Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival returns

Tickets are now on sale for the 2021 Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival that was canceled last year because of the global pandemic. The festival is on Saturday November 6th at downtown Chandler’s Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. It goes from 12- 4:30 p.m. with early entry at 10:30 a.m. for ticket holders with early access.

In order to keep festival goers safe a cleaning company has been hired to sanitize tables & chairs and vendors will be sanitizing their booths. Masked are suggested when standing on line but not required.

Times will be staggered this year with a limited amount of tickets allocated during three time periods and ticket holders MUST arrive in their allocated time. Tickets are non-refundable if you miss your allocated time but you can email the festival organizers to change your time if tickets are still available. Food and drinks sold separately by each vendor with at least one bao or dumpling available for $5 or under. Children 6 and under are free and so is parking. Boba, desserts and other Asian dishes will be available and a curated marketplace with artists will also be happening.

Early admission ticket ($14.99) holders arrive at 10:30 a.m. and no later than 11:30 a.m.

General admission ticket ($10) holders arrive at 12:00 p.m. and no later than 1:30 p.m.

Happy Hour ticket ($6) holders arrive at 2:00 p.m.- until the end. No guarantee that all food and drink will still be available. Menu and vendors subject to change.

Tickets for the Arizona Bao and Dumpling Festival can be purchased and more information can be found here.

Ling’s Wok Shop fast casual by day, full service at night.

The owners of Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar & Grill recently opened their newest concept, Ling’s Wok Shop in north Scottsdale. The new restaurant offers fast casual meals for those on the go during the day then switches to a full service restaurant for happy hour and dinner.

Ling's Wok Shop
Photo’s courtesy of LWS

Whether you during the day or at night you’ll get the same healthy modern Asian cuisine. The new concept gives the restaurant the flexibility to adapt to a changing world as people spend more time at home. Choose from wok fired dishes to salads, noodz, soups and more. A full service bar serves hand crafted cocktails, wine s and local craft beers.

Ling’s Wok Shop is at 20511 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85255. For more information visit their website.

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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.

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week launches mid-September

Two of the valley’s vegan advocates have come together to launch the first Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week September 12th- 18th. Chef & author Jason Wyrick and vegan taste maker and owner of Phoenix Vegan Jozh Watson launched the week long culinary event to bring more attention to plant- based restaurants, foods & cooking.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.”

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week
Simon’s Hot Dogs. Feature photo Maya’s Cajun Cuisine’s Po’ Boy

How Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week works?

The pair are encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and others to showcase their plant-based cooking and more. During the week participants will be offering a specially created menu with breakfast & lunch offering at $20 and a 3-course dinner menu at $30.

“We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

During the week diners can experience the growing Phoenix plant-based food scene visiting new establishments or returning to familiar ones. A a few of the participating eateries include: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.” For more information and to see additional participants head to their website.

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen opens 6th location

Arizona and family -owned Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen opened its newest restaurant in Gilbert with a limited schedule. Currently opened Thursday – Sunday the new location will gradually open on other days in the coming weeks. Picazzo’s originally started in Sedona serving organic and healthy pizzas, salads and other Italian specialties but in the years since have grown to include the flavors of Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican ingredients.

“We can’t wait to welcome the Gilbert community to Picazzo’s!” says Picazzo’s Operations Manager, Chris Disney. It’s our pleasure to offer a variety of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and allergy-friendly items. Families can enjoy a meal at Picazzo’s and get their favorite dishes, whether they have special dietary needs or preferences or not. We’ve actually had guests cry with happiness when they realize they can order exactly what they want, how they want it!”

The menu in Gilbert is the same as the other locations and includes 95% organic ingredients for its pizzas, pastas, entrees, salads and more. Guests will notice a new modern look that will be rolled out to the other restaurants in the future.  A separate vegan menu is available using plant- based ingredients from Follow Your Heart, Daiya and Beyond Meat.

Picazzo’s new modern look

The restaurant’s spacious 4,300 square feet includes a roll-up garage door connecting the indoors and outdoors. “We thought a lot about our consumer when designing the new restaurant,” explains Disney. “That means creating a space that can accommodate solo diners and couples just as easily as large families. We also focused on selecting aesthetically pleasing textures and surfaces on everything from countertops to walls to the patio decking. We think our guests are going to love the experience here – and we hope they take advantage of the Instagram-worthy setting for taking photos with family and friends!”

