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.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails debuts new dishes & cocktails

I made my first visit to Downtown Phoenix’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails recently as it launched its new food & cocktails menus in late August. The signature restaurant inside the Hotel Palomar welcomed new Executive Chef Brian Peterson who created the new dishes with his culinary team. Peterson’s “New American Cuisine” offers Starters & Shareable & entrees that include a curated beef program.

“The menu is very approachable and made with the freshest, all-natural, quality ingredients that are seasonally sourced from the area’s best local farmers,” said Chef Peterson. “The vibrancy and energy of our downtown Phoenix location is exhilarating and we are thrilled that our neighborhood restaurant is in the center of it all.”

My dinner at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

I started with a “Sicilian Summer Spritzer” from the Seasonal Cocktails menu to go with our Starters. The Maker’s Mark, Averna, Cardomano, Lemon & Soda libation reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea from years past and I could had a second or third of this refreshing cocktail. One of the first to offer “craft cocktails” other signature cocktails include the Blue Hound Signature Old Fashioned, Buffalo Tears, Red & Smokey and more with an emphasis on bourbon & whiskey. Craft beer on draft & in bottle and wines are also available. My photos can be found on my Instagram, @SandyWass.

My dinner guest and I started with the Mushroom Pate with carrot jam, pickled onions & charred toast points. All was good with the carrot jam having the most flavor. We also shared the Beef Cheek Poutine with cheese curds, giardinerra & bone marrow gravy. The look to be house cut fries could’ve been a bit crisper but still  it’s a nice twist on a favorite from north of the border. Other dished that sounded good but not ordered on this visit were the Rolled & Fried Chicken Thighs and the Charred Octopus.

My guest ordered the Iberico Secreto (Iberico, the Wagyu of Spain ham, fatty shoulder meat) with bbq fennel, Pt. Reyes grits & cherry mustrda for his entree and he was happy. I went with Chef’s Cut of The Day which was a 16 oz. Rib Eye with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese chips, spinach & mushrooms. A nice outside darkness and rare-medium rare middle was a filling piece of beef. Then BHKC burger sounded good as did the duck breast. We finished our meal with a dessert special of Homemade Pound Cake with espresso gelato and caramel sauce. The cake was thick and dense, not you mom’s pound cake.

Feeling adventurous then “Trust the Team” with a five course dinner on the whim of the culinary team. A wine and cocktail pairing can be had with this dinner option.

For more information and to see the menu visit the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails 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.

Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing the pizza party to you

Have you ever wanted to learn to make pizza from a pizza pro, now you and 24 friends can as the Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing its pizza party to you. Chef Tommy D’Ambrosio of Aioli Gourmet Burgers, Fresh Taste Meal Prep and other food concepts is bring you the hands on experience better than any food from a chaffing dish. He will teach how to toss the dough, adding sauces and toppings and cooking them in his mobile pizza oven.

“Everyone loves pizza! It’s so fun to see a smile on everyone’s faces when we fire up the wood oven and start making pizzas. Our customers have a blast learning to make their own pizzas – it’s a great experience for all ages and really makes any party extra special,” said D’Ambrosio.

Each class includes 2 hours of on-site pizza making training, all the equipment and ingredients. Depending on size of the group and custom menu Oak Wood Fire Pizza tries to keep the cost around $25 per person. Don’t want to make pizza just eat it, their food truck is available for corporate parties & private events. The food truck can accommodate any size event and the menu includes pizzas, salads, sides, bruschetta, charcuterie and more. For more information or to book a pizza party, check out their website.

Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar hires exec chef Matthew Kassman

Glendale native Matthew Glassman has been named to run the kitchen at downtown Scottsdale’s Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar. Glassman returns to the valley after graduating the Culinary Institute of America followed by stints at some of the best restaurants in Napa Valley and New York City.

“The culinary world is a small one and over the years I’ve heard so many great things about The Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar and especially the food. It’s a quaint place and the kind of place where I will really be able to develop something special,” said Kassman.

Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar

Kassman honed his old world cooking techniques with world class chef Thomas Keller at his Michelin starred restaurants Bouchon, Per Se and The French Laundry. He was working at the latter in 2020 when Covid hit and he came home to Arizona. At Second Story, Glassman plans to use regional ingredients and a modern touch to such dishes as Caesar salad, steak cooked over Binchotan charcoal with house cut steak fries and more. He’s a fan of bourbon and whiskey and looks forward to pairing them with his awe inspiring dishes and for special dinners.

