The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Dia de los Muertos Festival at Cien Agaves

The newly re-modeled restaurant and bar in Old Town Scottsdale is showing off its new look this Sunday, October 30th. From 1 – 4 p.m. festival goers can taste 15 different agaves, enjoy live music & get a swag bag. Capacity is limited and tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

Tommy V’s hosts The Carlton Winemakers Studio dinner

Next Thursday, November 3rd the Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5-course dinner paired with wines starting at 6:30 p.m. Red & white wines will be paired with Shrimp & Tuna Wheat Ceviche, Hazelnut Risotto, Braised Short Ribs and more. Seats are a $135++ and reservations can be made by calling the Scottsdale restaurant at 480-427-2264.

Trinchero Family Estates wine dinner at The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Tara & Travis Rawlings purchased Moon Valley’s Aiellos and Isa’s Pizza in May and changed it to The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar making some changes to higher quality ingredients and adjusted the menu to regional Italian. They host a six course dinner featuring Italian wines from the California based wine company on Wednesday, November 9th. They’re offering two seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for $125++. You can reserve your spot for this memorable evening at their website.

Blue Hound Kitchen welcomes a new chef and new menu

Executive Chef Alex Robinson joined Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar in August and hit the ground running working on a new menu. The menu and new cocktails from Clint “Spotty” Spotelson debuted in early October and features chef’s signature BHKC 900 Hot Stone with Australian Wagyu or Yellow Fin Tuna, Net of  The Sea, Roasted Airline Chicken Breast to name a few. Cocktail highlights include the bourbon based Stealth Bomber, Open Sesame with black sesame infused George Dickel rye and Pedro Conejo, an interesting combination of liquors, carrots and lime.

Halloween weekend around Phoenix

There are too many spooky events to mention this weekend around the Phoenix area. Look and you’ll find spooky cocktails, costume parties and more at your favorite restaurants, bars and breweries. Have fun and be safe!

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Bartenders compete to create new Fall cocktails at Spinato’s

There’s no better way to create new cocktails for the Fall season than to go to those who make them on a daily basis. That’s why Spinato’s Pizzeria  bartenders organized a friendly contest with the bartenders at their six locations to see which cocktails make the final list.

“Our bartenders did a phenomenal job creating unique recipes for this contest,” said Erin Schultz, Spinato’s Marketing Director. “We’re really proud of them, and we hope our guests will enjoy the new cocktails as much as we do!” The creative cocktails will be on the menu until Spring and all participating bartenders received a gift card to several local breweries.

Bartenders new Fall cocktail list

The 6 new Fall cocktails are as follows.

Crystal Mirtillo: Crafted by bartender Milan Watt in Scottsdale. Featuring Hornitos Tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, agave, Triple Sec, a splash of Sierra Mist and served with edible glitter and a sugared rim. $12

Dolce Delizioso: Crafted by bartender Janet Blau in Ahwatukee. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, Kahlua, heavy cream, caramel sauce and served with a salted caramel rim. $16

Harvest Apple: Crafted by bartender Allison Brackenbury in Scottsdale. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, cider simple syrup, lemon juice, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, soda water and served with 3 apple slices and fresh grated cinnamon. $12

Orange You Feeling Cran’d: Crafted by bartender Andrew Brent in Tempe. Featuring Del Bac scotch whiskey and cranberry simple syrup. $16

Porch-Side Smash: Crafted by bartender Conan Zimmerman in Phoenix. Featuring Blue Clover vodka, creme de mure, lemon juice and a press. $10

Spinato’s Spritz: Crafted by bartender Mike Danner in Ahwatukee. Featuring your choice of Blue Clover gin or vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled Luxardo cherries with a press. $10

Danner also created a 3 Halloween themed cocktails.

Butter Beer Cocktail: For all the Harry Potter fans out there! Pinnacle Whipped vodka, butterscotch liqueur, Frangelico, caramel sauce and Grateful Spoon vanilla gelato. $14

Poison Apple Cocktail: Blue Clover vodka, apple liqueur, simple syrup, green edible swirl glitter and one Luxardo cherry. $8

Zombie Blood Cocktail: Kahlua coffee liqueur, creme de menthe and cream with a side of eyeball. $11

Paloma Punchout bartending competition coming to the Esplanade

A nationwide bartending competition is coming to Phoenix bringing bartenders from around the country to see who makes the best Paloma. Arlene Magana from Platform 16 Bar will represent Phoenix in the Paloma Punchout Saturday, October 22nd at the Esplanade.

