Hulu premiers “Baker’s Dozen” & a Scottsdale native is one of the winners

Scottsdale native Tess Levin was one of the recent winners on the new Hulu show “Baker’s Dozen” that premiered in early October. She wowed the judges on Episode 3 with her candy art to advance to round two where all remaining contestants made the identical signature dessert before narrowing it down to 3 people for the finals. The “culinary comedian” as Levin calls herself, won the coveted “Golden Rolling Pin” and cash by impressing the judges with her “Mermaid Under the Sea” themed macaron tower.

The 8-part Hulu series is hosted by Tamera Mowry- Housley of Sister, Sister fame and former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses. The 26 year old Levin currently lives in L.A. but grew up in Scottsdale attending Arcadia High School and makes frequent trips back to Arizona. You can see the trailer for the show here.

 

Firecreek Coffee Company opens first Phoenix location

Flagstaff’s Firecreek Coffee Company has opened its first Phoenix area location and fourth in the state, this week on Thomas Rd. and 46th St. It’s Founder’s Mike Funk’s second go round in the Phoenix coffee community after he opened Cafe Tech in downtown Phoenix in the early 1990s. He gained his coffee “know how” in the 1980s when he was in the coffee industry where else, in Seattle. He moved to Flagstaff to open his first location in 2008 with locations in Sedona and Cottonwood soon following.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be back in the Phoenix area and to be continuing the Firecreek Coffee legacy here in the Valley,” says Mike Funk, founder of Firecreek Coffee Company. “We can’t wait to introduce our unique culture to the Arcadia neighborhood and look forward to becoming a part of the community for years to come.”

Funk has been in every aspect of the coffee industry including building espresso carts, importing coffee machines, opening coffee bars and supplying hotels & restaurants with premium coffee. He plans to open other Phoenix area locations and a roasting facility at 16th St. & McDowell Rd. which will also double as event and concert venue. Firecreek Coffee Company

Firecreek offers small batch coffee, small bites and sweet treats made by pastry chefs in the morning and afternoon. Guests can enjoy quiche, toast options, salads, Paninis and pastries with their coffee drinks. Consumers have been buying whole beans at AJ’s Fine Foods and Whole Foods throughout Arizona and Firecreek supplies other coffee shops with their beans.

The Phoenix location is opened from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. with plans for longer hours in the future to offer craft cocktails and more. For more information 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.

Enjoy the dog days of summer with a new Trapp Dawg at Trapp Haus BBQ

The downtown Phoenix BBQ joint is offering 3 new all beef brisket hot dawgs for a limited time starting Monday August 2nd. These dawgs are available 7 days a week for $7.99 each. The Lou — topped with potato salad and crispy fried onions. The Jersey — topped with crispy potato and cheddar cheese sauce. The Village — topped with BBQ baked beans and jalapeño honey slaw.

Hearth ’61 Sunday Supper Club with guest chef Sean Currid

The Maple & Ash Executive Chef will join Chef Chuck Wiley’s team to create a 5-course menu paired with Australian wines from Barossa Valley selected by Mountain Shadows F & B manager Jim Gallen. Reservations  are required for the Sunday August 15th dinner that starts at 6 p.m. Seats are $149 ++ per person and can be made by calling 866-572-8774. To see the pairing menu visit their website.

Chompie’s hiring fair for new Phoenix location and other locations

All four valley locations and the soon to open north Phoenix location is looking to hire back & front of the house help. They are holding a 3 day job fair at the Embassy Suites at 4415 Paradise Village Pkwy S. Phoenix 85032. 80 employees are needed for the new location with additional employees needed to support the growth at other locations. The job fair is Monday, August 2nd 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 3rd 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. & Wednesday, August 4th 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Candidates should come prepared with a resume and be prepared to interview with hiring done on the spot.

Eat Up Drive- In is now open for lunch.

The fast casual Arcadia Lite restaurant that opened in March is now open for lunch and extended their hours 7 days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. The restaurant features individual and family style meals for dine-in or to-go.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria to support the American Heart Assoc. in August

For all 31 days in August guests who donate $5 will get a $5 Bounce Back card to use at any Grimaldi’s nationwide (except To-Go locations in Austin TX & Scottsdale AZ and NYC, NJ & CT locations) until Dec. 31st 2022. Guests can donate up to $25 to get $25 Bounce Back per visit.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast, Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Eat Up Drive In brings fast casual comfort food to Arcadia Lite

Jocque Concepts recently opened it newest concept, Eat Up Drive In at the busy corner of 40th St & Indian School Rd. The locally-owned company owns The Montauk, Diego Pops and the soon to be re-opened The Hot Chick in downtown Scottsdale. This is their first fast-casual concept that serves up slow cooked fast served comfort food.

Eat Up Drive In offers a small dining room and patio for dining in along with a drive-thru window for pick-up for its individual or family style meals. The menu features dishes such as a Prime Dip Sandwich, Pulled Chicken Grinder (that’s a sub sandwich) and Caesar Wrap. Salads, soups & chili and sides are also on the menu. Six baked potatoes are offered including Vegan Chili, Braised BBQ Short Ribs and Turkey Chili.

