Tag Archives: Where to eat

Rusconi’s American Kitchen tempts us with Summer Dinner Menu

No beating around the cactus, its June and summer has hit the Phoenix area pretty quickly. As much as we lament the hot summer months a few good things make life easier for us locals. As we stick around and sweat it out there is less traffic on the road, no waiting for a table at our favorite restaurants and restaurants doing what it takes to get our butts in their seats. Rusconi’s American Kitchen is wooing us with a Summer Dinner menu that offers 3 courses & glass of red or white wine for only $44.00 per guest.

This Summer 2017 Feature Menu is available through August in addition to their daily dinner menu. The Summer dinner menu is as follows…..

Course One (choice of)

wild arugula with cotija cheese 

shaved watermelon radish, beets, chardonnay vinaigrette

chilled pea soup with house smoked salmon

crema and tiny croutons

 

Course Two (choice of)

pecan wood grilled loin of lamb

mild roasted pepper grits, small carrots and American goat cheese

pecan wood grilled sustainable salmon 

blackberry glaze, small potatoes, sweet corn, baby cabbages

 

Course Three (choice of)

 budino of the moment

 RAK dark chocolate bread pudding

Rusconi’s American Kitchen is at 10637 N. Tatum Blvd. (NE corner of Tatum & Shea) Phoenix (480)483-0009 http://rusconiskitchen.com/

 

Southern Rail and Beckett’s Table treat moms right on Mother’s Day

Are you scrambling trying to figure out where to take mom for Mother’s Day on Sunday? No sweat as Southern Rail & Beckett’s Table is offering a laid back atmosphere for mom and the family. To help put her in a relaxing mood they will be offering a complimentary glass of bubbly to the hardest working member of the family.

Mother’s Day Scottish Salmon at Southern Rail

Mother’s Day specials

In addition to the bubbly for mom, both restaurants will be serving their seasonal menus and 1/2 price bottles of Arizona wines for the whole family.

Southern Rail will be serving up a gluten-free special of Organic Scottish Salmon served a top a bed of roasted cauliflower, spinach with a dill caper roasted garlic butter for $24.

Beckett’s Table will be offering a Mother’s Day special of Pan Seared Scallops alongside of green beans, potatoes, Chorizo, spinach, almonds and a creme fraiche for $28.

Beckett’s Table will open an hour earlier at 4p.m. and Southern Rail’s Brunch starts at 11 a.m. with reservations recommended for both restaurants. Call Southern Rail at 602-200-0085 http://southernrailaz.com/ and Beckett’s Table 602-954-1700 http://beckettstable.com/

 

 

Local eateries offer up burger deals for National Hamburger Month

Americans eat more than 50 billion, billion with a “b” hamburgers every year and I’m proud to do my part of a couple a dozen a year. Since we couldn’t give it its own year somebody decided to give it all 31 days in the month of May. To salute the American classic several Phoenix area restaurants are celebrating all month with burger deals & even a burger selfie contest.

Kelly’s at Southbridge

U.S. Egg’s selfie contest

U.S. Egg not only serves up delicious breakfast but they offer mouth-watering burgers. U.S. Eggs grills up nine different burgers including a vegetarian burger and they even offer gluten-free burgers.

In celebration of National Hamburger Month, U.S. Egg is having a burger selfie contest. Take a photo eating a burger, upload it to social media and #USEgg in your caption and you will be entered to win free burgers for a year! Every week in May, one winner will be chosen and will be given a $50 U.S. Egg gift card and will be entered for the grand prize. Check out facebook.com/USeggBreakfastLunch for more information

Thirsty Lion Gastropub’s Tavern Burger

One of Thirsty Lion’s signature items is none other than the Tavern Burger. This classic burger is simple, delicious and topped with crispy onion rings. Thirsty Lion also has a happy hour from 3pm – 6pm and 9:30pm – close and serves $5.95 Grilled Burger Sliders.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill is at 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 1041 in Tempe and 7014 E Camelback Road, Suite 1423 in Scottsdale. Their Scottsdale location offers complimentary valet. Thirsty Lion’s newest location is at SanTan Village 2212 E Williams Field Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85297. For more information visit www.thirstyliongastropub.com.

Kelly’s at Southbridge offers burger deals on May 28th

On Sunday, May 28th, National Hamburger Day, Kelly’s at Southbridge will offer $12 burgers. Kelly’s award winning burgers are made with a signature four meat blend of short rib, sirloin, chuck and brisket.

