The Sicilian Butcher to end Negroni Week in a big way

Update: Shortly after I posted this I was informed that due to supply issues this event is being postponed. I hope to have a new date for you in next couple of days.

Negroni Week is coming to an end and one restaurant is ending it in world record-setting style. The Sicilian Butcher will set the record for the Largest Barrel Aged Negroni by combing 3 ingredients into a 500 liter barrel.

Making the World’s Largest Negroni

On Sunday June 10th from 2-4 p.m. customers are invited to witness history as a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records will be on hand to witness the filling of the barrel.

Sheldon Wiley and owner Joey Maggiore

Sheldon Wiley, Beverage Director of The Maggiore Group will use 14 cases each of three Italian spirits, Carpano Antica Formula, Malfy Gin Originale and Campari. Once combined the barrel will hold approximately 132 gallons, 504 bottles and 16,722 ounces of the cocktail.

Wiley currently hold the world record as The World’s Fastest Bartender and holder of two other world records.

The Sicilian Butcher gives back

Once tapped The Sicilian Butcher will be selling Negroni’s for $5 with 25% of sales being donated to CORE(Children of Restaurant Employees). CORE, a non-profit  helps to support children of food and beverage service employees going through life altering circumstances.

The Sicilian Butcher is at 15530 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85032. For more information see their website.

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Izard and Aaron Sanchez headline Nirvana Food & Wine

Update: WWE superstars The Bella Twins will be co-hosting the Rose Parte. Nikki & Brie Bella will join chef Todd English for this Saturday afternoon event. Details below!

A  Master of Taste C dinner has been added and  welcomes actor and winemaker Kurt Russell and his Gogi wines from Santa Ynez Valley. A special line up of chefs will create a menu based on Russell’s library of films including Alex Stratta, Bradford Thompson, Ana Graza, Francois DeMelogue and Sanctuary’s own Beau McMillan.

The dinner at a private Paradise Valley residence is priced at $500 per person with limited seating available. The dinner will be Saturday April 21st from 7-10 p.m.

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Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts the return of Nirvana bringing together celebrity chefs, local mixologists and California winemakers. Guests will enjoy  4 days of fine dining, mix and mingling with chefs Stephanie Izard and other events at the luxurious mountainside resort from April 19th – 22nd.

Resort executive chef Beau MacMillan will welcome back chefs Scott Contant and Todd English along with Aaron Sanchez and Chuck Hughes for the second year of this event highly anticipated event.

“Scottsdale is an emerging hotbed for culinary expression, and Sanctuary is the ideal backdrop to bring together the nation’s top talent. We look forward to building on our community’s passion for fine food and drink during this second installment of Nirvana,” said Michael Surguine, Sanctuary’s vice president and managing director.

Nirvana 2018

8 events are planned over the four days including dinners, tastings and a golf tournament. Below are the details of the days events.

Bourbon Street Blues

Hosted by mixologist Jason Asher; presented by Bulleit Bourbon

Thursday, April 19, 7-10 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $150 per person.

Nirvana will kick off with a grand New Orleans-style festival, complete with a dazzling array of food and drinks. Live jazz will set a Mardi Gras mood featuring the Valley’s top mixologists. Guest are encouraged to dress in their best masquerade attire. Participating mixologists include Jason Asher, Brian Blevins, Maxton Kennedy, Bobby Kramer, Eric Wilson, and Libby Longlott. Chefs are Paul Boehmer, Audrey Enriquez, George Frasher, Brian Lieske, Beau MacMillan, Landon Post, and Lenard Rubin.

Master of Taste Dinner A

Hosted by chefs Matt Carter and Mark Stark; winemakers Rich Aurilia and Dan Kosta

Thursday, April 19; 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary experiences pairing top chefs from the Scottsdale area and California’s Sonoma County with a notable winemaker. The first of two such evenings will showcase the fine vintages of Napa’s Red Stitch Wines with owner Rich Aurilia, a former San Francisco Giants shortstop, and his wine mentor Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne. This very special event will be hosted at one of Sanctuary’s most luxurious private estate homes. Casa Seven’s dramatic glass wall affords dinner attendees a spectacular view of the valley below.

