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.

Oktoberfest at Pedal Haus Brewery October 2nd

Hard to believe its October and that means beer, brats and polka music in downtown Chandler. Saturdays celebration will include award-winning locally brewed beer and locally made brats from Von Hanson’s Meats along with pork schnitzel. Live music, a sausage eating contest and a stein hoisting contest are all part of the festivities. The Tempe location will be hosting its festival Saturday the 9th.

Wild Arizona dinner with Chef Brett Vibber hosted at Pillsbury Wine Company

Good news, two of my podcast guests are collaborating during the Willcox Wine Festival Weekend that’s coming up on October 16th & 17th. Sam Pillsbury’s award-winning winery is hosting a 6-course Wild Cuisine Dinner prepared by Chef Vibber. The $65 per person dinner starts at 5 p.m. and includes a glass of Rose 20. Bottles of wine are available for purchase and camping overnight is only $15. To see the full menu and purchase you tickets click on this link.

Smokin’ hot new menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Pitmaster Phil “The Grill” Johnson is adding to his menu starting today with Chicken Fried Nachos ($9.99) and more later this month. With Thanksgiving fast approaching (Yay!!) the downtown Phoenix restaurant debuts on October 18th a 1/2 lb. Cajun Fried Turkey Breast ($12.99) and a Turkey Monte Christo (13.99). Check out my interview with Phil here.

Press Coffee opening new downtown Phoenix location

The coffee roaster is opening its 9th location next Friday, October 8th at Van Buren and 2nd Street. During the opening weekend the community minded business will sell $1 drip coffees with 100% of its profits going to Pawsitive Friendships. The local non-profit provides animal assisted therapy for children with special needs. The downtown location will be open 7 days a week until 4 p.m.

Cooler weather means the return of farmers markets

The High Street Farmers Market returns this Sunday, October 3rd and goes through the Spring. Get locally sourced and made food, art and more from 10 a.m. – 1 :30 p.m. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market returns Saturday October 2nd from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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.

GinWorld calls Phoenix home for Gin Week in April

Connoisseurs of gin make their way to Phoenix in April as the 5th Annual GinWorld sets up shop. During “Gin Week Phoenix” restaurants and bars around Phoenix and Scottsdale will host seminars, tastings and competitions from April 22nd-28th.

“Phoenix is the perfect location to bring our Gin Week festivities,” says Natasha Bahrami, founder of GinWorld and Gin Week events, which has roots in St. Louis, Missouri. “The people, the culture and let’s not forget the weather, are primed for exactly this type of event that celebrates the spirit and spectrum of gin while bringing people together in a fun and engaging environment.”

“Gin Week” kicks off at Bitters Bar in Scottsdale for the “Campari Loves Gin” competition. “Campari Loves Gin” is open to anybody 21 and over and bartenders must be working in a Phoenix area bar/restaurant.  Four recipes must be submitted by April 15th on-line at http://ginworld.com/ and must use Campari and sponsored spirits and modifiers. Winning recipe entrants will be invited to the live cocktail competition on April 22nd. Cocktails will be judged on aroma, appearance, balance of ingredients and overall presentation.

Gin Week cocktail specials will be available at Bitters Bar, Blue Clover Distillery, Monroe Bar and Unexpected Art Gallery.

Gin Week ends on April 28th with a Gin Week Festival at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Over a 100 gins will be represented at the festival and attendees can check out educational seminars, meet with distillers and taste the gins. Guest will be able to enjoy the Bloody Mary Bar and Perfect Serve Gin Tonic Bar. Tickets for the festival are $55 and can be purchased on-line.

 

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge returns April 13th

Do your friends and family tell you that you make delicious salsa or margaritas? If so then you may want to enter My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge or the Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off. All entrants have until March 20th to to sign up for the April 13th event at Sloan Field in Mesa.

Not only could you win money with the best recipe but you’ll help to raise money for the Arizona Hemophilia Association. This is the 35th annual fundraiser for the organization.

My Nana’s Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Anybody can win a piece of the $3,500 in prizes awarded to winner, first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up by the judges. You also have the chance to win Arizona Diamondbacks tickets. Individuals, non-profits and restaurants/business will compete for the winning salsa in three categories…Hot, Mild and Anything Goes.

Professional and celebrity judges will pick the winners in a double-blind tastings based on color, taste, after taste and more.

