Top Chef John Tesar coming to 2020 Nirvana Food & Wine Festival

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has announced the dates and schedule of events for the fourth annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival. April 16th -19th Chef and Nirvana host Beau MacMillan welcomes celebrity chef’s Robert Irvine, Scott Contant and Bravo Network’s “Top Chef” winner John Tesar. Celebrities including Rob Riggle and The Bella Twins and other chefs will be hosting and having fun with guests along with chefs and mixologists from around Arizona.

“This event is one that is so near and dear to my heart,” said MacMillan. “Having the opportunity to celebrate outstanding culinary talent, mixology, music and more alongside some of my closest friends and fellow foodies is a true privilege. Nirvana really offers something for everyone and that’s a big part of what makes the festival such a special experience.”

The annual festival celebrates food, wine, music and spirits in a most luxurious resort in the valley and has become a very popular festival in only three years.

Top Chef

Tickets for the five headlining events are available with additional events and after parties still may be added to the weekend’s festivities.

Thursday, April 16- Wood, Wine & Wagyu presented by Far Niente 

The 2020 festival kicks off with this ever-popular event, featuring superstar culinary talent from across North America preparing Snake River Farms American Wagyu cooked over open-wood flames while celebrity mixologists craft whisky-based cocktails utilizing Woodford Reserve. Guests will then be invited to take their places at the table for an intimate, family style dinner with wines hand selected by Far Niente. Country music superstars D. Vincent Williams, Dillon Dixon and Joe Diffy will provide musical accompaniment. Tickets start at $350.

Friday, April 17- Flutes & Coops

Experience the ultimate Champagne campaign and fried chicken feast headlined by DJ Miss Mixx, Fosterson and 17 of the Valley’s best chefs preparing their best fried chicken recipes. This indoor/outdoor event will feature full bars and cocktails shaken by some of the Valley’s best mixologists with one chef being crowned king of Flutes & Coops by popular vote. Tickets start at $150.

Saturday, April 18- Tequila & Tortillas

Grab the salt and limes! Held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho, this year’s Dia de los Muertos-themed Tequila & Tortillas event will feature nearly 20 locally and nationally recognized chefs cooking up the best of the best in southwestern fare. Since no fiesta is complete without tequila, several of the Valley’s top cocktailers will be on-site mixing up delicious tequila-based cocktails.

This year’s event also features a team “taco takedown” competition, tequila luges and a stunning art presentation by the renowned Gennaro Garcia. Tickets start at $125.

Saturday, April 18- Best of the West

The biggest event of the weekend, Best of the West will be hosted by Scott Conant and Tony Abou-Ganim and will offer 20 live-action stations showcasing cuisine from the most talented chefs of the Valley and greater Arizona. Set to the backdrop of the stunning Camelback Mountain, this not-to-miss event will also offer live musical performances from Double D and the Nashville Allstars to close out the night. Tickets start at $175

Sunday, April 19- Rosé Parté  

The star-studded rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, co-hosted by Robert Irvine and the Bella Twins. Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the Valley’s top culinary talent as well as taste two-dozen different rosé wines. This brunch-style party will also include craft cocktails, ice carvings, a raw bar and beats by DJ Miss Mixx. Giving new meaning to the term “Sunday Funday,” this is a not-to-miss closing experience. Tickets start at $150.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards and Huss Brewing dinners coming to Quiessence

February is quick upon and social calendars are filling up. Quiessence at The Farm is hosting two special dinners’ pairings its seasonally grown vegetables, herbs and edible flowers with food friendly wine and beer. Chef’s Dustin Christofolo’s Tasting Menus pairs with wines from Robert Sinskey Vineyards followed a week later with beer from Huss Brewing Co. Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Robert Sinskey Vineyards dinner

Thursday January 30th at 6:00 p.m. the Napa Valley winery food driven wines will compliment Chef’s menu with much coming from the farms own Seed to Soil Garden. The five course meal is $95 per person plus tax & 20% gratuity.

