Undertow goes above ground with pop-up in Scottsdale

The popular and award-winning cocktail bar Undertow has taken its below ground concept to street level with a pop-up at the Hotel Valley Ho. From August of 2016 to December 2020 was housed below Sip Coffee & Beer Garage in Phoenix, a converted quick oil change business. With Covid-19 taking over 2020 owners Rich Furnari and Jason Asher decided to move Undertow next door to its Century Grand location.

In addition to the new Undertow, Century Grand will be adding new concepts Platform 18 and The Grey Hen Rx with construction ending in March. Until then Undertow has taken over the former Trader Vic’s restaurant at the Scottsdale hotel for a 4-day a week “Best of Menus Past” pop-up.

“UnderTow has a strong following, and we always wanted to have a little more space to accommodate additional guests and larger parties, all without compromising the intimate guest experience” says Furnari. With UnderTow’s lease ending in 2020, and our difficult decision to permanently close the restaurant element of Century Grand, there was a prime opportunity to re-locate UnderTow into a larger space in the same geographic neighborhood. In addition, the more flexible physical infrastructure in the new location will allow us to continue to offer our guests the most advanced and enjoyable immersive environment for years to come”.

The two have worked day and night with Hotel Valley Ho’s Food and Beverage Director Andre Nicholson to bridge the gap until construction ends in Phoenix. Housed in the Sands venue at the hotel, the pop-up will be open Thursday through Sunday serving many retired top-selling signature cocktails. Limited food will be served from local chefs who will rotate their own pop- up restaurant. A Sunday market could also be added once things are up and running and the tiki/tropical decor from local artists gives Undertow its laid back vibe.

Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251 and you can find more information about the pop-up at their website.

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

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.

Start 2021 off celebrating National Bloody Mary Day

New Year’s Day lands on a Friday in 2021 so nobody is in a hurry to get back to work so continue celebrating the New Year with a Bloody Mary. U.S. Egg, Pedal Haus Brewery, Angry Crab Shack, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Twin Peaks are all celebrating the A.M. cocktail favorite. Signature Bloody Marys are shaking up your morning as you get ready for what 2021 has in store.

Restaurants continue open new locations around the valley.

Not only is Dog Haus opening a new location but so are Z’ Tejas, Angry Crab Shack & Thai Chili 2 Go. The popular Southwestern & Mexican cuisine restaurant is opening a new lakeside restaurant in February at Scottsdale’s Mercado de Lago on Hayden Rd. at Via de Ventura. Angry Crab Shack has already started serving seafood and its popular Seafood Boils at its 12th Arizona location in Laveen. Thai Chili 2 Go is opening its 11th quick casual restaurant in Gilbert on December 30th.

Still time to order take-out or make a reservation for NYE.

Restaurants continue to take reservations and planning for take-out food as we say good bye to 2020. This updated list has restaurants around the valley serving up your last meal of 2020.

Restaurants continue to give and give in the holiday season.

In November Dominick’s Steak House, Ocean 44 and Steak 44 raised over $64,000 for local charities. Make A-Wish Foundation Arizona, PANDA and The Phoenix Heart Ball/ American Heart Association will benefit from the money raised.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has raised over $110,000 in 2020 for No Kid Hungry through its fundraising initiatives. May 2021 be as generous to the local community from Phoenix restaurants.

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.

Z’Tejas launches seasonal menu

The Chandler and Phoenix locations debut a new Winter menu on Monday December 28th. Chipolte Short Ribs, Posole and Grits & Lobster are just a few of the new dishes that use traditional Mexican and Southwestern ingredients. Two new specialty drinks have also been added to keep you warm.

Holiday gifts still available from Garden Bar

Cocktail kits and grazing boxes are available for your favorite foodie or mixologist. Perfect for staying at home and enjoying the holiday’s cocktails kits from mixologist Kim Haasarud include ingredients and a how-to video.

Gabriella’s launches weekend brunch

The Scottsdale restaurant that opened earlier this year now offers brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. From 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. guests can enjoy such dishes as a Crab & Lobster Benedict, Gabriella’s Chicken Hash and Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Berries. Enjoy those and more with Bottomless Mimosa’s for $18.

Barro’s Pizza raises money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

The locally owned pizza restaurants bested 2019’s donations by over $50,000. Through the 2020 Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight over $335,000 was raised at the families 44 locations in Phoenix and Tucson on December 1st when all sales where donated to the food bank.

Kasai Japanese Steakhouse donating to Arizona Children’s Association.

Through Christmas Eve a $1 from each teppan meal will be donated to Arizona’s oldest and largest foster care organization. Also every Tuesday and Wednesday in December the Scottsdale restaurant has been hosting foster family’s for dinner.

 

 

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.”

National Tequila Day off the menu cocktails at Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild has one of the best tequila collections in town with over 200 bottlings. On National Tequila Day, next Friday July 24th the restaurant is offering off the menu cocktails for tequila enthusiasts. As you sip on tequila and pair them with tacos you can flip through the leather bound “Tequila Bible” to see all the favorite tequila brands and exclusive bottles.

National Tequila Day cocktails include The Beginner made with blanco tequila, strawberry, lime & agave. The Purist mixes El Tesoro Reposado with Topo Chico bottled water and a slice of orange. The Sophisticated is a tequila old fashioned with barrel aged Patron Anjejo. All three cocktails are $10.