Kelly’s burgers include a spicy Pepperjack Guacamole Burger, Bourbon Egg Burger topped with onion rings and barbecue sauce and the signature Original Four-Cut Burger topped with pancetta, mushrooms and piquillo peppers. Kelly’s will also have all day happy hour on Sunday, May 28th! Enjoy half price appetizers, bruschetta, bottles of wine and champagne, $4 drafts, house wines, wells and $4 off signature cocktails.

Kelly’s is on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale. For more information, visit www.kellysatsouthbridge.com or facebook.com/KellysAtSouthbridge.

 

 

Hopdoddy Burger Bar to roll out new seasonal menu items this week.

You already know that Hopdoddy Burger Bar serves good burgers but did you know they also serve handcrafted milkshakes and cocktails at their full service bar. All 3 of these components are part of Hopdoddy’s success and on April 5 they will be introducing a seasonal burger, milkshake and cocktail.

For a limited time guests will be able to order the Double Stack Burger and Purple Rain Shake until April 18th and High + Rye Cocktail until May 2nd.

The Double Stack Burger ($10) will be made with two freshly ground Angus beef and onion patties topped with melted Swiss and cheddar, sassy sauce and tangy chipotle ketchup, proving two patties are better than one.

The Purple Rain Shake ($6) features house made blueberry compote swirled to perfection with toasted hazelnuts, vanilla spiced ice cream and a touch of sea salt, this naturally purple shake pays homage to the beloved rock star, Prince, in both color and name.

The High + Rye is made with local rye bourbon, house made ginger syrup, honey water, fresh squeezed lime juice, and topped with a piece of sweet and spicy candied ginger.

To taste these seasonal menu items or any of the other burgers, shakes and more hurry down to the 2 Phoenix area Hopdoddy’s in Scottsdale on Scottsdale Rd. north of Shea Blvd. and at 20th St. & Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. There are also plenty of Hopdoddy Burger Bar’s in Texas and southern California. http://www.hopdoddy.com/

 

Where to eat when in downtown Las Vegas

Are you a foodie who doesn’t like all the pomp & circumstance of the Las Vegas strip and their celebrity chef driven restaurants and buffets and prefer the character and history of downtown Las Vegas but want to avoid the touristy chain restaurants along the Fremont St. Experience continue reading this post.

I spent 4 days last weekend in downtown Las Vegas and for several meals stepped outside the Fremont St. Experience to explore several local restaurants of interest. Not to say I didn’t eat a meal or 2 in the hotels which will get a mention here but I wanted to see where the locals eat.

Day 1

The drive to Vegas up Route 93 where restaurants are hard to come by until you get to Wikieup is where we stopped for a quick-lunch at Luchia’s where my turkey club sandwich on homemade sourdough bread really hit the spot. Luchia’s is the last chance to eat before you get to I-40 & Kingman with only a couple of options a few miles before you get to Luchia’s.

After checking in at the downtown Las Vegas staple Golden Nugget, Ziggy and I made our way to the Artisan Hotel for a wine tasting & tapas at Barcelona Restaurant. The Artisan Hotel is off the strip and may be my new favorite hotel with its dark lobby and art decor with many paintings from Van Gogh, Picasso and more lining the walls along with statues and sculptures around the lobby. The tapas were satisfying and included Empanadas, tacos, croquettes and more at happy hour prices of $5 or $6. Washed down with the wines from Rock n Roll Wines it made for a great 1st night in town. http://www.artisanhotel.com/

Several hours later the we found our self  hungry and decided on a couple of slices of pizza from Pizza Lotto (in the El Cortez & Casino) after a beer at Atomic Liquors(another must visit) several blocks down Fremont St. among the hipsters and locals. This pizza snob thought the slices were spot on like you’d find in NYC.

Day 2

We passed on the all you can buffets and Denny’s for breakfast and made our way down Carson St. to Eat on a recommendation from a friend. Waiting outside til they opened at 8 was worth it as my corned beef hash was one of the best I had and Ziggy’s chicken fried steak looked real good. This breakfast & lunch joint almost had me coming back for the Truffled Egg sandwich but will save it for my next visit. Owner/Chef Natalie Young’s place commands a line on most mornings and for good reason with her breakfast providing the fuel we needed for our chilly mid-morning hike in the Red Rocks west of town near Summerlin. http://eatdtlv.com/#

After burning off our breakfast with the aforementioned hike Ziggy had mentioned Chicago Brewing Company’s large Bloody Mary’s served with appetizers attached. We went next door to the Four Queens Hotel & Casino for lunch which started with my Ghost Mary that came with mozzarella stick wrapped with bacon and spicy chile pepper. The Bloody Mary was made with a spicy ghost pepper Bloody Mary mix and I didn’t find either to be as spicy as expected but both disappeared real quick. My Muffelatta sandwich did me good til our next meal. Ziggy went with his hometown favorite Chicago dog and was underwhelmed with the diced tomatoes as opposed to sliced ones.

