Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Holiday Breakfast Box available from Morning Squeeze

Looking to feed friends and family breakfast Christmas morning? If so, each Breakfast Box serves up to 10 people and pre-orders are being taken from December 1st until the 20th. Each box includes 1 meat quiche, 1 vegetable quiche, potatoes, fruit, French toast casserole and orange juice. Orders can be picked up on December 23rd & 24th at their new catering kitchen at 1725 W. University Dr. Tempe and each box is $140. To order call 480-967-6610 or email TakeHome@morningsqueeze.com

Tracey Dempsey Originals to host Holiday Market

Now that we’re in the gift giving season make plans to attend the Local Love: Holiday Market next Saturday December 3rd. Baked goods and wines from Tracey Dempsey Originals/ ODV Wines along with other local partners including Ernest +Humble Coffee, The Sober Somm with alcohol free libation options, Broom Brush Tea, candle maker Cactus + Vine and 8 other local vendors. Non-profit partners The Joy Bus, Blue watermelon Project & Sun produce Co-Op will be selling gift cards, tickets to future fundraiser and food delivery subscriptions.

The market will be from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Tracey Dempsey Originals 1325 W. University Dr. Tempe.

Pork on a Fork Friday specials available for pre-order

Not wanting to cook dinner at the end of a long week then pre-order a smoked meat dinner from their North Phoenix or Chandler restaurants. Starting on Monday you can place your order for Tri-Tip for December 2nd pick-up and order Beef Ribs on Monday the 5th for pick-up on the 9th. Quantities are limited and pre-orders are necessary.

New Happy Hour menu at Sfizio in North Phoenix

The Italian restaurant in Desert Ridge just released a new menu available daily in the bar from opening til 6 p.m. Enjoy Shrimp Risotto, Mussel Marinara, Meatballs and Truffle Garlic Bread in house or consider them inspiration for your holiday cooking.

Oro Brewery Company brings home the gold from GABF

The Mesa craft brewer won was awarded a gold medal by the Brewers Asoociation at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival in October. The gold medal beer was the Café Oro, a Blonde Ale infused with cold-press coffee in the “Coffee Beer style” category. The cold press coffee used is from local Village Coffee Roastery.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Cloud kitchen helps Chesapeake Bay Bistro to expand

Nowadays if you can figure out a successful recipe for running a restaurant the best way to maximize your potential is through expansion. That’s exactly what’s going on at Chesapeake Bay Bistro a year and half after opening in Ahwatukee. Unlike their brick and mortar location the owners opted to open their new location in a cloud kitchen inside the Tempe Food Court earlier this month. They’re not stopping there as third location will also be in a cloud kitchen in their former hometown of San Diego in January 2023.

“For restaurant owners, the past year has been challenging with staffing, higher prices for food supplies and rising costs for rent and utilities,” says James Brown, who co-owns the Ahwatukee-based bistro with his wife, Yolanda. “Adding locations through a food-court style expansion makes sense on many levels.”

Expansion into a cloud kitchen

Working in a cloud kitchen also gives them the opportunity to open new concepts without all the expenses of a brick and mortar location. That’s why the couple is planning to open a Creole/Cajun concept out of Tempe in 2023. Another reason for the expansion into cloud kitchens is CBB is seeing a lot of take-out from their Ahwatukee location.

“We believe that the food delivery model is the future and allows us to fulfill our customer base request,” said Brown said. “Sixty percent of our sales are call in or pickup now.” CBB works with several food delivery services to deliver the hot and fresh seafood dishes for delivery within 15 minutes.

To help alleviate some of the staffing issues of the past few years, the couple’s three grown sons have joined them in restaurants. One son will be running the new San Diego location in the Aztec Food Hub near the San Diego State University campus. The other two sons help out when mom and dad can’t be at the Ahwatukee location.