 Flutes & Coops

Hosted by chefs Stephanie Izard and Chuck Hughes, presented by Möet & Chandon and Woodford Reserve

Friday, April 20, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Sanctuary Ballroom and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/ $150 GA per person

Fried chicken and Champagne prove to be an inspired pairing as an all-star line-up of local chefs put their own spin on the southern specialty, complete with side dishes, fine bubbly and live music thanks to American country singer/songwriter D. Vincent Williams & the Nashville All-stars. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite chef. Participating chefs and mixologists include Lindsay Autry, Jacob Cutino, Rochelle Daniel, Michael DeMaria, Eddie Diaz, Ron Dimas, Jacob Ellis, Stephen Jones, James Garron, Kiefer Gilbert, and Bernie Kantak.

Master of Taste Dinner B

Hosted by chefs Dustin Valette and Christopher Gross; winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer

Friday, April 20, 7-10 p.m.; Casa Seven; $350 per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s second winemaker evening puts the spotlight on pioneering Napa vintner Tuck Beckstoffer and his eponymous Tuck Beckstoffer Wines. This intimate dinner will be hosted at Casa Seven, one of Sanctuary’s glorious private estate homes.

Celebrity Golf Tournament

Saturday, April 21, 8 a.m. registration and 8:45 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $2,000 per foursome

Golf enthusiasts can tee off their day on Mountain Shadows, one of Phoenix’s premiere courses, with Nirvana’s fun-filled celebrity tournament. Each foursome will be paired with a renowned chef (including Sanctuary’s own Beau MacMillan), star mixologist or notable sports figure, with plenty of food, beer, wine and spirits on hand to fuel an unforgettable round.

 Rosé Parté

Hosted by chef Todd English

Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; $135 per person

A refreshing alternative for those who prefer pink to golf course green, this new-to-Nirvana event will pair fine bites with fashionable rosé against a backdrop of spectacular desert views.

Best of the West

Hosted by chef Scott Conant (Mora Italian) and mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim

Saturday, April 21, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $225 VIP/$150 GA per person

Nirvana’s closing night will bring together the best chefs in the West for a grand finale-worthy walk-around tasting that will take guests to indoor and outdoor settings throughout the resort. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs, including Justin Beckett, Cullen Campbell, Ryan Clark, John Conley, Russell LaCasce, Branden Levine, Gio Osso, Jeremy Pacheco, James Porter, Joseph Rodger, Caleb Schiff, Matthew Taylor, and Chuck Wiley.

Tequila & Tortillas

Hosted by chef Aarón Sánchez and mixologist Maxton Kennedy

Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden and Lower Lawn; $135 per person

Because it’s always five o’clock somewhere, Nirvana’s Southwestern-style show-stopping farewell brunch promises tequila, tequila and more tequila. Festival-goers can shake off the sleep with palate-wakening Mexican specialties and live music to celebrate their final morning in paradise. Participating chefs: Rene Andrade, Jason Asher, Lee Hilson, Beau MacMillan, Aaron May, Julio Mata, Peter McQuaid, Doug Robson, Lenard Rubin, Samantha Sanz, Ana Garza and Suny Santana.

Ticket packages and purchase

There are several ticket packages available whether you want the full Nirvana Experience or pick and choose which events time permits. Resort packages are also available with more information and to purchase tickets at http://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/

Village of Elgin Distillery wins national award for rum

Whether it’s a local chef, restaurant, beverage or food Arizonans always like to see our homegrown business’s win awards and earn national and international attention, respect and acclaim. Raise your glass for a recent win for Village of Elgin Distillery and its Regal de Vida Rum.distillery

The American Craft Beverage’s distillery was won Best in Show and Best in Class- Rum during the American Craft Spirits Association’s Convention and Trade Show. It was at the Fifth Annual Judging of Craft Spirits awards dinner that the winners were announced.

Regal de Vida beat over 500 entrants from 37 states and the District of Columbia that were considered by judges in 6 main categories….Whiskey, Gin, Rum ,Vodka, Grain Spirits and Brandy & Specialty Spirits.

Village of Elgin Distillery distills other award-winning spirits including Arizona Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Tombstone Arizona Bourbon, Tombstone Single Pot Malt Whiskey, Tombstone Arizona Rye, Double Black Rum and other ultra-premium artisanal spirits at their southeastern Arizona distillery.  To produce high quality small batch spirits the distillery uses artisanal distilling techniques.

