Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new menu

Earlier this week the locally owned pizzeria group debuted its new Fall seasonal menu. Buffalo Chicken Pizza, Green Apple Sangria, Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a Vodka Peach Mule are just a few of the new dishes & cocktails available until December 6th.

Creamistry to open first West Valley location

The ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen to make their delicious desserts opens at Park West, Saturday September 18th. Customers who show up between 12 – 2 p.m to the Peoria’s Park West entertainment center get a free small ice cream. There are 2 other locations in Gilbert and Scottsdale, no free ice cream though.

Don’t forget National Hamburger Day Saturday

The popular comfort food is being celebrated September 18th around town with specially made burgers at Hopdoddy Burger Bar and other burger joints around Phoenix.

Romeo’s Euro Cafe 3rd Tuesday wine dinner is happening

3 courses paired with wines from New Zealand and California at Romeo’s monthly dinner is next Tuesday the 21st. Reservations are needed for dinner at the downtown Gilbert restaurant. Dinner is $39 per person.

Arizona Restaurant Week starts tonight

For the next 10 nights, restaurants feature specially created 3 course menus at $33, $44 or $55. 150+ restaurants are participating the Fall 2021 culinary event. Reservations are highly recommended and a full list of restaurants and their menus can be found at their website. The Arizona Restaurant Association has partnered with the HonorHealth Foundation to raise money for Desert Mission Food Bank during the next 10 days.

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.

Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails debuts new dishes & cocktails

I made my first visit to Downtown Phoenix’s Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails recently as it launched its new food & cocktails menus in late August. The signature restaurant inside the Hotel Palomar welcomed new Executive Chef Brian Peterson who created the new dishes with his culinary team. Peterson’s “New American Cuisine” offers Starters & Shareable & entrees that include a curated beef program.

“The menu is very approachable and made with the freshest, all-natural, quality ingredients that are seasonally sourced from the area’s best local farmers,” said Chef Peterson. “The vibrancy and energy of our downtown Phoenix location is exhilarating and we are thrilled that our neighborhood restaurant is in the center of it all.”

My dinner at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

I started with a “Sicilian Summer Spritzer” from the Seasonal Cocktails menu to go with our Starters. The Maker’s Mark, Averna, Cardomano, Lemon & Soda libation reminded me of a Long Island Iced Tea from years past and I could had a second or third of this refreshing cocktail. One of the first to offer “craft cocktails” other signature cocktails include the Blue Hound Signature Old Fashioned, Buffalo Tears, Red & Smokey and more with an emphasis on bourbon & whiskey. Craft beer on draft & in bottle and wines are also available. My photos can be found on my Instagram, @SandyWass.

My dinner guest and I started with the Mushroom Pate with carrot jam, pickled onions & charred toast points. All was good with the carrot jam having the most flavor. We also shared the Beef Cheek Poutine with cheese curds, giardinerra & bone marrow gravy. The look to be house cut fries could’ve been a bit crisper but still  it’s a nice twist on a favorite from north of the border. Other dished that sounded good but not ordered on this visit were the Rolled & Fried Chicken Thighs and the Charred Octopus.

My guest ordered the Iberico Secreto (Iberico, the Wagyu of Spain ham, fatty shoulder meat) with bbq fennel, Pt. Reyes grits & cherry mustrda for his entree and he was happy. I went with Chef’s Cut of The Day which was a 16 oz. Rib Eye with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese chips, spinach & mushrooms. A nice outside darkness and rare-medium rare middle was a filling piece of beef. Then BHKC burger sounded good as did the duck breast. We finished our meal with a dessert special of Homemade Pound Cake with espresso gelato and caramel sauce. The cake was thick and dense, not you mom’s pound cake.

Feeling adventurous then “Trust the Team” with a five course dinner on the whim of the culinary team. A wine and cocktail pairing can be had with this dinner option.

For more information and to see the menu visit the Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails website.

 

 

Family owned wineries featured at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale dinner series

Several of California’s prestigious winery families are being featured in the next few months as the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa. The family owned wines poured represent some of the best red & white wines from Napa & Sonoma counties to be paired with a special menu for each occasion.

The winemaker dinner series is as follows…..

Ramey Wine Cellars- Thursday, September 23rd

Ramey Wine Cellars was founded in 1996 by David Ramey and his wife Carla. After sixteen years making wine in Sonoma County, and firmly establishing Matanzas Creek and Chalk Hill wineries in the marketplace, David crossed the Mayacamas to spend six years in the Napa Valley – first as winemaker for Dominus Estate and project manager for the construction of their new winery; then helping Leslie Rudd reshape the Girard Winery into Rudd Oakville.

