JBF Women of AZ collaborate on creative meals for a limited time

This weekend’s launch of JBF Women of AZ shows off the partnership of 15 talented women chefs as Phoenix is one of 10 cities participating in the national alliance “Let’s Talk” from The James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program. “Let’s Talk” is the brainchild of Chicago’s Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion and trustee of the JBF whose goal is to bring women restaurateurs together for collaboration and support.

This weekend (sold out) and the weekends of January 22nd & 23rd and 29th & 30th you can order a special 3-course meal from 5 groups of chef’s preparing each course of the meal. Each three- course meal feeds two people and is $55 with meals needing to be ordered online by 10 p.m. the Wednesday of each week for pick-up on Friday or Saturday night.

By collaborating the women are learning from each other, sharing ideas and helping to support locally owned businesses during the pandemic.

The 15 Phoenix area women led restaurants participating in the JBF Women of AZ are……

Maya’s Cajun Kitchen
24 Carrots
Cotton & Copper

The Farish House
The Joy Bus Diner
Songbird Coffee House

FnB
Hana Japanese Eatery
Tracy Dempsey Originals

Fat Ox
The Market by Jennifer’s
Sweet Republic

The Cellar
Nonna Urban Eatery
The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

To see the menus & chefs, place an order and pick-up instructions head to their website.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

All Mac & Cheese dishes Buy 1, Get 1 Free at Fired Pie

In honor of National Cheese Lovers Day on Wednesday January 20th all locations are offering up the deal on the popular comfort food. Baked and topped with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs guests can choose from 40 different toppings. This deal is only good for dine-in and is good on mac n cheese of equal or lesser value.

Found:RE Hotel’s Passport Series goes to Mexico

The downtown Phoenix hotel hosts their monthly night with international flavor on Saturday January 16th. The pool and bar area will be transformed for a Mexican vacation with food, cocktails and more. The fiesta goes from 6 – 10 p.m. and more information can be found on their website.

Good news as Cider Corps releases seasonal pie ciders

The popular Pumpkin Pie, Peach Cobbler & Cherry Crisp ciders are now available by the can. Delayed due to the pandemic as ingredients were harder to source these ciders are available for a limited time. 6-packs are $20 and include 2 of each cider or can be purchased individually to be drank at the cidery. 6-packs can be ordered in advance for take away at https://www.toasttab.com/cider-corps-31-s-robson-103/v3

Signature cakes turn to pies at Chase’s Diner

Saturday January 23rd is National Pie Day at the Chandler diner, known for their scratch made desserts, is making two signature pies for the occasion. Turning their Carrot & German Chocolate Cake into pies guest can enjoy them by the slice ($4.29) or the whole darn pie ($13.99). Whole pies need to be ordered in advance.

Round 5 of Hotel Valley Ho’s Versus Series pits beer vs. wine

Which goes better with food, beer or wine? Find out on January 23rd when the Old Town Scottsdale hotel hosts another reception and three-course dinner. Tempe’s Huss Brewing Co. and Sonoma County’s Rodney Strong Vineyards will pair the beers and wines to see who wins. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $129++ per person.

STK Scottsdale steakhouse opens in the heart of Scottsdale

Downtown Scottsdale is the home of the newest steakhouse from STK Restaurants. STK Scottsdale, “not your daddy’s steakhouse”, opens on the banks of the canal in the former Herb Box Restaurant at Southbridge. The new restaurant ushers in “Vibe Dining” that includes spectacular views and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy elevated culinary selections, world-famous cocktails and live music from renowned DJs. This is the 21st location with other locations around the country and internationally.

“We are pleased to start the New Year by celebrating the opening of STK Scottsdale. The new restaurant is a perfect complement to the vibrant surrounding area and offers guests a memorable and safe dining experience,” said Emanuel “Manny” Hilario, President and CEO of The ONE Group. “As one of our managed locations, STK Scottsdale is indicative of our strategic plan, enabling us to expand our signature Vibe Dining experience without investing significant capital.”

