Chef Derek Upton goes from drumming to cooking with cannabis

When I caught up with chef Derek Upton for lunch recently I was surprised our paths hadn’t crossed before with our mutual interest in food, cannabis and the local restaurant community. Spending over an hour speaking with him about everything from food, cannabis & CBD, music and cell phones I realized we will be hearing more from him in the future.

Growing up in Fresno, Derek took to drumming at an early age at church. He didn’t think it would take him around the world playing for national acts, into the recording studio or playing his last gig at the American Music Awards. When life on the road began to take its toll he went to pursue a second act as a chef. Growing up in an Italian Portuguese family helping to cook meals at home he knew what he wanted to be back in the kitchen.

He wound up in Phoenix after touring with Scoti Slate and returned after attending The Institute of Technology in Clovis in 2012 and 2013 where he studied culinary arts and the business side of the restaurant industry. Derek made a name for himself in Phoenix working at Evo, Cafe Monarch, Original Gravity, The Windsor, Beckett’s Table and most recently The Breadfruit. He’s been the private chef to celebrities David Spade, Henry Rollins, Michael Rapaport and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

chef Derek Upton
Lamb dish from “Cooked with Cannbis”

Derek Upton cooks with cannabis

Educating himself on the benefits of cannabis and CBD became personal. It’s changed his life and ignited his passion for it as he once weighed over 500 lbs. He’s dropped over 150 lbs. since his journey started and wants to lose 150 more. As cannabis becomes legalized around the country Derek found that cooking with cannabis is what he wanted to do.  Cannabis is more than the psychoactive THC that many associate with the plant and he’s looking to redefine the stereotype. Educating others of its health benefits in cooking and telling his story is how he’s going about it.

Using Instagram and other social media platforms, Derek parlayed his use of cannabis in cooking and being hired for private cannabis dinner parties to opportunities on TV. His recent appearance on Netflix’s “Cooked with Cannabis” was the start of another chapter in his life. Unlike most chefs who aspire of owning their own restaurant Derek wants to continue to cooking for others in a private setting and producing cooking shows and videos. Although cooking with cannabis is his specialty he does cook without it as well. Our lunch fell between conference calls where he’s discussing media and ambassador opportunities for the next phase of his career.

He does a lot behind the scenes connecting cannabis related businesses to one another to help move the cause forward. He’s currently filming his own TV show “Stay Hungry” and is on Instagram and Facebook at Chef Derek Upton.

 

Lumberjack’s Taco Shack on Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout

Four year old Lumberjack’s Taco Shack has taken to the streets and heading to your TV. Owner Cash Murphy rolled out of his taco shack in Tempe into a food truck in recent weeks and tonight he’s featured on the Food Network’s “Supermarket Stakeout”.

There will be a viewing party for tonight’s episode at Club Red in Mesa with Lumberjack’s Taco Shack food truck. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. running until 11:30 with the episode airing at 10. Large screens inside Club Red are set up and the bar is open with social distancing. Get your tacos while you can because Murphy heads to Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin for the summer before returning to Arizona in October.

During the recent pandemic Murphy loaded up his food truck with an ice cream PA on it announcing his arrival in the neighborhoods selling his tacos. He has several Facebook pages and Youtube channels featuring his cooking. On his Cooking with Cash channel and page he teaches people how to cook at home on a limited budget, PANdemic- Recipes for Quarantine. The videos have been very popular and he hopes tonight’s appearance will continue to spread the word of his award-winning tacos.

To taste the tacos and view Supermarket Stakeout tonight visit Club Red at 1360 W. University Dr. Mesa 85201.

 

Farm fresh produce available from Castle Hot Springs

The historic Castle Hot Springs is closed until September 3rd 2020 but has plenty of farm fresh produce grown on site. What do they do with it, they box it up and sell it with all proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul. Resident Agronomist Ian Beger grows over 150 seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs on their one acre farm.

Subscription boxes start at $25/week for the “Just Greens” (1lb. of lettuce greens and one 8oz clamshell of Micro-Greens) package. For $75/week the “Farmers Pick” includes Just Greens + farmers pick of the best root vegetables, culinary herbs, tomatoes, fruit, specialty vegetables and edible flowers. The “Executive” option is $250/ week and consists of includes greens, vegetables, herbs, tomatoes, fruit, edible flowers, coffee beans, preserves, seeds for your garden, recipes for produce, and a bunch of farm-fresh flowers.

