Cannabis dispensary, The Mint is holding a cannabis infused recipe contest

Arizona largest cannabis dispensary, The Mint is holding a contest to find the best cannabis infused recipe. Through June 30th, Arizona card holders 21 years of age and older are encouraged to submit their creations. The winning recipe will be featured in The Mint’s kitchen to join other menu items for to-go orders. Cannabis infused foods with less sugar help people battling everything from cancer & epilepsy to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Entrants need to their share recipe, idea or creation along with the proposed name, key ingredients and description. 10 finalists will be judged by a panel of chefs by July 1st and a grand prize winner will be announced on July 10th which is when the industry celebrates cannabis concentrates and extracts. The winner will also have their recipe in a cannabis infused cookbook to be released in August. The winner will receive $2,500 in cash and a $2,500 donation to a food bank in their name. Sales of the cookbook will also be donated to food banks who have been struggling to feed people the last few months.cannabisRecipe submissions are being accepted until 11:59 p.m. June 30th 2020 and can be sent to Recipes@TheMintDispensary.com. The Mint has a dispensary in Mesa and Guadalupe with a third planned to open this year in north Phoenix.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Let Chompie’s cook your home bound Passover and Easter feast

Holidays Passover and Easter don’t get cancelled because of the coronavirus, just with no large gatherings of celebration and cheer. In home traditions and meals will still be enjoyed with family and that means cooking a small feast. All 7 Chompie’s locations are preparing meal packages for delivery and pick up for the week long Passover from April 8th – 16th and Easter Sunday on the 12th. Below are several meal packages with pick up & delivery options for both holidays.

The following Passover Meal Box options are available via Door Dash Delivery only (not for takeout or curbside):

Turkey Dinner with Matzo Stuffing including roasted potatoes, home style green beans, a pint of matzo ball soup and three macaroons, $25.99

Brisket Dinner with a potato pancakehome style green beans, a pint of matzo ball soup and three macaroons, $25.99

Pre-packaged items include:

Matzo Box – $7.50

Honey Cake $12

Marble Sponge, $10

Half pound of Vanilla Macaroons, $10

Half pound of Vanilla Meringues, $10

The following Passover Dinner To-Go options are available for curbside pickup:

INDIVIDUAL MEALS (minimum six people for takeout pre-order), $34.95 each —

Choice of one starter:

House made Chopped Liver
Gefilte Fish with Horseradish

Choice of one soup:
Chicken with Matzo Ball
Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Choice of one entree:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of one potato:
Large Crisp Potato Latke with applesauce
Roasted Potatoes with caramelized onions

Choice of one vegetable:
Home style Green Beans
Old World Tzimmis

Dessert:
A fine assortment of holiday cake

BASIC DINNER (serves 8), $235 —

Choice of two entrees:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of two side dishes:
Potato Latke
Roasted Potatoes
Old World Tzimmis
Home style Green Beans

Choice of two desserts:
Loaf Marble Sponge Cake
Loaf Honey Cake
8 Assorted Macaroons

FULL TRADITIONAL MEAL (serves 8), $279 —

Choice of one appetizer:
House made Chopped Liver
Gefilte Fish with Horseradish

Choice of one soup:
Chicken with Matzo Ball
Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Choice of two entrees:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of two side dishes:
Potato Latke
Roasted Potatoes
Old World Tzimmis
Homestyle Green Beans

Choice of two desserts:
Loaf Marble Sponge Cake
Loaf Honey Cake
8 Assorted Macaroons

Easter Sunday home cooking from Chompie’s

The following options are available for takeout and curbside pickup Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12: 

Easter Brunch (serves four) — Scrambled eggs, bacon slices, ham steak slices, home fries, bagels, cream cheese, fruit salad and a muffin loaf, $59.99

The Feast (serves eight) — Scrambled eggs, bacon slices, ham steak slices, home fries, bagels, cream cheese, fruit salad and a muffin loaf, $109.99

Á la carte additions include the Smoked Salmon Package with tomato and red onion for $24.99;
Mimosa Package with one bottle of champagne and one gallon of orange juice for $29.99 and more

For large catering orders, Chompie’s Catering Co. delivers directly for orders of $150 minimum. The preferred method to order is calling 480-348-CATR (2287), but guests may also order online via www.ezcater.com/brand/pvt/chompies-cateringFor details on Chompie’s Catering, visit www.chompies.com/catering/.

For more and to find a Chompie’s near you visit www.chompies.com.

Parking lot eats and social distancing in south Scottsdale

A week into the Covid-19 pandemic and restaurants only serving takeout I’ve been making my way to my neighborhood “Go to” restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are plenty of great restaurants in south Scottsdale and I’ve been to my share but rarely do I dine in the parking lot. With takeout only available I rarely take the food more than a few feet from where I pick it up from. With so many great lists of restaurants serving takeout I wanted to put a list together of my neighborhood parking lot eats that I’ve been supporting before we started social distancing. parking lot eats

I haven’t found the need to travel far from home during this time so most are in 85257/857251 that I can walk or bike to but occasionally I make my way into Phoenix or Tempe.

Follow me on Instagram for real time #ParkingLotFoodPic and check back as update the list of my parking lot eats.

Inner Circle Cafe cheerfully serving coffee breakfast & lunch.

Defalco’s Italian Deli & Grocery– A favorite for sandwiches, wine, pizza and more. The Il Purista is one of the “Best Sandwiches” in town says me.

Losbeto’s on Hayden north of Thomas has 24/7 drive thru.

