The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Chef Hector Godinez rolls out seasonal dishes at Grimaldi’s

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria introduced several new dishes and cocktails featuring the new Fall season that is upon us. Corporate Chef Hector Godinez and his team have been working on the 5 new dishes and 2 new cocktails since early summer. Grimaldi’s rolls out new seasonal dishes every 3 months as the seasons change and seasonal ingredients become available.

Chef Hector Godinez takes inspiration from his years working in various restaurants in Phoenix and Ahwatukee including the last 10 years at Grimaldi’s and 6 as Corporate Chef.

New on the menu at all locations for a limited time are…..

Fallin’ Wedge Salad- Traditional ingredients but swap out the Iceberg lettuce for higher quality Romaine and toss the ingredients.

The Bridge Board- Grimaldi’s version of a charcuterie board that changes seasonally and named after the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza- Chef Godinez’s take on Buffalo wings but with no fryer he puts all the ingredients including the crunchy celery on a pizza with Sweet Baby Ray’s hot sauce.

Pumpkin Cheesecake- Can’t have a Fall menu without a pumpkin spices.

Coco’nana Cheesecake– Godinez’s play on a childhood favorite, chocolate covered banana. Banana cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust and chocolate chips.

Italian Old Fashioned– Whiskey, Tiramisu syrup and bitters over ice with a Luxardo cherry and orange peel.

Amalfi Martini- Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Limoncello and lemon juice shaken and garnished with a lemon wheel and rosemary. 

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Kitchen 602 debuts new cloud kitchen concepts

Two new food concepts have launched for delivery or pick-up from the new Kitchen 602 cloud kitchen. Tater Traderz and Rice D’light come from Highland Food Hub at 720 W. Highland in Phoenix which also doubles a test kitchen for new concepts.

Founder Sam Marrero has been in the global hospitality industry for over 30 years and played an important role during the Covid-19 pandemic consulting with restaurants on how to adapt take-out and to-go offerings. “We aim to offer our guests a high-quality dining experience with approachable food that appeals to the masses and can be completely customized,” says Marrero. “I’ve always felt it was important to do whatever it takes to ensure my guests have the best dining experience possible, and now I’m combining that goal with the to-go dining concept.”

Tater Traderz is the newest concept at Kitchen 602 and uses locally made Frites Street fries in a variety of delicious ways. You can get fries topped with chicken, the Cluck Off!, OG Chili Cheese Fries, Sweet Baby BBQ and more delivered from a third party delivery service or picked up at the Hub. Rice D’light Sweet Rice Creations features rice pudding bowls, Horchata and the Chai Chatta. Rice D’light was inspired by Marrero’s growing up in New York and working with Tokyo Disney.

A new Big Box is offered for tailgating and football parties exclusively during football season. The French fry fiesta serves 6-8 people and $40 gets 3 mix and match loaded fries options. For more information or to place orders visit their website.

 

Gastromé Market bringing specialty wine & cheese to Gainey Ranch

The finishing touches are being taken care of for new wine and cheese market in Scottsdale’s Gainey Ranch neighborhood. Gastromé Market will open on Saturday September 10th with a grand opening celebration from co-owners Jenny Le and Tiffany Chavez. Over 5,000 square feet will include the market, a restaurant, a temperature controlled Eurocave for wine and a classroom. Come mid-Fall the outdoor patio will be available to enjoy our beautiful weather.

“This has been a true labor of love for us, and we can’t wait to get the doors open and meet the community,” says Le. “We’ve worked hard to create an inclusive environment where you can feel free to ask whatever you want – you won’t find any stuffiness or intimidation here.”

The inviting space will encourage guests to grab a bottle of wine and more to enjoy in one the nooks and alcoves throughout the market. For those on the run, the grab-n-go counter will let customers take lunch or dinner with them. Cheese cases will showcase domestic and international cheeses, the bakery offers pastries from around the world and a gift basket station will let you create the perfect gift.

Passionate experts will assist customers with choosing boutique wines, curated meats & cheeses and handcrafted items from local artisans. Gastromé Market will offer fun classes and seminars including food & wine pairings and how to build a charcuterie board.

Grand opening at Gastromé Market

The open the doors at 10 a.m. on the 10th and the first 100 guests through the doors will enjoy a champagne toast on every visit once a week for up to four people for a year. Throughout the event guests can sample wine & cheese, speak with the vendors and shop the wide range of goods.

“Whether you’re in search of something specific or you just want to see what we’re all about, stop by this September and we’ll show you around,” Chavez said. “We’re wine and cheese lovers ourselves, and we’re really passionate about food and drink, in general. Our goal is to make you as excited about it as we are, and if we can get you to try something new, even better!”