Christopher Brugman and Ian Beger

Subscribers will be contacted the week of for payment and can pick up their boxes every Friday at 6926 E. Main Street, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 or at the resort.

For more information or to order your box head to their website.

Local restaurants re-opening for takeout and delivery

While many local restaurants switched gears to pick-up, delivery and even selling groceries last month many shut down to assess the situation. Several of those that shut down are re-opening this week for pick-up and delivery. While it’s still unknown about the future of restaurants Gov. Ducey will meet with restaurants and the Arizona Restaurant Association in coming weeks to set a plan for re-opening dining rooms. These local restaurants have re-opened this week for takeout.

Hand Cut Chop House has re-opened with touchless takeout, curbside pick-up and free delivery from Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates & Grubhub. A limited menu of food and drinks are available daily from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Place an order by calling 480-494-2008. 7135 East Camelback Road #154 Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Gilbert is offering a limited menu of a la carte offerings and family meals. Off the menu customers can choose from appetizers, salads, sliders, entrees and dessert. Larger portioned family meals of a Whole Chicken Meal, a All American Burger Meal and Three Cheese Mac & Cheese feed 4 – 8 people. Bottles of wine & liquor, cocktails & cocktail kits and growlers of beer are also available to go. You can order online or by calling (480) 476-8595. Pick up is available as is free delivery from Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub and Postmates. The other locations will open at a later date. 323 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert 85234.

Little Miss BBQ‘s Sunnyslope location is testing drive thru pick up of limited amount of sandwiches and Green Chile Burritos today & Saturday. All orders must be placed online for pick up from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. No walk up and no delivery. 8901 N 7th St Phoenix, AZ 85020.

Comedor Guadalajara south of downtown Phoenix is back open for takeout. They have set up a drive thru in the parking lot. Phone orders are recommended and they ask if the line is busy please try calling back. 1830 S. Central Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85004. 602-253-8299

MIXT opened in March and quickly shut down has re-opened at Scottsdale Quarter. The fast casual farm to table restaurant offer salads, protein bowls, Kombucha, sandwiches and more. Hours are daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. 15125 N Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Osteria Mia opened this week for takeout in north Phoenix. Pizza, homemade pasta and more Italian delights. 2530 W Happy Valley Rd Phoenix AZ, 85085.  623-434-4604

Pedal Haus Brewery re-opened its Tempe and Chandler brew pubs this week. A full menu along with award winning cocktails and beers are available to go. Food & drink specials are also offered daily. The Tempe location at 730 S. Mill Ave. #102, Tempe 85281 is open Wednesday & Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Chandler location at 95 W Boston St., Chandler is open Wednesday & Thursday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kawaii Sushi in Glendale is open, their Peoria location is temporarily closed. 6530 W. Happy Valley Road, Suite 112 Glendale, AZ 85310 (623)566-3888

Bottega Pizzeria Ristorante will open on May 5th for takeout. 19420 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308. 623-777-1868

 

 

 

TasteMakers Marketplace sells local products from Sphinx Date Co.

Scottsdale’s Sphinx Date Co. is looking to regain sales lost due to closing mandates of the Covid-19 virus in March. Customers can purchase local goods at their location, website and at the new online TasteMakers Marketplace. The local retailer is a go-to place for dates, Arizona sourced foods, ingredients and wines.

“We could not be more excited to be included in the launch of the TasteMakers site,” says Rebecca Seitz, co-owner of Sphinx Date Co. “With all the changes and restrictions that have taken place over the course of just the last 30 days or so, this avenue could give us a boost of new consumers we need right now to help save our business.”

TasteMakers Marketplace was created as a way for artisan producers and small businesses to connect with people around the country. Date gifts and bulk date items are available on the site with all of Sphinx’s products available on their website. Their retail location is at 3039 North Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85251.

“Feed the Heroes” provides healthcare workers free meals from Brat Haus

Old town Scottsdale’s Brat Haus has delivered over 1,500 meals to healthcare workers at HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in the last 2 weeks. “Feed the Heroes” was launched by owner Dave Andrea to relieve stress of healthcare workers treating patients with Covid 19. The hospital is only a short walk from the popular beer garden and scratch kitchen and each day employees bring 150 meals to the hospital.

“These incredible people are risking their lives daily in order to help others,” said Andrea. “It’s been really gratifying to make even the smallest difference for them. Now is the time to make sure that they are being taken care of too.”

