Tickets are on sale for the Phoenix Pizza Festival in downtown Phoenix

It will be a slice of heaven on Saturday November 16th as the Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to downtown Phoenix. Tickets are on sale for the 6 hour festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. Get there by bike, light rail or car to the conveniently located park that will host close to 20 pizza makers, dessert stations and more. Live music, lawn games and a kid’s zone will keep you busy in between bites and sips.

Grab a slice of pizza for $2-$4 or a whole pie and other tasty bites and wash it down with beer from local craft brewers.

Previous years pizza makers included Il Bosco, La Piazza, Freak Bros. and Nello’s. This year’s list is still being compiled and will be available soon at https://www.phoenix.pizza/

Downtown Phoenix Inc. has partnered with the Phoenix Pizza Festival as beneficiary. The community organization helps to promote the growth of downtown Phoenix and by supporting local business’s with events.

Tickets are on sale for the festival at the link above and are $10. The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004. Photo courtesy of Flargus.

 

Real, Wild & Woody helps craft beer fans beat the heat

Cold beer makes the summer a lot cooler, how about 350+ craft beers in the air conditioned Phoenix Convention Center. That’s what craft beer fans will enjoy at the 6th annual Real, Wild & Woody festival on Saturday July 27th. The festival is presented by the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and will feature over 75 breweries from the southwest.

Real, Wild & Woody is Arizona’s largest indoor beer festival featuring rare and unconventional beers from over 40 Arizona breweries. Dragoon Brewing Co., Grand Canyon Brewing Co. and others will be pouring their most unique “real, wild & woody” creations. Enjoy up to 20 cask conditioned ales a.k.a Real, beers fermented with wild yeast strains a.k.a Wild or barrel aged beers a.k.a Woody.

The festival has also helped new breweries introduce themselves to beer fans.

“This year, I am especially thrilled to be introducing the VIP experience,” said Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “It’s going to be a tremendous opportunity for our most fervent fans to have first, full access to the entire venue, an hour before we open to the public. Along with the exclusive access, there is a VIP meal option that will provide attendees with a three-taco meal (with vegetarian options) & a dessert. We’ll also be featuring distilled products from some of our breweries exclusively in the VIP area.”

Real, Wild & Woody tickets and info.

The events goes from 2-6 p.m. with tickets to the 21 & over tasting online for $60 and $80 for VIP. 1 p.m. entry and an optional(VIP+) multi-course for $20 is available with your VIP ticket. Tickets will be $20 more when purchased at the festival. In addition to beer their will bites to eat from Phoenix restaurants, interactive games, live music and a rock wall.

For more information go to their website and to see the full line-up of brewers use the social beer app Untappd.

The Phoenix Convention Center is at 100 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Dave Andrea opens 2nd Brat Haus in Uptown Phoenix

It took Brat Haus owner Dave Andrea a while to find the right location for the second location of his popular beer garden. The location came to be at 16th St. and Bethany Home Rd. in Uptown Phoenix and is now open. A slight departure from its popular Scottsdale restaurant as the Phoenix location will be “adult casual” with counter service.

“This second location is a chance for us to fully realize the original idea I had for Brat Haus, which was more geared toward the quick service model,” said Brat Haus owner, Dave Andrea. “The main goal, like what we’ve done in Scottsdale, is to foster a community of people from the neighborhood who are looking for a casual spot to enjoy specialty beers, delicious food and a fun atmosphere.”

The Phoenix restaurant will offer 100 seats, 52 inside and 48 outside on the dog friendly patio. The European styled menu offers imported beers and specialties including brats, pretzels, burgers and house made dips. Happy hour will be offered with $2 off glasses of wine and draft beers and the restaurants signature Giant Bavaria Pretzel for $10. Take out is also available.

“Uptown Phoenix is an eclectic neighborhood with an incredible mix of businesses and people,” said Andrea. “It’s growing rapidly and we’re excited to be a part of that. The timing is perfect for us to introduce our concept to the community.”

Brat Haus is open daily from 11 a.m. -10 p.m. and is at 6025 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016 and 3622 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

Local eats in suburban New Jersey, NYC and Saratoga Springs

Like many of us living in Arizona, I too came from somewhere else. Across the river from New York City in suburban New Jersey I grew up on take-out pizza, diner food, and bagels. Despite many New York and New Jersey transplants opening restaurants serving food from our home state those foods just taste better back east. Whenever I head back for a visit I head for my favorite foods and I was back a couple of weeks ago.

