Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

“Med Meets Mexico” seasonal menu now at Pita Jungle

All 23 locations in Arizona now offer new 10 dishes on their Seasonal Crafts Kitchen Menu. Dishes using the flavors of the Southwest and their Mediterranean inspired menu will be available through April. Highlights of the new menu include Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, Mediterranean Ceviche, Labdeh Dip Mezze Veggies & Dip and a Wood Fired Gluten Free Enchilada. 

Orin Swift Wine Dinner at Palo Verde Restaurant

The signature restaurant at The Boulders Resort & Spa hosts a gourmet four-course dinner paired with wines on Friday, February 3rd with the reception starting at 6:00 p.m. Enhancing the experience will be the scenic views of the golf course’s 6th hole and duck pond. Seats are $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-595-4621.

Cider Corps hosts dinner to raise money for traumatic brain injuries

The downtown Mesa cidery will pair its award-winning ciders with dishes from valley chefs Friday, February 3rd. Guests attending the Speakers Dinner for Traumatic Brain Injury Solutions will hear updates from researchers at Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The 21 and over dinner starts at 6 P.m. and is %200 per person. Two other fundraising events are scheduled for the 22 Jumps event with more information and to RSVP click here.

New seasonal dishes at Over Easy launch January 30th

The locally owned and nationally recognized breakfast spot adds two new dishes to its menu on Monday. The scratch made Cinnamon Apple Corncakes ($14) and JohnJay Burrito Bowl ($17) are available for dine-in, take-out or delivery. $1 of every Burrito Bowl will be donated #LOVEPUP Foundation. Also new will be the Spicy Mango Margarita ($8) but only available for dine-in. The new dishes and drink are available at all 11 Phoenix area locations.

Nominations are open for Foodist Awards until February 5th

Its award season and time to nominate your favorite Food & Beverage, Experience, Restaurant and People in the Arizona Restaurant Association’s annual recognition of those in the food and beverage community. The online nominations include 20 categories and 8 new categories for the 2023 awards. Winner will be announced in alive ceremony on Monday April 24th at 5:30 p.m. at The Van Buren in Phoenix.

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

Semifinalists for 2023 Restaurant & Chef Awards announced

This morning The James Beard Foundation announced the Semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Arizona is again well represented throughout several categories. Nominees will be announced Wednesday, March 29th and winners announced Monday, June 5th 2023 in Chicago. You can see the list of all 2023 semifinalists here.

The 2023 Arizona semifinalists are……

Outstanding Chef

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café, Phoenix

Outstanding Restaurant

Proper Meats + Provisions, Flagstaff

Emerging Chef

Christian Lowe, Shift Kitchen & Bar, Flagstaff

Outstanding Bakery

JL Patisserie, Phoenix and Scottsdale

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

Glai Baan, Phoenix

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, Bacanora, Phoenix

Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber, The Table at Junipine, Sedona

Nephi Craig, Café Gozhóó, Whiteriver

Wendy Garcia, Tumerico, Tucson

Fernando Hernández, Testal, Phoenix

Yotaka and Alex Martin, Lom Wong, Phoenix

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

Uchi bringing award-winning Japanese cuisine to Scottsdale

Austin, Texas based Hai Hospitality plans to open its first Arizona restaurant later in 2023 when Uchi opens in Old Town Scottsdale. It will be the James Beard award winning restaurant groups sixth location of its flagship restaurant and will be located in the previous Bandera restaurant at Scottsdale Rd. and 1st St. Hai also operates Uchiko, Uchibā and Loro Asian Smokehouse and bar.

“We’re both honored and excited to have the opportunity to bring Uchi even further ‘West’ to Scottsdale, said Hai Hospitality CEO Tony Montero. “I know Uchi will only add to the already vibrant and dynamic mix of destination dining, eclectic art, and nightlife in Old Town Scottsdale when it opens later this year, and we’re looking forward to bringing the distinct flavors, unique perspective, and unparalleled dining experience that is Uchi to Arizona,” he said.

