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.

2018 AZ Central Wine & Food experience welcomes Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

Over 60 Arizona restaurants and their chefs return November 3rd & 4th for the 4th annual AZ Central Wine & Food Experience. The 2018 experience moves up the road to Monterra at Westworld and includes celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.

Marcus Samuelsson
All photos courtesy of FleurCom Group

The Martha Stewart Experience returns

AZWFE welcomes back The Martha Stewart Experience with a Celebrating with Martha theme for guests to get creative just in time for the holidays. You’ll be able to check out Martha’s newest line of kitchen gear and utensils from Macy’s and QVC.

New to this years event is the The Grateful House where guests can make their own salsa and wine charms. Their will be Master Demo lead by a Grateful Influencer to 40 people on a first come first serve basis.

Join Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez

On Saturday award-winning chef Marcus Samuelesson will join the festivities along with local chefs. Sunday welcomes chef and Food Network judge Aaron Sanchez who will mix and mingle with guest and more local chefs.

Chefs from across the valley including Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood, Jennifer Russo of The Market by Jennifer Restaurant and Bar and MATCH Restaurant and Lounge chef Alex Stratta will prepare tastes of food.

Get your tickets

Tickets for the two day event are available at their website.

  • Grand Tasting.  $65 limited time offer in advance. Sample delicious bites from Arizona’s most coveted dining establishments. Meet chefs, taste their creations; see cooking demonstrations.  Plus enjoy fine wine, craft beer and distinctive spirits sampling. GT entry at 1pm Sat. and Sun.
  • VIP Grand Tasting. $120 in advance.  For guests who seek all the benefits of the Grand Tasting, they’ll also enjoy private tastings from wineries and distillers, early entry, a VIP Lounge and VIP restrooms. VIP Entry at noon.
  • Chef’s Package Experience with Marcus Samulesson & Aarón Sánchez.  $180 in advance. Enjoy all the benefits of the VIP Grand Tasting, PLUS private meet and greet and book-signing with Marcus Samuelsson Nov. 3 & Aarón Sánchez Nov. 4 [Advance purchase recommended. Tickets subject to sellout.] Chef’s Package begins at 11:30am. Subscribers are eligible for $15 off tickets, available only through azcentral.com/insider.

 

Enjoy a wine weekend with Isabel & Michael Mondavi at L’Auberge de Sedona

Update: This weekend has just been re-scheduled for November 2-4 2018. A “Meet the Winemaker” reception has been added for the evening of Fri. Nov. 2 for the public to purchase tickets and enjoy the creek-side reception. Additional details to follow.

How better to spend a hot weekend in Phoenix than to drive 90 minutes north to Sedona and the luxurious L’Auberge de Sedona to sip wine and cool off.  If you’re one of the 50 guests who RSVP for the weekend of August 3-5 you will enjoy that and more with winery owners Isabel & Michael Mondavi of Michael Mondavi Family Estate.

“An Intimate  Weekend with Isabel & Michael Mondavi” will be set amongst the beautiful  red rocks of Sedona with wine dinners and delicious meals prepared by L’Auberge de Sedona’s executive chef Frank Desplechin.

Guests will get an up close opportunity to taste wine, speak with and listen to stories from Isabel & Michael about their over 40 years in the Napa Valley and international wine industry.

L'Auberge de Sedona
Michael & Isabel Mondavi. All photos courtesy of Alexa Forshay of J Public Relations

L’Auberge de Sedona wine events

The weekend long wine experience will offer events while also

offering guests time enjoy the resort spa to relax between meals and all that the amenities Sedona area offers.

