Mixologist Kyla Dahl brings new cocktails to Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild restaurant takes the new year pretty seriously as they’ve introduced new cocktails and food. The new cocktails were crafted by new mixologist Kyla Dahl who comes to Taco Guild after spending the last few years crafting cocktails at Scottsdale’s Liberty Station Smokehouse. It was there she learned to make creative cocktails and make a name for herself in the Phoenix cocktail community.

Chamoyada. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie at Evolve Marketing

New cocktails

Dahl has shaken things up with 7 new cocktails that pair well with Taco Guild’s Mexican food. All the new cocktails are priced at $12 each. Most of the new drinks use tequila or mezcal with a few of the drinks listed below.

      Chamoyada – Chamuccos blanco tequila, hibiscus, orange, mangonada, Tajin.

      Don Juan – Mexican rum, pepitas, lime, lemon, Curacao, dark rum.

·         Ponche – apple-infused gin, mango, orange piloncillo.

Seasonal Mezcal Mule – Mezcal mixed with seasonal flavor, lime and ginger beer

Taco Guild’s new dishes

The new chef driven dishes are spread throughout the menu from appetizers, tacos and dessert. There are 10 new dishes available for lunch and dinner and include…..

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta – citrus chile shrimp, guacamole, tomato corn salsa on top of house-made bruschetta. $12

Fundido – Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese blend with Serrano pepper, caramelized onion, tequila and mushrooms. Guests can now choose to add-on a variety of proteins

The Conquistador – chef’s choice charcuterie and cheese board served with nuts, jam, mustard and house-made bruschetta. $15

Cartel Coffee Beef Taco – Locally roasted Cartel coffee is used to season the beef before slow roasting it then it is topped with fresh jicama, cilantro and avocado. $4.95

Clandestino Shrimp Taco – Citrus-chile marinated shrimp are grilled then topped with avocado, chimichurri and cabbage slaw. $4.95

Chocolate Torte – A rich and dense chocolate torte with cashews, almonds, walnuts, cacao, coconut and sea salt.

Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

Kazimierz Wine Bar gets new life with wine, whiskey and a new owner

Everybody was surprised to wake up in October to hear that Kazimierz Wine Bar had closed the night before. The iconic wine bar in downtown Scottsdale was a favorite “speakeasy” for the wine crowd and fans of live jazz. The bar gets a new lease on life this week as restaurateur Tommy Plato takes over the space opening Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar.

Plato founded The Gelato Spot and owns Second Story Liquor Bar around the corner from Kazimierz. The atmosphere will be the same but guests will see a new decor, furniture, a VIP area and whiskey program.“Peter was a pioneer in Old Town and what he created here with Kazimierz in this space is exactly what Scottsdale needs,” said Tommy Plato.  “I’m excited to keep this tradition alive but with an updated twist on a high-end establishment where you can go to have after-dinner drinks, light bites and great live music all night long in an upscale environment that caters to wine and cocktail enthusiasts,” said Plato.

New menu at Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar

Happy hour will be offered daily from 4 – 7 p.m. and a new full menu will be available until closing. Plato will introduce a new chef, menu and Whiskey Ambassador Program when the Kazimierz opens on Thursday, January 24th.

Kazimierz Wine Bar
All photos courtesy of Rose+Moser+Allyn Public and Online Relations

The new menu will include charcuterie plates, bruschetta, oysters, flatbreads and more. Ingredients will be sourced from local purveyors including Noble Bread and Chula Seafood. Desserts are Plato’s strong point from his experience at The Gelato Spot.

Whiskey selections

Over 100 wines and 500 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes offerings from the U.S., Scotland, Ireland and Japan will be available. Included will be hand-picked selections and rare bottlings.

“Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar is the perfect blend of good food, upscale atmosphere and the best wine and whiskey selection in Old Town. I am so excited to bring a new late-night concept to a familiar place that has had an incredible following for many years,” said Plato.

Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar is at 7137 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. 480-495-3004

 

 

 

 

TasteAbout Scottsdale to raise money for wounded military personnel

Expecting over 3,000 people to converge on Kierland Commons next weekend organizing TasteAbout Scottsdale is no easy feat. It’s nothing compared to what wounded military personnel have gone through serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military personnel will benefit from the hungry attendee’s as TasteAbout Scottsdale has partnered with Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors.

The food and beverage event takes place Saturday January 26th from 2 -9 p.m. with over 30 restaurants participating. In addition to tasting food and drinks there will be live music, a Burger Beatdown and speed painting.

“We are thrilled to bring together so many food and beverage purveyors all in one place to highlight the unique culinary talents in Arizona and benefit an important cause,” says Erik Merkow, founder and CEO of TasteAbout Scottsdale. “With every event, we take great pleasure in finding a platform for residents and visitors of the area to discover some of the best local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and more in a fun and entertaining atmosphere, while also giving back to the community.”

