Festival in the Pines makes its return to Flagstaff after 10 years

It’s never to soon to plan a summer getaway out the the Phoenix heat in the summer. Flagstaff is a easy getaway for Phoenicians and the 4th of July is one of the more popular weekend. Flagstaff will be bursting this year with the return of The Festival in the Pines after a 10 year hiatus. The popular festival if formerly know as “Summerfest”.

Festival in the Pines is from supporter of the arts Andrew Maguire. “We really felt a need for the return of a family-oriented festival that presents art enthusiasts with some of the country’s finest artists along with great entertainment, food and fun for all,”. “We had been doing the festival for 23 years prior to its hiatus and we’ve received such demand for its return that we’re thrilled to make it happen.”

The festival will be held at Fort Tuthill Coconino County Fairgrounds on April 4th -6th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Local food trucks will keep festival goers fed while enjoying over 150 artists and their collections and live music.

The festival will coincide with other 4th of July festivities in Flagstaff which was named the “#1 destination in U.S. for Independence Day festivities” by Travel & leisure magazine.

The fairgrounds are at 2446 Fort Tuthill Loop off I-17. For more information go to http://www.888artfest.com/flagstafffestivalinthepines/

Nirvana Food & Wine Festival grows to five exciting days

Celebrity chefs, food, wine and sunshine what could be better. Not much for five days in April when the 3rd annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival returns to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. The popular culinary event celebrates food, wine and cocktails with tastings, events, parties and dinners.

Making their return this year will be celebrity chefs Robert Irvine and Todd English along with Jose Garces. They will join local chefs Christopher Gross, Matt Carter, Scott Contant and host Beau MacMillan.

Two exiting new events have been added to this years calendar Wood, Wine & Wagyu and Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox. Below are all the details of all the events scheduled.

Wood, Wine & Wagyu

Hosted by Chef Beau MacMillan, David Rose and Jason Asher; presented by Woodford Reserve and ZD Wines

Wednesday, April 24, 7-10 p.m.; Paradise Views Patio & Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax per person

Nirvana 2019 will kick off with an intimate, sit-down, family-style dinner featuring Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms cooked over a wood fire by local and national chefs. The dinner also includes craft cocktails made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, specialty wines, a Davidoff cigar reception, and live entertainment.

Master of Taste Dinner 1

Hosted by legendary winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer and Top Chef Alum Bruce Kalman

Wednesday, April 24; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability

The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary gatherings that pair top regional and local chefs with a notable winemaker. The first of four such evenings puts the spotlight on Napa’s Tuck Beckstoffer Wines with pioneering winemaker Tuck himself playing host. The dinner experience will be elevated by Sanctuary’s stunning valley views, seen through the dramatic glass walls of Villa Mariposa, one of Sanctuary’s ultra-exclusive private homes.

Bourbon Street Blues

Hosted by Food Network’s Marc Murphy and Dead Rabbit’s Jillian Vose

Thursday, April 25, 7-9 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $135 plus tax per person

This grand New Orleans-style celebration returns for a second year, with guests encouraged to don Mardi Gras-inspired attire while mingling and noshing on an extraordinary spread of food and drinks. Live music will set the beat for guests to dance while the Valley’s top mixologists set the party vibe with inspired cocktail creations.

Master of Taste Dinner 2

Phenom winemaker Jesse Katz pairs up with Chef Dustin Valette

Thursday, April 25; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s second winemaking evening features rising star Jesse Katz, innovative founder of Aperture Cellars from Alexander Valley, California, which focuses on Bordeaux varietals and demonstrates an expression of art both inside the bottle and out, and the highest-rating varietal from California, Devil Proof Vineyards.

Flutes & Coops

Hosted by Todd English and D Vincent Williams and the Nashville All-Stars; presented by Veuve Cliquot

Friday, April 26, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Views Ballroom, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax VIP/ $150 plus tax GA per person

Fried chicken gets fancy during this Champagne-focused soiree, featuring Veuve Clicquot and some of the country’s biggest culinary talent. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite participating chefs and mixologists including Bar Brawl’s Season 2 champion Kiefer Gilbert.

Master of Taste Dinner 3

Hosted by winemakers Dan Kosta and Rich Aurilia with Chef François de Melogue‏

Friday, April 26, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s third Master of Taste Dinner brings together legendary winemaker Dan Kosta of AldenAlli (Sonoma, California) with former San Francisco Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia, now a partner in Red Stitch Wine Group (Napa Valley, California).

