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.
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.
Zuzu and executive chef Russell LaCasce know how to pull off exciting off menu dinner events. Diners and wine geeks should be excited for their continued success as the next four months of their monthly Monday Night Chef’s Table is set.
The signature restaurant at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho will offer guests a 4-course dinner paired with wines from prestigious wineries. A guest from the winery will be on hand to speak about the wines and pairings. Although all the menus are not finalized the wineries are and dates are as follows….
August 27th Frog’s Leap Winery– Guests can expect a menu of cabbage cured salmon, charred jumbo asparagus with prosciutto and lobster, dry aged pork chop, and chocolate pot de crème with almond crumble.
September 17th- Wagner Family of Wines
October 22nd– ZD Wines
November 12th– Willakenzie Estate
Each of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and cost $75 ++ per person and reservations can be made at http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/ or by calling 480-376-2600. Zuzu is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.
With local farmer’s markets growing in popularity the last few years in Phoenix it comes as no surprise when it heats up many farmer’s markets take the summer off. Hotel Valley Ho’s executive chef Rusell LaCasce’s solution is to have an indoor farmer’s market and invite a few chef friends.
On Saturday June 23rd & 30th and July 14th & 21st guests can escape the heat at the hotels’ Sands event venue from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Farmer’s market chefs & vendors
Guests will enjoy small bites prepared by local chefs Matt Carter, Gio Osso and Beau Macmillan while they shop for produce and handcrafted goods. At the Zuzu booth Chef LaCasce and Pastry Chef Audrey Enriquez will be selling homemade pastries including pies, scones and other homemade treats.
Guests will also be able to sample cocktails, purchase drinks from the full bar and listen to live music from Trio Rio while they shop.
Local purveyors including MJ Bread, Crow’s Dairy, Twisted Infusion Farms and Ruze Cake House will be on hand with other Arizona purveyors.
A refrigerate bag check will be available for your purchases while you enjoy the morning.
Tickets for the farmer’s market are available on-line for $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Your ticket gets you chef’s bites, cocktail samples and a 25% off gift certificate at Zuzu. A $10 voucher for use at the market with a purchase of $20 or more is also included.
Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.
Staying cool and comfortable is at the top of the priority list for the summer months. One of the best ways is to refresh oneself is to stay hydrated and Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale has several ways to quench your thirst and keep you cool this summer.
Chilled signature cocktails, Bloody Mary’s or Mimosa’s at the bar, frozen desserts and wine in the dining room are just a few of the ways Zuzu helps you beat the heat on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Chill out in the Zuzu Lounge
In the Zuzu Lounge guests can enjoy craft cocktails daily including the bubbly prosecco Fizzy Lifting Drink made with Aperol, club soda, Campari infused blood orange foam and carbonated blackberry.
Looking for a more tropical cocktail then the Second Star to the Right is for you. The tiki styled drink includes two types of rum, tequila, sake, guava nectar, passion fruit puree, orange & pineapple juices and pear-lemon marmalade.
Saturday’s & Sunday’s offers a Bloody Mary + Mimosa Bar from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. during brunch for guests to build their own drink.
Summer in the dining room
Start your dinner of with a cold dessert as Zuzu pastry chef Audrey Enriquez continues to dazzle guests with her monthly “Show Stopper” shake. The large dessert combines a variety of house made desserts for the whole table to enjoy. Cinnamon Horchata is May’s shake of the month.
Starting June 4th, every Sunday – Thursday guests can get 1/2 all bottles of wine when you dine at Zuzu. Guest can enjoy this deal all summer thru September 16th.
Monday Night’s Chef Table continues through the summer with wine dinners. The monthly four-course dinner is prepared by executive chef Russell LaCasce and his culinary team that pairs with wines from around the world.
“Farmer in the House’ is the theme for the dinner on May 20th with Duncan’s Trading Company and JUSTIN Wines.
June 18th brings New Mexico’s Gruet Winery to Zuzu.
July 16th special rose dinner brings four wineries to the table. -Chateau Gassier, Ferrari-Carano, WillaKenzie and Veuve Cliquot wines will be paired & poured.
The dinners start promptly at 6:30 p.m. and are $75 per person plus tax and tip. Reservations can be made by calling 480-376-2600 or by going to their website.
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.
It’s 10 days until we can kiss 2016 good bye and welcome the excitement 2017 will bring us. Those that like to ring in the new year in style can find plenty of places around Phoenix to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Below is a list of several restaurants that are offering dinner on the big night.
Pomelo at The Orchard
Chef Javi Perez will be serving dinner from 5pm – 10pm on New Year’s Eve with limited seating for the prie fix menu. The cost is $120 per couple with 2 glasses of Veuve Cliquot champagne included. To make reservations call 602-633-2600.
Starters (one to share)
Calamari & Shrimp Fritti—Crispy calamari and shrimp served with pomodoro and buttermilk dressing.
Chef’s Board—Assortment of cured meats, artisanal cheeses with toasted baguettes.
