Compass Lounge & Restaurant welcomes new chef Brandon Drummond

Chef and new culinary director at the Hyatt Phoenix Brandon Drummond is no stranger to hotel life having worked for Hyatt Hotels around the country for the past 15 years. He come from the Hyatt in Greenwich, Connecticut to run the culinary team at Compass Lounge & Restaurant, Arizona’s only revolving rooftop restaurant.

The downtown hotel is finishing a multi-million dollar facelift and they’ve hired Drummond to re-vamp the menu at their signature restaurant. He brings his experience working in culinary management in the Hyatt family in Washington D.C., Bonita Springs Fla., New Orleans and San Antonio to his new role.

Both the lounge and restaurant will see new dishes including fresh seafood and regional ingredients. In the lounge guest will have the chance to order Buttermilk Fried Quail, a Charcuterie Board and more. The new menu includes Quick Cured Duck and Elk Chops in addition to other new dishes and longtime favorites.

New cocktails include the Strawberry Blonde made with Meyer lemon vodka, house made simple syrup and strawberries. The Bramble Rose mixes Maker’s Mark bourbon with house made rosemary simple syrup and blueberries.

Meet Chef Drummond when he participates in Plated and Staged at the Herberger Theater on Sunday March 29th. The annual fundraiser benefits for the theatre’s youth outreach program. The program exposes youths to culinary programs and the performing arts.

The Compass Lounge & Restaurant the Hyatt Phoenix is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004. Visit their website for more information.

Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse debuts new look and menu

After being on the Scottsdale steakhouse scene for more than 15 years Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse debuted a new look to the restaurant along with new Japanese beef dishes. The four month refresh was done after the restaurant was closed each night after dinner service. New lighting, art, flooring, furniture and live music area were updated and also included a new wine wall. The bar has a new bottle display above the bar and new lighting. The staff will don new uniforms and table side wine service is available. The fireplace on the patio received a new Mastro’s logo.

Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
Wagyu & Kobe On A Stone

The new menu includes Japanese A5 Wagyu and Kobe beef. City Hall is one of two restaurants in Arizona to serve True Japanese Beef. The restaurant secured Kobe Association License to serve 100% Hyogo Prefecture Kobe Beef and A5 Kobe Beef from 100% Tajima Cattle, the most expansive beef in the world.

New dishes include Sliced A5 Japanese Wagyu and True Kobe Beef served on a Hot Stone, Wagyu Beef Sushi Roll, Spinalis Ribeye Gold Cap, Heart of the Rib Eye and Dover Sole.

Mastro's City Hall Steakhouse
Dover Sole

The restaurant expanded its wine list to include wines and spirits from around the world exclusively for Mastro’s City Hall.

Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse is at 6991 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

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/

Mediterranean diet favorite dishes return to Pita Jungle

For the last 25 years Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy Mediterranean diet inspired dishes. Many customers have their favorite’s over the years but they tend to come and go with seasons. As part of their Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu they’ve brought back many fan favorites from the past.

All 23 locations throughout Arizona are serving dishes with a balance of Mediterranean diet and global cuisine. The menu is popular with all dietary needs including keto, paleo, vegan and gluten-free. The seasonal menu will be available thru the rest of the year. Dishes include……

  • Cauliflower Hummus (V) – cauliflower, tahini, garlic, evoo, lemon juice, cucumbers, pita (gluten free with blue corn chips).
  • All Veggie Pita Pocket – avocado, baby greens, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, sprouts, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, in a pita pocket, severed with tahini (vegan with no tabbouleh, gluten-free with gluten-free pita upcharge).
  • Bone Broth Ramen with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – beef bone broth, with miso, kimchi, red onion, gluten-free soy sauce, garlic and ginger, shirataki noodles, spinach, green onions.
  • Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – stir-fried fresh vegetables and kimchi, shirataki noodles, spicy ginger sauce, beef bone broth, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, pea sprouts (vegan with no kimchi and no beef broth).

    Mediterranean
    Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles
  • Wood-Fired Medchilada (GF) – savory garlic-cilantro chicken in a beef bone broth enchilada sauce, cheddar and feta, turmeric cauliflower rice, cabbage-kale super greens, fresh jalapenos, radish, pico de gallo, pine nuts, gluten-free pita.
  • Chicken Avocado Pita Tostada with Cauliflower Hummus – grilled and chopped marinated all-natural chicken breast, avocado, cilantro-avocado crema, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, bell peppers, cauliflower hummus, feta, pine nuts, baby arugula, pea sprouts, chipotle vinaigrette, pita tostada or low-carb pita or gluten-free pita (vegetarian option without chicken.
  • Mediterranean Tuna Pita Pocket – albacore tuna, avocado, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, pea sprouts, in a pita pocket.
  • Baklawa Bread Pudding sweetened with stevia and agave syrup.

To find a Pita Jungle near you head to their website.

