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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Central Kitchen virtual food hall opens in Chandler with 4 concepts

Virtual kitchens/food halls continue to gain popularity with the local restaurant industry. Concept Entertainment Group (CEG), owners of Thirsty Lion Gastropub have opened Central Kitchen, a virtual food hall from the kitchen of Chandler’s Thirsty Lion. Arizona is the 4th state to open Central Kitchen which was launched late last year in Oregon then Texas and Colorado. Guests can order from five concepts Soy Joy Kitchen, Southern Jewel, Killer Wings, Pizza & Spice and Thirsty Lion.

“We’ve been fostering the idea of a kitchen focused on takeout and delivery for the last year,” said John Plew, president and CEO of Thirsty Lion Gastropub. “The pandemic put the process into hyper speed, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to pivot with the climate and launch an idea that aligns with current consumer demands. Central Kitchen fills a need in the restaurant space by providing multiple culinary offerings from one hub. Guests can order the food that everyone in their home is craving under one ticket.”

All menus include scratch made dishes created by Keith Castro, CEG’s VP of Food and Beverage Executive Chef. Guests can order take-out and delivery from one central website with ease and efficiency.

Soy Joy Kitchen specializes in rice bowls, sushi, ramen and other Asian favorites. Southern Jewel offers Southern fried chicken, Nashville hot chicken, sliders and Southern specialties. Killer Wings serves boneless and traditional wings with a variety of house made sauces. Pizza and Spice has a large selection of gourmet specialty pizzas and salads. Don’t forget burgers, salads, sandwiches and more from the Thirsty Lion and vegetarian options are available from most concepts. Starting January 26th Central Kitchen will offer 25% off each to-go meal ordered at the central 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.

Thai Chili 2 Go has 1/2 off noodle entrees

Tuesday October 6th is National Noodle Day with 1/2 off noodle entrees when an entree is purchased at regular price. All 10 locations offer this special for pick-up and delivery.

Tommy V’s & J. Lohr partner for dinner to raise money for breast cancer

This 5- course dinner on Thursday October 15th will support the National Breast Cancer Foundation as October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The dinner starts at 6:30 and will be taking necessary steps for everybody’s safety.  Tables of no more than 8 people will be 6 feet apart. To see the menu and for more information visit http://tommyvscottsdale.com/ Call 480-427-2264 to make a reservation.

Save money on pizza at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Monday’s in October

For the four Monday’s that there are during National Pizza Month guests can save 25% off a 16 inch cheese pizza. The special $12 price is for dine-in or carry-out orders. No 3rd party deliveries. For online orders use promo code “MANGIA” when ordering at all 7 locations in the Phoenix area and Flagstaff.

Macayo’s celebrates National Taco Day Sunday October 4th

$3 gets you Crispy Tacos (shredded beef or shredded chicken) which are regularly $6.59. All locations are offering this for dine-in, pick-up or Macayo Delivery.

Art & Chocolate Artwalk kicks off 46th season

The Scottsdale Gallery Association starts another season on Thursday October 8th for its Gold Palette Artwalk. Glendale’s Cerreta Candy Company will be supplying galleries with pre-wrapped chocolates for guests strolling into view the art. The Artwalk goes from 6:30- 9:00 p.m. in the Arts District near Main St. & Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale.

 

A virtual bao & dumpling food festival is happening

Many daily activities and special events have gone virtual in the last few weeks with the social distancing of the coronavirus. The organizers of the Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival are in the process of re-scheduling the festival to the Fall and are organizing 2 virtual online parties. The Bao & Dumpling Online Party’s are scheduled on Facebook for Saturday April 25th and May 23rd. The online parties were created to the spirit of the festival alive while showing the diversity of the food.

The FREE parties start at 6 p.m. and invites foodies to share homemade bao & dumpling photos and socialize with foodies. They’ve also put together a resource guide full of recipes, different types of bao and dumplings, pictures and a directory of local restaurants doing bao & dumpling for takeout.

For a chance to win tickets to the re-scheduled festival, join the party by clicking on the Facebook link above and to get the Resource Guide click on this link. Tickets are still on sale for the festival and can be transferred to the new date when it’s been confirmed.

 

Bao down at the upcoming Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival

Update: Festival postponed, no make up date set yet.

Asian street food continues to gain popularity around the valley with the announcement of the Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival on March 21st 2020. From 12:30 – 5 p.m. at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park festival goers can taste the popular filled bao and dumplings along with other Asian foods, Boba and desserts until their hearts desire. You’ll be able to shop at marketplace, visit with local artists and play games in between tastes and sips.

Bao
Happy Buns Coconut Bao

Tickets are now on sale for this family friendly event with General Admission tickets only $8 plus tax & fees. There are a limited amount of Early Admission tickets at 11:30 a.m. are $13 ++. Children aged 7 – 12 are $4 and under 6 are free with a paid adult. Admission is separate from food and drink purchases.

Dr. A.J. Chandler Park is in historic downtown Chandler at 3 S. Arizona Ave. 85225.