Gastromé Market is at 7704 Doubletree Ranch Rd. The market opens at 10 a.m. and the restaurant at 11 a.m. For more information visit their website.

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.

 

Anoche Cantina coming to Mill Ave. in August

Bellevue, Washington based Ascend Hospitality Group is planing to open its first Arizona location in downtown Tempe later this month. Anoche Cantina will be the first of a new restaurant and nightlife concept from AHG’s Director of Marketing and Brand Design Shelby Elmore and will be the first concept she’s co-created. Located in the former El Hefe space Anoche will serve innovative Latin inspired food and cocktails including a build-your-own-margarita bar.

“We’ve had our eye on Tempe for a while and when the opportunity arose for us to take prime real estate on Mill Ave., we jumped at the chance,” said Elaina M. Morris, AHG CEO and president. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring, what we call, the ‘AHG Difference’ to the Valley and join such a thriving community.” 

Thomas Lawson, formerly of Riot Hospitality Group was brought on as AHG had wanted to partner with a local expert operator to help execute its vision.  “It’s nice to be a part of Mill Ave.’s resurgence, this is a great area with rich history,” Lawson said. “Anoche will provide a unique experience to help elevate the ever-expanding community. Through carefully crafted eats and one-of-a-kind nightlife, we look to not just breathe new life into the area but give the area what it’s been craving.”

The scene at Anoche Cantina

Anoche Cantina will have 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space including a shaded patio to enjoy our nice weather. Those there for the nightlife will experience a high quality sound and lighting system that will make Anoche the best party on Mill Ave. Just in time for football season, a sports bar concept from AHG, six40rty is planned for a September opening next door. Large screen TVs, lawn games, upscale bar snacks and witty cocktails will be available indoors and outdoors at the 8,000 square foot sports bar. Both concepts are looking to hire front and back of the house team members and those interested can apply in person or email Lawson at thomas@ascendhg.com.

Anoche Cantina is at 640 S. Mill Ave Tempe 85281.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Miracle Mile Deli celebrates National Sandwich Month

Starting Monday August 1st the central Phoenix deli is serving up a weekly sandwich special for only $12. 8/1-8/6 – Corned Beef Sandwich 8/8-8/13 – Brisket Sandwich 8/15-8/20 – Combo (Pastrami & Corned Beef) 8/22-8/27 – The Straw. Each sandwich comes with a choice of sides and a dill pickle spear.

Phoenix City Grille offers exclusive Caymus Vineyards tasting event

Wednesday August 3rd join the vineyard’s Arizona Market Manager Stephanie Martindale for a tasting of five wines. Enjoy sipping on Emmolo Sparkling, Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Sea Sun Pinot Noir, The Walking Fool Red Blend and Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines tasted during the event will be available for purchase with limited seating costing $25 ++ per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Britinee Reed at 602-510-7170 or privatedining@phoenixcitygrille.com

Hearth ’61 welcomes Chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos

The Chef and owner of Essence Bakery Cafe in Arcadia will be the guest chef at the restaurant’s Sunday Supper Club in August. The four-course dinner is set for August 14th at 6 p.m. and is paired with wine. Seats are $189++ per person and can be reserved here.

Sardinia’s food featured at Queen Creek Olive Mill’s dinner

The Italian region’s flavors and foods will be on prepared for August’s Tavalo dinner. Thursday August 18th from 6:30 -9:30 p.m. guests will dine on a 6-course’s with optional wine pairings. Much of the ingredients are locally sourced including from Golden Rule Dairy in Elfrida. Dinner is $124.99 per person and wine pairings are an additional $39.99. Reservations can be made here.

Caffe Vita opens tomorrow with FREE oat milk lattes.

The Seattle based coffee roaster opens its first Arizona location in the former Easley’s Fun Shop at 5th Ave. & McDowell Rd. Lattes will be available from 7 a.m. – 6p.m. Read more about the opening and more here.

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.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Corn Roast event at Queen Creek Olive Mill

Next Friday July 22nd those who love corn can feast on a corn curated menu prepared by Del Piero Kitchen and Di Olivia Bistro & Bar. BBQ Chicken & Roasted Corn Pizza, Fresh Corn Carbonara, Pulled Pork with Corn Salad and more will be available for purchase. Locally grown corn on the cob from Rousseau Farms will also be available along with live music and games. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and admission is free.