Most people wouldn’t visit these family restaurants in suburban Bergen County unless you’re visiting family or friends in the area. But if you live there or happen to be traveling through the small towns that dot the metro area they’re easy to find.

Let’s eat

When you don’t know what you want or everybody wants something different a local diner is always a good call. So with family who flew into town we headed to to Matthews Colonial Diner in Waldwick. Wanting a char-broiled burger I opted to eat healthy knowing there would be plenty of food this week. The Beet & Goat Cheese Salad was a solid and out of the ordinary choice for me. My family knowing my eating habits gave me the “are you feeling ok” look when the word salad came out of my mouth.

Seems like Italian food reigned the week with 2 or 3 meals as we wound having pizza or pasta delivered. A favorite of my sister and her family is The Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus. Whether we walk over to dine-in or have it delivered it rarely disappoints. Ordering take-out I went pasta free ordering Chicken Scarpello with sausage, pepperoncini, mushrooms, garlic and a touch of garlic. So good I may have to head back sooner than later to get it again.

New Jersey
Chicken Scarpello from The Sicilian Sun

Wednesday lunch had a group of 20 family and friends at the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern for a 4 course lunch. Lots of history at this place that was constructed in 1796. The entree course had your typical, beef, chicken and fish option along with Bolognese Tagliatelle. I had the latter, I told you there was a lot of Italian food.

In the city

A trip to New Jersey isn’t complete without a visit to New York City. Thursday I caught a ride to lower Manhattan’s Financial District to play tourist and walk off the calories I consumed.

Getting into the city early I grabbed a a quick lox, egg & tomato bagel from the Park Place location of Lenwich, a local chain of sandwich shops I’ve never experienced before. Not my typical bagel and lox combination but it gave me the fuel I needed to pound the pavement.

Meeting a friend for lunch who had little time we opted for “street meat” from a food truck nearby. The city is know for it’s food trucks and carts offering a quick and reasonably priced lunch. We went for Mediterranean food and I opted for a falafel sandwich and my friend with a chicken and rice. Filling portions for only $5 each. The weather was one of the nicer days so we opted for a park bench to eat and chat.

New Jersey
NYC Falafel

Back on the Jersey side

Thursday dinner had us ordering in…… pizza from Anthony Franco’s Pizzeria. A visit to Jersey wouldn’t be a visit to Jersey without a couple of pizza pies. Sausage, onions, mushrooms and more topping our pies a few slices for now and few left for later.

In between rain drops on Friday I decided to give in to my burger craving at Red Cedar Market Season Kitchen for their RCM Mushroom and Swiss burger. This busy cafe made the best burger I’ve had in a while. Made to order and cooked to my preferred medium rare and drizzled with truffle oil and served with delicious fries.

New Jersey
RCM Mushroom & Swiss burger

Dinner had heading to the State Line Diner, a couple of miles south of the New York state border on Route 17. So much to choose from I didn’t know what I was going with until the words “Roat Beef & Swiss Cheese Triple Decker sandwich with a side of Steak Cut Onion Rings” came out. The rare roast beef was good but I wish I hadn’t ordered the onion rings as I compared them to a hometown favorite pile from the defunct Louie’s Charcoal Pit.

A quick trip upstate to Saratoga Springs

Saturday afternoon I drove up the New York Thruway to visit a friend I met in Arizona who re-located back home to upstate New York.

Once arriving I made my way to Broadway, the main drag in Saratoga Springs, waiting for my friend to get off work. The best weather of my visit had people out & about on this late Saturday afternoon and I found Druthers Brewery for a cold Raspberry Nut Brown Ale. It hit the spot before I strolled the downtown to Congress Park to taste the spring water known for in the area.

Meeting my friend at Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquors where she got off work but not before I tasted New York State made sangria and sparkling wine.

With other friends taking the train from Boston for an overnight visit the plan was for a festive Paella dinner. After wine, a generous portion of charcuterie and realizing it was late our Paella dinner was tabled until Sunday brunch. Made from scratch with each the chicken, shrimp and chorizo cooked separately we all watched and helped prepare as we sipped on our cups of Spot Coffee, an upstate coffee roaster.