Rombauer Vineyards- Thursday, October 21st                                              

When founders Koerner and Joan Rombauer moved their two children, two horses and five dogs to Napa Valley in 1972, they arrived armed with an appreciation for the intimate relationship between food and wine. Their appreciation stemmed from Koerner’s great aunt Irma Rombauer having authored internationally renowned cookbook the Joy of Cooking and his ancestors originating from the wine-growing region of Rheingau, Germany, where wine is considered an essential complement to a meal.

Appreciation bred passion, and Rombauer Vineyards was established in 1980. Forty years later, the winery remains owned by second – and third -generation members of the family.

Miner Family Wines- Thursday, November 18th

Miner Family Winery is a dynamic family-owned winery tucked into the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation, squarely within the heart of Napa Valley. Each wine at Miner is crafted in a style to encapsulate the distinctive elements and the indelible fingerprints of their respective vineyards. We have sought and secured a number of California’s finest vineyard sites, but only those allowing complete farming control. It is this level of detail and control, from vine to wine, that ensures a wine’s consistency and quality. Our relationships with these owners and farmers are paramount to all we do.

Truchard Vineyards- Thursday, December 16th

The Truchard family wine tradition began in the U.S. over a century ago. In 1887, Jean Marie Truchard emigrated from a small town outside of Lyon, with his brother, Father Anthony Marie Truchard, a Catholic priest. Together they established a vineyard and winery on a 500 – acre plot of land in Southeast Texas. Since 1973, the Truchard estate has grown to 400 acres, of which 280 acres are planted. The Truchard family has been farming vineyards for over 45 years and plans to carry on their legacy for many generations to come.

The health of their soils, the quality of their water, and the overall health of the environment are all essential to their long-term plan of growing a multi-generational family farm. They will continue to farm sustainably and use fish friendly practices for years to come.

Dinners with the exception of September’s, is the 3rd Thursday of the month with a reception starting at 6:30 p.m. and dinner starting at 7. Seats are limited and reservations are required by calling 480-629-6231 and are $149++ per person. Menus are still being planned, when finalized you can find at their website along with more information. “Take home” wines will be available for purchase at a discount after dinner.

 

 

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Platform 18 at Century Grand on 50 Best Discovery list

The Arcadia Lite cocktail bar made the prestigious list and it’s the first time an Arizona restaurant or bar has made the list. The list is compiled by 50 Best and is an extension of the global list of 50 best bars & restaurants. Global experts approve the restaurants and bars around the world with 2,000 establishments making their original list before cutting it down to the final 50. Restaurants don’t apply for consideration but qualify from receiving a significant amount of votes from current round of polling. Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour also made the list.

Sphinx Date Ranch Co. celebrates 70th anniversary

The downtown Scottsdale retailer of locally made foods, wines & more is celebrating with special items, discounts and Mayor David Ortega proclaiming September 16th – 18th as “Sphinx Date Co. Days”. Guests can get 20% off orders of $20 or more when using promo code 1951, the year it opened. The discount goes until September 23rd and special 20th anniversary merchandise will help raise money for the Scottsdale Historical Society. For more information visit their website.

Pedal Haus Brewery release Oktoberfest beer and menu

The downtown Tempe & Chandler brewpub today release their seasonal beer and food menu. Beer brats, pork schnitzel and more are on the menu with the Tempe location also serving a special Flammkuchen pizza. An Oktoberfest celebration is scheduled for October 2nd in Chandler.

Match Market & Bar offer wine class & agave pairing dinner

Wednesday September 15th you can learn about wines from Southern Italy & Sicily while tasting the wines of the region. The downtown Phoenix tasting starts at 7 p.m. and is $25 per person and includes tasting note & pairings, light bites and wine samples. Wines tasted that night can be purchased by the bottle at 15% off.

The 4 -course agave pairing dinner takes place on Friday September 17th from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The chef crafted menu will complement the different types of agave. Cost is $109++ per person and includes a welcoming Corralejo Reposado at arrival.

Caracara Restaurant delays opening til January 2022

The signature restaurant at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown hotel has delayed the opening until 2022. The restaurant was expected to open this month but with Delta variant of Covid-19 on the rise management opted for the safety and health of employees & guests. Check back for updates and to see what you can expect read my post from July.

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.

