JBF Women of AZ collaborate on creative meals for a limited time

This weekend’s launch of JBF Women of AZ shows off the partnership of 15 talented women chefs as Phoenix is one of 10 cities participating in the national alliance “Let’s Talk” from The James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Program. “Let’s Talk” is the brainchild of Chicago’s Rohini Dey, Ph.D., owner of Vermilion and trustee of the JBF whose goal is to bring women restaurateurs together for collaboration and support.

This weekend (sold out) and the weekends of January 22nd & 23rd and 29th & 30th you can order a special 3-course meal from 5 groups of chef’s preparing each course of the meal. Each three- course meal feeds two people and is $55 with meals needing to be ordered online by 10 p.m. the Wednesday of each week for pick-up on Friday or Saturday night.

By collaborating the women are learning from each other, sharing ideas and helping to support locally owned businesses during the pandemic.

The 15 Phoenix area women led restaurants participating in the JBF Women of AZ are……

Maya’s Cajun Kitchen
24 Carrots
Cotton & Copper

The Farish House
The Joy Bus Diner
Songbird Coffee House

FnB
Hana Japanese Eatery
Tracy Dempsey Originals

Fat Ox
The Market by Jennifer’s
Sweet Republic

The Cellar
Nonna Urban Eatery
The Breadfruit & Rum Bar

To see the menus & chefs, place an order and pick-up instructions head to 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.

All Mac & Cheese dishes Buy 1, Get 1 Free at Fired Pie

In honor of National Cheese Lovers Day on Wednesday January 20th all locations are offering up the deal on the popular comfort food. Baked and topped with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs guests can choose from 40 different toppings. This deal is only good for dine-in and is good on mac n cheese of equal or lesser value.

Found:RE Hotel’s Passport Series goes to Mexico

The downtown Phoenix hotel hosts their monthly night with international flavor on Saturday January 16th. The pool and bar area will be transformed for a Mexican vacation with food, cocktails and more. The fiesta goes from 6 – 10 p.m. and more information can be found on their website.

Good news as Cider Corps releases seasonal pie ciders

The popular Pumpkin Pie, Peach Cobbler & Cherry Crisp ciders are now available by the can. Delayed due to the pandemic as ingredients were harder to source these ciders are available for a limited time. 6-packs are $20 and include 2 of each cider or can be purchased individually to be drank at the cidery. 6-packs can be ordered in advance for take away at https://www.toasttab.com/cider-corps-31-s-robson-103/v3

Signature cakes turn to pies at Chase’s Diner

Saturday January 23rd is National Pie Day at the Chandler diner, known for their scratch made desserts, is making two signature pies for the occasion. Turning their Carrot & German Chocolate Cake into pies guest can enjoy them by the slice ($4.29) or the whole darn pie ($13.99). Whole pies need to be ordered in advance.

Round 5 of Hotel Valley Ho’s Versus Series pits beer vs. wine

Which goes better with food, beer or wine? Find out on January 23rd when the Old Town Scottsdale hotel hosts another reception and three-course dinner. Tempe’s Huss Brewing Co. and Sonoma County’s Rodney Strong Vineyards will pair the beers and wines to see who wins. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $129++ per person.

STK Scottsdale steakhouse opens in the heart of Scottsdale

Downtown Scottsdale is the home of the newest steakhouse from STK Restaurants. STK Scottsdale, “not your daddy’s steakhouse”, opens on the banks of the canal in the former Herb Box Restaurant at Southbridge. The new restaurant ushers in “Vibe Dining” that includes spectacular views and plenty of outdoor space to enjoy elevated culinary selections, world-famous cocktails and live music from renowned DJs. This is the 21st location with other locations around the country and internationally.

“We are pleased to start the New Year by celebrating the opening of STK Scottsdale. The new restaurant is a perfect complement to the vibrant surrounding area and offers guests a memorable and safe dining experience,” said Emanuel “Manny” Hilario, President and CEO of The ONE Group. “As one of our managed locations, STK Scottsdale is indicative of our strategic plan, enabling us to expand our signature Vibe Dining experience without investing significant capital.”

Certified Black Angus beef sourced from the Midwest highlights the menu with classic steakhouse staples such as seafood, a raw bar and a la carte sides are also featured.

Unlike many high-end steakhouses STK Scottsdale will be opening for lunch Monday – Friday at 11 a.m. Daily happy hour and dinner service begins at 3 p.m. Weekend brunch launches on January 23rd from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and take-out and delivery is available on January 18th. All staff follow local and federal Covid-19 guidelines and uses technology for a “lower contact” experience.