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen is at 884 E. Williams Field Rd. Gilbert 85295 with the other locations in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe/Chandler, Arrowhead and Sedona. To find the location closest to you and to view the menu, visit their website.

 

JINYA Ramen opens first Arizona location in Chandler

As we said goodbye to April we said hello to the first Arizona location of contemporary Japanese restaurant JINYA Ramen. Downtown Chandler’s New Square development is where franchisee Daradee Olson opened the 40th location of the concept that was founded in 2010. Olso discovered the concept while vacationing in Utah and having lived & traveled in Southeast Asia she wanted to bring the concept home to Arizona.

JINYA Ramen offers bowls of broths slow cooked for 20 hours and handmade noodles. Fuji water is used for broths because its 99.9% free of impurities and noodles go through a special aging process before they are cooked. 12 signature ramen are on the menu and including chicken, pork and vegetable based broths. Guests can customize their bowl with more than 25 add-ons. In addition to ramen guests can order starters, salads, small plates and rice bowls that can be prepared vegan or vegetarian.

Local and Japanese craft beers, wine and signature cocktails are available at the bar. The sake menu has been curated by both Olson and General Manager Stephanie Daniels who are certified sake sommeliers.

According to Olson, “After eating at JINYA for the first time, I knew this was the style of ramen I had been searching for in the United States. When I returned home, I immediately began the process of bringing a JINYA Ramen Bar to the Valley.” Olson is so passionate about the concept she has plans to open four more locations in greater metro Phoenix over the next four years.

Guests can enjoy themselves inside the 60 seat restaurant that includes a ramen bar or on the patio with views of downtown Chandler. The modern & sleek atmosphere includes lively music and views of the kitchen in action from the ramen bar. JINYA Chandler is at 130 S. Arizona Avenue, Chandler, Ariz., 85225. For more information, call 480-758-5198 or 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.

The running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday

The 1st Saturday of May is the famed Kentucky Derby from Louisville. Here in Phoenix you can celebrate around town at the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub at Turf Paradise along with other restaurants and bars offering cocktails and food for the festive day. Belle’s Nashville Kitchen, CRUjiente Tacos and Blue Clover Distillery have specials for the day.

May the 4th be with you at SanTan Spirit House

Star Wars fans are invited to dress up like their favorite character from the George Lucas film and head to downtown Chandler to celebrate on Tuesday. Specially created Stars Wars themed cocktails will be available along with Millennium Falcon and Death Star raffles.

Cinco de Mayo happens Wednesday around Phoenix

The popular May 5th celebration has quite a few restaurants around the valley celebrating with food, drinks, live music and more. Head to places such as Z’ Tejas, Thirsty Lion Gastropub, Hopdoddy Burger BarA Su Salud, Ghost Ranch, The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen, The Spotted Donkey Cantina, Ghett’ Yo’ Tacos,

Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants celebrate teachers and nurses

All 7 of the Phoenix area locations celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 3rd -7th with teachers getting 20% off their order. May 6th – 12th nurses can get 25% their orders during Nurses Appreciation Week.

Thai Chili 2 Go emphasize new vegan & vegetarian dishes on menu

Meat and dairy-less Pineapple Fried Rice and Vegetarian Spring rolls are now available for take-out and delivery at all 10 valley locations.

Wok ‘N Roll opens new location in midtown Phoenix

Founder & CEO Scott Stuart has opened the second location of his popular Scottsdale sushi & Asian style restaurant, Wok ‘N Roll in Phoenix at the corner of Thomas & Central. Known for its sushi, Chinese food, sports and rock n roll music Stuart opened his first location at Miller & Camelback Rds. in June ’18.

“Wok ‘N Roll combines two of my passions: great Asian food and classic rock ‘n roll.  When we decided to open in Scottsdale, the name was a natural.  We serve delicious sushi and Chinese favorites and put a smile on our customers’ faces with a bit of edgy irreverence.” says Stuart.