Certified Black Angus beef sourced from the Midwest highlights the menu with classic steakhouse staples such as seafood, a raw bar and a la carte sides are also featured.

Unlike many high-end steakhouses STK Scottsdale will be opening for lunch Monday – Friday at 11 a.m. Daily happy hour and dinner service begins at 3 p.m. Weekend brunch launches on January 23rd from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and take-out and delivery is available on January 18th. All staff follow local and federal Covid-19 guidelines and uses technology for a “lower contact” experience.

STK Steakhouse at 7134 E. Stetson Drive 85251. For more information and to view the menu please visit their website.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Press Coffee now selling single serve coffee bags

Coffee enthusiasts can now get their daily fix of the local roaster’s coffee in packs of 10 single serve of its Early Edition blend. Like a tea bag, they need to be steeped for 5 minutes in 8 oz. of hot water.

News about Happy Hour at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

All four locations now offer happy hour throughout the restaurant from 3- 6 p.m. Monday thru Thursday. Specials include $5 house margaritas and well drinks, $3 domestic beers draft & bottles and food specials including Steak Quesadilla and Mini Taco salads are available.

$10 Pastrami sandwiches at Miracle Mile Deli Thursday January 14th.

The central Phoenix deli celebrates National Hot Pastrami Day with savings on all pastrami sandwiches. Choose from the Straw, New Yorker, Good on Pastrami or Combo. All come with fries and a pickle are are available for dine-in or take-out.

Free Flow yoga then brunch at FOUND: Re Phoenix Hotel

Every other Sunday starting January 10th the hotel has partnered with CorePower Yoga Instructor Christina Mierzejewski for a 45 minute poolside class. Following the 10 a.m. class brunch will be served from Match Market & Bar. Yoga and brunch are $50 per person and include a meal and adult beverage.

Donuts and art for the 100 Club of Arizona on January 14th

Local donut shops are donating their sweet treats for the first Gold Palette Artwalk of 2021 in Old Town Scottsdale. Money will be raised for the non-profit that’s supported first responders and their families since 1968. The art galleries along Marshall Way & Main St. stay open late every Thursday from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. Traditional bagpipe performances and art demonstrations will be going on all night.

Hiring happening at new Twin Peaks Restaurant in Tempe

Twin Peaks Restaurant is opening new location at Tempe Marketplace in February and is hiring over 100 people for jobs throughout the restaurant. The new restaurant is a build-up of over 7,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining spaces and a large kitchen.

“We are very excited to introduce Twin Peaks’ delicious scratch-made food and ice-cold beer to everyone in Tempe,” said Franchise Owner Carolyn Vangelos. “With 102 TVs located throughout the sports lodge, Twin Peaks will definitely be the best spot for locals to cheer on their favorite teams. We’ve secured a great location on the south side of Tempe Marketplace, easily accessible from Rio Salado Parkway, so our next step is to hire a talented group of outgoing people to join us in preparation for our grand opening.”

hiring
Lumber Jills

Flexible work hours and a fun work environment is just a couple of reasons to find work at Twin Peaks. They’re hiring 65 Twin Peaks Girls and 35 Heart of the House members including cooks, hostess, bartenders and others. Interested candidates can drop by the restaurant any day of the week from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. to apply for a job or can apply online.

Once opened the sports bar will serve comfort food, 32 beers on tap including local craft beers and a full bar.

This will be the 4th Phoenix area location and will be at 2050 E Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85281. For more information visit their website.

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

A new culinary team takes over when Ghost Ranch re-opens.

When the popular south Tempe restaurant re-opens in mid-January guests will see new faces in the front and back of the house. Executive Chef David Mora, Sous Chef Tyler Moonsoo and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf are new culinary team and General Manager Ashleh Robles runs the front of the house.

