Macayo’s Patron Reposado Tequila now available in Mesa

Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants recently introduced their own barrel selected tequila along with new menu items. Macayo’s partnered with Patron to supply the restaurants the tequila aged in an Hungarian oak barrel for five months. Patron often partners with restaurants to supply their own barrel aged tequila. The Barrel Select Margarita ($11.59) uses the tequila at all locations and a bottle ($69.99) can be purchased at the Mesa location.

The restaurant also introduced new menu items along with returning favorite based on customer requests. Spinach con Queso ($5.99 cup, $8.99 bowl), Carne Asada Fries ($8.99), Harvest Chopped Salad ($10.99) and Armando’s Steak Dinner ($16.99) has debuted. Returning to the menu is the popular California Burro.

Also returning today is their popular Recipe Box filled with over 80 recipes from the last 70 years. The Recipe Box sells out quickly and makes a great gift for the upcoming holiday season. You can purchase a Recipe Box at any Macayo’s location or online for $40. For $20 you can purchase only the recipe cards included in the box.

To order your Recipe Box or find a Macayo’s location near you go to https://www.macayo.com/

Upscale Mexican restaurant Toca Madera has opened.

A year and a half after I posted about it, the upscale Mexican restaurant Toca Madera has opened at Scottsdale Fashion Square. The Madera Group from West Hollywood is behind Toca Madera and its sister restaurants, the quick casual Tocaya Organica. Tocaya has two locations in the Phoenix area at Kierland Commons and next door to Toca.

Sashimi Mexicano

Co-founders Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer spared no expense at the 8,000 square foot Toca Madera. A lush courtyard with a retractable roof for patio dining leads to the dining room with the exhibition kitchen. Natural light from skylight breathes life onto the Ficus trees in the restaurants. A lounge with full bar is located off the courtyard serving signature margaritas and cocktails.

“At our Scottsdale location, we want guests to feel as though they’re stepping into another reality,” CEO Berman said. “From the sophisticated design to the theatrical spirit through which we serve food and beverage, every element has been precisely chosen to provide an unparalleled dining experience. The community has been incredibly supportive since opening Tocaya next door so we’re excited to introduce another one of our concepts to the area.”

Baja Rosa

Executive Chef Joseph Castillo comes to Toca Madera from the nearby Sushi Roku at the W Hotel. Castillo, a native of southern California goes from upscale sushi and Japanese food to an upscale Mexican cuisine. His culinary team creates signature dishes such as Enchiladas de Mole, Tiger Shrimp Tacos and Pescado de Dia (seafood of the day).

Dinner starts at 5 p.m., the lounge opens at 4 for happy hour and weekend brunch begins on November 9th. To view the menu and for more information check out https://www.tocamadera.com/

 

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.

 

Pink Out in honor of Stephanie Serrano of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

The Serrano family of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants announced the passing of Stephanie Serrano On Thursday October 17th. Stephanie lost her 6 year battle with breast cancer peacefully and surrounded by family. In Stephanie’s memory the Serrano’s are holding a “Pink Out” on Wednesday October 30th for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Her death comes just a few weeks after the family celebrated the 100th anniversary of the family’s business.

“She fought a courageous battle with breast cancer for more than six years and we are so proud of her courage and perseverance. Despite our sadness, our hearts are truly filled with gratitude to God for giving her to us. May she rest in peace,” said Theresa Serrano Keel, vice president of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants and sister to Stephanie.

Stephanie was a young 65 years when she passed away. Born in Mesa, one of nine children to Ernie Sr. and Evangeline Serrano, Stephanie worked in the family’s retail stores and restaurants. She was an entrepreneur owning her own restaurants in Arizona and St. Louis. Active in her community she served on the Chandler City Council and the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

A “Pink Out” was planned prior to her passing and guests wearing pink on the 30th will receive a FREE fried pink ice cream in her honor. The “Pink Out” will be at all 5 of the family’s restaurants in Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Queen Creek.

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.

 

Celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez to appear at Sanctuary on Camelback

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.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa is at 5700 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Serrano’s celebrates 100 years in business with Centennial Fiesta

Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant celebrates 100 years of the family business with a week long celebration at their 5 locations. There will be a week’s worth of food and drink specials and a Centennial Fiesta.

The family business started in September 1919 when there were less 1,000 people living in Chandler. At first the family business was as a retailer with The Serrano Brothers Popular Family Store and switched to Mexican restaurants in 1979 as department stores and indoor shopping malls gained popularity.

“The Serrano family is ingrained in Chandler’s history,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “Their entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, dedication and family pride has sustained them throughout these past 100 years. We honor their strong ties to the community and their heart of service as they celebrate this incredible milestone.”Centennial Fiesta

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the week of September 16th will offer specials at all 5 locations.

  • Monday, 9/16:$1.00 Margarita Monday 10 oz. house margarita
  • Tuesday, 9/17:$1.00 Taco Tuesday (street taco or shredded beef/chicken crunchy taco)
  • Wednesday, 9/18:$1.00 Hump Day Heavenly Bites
  • Thursday, 9/19: $1.00 Throwback Thursday (shredded beef or chicken taco, rice and beans entree)*
  • Friday, 9/20: $1.00 Fried Ice Cream Friday
  • Saturday, 9/21: $1.00 Cerveza Saturday 10 oz. draft Mexican beer

*Limit of one special per person; all specials are dine-in only

Centennial Fiesta

On Thursday the 19th at the Chandler location the family will celebrate with a Centennial Fiesta. Guest will be treated to $1.00 shredded beef and chicken tacos and beans and rice. At 7 p.m. there’s a taco eating contest with local mayors, fire and police representatives competing for $1,000 grand prize donated to the 100 Club of Arizona. There will also be face-painting for the kids and raffles and prizes.

