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.

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.

Marcellino Ristorante hosting Learn & Lunch cooking classes

Home chefs looking to hone their skills at cooking authentic Italian food can reserve their seats at the downtown Scottsdale restaurant. Chef Marcellino offers his next monthly cooking class on Saturday, April 17th. The 2 hour class will teach you to prepare his signature ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese. Seats are limited and are $50++ and include lunch. May 15th is the next class making Pollo Saparito and on June 19th its Pasta Ghiotonna. Classes are from 1 – 3 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 480-990-9500.

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict at Morning Squeeze for a limited time

Egg Benedict fans can celebrate National Eggs Benedict Day next Friday April 16th at any 3 of the restaurant locations. A specially made Pulled Pork Benedict will be available for only 3 days next weekend. Always on the menu is the Classic Benedict, Cali Benedict & Salmon Benedict.

Doggie Date Night at Daily Dose Midtown

Grab your favorite canine and head to the restaurant at Highland & 20th St on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Next Thursday the 15th from 3 – 9 p.m. well behaved dogs and their owners are invited to the patio for all natural dog treats from Dogs Eating Cake and special menu for their owners. A portion of the proceeds from the night will be donated to the Arizona Humane Society. Reservations are needed and can be made by calling 602-274-0334. Circle these dates for the next Doggie Date Night…..May 20th & June 17th.

Community Blend coffee benefits local schools districts

Press Coffee Roasters announced that the proceeds from its Community Blend coffee beans will be donated 6 K-8 school districts in neighborhoods where there is a Press location. In-store purchases only and Community Blend is available until May 16th.

Brazil is on the map for Match Market & Bar’s Passport Series

No need to pack your bags just head to the downtown Phoenix restaurant tomorrow night (Saturday April 10th) for some South American flavor and culture. The trip is from 6 – 10 p.m. and is $15 per person with exotic cocktail included. For more information head to their website.

 

Chef Aaron May hosts celebrity chef friends for Big Boy Cook Club launch

More than a dozen chefs from around the country will be making their way to Phoenix to launch the first Big Boy Cook Club event. Get your tickets now for the Sunday April 25th event at central Phoenix’s Ocotillo Restaurant. Chef Aaron May will be hosting the party that will limit attendance to adhere to CDC guidelines.

“Big Boy Cook Club is a brand I have been developing for years, and what better place to launch it, than with a fun, casual food event in my own hometown” says Chef Aaron May. The Big Boy Cook Club brand is about the sincere about cooking and taste for food enthusiasts, not foodies and the camera.

Celebrity chefs cooking up delicious, no always photo friendly eats include Aron Sanchez, Todd English, Elsie Eats, Akira Back and Ocotillo’s own Walt Sterling. Jacob Cutino of locally owned Cutino Sauces will announce details of his new monthly “throw back” sauce event. He’ll also be working with each chef helping to pair his sauces with each chef’s dish.

Local mixologist Casey Wallin will be mixing up creative cocktails for the event with beer and wine available as well. DJ for the Miami Heat and surprise guests will be spinning the tunes to keep the crowd moving. A cigar roller, photo booth and spirit sampling will be just a few of the additional activities happening during the 5 hour event. Operation BBQ Relief will be the benefactor of money raised during the event.

The party goes from 2 – 7 p.m. with tickets on sale now at Eventbrite. Tickets are $100 with VIP tickets $200 and the Big Boy Package for $1,000. Ocotillo Restaurant is at 3243 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85012.

 

 

 

Cuisine Wine & Bistro taking reservations for Chefs’ Carte Blanche dinner

The dinner on the 12th has been postponed, no new date has been scheduled as of yet.

Chandler’s Cuisine Wine & Bistro has been showcasing French cuisine in the East Valley since 2016. Owned by the Buschtetz family along with Gilbert’s B Gastrobar and Copper & Logs, CWB started their monthly Chef’s Carte Blanche dinner series in December 2020 to much success. Reservations are being taken for the next dinner coming up on Monday April 12th.

“Unlimited Discretionary Power to Act”, Carte Blanche is exactly what guests will be giving the chefs to act upon. The 7-course dinner paired with wines showcases Executive Chef Fabrice Buschtetz classically trained French cooking. By his side will be son Steven, chef de cuisine at B Gastrobar and Chef Michael Maitrel- Burgard, chef de cuisine at Copper & Logs with wines paired by Killian Buschtetz, Sommelier at Cuisine Wine & Bistro.