My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge

Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix-Off

At 12:30 bartenders from across the area will shake things up to win the $500 grand prize for best margarita. Audience members can bid on the winning margaritas with proceeds going to the hemophilia association. They will also be able to bid on vacation packages, sports memorabilia and more.

To enter the contest go to https://salsachallenge.com/contestants/

During the 8 hour event their will be live music, a kid’s zone, a 5K run and more festivities.

The festival starts at 10 a.m. at Sloan Park 2330 E. Rio Salaldo Pkwy in Mesa. For more information and to purchase tickets head to their website

 

Bartenders mix it up for Bar Brawl at Jade Bar

A little friendly competition is always good to keep us on our toes and even more so in the Phoenix restaurant community as we find ways to make the summer go by quicker. Jade Bar at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa will host a friendly Bar Brawl for 8 local bartenders to show off what they do best….make delicious cocktails.

Every Sunday at 8 p.m. from July 16th – August 6th two bartenders will go head to head to see who will advance to the Semi-Finals on August 13th & 20th with the two winners advancing to the Championship on August 27th where the new “Bar Brawl  Champion’ will be crowned.

Bar brawl

Each weeks head to head competition will use specific spirits and ingredients for cocktails that will be judged by a panel of local judges.

Eddie Aces, Jade Bar’s Head Mixologist will emcee the event each week with locals and resort guest invited to cheer on the bartenders while DJ Hybrid will be providing entertainment. A special menu of “Bar Brawl Bites” will be available for purchase for happy hour prices during each weeks competition. There is no cost to attend the Bar Brawl.

The Bar Brawl Champion will be awarded a fun-filled trip to Austin City Limits. Previous winners have included Kyle Mason of Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia and Keifer Gilbert of Crudo and Counter Intuitive.

The 8 bartenders competing will be

  • Piroose Hajizadeh-Amini, Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
  • Kyle Landry, Crudo
  • Liza Loewenhagen, Cobra Arcade Bar
  • Alex Knight, Culinary Dropout
  • William Luddington, The Ostrich
  • Gavin Pena, The Clever Ko
  • Rando Shields, Shady’s Fine Ale’s and Cocktails
  • Sam Penton, Counter Intuitive

and their head to head competition will be

  • July 16 – Pena vs. Hajizadeh-Amini
  • July 23 – Lowenhagen vs. Knight
  • July 30 –  Shields vs. Luddington
  • Aug.  6 –  Landry vs. Penton

 

 

 

 

 

The Crepe Club wants you to create their new crepe flavor

Attention all creative foodies & home cooks this one is for you as The Crepe Club is looking for your help to create a new crepe flavor. The contest will run from April 10th – May 31st allowing plenty of time to think of what flavor(s) you would like to submit.

The Crepe Club’s Peanut Butter & Banana Crepe photo courtesy of Angela Muniz

“Crepes have been a family tradition,” said The Crepe Club co-owner Fares Tarabichi. “Every Sunday my brothers and I would cook them for our parents. And each week we would try to out-do each other with the filling combinations. This contest is a way to share that love of crepes with our guests.”

The winner gets

And what does the lucky winner get, bragging rights of course and your winning flavor will be on menu with you and your family & friends enjoying a crepe party. Crepes can be either sweet or savory and will be judged based on creativity, taste and if it can be made in a restaurant setting.

How to enter

  • Visit The Crepe Club website at http://TheCrepeClub.com/contest from April 10 – May 31 and submit your crepe flavor idea. You will need to submit a short description of the crepe including the ingredients and name your crepe.
  • On June 1, The Crepe Club will reveal the Top 7 nominations and ask people to vote on which flavor name and description they like best on The Crepe Club website.  Voting will run from June 1 – 15.
  • Then it gets really fun. The Top 3 vote getters will have their crepes on the menu at The Crepe Club’s three locations from June 16 – June 25.
  • On June 26 the top seller will be crowned the winning crepe flavor. The winner will receive a crepe party for 20 people. Second place will receive a $100 Crepe Club gift card. Good luck!

The Crepe Club has 3 Phoenix are locations.

Biltmore Fashion Park: 2502 E. Camelback Rd. #130, Phoenix

San Tan Village: 2268 E. Williams Field Rd. #721, Gilbert

ASU Main Campus:  550 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe