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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Food festival season is starting to get ramped up as the summer slowly comes to an end. On of the first festivals is the 7th annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest on Saturday September 15th in downtown Chandler.
This years festival hosts 20 restaurants and food vendors making more tacos than one can eat. Restaurants such as Las Palmas, Taco Guild and Nando’s Mexican Cafe are just a few restaurants breaking out the recipe book to create unique tacos. Specialty Poke tacos, cactus and Korean chicken tacos are a few of the non-traditional tacos being served up at the family friendly event.
More than just tacos
You can’t eat tacos for all 9 hours of the festival so entertainment from Santana cover band Evil Waze will take the stage. Metalachi, the world’s first and only mariachi heavy metal band will headline the festival.
A custom low-rider car show with In the Streets magazine will show off over 60 cars, bikes and trucks. Lucha libre wrestling and food eating contest will be going on throughout the day.
Get your tickets here
General admission tickets on-line are $10, $15 at the door with kids 12 and under free. The 21 years old + VIP tickets are $100 and available on-line only. VIP ticket holders get a private area, 6 alcoholic beverage tickets, catered food and shaded area.
The Tequila Tavern tickets are $30 on-line get you 10 tequila samples and unlimited chips and salsa.
A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership. The non-profit DCCP mission is to use leadership and resources to promote the downtown Chandler area.
After years of honing his culinary skills in restaurants in Mexico City and the United States for somebody else, Leo Madrigal decided to take those skills and open his own restaurant. The Oaxacan born Madrigal did just that recently with the opening of his Cocina Madrigal on the corner of 16th St. & Wood in south Phoenix.
The 1,900 sq. ft. restaurant seats up to 140 people once the patio opens including the bar that’s serving signature margaritas and a unique section of tequila. “From the moment our guests walk into the restaurant, I want them to feel welcomed, appreciated and at home. I’m so excited to share my commitment to service and high quality food at our new location in South Phoenix,” says Madrigal.
Cocina Madrigal signature dishes
Madrigal wanted to always share his vision of Mexican cuisine at his own restaurant after working in restaurants such as Z’Tejas, Eddie V’s and Taco Guild after arriving from Houston. The menu is inspired by growing up in Oaxaca and he giving it an American twist with such dishes as Oaxacan Con Queso with American & Oaxacan cheese, Mango Steak Salad, Tres Mushrooms Enchiladas and Grilled Elote with Cotija cheese.
Mexican food staples tacos, enchiladas and burros are given Madrigals twist as well.
Cocina Madrigal is open for lunch and dinner Sun.- Thurs. from 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. with Happy Hour Mon. – Fri. from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cocina Madrigal is at 4044 S. 16th St. Phoenix 85040. (602)243-9000 For more information check their Facebook page.
The Rafter Room opened this weekend offering guests a rum and tequila focused cocktail list. The newest cocktail hideaway is upstairs in the loft of Tempe’s Social Hall which opened in January. With the completion of The Rafter Room the two-story facility offers guests over 10,000 square feet of space perfect for happy hour and hanging out.
The Rafter Room design
The Rafter Room was designed Camila Gibbs and offers ” a moodier, edgier evolution” compared to downstairs. The converted barn has triple vaulted ceilings, vintage voting booth lights, patina walls and a raised stage for presentations and live music. According to co-owner Mike Kenney “The space has an industrial, secret hideaway type of vibe that really sets it apart from the restaurant down below.”
Social Hall cocktail and food offerings
The Latin inspired menu downstairs will be available upstairs with Pork Belly Street Tacos, Chicano Steak Frites and Huevos Rancheros and more. “Expect an elevated tequila and rum bar program, small-batch and barrel-aged spirits, among other offerings,” said Kenney.
The cocktail program was created to compliment the menu of Social Hall.
Social Hall is at 715 S. McClintock Dr. Tempe 85281. 480-747-3851. For more information see their website.
Chef Michael O’Dowd is making his way back to the valley’s restaurant scene running the kitchen of restaurateur Julian Wright’s(Pedal Haus Brewery and others) new restaurant Las Palmas Cantina in downtown Chandler. When the restaurant opens in May it will serve coastal cuisine with Yucatan inspiration that Wright found when traveling to Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas of Mexico.