To help support the “Feed the Heroes” Brat Haus re-opened with limited hours on Tuesday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 – 5 p.m. The limited menu offers their signature brats, burgers and pretzels. You’ll probably want some beers so help “Drain the Taps” by having your 64 oz. growler filled for only $10. Beer sales also go towards feeding the healthcare workers.

Several of Brat Haus’s vendors have contributed products and money to the “Feed the Heroes” program. Vendors include Denmark Food, Capistrano Bakery, Waterloo Sparkling Water and Crescent Crown Distributing. “As long as the community continues to visit our curbside pick-up and take advantage of the great beer special, we’ll keep feeding the first responders and health care workers that we’re counting on to get us through this pandemic,” said Andrea.

Brat Haus is at 3622 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 85251. 480-947-4006

The Vegan Taste hires “The Nutrition Doctor” PK Newby

In an effort to make its healthy food healthier, meal delivery service The Vegan Taste has hired nutritionist PK Newby. Owner Jason Wyrick started The Vegan Taste in 2006 to deliver artisan, healthy vegan meals to subscribers doorstep. Newby and Wyrick will work together to make sure meals use the right balance of ingredients for optimal nutrition. Wyrick is also owner the Glendale vegan restaurant, Casa Terra.

Wyrick says, “Creating flavorful, good-for-you meals has always been our focus at The Vegan Taste. However, with the increased emphasis on maintaining excellent health and immune support, we wanted to add another layer of reassurance for our subscribers. Now, with PK’s help, our meals feature the most immunity boosting ingredients possible.”

Newby has over 25 years of experience researching diet related diseases and studies how peoples food choices have an effect on the environment and teaches why what we eat matters. She is also an author with her latest book “Food and Nutrition: What Everyone Needs to Know.” and adjunct professor at Harvard.

Offerings at The Vegan Taste

The menu at The Vegan Taste changes weekly and can be made gluten free, oil free & soy free by request. Sample menus have included Enchiladas Suizas with creamy salsa verde, CT cheese, beans, and market veggies; Thai Peanut Noodles with carrots, cabbage, green onions, and tofu; Barbacoa Tacos with smoked mushrooms, black beans, queso fresco, and pineapple pico; Tikka Masala with carrots, cauliflower, red peppers, and tofu; Turkish Lentil Soup with potatoes, tahini sauce, sumac, and fresh herbs; and Meatball Grinders with zucchini and ground sausage in a fire roasted tomato sauce.

The meal delivery service is offering new customers 20% off meals for 8 weeks with a 6- meal package for $65. 46 and 12 meals for $109.10. Because the meals are being at the cost The Vegan Taste pays for ingredients no profit is being made. Prices include tax and free delivery valley wide. Subscribers can purchase addition meals to be donated to first responders and healthcare workers. For more information or to subscribe visit their website.

A virtual bao & dumpling food festival is happening

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.

 

Arizona Restaurant Association responds with Arizona Takeout Week

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 takeout@azrestaurant.org

Federal Pizza
Rusconi’s American Kitchen
Phoenix City Grille
Jewell’s Bakery and Café
Pita Jungle
Little Woody
Wildflower Tucson
S&V Urban Italian
Blanco

Koibito Poke
Liberty Station
Provision
Trapp Haus BBQ
Original Breakfast House
Urban Margarita

Governor shuts restaurants & bars leaving them to offer take out & delivery

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey closed restaurants and bars that were still offering their customers the option to dine in. Many restaurants had voluntarily closed their dining rooms but continued to prepare meals for delivery or pick-up. If restaurants want to continue serving customers it will only be for take-out or delivery going forward. Many restaurant owners have had to make one of the toughest decisions of their life and lay off staff.

Governor Ducey is allowing restaurants that served wine or beer in their restaurant to sell packaged goods so customers can take with them.

Continuing to #supportlocal is very important so this post will add more restaurants preparing food for pick-up or delivery. See my previous post for other Phoenix area restaurants still serving. This post will be updated daily.

Los SombrerosThe Scottsdale location is serving curbside take out with favorites on a limited menu and a drive thru menu of tacos, sides and more. Meal kits and groceries to go also available. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of their famous Steve-O-Rita margarita to wash down lunch or dinner. 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. 2534 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. (480) 994-1799

Mastro’s City Hall, Ocean Club & Steakhouse Full menus to go with 10% discount and family dinners home steak kits with 28 day aged steaks and more for 2 or 4 people.

