New menu and new look as a re-vamped Zuzu re-opens

Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu is back open after getting a new look and menu. Hotel guests and locals will notice the restaurant’s new mid-century modern look is in-line with the hotels 1950’s style. Designed by Mendil + Meyer Design Studio, new features include a Zuzu neon sign, 1950’s inspired wood screens and new lighting. The lounge and dining room has been combined for welcoming space and the hotel’s signature circle design is noticeable.

“We are beyond excited to re-introduce ZuZu, not only to our wonderful Scottsdale community, but also to the guests of Hotel Valley Ho,” said Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. “Our new menu is meant to surprise and delight, while still satisfying those classic cravings.”

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Crispy Pork Shank. All photos courtesy of Kristin Heggli at Hotel Valley Ho

Look at the new menu

LaCasce’s new menu features smaller, shareable plates with a few guests’ favorite dishes remaining. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from the restaurant’s new 240 foot herb and vegetable garden. Zuzu continues to work with local farmers and purveyors including Pinnacle Farms, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage and Hickman’s Family Farms.

New signature dishes include Oxtail Pappardelle with foie gras & Parmesan and Crispy Pork Shank with sour apple molasses glaze, cucumber tarragon yogurt and pita. Two new monthly revolving dishes will be available….. Cut of the Moment will be a savory dish with a unique plating design and Farmer’s Plate will offer seasonal vegetables making for a great vegetarian meal. Those looking for a unique dining experience can let LaCasce Take the Wheel. For $75 per person chef will create a hand selected meal. Weekend brunchers will notice a few changes and brunch is now served all day during the week.

Zuzu Chocolate Bar

Save room for dessert as Zuzu’s famous Show Stopper Shake is still available along with new desserts. Le Cordon Bleu trained Pastry Chef Clarissa Robinson brings her chocolate expertise to new desserts Zuzu Chocolate Bar, a Donut Sundae and Buttermilk Pie. Adults can add their favorite spirit to dessert to spike it up.

Private dining, wine room and more

Speaking of spirits new cocktails have been added including the Zuzu Mango Tango along with a new wine room. The new “Vine Vault” house wines from around the world. “The Rosie Room” is a new hidden private dining room named for Rosalyn “Rosie” Bennett Lyon, the matriarch of the family that owns the hotel. Her grandchildren called Rosie “Zuzu” and the inspiration for the restaurant comes from her cooking and warm hospitality.

I’ll be visiting Zuzu next week to check out the new menu and more. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures.

Zuzu and Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

Gayle’s Chocolates & Carlson Creek Vineyards plan Vortex Crunch Event

Arizona isn’t just home to many great restaurants, it also is home to many small artisan food producers. One of those is the newly re-located Gayle’s Chocolates in Cottonwood. Gayle’s started in Michigan in 1979 but was recently sold to Sedona residents, Michael and Andrea Portnoy. Friday September 20th will have the Portnoy’s introducing their chocolates at one of their first events, Vortex Crunch Event.

“Six years ago, when we tried Gayle’s we knew it was love at first bite. Now we are taking her creations and bringing them to the southwest. Taking inspiration from the Sedona Vortex’s our newest treat, the Vortex Crunch is sure to be a sweet and salty spiritual experience,” said Co-owner Michael Portnoy.

Carlson Creek Vineyards is partnering with Gayle’s Chocolates for the first of what hopes to be an annual event. Vortex Crunch is the newest addition to the line of homemade chocolates. Loaded with rice krispies, Michigan cherries, almonds, cashews, toffee, glazed orange peel, toasted coconut and a layer of semisweet chocolate. All ingredients combing for a sweet and salty taste.

Carlson Creek will pair their 2014 Rule of Three red blend and 2017 Muscat with the chocolates.

The Vortex Crunch Event will from 12 – 3 p.m. at Gayle’s Chocolates Willy Wonka like factory in their flagship store at 541 N. Main St. Cottonwood 86326. For more information visit their website.