An accountant by trade, Wok ‘N Roll isn’t Stuart’s first restaurant as he opened O’Malley’s Sports, Spirits and Grill in Phoenix. He left the industry to raise his daughter then jumped at the opportunity to take over the former J’s Kaiyo Sushi. The fun and casual restaurant offers build-your-own rice & noodles bowls, traditional Chinese dishes and sushi. Starters such as Big Eye Tune Poke, Cucumber Salad and wings also adorn the menu. His fondness of Classic Rock can be found in his signature cocktails with names such as “2 Tickets to “Paradise” and “Smokin in the Boys Room”.

“Last year, when we were allowed to offer take-out only, I’d DJ on the patio in Scottsdale. People gathered in the parking lot.  Then I did pig roasts for fans to recall the scents of our kitchen. More people gathered.  As a result, when we were able to increase occupancy, we came out of COVID strong.”

The Phoenix location is larger than the Scottsdale location at 4,000 square feet and includes a lot of rock & roll memorabilia and lyrics of favorite songs on the wall. “Wok ‘N Roll appeals to boomers AND the younger crowds who grew up hearing their parents’ brand of rock music played over the years.  It’s a fun, welcoming atmosphere and rewarding for us because we appeal to a wide range of patrons. We’re very excited to bring our concept to Central Phoenix.”

Wok ‘N Roll Phoenix is at 2801 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. For more information check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

Chino Bandido moving after 31 years at its original location

The eclectic Phoenix restaurant that serves Chinese, Mexican and Jamaican fusion is moving to a new location in north Phoenix. Chino Bandido has been featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is planning an early summer move from its original 19th Ave. location not far to 310 W. Bell Rd.

Owners Eve and Frank Collins opened in 1990 and had a cult like following shortly after opening. “After 31 years, I knew it was time for a change. Frank would have been so happy to see our brand-new location, and I am honored to make this dream a reality,” said Co-Owner Eve Collins. Frank passed away in 2013 and was a staple at the restaurant helping to make the “hole in the wall” restaurant a success.

The new location will 6,000 square feet with almost half of the space dedicated to the kitchen. A new patio for up to 30 people, new tables and chairs will give it a new feel. The industrial “vibe” will be the same and Pancho the 7,500 lb. black granite bear has already made the move to the new location.

It’s business as usual at the original location until early June when Eve hopes to move. The menu will stay the same at the new location as will the hours of operation 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily. “Chino Bandido has been my labor of love for over half my life. Our customers’ extreme loyalty got us through the pandemic, and I could not be more excited for the next chapter in our history,” said Collins. For more information and to stay up to date visit their website.

 

Wow Bao ghost kitchen now available from Fired Pie

Chicago’s Wow Bao steamed dumplings, pan-seared pot stickers and bao sandwiches are now available from a ghost kitchen inside Fired Pie. The popularity of ghost and virtual kitchens continue to grow with numerous local restaurants taking on new concepts without opening new restaurants. Currently Fired Pie’s Scottsdale Fashion Square and Northsight locations are preparing Wow Bao’s dishes with plans to expand to other locations in the next 30 – 90 days.

“Our customers have been turning to online ordering, takeout and third-party delivery during the pandemic, so we felt this was the perfect time to launch our ghost kitchen,” said Fired Pie Co-Owner, Doug Doyle. “At Fired Pie, we offer our guests the highest quality ingredients possible and Wow Bao’s menu aligned with our mission to continue to do that.”

Wow Bao sources high quality, sustainable raised proteins that are GMO, antibiotic and steroid free. In addition to bao, dumplings and pot stickers the menu includes Asian Street food favorites Teriyaki, Spicy Kung Pao and Orange Chicken bowls. Family Bundles and catering are available with Family Bundles feeding 4-5 people and Party Bundles feeding 8-12 people.

“We are excited to align ourselves with a concept that has seen explosive new growth in the past year,” said Fired Pie Co-Owner, Fred Morgan. “As the ghost restaurant trend continues to grow, we expect to continue to add virtual concepts to our local storefronts.”

Wow Bao is only available through 3rd party delivery partners DoorDash, UberEats, Postamates and Grubhub. Catering is available through EZCater’s website. For more information or to place an order visit their website.