George’s Famous Gyros– The best gyros, lots of meat!!!

Los Sombreros– Mexican food and Steve-O-Ritas to go at this south Scottsdale staple.

Clancy’s Pub for St. Patrick’s Day, my last dine-in before shutdown.

Gus’s NY Pizza– A coupla slices always taste good.

Tocaya Organica– Healthy food at Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Spinato’s Pizza in Tempe on Rio Salado.

Starlite BBQ– Smoked meats and whiskey while you wait.

Old Town Scottsdale Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning for breakfast.

Fiesta Burrito– Can always count of a good, filling & well priced breakfast burritos and more.

D’Lite Healthy on the Go good for breakfast, lunch and coffee at walk-up window or drive-thru.

Berdena’s offers delicious pastry and limited food menu with coffee & tea in downtown Scottsdale.

NY Bagels & Bialy’s south Scottsdale location is closed. Take out available at their Scottsdale & Shea location.

 

Spinatos Meatball sandwich

2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum hopes to go off as scheduled

With current events planning a festival or other culinary events is hard not knowing how the coronavirus will affect future events. I’m hoping the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum goes off as planned on April 28th & 29th 2020. The two day conference of farmers, local food advocates and food entrepreneurs will be held at the Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Laveen.

Organized by Local First Arizona the forum helps build and strengthen relationships aimed at collaborations between the Arizona food and farm industry. Arizona’s farming future will be discussed among the more than 200 food entrepreneurs and advocates.

“Phoenix is committed to achieving a healthy, sustainable, equitable, and thriving food system and has recently completed a 2025 Food Action Plan that includes various strategies and actions that address food insecurity, urban agriculture, land use, job creation, and the contribution of the entire food system to our local economy,” said city of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

She added, “We are excited to host the Arizona Food & Farm Forum in South Phoenix to showcase the rich agricultural history of the area, its assets, and value to the development of a resilient food system for future generations.”

Arizona Food & Farm Forum line-up

The 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum will have farm tours, workshops and networking opportunities for all to participate in. Keynote speakers include Nephi Craig, Founder of the Native American Culinary Association, Lilian Hill, Executive Director of the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute and Sara Dolan, Owner of Blue Sky Organic Farms.

“From strategizing local opportunities for farmland conservation to exploring food as medicine, the 2020 agenda is focused on ensuring Arizona can thrive as a delicious and nutritious place to live,” said Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Food & Farm Initiatives Manager.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Heritage and Planning for the Future” with sub-themes….. Planning for the Future is centered around policy and systemic changes, including strategy sessions on Agriculture Workforce Development, Urban Farmland Conservation, and Funding Community Food Systems.

Indigenous Foodways will provide a space for tribal members and allies to explore Decolonization Through Food, learn from the American Indian Farmers’ Panel, and explore Food as Medicine.

Growing a Food Business will offer technical assistance in Building Your Brand; Protecting Yourself & Your Workers in a Hotter, Drier Climate; and Strategies for Diversifying Farm Revenue Streams.

Tickets for the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum are $99 for 2 days & $59 for 1 day. Students, ranchers and young farmers are $40 for 2 days and $20 for 1 day. Local First Arizona members will save 10% when you use the promo code “LOCALFIRST”. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.

 

Epicuriad 2020 has 15 chefs cooking for children’s brain tumor research

Billed as where “Top Chefs Vie for Food-Pairing Glory”, Epicuriad 2020 will have more than 15 local chefs competing to win the coveted Epicurean chefs jacket while raising money for the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. Harley Davidson of Scottsdale will host the 8th annual event on Saturday May 2nd at 6 p.m.

Each chef will be tasked with creating a dish that will pair well with a specific beer and wine. Attendees will vote for ” Best Plate” and “Best Pairing” crowning a winner. Money raised will benefit research and programs for brain tumor and patients put on by the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation.

Tickets for Epicuriad 2020 are limited and can be purchased at their website. General Admission tickets are $85 and VIP is $100. Harley Davidson of Scottsdale is at 15656 N. Hayden Rd. Scottsdale 85260.

 

A drier Sunday at Devour Culinary Classic to end Devour Week 2020

Sunday brought out a mix of sun and clouds but no rain for the final event of Devour Week 2020. The second day of Devour Culinary Classic had a different line up of restaurants and resorts showing off their culinary expertise. Live art, DJs, a Mardi Gras Drum March and the natural beauty of the Desert Botanical Garden made sure the Devour Culinary Classic continues to be one of the best culinary festival in Arizona and throughout the southwest.

Enjoy the images and be sure to see more on my social media channels Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  A few of Saturday’s many highlights can be found here.

Bao down at the upcoming Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival

Update: Festival postponed, no make up date set yet.

Asian street food continues to gain popularity around the valley with the announcement of the Arizona Bao & Dumpling Festival on March 21st 2020. From 12:30 – 5 p.m. at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park festival goers can taste the popular filled bao and dumplings along with other Asian foods, Boba and desserts until their hearts desire. You’ll be able to shop at marketplace, visit with local artists and play games in between tastes and sips.

Bao
Happy Buns Coconut Bao

Tickets are now on sale for this family friendly event with General Admission tickets only $8 plus tax & fees. There are a limited amount of Early Admission tickets at 11:30 a.m. are $13 ++. Children aged 7 – 12 are $4 and under 6 are free with a paid adult. Admission is separate from food and drink purchases.

Dr. A.J. Chandler Park is in historic downtown Chandler at 3 S. Arizona Ave. 85225.