“Using cloud kitchen locations benefits small mom-and-pop restaurants like ours in several ways, allowing us to keep our labor and maintenance costs down,” Brown said.

The Tempe Food Court location is at 1900 E. 5th St. 85281, not far from the ASU campus and Tempe Marketplace. The Ahwatukee location is at 5033 E. Elliot Rd. Phoenix 85044. For more information visit their website or to order for delivery or takeout check out the delivery services.

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Where to watch the World Cup

The 2022 World Cup kicks off Sunday and with the 10 hour time difference it may be hard to watch. Looking to watch it with other fans, Pedal Haus Brewery in Tempe will be showing all 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 12 noon games. Breakfast and drink specials will be offered on game days. All 4 Twin Peaks locations will be opening at 9 a.m. to show the games on almost 100 flat screen TVs. Scratch made breakfasts and beer specials will be served.

Dad’s Modern Cocktails & Eatery gears up for Thanksgiving week

You’ll have to do the cooking next Thursday but starting Sunday you can enjoy the restaurant’s popular Peach Sangria for only $5 until next Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday next week it’s Happy Hour all day then a Family Feast when they re-open on Friday. The Family Feast includes 8 wings, a Caesar salad and a 20 inch 1 topping pizza all for $45.

Holiday tamales available at Diego Pops

Whether you dine-in or take a dozen to-go the downtown Scottsdale restaurant has the traditional holiday food for you.  The Tamale Plate includes two tamales topped with black beans, corn queso, pickled onion, Fresno pepper and cabbage. It comes served a side of rice and beans of your choice. Choose a dozen red or green chile chicken Tamales Togo with a side of rice and beans. Tamales are available until the end of December and have limited availability.

Sportsman’s Park Market debuts tomorrow

The Great Lawn at State Farm Stadium is the home of the new farmers market from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. tomorrow. Over 100 fresh food vendors, local products and a Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar will be available along with live music and activities for kids. December’s market will be Saturday the 17th.

Chompie’s closes Tempe restaurant after 25 years

The popular restaurant for hungry students and others craving Jewish deli fare will have to find somewhere else to eat. It was a difficult decision to close the restaurant but necessary to help fuel the company’s growth. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Chandler locations are still open.

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 from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

The TLC eXperience returns with Friendsgiving at Agritopia

The monthly supper club is back after taking the summer off with its first dinner of the season Friday, November 18th at Agritopia in Gilbert. Seating is limited for the 4-course dinner created by Chef Tom Baumbach and his team. Cocktail hour starts at 5:30 with dinner at 6:30. Tickets are $150 per person and can only be purchased here.  Tables of 8 or 10 are also available for purchase.

Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. Craft Beer & Music Festival happens Saturday

Tomorrow November 5th welcomes NASCAR fans, country music lovers and beer drinkers to Bell Bank Park starting 6 p.m. The popular Hillbilly Deluxe is the headliner with DJ Jeffro and the Get Lit Dancers opens the show. VIP Happy Hour hosted by Michael starts with early entry at 5 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ older festival are available at BellBankPark.com or at Tixr.

Press Coffee opens today inside Sprouts

The first in-store location of the locally owned coffee roster is now open inside the Sprouts at 3320 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix. All weekend long small drip coffees are $1 and all of the proceeds will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Foundation. Give away will be happening on Saturday and Sunday with more details here.

Loco J’s Tacos & Tequila now open in Cave Creek

Navy veteran Jason Clouse opened his new taco joint in this week making it the first Mexican restaurant to open in town in a long time. He was the former owner of nearby Rosati’s Pizza and sold it to focus on Loco J’s. The restaurant is at 28260 N. Tatum Blvd. and opens daily at 3 p.m.

