Valley chef fishing in Alaska for King Salmon today, on the menu tonight

As I type Ocean 44 Chief Executive Chef Marc Lupino is on his way back to Scottsdale after a quick fishing trip to Alaska. Lupino left Wednesday for Cordova to fish the Copper River for King Salmon before the fishing season opens for commercial fishing.

This unique opportunity has Lupino and a small group of people fishing Thursday into Friday before returning to Scottsdale. Once he returns he will prepare the fish for guests Friday evening. It doesn’t get much fresher than that, especially for a restaurant so far from the Copper River.

Once in the kitchen the fish will be braised in spring water, butter and lemon. Can’t make it in tonight, the fish will be on the menu in coming weeks as more fish are caught.

Celebrating the Copper River King Salmon

This annual event as the fishing season opens has restaurants anticipating the arrival of this rich and flavorful fish. Restaurants in Seattle celebrate it’s arrival as Alaska Airlines delivers thousands of pounds of the fish Friday morning.

The airline’s “Salmon Thirty Salmon” even displays a 129 foot image of the wild caught salmon.

2019 is expected to be better than 2018 for the salmon harvest.

Ocean 44 is at 4748 N. Goldwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251.

It’s National BBQ Month and Famous Dave’s has deals for your meals

There’s a lot to celebrate in the month of May including foodie favorite National BBQ Month. The 4 Phoenix area Famous Dave’s BBQ’s have a months worth of BBQ deals for smoked meat lovers.

Chicken Week starts today through the 12th. $12.99 for a chicken platter, 2 sides, salad and cornbread.

Add-On Brisket Week is the 13th – 19th. For $2 you can add smoked brisket to any entrée.

Every Monday in May is BOGO Monday. Buy 1 sandwich and get 1 FREE!

Must mention above offer to get deals.

Tuesday is $29.99 Feast for 2. Save $14!

When mom and dad order an entrée on Tuesday, kid’s get to eat for free from the Lil Wilbur’s menu. 1 free kids meal per adult entrée.

Wing Wednesday gets you $.50 Jumbo Wings. Do I need to say anything else!

All You Can Eat Rib Tips for $15.99 on Thursdays. Sorry no sharing or to-go boxes for this one.

Kick off the weekend on Friday’s with $5 Hand Crafted Signature Drinks.

Also during National BBQ Month

You know your mom loves BBQ so bring her in on Mother’s Day for a $10 gift card for another visit. And Signature Drinks are just $5.

Senior Lunch Deal gets those 55 & over saving 20% everyday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. in May. Don’t forget to mention the offer for this one.

Book a graduation party at Famous Dave’s during National BBQ Month and get a $25 gift card for future visit. Call 480-718-5331, text 480-310-9310 or email  catering@famousdavesaz.com  for more information and to place your order!

Until May 19th bring a case of water and help fill an F-150 and receive 1/2 off voucher for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix AND a free brisket sandwich. Limited quantities on both.

Visit Famous Dave’s BBQ for more details. No other discounts on above promotions valid. The 4 Phoenix area Famous Dave’s are at Mesa Riverview, Santan Village in Gilbert, Chandler & Peoria.

 

 

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa offers Winemaker Dinner Series

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa has announced their lineup for their Winemaker Dinner Series for the rest of 2019. The dinners will feature California wineries paired with a delicious four-course menu prepared by chefs Juan Solorio & Joaquin Estolano Jr.

Dinners will be held in the resorts Alto Ristorante e Bar and will start with an appetizer and wine reception at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7. I recently had the opportunity to taste the several dishes prepared by the creative culinary team and guests are in for an epicurean experience. To see what I dined on visit my Instagram @SandyWass.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa’s Winemaker Dinner Series.

Nickel & Nickel -Thursday, May 23, 2019

Established in 1997, Nickel & Nickel are devoted exclusively to producing 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinctive personality of each vineyard.

Joseph Wagner Wines -Thursday, June 20, 2019

A family of fine wines, Joseph Wagner is made from some of the best regions in California.

Frog’s Leap- Thursday, July 18, 2019

Adhering to the premise that the greatest wines are those that truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance. Frog’s Leap believes the winemaker’s role is to stand back and let the natural beauty of grapes show through.

BV (Beaulieu Vineyards)- Thursday, August 15. 2019

Founded in 1900, BV continues with the spirit of innovation to produce exceptional wines that stand among the world’s finest.

Duckhorn- Thursday, September 19, 2019

Over the past 40 years, Duckhorn has established itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines.

The per person price for June through September is $95++.

Orin Swift- Thursday, October 17, 2019

Combining excellent wines with creative labeling, Orin Swift has grown very fast to become one of the wines most enjoyed.