The weekend highlights include……

  • Meet the Winemaker Creekside welcome reception with passed bites by Chef Desplechin and wines from the Isabel Mondavi wine portfolio
  • A four-course, starlit Epicurean Winemaker Dinner overlooking red rock country curated by Chef Desplechin with wine pairings by Isabel and Michael Mondavi
  • “Sweet and meet” chocolate degustation with Sedona chocolatier Lulu’s Chocolate and Michael Mondavi
  • Signed bottle of Michael Mondavi Family Estate wine as a keepsake takeaway
  • A creekside lunch with Michael pouring renowned wines perfectly paired with cuisine by Chef Desplechin
  • Creekside winemaker Sunday brunch at ETCH Kitchen & Bar

The epicurean weekend package starts at $3,500 for two people, includes two nights of accommodations in a luxurious Cottage, select meals and Mondavi Family Estate wines and a $200 spa credit per person for treatments, private yoga or meditation, or retail. To book a reservation visit www.lauberge.com and use promo code: MONDAVI2018 or call (888) 587-7848.

 

LDV Winery celebrates 10th anniversary re-locating Wine Gallery to SouthBridge

Reaching a 10 year anniversary for a small business is a big accomplishment. Business’s that make it that long celebrate in several different ways some big, some small. Kurt & Peggy co-owners of LDV Winery is celebrating in a big way as the-re-locate their popular Scottsdale Wine Gallery to SouthBridge on Stetson Dr.

Moving to nearby Southbridge on the canal, LDV will be able to attract new customers from the large amount of foot traffic from nearby restaurants and shopping.

“We are thrilled to bring even better wine experiences, tastings and purchase offerings to our members and guests through our new location,” says co-owner Peggy Fiandaca. “It’s our pleasure and distinct honor to share our love and knowledge of Arizona wines with other local wine enthusiasts and visitors to the area that are unaware of our region’s amazing wine growing abilities.”

Events at SouthBridge

With the E. 1st St. location closing on July 27th all August and September events are cancelled until they open in October. Its business as usual until the 27th with daily happy hour and WineDown Wednesday.  Once they Kurt and Peggy re-open at their new location they will continue their exciting events focused around their wines made at their winery in southern Arizona.

Purchases of wine are 30% off when you buy 6 until they close at 8 p.m. on July 27th. To purchase wines or get more information reach out to 602-320-1485, info@ldvwinegallery.com or https://ldvwinery.com/

Here is the schedule of events for October, November and December.

OCTOBER

LDV Winery Sky Islander Wine Club Pick-up Party

Sunday, October 14th -1:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Sky Islander Wine Club members can pick up their wine club packages and taste through the new wines. Guests are welcome; regular tasting fees apply. Wine club packages will be charged to credit card on file the beginning of October. Call Peggy 602-320-1485 to update any club member information.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, October 20th -10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

 LDV Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 27th 2018 -11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

All are welcome to join in the celebration of the 2018 Harvest Completion with LDV Winery, enjoying great wine, a Le Nez du Vin (Nose of the Wine) competition, grape stomping photo opportunities, and music on the patio. Free to attend and enjoy wine by the glass discounts and nibbles such as artisan cheese, sausage and other noshes.

NOVEMBER

LDV 10th Year Celebration – Special Wine Release

Saturday, November 10th -During regular hours

Guests are invited to celebrate the LDV winemaker’s 60th birthday and the release of the LDV 10th Year Celebration limited edition wine. Celebration includes a tasting of the special 10th Year Celebration Wine and birthday cake. Admission is free.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, November 17th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, November 28-6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

DECEMBER

During this holiday month, guests that bring in a toy for Toys for Tots will receive a 10 percent discount.

Corks, Crafts and Wine

Saturday, December 1st -10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Guests can bring in their glue guns and sticks to create wine-cork crafts such as wreaths, cork trees and ornaments in this fun and social environment while sipping wine and nibbling on snacks. Cost: $15, including a glass of wine. Registration: 602-320-1485

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, December 8th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, December 12th -6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

Scottsdazzle – Scottsdale Wine Trail Santa Wine Around

Saturday, December 15th -6:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m.

Guests can get into the spirit of the season by decking themselves in their Santa or Mrs. Claus attire for a fun “Santa Wine Around” throughout downtown Scottsdale. With stops at four local wineries, each with wine specials and activities to celebrate the holidays, the entire downtown Scottsdale area will also be alive with holiday merriment and activities! Registration not required; all Scottsdazzle events can be viewed at www.scottsdazzle.com.

 

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