The Paloma is prepared by combining tequila, lime juice and grapefruit flavored soda and is the the most popular tequila based cocktail in Mexico. Not much is known how it got its start but some say it was named after a popular folk song “La Paloma”, The Dove. The cocktail debuted in Phoenix in 1938 when grapefruit soda was first used.

Each participant won a competition in their city to earn the chance to win the $10,000 cash prize. Another Round, Another Rally, a nonprofit offering emergency assistance and financial support to those in the hospitality in their time of need will be the beneficiary of the event. Mister Wallin’s Neighborhood, a global community of bartenders, mixologists and food & wine lovers, conducted a nationwide search of top bars to find the best Paloma cocktail. The cocktails will be scored on a weighted system on flavor, balance, appearance, and inspiration.

Tickets for the Paloma Punchout are available at Eventbrite for $50 and gets you seven cocktails from the local pop-up bars in attendance. The Esplanade is at 2501 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016. The competition starts at 8 p.m.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Angry Crab Shack to donate to veterans in July

All 15 Arizona locations will donate $.25 from every dine-in guest to Arizona Housing Coalition’s Arizona Veterans StandDown Alliance. Their goal is to raise $75,000 during their 6th annual “You Dine, We Donate” campaign until July 31st. Guests can also purchase merchandise with a portion of the proceeds donated as well.

Throwback Tiki Tuesday party at Liberty Station Tavern

The DC Ranch restaurant is hosting the tropical party on Tuesday July 12th from 5-9 p.m. Special guest bartenders will be Garrit Guthrie and Kyla Hein will be mixing up refreshing tropical cocktails.

$1 Monsoon IPA when it rains at PHX Beer Co.

Until the end of September the Scottsdale and Phoenix locations celebrate monsoon season when a measurable amount of rain falls at Sky Harbor Airport. Your first pint of the locally brewed IPA is only a buck.

Make the drive to Queen Creek Olive Mill and save $10

The rising gas prices may be putting the brakes on driving to your favorite local retailer. Those driving out to the East Valley on Saturdays and Sundays can save $10 on purchases the Mill’s branded products of $50 or more. Extra virgin olive oils, spices, sauces and more are available for purchase.

Macayo’s opens newest restaurant in Chandler

Las Tiendas Village is where the locally owned restaurant has opened its doors for lunch, dinner and happy hour. Indoor and outdoor dining is available at the popular retail center at Alma School & Queen Creek Rds. which also welcomed Lou Malnati’s in May.

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.

Myke’s Pizza debuting new seasonal vegetable pizza series

The popular downtown Mesa pizza joint continues to support local farmers using fresh vegetables for his innovative pizzas, the first is this week’s Kale & Golden Raisin Pizza. Using baby kale from Steadfast Farms, Myke tops it with mozzarella & Idiazabal cheese, charred lemon relish and golden raisins. The new pizza is $17 and he expects kale to be available until July.

Mountain Shadows Resort introduces new Library Teapot

The Paradise Valley resort added tea to its Library Coffee Cart that launched last year. Teas are from local tea company Teaspressa and will be available all year long. Locals and guests are invited to enjoy coffee, tea and creative coffee drinks in The Living Room every Friday- Sunday from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. and all drinks are $7.

Macayo’s Mexican Food launches new cocktail menu

Jason Asher & Mat Snapp of Barter & Shake helped to curate 7 new cocktails available at all Phoenix area locations. Several are made with ready to drink low calorie hard seltzers. New to the menu are the Guava Colada Myer’s Platinum Rum, house made sweet and sour, pineapple juice coconut and guava with a Myer’s Dark Rum float. Ranch Water — made with Corazon Blanco, house made sweet and sour and pineapple topped with Cherry Lime Chiller Spiked Ice. Red Sangria featuring house red blend, Gran Gala Orange Liqueur, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, house made sweet and sour, lime juice, orange juice and blackberry.