The Tasting Room is currently open 10 am – pm  Thursday – Monday  (10 am – 5 pm  Saturday). Tuesday/Wednesday by appointment. The Village of Elgin Winery is in the heart of Elgin at 4731Ž2 Elgin Road, Elgin, AZ 85611. Call them at 520-329-5266

 

Speakeasy coming to downtown Gilbert as The White Rabbit opens this fall

With the growth of downtown Gilbert’s dining scene the last few years there has been little original concepts that have opened. Later this year The White Rabbit will open adding an original concept to along Gilbert Road as owners Nick Medina and Corey Potts open the first speakeasy in the east valley.

When The White Rabbit opens in the basement of the Heritage Court Building it will serve  as a meeting place for those who want to start or finish their evening with a classic handcrafted cocktail, glass of wine, local craft beer or distilled spirit.

In addition to the libations served guests will have a true speakeasy experience as the out-of-the-way location, secret door and password allow you entry to the sophistication and ambiance of a by gone era.

The White Rabbit cocktails

Whether it’s a classic Old Fashioned, Tom Collins or trending cocktails and concoctions, all drinks will be made using the highest quality and freshest ingredients. “Drink Experiences” are available for small groups.

A small bites menu including charcuterie boards and olive bowls will also be served.

Help wanted at The White Rabbit

Owners Medina and Potts are looking to hire a General Manager to operate the The White Rabbit and execute the speakeasy experience the way the owners envision.

Passion and the ability to hire, motivate and train the staff are part of what the owners are looking for.

“Gilbert is the perfect place for this concept because while it has many great dining destinations, we are bringing the first authentic high-end bar concept to the area. When guests enter, they will feel like they are stepping into a true speakeasy experience. Right now, we’re excited to hire the right leadership and staff to take that guest experience to the next level.”

Qualified candidates can send a resume to drink@twr.bar

Check back for updates as the opening later in 2018 gets closer.

The White Rabbit will be at 207 N. Gilbert Rd. #002 Gilbert. 85234. Visit there website.

 

 

 

Tickets for 7th Annual Arizona Cocktail Week-End on sale Jan. 8th

I’m closing the door on 2017 and kicking open 2018 with a vengeance as I inform you that tickets go on sale for 2018 Arizona Cocktail Week-End, Monday January 8th 2018.

Back for its 7th incarnation of spirits tastings, seminars and cocktail competitions organizers have moved the events to growing downtown Phoenix bar & restaurant scene.

The former week-long event is now a 3 day event starting on Saturday Feb. 17- 19th 2018 with several featured events and smaller meet ups at participating bars and restaurants.

Arizona Cocktail Week-end
Photos courtesy of Arizona Cocktail Week

Featured events

Arizona Cocktail Week-End kicks off on Saturday night and The Van Buren will be jamming with the Cocktail Jam. The new downtown music hall will pair craft cocktails with live music to create a unique evening.

Sunday night brings the return of Top Bar, pop up versions of classic and trend setting cocktail bars from around Phoenix and around the globe show off their drink making skills. Taking place at The Croft, Top Bar has previously included The Manhattan Bar from Singapore, London’s The Savoy, Portobello Star & Callooh Callay and Herbs & Rye in Las Vegas.

Additional dinners, tasting and events will be announced and will be held at participating downtown bars and restaurants including Bar Bianco, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Chico Malo and Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

Tickets and $$ raised

Tickets for Arizona Cocktail Week-End start at $40 and part of the proceeds go to new local non-profits Local First Arizona and Child Crisis of Arizona.

AZCW also has its own charity, The Jupiter Foundation which helps provide safety for industry professionals including medical bills and helping when there are no other alternatives.

 

 

 

 

Nico Heirloom Kitchen debuts new cocktail menu

Gilbert’s Nico Heirloom Kitchen is debuting a new cocktail menu with 8 new cocktails. Several use barrel ages spirits including gin and rum.

Smoke n Barrel

Here are the new cocktails and their ingredients.

