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.

Keeler Hospitality Group founder passes away

The Arizona restaurant community lost a good one this week when Paul Keeler sadly past away. He spent his career in the hospitality industry around the country running hotels & restaurants. He & his family owned Liberty Station Tavern in DC Ranch & Terravita, both in north Scottsdale and Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse in Carefree. They also owned to restaurants around the country. My condolences go out his family.

Serrano’s “Pink Out” in memory of Stephanie Serrano is tomorrow

All four locations will remember co-owner Stephanie who passed away from breast cancer 2 years ago this month. A portion of proceeds from sales during the month of October special will be donated to local non-profit Check for a Lump. The October specials are Stephanie’s Stacked Enchiladas, Pink Out Margarita Sampler and Pumpkin Spice Churro Donut.

A few seats still available for Monday’s dinners.

Jewel’s Cafe in Phoenix is hosting San Francisco chefs Frank Gama & Victor Aguilera for cannabis infused dinners. There are two seating’s at 5 & 8 p.m. with details and how to reserve your seats in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Gilbert Oktoberfest is next Saturday, October 23rd.

Local craft brewers, live music, food and games will be happening at Gilbert Regional Park next Saturday from 2 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and on-sale now with children under 12 free.

Carlson Creek Vineyard releases new wines

Four hearty & bolder red wines are now available for the cooler temperatures. 2018 Rule of Three $33- 45% Malbec, 33% Grenache & 22% Syrah 2018 Malbec $47, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon $45 and 2020 Odyssey $50- a blend of Cabernet & Malbec. All wine make for great holiday gift giving and go well paired with the flavors of holiday meals. Wines can be purchased online or at their Scottsdale, Cottonwood or Willcox tasting rooms.

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.

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.

Oktoberfest at Pedal Haus Brewery October 2nd

Hard to believe its October and that means beer, brats and polka music in downtown Chandler. Saturdays celebration will include award-winning locally brewed beer and locally made brats from Von Hanson’s Meats along with pork schnitzel. Live music, a sausage eating contest and a stein hoisting contest are all part of the festivities. The Tempe location will be hosting its festival Saturday the 9th.

Wild Arizona dinner with Chef Brett Vibber hosted at Pillsbury Wine Company

Good news, two of my podcast guests are collaborating during the Willcox Wine Festival Weekend that’s coming up on October 16th & 17th. Sam Pillsbury’s award-winning winery is hosting a 6-course Wild Cuisine Dinner prepared by Chef Vibber. The $65 per person dinner starts at 5 p.m. and includes a glass of Rose 20. Bottles of wine are available for purchase and camping overnight is only $15. To see the full menu and purchase you tickets click on this link.

Smokin’ hot new menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Pitmaster Phil “The Grill” Johnson is adding to his menu starting today with Chicken Fried Nachos ($9.99) and more later this month. With Thanksgiving fast approaching (Yay!!) the downtown Phoenix restaurant debuts on October 18th a 1/2 lb. Cajun Fried Turkey Breast ($12.99) and a Turkey Monte Christo (13.99). Check out my interview with Phil here.

Press Coffee opening new downtown Phoenix location

The coffee roaster is opening its 9th location next Friday, October 8th at Van Buren and 2nd Street. During the opening weekend the community minded business will sell $1 drip coffees with 100% of its profits going to Pawsitive Friendships. The local non-profit provides animal assisted therapy for children with special needs. The downtown location will be open 7 days a week until 4 p.m.

Cooler weather means the return of farmers markets

The High Street Farmers Market returns this Sunday, October 3rd and goes through the Spring. Get locally sourced and made food, art and more from 10 a.m. – 1 :30 p.m. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market returns Saturday October 2nd from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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.

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.

Stroll downtown Mesa’s Taco Tuesday Trail next week

This Tuesday July 20th the Downtown Mesa Association is hosting a taco crawl with several restaurants including Tacos Chiwas, Mangos Mexican Café, Margaritas Mexican Grille, Que Chevere, Downtown 12 West Brewing and Desert Eagle Brewing Co. For $20 you get 7 tickets for specialty tacos from participating restaurants from 4-7p.m. Several restaurants will have specialty cocktails available for purchase during the event. To purchase your ticket(s) head to their Eventbrite link.

Childhood Memories dinner at Pillsbury Wine Co.

