2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum hopes to go off as scheduled

With current events planning a festival or other culinary events is hard not knowing how the coronavirus will affect future events. I’m hoping the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum goes off as planned on April 28th & 29th 2020. The two day conference of farmers, local food advocates and food entrepreneurs will be held at the Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Laveen.

Organized by Local First Arizona the forum helps build and strengthen relationships aimed at collaborations between the Arizona food and farm industry. Arizona’s farming future will be discussed among the more than 200 food entrepreneurs and advocates.

“Phoenix is committed to achieving a healthy, sustainable, equitable, and thriving food system and has recently completed a 2025 Food Action Plan that includes various strategies and actions that address food insecurity, urban agriculture, land use, job creation, and the contribution of the entire food system to our local economy,” said city of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

She added, “We are excited to host the Arizona Food & Farm Forum in South Phoenix to showcase the rich agricultural history of the area, its assets, and value to the development of a resilient food system for future generations.”

Arizona Food & Farm Forum line-up

The 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum will have farm tours, workshops and networking opportunities for all to participate in. Keynote speakers include Nephi Craig, Founder of the Native American Culinary Association, Lilian Hill, Executive Director of the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute and Sara Dolan, Owner of Blue Sky Organic Farms.

“From strategizing local opportunities for farmland conservation to exploring food as medicine, the 2020 agenda is focused on ensuring Arizona can thrive as a delicious and nutritious place to live,” said Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Food & Farm Initiatives Manager.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Heritage and Planning for the Future” with sub-themes….. Planning for the Future is centered around policy and systemic changes, including strategy sessions on Agriculture Workforce Development, Urban Farmland Conservation, and Funding Community Food Systems.

Indigenous Foodways will provide a space for tribal members and allies to explore Decolonization Through Food, learn from the American Indian Farmers’ Panel, and explore Food as Medicine.

Growing a Food Business will offer technical assistance in Building Your Brand; Protecting Yourself & Your Workers in a Hotter, Drier Climate; and Strategies for Diversifying Farm Revenue Streams.

Tickets for the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum are $99 for 2 days & $59 for 1 day. Students, ranchers and young farmers are $40 for 2 days and $20 for 1 day. Local First Arizona members will save 10% when you use the promo code “LOCALFIRST”. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.

 

Epicuriad 2020 has 15 chefs cooking for children’s brain tumor research

Billed as where “Top Chefs Vie for Food-Pairing Glory”, Epicuriad 2020 will have more than 15 local chefs competing to win the coveted Epicurean chefs jacket while raising money for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. Harley Davidson of Scottsdale will host the 8th annual event on Saturday May 2nd at 6 p.m.

Each chef will be tasked with creating a dish that will pair well with a specific beer and wine. Attendees will vote for ” Best Plate” and “Best Pairing” crowning a winner. Money raised will benefit research and programs for brain tumor and patients put on by the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.

Tickets for Epicuriad 2020 are limited and can be purchased at their website. General Admission tickets are $85 and VIP is $100. Harley Davidson of Scottsdale is at 15656 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85260.

 

Aioli Gourmet Burgers 2nd brick & mortar location coming to Litchfield Park

Come early April fans of award-winning Aioli Gourmet Burgers can head to Fry’s Marketplace when they open their second location. The Litchfield Park location will be the first in the west valley after their Shea & 32nd St. location in Phoenix. Culinary Institute of America graduate Tommy D’Ambrosio started Aioli Gourmet Burgers in 2013 with childhood friends and a food truck.

“Our entire team is so excited to finally be opening a second location in partnership with Fry’s Marketplace. This has been almost a year in development, and we can’t wait for the store to open for our westside fans. We hope that this will be the first of many Fry’s Marketplace locations across Arizona,” said Kyle Hollenbeck, Co-Owner, Aioli Gourmet Burgers.

The unique chef driven burgers are popular on the food truck and festival scene with the White Truffle Swiss and Italiano. Loaded fries, milk shakes, beer battered onion rings and more are served at Aioli. Tommy’s won “Chopped” and has won “Best Burger” in The Phoenix New Times “Best of Phoenix” and in burger competitions. Before coming back to Phoenix to start the food truck Tommy apprenticed at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The restaurant group has other food truck concepts that will become restaurants including Modern Tortilla and Oak Wood-Fired Pizza.

