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.

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.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new menu

Earlier this week the locally owned pizzeria group debuted its new Fall seasonal menu. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Green Apple Sangria, Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a Vodka Peach Mule are just a few of the new dishes & cocktails available until December 6th.

Creamistry to open first West Valley location

The ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen to make their delicious desserts opens at Park West, Saturday September 18th. Customers who show up between 12 – 2 p.m to the Peoria’s Park West entertainment center get a free small ice cream. There are 2 other locations in Gilbert and Scottsdale, no free ice cream though.

Don’t forget National Hamburger Day Saturday

The popular comfort food is being celebrated September 18th around town with specially made burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar and other burger joints around Phoenix.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe 3rd Tuesday wine dinner is happening

3 courses paired with wines from New Zealand and California at Romeo’s monthly dinner is next Tuesday the 21st. Reservations are needed for dinner at the downtown Gilbert restaurant. Dinner is $39 per person.

Arizona Restaurant Week starts tonight

For the next 10 nights, restaurants feature specially created 3 course menus at $33, $44 or $55. 150+ restaurants are participating the Fall 2021 culinary event. Reservations are highly recommended and a full list of restaurants and their menus can be found at their website. The Arizona Restaurant Association has partnered with the HonorHealth Foundation to raise money for Desert Mission Food Bank during the next 10 days.

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.

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.

“Arizona Pizza” added to new Fall menu at Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar

The Shops at Gainey Ranch’s Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar has announced several changes to its operation including adding Arizona Pizza to the menu. One of the new changes is that the restaurant will open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sunday’s so football fans can catch all the action.

The 4 new Arizona Pizzas are 12 inch thin and crispy crusts and use a mozzarella and provolone cheese blend. A cauliflower crust is also available with the 4 pizzas being…..

·         Margherita. Grilled tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil

·         The Famous 48. Pepperoni, sausage, onion

·         Nacho Mama. Ground beef, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, taco sauce, blend of cheddar-jack cheese, crumbled Nacho Cheese Doritos®

·         BBQ Chicken Pizza. BBQ Sauce, provolone, chicken, red onion, cilantro

“We like to keep our menus fresh and we’ll always offer Arizona favorites.  That’s the inspiration for the four pizzas on this new menu at Famous 48,” said Robert Wagner, executive chef, of Famous 48 and sister restaurant, Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers. “We aim to please and we’re happy the neighborhood enjoys our great food.”

With the new pizza’s come a special happy hour deal every Monday -Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a Arizona Pizza and bottle of red or white house wine for only $25. To end your meal, they’ve also added a new option to a favorite dessert. The skillet cookie option of white chocolate macadamia, caramel sauce with vanilla bean ice cream joins a classic chocolate chip cookie skillet with vanilla ice cream.

Famous 48 is at 8989 N Scottsdale Rd #608, Scottsdale, AZ 85253. 480-941-0101. Check out their website for the full menu and more.

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.

Celebrate the 1st TLC Experience dinner of the season

Chef Tom‘s birthday is fast approaching and you can celebrate with him at the first dinner of the Fall season. Sunday September 19th at a private home in Paradise Valley is where the 4 hour dinner will take place. As always the evening’s menu is a surprise but you know it’s going to be good, sourcing from local farms and artisan food makers. Become a member of the EXperince and get more details here.

Labor Day Weekend deals at restaurants around Phoenix

Celebrate at home with a Hopdoddy Burger Bar DIY Burger Kit, Family Packs at Miracle Mile Deli for pick-up, take-out or delivery. Other deals at Dave & Busters at Tempe Marketplace, STK Steakhouse, 50% of cheese pizza on Sunday 9/5 National Pizza Day at Fired Pie, a free domestic draft beer with purchase at Comic X, Slices get 2 large slices & drink for $7.99. BBQ style meals for catering family meals or individual meals from EAT by Stacey Weber. In downtown Phoenix head to Palomar at Kimpton Hotel as they are offering 5-7-9 Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. $5 beers, $7 glasses of wine & $9 Old Fashioneds with bites to eat from $5-$7.

Ingo’s Tasty Food now open in downtown Phoenix

As mentioned in May the 2nd location of the popular hangout at Block 23 at 101 E. Washington St. across from Chase Field and the Footprint Center. An all-day menu and LGO pastries are served Monday – Friday starting at 7 a.m. with Saturday and Sunday hours coming soon.

The Good Food Film Series new line-up announced

Local First Arizona has announced the next 3 films in the series focusing on the Arizona food community. The Fall film series showcases films dealing with how we heal the earth & how we can connect to the land. The Trail of Arizona Dairy (releasing on Sept. 14), Food as Medicine (releasing on Oct. 12),Farming as a Revolutionary Act for Food Sovereignty (releasing on Nov. 9).

11th annual AZ Taco Festival postponed til 2022

Organizers decided to pause the popular food festival as the Delta variant of Covid-19 is takings its toll. The festival is now re-scheduled April 9th & 10th 2022 and the regularly schedule 2022 taco festival is still scheduled only 6 months later on October 22nd & 23rd 2022. All tickets purchased for the 2021 festival will be honored in April 2022. Head to their website for more information.

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.

Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing the pizza party to you

Have you ever wanted to learn to make pizza from a pizza pro, now you and 24 friends can as the Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing its pizza party to you. Chef Tommy D’Ambrosio of Aioli Gourmet Burgers, Fresh Taste Meal Prep and other food concepts is bring you the hands on experience better than any food from a chaffing dish. He will teach how to toss the dough, adding sauces and toppings and cooking them in his mobile pizza oven.

“Everyone loves pizza! It’s so fun to see a smile on everyone’s faces when we fire up the wood oven and start making pizzas. Our customers have a blast learning to make their own pizzas – it’s a great experience for all ages and really makes any party extra special,” said D’Ambrosio.

Each class includes 2 hours of on-site pizza making training, all the equipment and ingredients. Depending on size of the group and custom menu Oak Wood Fire Pizza tries to keep the cost around $25 per person. Don’t want to make pizza just eat it, their food truck is available for corporate parties & private events. The food truck can accommodate any size event and the menu includes pizzas, salads, sides, bruschetta, charcuterie and more. For more information or to book a pizza party, check out their website.

Hot Dog Days starts Friday September 3rd at Joe’s Farm Grill

Labor Day weekend we un-offically say “good bye” to summer and “hello” to a month long of gourmet hot dogs and sausages at Gilbert’s Joe’s Farm Grill. From September 3rd til October 3rd celebrate the return of Hot Dog Days with six delicious specially created all-beef, natural cased premium hot dogs & sausages from Phoenix’s Schreiner’s Fine Sausages.

Each Hot Dog Days special come with a side of French fries or another side from the menu. Each hot dog is $12 or a combination of 2 for $18 and a special Peach Melba Shake to wash it down is only $5.50.

Hot Dogs Days gourmet dogs

The six hot dogs are….

Cheddar Coney Dog — A grilled hot dog smothered with mild homemade Michigan Coney sauce and yellow mustard then topped by a quarter-pound mountain of finely shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese; served with diced onions on the side.

Danger Dog — A jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with atomic horseradish, honey mustard, homemade sweet-hot pepper relish and a heap of finely shredded ghost pepper jack cheese; served with extra relish on the side.

Carolina Blue Dog — A grilled dog topped with a generous portion of Joe’s signature BBQ pulled pork, tangy blue cheese crumbles, and hand-cut sweet coleslaw then drizzled with Joe’s Real BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw dressing; served with extra Joe’s Real BBQ sauce on the side.

Sonoran Dog — A long-time Joe’s Farm Grill favorite, this (slightly) new and improved recipe features a jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with homemade Farm beans, queso de cotija, pico de gallo and finished yellow mustard and a sour cream-mayo drizzle; served with whole fried peppers on the side.

Big Fat Greek Dog — Schreiner’s smoked Greek-seasoned pork sausage topped with cucumber tzatziki sauce, drizzled with yellow mustard, and then piled high with Joe’s Greek fries (featuring garlic sauce, feta, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh herbs); served with extra sauce on the side.

Italian Sausage Dog — A fresh sweet Italian link baked into Joe’s fresh-made focaccia dough with pepperoni, marinara, and creamy brick and pecorino-Romano cheeses, then topped with sautéed onions and peppers; served with side of mild Giardiniera (*This hot dog requires a slow hand but is worth the wait! Please allow for slightly longer service time.).

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.

Grand Canyon Brewery & Distillery’s RTD are the states best selling

The William’s brewer & distiller started distilling Ready to Drink (RTD) in 2019 and in 2021 their the state’s largest producer of locally made RTD’s. Their current line-up includes Orange Blossom Vodka Soda, Prickly Pear Vodka Soda, Orange Blossom Vodka Mule, Cuba Libre and Gin & Tonic. Look for them at Safeway & Total Wine. For more information see their website or check Beer Finder to find out where to get them.

Best of Downtown Tempe stroll happening Saturday Aug. 28th

Foodies can spend Saturday afternoon strolling Mill Ave. and the surrounding neighborhood’s best restaurants tasting & sipping on food & drinks. From 1 – 5 p.m. over 15 restaurants have created special dishes for the day for between $8-$10. Several locally owned specialty retailers are also participating. To get your $5 access pass and more information visit their website.

Bandanas for Humane Society at Z’Tejas this weekend

The southwestern cuisine restaurant with a location in Scottsdale & Chandler is supporting National Dog Day all weekend selling special dog bandanas. Each bandana is $15 and proceeds are being donated to the animal friendly non-profit.

Blue Adobe Grille taken over by Vicino’s Local Italian, will close for quick re-model

The Santa Fe style restaurant open since 2000 looks to be now owned by the owners of the nearby popular Italian restaurant. Vicino’s says Blue Adobe will be closing Monday August 30th and re-opening for dinner on Friday September 3rd after new floors, walls and kitchen equipment are installed. A new drink list and more advantageous happy hour menu coming soon after.

The Prime Rib prix-fixe is back at Paul Martin’s American Grill

Every Monday – Wednesday get 3 courses of seasonal house salad, slow roasted prime rib & chocolate cake for only $39.95 at the Scottsdale restaurant. To make a reservation follow this link.

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.

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.