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.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Holiday Breakfast Box available from Morning Squeeze

Looking to feed friends and family breakfast Christmas morning? If so, each Breakfast Box serves up to 10 people and pre-orders are being taken from December 1st until the 20th. Each box includes 1 meat quiche, 1 vegetable quiche, potatoes, fruit, French toast casserole and orange juice. Orders can be picked up on December 23rd & 24th at their new catering kitchen at 1725 W. University Dr. Tempe and each box is $140. To order call 480-967-6610 or email TakeHome@morningsqueeze.com

Tracey Dempsey Originals to host Holiday Market

Now that we’re in the gift giving season make plans to attend the Local Love: Holiday Market next Saturday December 3rd. Baked goods and wines from Tracey Dempsey Originals/ ODV Wines along with other local partners including Ernest +Humble Coffee, The Sober Somm with alcohol free libation options, Broom Brush Tea, candle maker Cactus + Vine and 8 other local vendors. Non-profit partners The Joy Bus, Blue watermelon Project & Sun produce Co-Op will be selling gift cards, tickets to future fundraiser and food delivery subscriptions.

The market will be from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Tracey Dempsey Originals 1325 W. University Dr. Tempe.

Pork on a Fork Friday specials available for pre-order

Not wanting to cook dinner at the end of a long week then pre-order a smoked meat dinner from their North Phoenix or Chandler restaurants. Starting on Monday you can place your order for Tri-Tip for December 2nd pick-up and order Beef Ribs on Monday the 5th for pick-up on the 9th. Quantities are limited and pre-orders are necessary.

New Happy Hour menu at Sfizio in North Phoenix

The Italian restaurant in Desert Ridge just released a new menu available daily in the bar from opening til 6 p.m. Enjoy Shrimp Risotto, Mussel Marinara, Meatballs and Truffle Garlic Bread in house or consider them inspiration for your holiday cooking.

Oro Brewery Company brings home the gold from GABF

The Mesa craft brewer won was awarded a gold medal by the Brewers Asoociation at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival in October. The gold medal beer was the Café Oro, a Blonde Ale infused with cold-press coffee in the “Coffee Beer style” category. The cold press coffee used is from local Village Coffee Roastery.

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

20th anniversary celebration coming to Picazzo’s

One day over lunch in 2002 custom home builders Rick Freedman and Doug Stanton realized there was no good pizza in their new hometown of Sedona. So what did the Portland transplants do, they decided to open their first Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen, now their getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary Wednesday, November 9th.

In the 20 years since they opened the Sedona location they’ve opened five more in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Arrowhead, Tempe and Gilbert. Since day one the gourmet pizza restaurant has focused on dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free with allergy-friendly options. They’ve since added Italian dishes with 95% of all ingredients being organic with many including sauces and dressings made from scratch.20th anniversary

“We pride ourselves on providing quality, healthy dining options for individuals who may have dietary restrictions as well as our guests who do not,” says Picazzo’s Managing Partner Chris Disney. “Picazzo’s is excited to celebrate our 20th year in business, and we’re even more excited looking towards the future and our continued growth. Our team can’t wait to celebrate with our many loyal customers, and we hope to see everyone on November 9!”

All 6 locations will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with happy hour specials from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. along with giveaways and fun photo opportunities. The first 20 guests over 18 at each location will receive a $20 gift card and those photos posted on Instagram and tagging Picazzo’s will be entered in a sweepstakes to win a $200 gift card. Details about the IG sweepstakes are available at each location which you can find at their website.

Hear more about Picazzo’s from Chris Disney listen to Episode 29 of Pulling Corks and Forks: The Podcast.

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.

Dia de los Muertos Festival at Cien Agaves

The newly re-modeled restaurant and bar in Old Town Scottsdale is showing off its new look this Sunday, October 30th. From 1 – 4 p.m. festival goers can taste 15 different agaves, enjoy live music & get a swag bag. Capacity is limited and tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

Tommy V’s hosts The Carlton Winemakers Studio dinner

Next Thursday, November 3rd the Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5-course dinner paired with wines starting at 6:30 p.m. Red & white wines will be paired with Shrimp & Tuna Wheat Ceviche, Hazelnut Risotto, Braised Short Ribs and more. Seats are a $135++ and reservations can be made by calling the Scottsdale restaurant at 480-427-2264.

Trinchero Family Estates wine dinner at The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Tara & Travis Rawlings purchased Moon Valley’s Aiellos and Isa’s Pizza in May and changed it to The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar making some changes to higher quality ingredients and adjusted the menu to regional Italian. They host a six course dinner featuring Italian wines from the California based wine company on Wednesday, November 9th. They’re offering two seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for $125++. You can reserve your spot for this memorable evening at their website.