What to expect at Uchi

“Uchi” translates to “home” in Japanese and is named after the little red house where Chef Tyson Cole opened the first Uchi in 2003. Cole’s non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine balances elevated dishes with relaxed service in a welcoming atmosphere. Guests dining at the restaurant can expect a menu that is updated daily and includes signature hot & cold tastings, sushi & sashimi, makimono, yakimono and tempura. A ten course seasonal omakase chef’s tasting, six course tasting and a six course vegetarian tasting will also be offered. Signature cocktails, sake, beer and wine will be ayailable to compliment the food.

The restaurant will seat 180 people and feature a sushi bar, cocktail bar, outdoor patio and private dining room. Phoenix based architecture and urban design firm AV3 Design and Tucson’s architect and design studio Hazelbaker Rush will design the restaurant. Two sculptural’s will flank both the sushi and cocktail bar  along with wood ceilings and artwork and lighting fixtures from local artists.

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

Mr. Pickles opens its first Arizona location with more to come

Last week the popular California sandwich shop Mr. Pickles opened its first Arizona location in Scottsdale at Shea and Scottsdale Rd. The mom & pop restaurant was founded in 1995 by Frank and Michelle Faugudes who decided to retire and sold it in 2020 to Arizona resident Mike Nelson. The quick service restaurant is known for hot and cold sandwiches served on any of 10 breads and wraps.

Nelson is a longtime customer who is Chief Executive Officer and has over 30 years’ experience as an owner/ operator of restaurants including Wingstop, Subway and Carl’s Jr. franchises nationwide.

Hot and cold sandwiches at Mr. Pickles

The Scottsdale restaurant offer all the favorite sandwiches including the Mr. Pickle, which is chicken breast, bacon, Monterey jack, avocado and the works as it relates to veggies; the Santa Maria Tri-Tip, which is actual tri-tip sourced from the famed Santa Maria region topped with specialty barbecue sauce and the works.

Two new sandwiched have debuted at the new location; Listen Linda is named after Nelson’s wife of 36 years and is piled high with turkey breast, avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese and the works – including our specialty garlic sauce. Della’s Deli, honors Wilson’s business partner, best friend and Mr. Pickle’s president Dean Johnson’s wife of more than 40 years. It features turkey breast, ham, salami, cheddar, and the works. A wide section of chips, sides and of course a jumbo whole dill pickle are available and each sandwich, salad or wrap comes with a FREE chocolate chip cookie.

“Since 1995, Mr. Pickle’s has been a premier sandwich shop specializing in innovative and craveworthy sandwiches, salads and catering,” says Nelson, “During its first three decades, thanks to its community culture, incredible recipes, and all its fans, the brand grew from one to 56 locations across northern California. We look forward to building this brand that now calls Arizona home, as well as helping grow it nationwide in the years to come.”

Continuing to grow

Important to Nelson is its close knit relationships with its vendors and the company continues to grow. “We partner with as many artisan bakers, regional farms and ranches that we can when sourcing our products, making every item unique to us,” says Nelson, who spent the past year bringing the business into the digital age and investing in technology that will propel the brand forward nationwide. “You will not see six-inch and foot-long sizing from us, more specialty breads than uniform options.”

Nelson plans to open locations in Chandler, Laveen, Queen Creek, Surprise and a second location in Scottsdale in the next 18 months. Up to 20 locations are expected to open in California in the next 7 years. Mr. Pickles also relocated it headquarters to North Scottsdale last year and kept its franchisee support center in California.

The restaurant is at 10701 N. Scottsdale Road and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

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

GenuWineArizona celebrates its 5th birthday

Tomorrow January 14th the downtown Phoenix wine bar and retailer celebrates 5 years on Roosevelt Row with free wine samples, a DJ and Hot Sauce & Pepper Food Truck. Raffles will be awarded to attendees with the party going from 2 – 10 p.m.

3 course dinner next Tuesday at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

Chef & owner Romeo Taus rings in 2023 with another of his monthly 3rd Tuesday 3 course dinner paired with wine. On January 17th the downtown Gilbert restaurant will feature Osso Bucco paired with a Portuguese wine as its main course. Chorizo and Papas will start the dinner and YAYA’s Chocolate Cake will give the dinner a sweet ending. Seats are $44 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-962-4224.

