The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival safely returning next weekend

Festivals and gatherings are returning to social calendars after many had to cancel their 2020 events due to Covid-19. One of those festivals first to return is The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival next weekend April 17th & 18th. The Town of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium co-host the 20th annual event in downtown Camp Verde from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and til 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Each day 8-12 wineries will be sampling their wines and pairing them with a variety of pecans. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, live music, local artists and a competitive pie eating contest. All activities will follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, all areas cleaned and sanitized frequently and recommended mask wearing. Page Springs, Salt Mine Wine, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Winery 101 are a few of the wineries pouring wines at the event.

“We were saddened to have to cancel last year but it was with everyone’s safety and best interests in mind, as this is normally one of the town’s biggest events,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “This annual tradition is a wonderful celebration of two local products of the region and we look forward to its return, with a number of additional safety precautions in mind”.

Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. Those 21 and older can pay $20 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Additional tickets can be purchased. For more information visit these websites http://www.cvaz.com and http://verdevalleywine.org

Photo credit: Jenelle Bonifeld & Arizona Wine Guide

Rusty Spur Saloon celebrates its 70th anniversary with new owners

Walk through the swinging doors of Scottsdale’s Rusty Spur Saloon and you have an idea of what life was like in the good ‘ol days of early Arizona life. As the oldest bar in Scottsdale celebrates its 70th anniversary it also celebrates a new group of local owners to keep the legendary bar going the years ahead.

Housed in what was Farmer’s Bank of Scottsdale the building was built in 1921 and renovated in 1951 and has been given historic landmark status and the safe is no longer filled with money but beer and liquor. Its other claim to fame is it can be a stop for country music superstars when the pull into town. Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Post Malone and others have been known to stop in for a drink and to listen to some country music.

Former owner Susan Anderson wanted the new owners to be local and have the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it attitude”. She found that attitude in full- time Arizona resident and new owner Bill Toole, who also owns Red, White & Brew, 32 Shea, Bill’s Grill and Lakeside Bar & Grill. “Our company mantra is ‘Local Places, Happy Faces’ and the Rusty Spur Saloon embodies this to a tee. The previous owner, Susan, did a fantastic job honoring and elevating the legacy of the Rusty Spur Saloon over the past 19 years. We’re humbled by the opportunity to lead this historic business into the future,” said Toole.

The Rusty Spur Saloon serves lunch 7 days a week and live entertainment during the days and nights. The saloon is at 7245 Main St. Scottsdale 85251. For more information, to see the menu and hours visit their website.

Chef Aaron May hosts celebrity chef friends for Big Boy Cook Club launch

More than a dozen chefs from around the country will be making their way to Phoenix to launch the first Big Boy Cook Club event. Get your tickets now for the Sunday April 25th event at central Phoenix’s Ocotillo Restaurant. Chef Aaron May will be hosting the party that will limit attendance to adhere to CDC guidelines.

“Big Boy Cook Club is a brand I have been developing for years, and what better place to launch it, than with a fun, casual food event in my own hometown” says Chef Aaron May. The Big Boy Cook Club brand is about the sincere about cooking and taste for food enthusiasts, not foodies and the camera.

Celebrity chefs cooking up delicious, no always photo friendly eats include Aron Sanchez, Todd English, Elsie Eats, Akira Back and Ocotillo’s own Walt Sterling. Jacob Cutino of locally owned Cutino Sauces will announce details of his new monthly “throw back” sauce event. He’ll also be working with each chef helping to pair his sauces with each chef’s dish.

Local mixologist Casey Wallin will be mixing up creative cocktails for the event with beer and wine available as well. DJ for the Miami Heat and surprise guests will be spinning the tunes to keep the crowd moving. A cigar roller, photo booth and spirit sampling will be just a few of the additional activities happening during the 5 hour event. Operation BBQ Relief will be the benefactor of money raised during the event.

The party goes from 2 – 7 p.m. with tickets on sale now at Eventbrite. Tickets are $100 with VIP tickets $200 and the Big Boy Package for $1,000. Ocotillo Restaurant is at 3243 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85012.

 

 

 

Buck & Rider announces a new North Scottsdale location

Arcadia’s popular Buck & Rider known for fresh seafood flown in daily has announced that they will be opening a second location at The Shops at Chauncey Ranch in North Scottsdale. Seafood fans will still have to head to the Camelback Rd. restaurant as the new location is about a year away from opening.

LGO Hospitality opened the original location in 2015 and has built its reputation serving quality seafood and meats by working directly with the fishermen and farmers. All fish is cut in-house with oysters and fish selections are rotated on a daily basis. Seafood comes from all directions with the seasonality, weather and skill of the fisherman dictating what’s available on the menu.