Blue Hound Kitchen welcomes a new chef and new menu

Executive Chef Alex Robinson joined Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar in August and hit the ground running working on a new menu. The menu and new cocktails from Clint “Spotty” Spotelson debuted in early October and features chef’s signature BHKC 900 Hot Stone with Australian Wagyu or Yellow Fin Tuna, Net of  The Sea, Roasted Airline Chicken Breast to name a few. Cocktail highlights include the bourbon based Stealth Bomber, Open Sesame with black sesame infused George Dickel rye and Pedro Conejo, an interesting combination of liquors, carrots and lime.

Halloween weekend around Phoenix

There are too many spooky events to mention this weekend around the Phoenix area. Look and you’ll find spooky cocktails, costume parties and more at your favorite restaurants, bars and breweries. Have fun and be safe!

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

Bartenders compete to create new Fall cocktails at Spinato’s

There’s no better way to create new cocktails for the Fall season than to go to those who make them on a daily basis. That’s why Spinato’s Pizzeria  bartenders organized a friendly contest with the bartenders at their six locations to see which cocktails make the final list.

“Our bartenders did a phenomenal job creating unique recipes for this contest,” said Erin Schultz, Spinato’s Marketing Director. “We’re really proud of them, and we hope our guests will enjoy the new cocktails as much as we do!” The creative cocktails will be on the menu until Spring and all participating bartenders received a gift card to several local breweries.

Bartenders new Fall cocktail list

The 6 new Fall cocktails are as follows.

Crystal Mirtillo: Crafted by bartender Milan Watt in Scottsdale. Featuring Hornitos Tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, agave, Triple Sec, a splash of Sierra Mist and served with edible glitter and a sugared rim. $12

Dolce Delizioso: Crafted by bartender Janet Blau in Ahwatukee. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, Kahlua, heavy cream, caramel sauce and served with a salted caramel rim. $16

Harvest Apple: Crafted by bartender Allison Brackenbury in Scottsdale. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, cider simple syrup, lemon juice, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, soda water and served with 3 apple slices and fresh grated cinnamon. $12

Orange You Feeling Cran’d: Crafted by bartender Andrew Brent in Tempe. Featuring Del Bac scotch whiskey and cranberry simple syrup. $16

Porch-Side Smash: Crafted by bartender Conan Zimmerman in Phoenix. Featuring Blue Clover vodka, creme de mure, lemon juice and a press. $10

Spinato’s Spritz: Crafted by bartender Mike Danner in Ahwatukee. Featuring your choice of Blue Clover gin or vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled Luxardo cherries with a press. $10

Danner also created a 3 Halloween themed cocktails.

Butter Beer Cocktail: For all the Harry Potter fans out there! Pinnacle Whipped vodka, butterscotch liqueur, Frangelico, caramel sauce and Grateful Spoon vanilla gelato. $14

Poison Apple Cocktail: Blue Clover vodka, apple liqueur, simple syrup, green edible swirl glitter and one Luxardo cherry. $8

Zombie Blood Cocktail: Kahlua coffee liqueur, creme de menthe and cream with a side of eyeball. $11

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.

Tequila Corrido pairing dinner at Hotel Valley Ho

The locally owned tequila is being paired with a special menu by the hotel’s Executive Chef Russel LaCasce on Thursday, October 27th. The four course dinner includes Shrimp & Abalone Ceviche, Duck & Pork Tostadas with pickled escabeche, Bone-In Short Rib “Colorado” with Spanish rice and beans, and Elote Cake with mascarpone citrus and tequila gelée. Seats are $109++. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. and seats can be reserved by calling 480-421-7997.

Third Tuesday wine pairing dinner at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

Next Tuesday, October 18th the downtown Gilbert restaurant hosts its monthly three course dinner. Ahi- Nicoise Salad, Beseme Mucho and Red Velvet Cake are paired with wines from California and Oregon. Seats are $39 and reservations can be made by calling 480-962-4224. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.

Liberty Station Tavern celebrates 10th anniversary

Originally named Market Street Kitchen before the Keeler family rebranded it to Liberty Station Tavern in 2016, the two celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday, October 20th. The DC Ranch restaurants invites guests to night of food, drinks and entertainment starting at 6 p.m. Five food stations along with wine, beer & cocktails are $110.10++ with more information on their website and limited seating reservations can be made by calling 480-278-7044.

Pink Out tomorrow at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

A reminder of the Pink Out tomorrow at all 4 locations and free mammogram at their downtown Chandler restaurant. Details of how you can participate tomorrow and all month are here at the featured post.

Scottsdale’s Taste of Italy has arrived this weekend

The Italian Association of Arizona hosts its annual food and music festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront tomorrow and Sunday. All the details can be found at last month’s featured post.

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.

Tonight starts Four Peaks Oktoberfest

The weekend long festivities at Tempe Beach Park starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour. Live music, beer, food and more is only $20 Friday and Saturday with free admission on Sunday. To see the details of the event read my feature post from last month.

