My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge returns April 13th

Do your friends and family tell you that you make delicious salsa or margaritas? If so then you may want to enter My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge or the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off. All entrants have until March 20th to to sign up for the April 13th event at Sloan Field in Mesa.

Not only could you win money with the best recipe but you’ll help to raise money for the Arizona Hemophilia Association. This is the 35th annual fundraiser for the organization.

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Anybody can win a piece of the $3,500 in prizes awarded to winner, first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up by the judges. You also have the chance to win Arizona Diamondbacks tickets. Individuals, non-profits and restaurants/business will compete for the winning salsa in three categories…Hot, Mild and Anything Goes.

Professional and celebrity judges will pick the winners in a double-blind tastings based on color, taste, after taste and more.

My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off

At 12:30 bartenders from across the area will shake things up to win the $500 grand prize for best margarita. Audience members can bid on the winning margaritas with proceeds going to the hemophilia association. They will also be able to bid on vacation packages, sports memorabilia and more.

To enter the contest go to https://salsachallenge.com/contestants/

During the 8 hour event their will be live music, a kid’s zone, a 5K run and more festivities.

The festival starts at 10 a.m. at Sloan Park 2330 E. Rio Salaldo Pkwy in Mesa. For more information and to purchase tickets head to their website

 

Myke’s Pizza finds a permanent home in an expanded Cider Corps

If you’ve been to downtown Mesa at night in the last few years you’ve smelt delicious pizza being made. The aromas come from Myke Olsen of Myke’s Pizza, the pop-up who will soon have a permanent home inside Cider Corps. It’s part of Cider Corps expansion to accommodate the growing demand for the its popular ciders.

Myke's Pizza
Photo courtesy of Myke’s Pizza

From pop-up to fast casual at Myke’s Pizza

Myke’s pop-up is outside of Cider Corps and before was around the corner on Main St. Myke’s Pizza has received many accolades since he started making pizzas in 2016 with fans making the trip to Mesa.

Making pizza one at a time on a table top oven the new home will allow Myke to make five pizzas at once in the Renato wood-fired oven. Myke has only made pizzas at the pop-up but once the build out is done he will offer side dishes and salads.

Cider Corps expansion

When Cider Corps opened in 2017 brothers Josh and Jason Duren knew they were onto something but didn’t expect they’d need to expand less than two years later. They’re using 2,000 square feet to add a new bottling line fermentation tanks. Until now they’ve only been able to keg ciders and the bottling line will let customers take the ciders home. Bottles will also allow for retail placement on store shelves.

“We’re excited to have the ability to provide our cider not just to craft beverage bars but also to more restaurants and package stores,” said Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

Myke's Pizza
Mango cider Slushie. Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

The new  tanks allow four times more cider to be made and the opportunity to experiment with fermentation styles and techniques. The expansion also includes a new patio along Robson St. that will seat 40 people.

“When we started Cider Corps, we wanted the taproom to be a place where people could gather to honor great sacrifice and discover great cider,” he said. “What we also discovered was an amazing culinary community that’s committed to showing off what’s local to our state.“

The new partnership is what Duren hoped would happen when he opened Cider Corps.

During the build out of Myke’s Pizza will be there Wednesday – Saturday nights and will add Tuesday once completed. When Myke isn’t making pizza Cider Corps will still have food trucks available.

Cider Corps has extended their hours during spring training to stay open later.

The cidery is at 31 S. Robson St. Mesa 85210  and information about Myke’s Pzza can be found on his website.

Step up to the plate! Spring Training food & drink deals around Phoenix

It still feels like winter around the country but the boys of summer have arrived in Phoenix for spring training. The 2019 season shouldn’t disappoint nor will the food and drink deals Phoenix restaurants are offering fans. Don’t trash those Cactus League game ticket stubs too quickly because they will score you a food and drink deals at your favorite restaurant.

Here’s my line-up for this years food and drink deals.

Original Breakfast HouseStart your day loading up on 5 new breakfast meals for just for spring training. Chile en Nogada Omelette, Steak and Portabella Mushroom Hash, Shrimp and Grits, Cajun Andouille Sausage and Gouda Scramble  and Tres Leches Pancakes. No ticket stub needed. Original Breakfast House is at 13623 N. 32nd St. Phoenix 85032.

Arcadia TavernSame day game day ticket stub from any team will score you a draft beer for a penny! 4801 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix 85018.

Cider CorpsCubs and A’s fans take your game day ticket stub from one of the Mesa stadiums for $1 off  a pint of cider. On March 14th all pint are $3.14 for National Pi Day(ticket deal not available this day).  Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson Mesa 85210.

Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

DorianFirst select glass of wine, bottle of beer or well cocktail for $3 with same day game ticket. 7419 E. Indian Plaza Drive, Suite B Scottsdale 85251.

FOUND:RE Phoenix HotelNeed a place to stay when in town, check in with the Play Ball Package and receive 10% off standard room rate, a bucket of beers and peanuts & Cracker Jacks. Reservations good from Fed. 22nd – March 28th. FOUND:RE Phoenix Hotel is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003.

Urban MargaritaFree steak, chicken or carnitas taco with same day game ticket from any game. Urban Margarita is at 6685 W. Beardsley Rd., #180, Glendale 85308.

Urban Margarita.

Starlite BBQAll day happy hour pricing with same day ticket stub starting Thurs. Feb. 21st. for 1 drink or food item outside normal happy hour times. Starlite BBQ is at 7620 E Indian School Rd #101, Scottsdale 85251.

Thai Chili 2 Go- All 6 Phoenix area location will trade you your same day ticket stub for a FREE drink or order of Thai Dumplings. See website for a location near you.

Thai Chili 2 Go dumplings

Fired Pie- Score 10% off all pizzas when you dine-in after the game with same day game ticket. Find one of their 19 locations near you at http://firedpie.com/

Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants- Show your ticket stub and get a FREE Famous Cheese Crisp. Over 20 Happy Hour food and drink deals are priced $3-$8. Steal 2nd and take 3rd with that deal. Available at all 8 locations around Phoenix. http://www.macayo.com/

 

 

Macayo’s Recipe Boxes make great stocking stuffers

Earlier in the year Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants made available a limited amount of recipe boxes and they sold out quickly. I’m glad to report the custom-made wood boxes filled with family recipes are available and will again sell out quickly. If you haven’t bought presents for your favorite foodie or home chef these would make a perfect gift.

Friday December 14th at 9:00 a.m. they will go on sale on-line and at their Mesa, Phoenix and Glendale locations. Each Recipe Box includes 72 family recipes including Spinach Con Queso, Green Chile Pork Stew and Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad.

Each Recipe Box is $35 plus tax with a limit to 2 per person. Macayo’s will donate $5 of each sale to Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-Cap).

The three locations where the boxes will be available are…..

Mesa- 1920 S. Dobson Rd. 85202 (480)820-0237

Glendale- 6012 W. Bell Rd. 85308 (602)298-8080

Phoenix- 3815 N. Central Ave. 85012 (602)264-6141

 

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

 

Local restaurants raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and three local Phoenix restaurants are raising money all month-long. By purchasing a featured menu item you will be helping to fight a disease that affects us all. Both non-profits are also local to the Phoenix area.

Don’t be a chump, check for a lump!……

……is the name a of a local non-profit that helps fight breast cancer through education, prevention and direct assistance. They provide free wigs, mammograms and treatment and is benefiting from Babbo Italian Eatery. When you order the Pasta Valducci part of the proceeds will be donated for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Enjoy a bowl of penne pasta tossed with Kalamata olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in a pink sauce. Babbo has a goal of raising $10,000.00 during the month-long fundraiser with the dish available at all 8 locations. For more information visit Babbo’s website and http://www.checkforalump.org/

Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Farm & Craft

Save Your Melons is the month-long fundraiser at Farm & Craft in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Both locations are donating a portion of proceeds from their Forbidden Fruits(watermelon) drinks to I’mpact One for the month of October. Scottsdale’s location is at 4302 N. Scottsdale Rd 85251 and Phoenix is at The Colony 5538 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014. http://impactone.pink/

Drink Pink at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row

The Gilbert location will also donate to I’mpact One a portion of the proceeds from Dierks Pink Lemonade. Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is at 323 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234.

Famous Dave’s BBQ offers “Quick Que” lunch at Mesa Riverview location

With the rise of the “fast casual” dining concept full service restaurants need to adapt to the customer on the go. Famous Dave’s BBQ recently debuted their “Quick Que” lunch option at their Mesa Riverview location giving customers the option to if in a hurry. Don’t worry customers in no hurry can still enjoy a full service experience they’ve come to expect.

“We’re thrilled to now be offering another means to serve our guests premium-quality, succulent BBQ right out of the pit,” said local franchisee John Erlandson. “Meet the Pitmasters while they hand carve the meat right in front of you and experience the difference at Dave’s. We’ll have made from scratch sides on the line as well as coolers of beer, sodas, homemade lemonade and waters to wash it down, pay for your meal and get in and out easily.”