STK Steakhouse at 7134 E. Stetson Drive 85251. For more information and to view the menu please visit their website.

Peter Kasperski returns to the valley’s dining scene with Character

2020 brought many surprises good and bad to the valley’s dining scene. One of the biggest surprises was the return of restaurateur Peter Kasperski in December. He and valley mixologist Richie Moe III have again joined forces to open Character Distinctive Dining in the Roosevelt Arts District. The two have known each other for over 30 years going back to their days in Chicago when Moe’s father was Kasperski’s mentor.

Moe helped Kasperski open Cowboy Ciao in the 1990s then Kazmierz Wine Bar before they went their separate ways. Moe had gone on to open and run cocktail programs at Citizen Public House, The Gladly and Bourbon and Bones. Kasperski has been lying low the last few years plotting his next move since he closed Cowboy Ciao.

Photo courtesy of Modern Vision Media

Downtown Phoenix’s Character Distinctive Dining is a classic American dinner house with cuisines from around the world made using modern cooking techniques. Kasperski’s love for eclectic wines and Moe’s inventive cocktail list have also made their way downtown from Scottsdale. Some will see similarities with Cowboy Ciao especially the popular dinner events. One of those events is the monthly Somm Showdown with Peter Kasperski and a local wine sommelier go head to head picking the best pairings for a five-course dinner. The first Somm Showdown is Sunday January 24th 2021 with Synergy Fine Wines’ Steve Cannon. Seating is limited to 30 people and dinner is $90 ++ per person.

The pair are also opening Alias, a speakeasy, later this year out back of Character. Three nights a week Moe and Chef Justin “Red” Hauska will create mixology/gastronomy dinners pairing cocktails and food with science and surprises. After dinner starting at 9 p.m. Alias will become a craft cocktail bar until 2 a.m.

Character / Alias is at 218 E Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85004. For more information check their website, Facebook and Instagram.

 

A new culinary team takes over when Ghost Ranch re-opens.

When the popular south Tempe restaurant re-opens in mid-January guests will see new faces in the front and back of the house. Executive Chef David Mora, Sous Chef Tyler Moonsoo and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf are new culinary team and General Manager Ashleh Robles runs the front of the house.

Mora will run the kitchen was born in Colombia and raised in Florida where learned to love the diversity of food. He started his restaurant career in Miami before making his way to Arizona. He’s worked at Flagstaff’s Copa Cafe, Mariposa in Sedona and was sous chef at Palo Verde and chef de Cuisine at The Spotted Donkey at The Boulders in Carefree. “I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the complexity of southwest cuisine and I am thrilled to bring what I’ve learned to Ghost Ranch,” Mora said. “I know the restaurant has quickly become a staple in the Tempe community and I hope to continue serving the area authentic dishes with innovative twists.”

Sous Chef Monsoo will help Mora develop and execute the dishes of Ghost Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience in Arizona at The Boulders, Ah-So Sushi and Steak, Obon Sushi and Ramen and Wrights Kitchen at The Arizona Biltmore from Waldorf Astoria.

Pastry Chef Graf rounds out the new culinary team. A native of Colorado, Graf draws inspiration from traveling as a teenager through Europe, learning and tasting local foods. Back in the states she re-located to Santa Fe, New Mexico to launch her culinary career as a pastry chef. After earning her pâtissier certificate she ran pastry programs at James Beard Foundation recognized restaurants La Boca and the Compound. She’s also worked at Mama’s Fish House in Maui and Scottsdale’s Roka Akor and Hotel Valley Ho.

Tempe native Robles takes over as General Manager running daily operations and administration. Starting her career in the hospitality industry at 17 she’s dedicated her career to to customer satisfaction and enjoyment. Her experience in psychology, finance and event planning give her know how to continue to keep customers happy. Customers will notice her creative cocktails, menu pairings and attention to detail in the dining room. She’s worked for more than 10 years in in several roles in high-end lounge, club and bar settings around town.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Suite in Tempe. For more information visit 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.

Start 2021 off celebrating National Bloody Mary Day

New Year’s Day lands on a Friday in 2021 so nobody is in a hurry to get back to work so continue celebrating the New Year with a Bloody Mary. U.S. Egg, Pedal Haus Brewery, Angry Crab Shack, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Twin Peaks are all celebrating the A.M. cocktail favorite. Signature Bloody Marys are shaking up your morning as you get ready for what 2021 has in store.

Restaurants continue open new locations around the valley.

