With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.
Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.
“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.
Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
There’s a lot of BBQ joints in and around Phoenix with more on the way. It’s one of my favorite foods so it’s always good to see what’s what and who’s who in the BBQ world. More times than not the people are just as good as the food they serve, this is one pit masters journey into the world of BBQ and smoked meats.
I visited Naked BBQ to taste the meats and get the lowdown from Oren Hartman at his Scottsdale location. His affordable smoked meats and friendly service & atmosphere have Oren thinking about expanding his “Eat Naked” philosophy. Not one for the competition circuit he prefers to spend his time at the restaurants or any number of catering events he does with his staff and customers.
He has many friends in the BBQ community in Arizona and from his travels and many come through for a taste.
Growing up in New York there wasn’t much BBQ but college in Madison WI. and living in Chicago helped open his eyes to smoked meats.
Corporate America had Oren travel the country most weeks and not a fan of steakhouse dinners he would visit BBQ pits in the south and mid-west. When a buyout of the company allowed Oren to retire early he knew BBQ was his next career.
After much research and development Oren opened Naked BBQ 4 years ago at Bell Rd. & 23rd Ave. in north Phoenix and a Scottsdale location last year.
Naked BBQ is named as one of the 100 restaurants by Arizona Republic food editor Dominic Armato in his recent article “The Ultimate Guide to Phoenix Restaurants”.
The meats at Naked BBQ
The aromas of the oak and pecan wood capture you right when you walk in the door as you make your way up to the counter and menu board. No surprises here brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, smoked chicken and few sides are all you need. Smoked in a meat carousel for up to 16 hours meats are usually pulled sooner if they tasted the way they should.
Naked is the way your meats arrive with 4 sauces available if you choose to. My first tray arrives with strips of brisket that are moist and have a thin layer of fat and are well smoked. My St. Louis style pork ribs tender and cling to the bone just my bite to help fall off. A side of warm mixed beans have chunks of meat scraps and a tinge of heat. Not a big fan of potato salad only a bite or two and I’ll save the calories for the meats.
Tray two brought 2 kinds of smoked sausage, pulled pork, mac n cheese and creamy & Carolina style cole slaws. The pile of pulled pork was juicy and flavorful.
Sausage is low on my BBQ priority list so it was good to taste the sausage situation. A lingering spiced sausage and a herbed savory link set the bar for me as I’ll have to start to save room for the links. All three sides were emptied as who can’t resist mac & cheese and I’m always craving a good home cole slaw(s).
Friday and Saturday night specials Oren smokes up Prime Rib then Brontosaurus (beef) ribs respectively.
Sauce it up
If you prefer to dress you meats with sauce there are 4 styles to choose from. Sweet, spicy, a North Carolina vinegar and a rarely seen South Carolina mustard sauce will give you a look at regionally diverse sauces.
If you want more heat ask for the hot pepper paste to stir into your sauces. If you dare taste the paste naked with the meat. A few local beers are on tap to help tamper down the heat.
Scouting for other locations to open Naked BBQ, collaborations with other pitmasters & friends and playing around with a retail line of sauces and rubs Oren’s second career tastes better than his first.
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.”
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.
The Arcadia Tavern has started serving breakfast on Saturday & Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. In addition to breakfast the popular Arcadia restaurant is offering weekend specials at lunch and dinner. That’s not all going on at the corner of Indian School Rd. and 48th St., healthy and gluten-free options are now available.
“Our customers have been asking for healthier and lighter options, as well as gluten free items,” said Scott Hilber, owner. “We listened and we’re really excited about the new menu”
Weekend breakfast, lunch & dinner
Start you day watching your favorite football team with Yogurt Parfait, Breakfast Burritio & Tacos, Pancakes and Chilaquiles. You can’t eat breakfast on the weekend with out a Bloody Mary and for $5 you can build your own.
Featured during lunch and dinner are a Veggie Burger($12.99), Chicken Salad sandwich or wrap($10.99) or a Lafayette Salad($12.99). I’d be ordering the Western Burger($13.99) with bacon & onion jam, Pepperjack cheese, onion ring, Applewood bacon and BBQ sauce on a Brioche bun.
Seasonal favorite soups such as French Onion, Creamy Tomato Basil & Corn Chowder are available by the cup or bowl. Kid friendly options are available at all three meals.
Gluten-Free and healthy menu options
Many popular dishes are still available but guests will have new salad options that include Kale & Quinoa, Caprese Salad and the previously mentioned Chicken Salad and Lafayette Salad.
Gluten-free options include the Arcadia Cobb and Steak salads, Tavern Wings, Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Camelback Mountain of Nachos. Several other options are available from all the menus.
The Arcadia Tavern is open 7 days a week starting at 11 a.m. Mon.- Fri. and 9 a.m. Sat. & Sun. For more information check out their website.
December is a busy month so you’ll want to keep a day open as Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will be opening in Carefree. It will be the newest concept from the Keeler Hospitality Group who owns the Liberty Station Tavern and Smokehouse in DC Ranch and north Scottsdale. You won’t find the stuffy pretentious steakhouse vibe yet a more social house atmosphere.
“We are extremely elated about the introduction of this new concept and are looking forward to providing it to the diners of Carefree and to our city’s visitors from near and far,” says Paul Keeler, president and CEO of Keeler Hospitality Group. “Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will satisfy the need for a high-value, top-of-the line steakhouse dining experience in Carefree while also staying true to the approachable and comfortable atmosphere the surrounding community.”
