Merkin Vineyards opens its wine bar in downtown Scottsdale

Shelves are stocked, menus have been printed and Merkin Vineyards have opened their wine bar in downtown Scottsdale. The Jerome based winery flipped the “Open” sign Thursday March 14th as the bureaucracy paperwork was complete.

Wines from Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars will be poured their 7 days week. The location has a rich history in the Scottsdale wine community as the tasting room is housed in what was the wine eccentric restaurant FnB and most recently cocktail bar Counter Intuitive.

Merkin Vineyards wines

You’ll find mostly Spanish and Italian varietals poured at the wine bar from high elevation vineyards. Grapes for Merkin and Caduceus wines are grown at the wineries estate vineyards in Verde Valley and Willcox. The vineyards encompass 110 acres and the wines are made by MJ & Jen Keenan, Tim White and Erin Center. All wines are sustainably made.

A small menu of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses are available. The fruits and vegetables are grown at the wineries Verde Valley greenhouse, gardens and orchards. Other Arizona farmers provide for what they don’t grow.

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. It’ s at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251 and you can visit their website for more information.

Forget the ex at the Anti-Valentine’s Day party at Hula’s Modern Tiki

Looking to burn a picture of your ex or not feeling very romantic this Valentine’s Day you’re not alone. It is for that reason that Hula’s Modern Tiki in Phoenix and Scottsdale are throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day party.

Anti-Valentine's Day
Black Heart Social Club Martini. All photos courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

“Roses are red, violets are blue, no one hates Valentine’s Day more than, you! Except for us!” says Hula’s Modern Tiki owner, M. Dana Mule.

Singles and couples are welcome to Anti-Valentine’s Day party starting at 11 a.m. and going til closing. The “Black Hearts Social Club Martini” and the “You Drive Me Bananas” cocktails along with Pinot Gris Sangria will make you forget the ex.

After 6 p.m. enjoy $15 bottles of Prosecco and Rose and 1/2 off other bottles of wine.

Burn photos and memories of lover’s of the past in “Pele’s Fire Pit of Revenge” on the patio at their Phoenix restaurant.

Hula’s Modern Tiki is at 5114 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014 and 7213 E. 1st Ave. Scottsdale 85251.

The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale now offers weekend brunch

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.

The Trout Bagel. All photos courtesy of Erin Weinstock at Sydell Creative

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.

Watermelon
“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.

 

 

The popular House Brasserie is under new ownership

Scottsdale’s The House Brasserie changed ownership recently with the new owners looking to continue serving great food and service. Opened in 2012 by chef Matt Carter, Brian Raab and Terri Ellisnor it became one of old town favorite restaurants. It got its name because it’s housed in the second oldest house in Scottsdale.

New owner Joseph Ieraci, an ASU graduate, has the restaurant industry in his blood as a 2nd generation restaurateur. Ieraci returned to the valley from his native southern California in search of a restaurant but not just any restaurant. “My wife, Julie, and I absolutely fell in love with The House Brasserie because we could tell it had been hand-built and run with a lot of love.” Ieraci was attracted to the unique location of the house which is surrounded by patios, tall trees and a cozy inside dining room.

Head Chef Brandon Jedd stays with Ieraci continuing to serve global inspired dishes using gourmet ingredients and French cooking techniques. Jedd has been overseeing kitchen operations at The House for several years after starting as a line cook.

“As hard as it was for us to say goodbye to The House, we’re so excited it’s in great hands with Joseph Ieraci and chef Brandon Jedd,” says Brian Raab. “With the success of The Mission in Downtown Scottsdale as well as at Kirkland Commons, plus Fat Ox, it just made sense to have a single owner-operator who can give this amazing restaurant the attention it deserves.”

Ieraci will bring back the seasonal weekend brunch but for now is serving dinner Tuesday – Sunday from 5-10 p.m.

The House Brasserie is at 6936 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

New breakfast, lunch & dinner menus debut at Zuzu

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.

Burrata. All photos courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

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.

Korean BBQ Burger

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.

60- Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse

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.

menus
Butterscotch Creme Brulee

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.

Zuzu in the Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

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.

RnR re-opens today after 7 week rejuvenation with Grand Opening Party

Old town Scottsdale’s RnR restaurant is back starting today at 5p.m. after 7 weeks of refreshing and renovating. A Grand Opening party is tonight with a 1 cent hosted bar from 5-7 p.m., extended Happy Hour from 7-11 p.m. and 20% all food from 5-11 p.m.

Grand opening

New food menus of scratch made comfort classics will make their debut with new salads, sandwiches and old favorites. The popular weekend brunch returns Saturday’s & Sunday’s from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A new Happy Hour menu with 10 items at $6 will is available Monday- Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. along with new weekly specials.

Exciting new cocktails were created including the Absolut Mega Mule that is 128 oz. and needs a minimum of 4 people to order. For weekend brunch guests can enjoy a new Mimosa Tower and Mimosa flights of guava, cranberry, orange and pineapple.

rnr

As part of the renovation new giant LED TVs were installed and are visible from any seat in the restaurant. A new 36 seat island bar is situated from the inside to the patio with new roll-up glass garage doors. New booths were added to the upstairs balcony for a view of Scottsdale Rd. great for people watching.