Nirvana Food & Wine
Bella Twins. Photo courtesy of Jaime Scalici

Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox

Chef host Matt Carter welcomes celebrity mixologist Jillian Vose, Jason Asher and Micah Olsen with top chef Bruce Kalman

Friday, April 26, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fat Ox, 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale; $125 plus tax per person

Nirvana’s first-ever late-night event will be an exclusive, roped-off, live-DJ affair at one of Scottsdale’s sexiest restaurants. Fat Ox chef Matt Carter and mixologist Jillian Vose, formerly of Sanctuary’s own jade bar and now owner of New York City’s hottest cocktail bar, The Dead Rabbit, will headline the see-and-be-seen party. Guests will rub shoulders with the best of Nirvana’s celebrity chefs and local mixologists, including Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow and former GQ Bombay Sapphire’s “most inspired bartender”.

Celebrity Golf Tournament

Hosted by The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella

Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m. registration and 9 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $$400 per player

Neighboring Mountain Shadows’ Short Course will play host to Nirvana’s hugely popular celebrity golf tournament, hosted by Matt Ginella of The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Famous faces from the worlds of sports, food and drink will pair up with foursomes for a day on the greens geared towards fun, including delectable small bites, a luncheon buffet and beverages.

Rosé Parté at Wrigley Mansion

Wrigley Mansion’s Chefs Christopher Gross and Jamie Hormel welcome celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Lindsay Autry, mixologist Libby Lingua, the Bella Twins and musical guests The Potash Twins

Saturday, April 27, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wrigley Mansion, 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix; $150 plus tax per person

The rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, returning to Nirvana by popular demand, this time to Phoenix’s storied and elegant iconic mansion, Wrigley Mansion. Also returning to the Nirvana scene are The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie Bella of WWE fame, stars of E! Network’s Total Bellas, and the inspiration behind Belle Radici wines. Guests will enjoy fabulous pairings of rosé and fine food while exploring the historic environs.

Best of the West

Hosted by Chef Scott Conant and celebrity mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim

Saturday, April 27, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $250 plus tax VIP/$175 plus tax GA per person

The West’s most beloved Arizona chefs will gather for an evening send-off, celebrating Nirvana 2019 with a spectacular walk-around tasting event and an incredible variety of wines. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.

Master of Taste Dinner 4

Hosted by Tim Martin of Tusk Wines

Saturday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability

Nirvana’s final Master of Taste Dinner spotlights winemaker Tim Martin, founder of Napa’s luxury wine brands Tusk Estates, Immortal Estate and Belle Radici. Tim joins Arizona legends Chuck Wiley, Mark Tarbell, Vincent Guerithault, and Alex Stratta for this amazing night of food, wine and special music guests.

Tequila & Tortillas

Hosted by Iron Chef Jose Garces and renowned artist Genero Garcia

Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $150 plus tax per person

¡Salud! Tequila is the star of Nirvana’s farewell brunch featuring Southwestern specialties and the best of the blue agave plant. Live music makes it a fiesta to remember as Nirvana bids adios to its 2019 showcase.

Nirvana tickets and resort packages

Because of the popularity of the event tickets will sell out and can be purchased at https://www.nirvanafoodandwine.com/. Sanctuary Resort is offering several Nirvana packages and can be booked at https://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/nirvana-2019-packages/

A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

Varsity Tavern opens on Mill Ave. for food, fun and drinks.

Texas-based Reign Group is about to open their second concept this year along Tempe’s Mill Ave. When the Varsity Tavern opens in early December it will be located upstairs from Rodeo Ranch which opened in August.

Varsity Tavern will offer a dine, drink and play atmosphere both day and night with over 8,000 square feet of fun. A wrap around balcony will offer guests a great view of Mill Ave., Sun Devil Stadium and the sunset.

“With Varsity Tavern, we’re pushing the dining and entertainment limits on Mill. Ave.” says Josh Regan, co-owner of Reign Group. “We fully expect these concepts help Mill Ave. become an undisputed epicenter of the dine-drink-play movement in the valley” says Reagan.

Shrimp and Pasta. All photos courtesy of Duality PR & Varsity Tavern

Dine

Executive chef Albert Hernandez is no stranger to the Mill Ave. dining scene as he was the executive chef at Monti’s La Casa Vieja. The menu is inspired by James Beard award-winning chef Robert McGrath who helped Hernandez create the Texas style food with an Arizona twist.