Angry Crab Shack adds meat to the menu

The seafood restaurant recently added 4 all beef dishes to the menu for a limited time. Surf & Turf includes a 8 oz. filet & lobster tail, corn on the cob, potatoes and butter for $38. A Steak Sandwich, Steak Bowl and Steak Salad were also added for $19 each. All locations prepare the beef medium to medium well.

Grand Canyon Brewing + Distilling investing over $1,000,000 in expansion.

Owner John Peasley expects to start construction any day on an additional 12,500 square feet at his flagship Williams brewery and distillery. Once completed over the summer new equipment including 5 fermenters, one large tank and a keg washer & filler will be housed for the brewery. The distillery will add four 1,000 gallon pot stills and a coffee bean roaster.

Currently combined in one building the distillery will move to the rickhouse where the whiskey is stored and aged in barrels. Production in the distillery will grow by 600% with the new stills and the new brewery equipment will let Peasley increase production of the popular Prickly Pear Wheat beer and other beers.

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.

Arizona Tiki Oasis 2022 returning to Scottsdale

The Hotel Valley Ho is set to host the return of the Arizona Tiki Oasis 2022 Thursday, April 28th thru Sunday, May 1st. The four day event will be free to the public and some tickets will need to purchased to attend certain events and seminars. The mid-century modern hotel is perfect for those to gather in festive aloha attire while sipping on tropical cocktails and immersing themselves in the Polynesian culture.

Events and Seminars at Arizona Tiki Oasis

The Arizona Tiki Oasis Marketlace will be Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Over 60 artists, crafters and traders will show off their works in the unique shopping environment. Over 25 international Tiki artists will display works of art at the Arizona Tiki Oasis Pop-Up Art Exhibit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday also from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Both events are free to attend.

Seminars range in price from $0-$50 per seminar. Seminars topics include mid-century modern and Polynesian pop culture that will feature art, mixology, architecture, music and design. All are meant to be fun and educational.

A few of the planned seminars include Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Tiki, Creating a Tiki Garden, Agave Spirits in Tropical Cocktails, Arizona Tiki Oasis 2022 Bartender Battle, Conscious Tropical, Mocktails 101, Raffia Flowers and Pom Poms, Tiki in Pop Surrealist Art.

Evening Resort Pass tickets are $99 each and include Thursday’s Meet & Mingle, access to evening events and poolside tastings all weekend.

Deluxe Evening Resort Pass tickets are $200 and include all of the above and a shopping bag with goodies from sponsors and an invite VIP Kick-Off Cocktail Party.

Both events are for guests 21 and over.

The hotel will host a traditional luau with a pig roast on Friday night serving poke bowls along with Crispy Cold Braised Short Ribs and more. Hawaiian desserts and cocktails will keep you in the aloha spirit.

More information and to purchased tickets can be found at the Arizona Tiki Oasis 2022 website. The Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

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.

The Ostrich brings in new talent for new craft cocktails

The downtown Chandler speakeasy starts a new era in announcing 5 new hires. They welcomed Craft Operations Manager Tyler Zhorne, Craft Bar Manager Jared Ammon, lead bartender Samantha Dengler, bartender Adam Slaton and server Tyler Yenkala to the team. With the new hires comes a new reverse happy hour to accommodate hospitality employees and collaborations with other local bars and restaurants for events & specials.

Society by EVO opens for dinner tonight in Tempe

Announced in January, Society by EVO opens tonight night at 4p.m. according to co-founder Nick Neuman’s Facebook page. The hip & high energy restaurant in Tempe will serve top notch cocktails and food until 1:30 a.m. every night. The menu will feature popular dishes from Neuman’s Scottsdale restaurant EVO along with new Mediterranean influenced dishes. A grand opening is scheduled for next Friday, March 25th.

Mother Road Brewing & Rombauer Vineyards battle it out at Zuzu

It’s beer vs. wine at the Hotel Valley Ho’s Versus Series Dinner next Thursday, March 24th. Seats are still available for when the Flagstaff brewer meets the popular Napa Valley winery paired with Chef Russell LaCasce’s has special four course menu. Seats are $159 ++ per person and you can make a reservation by calling 480-421-7997

Mesquite Fresh Street Mex opens new location in Gilbert

The newest location opens Saturday March 19th is the first that is walk-up and drive-thru only for the locally owned fast casual concept. During the grand opening a “Golden Ticket” promotion will give free burritos for a year to several winners. The new location is at 4875 S. Val Vista Dr.