O’Dowd returns to the valley after most recently working in Sedona at L’Auberge de Sedona as executive chef. When in Phoenix O’Dowd scored the coveted AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star Award while executive chef at Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of downtown Chandler and to bringing one of my favorite regions of the world to this community,” said Wright. “ I love that Chandler is still very independent. Everyone is still very much your neighbor.”
Las Palmas Cantina menus
O’Dowd’s menu will highlight the “sand to table” concept with seafood from local fish monger Chula Seafood along with “high country” ingredients. Fish available will include Pompano, Triggerfish, Snapper and more for ceviche and other dishes.
Sweet & spice are tastes you’ll find at Las Palmas Cantina with your shared plates and lighter dishes that will include a jerk chicken Shaken Greens and Cochinta Pibil.
“I haven’t really seen anyone in Arizona exploring this type of cuisine or region,” said O’Dowd. “Being able to learn about the culture and history of the Mayans and create a way to pay homage to the past while creating new ideas, dishes and flavors is what I thrive on.”
Just in time for summer, Las Palmas Cantina’s beverage program will offer refreshing tropical specialty cocktails and Mexican inspired craft beers brewed exclusively for Las Palmas. A selection of tequilas, mezcals and agua frescas will be offered and used as ingredients in the cocktail program.
Need a job
The 5,000 square foot restaurant is currently hiring and those interested can apply in person at the restaurant at 95 W. Boston in downtown Chandler on online at their website.
With all the development going on around downtown Scottsdale you may have missed that Scottsdale Fashion Square was doing a major renovation on the north side off the Camelview parking lot. The new luxury wing will include upscale restaurants with Los Angeles based Toca Madera being one and Ocean 44 the other.
This will be the third location for Toca Madera with a restaurant in Dubai and the flagship West Hollywood restaurant serving traditional Mexican cuisine with a modern approach.
“Making something already exceptional even better is driving the luxury renovation at Scottsdale Fashion Square, and that means creating opulent settings for shoppers to unwind and refresh,” said Michael Guerin, Senior Vice President of Leasing, Macerich.
“The addition of market-exclusive culinary concepts like Toca Madera, along with some of the world’s most respected retail brands, reinforces the property’s reputation as the market’s dominant luxury destination.”
Toca Madera eats
The menu emphasizes organic and locally sourced ingredients for bold flavors and plenty of options for diners including plenty of gluten-free and vegan dishes.
On the menu currently at the West Hollywood restaurant are Ensenada style fish tacos, A La Roca with American Wagyu beef, Enchiladas de Mole, Chipolte Dusted Tofu Tostadas and the popular Churro Ice Cream Sandwich.
Spill out cafe seating will be available for people to enjoy a bite to eat while sipping on a tequila or mescal, a farm to glass cocktail that uses fresh ingredients or a glass of wine from around the world.
Scottsdale is a market we’ve always wanted to be in,” said Tosh Berman, CEO and Co-founder of The Madera Group. “With Scottsdale Fashion Square’s exciting luxury expansion happening, we knew this was going to be the perfect location for us. We look forward to introducing Toca Madera to the community and showcasing what will be the ultimate in luxury dining.”
The restaurant business is not the only local industry that is also in the constant state of flux, so is the live music venue industry as smaller venue continue to seek your entertainment dollar. Scottsdale’s Livewire became a recent victim and shut its doors a few months back. Evening Entertainment Group(EEG) are quickly transforming the two-story building into Casa Amigos and Sky Lanes with an anticipated opening before year’s end.
The $4 million dollar renovation started over the summer with the authentic Mexican restaurant Casa Amigos occupying the ground floor space with the lounge and state of the art bowling alley Sky Lanes upstairs.
EEG’s owners Diane and Les Corieri are familiar with the building and the Scottsdale Entertainment District having run several nightlife venues in the area for almost 20 years. They are working with decorator Alison Victoria who many may recognize from HGTV’s “Kitchen Crashers” and who the Corieri’s hired to design their central Phoenix restaurant Casa Anejo which opened last year.
“This location has always been special to Diane and me,” says Les Corieri, co-owner of Evening Entertainment Group. “From our original ultra-lounge and nightclub, Axis-Radius, to the former Livewire music hall, this space has always been a landmark in the Scottsdale nightlife scene. So when we looked to launch a new concept, we knew we had to go all out and create a one-of-a-kind experience that speaks to the way people like to nightlife today-casual yet stylish dining in an indoor-outdoor that setting takes advantage of Arizona’s wonderful weather. And then with Sky Lanes we know there a market for fun, cocktail-friendly entertainment with a high-energy vibe.”
