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.

 

 

 

 

Project Roots AZ “Taste of the Garden” to feature locally grown food

Local non-profit Project Roots AZ hosts its inaugural fundraiser, “Taste of the Garden” on Saturday, April 30th at 6 p.m. The Spaces of Opportunity garden at 1200 W. Vineyard Rd in Phoenix will host well respected Phoenix area chef members of Local First Arizona who will prepare foods grown and harvested by Project Roots AZ volunteers.

“Creating dishes for people that come directly from the community gardens at Spaces of Opportunities is a perfect way for stakeholders to see a value in what we are doing first-hand,” said Bridget Pettis, Project Roots AZ co-founder and former WNBA Phoenix Mercury player and Chicago Sky coach.

Pettis started the non-profit in 2019 to provide access to nutritious foods and promote a healthier way of living in urban neighborhoods. She uses her gardening knowledge to help educate the undeserved in Arizona with community gardens and mobile kitchens. Volunteers grow fruits and vegetables in two community gardens then have them donated to local food banks, sold at farmer’s markets and sold through produce box deliveries. These proceeds then get reinvested in the non-profit to help feed more people.

“Most people in the Valley don’t have the luxury of experiencing food that comes directly from garden to table, that’s something we are excited to share during this fundraiser,” Pettis added. “The chefs we are working with are amazingly creative. The dishes they’ve crafted showcase the fruits of our labor perfectly.”

Monies raised from the “Taste of the Garden” event will help support programs including gardening classes for kids & adults and cooking demonstrations that help educate the community on how to cook and prepare their own food. Tickets are $100 each and can be reserved here.

The Metro Phoenix Night Market to showcase over 12 Asian food vendors

As live events continue returning fans of Asian food will want to circle Saturday, January 29th on the calendar. That’s when the Metro Phoenix Night Market returns showcasing a variety of food and culture from China, Korea and other Far East and southeast Asian countries. The Press Room in Tempe will host the event that starts at 4 p.m. for early admission ticket holders.

Vendors will offer at least one menu item for $5 or less with beer and cocktails also available for purchase. A curated market with local artists will be showcasing their work at the outdoor event. All vendors will accept cash or credit but cash is suggested and parking is free.

Early admission tickets are $14.99 to get in at 4 p.m., General Admission starts at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $10. Happy Hour starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $6.00 and children aged 7-12 are $4.00. Children under 7 are free. Tickets prices don’t include sales tax or a booking fee.  You can purchase tickets to the Metro Phoenix Night Market here and get more information and stay updated at their Facebook page. The Press Room is at 3125 S.52nd St. Tempe 85292.

Giving Tree Cafe shows sign of hope with life size sculpture

Phoenix’s Giving Tree Cafe known for serving clean eating vegan, organic & gluten free food is also known as a community spot in the neighborhood. The cafe at 7th St. near Monte Vista recently installed a life size sculpture of a iconic 1932 photograph by Charles Ebbets. Owner David Warr wanted to find a permanent home for the structure and the message it conveys.

“’Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ stands as a testament to our resourcefulness and resilience. Our community has been through a challenging couple of years. Yet, we pulled ourselves up from our bootstraps, and we’ve grown stronger,” said Warr.

Getting it to the Giving Tree Cafe

The sculpture was hidden in storage and Warr found out about it from customer David Kirschenbaum who produced the sculpture with sculptor Blake Emory. The 24 foot long and 20 foot high sculpture took 3 days to install after being delivered to the cafe. It took Emory & Kirschenbaum over 2 years to make by hand using clay, fiberglass resin, steel, PVC, wood, textiles, rubber & chrome.

“Many haven’t been able to enjoy the arts scene for quite some time. I wanted to bring this sculpture back to life as a sign of strength, hope and togetherness,” said Warr.

The photograph and sculpture show 11 steelworkers eating lunch on a girder high above the streets of NYC. The 69 story building being built is the RCA building, now part of Rockefeller Center and the erecting of the building was a sign of hope and confidence in the future during The Great Depression.  Each of the 11 replicas of the workers is life size and each weighs about 100 lbs. According to Warr,

“We’re not done yet. Watch the space over the next couple of weeks.” Artist Emory returns to make an exciting addition to the structure.

The Giving Tree Cafe is at 2024 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85004. For more information visit their website.