Rose Guerra – Raspberry vodka, fresh raspberries, peach puree, fresh lemon juice, French rose

Smoke n Barrel – Barrel-aged Appleton estate rum, Cynar 70, banana liqueur, Green Chartreuse, espresso, vanilla tobacco syrup, cream

Nonna’s Cider – Glen Grant Scotch, Apple pie liqueur, Ginger liqueur, Frangelico, fresh lemon juice, Fever tree Ginger Ale

Plymouth’s Peak – Barrel Aged Plymouth’s Gin, fresh lemon juice, Lavender syrup, Creme de Violette, Cassis Sherry blend, Cherry bitters

Carda Bonds – Rittenhouse BIB, fresh lemon juice, Meletti 1870, Amaro Nonino, Cardamon bitters, Absinthe, lemon essence

Del Strappo – Exotico Reposado Tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, Cinnamon Agave, fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, Serrano bitters, vanilla extract

Bella Nueva (Ice Queen’s at Virtu spin-off) – Peppercorn infused Tito’s vodka, Strawberry shrub, Luxardo Maraschino, Orgeat, fresh lemon juice, Rhubarb bitters, Champagne foam

Pink Sangria – French Rose, Vodka, Peach liqueur, Strawberry puree, Soda water.

Nico Heirloom Kitchen is at 366 N Gilbert Rd Gilbert, AZ 85234 http://www.nicoaz.com/

 

Bobby Q’s brings tasty BBQ to the Camelback Corridor

Restaurateur Bob Sikora knows a thing or two about opening successful restaurants having opened Bobby Mcgee’s nightclubs growing it to 24 locations around the country and founding Mr. Lucky’s country bar with Willie Nelson. After traveling the country for years searching out and learning about BBQ he opened his first Bobby Q’s Great Steaks & Real BBQ in north Phoenix in 2005 before the BBQ trend started here in Phoenix.

On Monday October 2nd he opens his third Bobby Q’s at Camelback Rd. & 32nd St. I had the opportunity to visit the restaurant to preview it.

The dark & brick walled the restaurant has a cozy atmosphere with the exhibition kitchen just inside the front door. Two almond/mesquite wood smoker and rotisserie are situated inside the kitchen smoking BBQ favorites brisket, pork & beef ribs, sausage links and more. The aroma will sure get people’s attention as people wander the its strip mall location.

Tastes of BBQ

My guest and I sampled a few dishes on our visit courtesy of Bob and his team. Executive chef  Mark Hittle and his kitchen team hand run all the meats with their signature rub before they are slow cooked.

We started with the Cajun Shrimp appetizer that are sautéed with Cajun spices and served with garlic bread to mop up the juices. The 6 shrimp were a  good size, had nice seasoning and disappeared pretty quickly.

If you know me you then you know I’m a rib man and went with the Baby Back Ribs that were fall off the bone tender and made me a happy man. The brisket we sampled had the right amount of fat and bark to put up against any brisket around town.

On the side we had the Pecan Cole Slaw which was shredded thin, not to creamy as many can be and topped with crushed pecan adding a nice twist and texture. The side of Mac & Cheese won’t disappoint fans of the cheesy favorite.

We were given a bag of warm mini donuts from the donut machine and are free to all guests who dine at restaurant.

The full menu includes steak, fish, burgers, salads and rotisserie chicken that can be seen on Bobby Q’s website. I can see why Bobby Q’s has garnered many accolades from Yelp!, Open Table and Trip Advisor.

Hand crafted cocktails

In-house mixologist Chris Ortega has created a cocktail menu with his take on classic cocktails that include an Old Fashioned that I enjoyed prepared with rye whiskey and barrel smoked maple syrup. Other cocktails include the refreshing Watermelon Cooler and Bobby Q’s version of the classic Mule cocktail. All cocktails are prepared with premium spirits, fresh fruits and house made syrups.

Old Fashioned. All photos courtesy of Bobby Q’s

The Camelback location will serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week at 11 a.m. and will stay open until 2 a.m. Tues. – Sat. serving a late night menu. Sun. & Mon. they will be open until 10 p.m.

Bobby Q’s Great Steaks and Real BBQ is at 3154 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016

 

 

 

Pomelo at The Orchard introduces Summer Sippin’ Special!

Summer is slowly coming to end as kids head back to school and your favorite football team return to training camp. In Arizona we have a longer summer than most and you still have to stay hydrated and refreshed and Pomelo at The Orchard is helping you do both with their Summer Sippin’ Special! through the end of August.