TasteAbout Scottsdale participants

The list of popular local restaurants, breweries and distilleries that will be providing sips and tastes is updated daily. Popular restaurants serving up include Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Famous 48, Kasai, Modern Oyster & Chophouse and Eggtasy to name few. Sip on beer from San Tan Brewing, Grand Canyon Brewing and Beer Research Institute.

Frankly Organic Spirits, Arizona Distilling and Dulce Vida Tequila will be pouring their spirits.

Local foodies will judge which popular chef serves the best and most creative burger at the Burger Beatdown. Guests will vote for Best Dish, Best Craft Beer, Best Drink and Best sweet Dish.

Once all votes are tallied the winners will be notified in the days after the event.

Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors.

Former NFL player Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors is a non-profit that builds and remodels homes for handicapped military personnel.

Artist Katia Von Kral will be showing off her “speed painting” talents for the event. Proceeds from her paintings sold at the event will be donated to the non-profit.

Tickets for the 21 and over event are available at Eventbrite. General Admission tickets are $65 per person and includes all tastes of food and drinks. VIP tickets are $85 and include 2 tokens for full pour drinks, VIP Garden access, Express Entry. Ultra VIP Tickets are $125 and come with 5 full pour drink tokens, a VIP swag Bag, VIP Garden Access and express entry.

 

 

 

Mountain Shadows offers Wine, Spirits & Beer seminars

Your never to old to learn about wine, beer and spirits and the staff at Mountain Shadows resort and Hearth ’61 teaches us about all three. The Paradise Valley resort is offering an every other week seminar about wine, spirits and beer called Spirited Sipping Seminars. The 30-45 minute seminar is taught by resort Food & Beverage director Jim Gallen and bartender Travis. Guests will taste each of the three beverages discussed and be able to ask questions.

As the wine, spirits and beer world continue evolve learning the history, making of and trends of cocktails, wine and beer becomes more interesting. During the cocktail seminars you will learn how to make cocktails and receive the recipes.

Spirits
Photo courtesy of Mountain Shadows

Wine, Beer & Spirits seminar schedule

Saturday afternoon classes start at 3 p.m. and are $30 per class. The following classes are scheduled through December.

Oct. 20- Brews & (Taste) Buds. USA vs Europe.

Nov. 3- Craft of the Cocktail Gin: The Misunderstood Spirit

Nov. 17- Weekend Wine Sessions Wine for Thanksgiving

Dec. 1- Craft of the Cocktail Holiday Cocktails

Dec. 15- Brews & (Taste) Buds- Ales vs Lagers: Finding your style

Dec. 29- Weekend Wine Sessions A Bit of Bubbly USA vs France

La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval emerges with a new look and menu

Plenty of Mexican food can be found around Phoenix but not many fine dining Mexican food options. One of the best is La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess which offers a new look and menu. One of the things that has not changed is the history and heritage of the restaurant.

According to General Manager Jack Miller, “The leadership at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is committed to making sure the heritage and history of this local dining landmark is honored while bringing the design and menu forward. We are determined to make sure La Hacienda continues to be the top ranked Mexican restaurant in Arizona for another generation.”

The new Short Rib Barbacoa. All photos courtesy of The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Authentic dishes at La Hacienda

Influencing the menu comes when chef Richard Sandoval and chef Forest Hamrick visit their families and new restaurants in Mexico. Popular dishes including Lobster Tacos, Filet a la Parilla and table side guacamole returned when La Hacienda re-opened in late September. New dishes include Short Rib Barbacoa and Pescado Zarandeado, a barbecued Sea Bass with charred aioli, heirloom tomato and avocado.

Make sure you try the trio of Sweet Corn Tamales, the sweet spicy mole is “lick the plate” worthy.

Another new attraction are the 21 new specialty cocktails that have been introduced. All use less than four ingredients to highlight a specific flavor. “Smoked Cocktails” highlight the new cocktail menu that use Mezcal to give it the smoky flavor. La Hacienda features over 150 tequilas and a growing selection of Mezcal all picked by Tequila Goddess Katie Schnurr.

Black Currant Margarita

A new look and expansion

The exciting new menu is compliments the new look of La Hacienda created by Judith Testani. Testani is a local designer with her own firm, Testani Design. Testani says “The goal for the re-design of La Hacienda was to align the interior of the restaurant with the sophisticated palette of the chef and menu.”

The Bar at La Hacienda

An expanded lounge and bar allows guests to gather and offer communal dining at high top tables. Tequila bottles are on the new display shelf across from the agave wall crafted by a local artist.

Large light fixtures drop from the ceiling are new as is furniture and accessories from Mexico. Guests will notice light-colored stucco walls, detailed blacked steel and renovated restrooms.

Guest can dine at La Hacienda daily at 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and 10 p.m. on Fri. & Sat. To view the menu and more information view their website.

 

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.