Prefer your tequila neat or by the shot, enjoy Fortaleza Blanco ($9), El Tesoro Paradiso ($15) or Tapatio Reposado for $8. Top secret tequila flights are available so just ask one of the restaurants tequila connoisseurs about them.

National Tequila Day will be celebrated all day from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. with happy hour from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

RKDA Kitchen hosting Malabar Spiced Liqeur Cocktail Dinner

Arcadia Lite’s RKDA Kitchen is hosting a dinner inspired by the spice route of India. Malabar Spiced Liqeur will be paired with a 5 course menu designed by Bob Tam. Wednesday, January 29th guests will a meal full of flavors as the exotic Malabar pairs with fish, duck and more.

Opening act
Yuzu Mint Raita & Crisp Papadums
amuse bouche
Crimson & Clover- Malabar, rum, lime, tamarind.

act 1
Tuna Tataki
heirloom tomato salsa
Sundown Aperitif – sparkling wine, Malabar, apple spiced, peychaud’s bitters, lemon, apple.

act 2
Tikka Marsala Moules Frites
pei mussels, butter, garlic, marsala, wine, tomato, ginger, basil, cilantro, yogurt, lemon, fries.

Coconut Conundrum- gin, Malabar, coconut, lime, curry, sugar.

Headliner
Smoked Malabar Duck
orange kecap glaze, many roots puree, braised greens.
Promisa De La Tierra- tequila, Malabar, lemon, egg white, beet, cinnamon, mint.

encore
White Chocolate Malabar Creme Brulee
seasonal fruit.
Wonderland- cacao nib washed Malabar, vodka, peche de vigne liqueur, almond milk.

RKDA Kitchen open quietly last year at the busy intersection of 40th St. and Indian School Rd. Featuring sandwiches, salads, creative signature cocktails from Trish Renehan Vodrazka and a sushi menu, RKDA Kitchen brings out your inner rock star with its music and decor.

The family style dinner starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are $71 pp and include tax & gratuity. Limited seats are available and can be reserved at https://rkdamalabardinner.bpt.me/. RKDA Kitchen is at 3950 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018.

Cocktail Crawl your way through downtown Chandler

Spirit House, SanTan Brewing Company’s cocktail lounge in downtown Chandler is the starting point for a Cocktail Crawl visiting other local cocktail bars nearby. Saturday November 16th guests will then visit The Local, Puro Cigar Bar and The Ostrich to sip on cocktails and taste small bites from each.

With the growth of downtown Chandler it’s hard to visit all the new bars and restaurants so this is a novel idea. Crawlers will have the option to choose from 3 cocktails at each location that will be made with SanTan Spirits. Cocktails to choose from are……

French 75- featuring Saint Anne’s Citrus Rose Gin

Highball – featuring Saint Anne’s Limeleaf Botanical Vodka

Old Fashioned – featuring the award winning Sacred Stave American Single Malt Whiskey

Crawlers can start at 4, 5 or 6 p.m. at Spirit House. The Cocktail Crawl is a 21 and over event is $55 per person. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.santanbrewing.com/crawl

Spirit House is at 8 S. San Marcos Pl. Chandler.

 

Jade Bar to host battle of the bartenders

Valley bartenders are rolling up their sleeves and getting their shakers ready as Bar Brawl returns to the Jade Bar. The bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa hosts this friendly competition for its fifth year. This year has bartenders from popular valley hotels and bars going head to head.

Set aside Sunday evenings from July 14th – August 25 to see what cocktails the talented bartenders will be creating. Admission is free and open to the public to cheer on their favorite bartender. Executive chef Beau MacMillian and Jade Bar manager Eddie Garcia will co-host the event with celebrity judges deciding who goes on to the seni-finals.

DJ Hybrid will provide music for the evening and food and drinks will be at happy hour prices.

During the four weeks bartenders will compete with winners going on to the semi-finals then the championship. This years bartenders include….

July 14 Michael Testa – Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

vs. Tina McDonald – La Bocca North

July 21 Chris Ortega – The Camby vs. Samantha Hickman – The Windsor

July 28 Miguel Mora – Hotel Adeline vs. Henry Whittaker – The Brickyard Downtown

Aug. 4 Robert Porter – The Phoenician vs. Colton Brock – Ladera Taverna y Cocina

Aug. 11 – Semi-finals

Aug. 18 – Semi-finals

Aug. 25 – Championship

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa is at 5700 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

 

Summer Cocktail Camp tickets on sale for cocktail mixing classes

If all classes were like the six offered at Summer Cocktail Camp I would’ve been an “A” student. For six weeks campers will learn the art of cocktail mixing from local mixologists while making cocktails from new recipes. For one Saturday in June and 5 Sunday’s in July and August from 1 – 3 p.m. classes will be held at restaurants around Phoenix.

Tickets can be purchased online at https://summercocktailcamp.com/ and are sold on first come, first serve basis. Last years camp sold out in only a few days. Phoenix Magazine editor Craig Outhier will be camp counselor for each weeks class along with a revolving list of mixologists. Each class is $38 and 2019’s Summer Cocktail Camp will be at…

  • June 29th (Sat)- The Gladly
  • July 7th- Social Hall
  • July14th- Mowry & Cotton
  • July 28th- Clever Koi (Gilbert)
  • August 4th- The Phoenician Tavern
  • August 11th- Chico Malo