A steakhouse menu in Carefree
Keeler Hospitality Group Executive Chef Anthony Apolinar will lead the culinary team. Apolinar knows his meat as he’s been working at both Liberty Station locations.
The menu at Keeler’s will feature specialty cuts of Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood, chicken and classic American comfort food.
Diners will enjoy sharable “For the Table” starters Lobster Mac & Cheese, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Cakes, Mussels and more. Steakhouse staples French Onion Soup and bisque’s along with Caesar, Wedge, Cobb and Mixed Greens salads will be offered.
“Neighborhood Favorites” entrees include Double Bone-In Pork Chops, seared Lamb Loin Chops and Braised Short Ribs. Specialty sides will complement your main dish including Blue Cheese Cream Spinach, White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Risotto and loaded hash browns.
Classic cocktails, Arizona beers and a well-balanced selection of wine by the bottle and the glass will be available.
Social house atmosphere in Carefree
A high-end comfortable atmosphere will welcome guests with several seating area offering a neighborhood feel. An island bar will attract guests to the open kitchen and outdoor dining will be available on the patio or rooftop deck.
Guests can enjoy lunch or dinner at Keeler’s Mon. – Sat. from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Dinner from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs and til 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Happy Hour will be available daily from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and brunch Sun. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse will be at 7212 Ho Hum Rd. Carefree 85377.
Starting today all 3 Thirsty Lion Gastropubs around Phoenix will start offering brunch items on the menu. From 10:00 a.m – 2 p.m. guests can choose from 15 scratch made entrees that would satisfy any appetite.
In addition four new Bloody Mary’s have been added to the menu including Classic, Sriracha, Wasabi and Bacon. Four new Mimosa’s have also been added including Classic, Passion fruit, Blood Orange and Raspberry.
A few of the new brunch menu highlights include….
Spicy Chicken & Waffles– Marinated in jalapeño buttermilk batter, crispy-fried with Belgian waffle, maple pepper bacon and maple syrup. 13.95
Whiskey French Toast – Dipped in cinnamon, whiskey & Irish cream egg batter, coated with crunchy flakes and grilled with whipped cream and whiskey syrup. 11.95 Maple syrup available for those under 21.
Adobo Pork Benedict– Jalapeño cornbread, red chili pork, guajillo sauce, poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise with roasted Yukon potatoes. 12.95
The three Valley locations are 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 1041 in Tempe, 7014 E. Camelback Road, Suite 1423 in Scottsdale and 2212 E. Williams Field Road in Gilbert. To see the full brunch menu go to http://www.thirstyliongastropub.com/
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.
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.
Downtown Chandler’s new Overstreet retail and dining spot just scored big with Flix Brewhouse as an anchor tenant. The nine auditorium movie house will include a restaurant and working microbrewery that will open this winter. Located at Chandler Blvd. and Arizona Ave. this will be the first Flix Brewhouse in Arizona.
“We’re thrilled to call Chandler our new home,” says Director of Marketing for Flix Brewhouse, Greg Johnson. “The East Valley is the perfect place for a dine-in movie-going concept. Plus, Chandler is already well-established on the national beer map, so we’re looking to really add to the city’s profile with our award-winning brews.”
What to expect at Flix Brewhouse
The state-of-the-art theater will offer dine-in food at every seat and offer first run movies on wide-format screens. Guests can order award-winning regionally inspired beers brewed in-house in small batches to compliment the gastropub food menu.
On the food side expect appetizers, wraps, salads, burgers, pizza and a brunch menu. A dessert menu and kid’s menu is also available. Flix Brewhouse sources regional produce and use scratch-made dough.
Each theater will include wide seats, ultra high resolutions 50 foot screens, Dolby sound technology and digital projection.
The Overstreet development will opening in December and you can get update’s for the Chandler location at their website.
Fall arrived early here in Scottsdale and right on time for the new seasonal menus at Zuzu. The retro Hotel Valley Ho’s signature restaurant last week debuted a new menu for all three meals and dessert.
Executive chef Russell LaCasce created the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and left the dessert menu for new pastry chef Lisa Graf. The new dishes offer ingredients for the Fall season and many ingredients are sourced locally.
What’s new on the menus
The new menus offer something for all diets and palates including spicy, sweet, meaty and those who like vegetables.
Breakfast and brunch fans will enjoy Cereal Milk Stuffed French Toast, made with Fruity Pebble crumbs, cereal milk pastry cream, maple syrup and whipped cream.
Lunch offers a Korean BBQ burger, Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and The John Berry. The latter is full of spaghetti squash, cherry heirloom tomatoes, spinach, pesto, pine nuts, 3 jumbo shrimp and Parmesan cheese.
Dinner serves up two new starters such as Burrata and a Baby Back Rib Stack with mango chipolte BBQ sauce.
Entrees include Jidoori Half Chicken, Braised Beef Short Rib and the 60-Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse. The Portehouse is brined with aji pepper & maple and comes served with brussel sprouts and candied kombucha squash.
Make sure you save room for dessert
This is pastry chef’s Lisa Grafs first menu since joining Zuzu. Diners will enjoy Butterscotch Creme Brulee, Baked Alaska and The Troubled German Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake is made with chocolate sponge cake, German chocolate filling, graham pretzel crust, espresso cheesecake, buttercream and ganache.
The famous Showstopper Shake celebrates the arrival of the state fair for the month of October. A Twinkie shake base, a fried cheesecake ball, funnel cake and more make this dessert a fun for at least two people.