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.

Fall Harvest Dinner at Agritopia with The TLC eXperience

Reserve your seats for a multi-course farm to table dinner under the stars in the orchard on Friday November 5th. Limited seats are available for Chef Tom and his culinary team’s menu with Agritopia grown produce and other locally sourced ingredients. Seats are $150 per person for the 6 p.m. start.

Frog’s Leap wine dinner at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

Thursday October 28th the downtown Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5 course dinner paired with the Napa Valley’s acclaimed wines. Ravioli, risotto, short rib and more for $100++ per person. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the menu and pairings can be found here.

Dominick’s Steakhouse to donate sales of dinners on October 25th

This Monday night the Scottsdale restaurant will donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of 200 dinners to the Make-A-Wish Arizona. Make-A-Wish was founded in Phoenix and grants wishes to seriously ill children. For more information and to make a reservation visit their website.

Free pizza or salad for National First Responders Day

Fired Pie is giving all active duty police officers and firefighters a free meal all day on Thursday October 28th. Show your badge at any location so the locally owned chain can say “Thank you”.

Buzzed Bull Creamery hiring fair in Scottsdale.

Arizona’s first Buzzed Bull is looking to hire enthusiastic team members for their new Scottsdale location on Wednesday October 27th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Must be 19 years old, have reliable transportation, be willing to use a hand help POS system and more. Be prepared to interview on site at 7135. E Camelback Rd.

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.

San Francisco chefs coming to Phoenix for cannabis infused dinner

Sous chef Frank Gama was living & working in Phoenix when he was planning a culinary experience like no other. He was then offered a job in San Francisco but didn’t forget about the dinner he wanted to do honoring the Hispanic & Latino community and heritage. He and Sous Chef Victor Aguilera will be coming to Phoenix to collaborate on this 8-course cannabis infused dinners on Sunday October 17th and Monday the 18th at Phoenix’s Jewels’ Cafe.

Both Gama and Aguilera have worked at Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco with Gama working at Atelier Crenn, Sorrel and Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale. Aguilera who’s from Venezuela, opened Arepas en Bici and has been featured in Eater SF, SF Chronicle, Good Morning America and recently won the Chopped 420 Challenge.

The dinners will feature courses spanning the culinary spectrum from molecular gastronomy to traditional French cuisine using locally sourced ingredients and Arizona grown cannabis. The dinner will start with a happy hour with snacks and each course will include drink pairings by bartender Curtis Hayes of The Monarch in Kansas City.

The all inclusive dinner is $200 per person and has two seating’s per night at 5 & 8 p.m.  More information & to purchase your seats visit https://www.bychefaguilera.com/events. Jewel’s Cafe is at 4041 E. Thomas Rd. Phoenix 85018.

 

Bitter & Twisted and Aioli Gourmet Burgers partner for new in-house menu

Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has joined forces with the award-winning Aioli Gourmet Burgers for a new menu to pair with their cocktail program. The newly re-vamped menu was created by Aioli’s Executive Chef Vicktor Velez.

“Bitter & Twisted has always been committed to innovation and constant evolution with the ultimate goal of providing a world-class cocktail lounge experience here in Phoenix. With their food truck roots and success now as top flight restaurateurs, I knew Tom and Kyle were the perfect partners for the B&T kitchen, and Chef Vicktor has created some amazing new dishes and flavors,” says proprietor Ross Simon, who also notes that B&T founding chef, Bob Tam, remains a partner at B&T, while also having more “freedom and opportunities to concentrate on his other businesses and partner projects.”

New dishes at Bitter & Twisted

Chef Velez’s new menu is inspired by his travels through Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines while still keeping with Aioli’s co-owners Tommy D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck vision of sourcing fresh, seasonal & local ingredients. Guests to Bitter & Twisted can enjoy dishes such as Togarashi Tuna Tataki, one of Velez’s favorites on the new menu, along with Korean French Fries, Korean Loaded Nachos, Truffled Mac & Cheese and of course an Aioli burger.

“It’s a huge honor for us to have this opportunity to partner with Ross at Bitter & Twisted. I’m proud to see Chef Vicktor’s growth and development in this role as he continues to create new and innovative dishes,” said Tom D’Ambrosio, Owner/Chef of Aioli Gourmet.

The award-winning cocktail bar has also updated their hours of service from Tuesday through Thursday (4 – 11pm food served till 10pm) and Friday and Saturday (4pm – 1am food served till 10pm), with Happy Hour served Tuesday through Friday (4 – 6 pm). Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is located at 1 W. Jefferson St. (Jefferson & Central) Phoenix. For information check 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.