Hundred Mile Brewing Company celebrates grand opening

The new Tempe brewery celebrates its Grand Opening from January 18th – 22nd. Daily specials on food & beer, a community charity drive, a Lap Around the Lake and more are planned from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

PHX Beer Co. releases a new IPA dedicated to the “Zanjeros”

For over a hundred years Zanjeros would travel the state making sure the water flowed to our homes and farms. Without the “ditch riders” there would be no water to make beer and now the Phoenix brewery offers the new “Zanjeros” citrus fruit forward IPA. The beer is available at its downtown Phoenix brewery and Scottsdale restaurant.

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

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

Wing Wednesday specials at The Bar in Gilbert

Have you heard the news, people are flocking to downtown Gilbert to get their hands on the flavorful, crispy & juicy John Blaze Honey Hot, Buffalo, BBQ, “Blow Your O-Ring” and Teriyaki wings. The Bar‘s grilling then fried wings are specially priced every Wednesday from 3 p.m. – 1 a.m. for $9 for 6 wings or $14 for a dozen. Each order comes with celery & carrots and your choice of blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Pillsbury Wine Co. and more pouring at Arizona Wine Festival

20 Arizona wineries and other vendors will make downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square home January 28th -29th. Beer and food trucks will also be on hand with tickets for $35 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday. Friday night will be a benefit for Horses Help and the festival starts at 11 a.m. on both days. Information and tickets can be purchased can be found at Eventbrite.

Outerbound Wines featured at Hyatt Scottsdale Winemaker Dinner Series

The Gainey Ranch resort and spa continues its Winemaker Dinner Series in 2023 with its first dinner on Thursday, January 19th. High end wines from Sonoma County will be paired with a five-course dinner from Chef Joaquin Estolano Jr. and his team. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m. with Phillip Kube of Outerbound Wines followed by dinner at 7:00. Seats are $170 per person and can be reserved by calling 480-629-6231.

Save your receipts for 50% off at Koibito Poke

For the month of January purchase lunch between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. then return for dinner from 5 p.m. til closing and get half off. The “Save Your Receipt” promotion is good on the same day 7 days a week at all 4 locations.

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

Jackson Family Wines dinner at Ling’s Wok Shop

The north Scottsdale flex casual restaurant Ling’s Wok Shop rings in the Chinese New Year with an Asian inspired five course dinner paired with Jackson Family Wines. The wines are sourced from Jackson Family Wines properties in California, Oregon and Italy. Wednesday, January 25th at 6:30 guests will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with this one of a kind dinner for $88++ per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-801-6524.

FIRST COURSE
Dim Sum Sampler with Steamed Dumpling, Pork & Shrimp Dumpling, and Spicy Chicken Wonton
paired with Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay

SECOND COURSE
Cantonese-Style Sea Bass with Ginger and Lop Cheong
paired with Diatom Santa Barbara Chardonnay

THIRD COURSE
Peking Duck with Hoisin and Green Onion
paired with WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir

FOURTH COURSE
Char Siu Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus
paired with Hartford Family Russian River ZInfandel

HAPPY ENDING
Cheesecake with Vanilla-Orange Sauce
paired with Benvolio Prosecco

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

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

Free bowl of menudo on New Year’s Day

All 35 Food City locations in Arizona celebrate National Menudo Month and National Hangover Day January 1st 2023 with a free bowl of menudo. The popular hangover remedy is available from 9-11 a.m. in the deli for dine-in only.

Famous 48 now serving lunch & weekend brunch

The standalone restaurant in the Shops at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale is now serving lunch 7 days a week starting at 11 a.m. Saturday & Sunday brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. until 3:00p.m.

Sunday Funday taco specials at Urban Margarita

Every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. til closing the Glendale restaurant has street tacos for only $2 each. Choose from grilled steak, chicken or carnitas and don’t forget the margarita to wash them down.

Batch Cookie Shop coming to Queen Creek in 2023

The family owned cookie shop in Gilbert announced its second location will be coming to Queen Creek this summer. It will be in front of the new Costco at Rittenhouse and Ellsworth Rds. More details will be available as they get closer to opening day.