Eat Up Drive In now offers catering

Whether it’s a office party or family gathering the Arcadia fast casual restaurant offers menus for all tastes. Entrees, boxed lunches, salads, sides and desserts can be accommodated. Gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are also available. To order 602-441-4750.

Start the weekend early at Koibito Poke

Visit the Scottsdale Waterfront location on Thursday July 21st & 28th from 6 – 9 p.m. for $4 draft beers or $3 drafts with the purchase of a bowl. Happy hour is extended all night for $5 wine, sake & cider and $3 seltzers.

Maui Pasta serving Aloha Hawaiian Plates

What started as a virtual menu in December 2020 is now a second menu at the Gainey Ranch restaurant. Know for house made pasta, the Aloha menu became so popular they started serving it in the restaurant. Plate lunches including Loco Moco, Hawaiian BBQ, Kalua Pulled Pork and more come with a side of rice, macaroni salad or a green salad.

Organ Stop Pizza celebrates 50th anniversary

The Mesa restaurant that features live pipe organ entertainment with a side of pizza reaches a milestone this year. Every year over 300,000 diners visit the dinner only restaurant for fun and food from with a variety of tunes from the “Mighty Wurlitzer”. “Every visit to Organ Stop Pizza is unique with patrons hand picking the songs via request,” says co-owner Jack Barz. “By the end of the night, an eclectic mix of music is enjoyed by audience members ranging in age from two to 102.”

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

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen brings a taste of Italy to north Phoenix.

Father and son Rocco and Marco Pezzano are no strangers to owning and operating Italian restaurants. In the summer of 2021 after a few years out of the business they were drawn back in and opened Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen in the Desert Ridge neighborhood of North Phoenix. Sfizio is Italian for “you don’t need it, but you want it” or a “craving” and you’ll want this authentic Italian cooking.

Rocco was born in southern Italy’s Calabria region and moved to Torino at 16 working in his aunt’s bakery and pizzeria. In 1986 after visiting family in the United States he re-located to Arizona and opened “That’s Italian” and “Caffe Italy” in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Marco, an architecture student at ASU often worked in the restaurants growing up and learned to love it the way his father does. Like many in the industry Rocco got burnt out and started a wholesale company opting for a desk job.

Young Marco noticed his dad, although successful, wasn’t happy and had a “unspoken passion” for owning his own restaurant, inspired him to get back in the kitchen. That was 2019 and the idea for Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen started to become a reality. Mom Zee and Marco’s sister round out the family and can be found at the restaurant when not working or in school.

The food at Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen

All the food at Sfizio is scratch made with all the ingredients imported from throughout Italy. Fresh bread and pizza dough is made twice a day and pasta is made in house every day. Popular dishes include the seafood Frutti Di Mare with shellfish tossed in a spicy red sauce over squid ink pasta, plump Lobster Ravioli and Pollo Parmigina. Pizza Napoletana get tossed and baked in the brick oven in full view of the bar and dining room. Salads, small plates, entrees, antipasto boards and pizzas are served daily at dinner. The lunch menu includes pizza, sandwiches and a couple of pastas until 3 p.m. A full bar is available as is a mostly Italian wine list.

By the time you read this a new menu should be introduced including “The Original Sfizini” available during lunch.  Created by Rocco, hollowed out fresh bread is filled with classic Italian ingredients. Sausage & Peppers, Chicken Cacciatore and Eggplant Parmigiana are just a few of the fillings. Make sure you save room for classic Italian desserts of cannoli, tiramisu and more

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen is open daily Monday – Friday at 11 a.m. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. 7 days a week. Happy hour is available daily in the bar. Find them at 21050 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. Visit their website for more information and to view the menus.

Summer food and drink menus & specials at Phoenix area restaurants

Lighter fare and staying hydrated is one way to keep cool this summer as local restaurants offer summer food and drink menus & specials.

Gabriella’s Contemporary American CuisineAlmost every day of the week and weekly the Scottsdale restaurant has something to offer.

  • Happy Hour — Guests can enjoy special discounts on food and beverage Wednesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Burger and Beer Special — Get through the mid-week hump with a scrumptious burger and a beer for $19 every Wednesday
  • Bottle and a Board (Pizza) — Every Thursday diners can choose a bottle of wine to pair with one of Gabriella’s popular pizzas such as the Short Rib or Wild Mushroom for just $25
  • Fried Chicken Fridays — Every Friday except for the first Friday of each month, fried chicken lovers can get their fill of this classic comfort food for $25
  • Beef Wellington Night — This traditional hearty feast is served on the first Friday of the month, $50.
  • Senior Citizen Day — The first Thursday of each month is dedicated to the seniors! Senior citizens receive a 10 percent discount all day long.