 

 

Devour the World kicks off Devour Week 2020 in Peoria

Local First Arizona’s popular Devour Week 2020 kicks off the celebration of Arizona restaurants with its first event in Peoria. Devour the World makes its west valley debut on Saturday February 15th at Peoria City Hall’s Centennial Plaza. Devour the World showcases the international cuisines, music and cultures found around Phoenix.

“From flavors that can only be found on the islands of Jamaica to the great vistas of the Navajo Nation, this is the perfect event to explore the rich diversity that makes Arizona so special and share it with friends, family, and community,” says, Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Founder.Devour the World

The four hour event starts at 11 a.m. and is a partnership of the City of Peoria, Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Local First Arizona. Beers of the world will be poured in the beverage garden and over 24 restaurants and food trucks will be offer foods from over 12 countries. Music and dancing from different countries will be performed with cultural activities and workshops with local ambassadors are also featured.

A few of the restaurants participating include….

Cool Vybz Jamaican Restaurant- Chef Kelso Raymond

Everest Momo- Chef Subash Yadav

Salvadoreño Restaurant- Chef Yesenia Ramirez

Happy Buns- Chef Jay Kwan

“Peoria’s events scene continues to get better and better, and I am thrilled to have this multicultural, culinary experience coming to the heart of our city,” says Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat. “I can’t wait for family and friends to gather as they ‘Devour the World’ together.”

Tickets for Devour the World are $55 and include food samples and libations. Tickets can be purchased along with more information about other events at the Devour Phoenix website. Peoria City Hall is at 9875 N. 85th Ave. Peoria 85345.

The Arizona Native Edible Experience is coming to Scottsdale

Arizona’s Native American tribes will be showcasing foods and culture at the Arizona Native Edible Experience. The cocktail style tasting on Saturday February 8th will be at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West from 6-8 p.m. The annual event is hosted by the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association (AAITA)and will feature native art and a silent auction in addition to food tastings.

“This event gives us an opportunity to showcase the dynamic Native communities and multitude of tribes thriving here in Scottsdale today and also allows us to educate the residents and visitors of Scottsdale about these tribes and their important role in the City’s rich heritage,” said Geri Hongeva, President of the AAITA. “We are proud to represent such a vibrant group of peoples and share their stories that have shaped the past.

Arizona Native edible experience
Photos by Haile Sutton
Native chef tasting stations will offer traditional foods as well as modern tastes and cocktails. Featured chefs and guests include San Carlos Apache forager & Ancestral Food Archivist Twila Cassadore, Brian Yazzie aka “Yazzie the Chef”, Renetto – Mario Etsitty and Andrew Humeyumptewa.
The Experience is part of Scottsdale’s Western Week and the Arizona American Indian Festival 2020 being held over the weekend. Tickets for the Arizona Native Edible Experience are $25 and can be purchased at http://www.arizonanativeexperience.com. The Museum of the West is at 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale 85251.

The Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest returns for its 6th year

Downtown Chandler will feel a bit like New Orleans’s French Quarter for a few hours on Saturday, February 15th 2020. This is when fans of Cajun food and culture can expect to party into the night at the 6th Annual Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest.

AJ Chandler Park will again host over a dozen restaurants including Angry Crab Shack, Bayou Bistro and Honey Bears Cajun BBQ Cuisine serving up gumbo, crawfish, Po’boys and more. Abita beers such as Purple Haze, Hop On and more will be on draft.

“Angry Crab Shack is excited to team up with HDE Agency and bring a Mardi Gras party to the East Valley while benefiting one of our partners in Phoenix Children’s Hospital,” said Andrew Diamond, president of Angry Crab Franchise. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

HooDoo Coasters, Bluesman Mike, NolAz Band and Souled Out Jazz Band will perform live throughout the 9 hour festival. Food eating contest, lawn games, flame throwers and a Kid’s Zone will entertain festival goers.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital as they plan to expand into the east valley. The festivities start at noon and ticket options including veteran’s discounts, general admission and the Big Easy Lounge are available. To purchase tickets for the Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest and get more information head to their website.

AJ Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. Chandler

Fried Chicken & Beer at the 1st annual Chimac Festival

Food and drink pairings work the best when you can wash down your food a beverage to compliment your food. A favorite pairing is fried chicken and beer and the first annual Chimac festival is serving up both. Chimac is Korean for the pairing and the festival will be Sunday December 15th. Downtown Phoenix’s The Pressroom will host 12 local fried chicken businesses from 12 – 4 p.m.