The Chefs’ Carte Blanche menu

“Part of our fun,’” says Fabrice, “comes from making each course look both delicious and memorable on the plate. There is a real talent — I was going to say skill, but it is much more than that — in arranging each course so that it showcases the food in an especially enticing way.”

The dinner will cover land and sea with the evening starting with a trio of Amuse- Bouche followed by courses of caviar, duck, squid and lamb along with a mid-course palette cleanser of sorbet and ending with dessert.

Guests are asked to arrive no later than 5:45 with dinner beginning promptly at 6:00. Reservations are $225 plus tax & gratuity and can be made by calling 480-275-6700. To see the full menu please visit their website. Cuisine Wine & Bistro is at 4991 S. Alma School Rd. Chandler 85248.

Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion is opening soon

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the last couple of years is happening as James Beard award- winning chef Christopher Gross is getting ready to open Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion. The opening will be next Tuesday March 23rd with reservations being taken for dinner service.

The restaurant is next to the mansion and offer guests 180- degree views of the valley from it’s hilltop setting. Floor to ceiling glass windows and a retractable roof will give guests a feeling of dining outside as weather permits. The intimate setting allows for only 26 seats in the 1,500 square foot restaurant and is part of the Wrigley Mansion’s new look that re-opened last November. Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion was designed by architect Wendell Burnett and features a custom build wood fired oven as the late artist Yves Klein works adorn the restaurant along with Soleri Bells from Arcosanti.

Dining at Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion

The finest seasonal ingredients are sourced for Gross’s eight-course tasting menu that will showcase his passion for food and gastronomy.

“Gastronomy has led me around the world learning, creating, exploring, experiencing, and embracing my love of food, wine, and hospitality,” says Chef Christopher Gross, Executive Chef and Director of Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion.

“As we focus on providing an extraordinary experience for our guests, we consider all options. A tasting menu is exciting; an experience filled with wonder and anticipation. But we are also aware that sometimes we want to enjoy a simpler yet distinctive meal. In addition to our tasting menu, we will soon offer Christopher’s Classics on Sundays and Mondays, and a lighter tasting menu as our Bistro Lunch, Tuesdays through Saturdays.”

Dinner is served Tuesday- Saturday from 5-10 p.m. with for $250 per person. Wine pairings are an additional $230. For more information visit their website.

 

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.

JBF Women of AZ collaborate on creative meals for a limited time

This weekend’s launch of JBF Women of AZ shows off the partnership of 15 talented women chefs as Phoenix is one of 10 cities participating in the national alliance “Let’s Talk” from The James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program. “Let’s Talk” is the brainchild of Chicago’s Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion and trustee of the JBF whose goal is to bring women restaurateurs together for collaboration and support.

This weekend (sold out) and the weekends of January 22nd & 23rd and 29th & 30th you can order a special 3-course meal from 5 groups of chef’s preparing each course of the meal. Each three- course meal feeds two people and is $55 with meals needing to be ordered online by 10 p.m. the Wednesday of each week for pick-up on Friday or Saturday night.

By collaborating the women are learning from each other, sharing ideas and helping to support locally owned businesses during the pandemic.

The 15 Phoenix area women led restaurants participating in the JBF Women of AZ are……

Maya’s Cajun Kitchen
24 Carrots
Cotton & Copper

The Farish House
The Joy Bus Diner
Songbird Coffee House

FnB
Hana Japanese Eatery
Tracy Dempsey Originals

Fat Ox
The Market by Jennifer’s
Sweet Republic

The Cellar
Nonna Urban Eatery
The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

To see the menus & chefs, place an order and pick-up instructions head to their website.

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen opens in north Scottsdale

You can’t keep the valley’s restaurant scene down as new restaurants continue to open. In October we saw the opening of Chantico in central Phoenix and Match Market & Bar in downtown Phoenix among others. New to north Scottsdale is The Craftsman Cocktails & Kitchen with Chef Christopher Nicosia running the kitchen.

Foodies should remember Chef Nicosia from the closed Italian restaurant Sassi and his induction into the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. “Our menu is unlike anything even seasoned foodies have seen before,” said chef Nicosia. “The Craftsman puts a modern twist on conventional American dishes. From infusing dishes with craft beer and in-house distilled spirits, to including as many locally grown ingredients as possible, this menu allows me to pair quality with creativity.”

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen
Chef Christopher Nicosia

Situated in a bustling retail center at Hayden Rd. and Thompson Peak Parkway, The Craftsman serves up traditional American fare with global flavors is inspired by a hard working farmer and grandfather who loved his family, the land and working with his hands.