Pomelo at The Orcahrd

All day everyday ALL of Pomelo’s specialty cocktails will be $5. This includes cocktails that use top shelf spirits as well.

What a great opportunity to quench your thirst with Pomelo’s 2 signature cocktails Bellissimo and 12th & Barbados. The Bellissimo, is made with  Pomelo Vodka, blackberry thyme syrup, fresh grapefruit juice and sparkling wine. 12th & Barbados, made with Plantation 5-year Rum, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, fresh lime juice and Mango Reàl.

Pomelo at The Orchard is at 7100 North 12th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85020 http://www.pomelophx.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nook Kitchen to host Don Julio cocktail dinner

Wine dinners are pretty common in the restaurant world but the last few years have seen special dinner menus paired with beer and spirits. Tequila has become a popular pairing for dinners and Nook Kitchen in downtown Phoenix is hosting a 5-course Don Julio cocktail dinner on Wed. August 2nd.

The dinner will pair Don Julio tequilas that are aged and rare on some courses with a menu that is inspired by the cuisine of tequilas home state of Jalisco. The menu is as follow…..

First Course:

Grilled nopales and lengua de vaca consume

 

Don Julio Reposado,

Himalayan salt cordial,

kaffir lime oil, cayenne flake

 

Second Course:

Chef LaRosa’s deconstructed Chili Relleno Poblano, Oaxaca queso, tomato chili chutney, tequila pomegranate gastrique

 

Don Julio 70 Clara Anejo,

dry orange curacao, spanish dry vermouth,

blood orange sour

 

Third Course:

Watermelon, tequila & lime shaved ice

 

Fourth Course:

Braised pollo de muslo, maiz de la calle, maseca, mole, frijoles negros a la hoya

Don Julio 1942,

fermented masa, tamrindo,

guanabana liquer, fresh lime

 

Fifth Course:

Mexican inspired chocolate flan cinnamon, cumin, chocolate

house made tepache (traditional Mexican fermented pineapple drink)

 

The cost for the dinner is $55 plus tax and tip per person and will begin at 6p.m.

The downtown Nook Kitchen is the 2nd location of the popular Arcadia restaurant and is house off the lobby of the Hilton Garden Inn at 15 E Monroe St, Phoenix. (602)258-1037 http://nookkitchen.com/

 

 

Bartenders mix it up for Bar Brawl at Jade Bar

A little friendly competition is always good to keep us on our toes and even more so in the Phoenix restaurant community as we find ways to make the summer go by quicker. Jade Bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa will host a friendly Bar Brawl for 8 local bartenders to show off what they do best….make delicious cocktails.

Every Sunday at 8 p.m. from July 16th – August 6th two bartenders will go head to head to see who will advance to the Semi-Finals on August 13th & 20th with the two winners advancing to the Championship on August 27th where the new “Bar Brawl  Champion’ will be crowned.

Bar brawl

Each weeks head to head competition will use specific spirits and ingredients for cocktails that will be judged by a panel of local judges.

Eddie Aces, Jade Bar’s Head Mixologist will emcee the event each week with locals and resort guest invited to cheer on the bartenders while DJ Hybrid will be providing entertainment. A special menu of “Bar Brawl Bites” will be available for purchase for happy hour prices during each weeks competition. There is no cost to attend the Bar Brawl.

The Bar Brawl Champion will be awarded a fun-filled trip to Austin City Limits. Previous winners have included Kyle Mason of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia and Keifer Gilbert of Crudo and Counter Intuitive.

The 8 bartenders competing will be

  • Piroose Hajizadeh-Amini, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
  • Kyle Landry, Crudo
  • Liza Loewenhagen, Cobra Arcade Bar
  • Alex Knight, Culinary Dropout
  • William Luddington, The Ostrich
  • Gavin Pena, The Clever Ko
  • Rando Shields, Shady’s Fine Ale’s and Cocktails
  • Sam Penton, Counter Intuitive

and their head to head competition will be

  • July 16 – Pena vs. Hajizadeh-Amini
  • July 23 – Lowenhagen vs. Knight
  • July 30 –  Shields vs. Luddington
  • Aug.  6 –  Landry vs. Penton