Grimaldi’s PizzeriaHere are a few of the new dishes on their summer menu.

  • Barbecue Chicken Pizza – A spin on Grimaldi’s traditional pizza with Sweet Baby Ray’s® Barbeque Sauce, oven-roasted chicken, smoked bacon, and red onion, garnished with fresh cilantro​.
  • Blueberry Cheesecake – A vanilla cheesecake laced with blueberry swirl, topped with fresh blueberries, and garnished with granola and whipped cream.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake – Creamy strawberry cheesecake served with fresh, sliced strawberries and whipped cream.
  • Strawberry Lemonade Smash- New Amsterdam vodka, lemonade, muddled fresh strawberries, and fresh basil shaken and served over ice.

Match Market & Bar- Has a “Grill to Go” take-out special. A serving of 4 is $29.99, a serving for 8 is $49.99. Included is 7 oz. Angus Beef Patties, Brioche Buns, American Cheese, Muenster Cheese, LTO, Pickles, Match Beef Spice, Chef Sauce, Mayo, Bacon BBQ, Potato Salad, Fresh Assorted Melon. Pick-up is available daily after 10 a.m. through Sept. 5th. Visit their website or email or call 602-875-8080 to place your order.

Pita Jungle21 locations (not available at GCU and Scottsdale Fashion Square) are serving their “Summertime and the Eating is Healthy” for dine-in, take-out and delivery. It’s part of their rotating Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu.

  • Moroccan Gazpacho – Tomatoes, garbanzo beans, cucumber, onion, cilantro, celery, jalapeno, lemon juice, golden raisins, seasonings. Served cold with pine nuts and pita chip. Served vegan with cucumbers. (Gluten-free, vegetarian)
  • Labneh Dip Mezze Veggies & Chips– Labneh blended with za’atar-thyme mix, tomato, Persian cucumber, kalamata olives, fresh mint, evoo, toasted pita. Made gluten-free with gluten-free pita. 
  • Chicken-Asada Super Greens ‘n Grains Southwest Bowl– Juicy Mediterranean dark meat chicken-asada, tossed in a chopped salad of {red quinoa, avocado, tomato, roasted jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, parsley, sumac, a squeeze of lemon juice and evoo}, on a bed of {romaine lightly tossed in a freshly made red wine vinaigrette}. Garnished with jicama sticks. Made vegan or vegetarian with tofu. (Gluten-free)
  • Levantine Lentils & Greens Stir Fry Salad Bowl– Stir fry of lentils, spinach, Tuscan kale, baby arugula, and caramelized onions, atop a freshly tossed salad with seasonal mixed greens, tomato, Persian cucumber, yellow and red bells, radish, red onion, mint, sumac, a squeeze of fresh lemon, red wine vinegar and evoo. (Vegetarian)
  • “High Plains Mediterranean Drifter” Garbanzo Tostada– Twice-boiled garbanzo, yogurt-tahini crema, avocado, yellow bells, tomato, Persian cucumber, celery, red onion, jicama, roasted jalapeno, on a pita tostada, with pine nuts, cilantro, parsley, mint and a lemon squeeze. Made gluten-free with gluten-free pita. (Vegetarian)
  • Gyro Super Hero– Plant-based high protein gyro, vegan tzatziki, seasonal mixed greens, tomato, red onions, Mediterranean pickles and a Greek pita. Made gluten-free with gluten-free pita and vegan with regular pita. (Vegetarian)
  • Very Chicken Vindaloo– Mediterranean dark meat chicken-asada in a spicy vindaloo sauce, turmeric brown rice, honey glazed cabbage-kale super greens and green onions. (Gluten-free)
  • The Amazing [Hummus & Chicken] Pita– Mediterranean dark meat chicken-asada, freshly made hummus, chipotle-tahini based cabbage-kale super greens, avocado, tomato, Mediterranean pickles, red onions, pine nuts, lemon juice and pita. Can also be served as a bowl with turmeric brown rice. Made vegan and vegetarian with tofu, gluten-free with gluten-free pita. 
  • Kataïfi Cookie – A gooey cookie of shredded filo dough and crushed walnuts.

Macayo’s Mexican FoodThe 8 locations are are offering these summer food specials until Sept. 30th.