Castle Hot Springs re-opens with Harvest, serving crop driven cuisine

Arizona’s first luxury resort, Castle Hot Springs has re-opened for its first full season. Originally opened in 1896, the 210 acre property will be opened from October til late June offering guests the opportunity to detach from the digital world while rejuvenating and healing in the resorts 120 degrees thermal hot springs. Hiking, horseback riding, foraging and star gazing are a few of the many activities guests can enjoy at the iconic resort and its surrounding desert and mountains.

Harvest, Castle Hot Springs signature restaurant

Castle Hot Springs is home to Harvest, the signature restaurant and farm offering crop driven cuisine. Executive chef Christopher Brugman’s menu rotates daily based on what’s available at the resorts one acre farm. The farm and greenhouse are overseen by resident agronomist Ian Berger. He oversees over 150 fruits and vegetables native to the desert along with the properties groves that are home to 36 types of citrus trees. Included in the farm are over 35 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

Working together Brugman and Berger choose ripe fruit and vegetables for each days menu. What they don’t grow they  get from local vendors to fill in the gaps. Harvest also adheres to zero waste and sustainable guidelines. Guests can participate in daily foraging and learn about “flavor farming” that covers the sweet and savory tastes through a foods color. Dishes such as Coconut Carrot Bisque and Tandoori Octopus Grilled over Juniper Wood have been on the menu. The culinary team also has an in-house pickling program and creates concoctions such as Brugman’s Onion Ash.

Food & Beverage Manager and Sommelier Thomas Burris has created a beverage program to complement Brugman’s cuisine. Signature cocktails such as the Trade Secret and Lady & The Tramp also use ingredients sourced from the property. Trade Secret is made with rosemary infused vodka, Elderflower and pink grapefruit. The savory Lady & The Tramp combine Pecorino Romano infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh basil leaves. Castle Springs Lithium Lager is made exclusively for Harvest and uses natural elements of the resorts hot springs.

The resort is at 5050 E. Castle Hot Springs Rd. Castle Hot Springs AZ. 85342. For more information and to make a reservation head to their website.

New menu and new look as a re-vamped Zuzu re-opens

Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu is back open after getting a new look and menu. Hotel guests and locals will notice the restaurant’s new mid-century modern look is in-line with the hotels 1950’s style. Designed by Mendil + Meyer Design Studio, new features include a Zuzu neon sign, 1950’s inspired wood screens and new lighting. The lounge and dining room has been combined for welcoming space and the hotel’s signature circle design is noticeable.

“We are beyond excited to re-introduce ZuZu, not only to our wonderful Scottsdale community, but also to the guests of Hotel Valley Ho,” said Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. “Our new menu is meant to surprise and delight, while still satisfying those classic cravings.”

look
Crispy Pork Shank. All photos courtesy of Kristin Heggli at Hotel Valley Ho

Look at the new menu

LaCasce’s new menu features smaller, shareable plates with a few guests’ favorite dishes remaining. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from the restaurant’s new 240 foot herb and vegetable garden. Zuzu continues to work with local farmers and purveyors including Pinnacle Farms, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage and Hickman’s Family Farms.

New signature dishes include Oxtail Pappardelle with foie gras & Parmesan and Crispy Pork Shank with sour apple molasses glaze, cucumber tarragon yogurt and pita. Two new monthly revolving dishes will be available….. Cut of the Moment will be a savory dish with a unique plating design and Farmer’s Plate will offer seasonal vegetables making for a great vegetarian meal. Those looking for a unique dining experience can let LaCasce Take the Wheel. For $75 per person chef will create a hand selected meal. Weekend brunchers will notice a few changes and brunch is now served all day during the week.

Zuzu Chocolate Bar

Save room for dessert as Zuzu’s famous Show Stopper Shake is still available along with new desserts. Le Cordon Bleu trained Pastry Chef Clarissa Robinson brings her chocolate expertise to new desserts Zuzu Chocolate Bar, a Donut Sundae and Buttermilk Pie. Adults can add their favorite spirit to dessert to spike it up.

Private dining, wine room and more

Speaking of spirits new cocktails have been added including the Zuzu Mango Tango along with a new wine room. The new “Vine Vault” house wines from around the world. “The Rosie Room” is a new hidden private dining room named for Rosalyn “Rosie” Bennett Lyon, the matriarch of the family that owns the hotel. Her grandchildren called Rosie “Zuzu” and the inspiration for the restaurant comes from her cooking and warm hospitality.

I’ll be visiting Zuzu next week to check out the new menu and more. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures.

Zuzu and Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

1/2 off Signature Cuts at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

“Out with the old and in with the new” they say and Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is doing just that next week. Tuesday October 1st is not just the start of a new month but the day the restaurant at the Scottsdale Waterfront rolls out its new menu. Most sections of the menu will see new dishes including appetizers, salads, pastas, Signature Cuts (entrees) and dessert. To celebrate the new menu the evening of the 1st give guests the chance to order any of their signature “Cuts” for 1/2 off.

Reservations are highly recommended for dinner that starts at 6 p.m. on this special evening. Select bottles of wine will be 1/2 off during the night as well.