“Arizona Pizza” added to new Fall menu at Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar

The Shops at Gainey Ranch’s Famous 48 Local Kitchen & Bar has announced several changes to its operation including adding Arizona Pizza to the menu. One of the new changes is that the restaurant will open at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sunday’s so football fans can catch all the action.

The 4 new Arizona Pizzas are 12 inch thin and crispy crusts and use a mozzarella and provolone cheese blend. A cauliflower crust is also available with the 4 pizzas being…..

·         Margherita. Grilled tomato, basil, extra virgin olive oil

·         The Famous 48. Pepperoni, sausage, onion

·         Nacho Mama. Ground beef, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, taco sauce, blend of cheddar-jack cheese, crumbled Nacho Cheese Doritos®

·         BBQ Chicken Pizza. BBQ Sauce, provolone, chicken, red onion, cilantro

“We like to keep our menus fresh and we’ll always offer Arizona favorites.  That’s the inspiration for the four pizzas on this new menu at Famous 48,” said Robert Wagner, executive chef, of Famous 48 and sister restaurant, Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers. “We aim to please and we’re happy the neighborhood enjoys our great food.”

With the new pizza’s come a special happy hour deal every Monday -Friday from 3 – 6 p.m. Guests can enjoy a Arizona Pizza and bottle of red or white house wine for only $25. To end your meal, they’ve also added a new option to a favorite dessert. The skillet cookie option of white chocolate macadamia, caramel sauce with vanilla bean ice cream joins a classic chocolate chip cookie skillet with vanilla ice cream.

Famous 48 is at 8989 N Scottsdale Rd #608, Scottsdale, AZ 85253. 480-941-0101. Check out their website for the full menu and more.

Maynard J Keenan expands kitchen & hires chef at Scottsdale tasting bar

With the success and popularity of his Merkin Vineyards Osteria and Merkin Pizza Wagon in Cottonwood, owner & winemaker Maynard J Keenan gave the go head to expand his Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale tasting room. Keenan also hired Executive Chef Steve Zimmerman to take the helm of the new Morello Forni Cupola Dome wood-fired oven, imported from Italy and revamp the menu.

“Our dishes feature ingredients grown in our Northern Arizona greenhouses, gardens, and orchards, and we supplement with produce sourced from local Arizona growers,” said Maynard J Keenan. “Merkin Vineyards farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept is the cornerstone of our success, and it’s a concept we intend to continue developing.”

The award-winning Zimmerman comes to Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale after a career in hotel restaurant management in his home state of Missouri and most recently at Tres Kitchen & Bar ion Tempe. “He’s the perfect culinary artist for our vision,” states Keenan.

The menu at Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale

The new menu includes ingredients from Merkins farm, citrus grove and orchard in the Verde Valley with additional ingredients sourced from local vendors and artisan producers. The new menu changes on a regular basis and includes many seasonal ingredients for its pizzas, pasta, salads and more. The Classic Margarita Pizza, the Calabrian with chorizo, schinken, bacon, calabrian chiles, fig jam and fontina cheese and the Crucifixen, features Merkin farm cruciferous veggies, roasted garlic, Parmesan spread, fresh mozzarella and fontina cheeses are part of the core menu.

Lasagna Cupcakes, gnocchi and Cacio e Pepe shows off Zimmerman’s creativity and attention to detail. Appetizers, charcuterie and few desserts round out the menu which can be paired with any of Merkin Vineyards Four 8 Wineworks and Caduceus wines along with their mead, cider and Puscifer sparkling wine. To see what I’ve tasted on several visits to Merkin Vineyards Old Town check out my Instagram feed.

Merkin Vineyards is located at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information and to see the menu check out  merkinoldtownscottsdale.com.

Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing the pizza party to you

Have you ever wanted to learn to make pizza from a pizza pro, now you and 24 friends can as the Oak Wood Fire Pizza is bringing its pizza party to you. Chef Tommy D’Ambrosio of Aioli Gourmet Burgers, Fresh Taste Meal Prep and other food concepts is bring you the hands on experience better than any food from a chaffing dish. He will teach how to toss the dough, adding sauces and toppings and cooking them in his mobile pizza oven.

“Everyone loves pizza! It’s so fun to see a smile on everyone’s faces when we fire up the wood oven and start making pizzas. Our customers have a blast learning to make their own pizzas – it’s a great experience for all ages and really makes any party extra special,” said D’Ambrosio.