  • Summer Ceviche — Prepared daily with diced tomato, onion and serrano; served inside red chile corn tortilla shells and topped with diced avocado and seafood hot sauce, $9.99
  • Jicama Shrimp Tacos — Guests’ choice of grilled or fried shrimp topped with fresh fruit salsa on jicama shells, $13.99
  • Strawberry Chipotle Chicken Salad — Featuring crisp romaine, fresh fruit salsa and Jack cheese tossed in scratch-made strawberry vinaigrette dressing and then topped with chipotle grilled chicken, red chile corn tortilla strips and fresh strawberry, $12.99
  • Stuffed Poblano — Roasted poblano chile stuffed with choice of grilled chicken or calabacitas mixture with spinach and Jack cheese. Served on fire-roasted tomatillo sauce and Macayo’s famous Baja sauce with cilantro white rice and black beans, $14.99
  • Armando’s Shrimp — Guajillo-marinated grilled shrimp with cilantro white rice and black beans, $15.99
  • Pineapple & Coconut Tamale — Served with vanilla ice cream, fresh pineapple, Mexican caramel and toasted coconut $6.99
  • Bunuelos A La Moda — Cinnamon and sugar coated bunuelos served with vanilla ice cream and topped with choice of Re’al infused syrup such as guava, strawberry, blackberry, pineapple or mango, $4.99

Liberty Station TavernThe DC Ranch location offers these special through Sept. 5th.

  • Green Chili Hummus with roasted green chili peppers, cilantro and garlic; served with grilled ciabatta bread & veggies, V/RGF, $15
  • Black Bean Veggie Burger featuring black beans, fresh bell peppers, garlic and flax seed flower, V/RGF, $16
  • Baja Shrimp Tacos filled with tempura battered shrimp, slaw, red chili and avocado crema, $15
  • Shrimp Scampi featuring tiger shrimp, linguine, garlic, basil, bacon, crushed red pepper and tomato lemon butter sauce, $32
  • Baja Seabass served with green beans, Yukon smashed potatoes and creole beurre blanc, $34
  • Poppy’s Pasta Bolognese — A Keeler family tradition featuring PK’s favorite trinity meat blend, crushed tomato and shaved parmesan, $24

Chompie’sDaily and weekly specials for dine- in and to-go.

Dine-in

  • Weekday Special — Choice of buttermilk pancakes or French toast for $4.99; add two eggs any style and choice of bacon, ham and turkey sausage for an additional $3.99 or add fresh blueberries and strawberries for $2. Available until 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Happy Hour — At Chompie’s Phoenix location on 32nd St. and Cactus Rd., guests at the bar and throughout the restaurant can take advantage of the happy hour menu featuring $5 bottled beers and $6 glasses of wine from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day.
  • Jewish Slider Combo — Featuring two Jewish sliders, a cup of soup and a coleslaw nosh, this hearty and delicious special is available at all locations.
  • Mimosas and Bloody Marys — Cool down with a summer sip such as a mimosa or a Bloody Mary to start the day off right!

To-Go

  • Mondays and Fridays — On Mondays and Fridays beginning July 11 through Aug. 26, the Lox, Bagels and Cream Cheese special is just $19.99 and includes eight ounces of Nova Lox, six bagels (two plain, two sesame and two onion bagels) and eight ounces of plain cream cheese.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays — Receive a Baker’s Dozen of bagels for just $8.88 until 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning July 12 through Aug. 25.
  • Wednesdays — All year long on “Bagel Wednesdays” bagel lovers can receive six free bagels with the purchase of 12 bagels.

Bell Bank Park is the new home of the Arizona Taco Festival

When the 13th annual Arizona Taco Festival returns on November 12th and 13th it will have a new home in the East Valley. Mesa’s Bell Bank Park will welcome the popular event along with special guest and celebrity host Aaron May and his Band of Celeb-U-Friends. May is known for his appearances on the Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” and the NFL’s annual Official Tailgate event before the “big game”.

This year’s Taco Festival will include popular events including Lucha Libre Wrestling, a Hot Chile Pepper & Taco Eating Contest, mariachis and more. New this year will be a Taco Queen Drag Contest, Hot Sauce Expo and Day of the Dead Wedding. The Tequila Expo is now the “Tequila Passport” and attendees can sample over 100 top shelf tequilas all day. “I’m going to make this year’s taco fest into a full Taco-Palooza of epic proportions. I might even get in the wrestling ring with the Luchas!” says May.

Let’s not forget that over 50 local taco vendors and restaurants will be on hand serving up tacos and more while trying to be crowned the “Top Taco” to win $$$ and more.

Doors open at 11 a.m. and goes until 6 p.m. This is a family friendly event with Early Bird tickets available online for $15 and kids under 12 get in for free. Bell Bank Park is at 1 Legacy Dr. Mesa 85212.

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.

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