Not only is Dog Haus opening a new location but so are Z’ Tejas, Angry Crab Shack & Thai Chili 2 Go. The popular Southwestern & Mexican cuisine restaurant is opening a new lakeside restaurant in February at Scottsdale’s Mercado de Lago on Hayden Rd. at Via de Ventura. Angry Crab Shack has already started serving seafood and its popular Seafood Boils at its 12th Arizona location in Laveen. Thai Chili 2 Go is opening its 11th quick casual restaurant in Gilbert on December 30th.

Still time to order take-out or make a reservation for NYE.

Restaurants continue to take reservations and planning for take-out food as we say good bye to 2020. This updated list has restaurants around the valley serving up your last meal of 2020.

Restaurants continue to give and give in the holiday season.

In November Dominick’s Steak House, Ocean 44 and Steak 44 raised over $64,000 for local charities. Make A-Wish Foundation Arizona, PANDA and The Phoenix Heart Ball/ American Heart Association will benefit from the money raised.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has raised over $110,000 in 2020 for No Kid Hungry through its fundraising initiatives. May 2021 be as generous to the local community from Phoenix restaurants.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen brings honkytonk to Old Town

Old Town Scottsdale went a little bit country last month when honkytonk themed Belle’s Nashville Kitchen swung its doors opened. Comfort food classics with a Nashville twist are served day and night from award-winning Chef Samantha Robert’s kitchen.

Longtime Scottsdale residents may remember the building its housed in, the popular Lulu Belle’s, the Gay 1890’s themed restaurant and bar in the 1960s- 90s. The back bar still remains from its original use as owner Mike Haley wanted to celebrate the buildings history and kept the part of the name as a reminder along with the bar and front striped facade. Much of the wood is re-claimed from Haley’s patio at his home in California. It wouldn’t be a honkytonk without live music and dancing that is being phased in with local musicians. Guitars line the back wall as do wagon wheels on the walls opposite the bar.

Chef Roberts previously developed menus for Scottsdale’s Riot Hospitality Group (El Hefe, Riot House & Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row) where she won the 2017 Foodist Award for “Best Chef”. The menu includes Nashville favorites Kool-Aid Pickles, a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich, Honkytonk Fries and Jambalaya. Other favorites include a Poke board and Mac n Cheese Sandwich. Don’t miss out on Pig Candy, thick cut bacon candied in-house and topped with Pralines. Weekend brunch is served with Hot Chicken French Toast, Belle’s Biscuits and Gravy and Cowboy Breakfast.

Whiskey and bourbon signature cocktails including the Cold Brew Old Fashioned, The Pal Manhattan are served as are other classic cocktails.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen is at 7212 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. Their open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Friday til 2 a.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information visit their website.

Around the valley restaurants serve Christmas & New Year’s Eve meals

Restaurants around the valley are getting ready to give 2020 one last “f**k you” as they prepare the last meals of the year. Christmas (Xmas) and New Year’s Eve (NYE) menus are planned and restaurants are taking reservations and orders for dining in or taking out for your holiday dining. These restaurants are doing the cooking for you but you need to get your reservations or orders in soon before it’s too late.

The Roaring Fork– Scottsdale- NYE – Dine-in 12/31

The Boulders Resort & Spa- Grill Kitchen- Carefree (Xmas & NYE)– Dine-in on 12/25 and 12/31. Take-out on 12/25

Miracle Mile Deli– Central Phoenix (Xmas)- Take-out order by 12/22 for pick-up on 12/24.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen– Scottsdale (NYE)- Dine-in 12/31

Vicino’s Local Italian– Scottsdale-(NYE)– 12/31 Dine-in

Peacock Wine Bar– Gilbert- (NYE)- Take-out order by 12/29, for pick-up 12/31.

Trapp Haus BBQDowntown Phoenix – (Xmas Eve & NYE) Take-out, pick up on 12/24 & 12/31.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe– Gilbert- (NYE)- 12/31 Dine-in.

PHX Beer Co.- Scottsdale- (NYE)- Dine-in or take-out on 12/31 and 1/1/21.

The Thumb– North Scottsdale (Xmas Eve)- For pick-up on 12/24

T. Cook’s at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa – Phoenix (Xmas & NYE) -Dine-in 12/25 and 12/31.

Marcellino Ristorante– Scottsdale– (Xmas & NYE) Order by 12/22 pick-up 12/23. Dine- in 12/31

Match Market & Bar– Downtown Phoenix (Xmas)- Dine-in 12/25, take-out order by 12/19 pick up 12/24.

SanTan Brewing Co.– Chandler & Phoenix (NYE)– 12/31 Dine-in & take-out.

Hotel Valley Ho– Old Town Scottsdale (Xmas)– Dine-in 12/25, take-out order by 12/21.