Single & Family Meals are popular and include Short Rib Ragu, Wood Grilled Citrus Chicken, Charred Chile Shrimp and more. Each meal comes with two side dishes with patience needed when ordering family meals as they take 25 minutes to prepare. The restaurant uses all natural proteins and supports local vendors including Maya’s Farm and Passport Coffee & Tea.

Currently Eat Up Drive In is open for dinner starting at 4:30 p.m. with lunch service coming soon. For more information, to see the menu and order visit their website. The restaurant is at 4001 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018.

Ingo’s Tasty Food coming to North Scottsdale in 2022

LGO Hospitality has announced another of its Arcadia Lite concepts will be opening a location in North Scottsdale in the future. Ingo’s Tasty Food will join sister restaurant Buck & Rider along Scottsdale Rd. near the Loop 101 when it opens in mid-2022. Ingo’s is known for its scratch made in- house food including the popular Fried Chicken Sammy, Ingo’s Chopped Salad and grass fed burgers.

“After years of continuous success for Ingo’s in Arcadia, we could not be more excited to expand and introduce the brand community and menu experience to more residents and visitors in new neighborhoods around the city,” says Emily Collins of LGO Hospitality. “The vibrant patio will be great for outside meetings over comfort food, quick in and out delicious coffee bar and breakfast, lunch, dinner and gorgeous sunset happy hours with family and friends over staple LGO Hospitality dishes and spirits.”

The 2,600 square foot North Scottsdale location is being designed by L.A. architectural firm LOHA: Lorcan O’Herlihy will feature a cozy countertop like the one at its original location. A patio and curbside pick-up will also be available.

Founded in 2013 Ingo’s Tasty Food serves its all-day menu for lunch and dinner along with coffee and pastries from the LGO Bakeshop. The North Scottsdale location will be the third for Ingo’s Tasty Food with the second location opening this summer in downtown Phoenix.

Guests are welcome to visit the Arcadia Lite location or can order on the Ingo’s Tasty Food app. For more information visit their website.

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

Quick sips of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant, beer & wine community.

Pedal Haus releases RAD Pumpkin Ale for Rob Dollar Foundation

The Tempe & Chandler brew pub is releasing its first pumpkin ale on Saturday October 17th. On Saturday in Tempe from 3:00 -6:30 p.m. guests can enjoy the beer at happy hour prices with half of the beer’s sales being donated to the foundation named after the avid cyclist who was killed in 2017. The foundation helps the cyclist community promote safety and awareness to other motorists.

Friday & Saturday nights get Reverse Happy Hour at Nook Kitchen

Starting tonight the Arcadia restaurant is giving customers a few dollars off selected drinks and appetizers starting at 10 p.m. A DJ will be setting the late night vibe until 2 a.m. Last call for food is at 1:30 a.m.

It’s a Pink Out on Saturday 10/17 at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant

The family owned restaurant with 5 east valley locations celebrates the life of co-owner Stephanie Serrano who passed away last year from breast cancer. The sales of Stephanie’s favorite dish Stacked Enchiladas will be donated to HonorHealth’s Virginia G. Piper Foundation, where she received treatment. Customers are encouraged to wear pink and a special price of $10.99 will be offered for the enchiladas.

It’s Pastra-ME Mondays at central Phoenix deli

Start your week off at Miracle Mile Deli and its popular weekly sandwich feature where you get a pastrami sandwich, fries & pickle spear for only $10. The Straw & New Yorker are $12. Good for dine-in or take-out through the end of the year.

Reel Deels now available all week at Reels Pizza Pies

The Surprise pizzeria has added daily Deels in addition to their Monday Reel Deel. Every day two 18-inch one-topping pizzas are just $34.99 or guests can get an 18-inch cheese pizza and 20 wings for $29.99. For a “Reel Deel” lunches available until 4:00 p.m. get a free drink with any two-slice pizza order, free drink with any slice and side salad order or any sub and a medium drink for just $8.

 

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

Quick sips of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant, beer & wine community.

20% off your at OHSO Brewery Arcadia donated to AAWL

To celebrate Oktoberfest the brew pub with dog friendly patio will donated 20% of sales from 4-8 p.m. Sunday October 18th to the Arizona Animal Welfare League. AAWL is the state’s largest & oldest no-kill shelter saving thousands of lives.

Local pumpkins sourced for Los Sombreros dishes

Abby Lee Farms and Crooked Sky Farms have provided all three of the Mexican restaurants with pumpkins for 2 seasonal dishes. Pumpkin Soup ($10) and Pumpkin Flan ($8) will be available until October 31st. The feature is part of the restaurants Los Local Love program helping to support Arizona farms and foods.

Fall weather brings seasonal food to Trapp Haus BBQ

With the return of cool weather the popular downtown Phoenix BBQ joint has brought back its popular Texas Burnt End Chili. $6.99 gets you cup and $9.99 gets you a bowl of the juicy & tender beef brisket ends. Wash it down with a Wicked Caramel Apple Cider cocktail for $10. The Fall favorite is made with cinnamon whiskey, apple cider and a caramel drizzle.

