Saturday May 1st brings the return of The Kentucky Derby and in Phoenix that means the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub at Turf Paradise. After 2020 cancelled the Spring event and moved to an audience-less September running of the ponies guests are welcome back to sip on Mint Juleps, dress up and bet on your favorite horses. The 2021 Derby DayClub will have 3 separate viewing areas all with limited capacity and following CDC protocols.
Reserving a seat and tickets
Reserve a table in the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge air-cooled tent close to the finish line. Betting terminals, a no-host bar serving Mint Juleps, champagne & cocktails and 65″ TVs are all close to food trucks and refreshments. Tables start at $250 for 2 and up to tables of 8 for $1000. Some packages offer complimentary champagne and food.
The Ketel One Botanical Garden offers an open air tent closer to the finish line further back off the track. Tables include a bucket of Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz Seltzers and access to betting terminals and more. Tables of 4 start at $275 and up to $400 for front row seating.
The new VIP Winner’s Circle covered tent and offers the best view of the finish line. Guest in the Winner’s Circle have access to the other tents and comes with a complimentary Mint Julep, French Fry Bar, large screen TVs, access to betting terminals & food trucks and a no-host bar. Tables of 4 start at $750 and up to 8 for $1,600. All tables include a complimentary bottle of Veuve Cliquot or Chandon Champagne.
General Admission to the DayClub are $30 until April 15th, $35 after the 15th and $40 at the door. General Admission does not include a reserved seat. All ticket can be purchased and more information found at their website. Gates open at 10:45 a.m., Turf Paradise live racing at 11:30 a.m. and the Derby broadcasted live at 4:05 p.m.
More than a dozen chefs from around the country will be making their way to Phoenix to launch the first Big Boy Cook Club event. Get your tickets now for the Sunday April 25th event at central Phoenix’s Ocotillo Restaurant. Chef Aaron May will be hosting the party that will limit attendance to adhere to CDC guidelines.
“Big Boy Cook Club is a brand I have been developing for years, and what better place to launch it, than with a fun, casual food event in my own hometown” says Chef Aaron May. The Big Boy Cook Club brand is about the sincere about cooking and taste for food enthusiasts, not foodies and the camera.
Celebrity chefs cooking up delicious, no always photo friendly eats include Aron Sanchez, Todd English, Elsie Eats, Akira Back and Ocotillo’s own Walt Sterling. Jacob Cutino of locally owned Cutino Sauces will announce details of his new monthly “throw back” sauce event. He’ll also be working with each chef helping to pair his sauces with each chef’s dish.
Local mixologist Casey Wallin will be mixing up creative cocktails for the event with beer and wine available as well. DJ for the Miami Heat and surprise guests will be spinning the tunes to keep the crowd moving. A cigar roller, photo booth and spirit sampling will be just a few of the additional activities happening during the 5 hour event. Operation BBQ Relief will be the benefactor of money raised during the event.
The party goes from 2 – 7 p.m. with tickets on sale now at Eventbrite. Tickets are $100 with VIP tickets $200 and the Big Boy Package for $1,000. Ocotillo Restaurant is at 3243 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85012.
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.
The city of Scottsdale approved safety measures for the 2020 Stella Artois Polo Classic scheduled for Saturday November 7th at Westworld. In addition to the safety measures being taken, this year’s event will include the Morehouse College Polo Team vs. Women’s All-Stars playing in the final match and a concert by Roger Clyne after the match. Morehouse College is a private historically black men’s college in Atlanta and where Martin Luther King Jr. attended
Attendees will notice the popular tents are now open air with umbrellas & lattice fences and safety measures include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing & enforcement team, hand sanitizer stations and temperature checks. Gates open at 10:45 a.m. with the first match between the Arizona Polo Club & Denver Polo Club at 11:30 a.m. Between matches enjoy The World’s “Longest” Fashion Show, Canine Coture, A Dog Fashion Show Like No Other and of course, people watching.
“From the exciting new match-ups, to the charity endeavors to a new site plan with extensive seating options, 2020 will certainly be a year like no other and gives people looking to get outside and enjoy sports a new way of viewing a sporting event while staying distanced,” said Jason Rose, co-founder and co-owner of the event. After the matches end adjacent to the polo field, rock legend Roger Clyne will perform live. Tickets to the concert can be purchased separately
. A schedule of events, tickets and more information can be found at http://thepoloparty.com/
Many daily activities and special events have gone virtual in the last few weeks with the social distancing of the coronavirus. The organizers of the Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival are in the process of re-scheduling the festival to the Fall and are organizing 2 virtual online parties. The Bao & Dumpling Online Party’s are scheduled on Facebook for Saturday April 25th and May 23rd. The online parties were created to the spirit of the festival alive while showing the diversity of the food.
The FREE parties start at 6 p.m. and invites foodies to share homemade bao & dumpling photos and socialize with foodies. They’ve also put together a resource guide full of recipes, different types of bao and dumplings, pictures and a directory of local restaurants doing bao & dumpling for takeout.
For a chance to win tickets to the re-scheduled festival, join the party by clicking on the Facebook link above and to get the Resource Guide click on this link. Tickets are still on sale for the festival and can be transferred to the new date when it’s been confirmed.
In a response to closing all restaurants ordered by Governor Ducey to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the Arizona Restaurant Association announces the start of an ongoing Arizona Takeout Week. Effective today restaurants can only serve food for takeout and delivery along with beer & wine. Some restaurants had already closed their dining rooms to focus on takeout and delivery.
The ARA thought up the idea as they organize the popular bi-annual Arizona Restaurant Week.
“We appreciate and thank Governor Ducey for his efforts in working with the restaurant industry to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus,” says Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “The Arizona restaurant family appreciates his work and that of all elected leaders in our state during this unparalleled time in our history.”