The Santa Barbara inspired designed restaurant will serve traditional Mexican fare for the nightclub crowd that will include tacos such as octopus and picadillo beef, a build your own Guacamole menu, shared plates and entrees that include a bacon wrapped Sonoran dog and Veracruz grilled swordfish.
Handcrafted cocktails, cold beers along with an extensive list of premium sipping tequilas and mezcals will be available as will several varieties of Margaritas.
Upstairs the state-of-the- art bowling alley and lounge will impress even the Scottsdale crowd with its retro modern decor. The boutique bowling alley will offer bottle service in the lounge and classics jams of the 80s & 90s will keep the energy going while guests bowl the night away.
Casa Amigos and Sky Lanes will be at 7340 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale 85251.
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…..
Grilled nopales andlengua de vaca consume
Don Julio Reposado,
Himalayan salt cordial,
kaffir lime oil, cayenne flake
Chef LaRosa’s deconstructed Chili RellenoPoblano, Oaxaca queso, tomato chili chutney,tequila pomegranate gastrique
Don Julio 70 Clara Anejo,
dry orange curacao, spanish dry vermouth,
blood orange sour
Watermelon, tequila & lime shaved ice
Braised pollo de muslo,maiz de la calle, maseca, mole,frijoles negros a la hoya
In this hectic world we live in some times its better to “Save the Date” if you’re looking to schedule your month of September. With the return of cooler weather and food festivals circle Saturday September 16th on your calendar. The 6th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest returns to the streets of downtown Chandler with eating competitions, midget wrestling, a tequila tasting, a low rider car show and of course tacos.
Two dozen local restaurants will be preparing creative tacos made with fish, shrimp, carne asada, chicken, carnitas, vegetables and more. Chase your tacos down with a cold cerveza, aqua fresca and margaritas. Make sure you save room for churros, elote and palettas.
Live entertainment and participating restaurants will be announced soon as final plans are being made. To get updates you can check out http://www.rockintacoaz.com/
Rockin’ Taco Street Fest tickets
The festival starts at 12;00 p.m. and runs through 9:00 p.m. with General Admission tickets available in advance, online for $10 and $12 at the gate. Bring non-perishable food donation for the United food Bank and save $2 with purchase at the door. Food and drink sold separately.
A limited supply of VIP tickets are available on-line only for $75. VIP access include 6 alcoholic drink tickets, unlimited water and soft drinks, catered food from Chandler’s El Palacio Restaurant and Cantina, private seating and restrooms and more. VIP admission is only for 21 and over.
Donation to Downtown Chandler Community Partnership
Part of the proceeds from Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will go to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership(DCCP), a non-profit corporation to help leadership and use of resources to promote and market downtown Chandler as a regional hub for shopping, dining, living, culture and the arts.
The Fest will take place at Dr. AJ Chandler Park at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave.
Cinco de Mayo celebrations come in all shapes and sizes on Friday May 5th and not everybody wants shots of tequila, loud music or parties in to early Saturday morning. Some prefer to celebrate with a relaxing lunch, a refreshing margarita or an after work Happy Hour with friends or co-workers. If that’s your plan continue reading about what central Phoenix’s Sierra Bonita Grill is serving up.
Cinco de Mayo Margaritas
Starting at 11 a.m. SBG will be offering their popular Fresh Squeezed Margarita and Pomegranate Margarita for only $5 until they close. These thirst quenching margaritas are made with tequila, fresh squeezed lime juice, a splash orange juice, orange liqueur, house made sweet and sour mix, agave nectar and PAMA liquor.
Lunch and extended Happy Hour
Lunch goes well with margaritas and SBG is serving up 5 tempting lunch specials for $12 until 3 p.m. Guests can choose from Jalapeño Chicken Pasta, Green Onion, Spinach and Cheese Enchiladas served with rice and beans, Chicharron and Potato Taquitos, Red Chile Pork Tostadas, and a Green Chile-Chicken Quesadilla.
If you can’t get in early for lunch SBG is extending their Happy Hour from 3 p.m. until closing. in the bar with cocktails, appetizers and entree items available for $7. Signature cocktails such as Miguel’s Mule, Sangria or the Daiquiri Anos will be available along with dishes that include Carne Asada Street Tacos, a Sonoran Hot Dog and Borracho Nachos.