Mora will run the kitchen was born in Colombia and raised in Florida where learned to love the diversity of food. He started his restaurant career in Miami before making his way to Arizona. He’s worked at Flagstaff’s Copa Cafe, Mariposa in Sedona and was sous chef at Palo Verde and chef de Cuisine at The Spotted Donkey at The Boulders in Carefree. “I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the complexity of southwest cuisine and I am thrilled to bring what I’ve learned to Ghost Ranch,” Mora said. “I know the restaurant has quickly become a staple in the Tempe community and I hope to continue serving the area authentic dishes with innovative twists.”

Sous Chef Monsoo will help Mora develop and execute the dishes of Ghost Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience in Arizona at The Boulders, Ah-So Sushi and Steak, Obon Sushi and Ramen and Wrights Kitchen at The Arizona Biltmore from Waldorf Astoria.

Pastry Chef Graf rounds out the new culinary team. A native of Colorado, Graf draws inspiration from traveling as a teenager through Europe, learning and tasting local foods. Back in the states she re-located to Santa Fe, New Mexico to launch her culinary career as a pastry chef. After earning her pâtissier certificate she ran pastry programs at James Beard Foundation recognized restaurants La Boca and the Compound. She’s also worked at Mama’s Fish House in Maui and Scottsdale’s Roka Akor and Hotel Valley Ho.

Tempe native Robles takes over as General Manager running daily operations and administration. Starting her career in the hospitality industry at 17 she’s dedicated her career to to customer satisfaction and enjoyment. Her experience in psychology, finance and event planning give her know how to continue to keep customers happy. Customers will notice her creative cocktails, menu pairings and attention to detail in the dining room. She’s worked for more than 10 years in in several roles in high-end lounge, club and bar settings around town.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Suite in Tempe. For more information visit their website.

Zoom out of 2020 and into 2021 for a return to normal

Who thought that on December 31st 2019 the word “Zoom” would become a household name and conjure up flashback’s to the PBS children’s show from my youth. 2020 has been a crazy year we all want to put behind us, the year started like any other with plans for travel, eat my way food festivals and anticipating new restaurant openings. Two months in things changed and 2020 wasn’t going to be typical year. It got serious for me when around St. Patrick’s when the NBA put the season on hold. Before you knew it lock downs were in place, toilet paper was at the top of every bodies doomsday “must have” list and distilleries were making hand sanitizer.

Zoom to a virtual happy hour then a Teams meeting as businesses learned to pivot their business model on a moment’s notice. April and May were like a hazy version of Groundhog’s Day and I was foodie version of Bill Murray’s character. Eating in parking lots and collecting plastic utensils became the norm, taking out from neighborhood favorites wondering how dine-in restaurants are adapting. Some restaurants took a hiatus to figure it out, others stocked up on to-go containers and others closed all together. Food festivals and small, medium and large gatherings were cancelled on a daily basis as many still are into early 2021.zoom

In mid-May when Governor Ducey lifted restrictions while adding new restrictions for restaurants we wondered if we would dine-in and was it safe even wearing masks and washing our hands. I thought I would still do take-out and eat in parking lots or take food home. On Day 2 of dine-in I found myself sitting at the bar alone at The Stockyard’s Restaurant for a burger. To this day I haven’t been afraid to dine-in early and before restaurants get crowded by 2020 standards. By the time summer rolled around more people were venturing out & about and us foodies started to gather. Not at festivals but cautiously as new restaurants began to open after several delays.

I’m still not sure what my final meal will be for 2020 or my first meal of 2021. Still pondering my future meals I’m looking for what 2021 will bring. Less Zoom meetings for sure, in the food world I’m curious how Arizona’s new legalization of recreational cannabis will open new opportunities for cannabis infused meals, foods and restaurants. What new restaurants will be anticipated and which favorites will close their doors. What will the long term effect will 2020 have on local businesses and society? Many un-answered questions going forward into 2021 but I do know one thing……in order to survive we MUST eat and drink. Cheers and to a better 2021!!!