Plumpjack- Thursday, November 14, 2019

Their wines are a reflection of their unique terroir, the passion and precision of their winemaker, and their commitment to craft wines consistently express the distinct qualities of their estate vineyards in the Oakville appellation.

ZD- Thursday, December 19, 2019

Over three generations, their passion for wine has gained ZD the recognition as one of Napa Valley’s favorite offering unrivaled world-class wines.

The per person price for October through December is $115++.

Reserve your seat

Because seats are limited, reservations are required. To make a reservation call (480)444-1234 ext. 8650. Repeat guests will receive 10% off the new dinner. To see menus as they are planned visit their website. Wines will be available for purchase at a discounted price.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is at 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. Scottsdale 85258.

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen spices it up in Tempe

Restaurateur Ron Lynch is no stranger to opening restaurants having opened over 100 Tilted Kilt’s across the country.  Having left Tilted Kilt, Lynch has opened VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen. The restaurant on Elliot Rd. near Costco serves up Cajun, Creole & Caribbean cuisine.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Jambalaya. Photos credit Janet Zhou-Wilt

“We are excited about our location and have really put a lot of work into this menu,” said owner and founder, Ron Lynch. “If there’s one thing to know about Cajun food it’s that the dishes have to be just right. Our patio will be a place for families to people watch, sip some custom blended ice teas, porch wines, nitro cold brew coffee or a craft beer and enjoy a nice bowl of gumbo or jambalaya.”

Lynch brought with him James Heyl to prepare the menu full of savory and spicy dishes. Heyl brings with over 25 years of restaurant experience. Dishes include Po’ Boys, gumbo, red beans & rice and pan roasts from the restaurants steam kettles.

The bright yellow 3,150 square foot restaurant is decorated with murals of late night jazz players dancing on piano keys. Dark wood floors and brick walls adorn the inside of the fast casual restaurant.

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen official grand opening

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is now open but will have an official grand opening on Thursday May 16th at 11 a.m. That day a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Tempe Diablos. The 501-c non-profit civic organization enhances and promotes the Tempe community. In 2018 the Diablos donated $900,000 to Tempe area charities for scholarships, teacher awards and needs based services.

VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen
Pork Po’boy

“The recipe for a great restaurant is incredible food and drinks, a perfect location and rich atmosphere,” said Lynch. “VooDoo Daddy’s has all of that and more. We couldn’t be more excited for this launch.”

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen is at 1325. W. Elliot Rd. Suite 106 Tempe 85284. The restaurant is open Sun. – Thurs. from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. & 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. For more information see their website.

Tempe Public Market Cafe to close in May for a re-model

Popular eatery Tempe Public Market Cafe will temporarily close Monday May 6th to make some changes. The cafe will become a full service cafe and preparations are being made.

“We are committed to keeping in line with the look and feel of this close-knit area,” said Dave Chamberlin, president of Tempe Public Market Café. “When you are relaxing on our patio or if you’re getting a bite with friends and family, we want you to feel like you are at your second home.”

When the restaurant re-opens in early June customers will notice more tables, high top tables on the patio and  plans for a projector. Inside they will have new menu options along with full-service brunch and dinner. Other changes include community tables replacing booths, a new lounge area and an expanded retail area. The retail area will allow for more merchandise, sauces and products from local vendors.Tempe Public market Cafe

A new pastry case will entice customers with sweet treats and new tiles and murals will add color to the decor.

Local artist Gennaro Garcia has been commissioned for the murals both inside and out. Garcia is known for vibrant murals around Phoenix and is popular with other restaurants.

“The work we are doing at the restaurant is all with the community in mind,” said Chamberlin.

Valued employees will be offered jobs at the company’s headquarters and at its sister restaurant Ghost Ranch during the closure.

Tempe Public Market Cafe is at 8749 S. Rural Rd. Tempe 85284. For more information visit their website.

 

It’s a BIG DEAL at Miracle Mile Deli to survive 70 years

When Jack Grodzinsky opened Miracle Mile Deli he wasn’t sure the restaurant would last 5 years, let alone 70. Since 1949 when the native New Yorker opened the deli it has become one of the most popular Phoenix restaurants. The 3rd generation of the Grodzinky/Garcia family runs the restaurant now serving a menu of delis staples to hungry customers. To celebrate their seven decades in business they are offering customers a “BIG Deal” on Friday May 10th.

From 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. guests can get any two of their famous deli sandwiches for only $19.49.

Part of the “BIG DEAL” proceeds will be donated to “Partners That Heal“, a program at the Phoenix Theatre that uses improvisation & structure to improve communication in a variety of care settings. Specially trained team members assess needs and qualities of each person and use improvisation to build trust and communication.

Customers can win a $100 Miracle Mile gift card with a drawing every hour on the hour from 12 – 8 p.m.

