus on simple, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients that will be presented in an artful style to coincide with the hotels art inspired decor and design.
The Alex Stratta culinary history
The globe-trotting chef has collected awards for his Las Vegas restaurants Stratta & ALEX and his first stint in Phoenix at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort. He’s also worked for famed chefs Alain Ducasse in Monaco at Louis XV in The Hotel de Paris and Daniel Boulud in New York at Le Cirque. He’s also made the finals on Top Chef Masters, Italian Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. In addition to his James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” award he’s been named a Food & Wine Best New Chef, several AAA Five Diamond awards and a two star rating from the Michelin Guide for ALEX.
When I wrote about new executive chef Russell Lacasce taking over the kitchen at the Hotel Valley Ho’s flagship restaurant Zuzu back in Dec. I wondered what direction he would take the restaurant. I now know as Lacasce has introduced his first dinner menu since arriving at the Zuzu in January. A few restaurant bloggers and myself had the opportunity to taste several of the new menu items and speak to Lacasce and other members of his culinary team.
“I wanted the new menu to be very approachable, while offering dishes with complex combinations of flavors and textures that diners might not expect,” said LaCasce. “Everything is fresh and seasonal, with a strong focus on showcasing our amazing local farmers and purveyors.” Several of the Zuzu’s previous American comfort food staples are still available in the lounge.
Chef Russell Lacasce new menu items
The new menu includes dishes that perfect for sharing and include….
Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare with spicy chicharones, Avocado mousse, Heirloom tomatoes, with a local Feta and shallot buttermilk dressing. This small plate tasted fresh with a hint of spice and a nice touch from the crispy chicharone.
The Burrata has a creamy and smooth texture and the addition of pickled strawberries & toasted pistachios give it flavors you’d be hard pressed to find on other plates of Burrata around town.
The Hokkaido Scallops comes three to a serving separated by one of the more unique ingredients I’ve found recently, fried Meyer lemon wedges. Both are served over a bed of toasted cous cous & pine nuts and drizzled with a shellfish butter. The scallops practically melt in your mouth and citrus flavor and crunch from the Panko crusted fried lemon may have made me a scallop convert. This dish is not to be missed by scallop enthusiasts.
The entrée we tasted was the item on the whole menu that raised my eye brow when I read it…..Baker’s Bacon Chop. A 20 lb. back bacon loin that is house carved, cured, smoked and honey lacquered prior to being plated. Served with green harissa, burnt orange, fresh herbs, pickled chiles and pork rinds. All I can say is WOW! A loin of crispy back bacon will give a whole new meaning to bacon. It’s also great for those who prefer gluten-free dinners.
What’s next at Zuzu
At the same time the dinner menu debuted in early May, Lacasce introduced a lounge menu and new dessert menu from pastry chef Audrey Enriquez. In coming weeks he will be rolling out new breakfast, lunch and brunch menus for diners to sink their teeth into. If his first menu is any indication of what’s to come in June we should be pick a day now, circle on the calendar and plan to check out Zuzu.