The Asian inspired festival will offer several styles of fried chicken including Korean and Nashville hot chicken.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase with each vendors offering at least menu item for under $5. The outdoor event will offer a marketplace with local artists and free games to play. Desserts and Boba will be available to offer a sweet treat after the savory and spicy main dishes.

Tickets are purchased separate from food and drink. Early admission at 10:30 a.m. is $13, General Admission is $8. Children ages 7- 14 are $4 and children 6 and under are free. To purchase tickets head to Ticket Tailor and for more information check out their Facebook page. Cash and credit cards will be accepted by vendors.

The Pressroom is at 441 W. Madison. Phoenix 85003.

Dia de los Muertos 4 day celebration at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco

Hispanics around the world honor deceased family and friends every year with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The festive holiday includes candle lighting vigils, traditional decorations and more. Downtown Chandler’s Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is showing their respect for the colorful holiday with a four day festival. The inaugural Dia de los Muertos event will benefit the Los Diablos ASU Alumni Chapter.Dia de los Muertos

“We are extremely excited to be hosting this Dia de los Muertos celebration for the first time,” said Wally Ansari, owner of Ghett’ Yo’ Taco’. “With four days of activities we’ve made sure that there is something fun for all ages. We are also very pleased to partner with Los Diablos for this event and support their mission to assist outstanding Latin college students at ASU. We look forward to bringing the Chandler community together to celebrate our departed loved ones.”

Dia de los Muertos events

Here is the schedule of events.

Thursday, October 31 – Halloween bar crawl will take place from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will include stops at Chandler establishments The Local, Perch, Sleepy Whale and Quart Haus. The night will continue at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco with a costume contest for cash prizes and a candle lighting vigil. Guests are encouraged to bring candles and photos of their departed loved ones. Each bar will have drink specials and live music. Tickets for Thursday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Friday, November 1 – From 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. attendees can enjoy a live DJ and patio expansion for guests to bring candles and/or pictures of deceased family members for a candle lighting vigil. Candles will be available on site for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 2 – Dia de los Muertos celebration will take place all day from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Guests will be able to fully embrace Hispanic culture and experience a traditional celebration honoring departed loved ones. The day will consist of live musical performances, traditional Hispanic food, piñatas and sugar skull painting. Tickets for Saturday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Sunday, November 3 – Celebrate Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Guests of all ages can enjoy music, food, drinks, a bouncy house and kid’s activities. This event is free and open to the public.

Los Diablos raises funds for scholarships and financial assistance for students in Arizona. The organization is committed to mentorship and community service as well.

Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is at 241 S. Oregon St. Chandler 85225.

 

Waimea Canyon then back to the east end of Kauai

After my day at sea I continued west toward Waimea for the night so I could drive through Waimea Canyon and where else the road would take me. I pulled into Waimea Plantation Cottages for the night to refresh and enjoy the beachfront accommodations.

A bit higher than I wanted to pay for less than 24 hours I ponied up the cash for the studio($184) and enjoyed the surroundings. Since this was the western most part of the island I was staying on I hoped to see a sunset from the beach but the clouds put a damper on those plans.

A bit disappointed with the amount of insects in the room my $25 resort fee was refunded. That’s what you get with arid temperatures near the ocean.

Up to Waimea Canyon and Koke’e State Park

I woke up energized and made my way up Waimea Canyon Dr. (550) towards Waimea Canyon State Park taking in the views of Waimea area and the Pacific.

Winding roads climb in elevation as this area is where hunters, hikers and campers head to enjoy the outdoors. Many pull-offs to stop to take pictures I make it into the park and view steep green and brown cliffs and waterfalls.

In the distance you hear but barely see the helicopters taking tourists even closer.(See below). After several pictures and “oohs” and “aahs” I exit the park and continue toward Koke’e State Park.

I pass military outposts that take advantage of the farthest west part of the U.S. and high elevations to protect our country. Koke’e State Park offers views of Napali Coast from Kalalau Valley Lookout and  Pu’u O Kila Lookout. There are breathtaking views from high above of steep rock formations spiking upwards. Hiking trails lead to beaches through the green lined cliffs. Shorter hikes can be done and you should always prepare accordingly.