Burnt End Chili

Chase’s Diner dishes out Pumpkin Pancakes in October

If pumpkin spice your seasonal favorite head to the Chandler diner who is serving up stacks of their pancakes made with the ingredient. The rich & fluffy pancakes are dusted with powdered sugar and served with real whipped cream sweet butter and maple syrup. A short stack of 3 is $8.79 and a combo plate with 2 pancakes, 2 eggs and bacon or sausage is $8.39.

Twin Peaks Restaurant is raising money for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Donate by putting a name of someone on a pink ribbon to be put on the dining room wall of the 3 locations around Phoenix. All money collected in October will be donated locally to the Phoenix chapter of the American Cancer Society. On October 24th the restaurants participates in Strides Ride for Phoenix.

 

“Chopped” champion Chef Nick LaRosa has a new menu at Nook Kitchen

Arcadia’s Nook Kitchen has re-opened this week with a new menu from Chef Nick LaRosa. The restaurant moved to a new larger location along Indian School Road in December and was humming along as it did at the old location when Covid- 19 broke out. They did take out until several nearby restaurants were hit with the virus and owner Frank Vairo and partners decided to close for the summer.

Nicholas Winger, managing partner, said: “We can’t wait to welcome back our guests.  We are operating with limited-seating and dining socially distanced due to pandemic regulations, so we encourage reservations, especially with our small dining room. It fills up quickly.”

What’s on the menu from Chef Nick LaRosa

With the opening comes a new menu of Italian favorites with a modern twist from LaRosa. House made pastas and fresh ingredients are on the menu such as Casarecce Bolognese for meat lovers and Veggie Campanelle for vegetarians. Napolitano styled pizzas are still coming out of the pizza oven along with entrees such as pan-seared salmon, a double bone-in pork chop and the Nook Burger.

LaRosa was champion of the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2017 and has earned other local accolades.

Chef Nick LaRosa
Aracini

“We’re excited and want to shout from the rooftops that ‘we’re back!’ ” LaRosa said. “And we’re really happy to be back, too.  The time off has given us the opportunity to add new menu items, plus fantastic desserts and still focus on the dishes we know our patrons love. “The specialness of our food is Italian with a twist.  If you want to eat hearty, we’ve got it.  If you’d rather eat light, we’ve got that too in spades.”

The menu also includes appetizers including Brussel Chips, Aracini and more. Exciting new desserts include a gelato flight from Cool Gelato and Nook’s version of Affogatto. Sommelier Matthew Wohleb has created a new and old world wine list to compliment the cuisine and mixoligist Gabe Chavez mixes up the cocktail program.

Nook Kitchen opens Wednesday thru Sunday at 5 p.m. and is at 4231 E. Indian School R. Phoenix 85018.

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.

Mediterranean diet favorite dishes return to Pita Jungle

For the last 25 years Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy Mediterranean diet inspired dishes. Many customers have their favorite’s over the years but they tend to come and go with seasons. As part of their Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu they’ve brought back many fan favorites from the past.

All 23 locations throughout Arizona are serving dishes with a balance of Mediterranean diet and global cuisine. The menu is popular with all dietary needs including keto, paleo, vegan and gluten-free. The seasonal menu will be available thru the rest of the year. Dishes include……

  • Cauliflower Hummus (V) – cauliflower, tahini, garlic, evoo, lemon juice, cucumbers, pita (gluten free with blue corn chips).
  • All Veggie Pita Pocket – avocado, baby greens, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, sprouts, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, in a pita pocket, severed with tahini (vegan with no tabbouleh, gluten-free with gluten-free pita upcharge).
  • Bone Broth Ramen with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – beef bone broth, with miso, kimchi, red onion, gluten-free soy sauce, garlic and ginger, shirataki noodles, spinach, green onions.
  • Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – stir-fried fresh vegetables and kimchi, shirataki noodles, spicy ginger sauce, beef bone broth, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, pea sprouts (vegan with no kimchi and no beef broth).

    Mediterranean
    Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles
  • Wood-Fired Medchilada (GF) – savory garlic-cilantro chicken in a beef bone broth enchilada sauce, cheddar and feta, turmeric cauliflower rice, cabbage-kale super greens, fresh jalapenos, radish, pico de gallo, pine nuts, gluten-free pita.
  • Chicken Avocado Pita Tostada with Cauliflower Hummus – grilled and chopped marinated all-natural chicken breast, avocado, cilantro-avocado crema, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, bell peppers, cauliflower hummus, feta, pine nuts, baby arugula, pea sprouts, chipotle vinaigrette, pita tostada or low-carb pita or gluten-free pita (vegetarian option without chicken.
  • Mediterranean Tuna Pita Pocket – albacore tuna, avocado, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, pea sprouts, in a pita pocket.
  • Baklawa Bread Pudding sweetened with stevia and agave syrup.

To find a Pita Jungle near you head to their website.