OpenTable names local restaurants Top 100 Restaurants in America in 2022

Steak 44, Ocean 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse in Phoenix and Scottsdale have been named to the prestigious list. All 3 restaurants are owned by father and sons Dennis, Michael & Jeff Mastro and partner Scott Trolio. The list is curated from over 13 million customer reviews on the website from October 31st 2021- September 30th 2022. Also making the list from Arizona is Mariposa in Sedona and The Henry in Phoenix.

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

Yulissa Acosta named Chef de Cuisine at Hearth ’61

Rising through the ranks can be the most satisfying and rewarding ways to earn a promotion. That’s how Yulissa Acosta earned her new title as Chef de Cuisine at Mountain Shadows Resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61. Acosta was part of the opening team at restaurant as a cook when it opened in 2017. Always looking to improve her culinary skills and with her culinary knowledge she was promoted to Sous Chef in 2018.

“We are delighted to have Chef Yulissa Acosta take the reins of our beloved Hearth ‘61 restaurant in her new role,” said Vice President & General Manager Andrew Chippindall. “With her unique culinary flare and working alongside Executive Chef Charles Wiley and Executive Sous Chef Alfred Muro, Chef Acosta will be the perfect person to continue elevating our cuisine by highlighting the best local ingredients.”

The Nogales Mexico born and Phoenix raised Acosta realized her passion for cooking in high school and was awarded a scholarship to Scottsdale’s Classic Cooking Academy upon graduation. From there she worked at Bink’s Midtown and Mirabel Golf Club before joining Hearth ’61.

Part of her new role is menu development and she will use her roots and love of Mexican-American & Southwestern cuisines and incorporate classic French cooking skills to the menu. She recently debuted Duroc Farm’s Pork Chop with Jacob bean ragu and black pepper glaze as well as the Two Wash Ranch Chicken Roulade with barley risotto, romanesco, and natural jus to the menu. She will also continue to follow the culinary standards set by Chefs Wiley and Muro.

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

Celebrate the Lunar New Year for two weeks at Ling & Louie’s

Not long after we hop into 2023 the traditional Lunar New Year starts celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. Local Asian fusion restaurant Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill celebrates with classic Chinese New Year dishes and specially created cocktails from January 21st – February 5th. A traditional Lion Dance performed by 9 Dragons Lion Dance Phoenix kicks of the celebration on the 21st.

In Chinese culture the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity and 2023 is predicted to be the year of hope. Throughout Asia the Lunar New Year is steep with symbolism and you’ll see it throughout the 5 dishes on the special menu. Dumplings and spring rolls signify wealth, fish and shrimp represent an increase in prosperity and happiness while Longevity Noodles symbolize a wish for a long life.

Lunar New Year dishes and cocktails

Lunar New Year Dim Sum Bar – featuring your choice of different dim sum including Ginger-Pork Dumplings, Pork + Shrimp Dumplings, Spicy Chicken Wontons, and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Dim Sum Tower – can’t decide on which dim sum to enjoy? Choose three of the above dim sum for a decadent New Year’s treat both.

Szechuan Sea Bass – crispy sea bass wok’d with asparagus, green beans and dried chilies in spicy citrus-soy, topped with pineapple salsa.

Char Siu Pork Tenderloin – specially marinated pork tenderloin served with wasabi mashed potatoes and wok’d asparagus, drizzled with sweet chili sauce.

Longevity Noodles – grass-fed New York strip stir-fried with egg noodles, green onions, mushrooms and carrots in traditional stir-fry sauce.

Tables that order off the special menu will receive a Lucky Red Envelope with offers to use on future visits at Ling & Louie’s and its sister restaurant Ling’s Wok Shop.

Toast to the New Year with these unique craft cocktails.

Spicy Peach Margarita – ghost chili-infused tequila shaken with premium orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, peach puree and Thai basil.

Apples to Apples – rye whiskey shaken with apple puree, house-made ginger-lime syrup and fresh lemon.

Pineapple Punch – gin, Suze, pineapple, five spice and fresh citrus topped with sparkling wine.

New Wave Pina Colada – Jamaican rum, Amarula cream liqueur, five spice, cream of coconut and pineapple, shaken hard and served on the rocks.

For more information visit 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.

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