When Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa resumes its Lunch & Learn series on Sunday November 17th their doing with a celebrity chef. The resorts own celebrity chef Beau McMillan will welcome his friend Aaron Sanchez for the interactive culinary demonstration. Sanchez is co-host of the Food Network’s “Chopped” and a judge and co-host of Fox’s “MasterChef”.
MacMillan and Sanchez will host 125 guests for the 3-course lunch inspired by Sanchez’s latest best-selling memoir, “Where I Came From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef”. Guests will receive a signed copy of the book at the end of the event. In addition to his TV work Sanchez is chef and owner of New Orlean’s popular restaurant “Johnny Sanchez”. He’s considered to be America’s most prominent Latino chef and when he’s not working on TV he’s donating his time and money to worthy causes.
Lunch & Learn with Aaron Sanchez starts at 11 a.m. and tickets are $135 per person and are all inclusive. Reservations are needed and can be made by calling 855-318-9009. Seats are limited so guests are encouraged to make their reservations early.
Arizona’s first luxury resort, Castle Hot Springs has re-opened for its first full season. Originally opened in 1896, the 210 acre property will be opened from October til late June offering guests the opportunity to detach from the digital world while rejuvenating and healing in the resorts 120 degrees thermal hot springs. Hiking, horseback riding, foraging and star gazing are a few of the many activities guests can enjoy at the iconic resort and its surrounding desert and mountains.
Harvest, Castle Hot Springs signature restaurant
Castle Hot Springs is home to Harvest, the signature restaurant and farm offering crop driven cuisine. Executive chef Christopher Brugman’s menu rotates daily based on what’s available at the resorts one acre farm. The farm and greenhouse are overseen by resident agronomist Ian Berger. He oversees over 150 fruits and vegetables native to the desert along with the properties groves that are home to 36 types of citrus trees. Included in the farm are over 35 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.
Working together Brugman and Berger choose ripe fruit and vegetables for each days menu. What they don’t grow they get from local vendors to fill in the gaps. Harvest also adheres to zero waste and sustainable guidelines. Guests can participate in daily foraging and learn about “flavor farming” that covers the sweet and savory tastes through a foods color. Dishes such as Coconut Carrot Bisque and Tandoori Octopus Grilled over Juniper Wood have been on the menu. The culinary team also has an in-house pickling program and creates concoctions such as Brugman’s Onion Ash.
Food & Beverage Manager and Sommelier Thomas Burris has created a beverage program to complement Brugman’s cuisine. Signature cocktails such as the Trade Secret and Lady & The Tramp also use ingredients sourced from the property. Trade Secret is made with rosemary infused vodka, Elderflower and pink grapefruit. The savory Lady & The Tramp combine Pecorino Romano infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh basil leaves. Castle Springs Lithium Lager is made exclusively for Harvest and uses natural elements of the resorts hot springs.
The resort is at 5050 E. Castle Hot Springs Rd. Castle Hot Springs AZ. 85342. For more information and to make a reservation head to their website.
Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu is back open after getting a new look and menu. Hotel guests and locals will notice the restaurant’s new mid-century modern look is in-line with the hotels 1950’s style. Designed by Mendil + Meyer Design Studio, new features include a Zuzu neon sign, 1950’s inspired wood screens and new lighting. The lounge and dining room has been combined for welcoming space and the hotel’s signature circle design is noticeable.
“We are beyond excited to re-introduce ZuZu, not only to our wonderful Scottsdale community, but also to the guests of Hotel Valley Ho,” said Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. “Our new menu is meant to surprise and delight, while still satisfying those classic cravings.”
Look at the new menu
LaCasce’s new menu features smaller, shareable plates with a few guests’ favorite dishes remaining. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from the restaurant’s new 240 foot herb and vegetable garden. Zuzu continues to work with local farmers and purveyors including Pinnacle Farms, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage and Hickman’s Family Farms.
New signature dishes include Oxtail Pappardelle with foie gras & Parmesan and Crispy Pork Shank with sour apple molasses glaze, cucumber tarragon yogurt and pita. Two new monthly revolving dishes will be available….. Cut of the Moment will be a savory dish with a unique plating design and Farmer’s Plate will offer seasonal vegetables making for a great vegetarian meal. Those looking for a unique dining experience can let LaCasce Take the Wheel. For $75 per person chef will create a hand selected meal. Weekend brunchers will notice a few changes and brunch is now served all day during the week.
Save room for dessert as Zuzu’s famous Show Stopper Shake is still available along with new desserts. Le Cordon Bleu trained Pastry Chef Clarissa Robinson brings her chocolate expertise to new desserts Zuzu Chocolate Bar, a Donut Sundae and Buttermilk Pie. Adults can add their favorite spirit to dessert to spike it up.