Chef Tommy D’Ambrosio

“We are looking forward to Aioli Gourmet Burgers joining the Fry’s family,” says Monica Garnes, President of Fry’s Food Stores. “It’s a great operation with an award-winning history, and we think our Litchfield Park customers are really going to enjoy the experience.”

Fry’s Marketplace is at 13730 W Camelback Rd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. For more information visit their website.

 

FRANCINE from restaurateur Laurent Halasz to open in April

Every few weeks it seems another restaurant is opening at the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Come late April we’ll have a new restaurant from Fig & Olive and Farmhouse owner Laurent Halasz. FRANCINE will join Nobu, Toca Madera and other restaurants that have opened in recent months. This will be Halasz’s most passionate project serving cuisine from the south of France where he grew up. Halasz also owns several locations of FIG & Olive and L.A.’s Farmhouse.Francine

“Everything on my mother’s table was fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor, and that is exactly what FRANCINE will offer our guests,” says Halasz. “We are so excited to bring our new take on classic French Mediterranean and open FRANCINE this April in Scottsdale.”

The fine dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with guests gathering in the plant filled restaurant of 5,000 square feet. In his youth Halasz’s mother would host meals around beautiful foods and draws inspiration and pays homage to those days with friends and family.Francine

Signature dishes to be on the menu include Zucchini Terrine, Grilled Octopus, Salmon Carpaccio and Seared Duck a la Provencal. A less formal lunch will serve a selection of pizza, salads and shareable dishes.

Check back for updates about the opening or head to their website.

The Stillery coming to new development in downtown Chandler

A new development in downtown Chandler just snagged the popular Nashville bar and restaurant The Stillery to move in. When it opens this fall at the New Square mixed use development downtown it will be its first location outside of Nashville. Other tenants include a Hilton Garden Inn, the first hotel built downtown since the San Marcos Resort over 100 years ago and the 10 year old DC Steakhouse moves south of its current location.

Chandler residents Steve and Alane Kovach founded The Stillery and once opened it will serve elevated comfort food and be the largest music venue in Chandler. Signature dishes include Nashville hot chicken, double stacked burgers, wood-fired pizzas and more. Grab a southern style cocktail, beer or moonshine at the horseshoe shaped bar before you hit the dance floor.

A stage, lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system will give downtown Chandler an indoor venue for live music. The historic neighborhood is popular with music & food festivals at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park and restaurants and bars .

New Square started construction in 2018 and is a partnership between local developer Spike Lawrence Ventures and HCW LLC. The development is slated to have tenants move in this spring with a grand opening celebration on March 25th.

“At New Square, we’ve brought together a selection of businesses that fill a need and bring great meaning to the community. The Stillery is such an exciting addition and will help to further elevate downtown Chandler’s dining and nightlife scene,” said Spike Lawrence, founder of Spike Lawrence Ventures. To stay up to date about The Stillery’s open date head to their website.

 

 

New Allocation coffee line from Press Coffee offers the best of the best

They say the cream rises to the top but you may not want to put cream in a new line of coffees from Press Coffee. The local specialty roaster will start offering limited quantities of its new Allocation line of coffee beans in March. As a specialty roaster, Press only offers coffee and beans that score 80 of 100 points by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Their new Allocation line will offer the best of those beans that score 90 points or above.

To be considered Specialty coffee, beans must be grown in higher elevation regions along with being evaluated. Soil, growing conditions and harvesting are considered when evaluating the beans that must have minimal defects, taste clean and be consistent. The coffee is scored on aroma, flavor aftertaste, acidity, body, balance and other criteria.

“We are thrilled to launch this specialty coffee program,” said Will Andrews, lead roaster of Press Coffee. “Tasting and experiencing these unique coffees is very rare. We want to give this opportunity to our staff and customers as it is our passion to enjoy and immerse ourselves in the best coffee in the world.”