Each class includes 2 hours of on-site pizza making training, all the equipment and ingredients. Depending on size of the group and custom menu Oak Wood Fire Pizza tries to keep the cost around $25 per person. Don’t want to make pizza just eat it, their food truck is available for corporate parties & private events. The food truck can accommodate any size event and the menu includes pizzas, salads, sides, bruschetta, charcuterie and more. For more information or to book a pizza party, check out their website.

Hot Dog Days starts Friday September 3rd at Joe’s Farm Grill

Labor Day weekend we un-offically say “good bye” to summer and “hello” to a month long of gourmet hot dogs and sausages at Gilbert’s Joe’s Farm Grill. From September 3rd til October 3rd celebrate the return of Hot Dog Days with six delicious specially created all-beef, natural cased premium hot dogs & sausages from Phoenix’s Schreiner’s Fine Sausages.

Each Hot Dog Days special come with a side of French fries or another side from the menu. Each hot dog is $12 or a combination of 2 for $18 and a special Peach Melba Shake to wash it down is only $5.50.

Hot Dogs Days gourmet dogs

The six hot dogs are….

Cheddar Coney Dog — A grilled hot dog smothered with mild homemade Michigan Coney sauce and yellow mustard then topped by a quarter-pound mountain of finely shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese; served with diced onions on the side.

Danger Dog — A jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with atomic horseradish, honey mustard, homemade sweet-hot pepper relish and a heap of finely shredded ghost pepper jack cheese; served with extra relish on the side.

Carolina Blue Dog — A grilled dog topped with a generous portion of Joe’s signature BBQ pulled pork, tangy blue cheese crumbles, and hand-cut sweet coleslaw then drizzled with Joe’s Real BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw dressing; served with extra Joe’s Real BBQ sauce on the side.

Sonoran Dog — A long-time Joe’s Farm Grill favorite, this (slightly) new and improved recipe features a jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with homemade Farm beans, queso de cotija, pico de gallo and finished yellow mustard and a sour cream-mayo drizzle; served with whole fried peppers on the side.

Big Fat Greek Dog — Schreiner’s smoked Greek-seasoned pork sausage topped with cucumber tzatziki sauce, drizzled with yellow mustard, and then piled high with Joe’s Greek fries (featuring garlic sauce, feta, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh herbs); served with extra sauce on the side.

Italian Sausage Dog — A fresh sweet Italian link baked into Joe’s fresh-made focaccia dough with pepperoni, marinara, and creamy brick and pecorino-Romano cheeses, then topped with sautéed onions and peppers; served with side of mild Giardiniera (*This hot dog requires a slow hand but is worth the wait! Please allow for slightly longer service time.).

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week launches mid-September

Two of the valley’s vegan advocates have come together to launch the first Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week September 12th- 18th. Chef & author Jason Wyrick and vegan taste maker and owner of Phoenix Vegan Jozh Watson launched the week long culinary event to bring more attention to plant- based restaurants, foods & cooking.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.”

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week
Simon’s Hot Dogs. Feature photo Maya’s Cajun Cuisine’s Po’ Boy

How Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week works?

The pair are encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and others to showcase their plant-based cooking and more. During the week participants will be offering a specially created menu with breakfast & lunch offering at $20 and a 3-course dinner menu at $30.

“We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

During the week diners can experience the growing Phoenix plant-based food scene visiting new establishments or returning to familiar ones. A a few of the participating eateries include: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.” For more information and to see additional participants head to their website.

Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar hires exec chef Matthew Kassman

Glendale native Matthew Glassman has been named to run the kitchen at downtown Scottsdale’s Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar. Glassman returns to the valley after graduating the Culinary Institute of America followed by stints at some of the best restaurants in Napa Valley and New York City.

“The culinary world is a small one and over the years I’ve heard so many great things about The Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar and especially the food. It’s a quaint place and the kind of place where I will really be able to develop something special,” said Kassman.

Second Story Restaurant and Liquor Bar

Kassman honed his old world cooking techniques with world class chef Thomas Keller at his Michelin starred restaurants Bouchon, Per Se and The French Laundry. He was working at the latter in 2020 when Covid hit and he came home to Arizona. At Second Story, Glassman plans to use regional ingredients and a modern touch to such dishes as Caesar salad, steak cooked over Binchotan charcoal with house cut steak fries and more. He’s a fan of bourbon and whiskey and looks forward to pairing them with his awe inspiring dishes and for special dinners.

Seccond Story is at 4166 N. Scottsdale Rd. above The Gelato Spot and is open Tues. Sun. at 4 p.m. – close. For more information and to see the full menu check out their website.