“Our family has seen our fair share of changes and challenges over the years, but we have always been able to adapt. Today, our business model is centered around the values we hold most dear – faith, family and food,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “We look forward to celebrating this big milestone with our loyal customers and we invite new customers to come give us a chance. You can be sure we’ll be breaking out our famous bean dip!”

In addition Serrano’s will be collection new children’s books and stuffed animals for the W. Steven Martin Police and Fire Toy Drive. Anybody who donates a book or stuffed animal in September receives a voucher for a FREE fried ice cream.

In September the Serrano Centennial Sampler will be on special for $10 and $1 of every sale will go to the 100 Club of Arizona. The Sampler offers classic dishes including machaca, shredded chicken, green chile beef and red chile beef served with warm tortillas, rice and beans.

Visit their website for more information and to find a Serrano’s near you.

 

Downtown Chandler gettin’ ready to host 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

It’s now August which means the metro Phoenix food festival calendar is starting to fill up. One of the first festivals of the season on September 14th is the 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest. Once again downtown Chandler’s Dr. A.J. Chandler Park hosts the day long event.

taco street fest
All photos courtesy of Claire Natale at Evolve Public Relations

Over a dozen local restaurants and food trucks including Ghett Yo Taco, Taco Chiwas and Willie’s Taco Joint will be serving up tacos and more. Festival goers will enjoy cold beverages such beer Micheladas, margaritas and fresh fruit frescas.

“The Rockin’ Taco Street Fest is one of our most popular signature events that we produce,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We strive to build our community style events to be the best Arizona has to offer with activations that enhance the attendee’s experience. We look to reach 15,000 at this year’s celebration.”

Live music, eating competitions, a car show, wrestling and more will keep festival goers entertained for the 9-hour event. The family friendly event goes from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will have a Kid’s Zone. “While the food is a featured element at Rockin’ Taco Street Fest, we strive to create an experience for our attendees,” said Evans. “We have a bit of something for everyone whether it’s shopping, refreshing drinks, food aficionados, great entertainment and the list keeps going.”

Taco Street Fest donates and tickets

The 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Junior Achievement of Arizona. The local non-profit helps young people gain knowledge and skills to be an economic success as they plan for their future. They also help to educate them to make smart academic and financial decisions.

Tickets for the festival are available online. Starting today those looking to save money sponsors Food City and Basha’s are selling 50% off tickets until September 14th. Kids under 12 are FREE. Dr. A.J Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. chandler.

Roca Patron tequila private label available at Spotted Donkey Cantina

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.

Vegan restaurant Casa Terra creates new summer menu

After opening earlier this year Arizona’s only upscale vegan restaurant Casa Terra has revamped the menu in time for summer. Owner and chef Jason Wyrick draws inspiration for the menu for his plant forward cuisine from Mexico and the Mediterranean.

According to Wyrick, “As the temperature rises, our eating habits greatly change. With the summer menu, I wanted to focus not only seasonal ingredients but lighter, incredibly tasty food that would appeal to dining out in the summer in the Valley.”

Vegan pizzas and more

The new menu offers something for everybody including pizzas, small plates, soups, salads and entrees. Thin crust 12 inch pizza’s are made in a wood fired oven and can be made with gluten free dough. New dishes to the summer menu include…..

Pizza

-Margherita: marinara, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and Aleppo chilis 
-Arizona Sunset: mole amarillo, queso fresco, smoked mushroom, epazote, cilantro, pine nuts
-Sausage and Sage: garlic cheese sauce, sausage, fennel, and crispy sage
-Pesto and Market Veg: preserved lemon pistachio pesto, ricotta, mojo roasted market veggies

Small plates

-Crispy Artichoke Tacos: gluten-free tempura artichokes, harissa, mojo aioli, cabbage, pickled saffron cauliflower & onions ($12)
-Garnachas & Smoked Pulled Porq: sweet potato masa cakes, ancho fig and mezcal salsa, queso fresco, pepitas, smoked porq, pickled onions ($13)
-Trumpet Mushroom ‘Calamari’: gluten-free tempura trumpet mushrooms, chipotle mojo aioli, grilled lemon ($13)
-Cheese Plate: ricotta, mozzeralla, queso fresco, seasonal preserves, harissa, olives, warm flatbread ($16)

House made soups, salads and entrees

-Summer Gazpacho: heirloom tomato and watermelon, ricotta, watermelon pico, and pine nuts ($8)
-Madelyn’s Salad: twisted infusion greens, watermelon, avocado, ricotta, bac’n olive oil, fig balsamic, toasted pine nuts, pepitas ($12)
-Enchiladas Mole: roasted squash & sweet potato, smoked mushrooms, huitlachoche, mole poblano, crema, queso fresco, and pico de gallo ($19)

Dessert and cocktails

Save room for dessert including Cheesecake ($12), a Churro Swirl with Ice Cream of the Moment ($10), or Seasonal Sorbet ($7).

Casa Terra now serves beer, wine and liquor with its vegan menu in mind. A few of the signature cocktails include….

-’84 El Camino: mezcal, grapefruit liqueur, lime
-Paper Cactus: reposado tequila, aperol, averna, lemon
-Seasonal Spiked Sorbet: seasonal fruit, festive garnish, mezcal or spirit of choice.

Casa Terra is at 6835 N. 58th Dr. Glendale 85301.