Famous Dave's BBQ
Famous Dave’s ribs

The “Quick Que” lunch is available from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m Monday – Friday  and lets customers head up to the “Quick Que Station” where the can choose from the menu board above. Traditional Famous Dave’s dishes along with daily specials that can include tri-tip sliced beef and Wagyu beef ribs.

Famous Dave’s BBQ at Mesa Riverview is on Dobson Rd. off Loop 101. For other valley location and information head to  http://www.famousdavesbbq.com/

The new The Latin Kitchen has a familiar taste to it.

It’s been 3 years since the closing of Phoenix favorite Havana Cafe by owner BJ Hernandez and fans of her Latin style cuisine were wondering if we’d ever taste her food again. Thank god Hernandez is back in the kitchen as co-owner of the recently opened The Latin Kitchen in Mesa with her recipe book dusted off and cooking.

The Latin Kitchen
Photos courtesy of The Latin Kitchen

The Latin Kitchen dishes

Hernandez will be serving her popular made from scratch Cuban cuisine along with Latin American dishes that regulars of Hernandez’s cooking will recognize along with new dishes. Fans will smile with the return of her signature Cuban sandwich, empanadas, Ropa Vieja and more from here ever-changing menu.

Lighter and hearty dishes are also available taking into consideration people’s dietary needs including gluten-free wraps and salads.

Don’t worry dessert will be served including Flan, Tres Leches and Lime Tart. After a successful lobster dinner recently special dinners are planned including a pig roast, “Havana Nights” and Paella dinner.

A full bar is available that will feature Latin inspired cocktails such as the Mojito, sangria and other classic cocktails.

New to Mesa

Why Mesa after the success in north Scottsdale and along the Camelback Corridor in Phoenix Hernadez says “Originally I started looking in Scottsdale, but the rents were too high for what I wanted to do, a casual place where you could eat delicious, healthy and authentic food at a great price.” She then partnered with restaurant industry veteran Elisa Nolan to get the new restaurant opened.

Near the Tempe border The Latin Kitchen seats 115 up to people in two dining rooms and the bar. Currently serving only lunch Hernandez will serve dinner once the summer comes to an end.

The Latin Kitchen is close to the Loop 101 at 540  W. Broadway in Mesa. For more information call 480-306-7266 or check out their website.

This Saturday’s Suds & Slides is summer camp for the big kids

Most of us remember how much fun it was to go away to summer camp and be with friends. Now that were big kids, this Saturday’s Suds & Slides summer camp themed event let’s us re-live summers of our youth. Mesa’s Riverview Park will host the 21+ event from 5-10 p.m. with water slides, beer pong, giant pillow fights and a lot more.

Suds & Slides
All photos courtesy of Jen Pruett at HDE Agency

Tickets for Suds & Slides

Tickets for the evening will gain you access to unlimited fun and games. Food and drinks can be purchased separately. Ticket’s are $15 online, $20 at the door and groups of 4 can purchase tickets for $50, a savings of $30 off day of pricing. Tickets for the Suds & Slides can be purchased here.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Foster Hope Foundation that helps to inspire foster children. The foundation provides supplies, classes, lectures, activities and workshops to children within the foster care system.

Local restaurants entice Cactus League fans with food and drink specials

The games have begun for the month-long Cactus League season and Phoenix area restaurants are tempting baseball fans and locals to stop in with food and drink specials. Here are a few local restaurants to cheer your favorite team at before or after the game.

Cactuss League
Photo courtesy of Kassidy McDonald

Cactus League food specials

Fired Pie’s locations in the Phoenix area are offering game day ticket holders 10% off when they dine in after the game. To find a location near you check their website.

Thai Chili 2 Go is giving away a free dumpling appetizer at all 5 valley locations with purchase and a game day ticket stub. To find a location and hours check here.

Photo courtesy of Cider Corps

Mesa’s Cider Corps is extending their hours thru March 31st and offering a $1 off all pints when you bring in a same day ticket stub from Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium and Sloane Park. Hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Mon. – Sat. with food trucks on site Fri. & Sat. http://cidercorpsaz.com/

One of Tempe’s newest restaurants Quartiere welcomes baseball fans to come check out their community driven Italian restaurant.  Until April 1st fans can bring any 2018 Spring Training ticket stub for 1/2 off an appetizer or entrée when you purchase an entrée. Pizzas, pastas, salads and more are available at Quartiere

McFate Brewing is bringing fans attending games at Scottsdale Stadium a pop-up beer garden beyond the center field fence at The Clayton House. On game day the beer garden opens 90 minutes before game time with live music, food and of course beer.  No ticket necessary.  The Clayton House is at 3719 N. 75th St. Scottsdale.