Celebrate the 1st TLC Experience dinner of the season

Chef Tom‘s birthday is fast approaching and you can celebrate with him at the first dinner of the Fall season. Sunday September 19th at a private home in Paradise Valley is where the 4 hour dinner will take place. As always the evening’s menu is a surprise but you know it’s going to be good, sourcing from local farms and artisan food makers. Become a member of the EXperince and get more details here.

Labor Day Weekend deals at restaurants around Phoenix

Celebrate at home with a Hopdoddy Burger Bar DIY Burger Kit, Family Packs at Miracle Mile Deli for pick-up, take-out or delivery. Other deals at Dave & Busters at Tempe Marketplace, STK Steakhouse, 50% of cheese pizza on Sunday 9/5 National Pizza Day at Fired Pie, a free domestic draft beer with purchase at Comic X, Slices get 2 large slices & drink for $7.99. BBQ style meals for catering family meals or individual meals from EAT by Stacey Weber. In downtown Phoenix head to Palomar at Kimpton Hotel as they are offering 5-7-9 Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. $5 beers, $7 glasses of wine & $9 Old Fashioneds with bites to eat from $5-$7.

Ingo’s Tasty Food now open in downtown Phoenix

As mentioned in May the 2nd location of the popular hangout at Block 23 at 101 E. Washington St. across from Chase Field and the Footprint Center. An all-day menu and LGO pastries are served Monday – Friday starting at 7 a.m. with Saturday and Sunday hours coming soon.

The Good Food Film Series new line-up announced

Local First Arizona has announced the next 3 films in the series focusing on the Arizona food community. The Fall film series showcases films dealing with how we heal the earth & how we can connect to the land. The Trail of Arizona Dairy (releasing on Sept. 14), Food as Medicine (releasing on Oct. 12),Farming as a Revolutionary Act for Food Sovereignty (releasing on Nov. 9).

11th annual AZ Taco Festival postponed til 2022

Organizers decided to pause the popular food festival as the Delta variant of Covid-19 is takings its toll. The festival is now re-scheduled April 9th & 10th 2022 and the regularly schedule 2022 taco festival is still scheduled only 6 months later on October 22nd & 23rd 2022. All tickets purchased for the 2021 festival will be honored in April 2022. Head to their website for more information.

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.

Maynard J Keenan expands kitchen & hires chef at Scottsdale tasting bar

With the success and popularity of his Merkin Vineyards Osteria and Merkin Pizza Wagon in Cottonwood, owner & winemaker Maynard J Keenan gave the go head to expand his Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale tasting room. Keenan also hired Executive Chef Steve Zimmerman to take the helm of the new Morello Forni Cupola Dome wood-fired oven, imported from Italy and revamp the menu.

“Our dishes feature ingredients grown in our Northern Arizona greenhouses, gardens, and orchards, and we supplement with produce sourced from local Arizona growers,” said Maynard J Keenan. “Merkin Vineyards farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept is the cornerstone of our success, and it’s a concept we intend to continue developing.”

The award-winning Zimmerman comes to Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale after a career in hotel restaurant management in his home state of Missouri and most recently at Tres Kitchen & Bar ion Tempe. “He’s the perfect culinary artist for our vision,” states Keenan.

The menu at Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale

The new menu includes ingredients from Merkins farm, citrus grove and orchard in the Verde Valley with additional ingredients sourced from local vendors and artisan producers. The new menu changes on a regular basis and includes many seasonal ingredients for its pizzas, pasta, salads and more. The Classic Margarita Pizza, the Calabrian with chorizo, schinken, bacon, calabrian chiles, fig jam and fontina cheese and the Crucifixen, features Merkin farm cruciferous veggies, roasted garlic, Parmesan spread, fresh mozzarella and fontina cheeses are part of the core menu.

Lasagna Cupcakes, gnocchi and Cacio e Pepe shows off Zimmerman’s creativity and attention to detail. Appetizers, charcuterie and few desserts round out the menu which can be paired with any of Merkin Vineyards Four 8 Wineworks and Caduceus wines along with their mead, cider and Puscifer sparkling wine. To see what I’ve tasted on several visits to Merkin Vineyards Old Town check out my Instagram feed.

Merkin Vineyards is located at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information and to see the menu check out  merkinoldtownscottsdale.com.

Carcara Restaurant to offer Native American & Sonoran inspired cuisine

Finishing touches are being put on the yearlong renovation at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown and will culminate with the opening of its new signature restaurant in September, Carcara. Executive Chef Chaz Frankefield has been tapped to oversee the new restaurant that will offer locally sourced ingredients for its Southwestern inspired menu.

The 7,000 square foot restaurant includes a 2,000 square foot patio that will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and hand crafted cocktails. Chef Frankenfield’s menu will include dishes such as prosciutto wrapped seared sea scallops served alongside Ramona Farms red corn polenta, wilted spinach and tangerine cranberry sauce or beef ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes, jalapeno cilantro chimichurri, shaved garlic and lemon broccoli.