Save $6 on pizza every Monday at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

For National Pizza Month you can save $6 on a 16-inch cheese pizza every Monday in October. Get the pizza for $14 at all 6 Phoenix area and Flagstaff locations when you dine-in or take-out when you call your order in. No third party deliveries or online orders and not available on October 31st.

Beaulieu Vineyards featured at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa dinner

The historic Napa Valley winery’s wines will be paired as part of a 5-course dinner on Thursday, October 10th in the resort’s Alto Ristorante e Bar. The dinner begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. Winery representative Julia Smith will be in attendance to walk guests through the wines, tell the story of the famous winery and answer questions. Chef Joaquin Estolano Jr. and his culinary team will pair a specially curated menu with guests having the opportunity to purchase wines at a discount to take home. Reservations are required for the $149 per person dinner and can be made by calling 480-629-6231.

Cider Corps nominated as one of the “Best Cideries” in the country

Vote for the locally and veteran owned cidery until October 24th as they’ve been nominated by USA Today for one of the Top 10 in the country. Only 20 cideries were nominated by a panel of experts and you can help them get into the Top 10.

Z’Tejas goes pink in October

For the entire month of October the southwestern restaurant in Chandler and Scottsdale is selling pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of the $10 proceeds of each ribbon is being donated to The Singleton’s. The local non-profit helps single parent families battling cancer. When purchasing a ribbon guests receive a complimentary watermelon strawberry margarita or a non-alcoholic, a strawberry lemonade (zero proof) cocktail.

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

Phoenix Suns Gorilla helps create new pizza with Spinato’s

As the new season for the Phoenix Suns is about to start their mascot had a busy off season. The Gorilla has been working hard at creating the new “Courtside Classic” pizza with Spinato’s Pizzeria and will be showing it off at launch party next week. After working on several recipes everybody decided the “Courtside Classic” will be made with Spinato’s classic red sauce, hot Soppressata (Italian dry salami), Spinato’s secret spice, house-pickled jalapeños, red onions and mozzarella. The pizza will be made with fresh dough and ingredients for every Suns and Mercury game.

Spinato’s co-owner Anthony Spinato was impressed with the Gorilla’s pizza making skills. “We didn’t know what to expect, but he did a pretty good job helping me in the kitchen,” Spinato said. “He’s nimble and has a good work ethic. If he wasn’t working for the Suns, we might consider hiring him.” It’s not the first time Spinato’s has partnered with someone outside the family as they just finished a collaboration with the Wizard of Za and Beer Research Institute.

Phoenix Suns
Courtside Classic Pizza

The pizza will be available at all Spinato’s locations and at The Footprint Center starting Tuesday, October 11th for $28.50. The Central Phoenix location will host a launch party on the 11th from 4-6 p.m. and will feature Phoenix Suns Gorilla, Phoenix Suns Dancers, the Mercury Scorch, State 48 and Four Peaks Brewing Company. Spinato’s ran a contest to choose the name of the new pizza and Maria Linder won a $100 gift card.

The Central Phoenix location of Spinato’s is at 5509 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014.

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.

Park West’s “Follow the Fork” event is tomorrow

West valley foodies can join Jalapeño Inferno and over a dozen more restaurants for a progressive dining experience from 6 – 9 p.m. Live music from Rock Lobster, interactive art and more will help to raise money for the Peoria Education Foundation.

National Taco Day is Tuesday October 4th

Next week’s Taco Tuesday has more tacos than most days as its National Taco Day and there are some deals to be had. Agave del Scottsdale has Happy Hour tacos all day. Z’Tejas offers 1/2 off Gringo Tacos all day with 3 beef tacos & toppings only $7.

Farmer’s Markets return this weekend

October bring the return of the popular community gathering spots that feature local produce and more. The High Street market returns to North Phoenix on Sunday’s from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Park West is at the Loop 101 & Northern on Saturday’s starting at 9 a.m. Also on Saturday morning’s is the Old Town Scottsdale farmer’s market returns tomorrow at 8 a.m.

October is National Pizza Month

The Streets of New York is celebrating all month long at their 16 locations with a 16″ one topping pizza for $20. You can save almost $4 when dining in, taking-out or for delivery, make sure you mention when ordering in use promo code $20PIZZA when ordering online. The restaurant is also launching its new seasonal menu from October 10th – December 31st. Enjoy Beer Cheese w/ Passion bread for $9, Baked Mac & Cheese for $12 and Pumpkin Cannoli for $4.

Halloween specials at Morning Squeeze

All 3 locations in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale start October with a couple of new specials all month long. Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast ($14) is a twist on the restaurant’s annual pumpkin themed dish. The pumpkin sauce is made in house and comes topped with pumpkin granola. The Spooky Brunch Punch ($10) combines tequila, amaretto, lime and orange juice then tops it with an eyeball garnish. A syringe of raspberry puree comes on the side to drizzle into the drink or add appropriate bloodshot effects to the ghoulish eye. 

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.

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.

 

 

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