The Arizona winery’s tasting room in Cottonwood is hosting the 5 course dinner that will remind you of your childhood favorites eats. Taste the Wild chef’s foraged twist on Fish ‘n’ Chips, Corn Dog, Monte Christo, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Nuggets & a Pop Tart. The dinner on Fri. June 23rd starts at 6 p.m. and is $98 plus wine. To make reservation call 949-466-1054 or visit their website.

New “Summertime Sips” drinks specials available at Nonna Urban Eatery

Until August 31st guests can enjoy cool & refreshing cocktails and wine specials Wednesday. – Saturday’s. Spritz Day Wednesday — Every hump day, guests can enjoy a Spritz for just $8. Thirsty Thursday — Get an early start on the weekend with half off select bottles of wine. Friday Bubbles — Glasses of Cava and Prosecco are just $8 each all day. Sangria Saturday — Enjoy glasses of white or red for just $8 each. For more information about the Old Town Scottsdale restaurant visit their website.

Seasonal dishes and cocktails are on the new menu at Los Sombreros

The Mesa and Scottsdale locations recently added several dishes and cocktails to the menu to celebrate summer. Watermelon Salad and Grilled Norwegian Salmon with pineapple are a couple of the new dishes. New refreshing cocktails include a Mezcal Old Fashioned and Sangria. Too see all the new dishes, cocktails and more check out https://www.lossombreros.com/.

2021 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week dates announced

The 14th year of the popular 10-day ARW kicks off in just about 2 months. Local foodies and those new to the valley can experience special 3-course menus at dozens of restaurant starting Friday September 17th – 26th. Each unique meal has be created just for the twice a year event and is priced at $33 or $44 per person. A new $55 price is also being offered for those looking for a more elevated dining experience. Over 60 restaurants have already signed up to participate with more signing on everyday. To see participating restaurants and the menus they will be offering visit their website.

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.

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.

The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival safely returning next weekend

Festivals and gatherings are returning to social calendars after many had to cancel their 2020 events due to Covid-19. One of those festivals first to return is The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival next weekend April 17th & 18th. The Town of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium co-host the 20th annual event in downtown Camp Verde from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and til 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Each day 8-12 wineries will be sampling their wines and pairing them with a variety of pecans. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, live music, local artists and a competitive pie eating contest. All activities will follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, all areas cleaned and sanitized frequently and recommended mask wearing. Page Springs, Salt Mine Wine, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Winery 101 are a few of the wineries pouring wines at the event.

“We were saddened to have to cancel last year but it was with everyone’s safety and best interests in mind, as this is normally one of the town’s biggest events,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “This annual tradition is a wonderful celebration of two local products of the region and we look forward to its return, with a number of additional safety precautions in mind”.

Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. Those 21 and older can pay $20 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Additional tickets can be purchased. For more information visit these websites http://www.cvaz.com and http://verdevalleywine.org

Photo credit: Jenelle Bonifeld & Arizona Wine Guide

Canned wines Tank available from Aridus Wine Company

Arizona wine producer Aridus Wine Company has released its new line of canned wines, Tank. The grapes for the canned wines is sourced from Aridus’s vineyards in Cochise County along with purchased fruit. The fruit for the Rose is 100% Zinfandel and comes from New Mexico. The White is a blend of 72% Malvasia and 28% Picpoul which are the wineries two signature white grapes.

The wines were vinified separately then blended in early 2019 and held in stainless steel tanks until May 2020. The Viognier sees one year in neutral oak before stainless steel. The canned wines are different wines than those sold by the bottle and have a high residual sugar content. Tank is perfect for drinking by pool, camping trips or at home after a long hot day.

The Viognier, Rose and White Blend come in 4-packs and are available at their tasting rooms in Scottsdale & Willcox for $28. Each can holds 375 ml or about two glasses of wine. Buy a 4 pack and get a free Tank Koozie Can Cooler. The Scottsdale tasting room is at 7173 E. Main St. 85251. The Willcox tasting room is at 145 Railview Ave. 85643. For more information visit https://www.ariduswineco.com/ 

Wine Country BBQ returns for another year at LDV Winery

Cochise County’s LDV Winery is keeping its popular Wine Country BBQ going for another year on Saturday August 8th. The winery in the Chiraicahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona opens its door from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for BBQ foods, wine tastings, outdoor games and tour to wine club members and the public.

Tickets for the Wine Country BBQ are $40(+tax & fee) per person and $30(+tax & fee) for wine club members. Each ticket gets you a plate of BBQ, a glass of wine and a winemaker led tour at 2 p.m. Addition glasses of wine are available for purchase.