New Jersey
The Cortile at Solevo

Dinner on Sunday night in Saratoga had us paying a visit to get this, a new Italian restaurant Solevo Kitchen & Social. For an appetizer we ordered the tasty Eggplant Chips drizzled with Calabrian Chili Honey and basil. My friends ordered the Sunday Sauce, rigatoni and meatballs in a San Marzano plum tomato sauce and Gnochhi with wild mushrooms, arugula, rosemary in a brown butter sauce.

After seeing several Items I’d already had that week I went with The Cortile, a mix of prosciutto, sweet peas, ground veal in a plum tomato & cream sauce with tagliatelle. Red wine and my Pinky Ring cocktail accompanied our meal and all were satisfied for our walk home.

Back to Jersey then back to Arizona

After a fun visit upstate I made my trip back down to New Jersey Monday morning. Deciding to raid my sisters cabinets and refrigerator for late lunch and early dinner I opted not to order….Italian food for dinner. Despite my best efforts to taste my niece and nephews Chicken Parmigna their like me very protective of their food. Early Tuesday I was on a plane back to my current home, Scottsdale.

More New Jersey and New York eats on my next visit east. See my Instagram for pictures of my visit @SandyWass

 

Get fried on 4/20 at Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival

I know what the organizers were smoking when they were planning the first annual Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival. The 4/20 food festival will be at Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix. Fried is from the food festival folks behind the Downtown Donut Festival and Phoenix Pizza Festival.

Phoenix restaurants and food trucks have signed up to create out of this world french fries for only $2-$3. Larger “Sharing” sizes will be available as well. Fries topped with chorizo, lobster and kimchee are just a few of the toppings I’ve heard about.

Festival goers will enjoy French fries from the likes of The Dressing Room, Trapp Haus BBQ and Hibachibot. Make sure you find your way to Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon’s for their Bolognese fries before they sell out. I’ve had them and their delicious.

All fries will be fried in oil from SK Oil Sales, the local fryer oil specialist. I did not know there was such a thing.

Live music from 6 bands including Weird Radicals, Fairy Bones and Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold will entertain the crowd. DJ’s Stoneypie, Reverse Cowboy and Maintenance will be mixing it up too.

Fry fanatics are invited to ride their bikes to the festival and have them valeted by Phoenix Spokes People. Gracie’s Tax Bar will be preparing cocktails along with craft beers and Jarritos sodas.

Fried will benefit Downtown Phoenix Inc. that helps to promote the downtown community.

Tickets for Fried: A French Fry & Music Festival are $15 on only available on-line.  The festival goes from 2-10 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.

 

The Phoenician Tavern to attract resort guests and locals when it opens

What was once Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician Resort transforms into The Phoenician Tavern this spring. The new restaurant and bar will offer guests a relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of the resorts golf course. When The Phoenician Tavern opens it will be part of  the final phase of the properties three-year multi-million dollar re-model.

The new restaurant and bar will be attractive to resort guests and locals with its comfortable and contemporary design.

“It’s a friendly, traditional, tavern-style ambiance, where you can catch the game or enjoy a beer with your neighbors, but it also happens to have some of the most stunning views around,” said The Phoenician’s Director of Food & Beverage Lisa Mercer.

The Phoenican Tavern
All photos courtesy of Awe Collective

The Phoenician Tavern menu

Chef de Cuisine Michael Press has created a menu of “pub grub” favorites with ingredients of the highest quality at the AAA Five Diamond resort. Gourmet burgers, fish & chips, appetizers and more will be available for lunch, happy hour and dinner.

12 regional craft beers will be on tap along with almost 50 canned and bottled beers. Signature cocktails including The Blueberry Manhattan, Blood Orange Martini and more will also be available.

Win Happy Hour for a year

Before the tavern opens 100 locals will be picked to win a custom key for happy hour pricing for a year. A Sunday Funday prize pack will also be up grabs. Included will be a round of golf for 2, happy and dinner and an overnight stay at the resort. To enter both giveaways and more information head to https://www.thephoeniciantavern.com/

The Phoenician Resort is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

 

 

TasteAbout Scottsdale to raise money for wounded military personnel

Expecting over 3,000 people to converge on Kierland Commons next weekend organizing TasteAbout Scottsdale is no easy feat. It’s nothing compared to what wounded military personnel have gone through serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military personnel will benefit from the hungry attendee’s as TasteAbout Scottsdale has partnered with Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors.

The food and beverage event takes place Saturday January 26th from 2 -9 p.m. with over 30 restaurants participating. In addition to tasting food and drinks there will be live music, a Burger Beatdown and speed painting.

