Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

December specials at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

From now until New Year’s Eve you can order delicious red beef/pork and green corn tamales by the dozen for $34.99. Having a party and want some traditional Mexican specialties mini chimis, flautas, chicken and cheese rollups, and jalapeno poppers are available to order in increments of 3, 6 or 9 dozen ($45.99, $84.99, $129.99). Orders can be placed any of the 4 locations with 24 hour notice for phone orders and online orders require 48 hours’ notice.

Gift cards are available for purchase with 20% kickbacks. $5 for every $25 purchased, $10 kickback on $50 gift card, $20 kickback on $100.

Looking to dine-in, you’ll find these specials on the menu for the month.

Lisa’s Pronto Bowl: A classic choice with shredded chicken, pinto beans, Spanish rice, red sauce, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and tomatoes all piled high on a house-made taco shell topped with chunky salsa. $14.99
White Christmas Margarita: A house-made margarita with white cranberry juice, Sauza Silver tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Garnished with sugar-covered cranberries and mint. $9.99
Caramel Flan: Back by popular demand! House-made caramel flan topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. $6.99.

Barro’s fights hunger on December 6th

From open to close next Tuesday all 46 of the locally owned pizza restaurants in Phoenix and Tucson will donate 100% of the day’s proceeds to St. Mary’s Food Bank. It’s the 11th year the Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight fundraiser which has raised over $2.1 million dollars in ten years. The money raised is equivalent to 14.7 million meals and is St. Mary’s largest yearly cause marketing effort.

The Buzzed Bull Creamery offers new flavors for the season

Ice cream never tasted so good, especially buzzed with spirits of the season. The ice cream shop at the Scottsdale Waterfront offers 4 new flavors all month long. Buzzed or non-buzzed the sweet treat can be in a milkshake or cup of ice cream. Need an afternoon pick me up; take 15% off every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 – 5 p.m. The new flavors are….

Girl Scout featuring mint syrup, chocolate sauce, brownie bites and peppermint schnapps.

Apple Cider featuring cookie butter syrup, cinnamon and apple pie moonshine.

Double Chocolate Bourbon with chocolate sauce and bourbon.

Cherry Cake featuring cake batter, cherries and cherry vodka.

Hundred Mile Brewing is ready for its soft opening

Arizona’s newest brewery is putting the final touches for next Wednesday, December 7th opening. The first couple of weeks will feature local beers on tap and starting December 19th fresh brewed HMBC beers will be tapped one day at time. The new brewery is close to the ASU campus and the owner and brewer are alumni and were featured in my August post. During the soft opening (7th-11th) a daily drawing for a $100 gift card will be awarded and Sunday the 11th is Sun Devil Sunday. Anyone wearing Sun Devil gear will get 15% off.

Get 6 free tamales when you pre-order a dozen

Authentic scratch made tamales are a December specialty at Jalapeño Inferno and until December 23rd they are available to order. Choose from sweet green corn tamales and spicy red chili pork tamales for pick- up at their Peoria or North Scottsdale locations.

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

The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy 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.

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.

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.

Arizona Restaurant Week kicks off today

10 days (Sept. 16th -25th) filled with special multi-course menus at over 100 Arizona restaurants. The Arizona Restaurant Association’s twice annual celebration has meals at three price points $33, $44 & $55. I’m visiting restaurants I’ve never been to and can’t wait, see the full list of restaurants and menus at the ARW website, reservations highly suggested.

Third Tuesday dinner at Romeo’s

The popular downtown Gilbert restaurant hosts its monthly dinner coming next Tuesday September 20th. The 3 course menu starts with Char- Siu Pork Soba Noodle salad followed by Jägerschnitzel and Chocolate Carrot Cake Pops for dessert. $39++ includes wine pairings for each course with the dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. For reservations call 480-962-4224.

Still time to enjoy Serrano’s September specials

Early birds can head in starting at 3 p.m. for the Early Bird menu for $9.99. Available Tuesday – Thursday until 5 p.m. get an entree and more with 2 sides at all 4 locations. Get $10 off all to-go orders of $50 when you order take-out online, use promo code GET10. Food & drink specials include Fall Flight of margaritas including Passion-Fruit, Orange Cherry & Mango and Raspberry ($10.99). Ernie’s Pronto Burrito is filled with carne asada and all your favorite burrito fixings ($13.99). Save room for dessert and get a Snickerdoodle Delight for just $5.99.

Koibito Poke donating $2 of each Signature Bowl sold

If you’ve order a Signature Bowl in September you’ll be glad to know $2 went to the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children. Its part of their promotion as September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. Choose from 5 Signature Bowls at all 4 locations in Scottsdale, Phoenix (Arcadia) and Chandler until the end of the month to continue raising money.

Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers at Chase Field is now open

The newest location of the popular burger joint opened in downtown Phoenix in the left field of the ballpark. The new location will be open year round for lunch and dinner with guests able to enjoy all their favorite burgers, totchos, hot dogs and more. Exclusive at this location is The Big Unit, named after Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, the cheddar cheese filed Juicy Lucy burger comes with LTO and served between two grilled cheese sandwiches.

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.

Gastromé Market bringing specialty wine & cheese to Gainey Ranch

The finishing touches are being taken care of for new wine and cheese market in Scottsdale’s Gainey Ranch neighborhood. Gastromé Market will open on Saturday September 10th with a grand opening celebration from co-owners Jenny Le and Tiffany Chavez. Over 5,000 square feet will include the market, a restaurant, a temperature controlled Eurocave for wine and a classroom. Come mid-Fall the outdoor patio will be available to enjoy our beautiful weather.

“This has been a true labor of love for us, and we can’t wait to get the doors open and meet the community,” says Le. “We’ve worked hard to create an inclusive environment where you can feel free to ask whatever you want – you won’t find any stuffiness or intimidation here.”

The inviting space will encourage guests to grab a bottle of wine and more to enjoy in one the nooks and alcoves throughout the market. For those on the run, the grab-n-go counter will let customers take lunch or dinner with them. Cheese cases will showcase domestic and international cheeses, the bakery offers pastries from around the world and a gift basket station will let you create the perfect gift.

Passionate experts will assist customers with choosing boutique wines, curated meats & cheeses and handcrafted items from local artisans. Gastromé Market will offer fun classes and seminars including food & wine pairings and how to build a charcuterie board.

Grand opening at Gastromé Market

The open the doors at 10 a.m. on the 10th and the first 100 guests through the doors will enjoy a champagne toast on every visit once a week for up to four people for a year. Throughout the event guests can sample wine & cheese, speak with the vendors and shop the wide range of goods.

“Whether you’re in search of something specific or you just want to see what we’re all about, stop by this September and we’ll show you around,” Chavez said. “We’re wine and cheese lovers ourselves, and we’re really passionate about food and drink, in general. Our goal is to make you as excited about it as we are, and if we can get you to try something new, even better!”

Gastromé Market is at 7704 Doubletree Ranch Rd. The market opens at 10 a.m. and the restaurant at 11 a.m. For more information visit their website.

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.

 

The Uncommon brings 70s, 80s, & 90s nostalgia eatery to Chandler

Baby boomers and Gen X’s will reminisce strolling down memory lane surrounded by life size video games, pinball machines and music from classic rock to new wave at the new eatery and arcade The Uncommon. Downtown Chandler welcomed the opening last month to the sister concept from the Tipsy Egg.

“The amount of detail that has been packed into The Uncommon has been overwhelmingly received with smiles and laughter brought on by the memories of childhood,” said Niels Kreipke, The Uncommon owner. “The space is unrivaled in the Valley and is truly special.”

Common food at The Uncommon

Guests will enjoy scratch made comfort food with an uncommon spin from executive chef Schuyler Estes. The “Sloan Peterson” (Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend) is a smoked salmon BLT, made with avocado and garlic aioli on sourdough bread. The “Inigo Montoya” (of Princess Bride fame) is burger that’s served on a freshly made English Muffin with white American cheese, bacon, pickles, arugula, red onion and garlic aioli. “There isn’t a menu item that shouldn’t be tried here,” said Estes. “A well balanced and perfectly executed blend of offerings is key to the success of this menu.”

The cocktail menu from General Manager Nick Kadkec has as much creativity as the food. Popular cocktails including Poppin Cherry Limeade,” made with Smirnoff cherry vodka, lime juice, Sprite, grenadine and a cherry. The “1.21 Gigawatts,” is made with Basil Hayden whiskey, simple syrup and orange bitters. The “We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat” is a cocktail for two that comes in a blue ceramic fish and is served with Candy Fish and Nerds in the bottom. Over 30 craft beers are on tap from local brewers and throughout the country.

Have fun playing the games including Skeeball, shufflebaord and more in the arcade. A stage for up to 3 musicians to play on weekends with DJs spinning the classics during the week. Currently serving dinner starting at 4 p.m. for all ages The Uncommon becomes 21 and over nightly at 10 p.m. The Uncommon is at 1 E. Boston St. Chandler, for more information and to see the menu visit their website.

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.

Anoche Cantina coming to Mill Ave. in August

Bellevue, Washington based Ascend Hospitality Group is planing to open its first Arizona location in downtown Tempe later this month. Anoche Cantina will be the first of a new restaurant and nightlife concept from AHG’s Director of Marketing and Brand Design Shelby Elmore and will be the first concept she’s co-created. Located in the former El Hefe space Anoche will serve innovative Latin inspired food and cocktails including a build-your-own-margarita bar.