LDV Winery hiring for their Scottsdale tasting room

Looking to make some extra money for the holidays or keep up with inflation, put your wine knowledge and customer service skills to work in the fun and friendly atmosphere.  Submit your resume to info@ldvwinery.com and learn more about the winery at their website.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

20th anniversary celebration coming to Picazzo’s

One day over lunch in 2002 custom home builders Rick Freedman and Doug Stanton realized there was no good pizza in their new hometown of Sedona. So what did the Portland transplants do, they decided to open their first Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen, now their getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary Wednesday, November 9th.

In the 20 years since they opened the Sedona location they’ve opened five more in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Arrowhead, Tempe and Gilbert. Since day one the gourmet pizza restaurant has focused on dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free with allergy-friendly options. They’ve since added Italian dishes with 95% of all ingredients being organic with many including sauces and dressings made from scratch.20th anniversary

“We pride ourselves on providing quality, healthy dining options for individuals who may have dietary restrictions as well as our guests who do not,” says Picazzo’s Managing Partner Chris Disney. “Picazzo’s is excited to celebrate our 20th year in business, and we’re even more excited looking towards the future and our continued growth. Our team can’t wait to celebrate with our many loyal customers, and we hope to see everyone on November 9!”

All 6 locations will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with happy hour specials from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. along with giveaways and fun photo opportunities. The first 20 guests over 18 at each location will receive a $20 gift card and those photos posted on Instagram and tagging Picazzo’s will be entered in a sweepstakes to win a $200 gift card. Details about the IG sweepstakes are available at each location which you can find at their website.

Hear more about Picazzo’s from Chris Disney listen to Episode 29 of Pulling Corks and Forks: The Podcast.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Dia de los Muertos Festival at Cien Agaves

The newly re-modeled restaurant and bar in Old Town Scottsdale is showing off its new look this Sunday, October 30th. From 1 – 4 p.m. festival goers can taste 15 different agaves, enjoy live music & get a swag bag. Capacity is limited and tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

Tommy V’s hosts The Carlton Winemakers Studio dinner

Next Thursday, November 3rd the Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5-course dinner paired with wines starting at 6:30 p.m. Red & white wines will be paired with Shrimp & Tuna Wheat Ceviche, Hazelnut Risotto, Braised Short Ribs and more. Seats are a $135++ and reservations can be made by calling the Scottsdale restaurant at 480-427-2264.

Trinchero Family Estates wine dinner at The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Tara & Travis Rawlings purchased Moon Valley’s Aiellos and Isa’s Pizza in May and changed it to The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar making some changes to higher quality ingredients and adjusted the menu to regional Italian. They host a six course dinner featuring Italian wines from the California based wine company on Wednesday, November 9th. They’re offering two seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for $125++. You can reserve your spot for this memorable evening at their website.

Blue Hound Kitchen welcomes a new chef and new menu

Executive Chef Alex Robinson joined Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar in August and hit the ground running working on a new menu. The menu and new cocktails from Clint “Spotty” Spotelson debuted in early October and features chef’s signature BHKC 900 Hot Stone with Australian Wagyu or Yellow Fin Tuna, Net of  The Sea, Roasted Airline Chicken Breast to name a few. Cocktail highlights include the bourbon based Stealth Bomber, Open Sesame with black sesame infused George Dickel rye and Pedro Conejo, an interesting combination of liquors, carrots and lime.

Halloween weekend around Phoenix

There are too many spooky events to mention this weekend around the Phoenix area. Look and you’ll find spooky cocktails, costume parties and more at your favorite restaurants, bars and breweries. Have fun and be safe!

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

YC’s Mongolian Grill opens a new Scottsdale location

Locally owned YC’s Mongolian Grill returned to Scottsdale last week with the opening its new Loop 101 & Raintree location. Loyal customers couldn’t wait to get back to building their own stir fry bowls as was evident when I visited with owner Geoff Stansic recently. The previous Scottsdale location was at The Pavilions but was shut down with the other 4 locations due to the pandemic. As the pandemic waned and the economy improved Stansic decided to re-open 3 of the locations in Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale with a 4th location slated to open sometime in 2023.