Dinner consisted of appetizers during our hosted Happy Hour at Cadillac Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar inside the Golden Nugget. Nachos, Ahi Tacos and Margaritas tasted the way they would at any other Mexican restaurant. No complaints here.

Day 3

Waking up Saturday morning had me indecisive about where to go for breakfast and I decided to keep it simple with a donut and coffee from Donut Bar on Carson St. After waiting with others til they opened at 8(see a trend here) more indecisiveness kicked in with all my donuts choices including The Big Poppa Tart with a Pop Tart in the middle and many more, see my Instagram video for more (@SandyWass). On this day I went with the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Roll and a large coffee from Portland’s Stumptown Roasters. The Las Vegas location is the 3rd with the other 2 in San Diego. http://www.donutbar.com/

A banquet style lunch was in the Golden Nugget and was good piece of steak but lets jump to dinner at Chow. Dining solo for dinner I went back down Fremont St to Chow, Natalie Young’s (of eat.) southern & Chinese food joint that is open for lunch & dinner(closes at 8pm). I started with a Pork Belly bun followed by 2 pieces of southern fried chicken. The overnight brined chicken was crispy  and good and the pork belly bun made me wanting more than 1.  I will definitely be back for noodles and more. http://www.chowdtlv.com/

Day 4

Our final day in Vegas had us in town long enough for breakfast before we hit the road back to Scottsdale. We headed to east Las Vegas to drop of our buddy G. Scott. East Las Vegas is mostly chain restaurants and drive thrus but we did discover Blueberry Hill Family Restaurant before we hit the highway out-of-town. This locally family owned restaurant has 4 Vegas locations and we found ourselves at the east Flamingo Rd location. Good, affordable breakfast and lunch comfort foods such as pancakes, waffles and more on the big menu. I went again with a corned beef hash skillet which almost defeated me but I didn’t let it happen. The always full coffee cup was perfect on this Sunday morning and we left full enough that a lunch stop on the road was not even necessary. http://www.blueberryhillrestaurants.com/

After paying our bill we hit highway south toward Arizona with me thinking of when I can return to Vegas for more local eats as we barely scratched the surface and left me  wondering about others we missed. Ciao for now Las Vegas!

 

 

Chef Charles Wiley to open Hearth ’61 at new Mountain Shadows resort

A lot has been going on the last few years at the corner of 56th St & Lincoln Dr. in Paradise Valley as the old Mountain Shadows resort makes way for the new & modern Mountain Shadows resort. Phoenix area foodies have been anxiously awaiting what popular chef Charles Wiley will be doing with the resorts signature restaurant. We now know he will be opening Hearth ’61 in early March.

The seasonal ingredient driven restaurants name Hearth ’61 pays tribute to 1961, the year Paradise Valley was incorporated and a “Hearth” being a centerpiece of the resort and the Paradise Valley community.

Duncan carrots

Chef Wiley will be using his friendships he’s built over the years at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain and at Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu with farmers and other local purveyors to fuel his menu that will marry rich flavors with traditional cooking styles and techniques on the evolving menu. The restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A few of the dishes from the menu are…..

Niman Ranch Dry Aged Tomahawk- A 40-oz. bone in rib-eye, dry aged 28 days, roasted garlic, rosemary truffle butter

George’s Bank Sea Scallops – sauce romesco, buttered mushrooms, ancient barley, charred spring onion, fennel pollen

Charred Eggplant & Hayden Mills Ancient Grains – red quinoa, white sonora & farro berries, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus, roasted peppers, ricotta salata

Ginger Roasted Carrots – tahini yogurt, chervil

Floor to ceiling windows to view the surrounding Camelback & Mummy Mountains and desert, a sunken living room lounge, open kitchen and above ground wine cellar surrounded by glass are just a few of the design and decor features that honor a time from the past along with modern ambience.

The 5’s courtesy of Hearth ’61

“It is truly an honor to be a part of this iconic project, the rebirth of Mountain Shadows,” said Wiley. “We will rely on all the relationships we’ve cultivated over the years with local farmers and artisans to craft a rustic yet vibrant cuisine. The culinary team we’ve assembled is nothing less than extraordinary, and we’re excited to present menus featuring a perfect balance of innovation and tradition”.