Down the road and heading back east

After two hours taking in breathtaking views I head down to sea level and cruise back through Waimea towards Lihue making stops along the way. First stop was Kauai Coffee Company to taste the locally grown coffee and take a self guide tour. Much what you’d expect of coffee samples, gift shop, a coffee museum, local plants and rows of coffee trees. Free tours are available and so is a small sandwich shop. Definitely worth  a stop to take in the local culture and surroundings.

I was hungry so I made my way to Koloa and grabbed fish tacos from a food truck before I strolled the village. Old Koloa Town is a plantation village with shops, restaurants and rich in sugar plantation history….and filled with chickens roaming and singing. I love the trees in the area as their canopy offers shade and seem very nicely manicured.

I headed back through the resort town of Poipu past small local beaches and condos towards the Spouting Horn geyser. Taking a few minutes to watch the surf erupt through the lava holes forming spouting geyser. A nice stop to view the surf crashing and let mother nature do her thing.

I made my way to Kapaa to Bubba Burger on a recommendation from a friend for dinner. Using local Kauai beef Bubba Burger is tasty and easy on the wallet. Sit above the street and watch people and traffic go by along the beach road. After my burger I U turned it back to Hilue for my night at The Tip Top Motel.

Hiking Hanalei and helicopters

The Tip Top Motel, Cafe & Bakery made for an ok stay as accommodations were fine(as were other places I stayed) but the breakfast wasn’t the 4 stars I saw on Yelp!. An average breakfast and no complimentary coffee other places I stayed have offered. At $120 a night(taxes & fees incl) for basic accommodations a couple of cups of coffee would’ve been nice. They say it’s the little things that matter the most.

Checking out during the morning rain I continued my way east towards Hanalei hoping the rain would end so I could hike that I previously mentioned. As I drove I saw blue sky peeking trough the clouds giving me optimism my hike would happen.

In no hurry I turned off Kuhio Highway often to drive along the beach and hills to see the sights. Not being able to see a sunrise or sunset due to clouds or my location on the island I was glad to see a rainbow over the mountain.

A quick left over the single lane bridge into Hanelai is the road that leads into the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and the Okolehao Trail. The only car in the parking lot I was skeptical but determined to head up the steep and muddy trail. Grabbing a walking stick I made my way up through the forest trying to keep my balance.

After 25 minutes I made my way to a great vantage point for viewing Hanalei Bay and the farms below. I continued 200 yards through thicker forest, with rain clouds in the distance I figured I’d seen enough and headed down.

On my way down I met a hikers on their way up who mentioned I made it to the best point to see the view. The trail goes higher and steeper I was told that captures a view of the whole island. With the clouds I doubt I would’ve seen it all, perhaps on my next visit.

Pulling into Hanalei village I walked to the beach to fill a container with sand for a friend who collects sand(???). I then made my way to Tropical Taco for Ahi tacos for a#TacoTuesday lunch.

Leisurely I headed back to Lihue pulling off Kuhio Highway to see the sights on the northern side of the island. I stopped at Island Helicopters to book a flight and found myself on a flight 90 minutes later. Island Helicopters is the only helicopter company to land at Jurassic Falls. I didn’t take that tour but did take the Grand Deluxe tour ($180 cash/ $187 cc) which lasted 50-60 minutes. I did my research and Island Helicopters offers the best price for helicopter tours on the island.

With a front row view we lifted off from the Lihue Airport heliport and had amazing views of Kauai. Mountains, waterfalls, farms, over the ocean, Napali Coast, Waimea Canyon you see everything and many only visible by air.

Our pilot Joseph is a Kauai native and knew about everything we flew over from who owned what land, what it used to be used for, what movies we’re filmed where on the island(The Descendants, Seven Days & Six Nights and Jurassic Park, etc) and so on. An amazing adventure that I almost talked myself out of.

After the hour in the air I walked to Smiley’s Local Grinds for dinner. A small restaurant in a Lihue strip mall filled with locals and people taking out dinner. Good Hawaiian food ( I had Smiley’s Chicken in Garlic Chili sauce ($11.85) at good prices. Nothing fancy just good food and a smiley face whether you’re on a budget or a big spender. Go where the locals go.

The last two days of my trip will be relaxing though I will be out to see and eat more. See ya soon!

***Check out my Facebook & Twitter @SandyWasserman Instagram @SandyWass #SandyTakesKauai for photos and video.***

 

 

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