Liberty Market- Gilbert’s popular restaurant is doing breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches, burgers, coffee and more to go. They will also be selling ingredients such as tomato sauce, pancake mix and more so you can make at home. DoorDash & Postmates for delivery in addition to pick up. Accepting only credit cards. 11 a.m – 7 p.m. 230 North Gilbert Road Gilbert. 480-892-1900

Padre Murphy’s- Wed. – Sun. from 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. limited menu of wings, Caesar Salad, Sandwich, canned beer, craft beer & margarita crowlers and Fish Frydays available for curbside pick-up when calling 602-547-9406. credit cards only. 4338 W. Bell Rd. Glendale 85308.

Queen Creek Olive Mill storesQueen Creek (480-400-2302) & Kierland Commons (480-361-9860) stores stocked with groceries, bread, meals to go, eggs, pasta, cleaning supplies & home goods and more from local suppliers.

Jewel’s Cafe– at Thomas & 40th St. is open for take-out & delivery. They are also providing a lot of support for out of work hospitality workers too. To place an order call (602) 714-5243. Located at 4041 E Thomas Rd. Phoenix 85018.

That Place Projects- Flagstaff’s Tinderbox Kitchen and All Day Tourist Cafe are offering pick-up and delivery for their menu items.

Inner Circle Cafe– The south Scottsdale serves coffee, breakfast and lunch and will continue to do so with take-out & delivery.

Hot Noodles Cold Sake in north Scottsdale is open for takeout, now serving beer and sake for takeout. Grubhub, Postmates, and by calling 480-432-9898

Sol Cocinais offering $10 off orders of $35 or more for pick-up. Only for phone & walk in orders, must mention offer. No delivery or online ordering.

Original Breakfast House– is open for take-out (no delivery) and doing a To Go BBQ on Sat. 3/21 to raise money for staff from 7am-12pm.

Hot Bamboo– Recently opened in Chandler, this Asian street food favorite is offering frozen Bao and other dishes for curbside pick-up & take-out.

Beckett’s Table -The Arcadia restaurant is serving its dinner menu to go and can sell you bottles of wine to go with it. Call 602-954-1700 to place an order for curbside pickup. Postmates will deliver too!

Southern Rail– Southern food & wine in the comfort of your own home. Call 602-200-0085 to place an order for curbside pickup. Postmates will deliver too!

Craft 64 Chandler– is offering curbside & to go orders of pizza, wine & more.

Frasher’s Tavern– Old town’s newest restaurant is offering their full menu for pick-up for guests who wish to dine at home. Please call (480) 429-9545 to place your order. Local delivery available too.

92nd St CafeFull menu is available for pick-up, as well as a wide variety of bottles of domestic beer, wine, and liquor. Give them a call at 480-860-4003 to place your order.

Copper Mule– The north Scottsdale restaurant had a modified menu for pick up or delivery along with wine to go specials. To order call 480-573-6853.

Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria- Available for to-go food orders and wine by the bottle. Dining room and bar closed to the public until further notice. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily. 1001 N. Main St., Cottonwood AZ 86326

Merkin Vineyards Pizza WagonServing the public for walk-up service in Old Town Cottonwood at the corner of Main St. and E Pinal. Hours: Noon to 8 p.m., daily

Merkin Vineyards Old Town ScottsdaleAvailable for to-go food orders and wine by the bottle. The dining room and bar are closed to the public until further notice. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily. 7133 E. Stetson Dr. #4, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards Tasting RoomAvailable for wine by the bottle to-go sales. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. 158 Main St., Jerome, AZ 86331

The Thumb– Limited menu for Drive-Thru BBQ & catered delivery(48 hour notice for catering call (602) 686 1629 or email catering@thethumb.com) from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Call ahead at (480)513-8186.  9393 E. Bell Rd. Scottsdale 85255.

24 Carrots CafeVegan meals can be pre-ordered family style for pick-up Sunday, Wednesday & Friday’s. Each meal feeds 4-6 people and menus are posted on their Facebook page and ordering can be done at their on-line store. Check their other social media platforms for specials and more. Meals can be picked up or delivered through Postmates Grubhub & DoorDash. 1701 E Guadalupe Rd. Tempe, Arizona 85283.