Wedge—Half head of iceberg lettuce, bleu cheese buttermilk dressing, crispy bacon, hard-boiled egg and tomato confit. (suggested wine pairing) Saint Louis Sancerre | 2014, Loire Valley
Specialties (one per person)
New York Strip *MR—(12 oz.) angus beef grilled over Arizona Mesquite served with shrimp in a parmesan sauce, seasonal vegetables and scalloped potatoes.(suggested wine pairing) Poggio alla Guardia Super Tuscan | 2012, Tuscany, Italy
Short Ribs—Braised to perfection served with a peppercorn demi glaze sauce and served with seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes (suggested wine pairing) Milbrandt Merlot | 2014, Columbia Valley, Washington
Salted caramel cookie—Warm salted caramel over shortbread cookie served with vanilla gelato, chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. (suggested wine pairing) Veuve Clicquot Rose | NV, Reims, France
Pomelo at The Orchard is part of The Orchard PHX, a two acre venue located at 7100 N 12th St. in Phoenix. http://www.pomelophx.com
Sorso Wine Room
North Scottsdale’s Sorso Wine Room will offer 2 seating’s for their celebration at 6:30 & 8:30. Chef Paige Murphy will prepare a 5 course prie fixe menu with a wine or beer pairing. The cost is $100 per person and includes tax & gratuity. Additional bottles of wine are 1/2 all night. To make a reservation call 480-951-4344. The menu may include the following….
Zuzu will over 2 seatings at 5:30 for $75 per person and 8:00 for $95 per person for a 3 course dinner. Those who attend either dinner are invited to a complimentary rooftop Champagne toast at midnight. Tax, gratuity and alcohol are additional at dinner.
A few of the options for dinner include a choice of a starterhttps://www.hotelvalleyho.com/hotel/hotel-events/new-years-eve, entrée and dessert from a special menu. Delicious options include Lobster Bisque with crème fraiche and brioche croutons, Herb Roasted Wagyu Beef Striploin with roasted fingerling potatoes, and Huckleberry Crème Brulee.
EVO ends 2016 with a 4 course Italian feast starting 4pm going til 2am for $55 per person. The menu below will be the only menu served on New Year’s Eve and those in the bar can order a la carte. To RSVP call 480-265-9814.
3 seatings will be available on New Year’s Eve at Joe’s Midnight Run in central Phoenix. 5:00 & 7:30 seatings are $65 per person and the 10:00 seating is $75 per person and will include party favors and a champagne toast. Reservations can be made by phone at 480-459-4467 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Course: Choose 1
Pulpo-grilled fingerling potatoes, paprika oil, garlic and lemon
Scottsdale’s iconic Hotel Valley Ho recently has made a change in its culinary operations and has named Russell LaCasce as executive chef effective January 2nd, 2017. LaCasce comes from Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa where he was the executive sous chef where he worked closely with executive chef Beau Macmillan since 2010.
LaCasce found his passion for food and cooking 20 years ago while working in Charleston, South Carolina before moving to Park City, Utah to learn the service side of the restaurant industry.
After moving to Scottsdale in 2006 he attended the Arizona Culinary Institute and went to work at T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms Resort before heading to the other side of Camelback Mountain to Sanctuary on Camelback. While at T.Cook’s he worked with executive chef Lee Hillson and rose the p.m. sous chef position.
At Hotel Valley Ho LaCasce will oversee all aspects of the hotels culinary operations including the hotel’s restaurant Zuzu, in-room dining, catering and banquets.
“We are delighted to have Russell as our new executive chef. His reputation for delivering creative and flavorful cuisine coupled with his ability to lead his culinary colleagues made him the perfect fit for this key position. We are very much looking forward to seeing how he influences ZuZu and all of our culinary operations,” said Ronen Aviram, the hotel’s general manager.
LaCasce replaces executive chef Charles Wiley who has moved to the soon to open Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley where he will be the executive chef. Wiley will continue to be director of food and beverage for Westroc Hospitality which has developed and manages Hotel Valley Ho, Sanctuary on Camelback and Mountain Shadows.
If you’re a last-minute planner, don’t feel like discussing current events around the dinner table with family & friends or you just don’t feel like cooking there’s still time to make a reservation at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you prefer a variety of traditional holiday fare or unique dinner items there’s room at the table for you.
Thanksgiving dinner buffet in Sands
Serving from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. this classic Thanksgiving buffet will include all your favorites including a slow roasted turkey stuffed with chorizo cornbread stuffing, all the classic side dishes and homemade desserts. In addition diners can give thanks for chilled shrimp, crab claws, roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and a pomegranate reduction and more. The buffet is $59 per adult & $19 per child plus beverage, tax & tip.
A la carte menu in Zuzu
Zuzu will be serving its seasonal menu along with turkey and all the trimmings from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Reservations are recommended for both dinners and can be made by calling 480-421-7997
One of the benefits of living in the Phoenix area are the great sunsets and scenic views that surround us, throw in cold beer at the end of the day and you’ve got it made. With the that in mind, Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale will be kicking off their “Rooftop Beer Garden” series on Thursday Nov. 17th on their 8th floor Sky Line rooftop.
Each rooftop event will have a theme and the first event will be a Tailgate Party with Phoenix’s SunUp Brewing Company. Watch the game between the New Orleans Saints & Carolina Panthers while enjoying tailgate cuisine from the hotels signature restaurant Zuzu that will prepare Lobster Corndogs, Bratwurst, Skewered Bacon Wrapped Top Sirloin and more at 3 tasting stations. SunUp Brewing will be pouring their Horizon Hefeweizen, Vanilla Porter and Trooper IPA with the brew master attending to speak about the beers. Pull up a chair at one of the communal tables and eat at your own pace while you watch the game. During commercials and halftime a DJ will be entertaining the crowd.
Reservations and more
The tailgate kicks off at 5:30 pm and costs $59 plus tax & gratuity and includes food & SunUp beers. A full bar will be available separately. Reservations and payment are required in advance and can be made by calling 480-421-7997 Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale 85251 http://www.hotelvalleyho.com