“We are thrilled to introduce Carcara not only to our local Phoenix community, but also to travelers and guests of Sheraton Phoenix Downtown,” said Frankenfield. “From the modern design incorporating lush greenery and warm earth tones to the Sonoran and Southwestern-inspired menu using locally sourced ingredients, Carcara evokes the heritage and history of the local Phoenix community and welcomes all to immerse themselves in the destination.”

New York based Celano Design Studio designed Carcara with the regions agricultural history including cotton fields and citrus groves as inspiration. A 14-foot tall Chestnut Oak tree grows in the heart of the dining room and offers a 21 foot canopy. Other feature include a fireplace, two fire pits with Cara Cara orange trees lining the patio and three private dining rooms.

To make a reservation at Carcara Restaurant call 602-262-2500.

Road trip down to Arizona wine country for LDV Winery BBQ

Who doesn’t love a good summer road trip especially if it’s to cooler temperatures with food and wine waiting for you. If that sounds like a good way to spend the day then LDV Winery’s annual Wine Country BBQ is for you. Tickets are on sale for the annual event on Saturday August 7th from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the winery and vineyards in Pearce.

Once you arrive after your road trip, enjoy a relaxing lunch that will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. A tour of the vineyards and winery led by co-owner & winemaker Curt Dunham follows lunch. The educational tour will offer great views of the Chiricahua Mountains Foothills perfect for picture taking just before the start of the 2021 harvest season.

Tickets are $40 per person or $30 for LDV Sky Islander Wine Club members and include lunch and a glass of wine. Additional wine by the glass and bottles to take home with you are available for purchase. For more info email the winery at info@ldvwinery.com. LDV Winery and Vineyard is at 13922 S. Kuykendall Cutoff Rd., Pearce 85625. 480-664-4822

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. LDV Winery co-owner Peggy Fiadaca is featured on Episode 4.

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.

Good Things Coming edibles from Chef Aaron Chamberlin

Chef Aaron Chamberlin is no stranger to taking quality ingredients and turning them into delicious tasting foods. Having owned several well received restaurants over the years he’s now turning his attention to doing the same in the cannabis industry as CEO of Good Things Coming. The new brand makes edible cannabis foods with locally sourced and fresh ingredients.

“If you’re going to eat a brownie or have a piece of candy, that splurge should taste amazing, it shouldn’t just be a delivery vehicle for cannabis,” said Chef Aaron Chamberlin, CEO of Good Things Coming. “Whether you’re a foodie or not, there’s no reason an edible can’t be an epicurean experience.”

Chamberlin uses unique ingredients to the cannabis industry including Yuzu, Citrus, Lavender Lemon and Mango Chile. His recipes try to include as many organic and all-natural ingredients combining nutrition and taste. He went into the cannabis industry because of its upward growth potential and to challenge his creativity as a chef. The THC used is a lab tested distillate of the plant from Arizona’s Copperstate Farms 40-acre indoor grow house.

Current products from include Lavender Lemon Drops and Fruit Jellies in Mango Chile, Yuzu Citrus, Pomegranate and Very Cherry. His French Chocolate Brownie Bites are made with French Valrhona chocolate and a touch of sea salt. Products are good for medical and recreational cannabis users and offer both a high and low dose THC options. Good Things Coming products can be found at dispensaries throughout Arizona.

For more information about the product line and to see which dispensaries carry their foods visit the 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.

Toys for Tacos at Mr. Mesquite Taqueria

All 7 locations are collecting toys in exchange for tacos until December 31st. Bring in a toy, clothes or learning tool for The Academic Opportunity of Arizona and get a free taco for the day of drop off.

Monday night is Date Night at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant invites couples to join them on Monday’s for dinner for $50. Starting at 4 p.m. each twosome will get 2 pasta entrees, 2 salads and a pre-selected bottle of wine. Reservations required and must mention Date Night Special for special price. 480-427-2264.

Holiday tamales available from Los Sombreros

Order by the dozen for pick-up by December 24th. Mix & match Green Corn, Pineapple, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas, Carnitas & Red Beef Chile. All tamales are using produce from local farms. Order at their website.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria now available from ghost kitchen

Pizza to go is now available at Kitchen United MIX in Scottsdale. Order on-line and have the same delicious pizza and more made fresh and ready for pick-up or delivery.

Merkin Vineyards launches monthly Sunday brunch

This Sunday December 6th in Scottsdale will be the first brunch offered at the wine bar. The first Sunday of every month several dishes will be offered that use ingredients grown at its vineyards, gardens and orchards in the Verde Valley. Wines and Mimosas will be available to compliment your food.