The menu includes unique dishes such as Pot Roast sliders, Meat Toothpicks with Chimichurri & mashed potatoes and the Sloppiest Of Jospeh’s on an Onion Roll. Brunch will be served on Sundays and Mondays and offer Potted Huevos Rancheros, Big Benny and Bananas Foster french Toast.

Drink

Guests can expect a wide range of cocktails, craft beers and wine at Varsity Tavern. Whether it’s a Bloody Mary at Sunday brunch or bottle service on a Friday night all will quench people’s thirst.

A full-time craft cocktail artist is on staff and has created cocktails such as Spicy Margarita and Blueberry Mojito.

Play at Varsity Tavern

The sports bar turned nightclub atmosphere will offer DJ spinning most nights and hi-def television’s for sports fans. Nightly promotions will offer Gold Fish Races on Monday’s and Bada Bingo on Wednesday’s. A lively Happy Hour also happens on a regular basis.

Varsity Tavern is on the southeast corner of Mill Ave. & 5th St. Hours are Mon. – Wed. 11 a.m. – midnight, Thurs. & Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sat 10:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m. – midnight. For more information visit their website.

Coffee 101 is in session at Press Coffee’s Scottsdale Waterfront location

Ever wonder where your morning cup of coffee came from and how Press Coffee determines what coffee’s to roast then sell, those questions will be answered in Coffee 101. Classes at the Scottsdale Waterfront’s “Speakeasy” classroom start tomorrow. The Scottsdale Quarter and Ocotillo locations have taught the popular class on Saturday mornings.

I recently took the class and learned which roasts I prefer, taste profiles and more.

Coffee experts will teach the “cupping” method of tasting coffee, the roasting process and where coffee originated when you take the 1-hour class.

Coffee 101 starts at 10 a.m. on the 1st & 3rd Saturday’s(tomorrow) at the Scottsdale Waterfront and Chandler (Nov. 17, Dec. 1, Dec. 15, Jan. 6, Jan. 20) with Scottsdale Quarter classes on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays.

Classes cost $20 and you receive a $10 gift card when class lets out.

Seating is limited and you can save your seat by going to http://presscoffee.com/tastings

The Scottsdale Waterfront is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. #145 across from Nordstrom’s.

 

 

Local chefs celebrate Devour Culinary Classic’s 10th anniversary

Don’t make any plans for the week of February 17th-24th 2019 until you’ve bought your tickets to Devour Culinary Classic. Named by the New York Times as the Best Culinary Festival in the Southwest DCC returns to the Desert Botanical Garden for its 10th anniversary.

“Our main objective is to support the development and promotion of the culinary and extended local food community and culture in Arizona, bringing deserved local and national attention to our state’s food scene,” said Thomas Barr, Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Ten years later after this event started, we can really see the effect it has had on building Phoenix and Arizona as a culinary destination.”

culinary
Photos courtesy of Devoured

Culinary events

Like in previous years culinary events are planned during the week leading up to the two-day event. The week kicks off on Sunday the 17th with Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Location and times are not yet confirmed.

On Thursday the 21st is Devour the World at the Japanese Public Garden in downtown Phoenix. From 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. guests will enjoy the international flavors of Phoenix. The line-up of local chefs is still being planned. $75

The weekend at Desert Botanical Gardens

With locals chefs such as James Porter chef/owner of Terra farm + manor, Tamara Stanger chef at Cotton & Copper will be there as will headliner Silvana Salcido Esparanza. Esparanza is owner/chef of Barrio Cafe and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.

“Does it get any better than strolling through the magnificent Southwest landscape, noshing on deliciously crafted small plates while sipping Arizona wines under the springtime desert sun? Not to me, or to the thousands of enthusiastic attendees who sell out Devour year after year,” said Howard Seftel, renowned and retired Arizona food critic who has attended the Devour Culinary Classic over the last decade.

The full line-up of chefs and restaurants is still being finalized for the two-day event.

Ticket sales and packages

General admission tickets go on-sale on Monday Nov. 9th at https://classic.devourphoenix.com/tickets

Tickets for 1 day are $105 and include all service fees. A new two-day VIP ticket package is $205 with entrance allowed 90 minutes early.

More details will become available in coming months on their website.

Huss Brewing Co. celebrates 5 Years of Chasing Dreams

One of Arizona’s favorite craft beer brewers, Huss Brewing Co. celebrates its 5th anniversary with a festival. The “5 Years of Chasing Dreams” festival will be Saturday October 27th at Singh Meadows in Tempe. The brewery was started by Leah and Jeff Huss.