The James Beard Foundation narrows down list of Award finalist.

The list of 15 Arizona nominees was whittled down to 4 finalists for the June 13th awards ceremony.

Outstanding Restaurateur– Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

Best New Restaurant- Bacanora, Phoenix

Outstanding Baker- Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ

Best Chef: Southwest- Giovanni Scorzo, Andreoli Italian Grocer, Scottsdale, AZ

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.

Cala to open with all-star culinary team led by Beau MacMillan

When the Cala restaurant opens next week at the new Senna House hotel in Scottsdale it will have an all-star cast running the food, wine & cocktail programs. Celebrity chef and Food Network star Beau MacMillan serves as Culinary Director with Executive Chef Peter McQuaid Jr. returning to Phoenix to from Las Vegas where he opened Money, Baby! at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Also returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas is Clint “Spotty” Spotleson who will oversee the restaurants cocktail program and just this weekend David Johnson announced he’s coming on board as the restaurants Sommelier and Wine Director. Johnson was last at Octotillo Restaurant in central Phoenix as General Manager and both are long time staples on the valley’s cocktail and wine scene.

What to expect at Cala

Once opened Cala will serve Mediterranean dishes inspired by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Morocco and other seaside countries. Envision handmade pastas, fresh cheeses & breads, locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. The simple, healthy and flavorful dishes will emphasize the seasonal ingredients of the coastal regions.

“Cala is a place that guests will find themselves not wanting to leave; it’s vibrant with great energy creating an immersive environment with an experience that offers something for everyone,” said MacMillan. “We’ve intentionally created a modern establishment with a perfectly curated vibe and approachable food that is incredibly cared for alongside unforgettable cocktails.”

Macmillan will continue at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain where he was recently named Culinary Advisor and McQuaid Jr. will be overseeing the day to day operations at Cala. It’s not the first time the two have worked together as McQuaid Jr. worked with MacMillan at Sanctuary and considers him a mentor. You can hear McQuaid Jr. tell his story and his relationship with MacMillan on Episode 42 of The Podcast.

Senna House opened last month in Scottsdale’s Entertainment District on the spot that used to house the legendary Don & Charlie’s Restaurant and is paid tribute too with a montage of sports memorabilia in the hotel’s lobby. Cala is owned by local restaurant & hospitality group Clive Collective which also owns Money, Baby! in Las Vegas. MacMillan also oversees the culinary program at Money, Baby! and is Clive Collective’s Director of Culinary Operations. Cala and Senna House is at 7501 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and reservations can be made at 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.

Woo Woo Burgers coming to Scottsdale with pop-up kick off

Z’ Tejas ghost kitchen that launched last June in Chandler is coming to Scottsdale starting Monday January 3rd 2022. With a pop-up launch by the lake at their McCormick Ranch location the first 200 guests get a free burger, side & a drink. Starting Monday the full menu will be available in Scottsdale for curbside pick-up or third party delivery. The pop-up starts at 11 a.m. and goes until there are no more burgers to serve.

Start 2022 with National Bloody Mary Day at Daily Dose

Drink too much ringing in 2022, get back in the saddle first thing Saturday morning January 1st 2022 with the classic cocktail. All 3 locations kicking it off with their Bacon Bloody Mary and more with brunch.

New hours at Maui Pasta

The popular Gainey Ranch pasta shop and eatery come January 3rd 2022 will be open Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. The new hours reflect a continued focus by Chef Patty & her staff on making fresh pasta and scratch made Italian & Hawaiian food for dine-in, take-out & catering.

New year, fresh salad specials at Miracle Mile Deli

Those making resolutions to make better eating decisions can head to the central Phoenix deli for weekly $12 salads in January. Starting the 3rd-8th The Mediterranean Salad followed every Monday by the Aloha, Fiesta and Big City Chopped Salads are available.

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.

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