Pesto Pasta. Photo credit Riot Hospitality Group- Aaron Bowman

New dishes

  • Grass Fed Meatballs – Arizona grass fed beef meatballs baked in a red pepper tomato sauce with burrata cheese and served with garlic bread
  • Crab Cakes – Lump crab cakes, fresh herb cucumber salad finished with avocado lime vinaigrette
  • Baby Iceberg Wedge – Baby iceberg, Monforte blue cheese, Campari tomato, pickled shallots, crumbled bacon with a buttermilk basil dressing
  • Vegetable Chopped Salad – Chopped romaine, candied tomato, red pepper, crow’s dairy goat cheese, grilled artichokes and shaved cauliflower in a red wine vinaigrette
  • Beets and Brussels Sprout Salad – Roasted brussels sprouts, golden beets, parmesan cheese, shaved red cabbage, garlic dressing and herb croutons
  • Filet Sandwich – Spice rubbed filet served sliced with melted blue cheese, bacon jam and arugula pesto
  • Bone-in New York Steak –18 ounce Cedar River Farms bone-in, grilled with a side of signature Hand Cut steak sauce
  • Bison Loin – 8 ounce pasture raised bison loin, spice rubbed and served with hibiscus butter sauce
  • Seasonal White Fish – Served sautéed with lemon herb chardonnay sauce
  • Scallops and Mushroom Fettuccine – Roasted wild mushrooms, scallops and egg fettuccine in a white wine mascarpone sauce
  • Crab Mac and Cheese – Lump crab, parmesan cream, cavatappi pasta, chili breadcrumbs and fresh herbs
  • Meatball Mac and Cheese – Cavatappi pasta, red pepper cheese sauce, grass-fed meatballs and crispy basil
  • Fettuccine Genovese– Imported Genovese pesto, parmesan cheese, slow roasted tomato with egg fettuccine
  • Seasonal Cheesecake and Affogato

New cocktails too

Their award-winning cocktail menu will also be adding new cocktails that include two new dessert cocktails. New cocktails include….

  • Barrel Aged Manhattan – Bulleit Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and Angostura Bitters aged in French Oak.  Served up but can be served on the rocks upon request.
  • Scottsdale Sunset – Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, Simple Syrup, egg white, Angostura Bitters and topped off with a touch of Cabernet.
  • Kir Royale – Poema Cava Brut, blackberry syrup, vanilla Bean, Yucatan Honey Shrub
  • Cold Brew Martini – Fugu Horchata Vodka, Passport Cold Brew Coffee, in house cinnamon syrup and almond milk
  • Key Lime Martini – Smirnoff Vodka, Vanilla Giffard, pineapple syrup, condensed milk, fresh lime juice, finished with a graham cracker rim

Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. # 154 Scottsdale 85251. To make a reservation call 480-494-2008.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row rolls out all day menu

A new all day menu was rolled out at the downtown Gilbert location of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row earlier this month. The new menu offers lighter and healthy options which include vegetarian and seafood dishes among popular favorites.

all day
Buffalo Cauliflower

New dishes include spicy Buffalo Cauliflower, Spinach & Berry Salad, Roasted Chicken Primavera and Grilled Salmon Jambalaya. Fans of the Tennessee Hot Slider, Fried Pickles and Southern Fries don’t need to worry as those guilty pleasures are still on the menu.

The American gastropub has also extended it happy hour to run all day Monday – Friday. Food and drinks specials start at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. During Sidewalks Fridays they’ve extended happy hour until 9 p.m.

Salmon Jambalaya sub grilled shrimp

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is at 323 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234. To see the full menu head to their website.

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.

Limited seating for the return of Taste of Quiessence

The award-winning farm to table restaurant Quiessence at The Farm is bringing back its popular Taste of Quiessence dinner experience. As with previous years there is limited seating for the dinners created by chef Dustin Christofolo. The twelve dinners will feature dishes prepared with ingredients from The Soil & Seed Garden at The Farm along with ingredients from local vendors.

12 diners per evening will enjoy the special dinners offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays June 4th – 27th. The three course dinners will change weekly based on ingredients available in the farm. An amuse bosche may be prepared from chef Christofolo. Possible dishes may be…..

limited seating
Cucumber soup. All photos courtesy of Quiessence at The Farm

Chilled Armenian Cucumber Soup with Soil & Seed Garden Tomatoes, Cucumber Ribbons, Grilled Melon Relish, Crème Fraiche, Frito Misto Pineapple Mint.

Hand crafted Potato Gnocchi with Zucchini, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Parisian Carrots, Leeks, Mint.

As one of the more popular Phoenix restaurants and because of the limited seating guests wanting the Taste of Quiessence dinner must call 602-276-0601 and mention the dinner. The three course dinner is $45 per person plus tax and tip. The in-house sommelier will pair your dinner with wine for an additional $20.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Taste of Quiessence the restaurant will close for 5 weeks in July & August for research and development.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd St. Phoenix 85042.