“Opening an authentic Buck & Rider location in Scottsdale gives us the ability to share our vitality, vim and vigor with the local community. Our goal has always been to bring the freshest seafood possible to Phoenix,” said Emily Collins of LGO Hospitality. “We’re eager and enthusiastic about sharing our unique and genuine vision with even more Arizonans. We utilize the freshest and most immaculate ingredients and apply exactness in cooking so that interference with the natural elements of the food is minimal and truly celebrate the ingredients.”

Serving lunch, dinner, brunch and happy hour Buck & Rider guests to Scottsdale will recognize familiar dishes such as Steak Tartar, Hand Rolled Sushi, Baja Shrimp Ceviche and the famed Abby’s Oyster Bar. A signature cocktail list with premium liquors and wine will compliment your meal. A full patio with outside bar is included in the design by local architect Cathy Hayes with her inspiration and design of the new location being influenced by modern designs and natural decor of the area. For more information and updates as to the opening visit the Buck & Rider website or on Facebook.

Guy Fieri is bringing his Flavortown feast to Phoenix

Celebrity chef and host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” Guy Fieri is returning to Phoenix but not to film his popular show but to host a party at Sanctuary on Camelback Resort & Spa. The “Flavortown Feast and Fiesta” rolls into the luxury resort in Paradise Valley on Thursday April 15th.

Sanctuary’s Executive Chef Beau Macmillan and Bar Chef Christiaan Rollich will co-host the night full of fun, flavorful food and more. Watching the sunset from the resorts Paradise Views &  Lower Lawn for the fiesta at 6:30 followed by the after-party at 8:30 in The View’s Ballroom that will feature musical guests D. Vincent Williams and the Nashville All-Stars.

The 3-course dinner includes the Triple D Wedge, Johnny Garlic’s New York Strip and the Colossal Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. Triple D Passed Bites and specialty cocktails will also be enjoyed.

Seating is limited to hang with Guy Fieri with tickets available for $500 per person. Tickets can be purchased by calling 855-245-2051. The full menu and more information can be found at the resort’s website.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen brings honkytonk to Old Town

Old Town Scottsdale went a little bit country last month when honkytonk themed Belle’s Nashville Kitchen swung its doors opened. Comfort food classics with a Nashville twist are served day and night from award-winning Chef Samantha Robert’s kitchen.

Longtime Scottsdale residents may remember the building its housed in, the popular Lulu Belle’s, the Gay 1890’s themed restaurant and bar in the 1960s- 90s. The back bar still remains from its original use as owner Mike Haley wanted to celebrate the buildings history and kept the part of the name as a reminder along with the bar and front striped facade. Much of the wood is re-claimed from Haley’s patio at his home in California. It wouldn’t be a honkytonk without live music and dancing that is being phased in with local musicians. Guitars line the back wall as do wagon wheels on the walls opposite the bar.

Chef Roberts previously developed menus for Scottsdale’s Riot Hospitality Group (El Hefe, Riot House & Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row) where she won the 2017 Foodist Award for “Best Chef”. The menu includes Nashville favorites Kool-Aid Pickles, a Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich, Honkytonk Fries and Jambalaya. Other favorites include a Poke board and Mac n Cheese Sandwich. Don’t miss out on Pig Candy, thick cut bacon candied in-house and topped with Pralines. Weekend brunch is served with Hot Chicken French Toast, Belle’s Biscuits and Gravy and Cowboy Breakfast.

Whiskey and bourbon signature cocktails including the Cold Brew Old Fashioned, The Pal Manhattan are served as are other classic cocktails.

Belle’s Nashville Kitchen is at 7212 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251. Their open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. Friday til 2 a.m. Saturday from 9 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information 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.

Wildflower adds new hearty menu items for winter

The locally owned specialty bakery known for its handcrafted artisan breads and more has added 8 new items to its menu. The festive foods include breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, pastas and toasts. There are 16 locations throughout Phoenix and Arizona.

Friendsgiving at Pedal Haus Brewery

Thanksgiving Eve friends and family can gather on the patio for a socially distanced celebration during happy hour. From 3:30 til closing on Wednesday November 25th enjoy happy hour specials, the new Peppermint Porter and live music. The celebration at the Chandler location goes until 10 p.m.

Aridus Wine Company ends its 8th harvest

The award-winning winery ends the 2020 grape growing season with almost 86 tons of grapes. This was their 4th harvest picking grapes from the estate’s 40 acres of vineyards in southern Arizona that started on August 22nd. 72% of the grapes picked will be for red wines, 26% for white wines and 2% for rose.

