Bitter & Twisted and Aioli Gourmet Burgers partner for new in-house menu

Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour has joined forces with the award-winning Aioli Gourmet Burgers for a new menu to pair with their cocktail program. The newly re-vamped menu was created by Aioli’s Executive Chef Vicktor Velez.

“Bitter & Twisted has always been committed to innovation and constant evolution with the ultimate goal of providing a world-class cocktail lounge experience here in Phoenix. With their food truck roots and success now as top flight restaurateurs, I knew Tom and Kyle were the perfect partners for the B&T kitchen, and Chef Vicktor has created some amazing new dishes and flavors,” says proprietor Ross Simon, who also notes that B&T founding chef, Bob Tam, remains a partner at B&T, while also having more “freedom and opportunities to concentrate on his other businesses and partner projects.”

New dishes at Bitter & Twisted

Chef Velez’s new menu is inspired by his travels through Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines while still keeping with Aioli’s co-owners Tommy D’Ambrosio and Kyle Hollenbeck vision of sourcing fresh, seasonal & local ingredients. Guests to Bitter & Twisted can enjoy dishes such as Togarashi Tuna Tataki, one of Velez’s favorites on the new menu, along with Korean French Fries, Korean Loaded Nachos, Truffled Mac & Cheese and of course an Aioli burger.

“It’s a huge honor for us to have this opportunity to partner with Ross at Bitter & Twisted. I’m proud to see Chef Vicktor’s growth and development in this role as he continues to create new and innovative dishes,” said Tom D’Ambrosio, Owner/Chef of Aioli Gourmet.

The award-winning cocktail bar has also updated their hours of service from Tuesday through Thursday (4 – 11pm food served till 10pm) and Friday and Saturday (4pm – 1am food served till 10pm), with Happy Hour served Tuesday through Friday (4 – 6 pm). Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour is located at 1 W. Jefferson St. (Jefferson & Central) Phoenix. For information check their website.

Fab Chef’s Table offers gourmet food delivery service

Phoenix’s Fabulous Food catering just started the new high-end gourmet meal prep and delivery service, Fab Chef’s Table. The scratch made meals focuses on nutritious and delicious meals that are allergy sensitive. Unlike other meal prep services, it doesn’t rely on specific diets or calorie content but does also offer vegan and vegetarian options.

“As a full-service catering company with a restaurant that was completely shut down due to COVID-19, we’re grateful we were able to keep most of our key staff,” says Chantal Hause, who owns Fabulous Food with husband Skip. “We found that while we couldn’t help execute large events for our clients during this time, they still wanted to enjoy our food so we came up with a solution.” The couple started Fabulous Food in 1996 serving corporate clients with individual fresh made meals for employees and family meals during Thanksgiving, Christmas & Easter. They also over food activities such as cookie making kits with everything you need to decorate desserts.

With feedback from their catering clients, they took popular dishes and created them for home delivery making it easy for customers to heat and eat. All meals are photo ready and memorable, delivered to your front door by the company themselves without any third party delivery. Fab Chef’s Table has a wide delivery area throughout the valley and is willing to work with customers outside the delivery area mutually beneficial to both.

To read more about Fab Chef’s Table or to place an order visit their website.

 

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails debuts new dishes & cocktails

I made my first visit to Downtown Phoenix’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails recently as it launched its new food & cocktails menus in late August. The signature restaurant inside the Hotel Palomar welcomed new Executive Chef Brian Peterson who created the new dishes with his culinary team. Peterson’s “New American Cuisine” offers Starters & Shareable & entrees that include a curated beef program.

“The menu is very approachable and made with the freshest, all-natural, quality ingredients that are seasonally sourced from the area’s best local farmers,” said Chef Peterson. “The vibrancy and energy of our downtown Phoenix location is exhilarating and we are thrilled that our neighborhood restaurant is in the center of it all.”

My dinner at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

I started with a “Sicilian Summer Spritzer” from the Seasonal Cocktails menu to go with our Starters. The Maker’s Mark, Averna, Cardomano, Lemon & Soda libation reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea from years past and I could had a second or third of this refreshing cocktail. One of the first to offer “craft cocktails” other signature cocktails include the Blue Hound Signature Old Fashioned, Buffalo Tears, Red & Smokey and more with an emphasis on bourbon & whiskey. Craft beer on draft & in bottle and wines are also available. My photos can be found on my Instagram, @SandyWass.

My dinner guest and I started with the Mushroom Pate with carrot jam, pickled onions & charred toast points. All was good with the carrot jam having the most flavor. We also shared the Beef Cheek Poutine with cheese curds, giardinerra & bone marrow gravy. The look to be house cut fries could’ve been a bit crisper but still  it’s a nice twist on a favorite from north of the border. Other dished that sounded good but not ordered on this visit were the Rolled & Fried Chicken Thighs and the Charred Octopus.