“After a tough few years of working through adversity during the pandemic and beyond, we are ready to open the doors to an all-new YC’s experience and reconnect with our Scottsdale customers,” Stanisic said. “We take pride in the food we serve and love being able to provide our customers with the best ingredients and a bowl full of authentic flavor.”

Stansic took over in 1996, five years after the first location in Tempe was opened by the original owner YC. He knew a thing or two about the restaurant business as he was kitchen manager for Hyatt Hotels and Houston’s before going into business for himself. It shows as he greets his returning customers by name, knows what bowls they will build and sauces they will have them tossed with. He even has a few signature sauces named for long time customers. He credits much of the success to his attentive staff, several who have been with since before he took over almost 30 years ago.

YC's Mongolian Grill
Beef & Broccoli bowl

What is YC’s Mongolian Grill?

Folklore has it that in the days of Genghis Khan, his army would cook their food on their shields over a hot fire, similar to how it’s done at YC’s. In each location after you’ve piled high your meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces the cooks will grill them on 600 degree circular flat top grill in full view. During peak times 4 cooks will toss the ingredients on the grill rotating around the grill.

There is no one demographic at YC’s Mongolian Grill as the food has something for everybody. Vegan and gluten free diets can be accommodated as there are plenty of vegetables, noodles and sauces for all.  Want meat in your bowl, add white or dark meat chicken, pork and or beef with shrimp available during dinner. Don’t be afraid to pile your ingredients high, it’s encouraged. Their signature noodles are sourced from Chinatown in L.A. with vegetables coming from local distributors.

A separate bowl is used combine ingredients for your Asian inspired sauce. A menu board offers several signature sauces recommending how much and which water based sauces and rice wines to use. The staff is always nearby to help create your sauce before grilling making tastes and combinations endless.

Free Stir Fry Day

To celebrate the new location, customers coming in Wednesday, November 2nd will get free small bowl from 11 a.m. – 7p.m. The new location is at 14850 N. 87th St., Scottsdale, AZ. For more information visit their website.

Bartenders compete to create new Fall cocktails at Spinato’s

There’s no better way to create new cocktails for the Fall season than to go to those who make them on a daily basis. That’s why Spinato’s Pizzeria  bartenders organized a friendly contest with the bartenders at their six locations to see which cocktails make the final list.

“Our bartenders did a phenomenal job creating unique recipes for this contest,” said Erin Schultz, Spinato’s Marketing Director. “We’re really proud of them, and we hope our guests will enjoy the new cocktails as much as we do!” The creative cocktails will be on the menu until Spring and all participating bartenders received a gift card to several local breweries.

Bartenders new Fall cocktail list

The 6 new Fall cocktails are as follows.

Crystal Mirtillo: Crafted by bartender Milan Watt in Scottsdale. Featuring Hornitos Tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, agave, Triple Sec, a splash of Sierra Mist and served with edible glitter and a sugared rim. $12

Dolce Delizioso: Crafted by bartender Janet Blau in Ahwatukee. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, Kahlua, heavy cream, caramel sauce and served with a salted caramel rim. $16

Harvest Apple: Crafted by bartender Allison Brackenbury in Scottsdale. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, cider simple syrup, lemon juice, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, soda water and served with 3 apple slices and fresh grated cinnamon. $12

Orange You Feeling Cran’d: Crafted by bartender Andrew Brent in Tempe. Featuring Del Bac scotch whiskey and cranberry simple syrup. $16

Porch-Side Smash: Crafted by bartender Conan Zimmerman in Phoenix. Featuring Blue Clover vodka, creme de mure, lemon juice and a press. $10

Spinato’s Spritz: Crafted by bartender Mike Danner in Ahwatukee. Featuring your choice of Blue Clover gin or vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled Luxardo cherries with a press. $10

Danner also created a 3 Halloween themed cocktails.