Private dining, wine room and more
Speaking of spirits new cocktails have been added including the Zuzu Mango Tango along with a new wine room. The new “Vine Vault” house wines from around the world. “The Rosie Room” is a new hidden private dining room named for Rosalyn “Rosie” Bennett Lyon, the matriarch of the family that owns the hotel. Her grandchildren called Rosie “Zuzu” and the inspiration for the restaurant comes from her cooking and warm hospitality.
I’ll be visiting Zuzu next week to check out the new menu and more. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures.
Zuzu and Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.
Downtown Phoenix’s Match Restaurant and Lounge now offers two new weekly food specials. The signature restaurant inside the Found:Re Hotel is offering burger and beer fans a pairing of the two. Every Thursday from 5 p.m. -11 p.m. enjoy a burger & draft beer for $10. What a better way to end your week than with a hot juicy burger washed down with a cold draft beer.
On Sunday’s head to Match for their new brunch buffet. Feast on a rotating menu of crab legs, prime rib and other breakfast and lunch favorites. Make your way to the omelet station then stop by the Bloody Mary bar to mix up your favorite Sunday cocktail.
Brunch is offered from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for $35 ++ and include 2 Bloody Mary’s or 2 Mimosa’s.
Whether your dining on Thursday or Sunday, Match offers 2 hours of complimentary valet parking.
Match Restaurant and Lounge is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003. 602-875-8080
Since their not body slamming their opponents in the wrestling ring anymore, twin sisters Brie and Nikki Bella are stomping grapes at their Napa Valley winery, Belle Radici. They launched the winery with partner Ryan Hill in 2017 and is Italian for “beautiful roots”. Belle Radici wines along with wines from Hill’s Hill Family Estate Winery will be poured on Sunday September 15th at Hearth ’61.
The dinner is part of the Mountain Shadows Resort’s Sunday Supper Club with food prepared by Chef Charles Wiley. Chef Wiley will be joined in the kitchen by Elements at Sanctuary executive chef Beau MacMillan. The pair worked together at Element’s when Wiley was executive chef and mentored MacMillan.
They’re collaborating on a four-course menu that includes Black Garlic Braised Beef Cheek and Honey Crisp Apple and Daikon Radish Salad.
The monthly Sunday Supper Club pairs wines or spirits with Chef Wiley’s modern cuisine. Upcoming dinners include Rombauer Vineyards on October 20th and Champagne Henriot on December 8th.
Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and each seat is 474 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-624-5400.
Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection is now the Arizona Good Food Expo and returns for its 10th year promoting Arizona sourced foods. This years event will be Monday August 26th at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. The event brings Arizona farmers and food & beverage producers together under one roof to meet face to face with buyers. The event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. is followed by a reception at the resorts signature restaurant, A Different Pointe of View.
“Changing the name to Arizona Good Food Expo better reflects the mission behind the event, to showcase Arizona’s best local food and build lasting relationships between food producers and wholesale buyers, but is more inclusive of the state’s broad range of food buyers who aren’t necessarily chefs,” says Emily Bell, Good Food Programs Manager at Local First Arizona Foundation.
Speakers at Arizona Good Food Expo
Over 75 vendors will provide samples and information for local restaurants, resorts and retail buyers. James Beard award-winner and “vegetable whisperer” Charleen Badman owner and chef of FnB will deliver the keynote speech. Other speakers include chefs Tamara Stanger of Tempe’s Cotton & Copper, Stephen Jones of the larder + delta and Shanti Ride, owner of Whipstone Farm.
“The Arizona Good Food Expo is the ideal setting to ensure the freshest Arizona-grown foods are being served on your plate – whether you shop at the grocery store, are eating at the school cafeteria, or dining out,” says Kimber Lanning, Founder of Local First Arizona Foundation, “The Expo makes it easier for our great chefs and food buyers to source local ingredients and be leaders in Arizona’s food scene. Sourcing Arizona’s homegrown foods is essential to build a healthier Arizona, and the relationships made at the Expo will leverage our agricultural bounty for the benefit of all.”
Tickets for the event are $25 for all day access and $99 for vendor packages. Vendor packages include 2 all day passes, reserved parking, table space and a listing in post event follow up. The deadline to purchase Vendor Packages is August 22nd. Information and purchasing tickets can be found at their website. The Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs Resort is at 11111 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85020.
Building an award winning wine program is no small task and Jim Gallen is no stranger to building them. Gallen, Food and Beverage Manager at Mountain Shadows Resort, built the Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 “Award of Excellence” wine list for Hearth ’61. Criteria used to judge restaurants for the award include wine pricing, wine director experience, cuisine type & menu pricing and overall wine selection.