My guest ordered the Iberico Secreto (Iberico, the Wagyu of Spain ham, fatty shoulder meat) with bbq fennel, Pt. Reyes grits & cherry mustrda for his entree and he was happy. I went with Chef’s Cut of The Day which was a 16 oz. Rib Eye with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese chips, spinach & mushrooms. A nice outside darkness and rare-medium rare middle was a filling piece of beef. Then BHKC burger sounded good as did the duck breast. We finished our meal with a dessert special of Homemade Pound Cake with espresso gelato and caramel sauce. The cake was thick and dense, not you mom’s pound cake.

Feeling adventurous then “Trust the Team” with a five course dinner on the whim of the culinary team. A wine and cocktail pairing can be had with this dinner option.

For more information and to see the menu visit the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails website.

 

 

Family owned wineries featured at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale dinner series

Several of California’s prestigious winery families are being featured in the next few months as the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa. The family owned wines poured represent some of the best red & white wines from Napa & Sonoma counties to be paired with a special menu for each occasion.

The winemaker dinner series is as follows…..

Ramey Wine Cellars- Thursday, September 23rd

Ramey Wine Cellars was founded in 1996 by David Ramey and his wife Carla. After sixteen years making wine in Sonoma County, and firmly establishing Matanzas Creek and Chalk Hill wineries in the marketplace, David crossed the Mayacamas to spend six years in the Napa Valley – first as winemaker for Dominus Estate and project manager for the construction of their new winery; then helping Leslie Rudd reshape the Girard Winery into Rudd Oakville.

Rombauer Vineyards- Thursday, October 21st                                              

When founders Koerner and Joan Rombauer moved their two children, two horses and five dogs to Napa Valley in 1972, they arrived armed with an appreciation for the intimate relationship between food and wine. Their appreciation stemmed from Koerner’s great aunt Irma Rombauer having authored internationally renowned cookbook the Joy of Cooking and his ancestors originating from the wine-growing region of Rheingau, Germany, where wine is considered an essential complement to a meal.

Appreciation bred passion, and Rombauer Vineyards was established in 1980. Forty years later, the winery remains owned by second – and third -generation members of the family.

Miner Family Wines- Thursday, November 18th

Miner Family Winery is a dynamic family-owned winery tucked into the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation, squarely within the heart of Napa Valley. Each wine at Miner is crafted in a style to encapsulate the distinctive elements and the indelible fingerprints of their respective vineyards. We have sought and secured a number of California’s finest vineyard sites, but only those allowing complete farming control. It is this level of detail and control, from vine to wine, that ensures a wine’s consistency and quality. Our relationships with these owners and farmers are paramount to all we do.

Truchard Vineyards- Thursday, December 16th

The Truchard family wine tradition began in the U.S. over a century ago. In 1887, Jean Marie Truchard emigrated from a small town outside of Lyon, with his brother, Father Anthony Marie Truchard, a Catholic priest. Together they established a vineyard and winery on a 500 – acre plot of land in Southeast Texas. Since 1973, the Truchard estate has grown to 400 acres, of which 280 acres are planted. The Truchard family has been farming vineyards for over 45 years and plans to carry on their legacy for many generations to come.

The health of their soils, the quality of their water, and the overall health of the environment are all essential to their long-term plan of growing a multi-generational family farm. They will continue to farm sustainably and use fish friendly practices for years to come.

Dinners with the exception of September’s, is the 3rd Thursday of the month with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m. and dinner starting at 7. Seats are limited and reservations are required by calling 480-629-6231 and are $149++ per person. Menus are still being planned, when finalized you can find at their website along with more information. “Take home” wines will be available for purchase at a discount after dinner.

 

 

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.

Platform 18 at Century Grand on 50 Best Discovery list

The Arcadia Lite cocktail bar made the prestigious list and it’s the first time an Arizona restaurant or bar has made the list. The list is compiled by 50 Best and is an extension of the global list of 50 best bars & restaurants. Global experts approve the restaurants and bars around the world with 2,000 establishments making their original list before cutting it down to the final 50. Restaurants don’t apply for consideration but qualify from receiving a significant amount of votes from current round of polling. Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour also made the list.

Sphinx Date Ranch Co. celebrates 70th anniversary

The downtown Scottsdale retailer of locally made foods, wines & more is celebrating with special items, discounts and Mayor David Ortega proclaiming September 16th – 18th as “Sphinx Date Co. Days”. Guests can get 20% off orders of $20 or more when using promo code 1951, the year it opened. The discount goes until September 23rd and special 20th anniversary merchandise will help raise money for the Scottsdale Historical Society. For more information visit their website.