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen dishes and spirits

On a recent visit for happy hour I couldn’t stop eating the house-made chips with queso dip, wished I’d ordered more than two AZ Hot Chicken Lollipops with barrel aged hot sauce and tasty blue cheese slaw and Scallop Toast. A full menu of innovative dishes includes Bone-In Volcano Pork, Tuna Poke Sandwich and Lamb Belly Sausage Flatbread.

AZ Hot Chicken Lollipops courtesy of Tara Schultz

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen also offers its own line of distilled spirits. Vodka, gin, rum, barrel aged amaro, bourbon and coffee liquor are available to sample and purchase. Currently distilled off-site they will soon distill the spirits in-house. Craft beers and wines are available in what will be a go-to neighborhood joint for good food, drinks and atmosphere.

The Craftsman Cocktails and Kitchen is at 20469 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale AZ 85255. For more information visit their website.

Christiaan Rollich & chef Samantha Sanz join Sanctuary on Camelback

Paradise Valley’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa added two reputable personnel to their food & beverage team Executive Chef Beau MacMillan announced. Chef de Cuisine Samantha Sanz returns to where her culinary career started as one of the first female chefs. Mixoligist and author Christiaan Rollich comes to the luxury resort from the Los Angeles restaurant and cocktail scene.

“Sam and Christiaan represent the next generation of tastemakers and the perfect team to move our culinary program forward,” said MacMillan. “Both have built impressive careers through sheer grit and passion. Both are at the top of their game. And they share a deep respect for each other’s craft that will drive their collaboration as they create a full-circle experience between kitchen and bar for our guests.”

Two-time James Beard award nominee Sanz was last the Sous Chef at Talavera Restaurant at the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North. After graduating from Scottsdale’s Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts she worked at Elements where she impressed MacMillan with her talent, passion and culinary prowess. She then went to Virtu Honest Craft in Scottsdale before to the Four Seasons Scottsdale.

“I am thrilled to be back at Sanctuary—my culinary roots—and to give fresh expression to the vibrant flavors and colors here,” said Sanz. “The opportunity to work so closely with Beau and Christiaan to fully integrate the culinary and bar programs is particularly exciting to me and recognizes the power of food and drink to connect us all.”

Arizona welcomes Christiaan Rollich

Netherlands native Christiaan Rollich started working in the bar industry at Les Deux Cafe to earn extra money while pursuing a acting and modeling career. He authored BAR CHEF: Handcrafted Cocktails in 2019 and Forbes called him “one of LA’s most innovative mixoligists” and is credited by LA Weekly with starting the city’s cocktail renaissance while at celebrated restaurants A.O.C and Luques.

“I love working closely with chefs, studying their techniques and bringing them to the world of drink,” said Röllich. “I can’t wait to see what Beau and Sam will bring to the table flavor-wise, and look forward to exploring and reinventing so my cocktails match their food.”

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Hopdoddy Burger Bar gives free burgers to First Responders

Wednesday, October 28th is National First Responder’s Day and the Camelback & Scottsdale locations are responding. Show your badge or come in uniform for a free Classic burger or cheeseburger when you dine-in or take-out.

Marcellino Ristorante begins Fall Wine Dinners

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant known for homemade pastas and authentic Italian cuisine has its first dinner on Tuesday October 27th. Paired with Italian wines chosen by sommelier Dario Soldan of Classico Wines, Chef Marcellino decides on what to serve at the 4-course dinner the day of. Prepaid seats are $75 ++ per person for the 6 p.m. dinner and can be reserved by calling Bettina at 480-990-9500.

“Crazy for Curry” then head to Thai Chili 2 Go

Until Wednesday October 28th, curry fans can get a bowl for half price when a bowl is purchased at regular price. Red, yellow, green, Massamann and Panang curries are available at all locations for pick-up and delivery.

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza now available at Fired Pie

All 20 locations of the fast casual pizza restaurant are now selling the new specialty pizza. Made with house-made dough Nashville Hot sauce, mozzarella cheese, then topped with Nashville Hot Chicken, spicy cole slaw & chopped Dill pickles. It can be made with regular, cauliflower and gluten-free dough.

Hotel Valley Ho launches The R + R Show virtual cooking class

Executive Chef Russel LaCasce and hotel General Manager Ronen Aviram debut their first free episode of their monthly cooking, cocktail and recipe podcast. Details of each month’s classe and link to the podcast can be found at an earlier post.