The inventive menu of chef Wiley’s at Hearth ’61 will be complimented by an ingredient driven cocktail program that features 2 original cocktails, The 5 C’s referring to Arizona’s cotton, copper, cattle , citrus and climate industries which will feature locally distilled Commerce Gin, grapefruit & lemon juice and muddled basil leafs. The Forty-Rod which uses High West whiskey, corn milk, lime juice, ginger – cayenne syrup and garnished with a corn husk is inspired by the strong whiskey drinks of the old west.

 

 

 

Eating my way through Delray Beach, Boca Raton & Boynton Beach.

Some live through stereotypes, some live in stereotypes and from time to time I live in a stereotype. That is the case when I travel to visit family in southeastern Florida towns of Delray Beach, Boca Raton and Boynton Beach. Certain aspects feel like a Seinfeld episode when Jerry is visiting his parents in “Del Boca Vistas”. The best times revolve around food and eating out and all that come with the experience. On a recent visit I ate out for most meals in strip mall eateries or dockside by the water and these are my chronicles, see if my experiences sound familiar.

Most were simple meals with family and friends catching up and watching life go by as its high season in south Florida with snow birds, families visiting parents & grandparents and full-time residents.

Shortly after arriving in time for a mid-morning breakfast on the way back from the airport we decided on my aunts favorite greasy spoon, The Green Owl III in Boynton Beach. Breakfast and lunch served with simple staples of eggs, French toast, pancakes and the special of the day, Scrapple. I’m not entirely sure what Scrapple but you don’t see it here in Phoenix very often. I can say the eggs, corned beef hash and slice of French toast is exactly what you’d expect. Not huge portions but good solid breakfast foods with the regulars and an always full & hot cup of coffee with change back from a $10 in most cases. Cash only!

As often as I’ve visited in my 40 something years to this area there’s always a  favorite or 2 on the eating schedule. For dinner we made reservations at the family favorite Banana Boat on the Intercoastal Waterway in Boynton Beach. It was my 1st visit in a long time at this nautical & beach themed restaurant where seafood is good and fresh. The French Onion soup was spot on for bargain price of $6.95 before I stepped out of my seafood comfort zone and went with filet of Macadamia crusted Key West Grouper. The fish was good and flaky and the Orange Rosemary sauce was vibrant and delicious. http://bananaboatboynton.com/

We passed on desert as we headed down to the bustling Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach to Doc’s All American for soft serve ice cream. Doc’s pre-dates any of my visits back to when my aunt grew up in the area and Doc’s was the place to go for food and fun when she was in high school.

I know what you’re saying, where’s the stereotypes and Seinfeld episode in all of this. That picture comes into play when family continues to arrive and we head to Saturday morning breakfast at Poppie’s Restaurant & Delicatessen  in Delray Beach where Miltary Trail meets Linton Blvd. This staple for gossip, big portions and people watching is slowly filing with regulars for morning coffee or after tennis at the club. Walking by the glass encased meats and deli favorites right to our table or booth I don’t remember but you get the drift. I expect Jerry, George and Elaine to coming strolling through the door any second as if they’re visiting Jerry’s parents. http://www.poppiesdelidelray.com/

I went with a platter of eggs, home fries, corned beef hash & a bagel. Big portions tasting the way it should as if we were up in New York deli.

For lunch, plans get made with our hometown friend for our traditional sushi lunch at Lemongrass Asian Bistro www.lemongrassasianbistro.com/  in downtown Boca Raton among the Bentley’s and Rolls Royce’s. This was our first visit to Lemongrass as our previous sushi place a couple blocks away has jumped on the ramen & noodle bandwagon. The sushi was fresh and filing as was it’s presentation. The Summer Roll(Vietnamese spring roll, not sushi) was one of favorites with its mint and shrimp stuffed goodness. Our favorite roll was the Aloha Roll with pineapple and more and my Bento box of sashimi and a “Sex on the Moon” roll was perfect.

During our late lunch I was informed dinner would be of the early bird kind at 4:30 for Chinese food. Up I-95 a few exits back to Delray Beach in a nondescript strip mall is Bird Nest Tree. http://www.birdnesttree.com/

My sister & I must have been the youngest patrons of this (stereo)typical Chinese food restaurant with dim lighting, leather booths and round tables. I opted to skip dinner as the taste of sushi still lingered on my palate and dinner plans with friends in Ft. Lauderdale was only an hour or so away. I did nosh on the large fried wontons on the table and grabbed a taste of Kung Pao chicken before our server scolded me and slapped a “sharing” charge on my families bill. It all looked and smelled like good Chinese food, maybe next visit for a full experience.

That’s not the end of my eating escapades as other meals were had at the country club, in homes of friends and family and at the wedding which brought all of us to Florida, that’s another post in itself. If you find yourself traveling the roads of these parts, these and other restaurants from previous visits make for good eating and people watching.