Pedal Haus Brewery release Oktoberfest beer and menu

The downtown Tempe & Chandler brewpub today release their seasonal beer and food menu. Beer brats, pork schnitzel and more are on the menu with the Tempe location also serving a special Flammkuchen pizza. An Oktoberfest celebration is scheduled for October 2nd in Chandler.

Match Market & Bar offer wine class & agave pairing dinner

Wednesday September 15th you can learn about wines from Southern Italy & Sicily while tasting the wines of the region. The downtown Phoenix tasting starts at 7 p.m. and is $25 per person and includes tasting note & pairings, light bites and wine samples. Wines tasted that night can be purchased by the bottle at 15% off.

The 4 -course agave pairing dinner takes place on Friday September 17th from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The chef crafted menu will complement the different types of agave. Cost is $109++ per person and includes a welcoming Corralejo Reposado at arrival.

Caracara Restaurant delays opening til January 2022

The signature restaurant at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown hotel has delayed the opening until 2022. The restaurant was expected to open this month but with Delta variant of Covid-19 on the rise management opted for the safety and health of employees & guests. Check back for updates and to see what you can expect read my post from July.

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.

Maynard J Keenan expands kitchen & hires chef at Scottsdale tasting bar

With the success and popularity of his Merkin Vineyards Osteria and Merkin Pizza Wagon in Cottonwood, owner & winemaker Maynard J Keenan gave the go head to expand his Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale tasting room. Keenan also hired Executive Chef Steve Zimmerman to take the helm of the new Morello Forni Cupola Dome wood-fired oven, imported from Italy and revamp the menu.

“Our dishes feature ingredients grown in our Northern Arizona greenhouses, gardens, and orchards, and we supplement with produce sourced from local Arizona growers,” said Maynard J Keenan. “Merkin Vineyards farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept is the cornerstone of our success, and it’s a concept we intend to continue developing.”

The award-winning Zimmerman comes to Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale after a career in hotel restaurant management in his home state of Missouri and most recently at Tres Kitchen & Bar ion Tempe. “He’s the perfect culinary artist for our vision,” states Keenan.

The menu at Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale

The new menu includes ingredients from Merkins farm, citrus grove and orchard in the Verde Valley with additional ingredients sourced from local vendors and artisan producers. The new menu changes on a regular basis and includes many seasonal ingredients for its pizzas, pasta, salads and more. The Classic Margarita Pizza, the Calabrian with chorizo, schinken, bacon, calabrian chiles, fig jam and fontina cheese and the Crucifixen, features Merkin farm cruciferous veggies, roasted garlic, Parmesan spread, fresh mozzarella and fontina cheeses are part of the core menu.

Lasagna Cupcakes, gnocchi and Cacio e Pepe shows off Zimmerman’s creativity and attention to detail. Appetizers, charcuterie and few desserts round out the menu which can be paired with any of Merkin Vineyards Four 8 Wineworks and Caduceus wines along with their mead, cider and Puscifer sparkling wine. To see what I’ve tasted on several visits to Merkin Vineyards Old Town check out my Instagram feed.

Merkin Vineyards is located at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information and to see the menu check out  merkinoldtownscottsdale.com.

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week launches mid-September

Two of the valley’s vegan advocates have come together to launch the first Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week September 12th- 18th. Chef & author Jason Wyrick and vegan taste maker and owner of Phoenix Vegan Jozh Watson launched the week long culinary event to bring more attention to plant- based restaurants, foods & cooking.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.”

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week
Simon’s Hot Dogs. Feature photo Maya’s Cajun Cuisine’s Po’ Boy

How Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week works?

The pair are encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and others to showcase their plant-based cooking and more. During the week participants will be offering a specially created menu with breakfast & lunch offering at $20 and a 3-course dinner menu at $30.

“We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

During the week diners can experience the growing Phoenix plant-based food scene visiting new establishments or returning to familiar ones. A a few of the participating eateries include: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.” For more information and to see additional participants 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.

Downtown Tempe Brunch Stroll Saturday 6/19

Tomorrow from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. visit up to 14 local restaurants for specially made bites and drinks. Purchase a $5 pass and check-in at the kiosk then stroll at your own pace as you check out the Mill Ave. and downtown Tempe food scene.

Stick around for the first Park After Dark of the season at the 6th Street Park. Pedal Haus Brewery will be on-site with a beer & wine garden and take-out food is welcome. Live music, spoken word by Sean Avery and more theatrics kick off the season from 7-10 p.m. every Saturday until September 11th.