Seccond Story is at 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd. above The Gelato Spot and is open Tues. Sun. at 4 p.m. – close. For more information and to see the full menu check out their website.

 

 

Mark Tarbell to host 7th Harvest Moon Feast to benefit C-CAP

Tickets are on sale for the 7th Harvest Moon Feast hosted Chef Mark Tarbell, owner of Tarbell’s Restaurant, Tavern and The Wine Store. The event will be under the stars on Wednesday, October 20th in the parking lot outside Tarbell’s restaurants at 32nd St & Camelback Rd. The Feast will start at 6:30 and will be raising money for the Careers through Culinary Arts Program(C-CAP).

The 31 year-old non-profit provides Arizona students with culinary & life skills and scholarships for high school students looking to pursue a career in the culinary arts. On the evening of the 20th attendees will have the chance to taste creations from 25 students and their culinary mentors.

In addition to tasting the culinary creations, cocktails and wine those in attendance will enjoy the sounds of Nate Nathan and the MacDaddy-O’s featuring host Mark Tarbell. Celebrity chef and mentor Beau MacMillan and James Beard award-winning chef Scott Conant will be in attendance with Conant signing his new book, Peace, Love and Pasta.

General Admission tickets are $95 and include admission, food & wine/cocktails. GA tickets go up to $125 on August 1st. VIP tickets are $175 per person and include 5:30 early entry, food & wine/cocktails, a VIP gift bag with a signed copy of Conant’s book. If you’d like to donate to the event or purchase tickets head to this link.

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.

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.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria appreciates our nurses and teachers

Starting today all 7 locations in Arizona are offering 15% off for all the hardworking teachers and nurses for Nurse & Teacher Appreciation Week. Must show school or medical id to take advantage of this offer.

Tickets on sale for final TLC Experience dinner of the season

The May dinner goes indoors before they take the summer off on Sunday May 30th. The menu for the multi-course dinner is a surprise to guests but we do know as many locally sourced ingredients are used. Dinner at The Herberger Theatre Center in downtown Phoenix starts at 5 p.m. Single tickets are $150 and tables of 8 are $1,000. Click here for more information and to reserve your seat.

ARIDUS Wine Company offer 2 for 1 Sauvignon Blanc today only

Today is International Sauvignon Blanc Day and the Arizona winery selling its 2019 SB with a deal to celebrate. For $28 get 2 bottles of the crisp, white wine perfect for the warm weather ahead. Only available today, May 7th.

Miracle Mile Deli celebrates its 72 years in business with sandwich deal

Monday May 10th marks the milestone for the central Phoenix deli. All sandwiches (except the Triple Decker and Jax Special) for Miracle Mile Deli Day are $11 all day and every hour a $100 gift card will be given out from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. A portion of the day’s proceeds will be donate to The Phoenix Theatre Company.

Happy Mother’s Day

Saving the best for last, wishing all the mothers a great day. The Phoenix restaurant community is rolling out the red carpet for mom on Sunday. Too many to mention but I’m sure her favorite restaurant is doing something special.

Modern Tortilla food truck opens brick & mortar location

The popular food truck Modern Tortilla has opened its first brick & mortar location inside the Fry’s Marketplace in Litchfield Park. If that sound a little familiar it’s because Modern Tortilla’s sister restaurant Aioli Gourmet Burgers opened inside the same Fry’s in March 2020.

Both Modern Tortilla and Aioli are co-owned by Chopped champion chef Tommy D’Ambrosio. “Modern Tortilla was our second food truck concept. It’s been a huge success for us at events and through catering with weddings and large events. To have the opportunity to offer our southwestern style cuisine alongside our other brand is going to be an incredible experience,” said D’Ambrosio.

Tommy will be serving up his signature tacos including the El Ranchero made with 24 hour marinated skirt steak and Flew the Coop chicken tinga tacos. Burritos, quesadillas, chicken flautas, elote and more will be served. A cold case is filled with tacos kits and meal prep ingredients for home cooking along with grab-n-go meals.

“Our customers are looking for fresh and convenient meal options for them and their families,” said J.J. Mattison, Fry’s Food Stores Deli/Bakery Merchandiser. “Solutions like Modern Tortilla, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and others offer customers a variety of already prepared or easy-to-prepare options that they can easily enjoy.

Fry’s Marketplace is at 13730 W. Camelback Rd. Litchfield Park. For more information visit their website.