Atlas Bistro owner takes over AZ Wine Co. renames it Atlas Wines

The once legendary AZ Wine Co. is no more as Todd Sawyer, owner of the award-winning Atlas Bistro has bought the boutique wine shop. After several months of re-modeling Atlas Wines is reminiscent of AZ Wine’s early days of mid 1990s.

The original AZ Wine Co. has played a big part in the local wine community as it was one of only a few places in the Phoenix area to get hard to find wines and Arizona made wines. Young wine geeks would shop the aisles, read labels, speak with knowledgeable staff and even “try before you buy” wines. Restaurateurs, future sommeliers, chefs and more knew they could find good wines at reasonable prices at the south Scottsdale shop. As time went by the valley grew, wine became mainstream and consumers would start to buy wine at big box stores or other wine shops/bars closer to home.

I had a first-hand look as I was an early employee at AZ Wine Co. learning about wines and becoming a resource to regular customers or someone just stopping in for a gift. To this day have friends I met working their and bump into customers around town asking for wine advice and reminisce about the good ‘ol days.

Gone are the living room sofas, rows and rows of wines, storage space and large wine bar. Sawyer reduced the square footage by 2/3rds and got rid of dead inventory and hopes a local restaurant will take over the left over store front.

Atlas Wines compliments Atlas Bistro

The wine shop plays an integral part to Sawyer’s Atlas Bistro as the small restaurant doesn’t serve wine and the wine friendly menu had customers bringing their own wine (BYO) or buying a bottle or two at AZ Wine. It was a no brainer for him to take over the shop to compliment the restaurant as he was sharing the wine buying for several years. Local wine geek Jock Wulffson continues to help Sawyer with wine buying and with customer relations. Wulffson himself is well known in the local wine community as he’s been involved with local wine & food groups and owned his own wine shop before coming to AZ Wine Co.

Customers will still find food worthy wines from across the globe from reputable wineries and lesser known, small production wineries. Craft beers from Arizona along with imported and domestic beers are available in the refrigerator. Several hundred labels are on shelves from everyday drinkers at under $20 to highly rated and sought after wines costing the price of a monthly car payment. The small wine bar will pour a selection of wines and beers once Covid-19 restrictions allow for.

Sawyer hopes to be re-opening Atlas Bistro in the near future for dinner and once opened it will provide European styled appetizers at the wine bar.

Atlas Wines is at 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. (480)423-9305. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or see their website.

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Start 2021 off celebrating National Bloody Mary Day

New Year’s Day lands on a Friday in 2021 so nobody is in a hurry to get back to work so continue celebrating the New Year with a Bloody Mary. U.S. Egg, Pedal Haus Brewery, Angry Crab Shack, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Twin Peaks are all celebrating the A.M. cocktail favorite. Signature Bloody Marys are shaking up your morning as you get ready for what 2021 has in store.

Restaurants continue open new locations around the valley.

Not only is Dog Haus opening a new location but so are Z’ Tejas, Angry Crab Shack & Thai Chili 2 Go. The popular Southwestern & Mexican cuisine restaurant is opening a new lakeside restaurant in February at Scottsdale’s Mercado de Lago on Hayden Rd. at Via de Ventura. Angry Crab Shack has already started serving seafood and its popular Seafood Boils at its 12th Arizona location in Laveen. Thai Chili 2 Go is opening its 11th quick casual restaurant in Gilbert on December 30th.

Still time to order take-out or make a reservation for NYE.

Restaurants continue to take reservations and planning for take-out food as we say good bye to 2020. This updated list has restaurants around the valley serving up your last meal of 2020.

Restaurants continue to give and give in the holiday season.

In November Dominick’s Steak House, Ocean 44 and Steak 44 raised over $64,000 for local charities. Make A-Wish Foundation Arizona, PANDA and The Phoenix Heart Ball/ American Heart Association will benefit from the money raised.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has raised over $110,000 in 2020 for No Kid Hungry through its fundraising initiatives. May 2021 be as generous to the local community from Phoenix restaurants.