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

Pomo Pizzeria celebrates its 9th anniversary with what else…a pizza party

Hard to believe it was 9 years ago when Phoenicians fell in love with Pomo Pizzeria. Since then the original location at The Borgata has re-located up the street to Gainey Ranch, a Gilbert and downtown Phoenix location have opened and owner Stefano Fabbri has opened Mora Italian, Luna Gelateria and Meat the Ball. The pizzeria also has racked up numerous accolades for it Neapolitan style pizza.pizza

What better way to celebrate than throwing a pizza party which is what will happen on Thursday May 9th. From 5 – 7 p.m. at the three Pomo locations the public is welcome to join the free party.

Party goers will taste dishes from their happy hour menu, Aperol spritz’s and non-alcoholic punch.

Gilbert: 366 N. Gilbert Rd. #106

Phoenix: 705 N. 1st Street #120

Scottsdale: 8977 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Bulleit Bourbon hosts Kentucky Derby party at Turf Paradise

Many weeks and months go into preparation for the two and half-minute Kentucky Derby. Not just the horses and trainers in Louisville at Churchill Downs but at bars and restaurants celebrating around the country.

On May 4th the place to be is Phoenix’s Turf Paradise racetrack to get into the derby day spirit. No better place to show off your head wear and sip on a Mint Julep other than the All New Bulleit Bourbon Derby Dayclub. Tickets will be sold out by the time the races start at this all day party.

Photo courtesy of Dorian and LDH Consulting

The air-cooled track-side tent opens at 10:30 a.m. with live racing starting at 11:30 where you can cheer and bet on your favorite horses. The Kentucky Derby will be shown live later in the afternoon.

Tickets for General Admission for the Dayclub are $30 in advance with reserved seating $60 per ticket. Inside you’ll have access to track side betting, a cash bar for Mint Juleps, beer, wine and cocktails, a DJ and “65 inch TVs to watch the race. The Fried & Frizzy food truck will be outside the tent serving up fried chicken and champagne.

Kentucky Derby
Photo courtesy of Rose-Moser-Allyn Public Relations

Prefer to sit in the first few rows to see all the action than pony up $1,000 for a first row table with a bottle complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon, $750 for second row table with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or $500 for third row table with a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne.

Other Phoenix area bars and restaurants will be celebrating the fastest 2 minutes in sports. Reserve your seat at Mowry & Cotton, Dorian and Arcadia Tavern to watch all the fun.

Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass, Twitter @SandyWasserman and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks/

As cold brew coffee grows in popularity Press Coffee offers ready-to-go cans

Cold brew coffee sales grew by 137% in 2017 and can now be found on supermarket shelves, not just in specialty coffee shops. Press Coffee will start selling a canned version of their cold brew starting May 4th at all locations around Phoenix. Perfect timing for summer as the cold drink can be refreshing and energetic in the hots days ahead.

“We’re proud at Press to have helped lead the way in creating a great, locally made cold brew that Arizona can call its own,” said Alex Mason, Press Coffee co-owner. “It’s been exciting to see people discover the drink and want to learn more about it. Now with a canned option, it is even easier for them to enjoy Press Cold Brew wherever they go.”cold brew

Cold brew vs hot brewed coffee

Press lead the way in 2013 when it started offering cold drink on tap around town.

Most people think of cold brew as hot coffee chilled and poured over ice. Not true as cold coffee is prepared in a longer and slower process. Press steeps their brew for 20 hours giving it a sweeter taste and more caffeine.

Press increased their production of kegs anticipating the continued popularity of the drink. They now work on a 15 keg system and expect to make equivalent of 10,000 cups of coffee a week.

The increase in production coincides with Press’s soon to open roasting facility in north Phoenix.

“I don’t think anybody imagined the cold brew market would become what it is today at the pace it has,” said Mason. “This expanded production allows us to provide this great drink to even more of Arizona.”

Tempe at Skywater Apartments: 601 W. Rio Salado Pkwy                                  

Tempe at Nexa Apartments: 1221 E. Apache Blvd.

Scottsdale at Scottsdale Quarter: 15147 N Scottsdale Rd. #102

Scottsdale Waterfront: 7135 E. Camelback Rd.

Chandler Ocotillo: 2577 W. Queen Creek Rd.

Phoenix at The Muse Apartments: 1616 N. Central Ave.

Phoenix Biltmore: 2390 E. Camelback Rd.

I spent my Spring Break eating my way through Salt Lake City

Most people spend their Spring Break heading to beaches or somewhere exotic. I spent my Spring Break road tripping to Salt Lake City to explore the city and food scene. I enjoyed meals at locally owned restaurants based on the recommendation of my friend who has spent the last year living in the area.

