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 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.

Z’ Tejas launches new Winter seasonal menu

The southwestern restaurant’s Executive Chef Diego Bolanos launched his new seasonal menu this week at at their Scottsdale and Chandler restaurants. 8 dishes were added and include Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Chipolte Short Ribs, Achiote Shrimp Alfredo Pasta and Ginger Apple Cheesecake with a house made churro.

AZ Liquids offers $2 drinks all week for National Green Juice Day 1/26

The online retailer of cold pressed juices celebrates the week of January 24th- 31st. Order 1 drink at regular price and get another cold pressed juice for $2. Choose from Greens 01, Greens 02, Eat Green Machine or Eat Greens Phx. The discount will be applied to one green drink. To order and see ingredients of each visit their website.

Cala at Senna House is now open

The newest restaurant on the Scottsdale scene opened its door to the public this week. An all star cast of local food and beverage personnel are in charge of the Mediterranean inspired cuisine.

La Canasta Mexican Foods celebrates 60 years of Arizona’s best tortillas

The maker of My Nana’s Best Tasting Tortilla Chips started in 1962 by Richard & Carmen Abril and today makes 2.5 million chips daily. The Phoenix based company is run by Josie Ippolito, daughter of the founders and the chips can be found throughout Arizona and western states, The company is known not only for its chips but also for being a successful Hispanic and women owned business.

Sedona chef releases second cook book

Chef and restaurant owner Lisa Dahl releases her second cookbook, “A Romance with Food” on February 1st. The cookbook features 91 recipes and over 150 photos of Latin fusion dishes from her restaurant, Mariposa. Dahl owns 5 restaurants in Sedona and the cookbook offers recipes from salads to main dishes to desserts. Follow this link to pre-order your copy.

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.

It’s tamale time at Los Sombreros

The locally owned Mexican restaurant in Scottsdale and Mesa are taking orders for their homemade Mexican comfort food by the dozen. Customers can split the orders to 6 each of two flavors Green Corn, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas, Carnitas, Shredded Beef Brisket and Pineapple. 24 hour notice is required and they are available to be picked until December 24th at noon.

Festive Yuletide cocktails at Mavrix for a limited time

The entertainment venue in the Talking Stick Entertainment District has unveiled 4 seasonal cocktails available until December 31st. Sip on a Naughty or Spiced, Mistletoe Mule, White Christmas or Gettin’ Blitzen with scratch made food from their Trophy Room Grill.

Leila’s Empanadas launches in time for the holidays

Chef Leila Beltrame launched her new line of sweet & savory empanadas made from her family’s secret Brazilian recipe. A staple of Latin American cuisine her Beef, Chicken & Olive and Apple Creme Brulee empanadas are available at Sam’s Frozen Yogurt at 3434 W. Anthem Way, Anthem 85086 and online soon.

Crumbl Cookies around Phoenix collecting toys for Harvest Compassion Center

The local cookie franchise is collecting new toys in original packaging or minimum $10 gift card in exchange for a mention of a free Chocolate Chip Cookie. Exchange a toy for a cookie at their Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Queen Creek, Signal Butte, Red Mountain Mesa, Mesa Groves, Arcadia, Norterra and Tempe locations.

2022 RECOUPON AZ Beers Booklet now available

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild has released their popular booklet of $700 worth of coupons & discounts for the holidays. For only $35 you can use the coupons at 43 of Arizona breweries until the end of 2022. 110 coupons are in the booklet with up to 4 from each brewery. The booklets are available until the end of January 2022 at 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.

San Francisco chefs coming to Phoenix for cannabis infused dinner

Sous chef Frank Gama was living & working in Phoenix when he was planning a culinary experience like no other. He was then offered a job in San Francisco but didn’t forget about the dinner he wanted to do honoring the Hispanic & Latino community and heritage. He and Sous Chef Victor Aguilera will be coming to Phoenix to collaborate on this 8-course cannabis infused dinners on Sunday October 17th and Monday the 18th at Phoenix’s Jewels’ Cafe.