First Course paired with 2016 Abraxas

Cauliflower Soup- Poached Scallops, Braised Greens, Currants

Second Course enjoyed with 2016 Vin Gris

Arizona Aged Beef Carpaccio -Bread Spoon, Parmesan Aioli, Pickled Shallots, Tempura Herbs

Third Course pairs 2014 Pinot Noir

Tortelli di Zucca- Rabbit Confit, Crushed Hazelnuts, Borage Flowers

Fourth Course paired with POV

Guinea Hen Roulade- Wrapped In Tessa, Crimson Lentils, Wild Mushrooms,  Grilled Daikon Radish, Red Pepper Jam, Fried Sage

Fifth Course paired with Pinot Gris Late Harvest  

“The Farm At South Mountain” Preserved Apple Pie- Vanilla Ice Cream, Lavender Honey Drizzle

Huss Brewing Co. beer pairing dinner

Huss Brewing’s Brewmaster Jeff Huss will join guests for this dinner on Thursday February 6th at 6:00 p.m. Starting on the patio with a beer cocktail and passed appetizers. The Arizona Beer Week celebration moves to the solarium for dinner. Limited seating is available for $85 per person plus tax & 20% gratuity.

1st Course Paired with Scottsdale Blonde

Wild Shrimp And Carrot Risotto- Roasted Carrots, Tomato Vinaigrette, Parsnip Chips, Chervil

2nd Course paired with Koffee Kolsch

Smoked Diver Sea Scallops Dusted With Espresso- Sunchoke Puree, Fingerling Potato Chips, Tempura Button Mushrooms, Koffee Kolsch Gastrique

3rd Course paired with Papago Desert Sage

Two Wash Ranch Chicken Fried Cornish Hen- Herb Aioli, Sous Vide Turnips, Preserved Farm Buddha Hand Citrus, Kale

4th Course paired With Copper State IPA

Artisanal Cheese Board- Nuts And Savory Jams Served With Grilled Noble Bread And Lavosh Crackers

Seats are limited for both dinners and can be reserved by calling (602)276-0601 or going to the Open Table links for the Sinskey dinner and for the dinner with Jeff Huss. Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd St. Phoenix 85042.

 

Nobu Scottsdale opens Monday and is taking reservations

The new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square is buzzing with excitement as world renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa opens Nobu Scottsdale on Monday January 27, 2020. The sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant has begun taking reservations for this highly anticipated opening. His first restaurant opened in New York City in 1994 with partners Robert DeNiro and Meir Teper, the trio now have restaurants on 6 continents.

“Scottsdale is a very special city, and a location we have been looking forward to opening for a very long time,” said Chef Matsuhisa. “Scottsdale is a truly unique destination for a special kind of luxury and Fashion Square is at the center of it all,” he said.

Chef Nobu made a name for himself in the 1990’s when he put his take on classic Japanese cuisine and sushi using new flavors and cooking techniques. He’s built a loyal following at over 40 restaurants and hotels around the world.

Nobu Scottsdale will have classic dishes such as Yellow Tail Sashimi and Black Cod with miso along with dishes only found in Scottsdale. Local ingredients will play a big role on the menu and cocktail program. The cocktail program continues to evolve as mixoligists from around the world continue to curate it.

“Each location has a unique menu that is influenced by global trends as well as the local scene,” says Nobu. “We look forward to bringing guests the signature dishes they have come to love, along with new dishes exclusive to Nobu Scottsdale.”

Nobu Scottsdale is taking reservations for dinner and can be made by calling 480-581-0055 or by visiting their website.

 

French fries and live music return to the FRIED Festival

Hard to believe January is almost over and we’re looking to Saturday April 18th for the FRIED: A French Fry and Music Festival. We are, so circle the date on your calendar when over 20 local vendors serve up gourmet French fries and local indie bands return to Margaret T. Hance Park.

Expect to be in French fry heaven as popular Phoenix area restaurants and food trucks top our favorite fried food with everything from carne asada to lobster and kimchee. You can try the creatively topped gourmet French fries for only $2-$3 with larger sharing sizes available. Line-ups for bands and vendors are being finalized with announcements made on the festival’s social media. Lawn games, a marketplace and non- French fry foods will be available at the festival that starts at 12 noon. Gracie’s Tax Bar will be on hand serving libations.

This popular festival is from PHX Fest the same calorie loving folks who bring us the Phoenix Pizza Festival and Downtown Donut Festival. Part of the proceeds goes to Phoenix Inc., a community group promoting downtown Phoenix as a world class city.