Fleming’s Prime SteakhouseGlendale, Chandler, Scottsdale & DC Ranch – (XMas Eve & NYE) – Take-out 24 hour notice. Dine- in 12/24 & 12/31.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa– Paradise Valley(Xmas) & (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/25 and 12/31.

Rusconi’s American Kitchen– Phoenix/Paradise Valley (Xmas Eve) & (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/24 and 12/31.

The Craftsman Cocktails & Kitchen– North Scottsdale (NYE)– Dine-in 12/31

Aioli Gourmet Burgers– Phoenix (Xmas) – Order by 12/17 pick-up or delivery on 12/23.

Cowboy Club– Sedona (NYE) – Dine-in on 12/31

Phoenix City Grille– Central Phoenix (Xmas) – Order by 12/18 pick -up 12/24

Taphouse Kitchen– Phoenix & Scottsdale (Xmas Eve) – Dine-in on 12/24

Liberty Station Tavern- Scottsdale (DC Ranch & Terravita)(Xmas) – Order by 12/20 for pick-up 12/24.

 

 

Ofrenda brings Latin influenced cuisine and art to Cave Creek

Two creative minds in the Valley’s food scene have partnered to bring Cave Creek a restaurant like no other. Michael Stone and Carlos Marquez opened Ofrenda last week in the Stagecoach Village’s spot that was Marquez’s former Indigo Crow restaurant. In Spanish “ofrenda” means “offering” and that restaurant is inspired by the Aztec tradition where families build altars to loved ones and their eternal souls.

Stone owner of central Phoenix’s Taco Guild has wanted to partner with Marquez for some time. “After several conversations we came to a decision,” Stone said. “Both Carlos and I experienced some recent tragic losses in our lives, and then the pandemic. We decided to change the concept to something more meaningful; something that reflects our intent and feeling for the brands we create.

Throughout the two-story restaurant guests will experience not only Latin cuisine but also art in various forms around the restaurant. A focal point is metal marigold at the entrance and the “Dia des Muertos”, Day of the Dead caricatures donning windows and statues inside and out.

The foods and tequilas of Ofrenda

Marquez not only created the menu but also did much of the work around the restaurant transforming from one to another. In the kitchen he’s created a menu of salads, appetizers, tacos and entrees. Pork Empanadas and a Carbon Board of pepita hummus, carbon grilled vegetables, fried hominy, guacamole and fresh tortillas. He prepares carne asada, duck, lobster and shell on crab for taco offerings.

Entrees include a Tomahawk steak and Huarache Nopales (grilled nopales, fried blue corn masa, black beans, vegan cheese, pea tendrils, and huitlacoche); Carne (house-marinated sirloin steak, black bean puree, ash-roasted papas, and rojo).

The pair will have the largest selection of Agave liquors and are well on their way with several hundred under lock and key in the Agave Library upstairs. The gate securing the agave was built by Marquez. Signature cocktails, Mexican wines and draft beers were created and selected by beverage director Luke Detraz.

“Michael and I wanted to create this as a way to honor loved ones and those we still hold dear, whether they are close to us or far away,” Marquez said.” Ofrenda celebrates life and all those who have touched us profoundly. It’s a place to make new memories while cherishing loved ones far and near.”

Ofrenda is at 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek 85331. (480)488-2187. For more information visit their website. Open daily at 3 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. at 11 a.m. for brunch.

Mr. Mesquite Taqueria to open 1st drive thru location

Local fast casual Mr. Mesquite Taqueria opens its 8th location on Saturday December 12th in Gilbert. It will be the first drive thru for the fast expanding concept founded by brothers Naser and Ahmad Alatrash in 2015 as a walk-up taco stand in Scottsdale’s Entertainment District. Since then they’ve expanded around the Phoenix area and have a location in Illinois.

Their “authentic meets modern” Mexican street food is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Meats for their burritos, tacos & quesadillas are grilled over a mesquite charcoal fire gives the meat a fresh smoky smell you notice once you walk in. The menu is simple offering chicken and steak for its popular dishes that are made to order with toppings customers choose. 1, 2, and 3 pound family meals are available with meats, sides and tortillas.

The first 250 guests on Saturday will get free tacos for 6 months. Mr. Mesquite Taqueria have partnered with Academic Opportunity of Arizona for the month December for their toy drive “Toys for Tacos”. Drop off clothes, toys, supplies (make-up, hair products, sewing kits, bedding), sports equipment, games and electronics to any location to get a free taco at the time of drop off.

To find a location near you visit their website.