The first quarterly allocation is set for March 15th with a limited quantity from a micro-mill in central Costa Rica. Online subscribers will have first shot at the beans that will be $26 for a six ounce bag. A small amount of the allocation will be sent to each location for cups of pour over coffee for customers and the remainder, if any will be sold on Press’s website. To make sure you get the best of the world’s coffee head make sure you check their website for availability.

Top Chef John Tesar coming to 2020 Nirvana Food & Wine Festival

Update: Rescheduled to October. Purchased tickets good then, details to come.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has announced the dates and schedule of events for the fourth annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival. April 16th -19th Chef and Nirvana host Beau MacMillan welcomes celebrity chef’s Robert Irvine, Scott Contant and Bravo Network’s “Top Chef” winner John Tesar. Celebrities including Rob Riggle and The Bella Twins and other chefs will be hosting and having fun with guests along with chefs and mixologists from around Arizona.

“This event is one that is so near and dear to my heart,” said MacMillan. “Having the opportunity to celebrate outstanding culinary talent, mixology, music and more alongside some of my closest friends and fellow foodies is a true privilege. Nirvana really offers something for everyone and that’s a big part of what makes the festival such a special experience.”

The annual festival celebrates food, wine, music and spirits in a most luxurious resort in the valley and has become a very popular festival in only three years.

Top Chef

Tickets for the five headlining events are available with additional events and after parties still may be added to the weekend’s festivities.

Thursday, April 16- Wood, Wine & Wagyu presented by Far Niente 

The 2020 festival kicks off with this ever-popular event, featuring superstar culinary talent from across North America preparing Snake River Farms American Wagyu cooked over open-wood flames while celebrity mixologists craft whisky-based cocktails utilizing Woodford Reserve. Guests will then be invited to take their places at the table for an intimate, family style dinner with wines hand selected by Far Niente. Country music superstars D. Vincent Williams, Dillon Dixon and Joe Diffy will provide musical accompaniment. Tickets start at $350.

Friday, April 17- Flutes & Coops

Experience the ultimate Champagne campaign and fried chicken feast headlined by DJ Miss Mixx, Fosterson and 17 of the Valley’s best chefs preparing their best fried chicken recipes. This indoor/outdoor event will feature full bars and cocktails shaken by some of the Valley’s best mixologists with one chef being crowned king of Flutes & Coops by popular vote. Tickets start at $150.

Saturday, April 18- Tequila & Tortillas

Grab the salt and limes! Held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho, this year’s Dia de los Muertos-themed Tequila & Tortillas event will feature nearly 20 locally and nationally recognized chefs cooking up the best of the best in southwestern fare. Since no fiesta is complete without tequila, several of the Valley’s top cocktailers will be on-site mixing up delicious tequila-based cocktails.

This year’s event also features a team “taco takedown” competition, tequila luges and a stunning art presentation by the renowned Gennaro Garcia. Tickets start at $125.

Saturday, April 18- Best of the West

The biggest event of the weekend, Best of the West will be hosted by Scott Conant and Tony Abou-Ganim and will offer 20 live-action stations showcasing cuisine from the most talented chefs of the Valley and greater Arizona. Set to the backdrop of the stunning Camelback Mountain, this not-to-miss event will also offer live musical performances from Double D and the Nashville Allstars to close out the night. Tickets start at $175

Sunday, April 19- Rosé Parté  

The star-studded rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, co-hosted by Robert Irvine and the Bella Twins. Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the Valley’s top culinary talent as well as taste two-dozen different rosé wines. This brunch-style party will also include craft cocktails, ice carvings, a raw bar and beats by DJ Miss Mixx. Giving new meaning to the term “Sunday Funday,” this is a not-to-miss closing experience. Tickets start at $150.

Barrel & Bushel to open with the Biggest Patio Party

A new downtown eatery will be celebrating its long anticipated opening January 22nd with a big party. The “Biggest Patio Party” goes from 3 – 7 p.m. when Barrel & Bushel opens at the corner of 2nd St. & Adams welcoming the neighborhood with an all-day happy hour and more.

“Barrel & Bushel welcomes locals as the newest neighborhood hangout,” said General Manager Danielle Klus. “There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a beer fan, cocktail aficionado or just looking for a great meal in a casual yet buzzy environment.”