Both Gama and Aguilera have worked at Michelin star restaurants in San Francisco with Gama working at Atelier Crenn, Sorrel and Cafe Monarch in Scottsdale. Aguilera who’s from Venezuela, opened Arepas en Bici and has been featured in Eater SF, SF Chronicle, Good Morning America and recently won the Chopped 420 Challenge.

The dinners will feature courses spanning the culinary spectrum from molecular gastronomy to traditional French cuisine using locally sourced ingredients and Arizona grown cannabis. The dinner will start with a happy hour with snacks and each course will include drink pairings by bartender Curtis Hayes of The Monarch in Kansas City.

The all inclusive dinner is $200 per person and has two seating’s per night at 5 & 8 p.m.  More information & to purchase your seats visit https://www.bychefaguilera.com/events. Jewel’s Cafe is at 4041 E. Thomas Rd. Phoenix 85018.

 

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.

Renata’s Hearth to open at the Arizona Biltmore this week

A couple of weeks after re-opening with a new look, the Arizona Biltmore Resort debuts its new restaurant, Renata’s Hearth on Tuesday. The Central & South American inspired restaurant will tempt you palate with its smoky aromas of chiles, meats and more. The restaurant joins the newly opened outdoor Inspire Bar.

Chef Jose Figueroa Ortega’s menu pays homage to his Hispanic heritage with its meat and seafood dishes. Ortega’s taste for southwest flavors started at a young age while cooking at home with his family. He built on what he learned at home by attending the Arizona Culinary Institute to hone his skills before working at Cafe Monarch & Tarbell’s. His photo worthy dishes include Grilled Branzino, Renata’s Pozole Blanco and Mole Negro Rubbed Smoke Wagyu Brisket.

Signature cocktails will include the Burnt Paloma and White Sangria and the Los Muertos and Smoked Pineapple. Two signature carts will roam the restaurant including a fresh guacamole & Spanish tapas cart and the Mezcal Mavens will have their craft cocktail cart. Inspire Bar pays tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright whose influences are found throughout the resort that dates back to 1929.

Moroccan lanterns strung from trees along with tiles and aged leather will set the mood. “We believe that Renata’s Hearth will be unlike any other restaurant that exists in the current Arizona culinary scene,” said Cornelius Cover, general manager at Renata’s Hearth. “The alchemy of authentic flavors and the essence of smoke mesh in a sophisticated atmosphere perfect for nights out and special occasions.”

For more information and to make a reservation visit 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.

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.

 

Ofrenda brings Latin influenced cuisine and art to Cave Creek

Two creative minds in the Valley’s food scene have partnered to bring Cave Creek a restaurant like no other. Michael Stone and Carlos Marquez opened Ofrenda last week in the Stagecoach Village’s spot that was Marquez’s former Indigo Crow restaurant. In Spanish “ofrenda” means “offering” and that restaurant is inspired by the Aztec tradition where families build altars to loved ones and their eternal souls.

Stone owner of central Phoenix’s Taco Guild has wanted to partner with Marquez for some time. “After several conversations we came to a decision,” Stone said. “Both Carlos and I experienced some recent tragic losses in our lives, and then the pandemic. We decided to change the concept to something more meaningful; something that reflects our intent and feeling for the brands we create.

Throughout the two-story restaurant guests will experience not only Latin cuisine but also art in various forms around the restaurant. A focal point is metal marigold at the entrance and the “Dia des Muertos”, Day of the Dead caricatures donning windows and statues inside and out.

The foods and tequilas of Ofrenda

Marquez not only created the menu but also did much of the work around the restaurant transforming from one to another. In the kitchen he’s created a menu of salads, appetizers, tacos and entrees. Pork Empanadas and a Carbon Board of pepita hummus, carbon grilled vegetables, fried hominy, guacamole and fresh tortillas. He prepares carne asada, duck, lobster and shell on crab for taco offerings.

Entrees include a Tomahawk steak and Huarache Nopales (grilled nopales, fried blue corn masa, black beans, vegan cheese, pea tendrils, and huitlacoche); Carne (house-marinated sirloin steak, black bean puree, ash-roasted papas, and rojo).