The 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City we knew we’d have to stop for at least one meal on the way up. Heading through Page and past Lake Powell into southern Utah you don’t have a lot options once you cross the border. Most meals were under $20 with a couple just above.

First 24 hours in Utah

We decided to stop for dinner in Kanab and pulled into Big Al’s Burgers Drive-In. Kanab is the main route as you head from eastern Arizona to the national parks of southern Utah and points north. A nice little town before you head up the back roads towards I-15. Big Al’s is exactly what you’d expect, burgers, fries, shakes and a few other drive-in favorites. I went with Double Rustler Burger value meal, a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Friendly service and made to order food made for a positive first impression of the Utah food scene. It was also my first experience being asked if I wanted “Fry Sauce”. Expect to be asked for this mayo ketchup combo in Utah when ordering fries and other fried foods. I declined as I prefer only ketchup but did taste my friends sauce. It was exactly what you’d expect.

After we made our way through the canyons and over the mountain pass into the night and a snowstorm we arrived late in the night at our destination.

After sleeping in and eggs and coffee at my friend’s place for breakfast we made our way for a mid-afternoon dim sum lunch at Cafe Anh Hong. In a small strip mall full of far east restaurants Anh Hong wasn’t the traditional dim sum restaurant. No ladies pushing carts full of dim sum delicacies but a picture menu under the plexiglass table top. Tell them what you want and everything is made to order. Many dim sum favorites to satisfy your dim sum cravings.

A late dinner was a homemade 24 hour sous vide short rib over risotto prepared by my host was so good I had to mention it.

Breakfast & lunch in Salt Lake City

Waking up the next morning we made our way to the Draper location of La Barba Coffee. Considered one of the if not the best coffee in SLC we sat there sipping our coffee pondering where to go for breakfast. Sipping on a Guatemalan drip coffee I paid more attention to it than I normally would a cup of coffee, it was good cup.

Desiring a breakfast burrito we drove to Taqueria El Gallo Loco in Sandy. I went with Chorizo burrito which was a little light on chorizo for my liking. My friend went with a bowl of Tripe thoroughly enjoying it. We ordered the Flan for dessert (yeah at breakfast) and glad we did, it was topped with toasted coconut and was so good. The owner and our server were friendly and offered good service. I’d give them another shot at a Chroizo burrito.

A mid-afternoon lunch had me desiring an Italian deli sandwich and my friend knew right where to go. We made our way to the 15th & 15th location of Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli where I went with The Caputo. Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone and all the fixings. They dress it with balsamic vinegar as opposed to red wine vinegar which was an interesting choice. Served on an artisan roll I’d come back again. Check off Italian deli off my list.

Enjoying the neighborhood that Tony’s is in we went across the street to Sweetaly for a cup of gelato. It hit the spot after my meaty sandwich.

Park City here we come

With the ski town of Park City less than an hour away we headed into the mountains for lunch. It’s “Mud Season” in Park City so some restaurants close down for a few weeks. We found out the hard way when we wanted to grab a bite to eat at High West Distillery & Saloon. We wound up the brew pub of Wasach Brewing with brunch in full effect. Sipping on an Apricot Hefe with my Wasach burger made for a tasty Park City experience. The Wasach burger is made with buffalo meat and topped with a spicy Cajun remoulade.

I vetoed lunch a Tekila for the brew pub but my friend highly recommends it.

In case you’re wondering dinner at friend’s house back in SLC for homemade corn chowder and cake.

Final day in Salt Lake City

A lazy Sunday morning had us getting a slow start and finally motivating in early afternoon. We picked up a friend and decided to head for something new to me.

A couple of doors down from dim sum was Kungfu Hotpot where I experienced Hotpot cooking for the first time. A pot of mild and spicy boiling broth we filled it with beef, pork, mushrooms, vegetables and more letting it cook to our desired temperatures. The All-You-Can-Eat restaurant had us ordering more piles of beef, greens and seafood balls until I threw down my chopsticks and said “no more”. An interesting experience I’m not sure I could find in Phoenix.

Just a few miles from downtown SLC we made our way to Temple Square to see the gardens, the state capitol and the University of Utah. One last stop before we headed to my friend’s place for the night, Dolcetti Gelato. The Blueberry Balsamic & Rosewater treat to finish my foodie visit to SLC hit the spot after the spicy hotpot.

SLC looks to have a great restaurant scene as I scanned local magazines and websites. Locally owned restaurants and several chains I’ve never seen before looked interesting. I hope to return one day to eat my way through more of what there is to offer. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City on a Sunday be aware that many restaurants aren’t open, even those you’d expect to be including coffeehouses.

To see pictures of my trip to SLC follow me on Instagram @SandyWass