FRANCINE Restaurant opens patio for dining

You can now enjoy lunch, dinner or brunch at the French Mediterranean restaurant outside on the new patio. Located at the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square seats 28 people in the relaxing and beautiful setting. Seating is by request with reservations recommended.

Serrano’s closes Tempe location until early 2021

The 6440 S. Mill Ave. location has closed for dine-in and take-out to undergo a major renovation. A major renovation needs to completed and the 4 other locations are open for dine-in, take-out and curbside delivery.

“Los Local Love” celebrates all things local at Los Sombreros

As important as it is to support local businesses is become even more important in 2020. Los Sombreros is going all out with its new “Los Local Love” program not only features locally grown and made ingredients but live music from local musicians and gift ideas from local vendors.

Through December local musicians will entertain guests on the patio at Los Sombreros restaurants in Scottsdale, Phoenix & Mesa. Several musicians will be from Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers that the restaurant is raising money for through January with the purchase of take-out enchilada family meals or smoked chicken enchiladas. Check their social media for a schedule of performers.

Los Local Love Gift Boxes are available for your favorite foodie for their birthday or for the holidays. A t-shirt, coffee beans from CULT Coffee, chocolate from Carolina’s Chocolate, Los Sombreros Hot Sauce and more are available at https://www.lossombreros.com/shop.

The restaurants are getting pumpkins from Abby Lee Farms and Crooked Sky Farms in October for their soup and flan. In November the corn chowder will include corn from McClendon’s Select as will the pecans for their pecan pie.

It wouldn’t be the holidays without homemade tamales from Los Sombreros that will feature locally grown produce. You can start to order by the dozen November 1st with tamales available starting December 1st. Mix and match Green Corn, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas (peppers and onions), Chipotle Pork, Red Chili Beef, and Pineapple. Order at the above link or call 480-938-9500.

 

Safety measures in place as Scottsdale approves Polo Classic

The city of Scottsdale approved safety measures for the 2020 Stella Artois Polo Classic scheduled for Saturday November 7th at Westworld. In addition to the safety measures being taken, this year’s event will include the Morehouse College Polo Team vs. Women’s All-Stars playing in the final match and a concert by Roger Clyne after the match. Morehouse College is a private historically black men’s college in Atlanta and where Martin Luther King Jr. attended

Attendees will notice the popular tents are now open air with umbrellas & lattice fences and safety measures include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing & enforcement team, hand sanitizer stations and temperature checks. Gates open at 10:45 a.m. with the first match between the Arizona Polo Club & Denver Polo Club at 11:30 a.m. Between matches enjoy The World’s “Longest” Fashion Show, Canine Coture, A Dog Fashion Show Like No Other and of course, people watching.

“From the exciting new match-ups, to the charity endeavors to a new site plan with extensive seating options, 2020 will certainly be a year like no other and gives people looking to get outside and enjoy sports a new way of viewing a sporting event while staying distanced,” said Jason Rose, co-founder and co-owner of the event. After the matches end adjacent to the polo field, rock legend Roger Clyne will perform live. Tickets to the concert can be purchased separately. A schedule of events, tickets and more information can be found at http://thepoloparty.com/

 

Food trucks battle for “Best Slider” at Slider Throwdown

As culinary events are slow to return to the calendar the 2020 Slider Throwdown is back with a new location. Circle Sunday November 8th on your calendar for the popular burger battle between local food trucks. This year’s event is moving from Kierland Commons to north Phoenix’s High Street and proceeds will again go to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation.

Eight food trucks battle from 12- 3 p.m. for “Best Slider” chosen by judges and “People’s Choice” awards. Attendees will sample sliders for all tastes including beef, chicken, veggie and more. Food trucks cooking up sliders include Bayou Bistro, Food Diva, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and more.

“The Slider Throwdown is one of our favorite annual events because it brings the community together through food, fun, and entertainment,” said Kris Jacober, executive director of the AFFCF. “Without the support of our community through fundraisers like this, we could not continue to fulfill our vision of helping to give foster youth in Arizona the type of childhood that everyone deserves — so we are deeply grateful for every attendee.”

The burger battle will follow CDC guidelines including social distancing, limited ticket sales, hand sanitizer stations and attendees wearing masks. “We are excited to bring this event to High Street in a safe, secure and delicious environment on High Street,” said Jacober.

Tickets are $35 dollars per person and include samples of all sliders and three non-alcoholic beverages. The Josh West Trio will provide live music and attendees can bid for exciting prize packages at a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.affcf.org/events-2/