Spirit House celebrates 2 years with ice cream truck inspired cocktails

The downtown Chandler cocktail bar has created several cool & refreshing beverages reminiscent of the ice cream trucks of our youth. From June 22nd – 27th stop in and enjoy favorites such as the Bomb Pop, Snow Cone, Dream Bar and my favorite Strawberry shortcake to name just a few.

Enjoy rosé all summer at FRANCINE

Throughout the summer the south of France inspired restaurant offers guests the chance to cool off with a glass or bottle of the refreshing and food friendly pink wine. During weekend brunch (10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.) and happy hour (3 – 6 p.m.) enjoy a glass for $8 or a bottle for $30.

$1 smoothies all day at Tropical Smoothie Cafe

All valley locations are celebrating National Smoothie Day on Monday June 21st for only $1 to members of their loyalty club. Those who sign up for the program on the 21st will receive an extra $1 sign up offer. Add ins and supplements are extra and $1 smoothies only available on the 21st.

Phoenix restaurant community celebrates Father’s Day

This Sunday June 20th is Father’s Day and with so many restaurants offering dad specials I’m pretty sure his favorite restaurant will make sure he enjoys his day with discounts or a free meal.

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 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.

Kids eat free at Cold Beers & Pizza and new weekday lunch special

The downtown Scottsdale pizza joint let kids eat free all-day every Tuesday with the purchase of an adult entree. Every Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. you can get a Neapolitan style individual pizza (cheese, pepperoni or Margarita) & a soft drink or a domestic pint of beer for $10.

The Boulders Resort & Spa host final wine dinner of the season

Rodney Strong Vineyards wines will be poured Thursday April 29th and paired with a 5-course gourmet dinner. Dinner in the Palo Verde Restaurant begins at 6 p.m. and the resort hopes to resume the dinners in the Fall. For more information about the dinner call (480)595-4668 or visit their website.

Macayo’s Restaurant celebrates its 75 anniversary with specials

Circle the 26th of each month as the local Mexican restaurants offers food & drink specials leading up to it 75 anniversary on September 26th. Monday April 26th cool off with Deep Fried Ice Cream for $.75. Wednesday May 26th get margaritas for $.75, limit 2 at discounted price. Saturday June 26th get $.75 guacamole when you dine-in or take-out.

Four Roses’ Small Batch Select bourbon now available in Arizona

The award-winning 104 proof spirit is available in select retailers including AJ”s Fine Food, Bevmo & Total Wine. Aged for at least 6 years, master distiller Brent Elliott hand selected & mingled 6 of the distilleries 10 recipes to create the special bottling.

Kettle Heroes Mexican inspired gourmet popcorn available

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo early with the new Elote Mexican Street Corn Mix starting Sunday April 25th. Only available on-line jumbo bags are just $9.99 until May 6th.

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.

Marcellino Ristorante hosting Learn & Lunch cooking classes

Home chefs looking to hone their skills at cooking authentic Italian food can reserve their seats at the downtown Scottsdale restaurant. Chef Marcellino offers his next monthly cooking class on Saturday, April 17th. The 2 hour class will teach you to prepare his signature ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese. Seats are limited and are $50++ and include lunch. May 15th is the next class making Pollo Saparito and on June 19th its Pasta Ghiotonna. Classes are from 1 – 3 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 480-990-9500.

Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict at Morning Squeeze for a limited time

Egg Benedict fans can celebrate National Eggs Benedict Day next Friday April 16th at any 3 of the restaurant locations. A specially made Pulled Pork Benedict will be available for only 3 days next weekend. Always on the menu is the Classic Benedict, Cali Benedict & Salmon Benedict.

Doggie Date Night at Daily Dose Midtown

Grab your favorite canine and head to the restaurant at Highland & 20th St on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Next Thursday the 15th from 3 – 9 p.m. well behaved dogs and their owners are invited to the patio for all natural dog treats from Dogs Eating Cake and special menu for their owners. A portion of the proceeds from the night will be donated to the Arizona Humane Society. Reservations are needed and can be made by calling 602-274-0334. Circle these dates for the next Doggie Date Night…..May 20th & June 17th.

Community Blend coffee benefits local schools districts

Press Coffee Roasters announced that the proceeds from its Community Blend coffee beans will be donated 6 K-8 school districts in neighborhoods where there is a Press location. In-store purchases only and Community Blend is available until May 16th.

Brazil is on the map for Match Market & Bar’s Passport Series

No need to pack your bags just head to the downtown Phoenix restaurant tomorrow night (Saturday April 10th) for some South American flavor and culture. The trip is from 6 – 10 p.m. and is $15 per person with exotic cocktail included. For more information head to their website.