RnR is at 3737 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251. 480-945-3353 https://www.rnrscottsdale.com/

Dorian starts serving breakfast as it re-opens after summer hiatus.

Scottsdale’s Victorian decor’d Dorian is open 7 days a week as they started serving breakfast at 7 a.m. when they re-opened after a 2 month break. Breakfast is served daily until 12 p.m. and the restaurant will then re-open at 4 p.m. for Happy Hour leading up to dinner starting at 5 p.m.

The new breakfast menu and seasonal dinner menu was crafted by chef Kurtis Smith, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute with over 13 years of experience.

Dorian

Dorian new menus

The new breakfast menu will include parfaits, smoothies, omelettes, Lemon Cake pancakes, biscuits & gravy and more ranging in price from $7-$14.

Double back for Happy Hour starting at 4 p.m. for $3 bottles beer, $5 well drinks, 25% off craft cocktails and 30% off the bar bites. The bar menu includes burgers, Grilled Octopus, Ravioli over Butternut Squash puree, salads and more. My personal favorite is the Tomato & Burrata Salad.

A Mediterranean inspired seasonal dinner menu highlights the delicious Braised Short Ribs over warm cheddar grits, shellfish filled bowl of Cioppino and roasted hare (new food trend) with root vegetables in brown butter sage compound butter.

Braised Short Ribs

“The popular bruschetta’s and house charcuterie board stayed on the menu,” said Chef Kurtis Smith. “They are great dishes to share with a group.  We revised the menu to offer more healthy and unique options. My goal was to create a menu of familiar foods, done well. Guests will find more vegan options, fresh fish, a very tender and tasty short rib and new salads. The dishes are flavorful and bold and our breakfast menu is casual and fun too.”

Cocktails and wine

Dorian offers 6 signature cocktails such as The Madam, Chandon No.5 and The Dorian for your enjoyment. If wine and champagne are your preferred adult beverage their is an extensive list from around the world selected by the in-house 2nd level sommelier. Bottles of wine are offered at $60-$10,000 with glasses available for $8-$15.

Dorian is at 7419 E. Indian Plaza in old town Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit http://www.dorianscottsdale.com/

Wine, Baseball & Brats at LDV Wine Gallery in Scottsdale

Spring training is here and everybody is trying to capture the attention of out-of-towners as they get psyched up for their favorite baseball teams 2018 season.

LDV Wine Gallery in Scottsdale is hosting a wine and brat party before and after the Oakland A’s and  San Francisco Giants play on Saturday March 17th and when the Chicago Cubs come to play on Thursday March 22nd.

A short walk from Scottsdale Stadium, owners Peggy Fiandaca  and Curt Dunham welcome baseball fans and wine drinkers stop in for a glass of LDV Wineries’ Arizona produced wine and brat with all the fixin’s for only $15. If you’re driving to Scottsdale you can park at the Gallery and make your way to the game from there.

The 3 hour plus events start at noon on the 17th and 6p.m. on the 22nd. To purchase tickets in advance click here.

This is just 2 of the many events at LDV Wine Gallery and see more check out their website.

LDV Wine Gallery is at 6951 E. 1st St. Scottsdale 85251. 480-664-4822

 

Meet me at the Coach House and where else to go on Thanksgiving Eve

Those last two posts on Thanksgiving Day restaurants that are serving dinner or preparing take-out meals nearly wiped me out with all the information, I can now set my sights on Thanksgiving Eve.

If you’re  out and about showing out-of-towners a good time or you grew up here and return home to catch up with friends at the local watering hole, the night before Thanksgiving can be just as big a deal as the turkey and football the next day.

If you mention Thanksgiving Eve to most in these parts two places come to mind…..El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley and Coach House Tavern in downtown Scottsdale. Join me at the Coach House just after sunset before the line forms and I’m sure many will make an appearance at both establishments.

It won’t be your typical Wednesday at Sorso Wine Room and The Park as they start the Thanksgiving celebration a day early.

Thanksgiving Eve at Sorso Wine Room

If you live in the northeast valley and prefer to stay closer to home  Sorso Wine Room at The Scottsdale Quarter will start the celebrating with an all day Happy Hour with 2 for 1 house wines by the glass and draft beers.

Food special will be available including the Brussels Board ($8), The Dip($8) and select Bruschetta at 3 for $10.

Sorso Wine Room is at 15323 N Scottsdale Rd #150, Scottsdale http://sorsowineroom.com/ Thanksgiving Eve

The Park in downtown Phoenix

If you’re going to be in central or downtown Phoenix, The Park will be hosting a Thanksgiving Eve Bash with MillerCoors. The Bash starts at 8 p.m. but $5 pumpkin spice specialty cocktails and ales will be available all day.

Guest are encouraged to bring a can(s) of food for the Can 4 Can Hurricane Relief Food Drive. Those that bring a can will receive a penny can of a MillerCoors product.

The Park is at 3 S. 2nd St., Phoenix http://thepark.bar/

The Park

I hope to see you out and about  and where ever you go be smart, safe and have a  Happy Thanksgiving!