Butter Beer Cocktail: For all the Harry Potter fans out there! Pinnacle Whipped vodka, butterscotch liqueur, Frangelico, caramel sauce and Grateful Spoon vanilla gelato. $14

Poison Apple Cocktail: Blue Clover vodka, apple liqueur, simple syrup, green edible swirl glitter and one Luxardo cherry. $8

Zombie Blood Cocktail: Kahlua coffee liqueur, creme de menthe and cream with a side of eyeball. $11

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Tequila Corrido pairing dinner at Hotel Valley Ho

The locally owned tequila is being paired with a special menu by the hotel’s Executive Chef Russel LaCasce on Thursday, October 27th. The four course dinner includes Shrimp & Abalone Ceviche, Duck & Pork Tostadas with pickled escabeche, Bone-In Short Rib “Colorado” with Spanish rice and beans, and Elote Cake with mascarpone citrus and tequila gelée. Seats are $109++. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. and seats can be reserved by calling 480-421-7997.

Third Tuesday wine pairing dinner at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

Next Tuesday, October 18th the downtown Gilbert restaurant hosts its monthly three course dinner. Ahi- Nicoise Salad, Beseme Mucho and Red Velvet Cake are paired with wines from California and Oregon. Seats are $39 and reservations can be made by calling 480-962-4224. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.

Liberty Station Tavern celebrates 10th anniversary

Originally named Market Street Kitchen before the Keeler family rebranded it to Liberty Station Tavern in 2016, the two celebrate its 10th anniversary Thursday, October 20th. The DC Ranch restaurants invites guests to night of food, drinks and entertainment starting at 6 p.m. Five food stations along with wine, beer & cocktails are $110.10++ with more information on their website and limited seating reservations can be made by calling 480-278-7044.

Pink Out tomorrow at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

A reminder of the Pink Out tomorrow at all 4 locations and free mammogram at their downtown Chandler restaurant. Details of how you can participate tomorrow and all month are here at the featured post.

Scottsdale’s Taste of Italy has arrived this weekend

The Italian Association of Arizona hosts its annual food and music festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront tomorrow and Sunday. All the details can be found at last month’s featured post.

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 from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Tonight starts Four Peaks Oktoberfest

The weekend long festivities at Tempe Beach Park starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour. Live music, beer, food and more is only $20 Friday and Saturday with free admission on Sunday. To see the details of the event read my feature post from last month.

Save $6 on pizza every Monday at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

For National Pizza Month you can save $6 on a 16-inch cheese pizza every Monday in October. Get the pizza for $14 at all 6 Phoenix area and Flagstaff locations when you dine-in or take-out when you call your order in. No third party deliveries or online orders and not available on October 31st.

Beaulieu Vineyards featured at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa dinner

The historic Napa Valley winery’s wines will be paired as part of a 5-course dinner on Thursday, October 10th in the resort’s Alto Ristorante e Bar. The dinner begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. Winery representative Julia Smith will be in attendance to walk guests through the wines, tell the story of the famous winery and answer questions. Chef Joaquin Estolano Jr. and his culinary team will pair a specially curated menu with guests having the opportunity to purchase wines at a discount to take home. Reservations are required for the $149 per person dinner and can be made by calling 480-629-6231.

Cider Corps nominated as one of the “Best Cideries” in the country

Vote for the locally and veteran owned cidery until October 24th as they’ve been nominated by USA Today for one of the Top 10 in the country. Only 20 cideries were nominated by a panel of experts and you can help them get into the Top 10.

Z’Tejas goes pink in October

For the entire month of October the southwestern restaurant in Chandler and Scottsdale is selling pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of the $10 proceeds of each ribbon is being donated to The Singleton’s. The local non-profit helps single parent families battling cancer. When purchasing a ribbon guests receive a complimentary watermelon strawberry margarita or a non-alcoholic, a strawberry lemonade (zero proof) cocktail.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

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