“When we started five years ago, Jeff would brew the beer, filter the beer, deliver the beer and sell the beer out of the back of our very beat up F-150 pickup truck.” says Leah Huss. Huss Brewing now have a Tempe and Phoenix Taproom and legions of fans(myself included) can find the beers throughout Arizona on tap in restaurants and in cans in retailers.

The fun starts at 4 p.m. and will include live music from Huss’s Uptown Taproom GM Mike Chapman and Nashville based Los Colognes will headline. Award-winning Huss’s Family of Beers and seasonal & small batch beers will be poured and gourmet food served from local chefs.

The family friendly event will offer a kid friendly roast your own S’mores kit.

Tickets for the 5 Years of Chasing Dreams festival are $10 with food and beer purchased separately. Kids under 15 are free and tickets can be purchased here.

Singh Meadows is at 1490 E. Weber Dr. Tempe 85281.

 

Nothing’s better than BBQ, Bourbon & Beer at Mowry & Cotton

The Phoenician’s Mowry & Cotton restaurant is again hosting their signature BBQ, Bourbon & Beer Feast on Saturday October 27th. Chef de Cuisine Tandy Peterson cooks BBQ favorites smoked spare ribs and whole roasted pig paired with local beers and bourbon. Resort guests and locals are invited to this all-you-can-eat feast.

Guests will be able to sample beers from Four Peaks Brewing Co., Huss Brewing and Phoenix Ale House. Sip on bourbon from Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve.

The 21 & over event offers guests the chance to mix & mingle as they sample food and drink on the patio and at stations inside the restaurant.

Seating is limited and tickets are $70 plus tax & gratuity and include unlimited food and 6 drink samples. The event goes from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling 480-423-2530 or by email. For more information visit their website.

 

 

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

Arizona Restaurant Week at Artizen and Hearth ’61

Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.

Artizen

Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.

First Course-
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint

Crispy Pork Cheeks gf
Popcorn Grits, Pickled Beets, Wood Sorrel

Pickled Rock Shrimp Tartine
Baby Peppers, Shallots, Tarragon, EVOO, Grilled Ciabatta

Second Course
Shaved Brussels Sprout salad gf/vegetarian

Sun Dried Apple, Shaft’s Blue, AZ Pomegranate, Ginger Serrano Vinaigrette

Third Course
Pan Seared Corvina
Glazed Turnips, Pea sprouts, Garlic Dashi, Beech Mushrooms

Braised Hudson Valley Duck
Duck Terrine, Crispy Leg, Charred Broccolini, Dried Blueberries, Hazelnuts, Smoked Duck Cream

Vegetable Sheppard’s Pie gf/vegetarian
Eggplant, Fava beans, Corn, Mirepoix, Thyme, Tomato Gravy, Whipped Potatoes

Fourth Course
Caramelized Banana Budino gf/vegetarian
Dulce de Leche, Peanut Meringue, Chocolate Twigs

Chocolate Panna Cotta vegetarian
Berry Compote, Vanilla Bean Gelato, Salt Shortbread Cookie

Artizen is inside The Camby Hotel at 2401 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016 and reservations can be made by going to their website.

Hearth ’61

Hearth ’61 Roasted Beet Salad. Photos courtesy of Jack Busch at J Public Relations.

Guests at Hearth ’61 will enjoy 3 courses for $44++ from Chef Charles Wiley using the highest quality ingredients.

To Begin (choice of)
Roasted Beet Salad | celeriac | arugula | candied pecans | brown butter vinaigrette

Wood Roasted Hawaiian Prawns and Polenta | smoked cheddar | andouille sausage |mushroom broth | scallions

Berkshire Pork Croquette | watercress & fennel salad | arizona dates | farro | glazed carrots

Entrées (choice of)
Pan-Roasted Ora King Salmon* | mushroom gremolata | melted leeks | parsley salad

Sweet Corn Agnolotti | smoked red onion | charred kale | walnuts | basil beurre blanc

Niman Ranch Prime Tenderloin of Beef* | red wine demi-glace | horseradish cream |smoked sweet potato mash

Dessert (choice of)
Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake | java chip bavarian cream | raspberry gastrique

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar | banana brulee | salted caramel ice cream

Peach & Sun-Dried Cranberry Bread Pudding | cinnamon ice cream | blackberry coulis

Reservations can be made by calling 855-485-1417 or by going to their website. Mountain Shadows Resort and Hearth ’61 is at 5445 Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.