“We’ve had our eye on Tempe for a while and when the opportunity arose for us to take prime real estate on Mill Ave., we jumped at the chance,” said Elaina M. Morris, AHG CEO and president. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring, what we call, the ‘AHG Difference’ to the Valley and join such a thriving community.” 

Thomas Lawson, formerly of Riot Hospitality Group was brought on as AHG had wanted to partner with a local expert operator to help execute its vision.  “It’s nice to be a part of Mill Ave.’s resurgence, this is a great area with rich history,” Lawson said. “Anoche will provide a unique experience to help elevate the ever-expanding community. Through carefully crafted eats and one-of-a-kind nightlife, we look to not just breathe new life into the area but give the area what it’s been craving.”

The scene at Anoche Cantina

Anoche Cantina will have 5,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space including a shaded patio to enjoy our nice weather. Those there for the nightlife will experience a high quality sound and lighting system that will make Anoche the best party on Mill Ave. Just in time for football season, a sports bar concept from AHG, six40rty is planned for a September opening next door. Large screen TVs, lawn games, upscale bar snacks and witty cocktails will be available indoors and outdoors at the 8,000 square foot sports bar. Both concepts are looking to hire front and back of the house team members and those interested can apply in person or email Lawson at thomas@ascendhg.com.

Anoche Cantina is at 640 S. Mill Ave Tempe 85281.

Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian opens at former Peking Palace in Tucson

Husband and wife Nattha and Eric Post both grew up around food, she in Thailand and he in Tucson. Both attended Blue Elephant and Napali cooking schools in Thailand and have worked in restaurants in their native countries. They’ve now opened Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian, bringing authentic Thai and Cantonese Chinese cuisine to Tucson.

“Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian is a labor of love and an opportunity for us to invite the dining community in to taste the result of our passion for and dedication to serving authentic Asian cuisine that is approachable and delicious,” says Eric. “We want people to enjoy the experience of trying new things but also feel comfortable eating the familiar dishes they love.”

Tam “Sam” Quan is the executive chef serving a wide variety of “AppeThaizers”, soups, Thai curries & rice and more. Dishes include Yum Nua (grilled beef salad), Yum Woon Sen (glass noodle salad with shrimp and ground pork); soups like Tom Kha (coconut milk) and Tom Sabb (pork ribs); Thai curries including red, green, yellow, mussaman, panang and more; Thai noodle stir fries such as Pad Thai and Pad Kee Mao (drunken noodle); Thai rice stir fries like Pad Prik King (with crispy pork belly) and Pad Krathim (garlic chicken). They serve beer, wine and cocktails along with Thai teas.

Nattha came to the U.S. in 2018 and hopes to be a citizen soon and has worked in several local restaurants. Eric, a practicing attorney learned to cook from his Italian mother and worked at Tucson’s Kipple’s Pizza Parlour. Nattha’s Bann Thai Asian is at 6970 E. 22nd St. Tucson 85710. Hours are Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Visit their website for more information.

The Tipsy Egg brings an elevated brunch experience to Chandler

With the growth of restaurants and bars in downtown Chandler locals and visitors have few breakfast options to start their day. Local developer and owner Niels Kreipke wanted to change that so he took one of his properties on the corner of Arizona Ave. and Boston St. and opened the Tipsy Egg in early May. His experience as partner with other restaurant concepts around the valley gives him the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and so far this concept exceeds his expectations.

Encompassing 3,000 square feet the modern decor and design is eye catching and features mid-century modern booths and brass finishes. “Tipsy Egg is bringing a wide range of all age groups and is a growing destination area for locals and out of town visitors,” said Kreipke. “We are excited to provide a unique and playful menu, a welcoming indoor/outdoor bar setting and a menu that is anything but typical for our guests to enjoy.” This food first and cocktail forward concept, hence the name, is the first of what will be others throughout the valley.

Photos courtesy of Evolve Public Relations & Marketing

Bold flavors at the Tipsy Egg

The menu offers guests breakfast and lunch all day including Mom’s Post Roast Benedict (go with the Party Potatoes on the side), Yuzu Masco Mint Pancakes, a Chinese Chicken Salad and an Uptown Burrito filled with filet mignon, eggs, roasted garlic, vegetables, Gouda cheese and more. The cocktail menu offers more than Mimosas and Bloody Marys for those looking for something other than coffee or juice in the morning. The BRKFT in Bed blends Sailor Jerry Rum, butterscotch schnapps, orange juice, lemon lime soda and an orange wheel. The Early Morin Margarita features Tepozan Añejo tequila, fresh lime juice, agave, pineapple juice, lemon lime soda, homemade tajin, a lime wheel and pineapple spear. Non-alcoholic mocktails are also on the list along with a selection of Bloody Marys and local craft beers.

The Tipsy Egg is 1 E. Boston St. Chandler and is open daily from 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and is available after hours for private parties and business meetings. For more information visit their website.

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.

 

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