Phoenix Spokes People will valet your bike if your ride down and Lyft discount codes will be available. Tickets are on sale and can only be purchased on-line for $10 at https://www.friedfestival.com/. Margaret T. Hance Park is at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Plant based GuacStar Kitchen to open first location in Tempe

One of the biggest trends in 2019 was plant based foods and soon the first plant based restaurant in Arizona will open in Tempe. When GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina opens near ASU at University & Rural Roads it will be a one of a kind eating, drinking and entertaining restaurant.

Partners James Carlin, Tom Cerino, Randy Feldman, Suzanne Davis and Julie LaRussa look to re-define plant based restaurants with an upbeat and hip concept found in N.Y.C and L.A. “GuacStar’s goal is very simple – to show the masses that you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds or your wallets by eating plant-based cuisine,” said Carlin, GuacStar co-owner. “Our mission is to make healthy food sexy and to create an exciting, unpretentious plant-based dining destination where the overall experience counts just as much as the food.”

Executive Chef Vincent Contreras has created plant based versions of classic Mexican cooking. The full-service restaurant will also have a beer, wine and cocktail program.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will have a contemporary decor with soft lighting, raw materials and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late night dining.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will be at the Cornerstone Mall at 930 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281.

The Arizona Native Edible Experience is coming to Scottsdale

Arizona’s Native American tribes will be showcasing foods and culture at the Arizona Native Edible Experience. The cocktail style tasting on Saturday February 8th will be at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West from 6-8 p.m. The annual event is hosted by the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association (AAITA)and will feature native art and a silent auction in addition to food tastings.

“This event gives us an opportunity to showcase the dynamic Native communities and multitude of tribes thriving here in Scottsdale today and also allows us to educate the residents and visitors of Scottsdale about these tribes and their important role in the City’s rich heritage,” said Geri Hongeva, President of the AAITA. “We are proud to represent such a vibrant group of peoples and share their stories that have shaped the past.

Arizona Native edible experience
Photos by Haile Sutton
Native chef tasting stations will offer traditional foods as well as modern tastes and cocktails. Featured chefs and guests include San Carlos Apache forager & Ancestral Food Archivist Twila Cassadore, Brian Yazzie aka “Yazzie the Chef”, Renetto – Mario Etsitty and Andrew Humeyumptewa.
The Experience is part of Scottsdale’s Western Week and the Arizona American Indian Festival 2020 being held over the weekend. Tickets for the Arizona Native Edible Experience are $25 and can be purchased at http://www.arizonanativeexperience.com. The Museum of the West is at 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale 85251.

RKDA Kitchen hosting Malabar Spiced Liqeur Cocktail Dinner

Arcadia Lite’s RKDA Kitchen is hosting a dinner inspired by the spice route of India. Malabar Spiced Liqeur will be paired with a 5 course menu designed by Bob Tam. Wednesday, January 29th guests will a meal full of flavors as the exotic Malabar pairs with fish, duck and more.

Opening act
Yuzu Mint Raita & Crisp Papadums
amuse bouche
Crimson & Clover- Malabar, rum, lime, tamarind.

act 1
Tuna Tataki
heirloom tomato salsa
Sundown Aperitif – sparkling wine, Malabar, apple spiced, peychaud’s bitters, lemon, apple.

act 2
Tikka Marsala Moules Frites
pei mussels, butter, garlic, marsala, wine, tomato, ginger, basil, cilantro, yogurt, lemon, fries.

Coconut Conundrum- gin, Malabar, coconut, lime, curry, sugar.

Headliner
Smoked Malabar Duck
orange kecap glaze, many roots puree, braised greens.
Promisa De La Tierra- tequila, Malabar, lemon, egg white, beet, cinnamon, mint.

encore
White Chocolate Malabar Creme Brulee
seasonal fruit.
Wonderland- cacao nib washed Malabar, vodka, peche de vigne liqueur, almond milk.

RKDA Kitchen open quietly last year at the busy intersection of 40th St. and Indian School Rd. Featuring sandwiches, salads, creative signature cocktails from Trish Renehan Vodrazka and a sushi menu, RKDA Kitchen brings out your inner rock star with its music and decor.

The family style dinner starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $71 pp and include tax & gratuity. Limited seats are available and can be reserved at https://rkdamalabardinner.bpt.me/. RKDA Kitchen is at 3950 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018.

Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar opens in north Scottsdale

Regional cuisine is served up at a restaurant that recently opened in north Scottsdale. Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar is owned R Squared Restaurant Concepts’ Christi & James Rice and James’s brother and sister in-law John & Erin Rucker. Their New American menu is full of dishes from states that the 4 have previously lived of New York, Texas, Mississippi, New Mexico & Arizona.

“Through the places we have lived before Scottsdale, we’ve grabbed flavors from our life experiences,” says co-owner Christi Rice. “Our menu and our specialty cocktails express all the culinary adventures we’ve had and what we’ve learned about food in other areas of the country. We also have fun infusing spirits into our culinary creations.”

All photos courtesy of Christi Rice

Copper Mule Kitchen & Bar serves lunch and dinner daily with happy hour in between from 3-6 p.m. Guests can expect dishes such as the Cay Shrimp Salad, Lemon Dill Grilled Salmon, Midwest Angus Beef Burger and AZ Ale Fish & Chips along with pitas, sandwiches salads and more. $2 off all appetizers during happy hour includes favorites Montauk Fried Olives, Delta Deviled Eggs and chicken wings.

With a name like Copper Mule it comes as no surprise the cocktail menu offers 9 mule cocktails. Irish and Kentucky Mule’s join signature cocktails from around the country including The Georgia Peach, The Tipsy Texan and more.

The family friendly, reasonably priced restaurant has a dog friendly patio. The Copper Mule Kitchen & bar is at 23335 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255. For more information and to see the menu check pout their website.

Sour Beer and Cider festival coming to the Gem City

With the popularity of sour beer and ciders the last few years it’s no surprise that they’ve have their own festival. The Gem City Sours & Ciders Festival comes to downtown Mesa’s Cider Corps on Saturday March 21st.  A nickname for Mesa, Gem City was once by city officials for its abundant produce, shaded streets and modern buildings. More than 24 Arizona breweries and cideries from the southwest will be pouring their beers and ciders.

Cider Corps co-owner and cider maker Jason Duren organized the festival after noticing the similarities between sour beer and cider. “We love how collaborative our craft beverage community is. We talk with other breweries about the science behind lactic acid producing bacteria and how they impact the final taste of the beverage,” Duren explained. “The festival is a chance for people to discover what these styles are all about and sample what our region is creating.” Duren has experience not just making cider but by planning successful Southwest Cider Festivals in 2018 and 2019.

Photo and logo courtesy of Angela Muniz at AMBA

The festival starts at 2 p.m. for VIP ticket ($50) holders and 4 p.m. for General Admission ($35). In addition to early entry VIP ticket holders get 20 sample tickets, a commemorative t-shirt and glass. General Admission gets 15 sample tickets and commemorative glass. There will be live music, pub games and food trucks on hand to entertain and feed festival goers. The festival ends at 8 p.m.

To purchase tickets head to the Eventbrite link. Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson, Mesa 85210.

Barrel & Bushel to open with the Biggest Patio Party

A new downtown eatery will be celebrating its long anticipated opening January 22nd with a big party. The “Biggest Patio Party” goes from 3 – 7 p.m. when Barrel & Bushel opens at the corner of 2nd St. & Adams welcoming the neighborhood with an all-day happy hour and more.

“Barrel & Bushel welcomes locals as the newest neighborhood hangout,” said General Manager Danielle Klus. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beer fan, cocktail aficionado or just looking for a great meal in a casual yet buzzy environment.”

Chef Chelsea Cummings menu offers American comfort food with her personal twist. Dishes such as 72 Hour Pork Belly, Waffles & Ribs and a Bloody Mary Burger should make this a popular eatery in downtown Phoenix. At the bar you’ll find 11 Arizona beers on tap along with creative craft cocktails including “Tell Your Friends”. The unique cocktail features basil infused gin with St. Germain and peach. Deep selections of bourbon, rye & whiskey will also be offered.

During the Biggest Patio Party guests will enjoy complimentary passed bites, happy hour pricing and more. Barrel & Bushel expects to attract not only locals but downtown visitors and convention goers with its laid back atmosphere. The restaurant will offer lunch and dinner along with late night fare.

Barrel & Bushel is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004 and is open daily from 11 a.m. – midnight with happy hour from 3:30- 6:30 p.m Monday – Friday. For more information check out their website.