Gallen has over 25 years of experience wine buying having been the wine buyer for Phoenix’s Tarbell’s Restaurant and others. It’s the restaurants first honor by Wine Spectator for its diverse list of over 180 wines from around the world.
It’s important for Gallen to build a wine program that compliments Executive Chef Charles Wiley’s cuisine and culinary events.
Hearth ’61 was one of over 3,800 restaurants around the world to be awarded the honor by Wine Spectator. Gallen will grow the wine program to earn the magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” and its highest honor “Grand Award”. The restaurant was one of several Arizona restaurants to earn honors from the magazine including Tarbell’s Tavern and Cafe Monarch.
Guests dining at the Spotted Donkey Cantina have the opportunity to taste the world’s rarest tequila, Roca Patron. The Scottsdale restaurant is the only Arizona restaurant with its private label bottles and first in the country to pour what is considered by connoisseurs as an exquisite tequila.
“We are proud to be the privileged Arizona restaurant to offer Roca Patron,” said restaurant manager Ron Pacioni. “We have more than 300 Roca Patron private label bottles in stock and we are excited to offer our guests something new, rare and exclusive as we constantly evolve our bar creations.”
The tequila can be served side by side with three other Patron tequilas with the restaurants “Patron Flights”. The flights come served in tequila flutes and with tasting notes for $30.
What makes Roca Patron special
The process to produce Roca Patron is extensive. It begins with a unique “Roca” (meaning rock) called a “tohona” –a giant 2-ton stone that is hand-carved from volcanic rock. The tohona slowly crushes the cooked agave to break the bonds of fiber and release the rich agave juice. From here, the juice and the agave fiber are placed together into wooden formation vats for over 72 hours. It is then distilled in small-capacity copper pot stills. Later the Reposado is rested in bourbon barrels for five months and the Anejo is aged in oak barrels for 14 months. Due to the long process, this tequila has limited bottle production.
Guests can enjoy the tequila with dinner. For a more intimate learning and tasting experience the restaurants private dining room is available to celebrate special occasions.
The Spotted Donkey is located at El Pedregal at The Boulders. 34505 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85262.
Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.
I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.
Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Proof, An American Canteen
Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.
Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America” along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.
June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade
July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!
August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.
Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)
Huss Arizona Light Lager
Le Cumbre Elevated IPA
The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.
Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil
Queen Creek Olives
Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime
Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds
Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde
Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.
Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries
Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry
Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?
The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262
Staying in Phoenix this summer, you don’t have to eat like you are when you head to the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. The resorts signature restaurant, the Spanish steakhouse Talavera offers two unique dining experiences this summer created by Sous Chef Samantha Sanz.
Summer in Seville prix fixe menu for 2
From June 7th – September 1st couples can spend a “Summer in Seville” enjoying wines and captivating dishes from Spanish city of Seville.
The evening starts with a parron of Sangria or bottle of Txakolina, a light and refreshing white wine perfect for summer sipping. Share a dish of tapas and a verduro (vegetable dish) before the main course arrives.
Chef Sanz creates summer version of her signature dish, Paella for the main course. Chorizo Bilbao, prawns, mussels, clams, corn, peas and a flavorful Chermoula verde sauce make up this traditional Spanish meal.
Dine on a Thursday night and enjoy live Flamenco music as you enjoy your meal and view of Pinnacle Peak.
The “Summer in Seville” dinners are served Wednesday – Sunday from 5:30 -9:30 p.m. The cost is $98 per couple.
Talavera features Latin cuisine & cocktails
Chef Sanz creates a one-of-a-kind interactive dinner experience taking you back and forth to South America and Spain for this dinner series.
June 13th- Travel to Brazil and Argentina for a “South American Churrascaria” and dine on tableside carved meats and dishes from live action cooking stations. New world wines from Argentina will be poured as will the classic Brazilian cocktail, Caipirinhas.
July18th– Head to southern Spain for the “Taste of Andalusia” dinner. Taste the different styles of sherry while enjoying authentic foods of southern Spain. Live cooking stations and tableside dishes will be paired with Spanish wines.
August 29th- Head back to South America for the “Latin Heat” dinner featuring the cuisine of Peru and Colombia. Sip on a Pisco Sour while eating Peruvian Ceviche and a selection of chiles and more.
September 19th- Return to Spain for Basque Country food and beverages at the “Nights in San Sebastian” dinner. Enjoy tapas inspired from the northern Spanish city with cooking stations as you enjoy the cities favorite past time, bar hopping.
Each dinner is $125 per person and include a welcome drink. Reservations for both of dinners can be made by calling 480-513-5039 or visit http://talaverarestaurant.com/
Talavera and the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262