There are more than 200,000 jobs in the restaurant industry in Arizona and with locals ordering take out it’s the only way these restaurants can stay in business.
“At the end of the day, we are the industry of ‘happy’ — that is what the hospitality industry represents. We hope to bring a bit of happiness to Arizonans during this extremely difficult time through Arizona Takeout Week while keeping our employees and restaurants afloat,” Chucri says.
I’ve have 2 posts about restaurants around Arizona who are serving food and wine for takeout. Below are additional restaurants serving takeout meals around Arizona. For more information visit the Arizona Restaurant Association website and for any restaurants looking to participate in Arizona Takeout Week email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Phoenix City Grille
Jewell’s Bakery and Café
S&V Urban Italian
Trapp Haus BBQ
Original Breakfast House
Update: Postponed, no new date set.
As culinary events and food festivals get postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus a new festival is moving forward as planned. The first ever Rib Fest Showdown debuts April 25th & 26th 2020 in Surprise at Mark Coronado Park. The Throwdown pits Kansas City vs. Texas pitmasters to see who makes the best smokes meats. With the aroma of burning wood in the air festival goers will taste ribs and other smoked meats.
The city of Surprise was chosen as co-host of the event as it’s the Spring Training home of both Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals & Texas Rangers.
“We are thrilled to partner with the City of Surprise to launch this exciting event,” said Landon Evans owner of HDE Agency. “Supporting the economic growth and working together to build a cornerstone event for the city that will come to be recognized as an annual program is both rewarding and awesome.”
LDE Agency is also producing the KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival on March 28th in Chandler and is taking every per-caution to make sure both festivals are safe, clean and happen as planned.
The family friendly festival also features a ‘Battle of the Bands” with local and national performers, a kid’s zone, food eating contests and more.
The Rib Fest Showdown goes from 12 – 10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are on sale with 2 for $16, 4 for $30 or 6 for $40. Walk -up tickets the day of will be $10 each. VIP tickets and a Stay & Play overnight packages are available. A portion of the proceeds from the Rib Fest Throwdown will be donated to Mighty Change of Heart, a local non-profit that provides support for foster children.
Wineries from around the world will be represented when the 3rd annual Uncorked: AZ wine festival makes its way back to Salt River Fields, Saturday April 18th 2020. The national tour brings over 40 wineries pouring more than 100 wines to town along with local gourmet food trucks serving wine friendly sweet and savory dishes. Dueling pianos and other entertainment will make for a fun evening with friends under the stars.
A few wineries in attendance include Chronic Cellars, Etude, Smith & Perry and K Vintners. Food trucks include Cousins Maine Lobster, Re Di Roma, Wok Sticks and Seoul Good and more.
Uncorked: AZ is a 21 and over (no babies) event and goes from 7 – 10 p.m. VIP tickets ($70) allow early access with shorter lines at 6 p.m. General Admission are $55. Admission includes unlimited wine tastings but food will be sold separately. No pets and no refunds. For more information and to purchase tickets check out their website.
Part of the proceeds will benefit local non profit Cortney’s Place which strives to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities.
If you score a reservation for the 13th year of Arizona Restaurant Week you’ll be lucky you did as its one of the most popular culinary events on the Arizona food scene. Spring 2020 ARW starts Friday May 15th until Sunday May 24th where foodies can try new dishes at favorite restaurants or visit a new restaurant. Over 40 restaurants have signed to date with 7 restaurants making their debut on the list.
Twice a year (Save the date Sept. 18th- 27th 2020) the Arizona Restaurant Association hosts ARW to showcase chefs and culinary accomplishments of restaurants big or small. Each restaurant prepares a 3 or 4 course menu exclusively for the week for only $33 or $44. Several restaurants include wine or cocktail pairings for an up charge.
Returning and new restaurants
New to this year’s line- up include….Josephine, Sel, Meritage Urban Tavern, The Dressing Room, House Brasserie & Tuck Shop Kitchen and Bar. They join those returning ….Los Sombreros, Alexi’s Grill, Arrowhead Grill, Salty Sow, Urban Margarita & ZuZu Restaurant to name few.
“We are so proud that Arizona Restaurant Week continues to be such as a popular and well-attended event that our locals and out of town visitors look forward to each Spring and Fall,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “ It is our privilege to have a hand in bringing Arizona’s culinary excellence to the forefront for 10 delicious days and to give our local restaurants a platform to present some unique and creative dishes that aren’t always offered on their daily menus. We feel this gives chefs a chance to really showcase their creativity in new ways.”
To see the full list of restaurants visit the Arizona Restaurant Week website. The list is being updated daily and menus will be uploaded once finalized.
Downtown Camp Verde is getting ready for people of all ages for the 20th annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival co-hosted by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the town on Saturday and Sunday March 21st & 22nd. The festival draws people from around Arizona that will feature 15 local wineries along with a variety of pecans. Festival goers can enter a Pecan pie eating contest, enjoy a cold beer in the beer garden, dance to live music, visit local artists and purchase food from local food trucks. It’s one of the festivals coming up that feature Arizona wines.
“What started as a great way to celebrate two local products of the region has turned into an annual tradition that now draws thousands of attendees to our town,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “We now have more wineries than ever, our famous Pecan Pie contest, live music throughout each day and more food and craft vendors – which means we are also expecting our biggest crowds in the festival’s 20-year history.”
A few of the wineries pouring wine include Burning Tree Cellars, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Page Spring Cellars. The festival is FREE for all ages to attend but those looking to taste wine need to purchase tickets. Early bird tickets are $20 on-line and $25 at the door. Included are a commemorative glass and 6 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased.
Saturday the festival goes from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 75 E. Hollamon St. Camp Verde 86322. For more information visit their website.