Chef Chelsea Cummings menu offers American comfort food with her personal twist. Dishes such as 72 Hour Pork Belly, Waffles & Ribs and a Bloody Mary Burger should make this a popular eatery in downtown Phoenix. At the bar you’ll find 11 Arizona beers on tap along with creative craft cocktails including “Tell Your Friends”. The unique cocktail features basil infused gin with St. Germain and peach. Deep selections of bourbon, rye & whiskey will also be offered.

During the Biggest Patio Party guests will enjoy complimentary passed bites, happy hour pricing and more. Barrel & Bushel expects to attract not only locals but downtown visitors and convention goers with its laid back atmosphere. The restaurant will offer lunch and dinner along with late night fare.

Barrel & Bushel is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004 and is open daily from 11 a.m. – midnight with happy hour from 3:30- 6:30 p.m Monday – Friday. For more information check out their website.

Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen to open in March from famed chef

James Beard award winning chef Alex Stratta is preparing to open his new healthy concept restaurant in Scottsdale early in 2020. When Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen opens it will serve dishes that he prepared to overcome colon cancer and lose over 100 pounds. Natural and seasonal whole foods will be on the menu with an emphasis on Mediterranean styled diet.

“My passions have always been found and developed in the kitchen,” says Stratta. “This new concept is so personal to me and I am thrilled to once again share my passions with our local and visiting diners who have come to expect, and deserve, an elevated yet wholesome meal in a quick-casual atmosphere.”

Healthy eating at Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen

The popular quick serve concept will let customers dine-in or take out, a departure for Stratta from his upscale dining days at The Phoenician and in Las Vegas. The menu will appeal to all diets and will include gluten-free, naturally dairy free and vegetarian dishes.  The menu will offer five sections including “To Share or Not to Share”, “Greens”, “Grains”, “Proteins” and “Sweets”.

“To Share or Not to Share” will include Vegetable and Potato Frittata, Baked Artichoke, Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip and more.

“Greens” include Beets and Apples with Arugula, goat cheese cracker, pistachios and balsamic crunch and more salad based dishes. “Grains” offers Vegetable Pistou Soup and Terra with wild mushrooms, green lentils, spinach, Brussel sprouts, asparagus and purple yams.

“Proteins” allows guests to choose from Alaskan Sterling Salmon, Free Range Chicken, Char-Grilled Strip Steak, Grilled King Trumpet Mushroom and more. “Proteins” can be customized with sauces including Moroccan Spice Tahini, Chimichurri and Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette.

Indulge in healthy desserts with “Sweets” including Goat Cheese and Honey Panna Cotta, Warm Walnut Date Cake and Pistachio Baklava.

Stratta Lifestyle Kitchen will be at 8260 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale.

Kaleidoscope Juice expanding to The Shops at Gainey Ranch

A food lovers life can’t always be about cheeseburgers, pizza and bacon. Healthy food helps to cleanse the body and your mind so we can continue to eat the guilty pleasures. Fortunately there is Kaleidoscope Juice which is opening their newest location at The Shops in Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale. Opening in October, the 1,000 square foot store will offer an all organic menu of cold pressed juices, salads, sandwiches, protein bowl and more.

“We are delighted to open this new, beautiful location in the neighborhood where I started the company delivering juices to people’s homes,” said Alexandra Maw, founder and owner of Kaleidoscope Juice. “We believe in the vibrancy of Kaleidoscope and look forward to sharing our passion for healthy, healing foods with the Scottsdale community.

Another location will open soon after as the health and wellness company continues to expand from its current four locations.

The ingredients and recipes are scientifically proven to help with specific dietary needs and deficiencies. The menu is attractive to people with different diets including Keto and gluten-free. Ingredients are locally sourced when possible.

Brook McGregor, co-owner and COO and master’s degree candidate in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine added, “We are excited to expand our menu outside the normal fruit and vegetable combinations. Our new smoothies are intentionally crafted providing a myriad of healthy fat compositions, hormone maintenance blends and cognitive support.”

The Shops at Gainey Ranch is at 8977 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85250. Kaleidoscope Juice will be open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. For more information check out their website.