The pair will have the largest selection of Agave liquors and are well on their way with several hundred under lock and key in the Agave Library upstairs. The gate securing the agave was built by Marquez. Signature cocktails, Mexican wines and draft beers were created and selected by beverage director Luke Detraz.

“Michael and I wanted to create this as a way to honor loved ones and those we still hold dear, whether they are close to us or far away,” Marquez said.” Ofrenda celebrates life and all those who have touched us profoundly. It’s a place to make new memories while cherishing loved ones far and near.”

Ofrenda is at 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd. Cave Creek 85331. (480)488-2187. For more information visit their website. Open daily at 3 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. at 11 a.m. for brunch.

Chef Samantha Sanz joins Ghost Ranch for Guest Chef Series dinner

Tempe’s Ghost Ranch restaurant is launching a monthly Guest Chef Series starting Wednesday November 13th. Each month a local chef will join chefs Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno for a specially created menu. Launching the dinner series will be Chef Samantha Sanz of Talavera Restaurant at The Four Seasons Scottsdale.

The five-course dinner will be inspired by where the three chefs hail from…..Nogales. Flavors of their hometown will be on display for this special dinner. Each course is paired with a beverage.

First Course – Cured Salmon, Green chiltepin aguachile tostada, radish salad and pickled avocado mousse. Paired with: Mohua Sauvignon Blanc

Second Course – Mesquite charred local squash and sweet potato, grapes, mint, crow’s dairy feta, peanut mole, tamarind and chiltepin candy crunch. Paired with: Tamarind piloncillo old fashioned

Third Course – Steamed red chile taquitos, duck confit potatoes, pickled farmer’s market veggies and burnt salsa. Paired with: Pacifico Michelada

Fourth Course – Grilled nopal, adobo flank steak, fresh ranchero cheese, charred pineapple pico de gallo, crispy beans, fried scallions, tomatillo and avocado salsa. Paired With: Nogales Sangria

Fifth Course – Dulce de leche coyota. Paired with: Spiced Horchata

Space is limited and tickets are $75 per person. Tickets to join Chef Samantha Sanz can be purchased here.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. in Tempe.

 

Dia de los Muertos 4 day celebration at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco

Hispanics around the world honor deceased family and friends every year with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The festive holiday includes candle lighting vigils, traditional decorations and more. Downtown Chandler’s Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is showing their respect for the colorful holiday with a four day festival. The inaugural Dia de los Muertos event will benefit the Los Diablos ASU Alumni Chapter.Dia de los Muertos

“We are extremely excited to be hosting this Dia de los Muertos celebration for the first time,” said Wally Ansari, owner of Ghett’ Yo’ Taco’. “With four days of activities we’ve made sure that there is something fun for all ages. We are also very pleased to partner with Los Diablos for this event and support their mission to assist outstanding Latin college students at ASU. We look forward to bringing the Chandler community together to celebrate our departed loved ones.”

Dia de los Muertos events

Here is the schedule of events.

Thursday, October 31 – Halloween bar crawl will take place from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will include stops at Chandler establishments The Local, Perch, Sleepy Whale and Quart Haus. The night will continue at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco with a costume contest for cash prizes and a candle lighting vigil. Guests are encouraged to bring candles and photos of their departed loved ones. Each bar will have drink specials and live music. Tickets for Thursday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Friday, November 1 – From 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. attendees can enjoy a live DJ and patio expansion for guests to bring candles and/or pictures of deceased family members for a candle lighting vigil. Candles will be available on site for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 2 – Dia de los Muertos celebration will take place all day from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Guests will be able to fully embrace Hispanic culture and experience a traditional celebration honoring departed loved ones. The day will consist of live musical performances, traditional Hispanic food, piñatas and sugar skull painting. Tickets for Saturday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Sunday, November 3 – Celebrate Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Guests of all ages can enjoy music, food, drinks, a bouncy house and kid’s activities. This event is free and open to the public.

Los Diablos raises funds for scholarships and financial assistance for students in Arizona. The organization is committed to mentorship and community service as well.

Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is at 241 S. Oregon St. Chandler 85225.

 

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