“We are thrilled to bring together so many food and beverage purveyors all in one place to highlight the unique culinary talents in Arizona and benefit an important cause,” says Erik Merkow, founder and CEO of TasteAbout Scottsdale. “With every event, we take great pleasure in finding a platform for residents and visitors of the area to discover some of the best local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and more in a fun and entertaining atmosphere, while also giving back to the community.”

TasteAbout Scottsdale participants

The list of popular local restaurants, breweries and distilleries that will be providing sips and tastes is updated daily. Popular restaurants serving up include Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Famous 48, Kasai, Modern Oyster & Chophouse and Eggtasy to name few. Sip on beer from San Tan Brewing, Grand Canyon Brewing and Beer Research Institute.

Frankly Organic Spirits, Arizona Distilling and Dulce Vida Tequila will be pouring their spirits.

Local foodies will judge which popular chef serves the best and most creative burger at the Burger Beatdown. Guests will vote for Best Dish, Best Craft Beer, Best Drink and Best sweet Dish.

Once all votes are tallied the winners will be notified in the days after the event.

Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors.

Former NFL player Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors is a non-profit that builds and remodels homes for handicapped military personnel.

Artist Katia Von Kral will be showing off her “speed painting” talents for the event. Proceeds from her paintings sold at the event will be donated to the non-profit.

Tickets for the 21 and over event are available at Eventbrite. General Admission tickets are $65 per person and includes all tastes of food and drinks. VIP tickets are $85 and include 2 tokens for full pour drinks, VIP Garden access, Express Entry. Ultra VIP Tickets are $125 and come with 5 full pour drink tokens, a VIP swag Bag, VIP Garden Access and express entry.

 

 

 

Huss Brewing’s CenPho Citrus IPA brewed with locally donated fruit

Huss Brewing Co. is accepting locally grown citrus for their up-coming seasonal bottling, CenPho Citrus IPA. Central Phoenix (CenPho) residents are invited to drop off citrus from their trees in exchange for two pints of the new beer when released. Drop off your citrus by January 14th 2019 at Huss’s Taproom in Uptown Plaza.

Huss employees will be accepting donations and giving certificates until enough citrus is collected for brewing.

CenPho Citrus IPA

The beer will make it’s debut on Feb. 9th at the Arizona Strong Beer Festival then around central Phoenix. Those that donated citrus and received a certificate can cash in for 2 pints on Feb. 16th at Huss’s Citrus Festival at the Uptown Taproom.

The craft beer will be poured at local hangouts and community events around central Phoenix including.

2/9 – AZ Strong Beer Festival

2/10 – Willo Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

2/11 – AZ Beer Week (variety of CenPho bars, restaurants and neighborhood stores)

2/16 – Citrus Fest at Huss Brewing Co. Taproom at Uptown Plaza

2/24 – Coronado Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

3/2 – Melrose Neighborhood M7 Street Festival (inside the Huss Brewing Co. Beer Garden)

Central Phoenix citrus

The beer is celebrating Huss Brewing and central Phoenix State Rep. Laura Pastor helping to create Arizona’s first experimental citrus trees. Imported from California the trees are planted on the Orangewood estate of William J. Murphy at 7514 N. Central Ave. Murphy built the Arizona Canal and founded numerous Phoenix and Glendale neighborhoods.

“We love to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible, and citrus is such a great flavor for a fresh seasonal beer,” says Leah Huss, who owns Huss Brewing Co. with her husband Jeff. “So as soon as we met Councilwoman Pastor and heard about the deep citrus roots in the historic neighborhoods surrounding our Uptown Taproom, we knew this was the perfect way to, literally, share a beer with our neighbors.”

Visit their website for more information and drop off citrus at 100 E. Camelback Rd.

 

 

 

 

The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar opens at Desert Ridge Marketplace

The 6th location of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar has opened in north Phoenix at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Across from Dave & Buster’s The Whining Pig will be the neighborhoods go to wine and beer bar that occupies more than 4,000 square feet.

Photos courtesy of The Whining Pig Beer & Wine Bar

The friendly and knowledgeable staff pours wines from around the world and over 125 craft beers from rotating taps. A selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and meat & cheese plates are available off the limited menu.

Vintage boards games and other forms of entertainment make the place good hang out with friends and family.

The bar opens daily at 1 p.m. and stays open til the late evening and early morning hours.