Arizona Coyotes partners with Grand Canyon Brewing Co. for new beer

When the puck drops Saturday night at the Arizona Coyotes home opener fans will have a new beer to sip on at Gila River Arena. The team has partnered with Grand Canyon Brewing Company for Kachina Throwback Ale. The lighter styled beer is available in 12 oz. 6-pack cans at Albersons, Safeway and Total Wine for the upcoming hockey season. Restaurants serving it on tap include Brass Tap, the Ice Den and Angry Crab locations and at the brewery’s taphouse and restaurant in Williams.

“We are very excited to partner with Grand Canyon Brewing Company to introduce Kachina Throwback Ale to our fans this season,” said Coyotes President and CEO, Ahron Cohen. “Kachina Throwback Ale tastes great and we’re confident that our fans will love this beer as much as they love our Kachina jerseys.”

The beer is inspired by the team’s classic jersey of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Arizona Coyotes Foundation, the team’s non-profit benefiting first responders, veterans and children’s charities.

Grand Canyon Brewing Company is the craft beer partner of the Arizona Coyotes with the team choosing them for their brand’s reputation and perfect for hockey fans.

“Here at Grand Canyon Brewing Company, we have been over the moon about our partnership with the Arizona Coyotes since it began in the 2018-2019 season,” said Alexander Phillips, Director of Sales and Marketing at Grand Canyon Brewing Company. “Their organization embodies many of the same principles as our own, with a focus on community involvement, education and the appreciation of our beautiful copper state.”

 

Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl is back with more restaurants

Saturday August 10th is the return of the Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl and it’s bigger and better than last year. The self-guided crawl goes from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. and has 14 restaurants serving up food and drinks. $5 Event Ticket gets you $7 food and drink options at all restaurants, FREE parking & sunglasses.  Check-in on the southwest corner of 5th & Mill and your on your way.

Tickets are selling quickly and can be purchased here and more information can be found on the website.

The 14 participating restaurants in the Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl are……

  • Americana Burgers & Beer
  • Caffe Boa Bistro and Wine Bar
  • Daily Jam
  • Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
  • El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria
  • Morning Squeeze
  • Nékter Juice Bar
  • Original ChopShop Tempe
  • Pedal Haus Brewery
  • Pita Jungle
  • Rula Bula Irish Pub
  • Snakes & Lattes Tempe
  • Spinelli’s Pizza
  • Varsity Tavern

 

Mark your calendars for 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week

Hot off the heels of 2019 Spring Arizona Restaurant Week the Arizona Restaurant Association announces dates for Fall 2019. Foodies and foodies in training mark your calendars for Friday September 20th- 29th for 10 days of culinary discovery.

Arizona Restaurant Week showcases local restaurants creating special menus that offer 3 or 4 course prie-fixe menus. For $33 or $44 per person guests can visit restaurants  for dishes not served during the rest of the year. Wine pairing are extra.

“Consumer demand for restaurants in Arizona has been the highest it’s ever been and that’s why we see such support each year during both Spring and Fall Restaurant Week,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “We are proud to be leading the charge in an initiative that helps diners discover some of the best local, chef-driven restaurants as well as support some of the most well-known restaurants in the state.”

This is the 12th anniversary of the twice yearly event with the list of participating restaurants growing every year. Over 70 restaurants around Arizona are confirmed to participate in 2019 Fall Arizona Restaurant Week. To see the list of restaurants participating & menus go to https://arizonarestaurantweek.com/. Restaurants are being added weekly so check back for updates. Photo courtesy of David Blakeman

 

Summer Cocktail Camp tickets on sale for cocktail mixing classes

If all classes were like the six offered at Summer Cocktail Camp I would’ve been an “A” student. For six weeks campers will learn the art of cocktail mixing from local mixologists while making cocktails from new recipes. For one Saturday in June and 5 Sunday’s in July and August from 1 – 3 p.m. classes will be held at restaurants around Phoenix.

Tickets can be purchased online at https://summercocktailcamp.com/ and are sold on first come, first serve basis. Last years camp sold out in only a few days. Phoenix Magazine editor Craig Outhier will be camp counselor for each weeks class along with a revolving list of mixologists. Each class is $38 and 2019’s Summer Cocktail Camp will be at…

  • June 29th (Sat)- The Gladly
  • July 7th- Social Hall
  • July14th- Mowry & Cotton
  • July 28th- Clever Koi (Gilbert)
  • August 4th- The Phoenician Tavern
  • August 11th- Chico Malo

 

James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America” stops in Phoenix

Phoenix is on the map of the James Beard Foundation hot off the recent win by FnB’s Charleen Badman’s for “Best Chef: Southwest”. It’s also on the map for the foundations “Taste America” tour scheduled for September 19th- 21st. Phoenix is one of 20 cities chosen to host the event.

Tickets went on sale this week for the three day event for the cross country culinary experience.

Photos courtesy of Rose Moser Ally PR

Taste America events

The weekend kicks off on Thursday September 19th with the “Raising the Bar” walk around reception at Seventh and Union. Guests will meet rising star chefs and mixologists while sipping on cocktails and tasting culinary creations. Kyla Dahl of Pigtails Cocktail Bar, Henry Whittaker of Century Grand and Matt Steward of Undertow are a few of the mixologists pouring cocktails.

Dom Ruggiero of Hush Public House, Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood and Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper along with others will show off their culinary talents.

Friday night is the “Gala Benefit Dinner” at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa. The cocktail and tasting reception starts at 7 p.m. with tastes created by local chefs Stephen Jones of The Larder & Delta, Cat Bunnag of Glai Baan and others. Guests will then be treated to a three- course dinner menu created by visiting chef Tiffany Derry of Plano’s Roots Chicken Shack, local all-star Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar and host chef Alexander Robinson.

A dessert reception with Danielle O’Day of Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop and Hollie Layman-Sanders of The Royal Palms ends the night.

A silent and live auction will be held during the evening. A portion of the proceeds from dinner and auctions will go to the foundations scholarship programs.

The weekend concludes with the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Program, Owning It. The workshop will bring together 60 women who are in the idea or growth phase of a food related business. A few women will pitch local investors for funding for their project and all will learn how to advance in the culinary industry.

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Local eats in suburban New Jersey, NYC and Saratoga Springs

Like many of us living in Arizona, I too came from somewhere else. Across the river from New York City in suburban New Jersey I grew up on take-out pizza, diner food, and bagels. Despite many New York and New Jersey transplants opening restaurants serving food from our home state those foods just taste better back east. Whenever I head back for a visit I head for my favorite foods and I was back a couple of weeks ago.

Most people wouldn’t visit these family restaurants in suburban Bergen County unless you’re visiting family or friends in the area. But if you live there or happen to be traveling through the small towns that dot the metro area they’re easy to find.

Let’s eat

When you don’t know what you want or everybody wants something different a local diner is always a good call. So with family who flew into town we headed to to Matthews Colonial Diner in Waldwick. Wanting a char-broiled burger I opted to eat healthy knowing there would be plenty of food this week. The Beet & Goat Cheese Salad was a solid and out of the ordinary choice for me. My family knowing my eating habits gave me the “are you feeling ok” look when the word salad came out of my mouth.

Seems like Italian food reigned the week with 2 or 3 meals as we wound having pizza or pasta delivered. A favorite of my sister and her family is The Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus. Whether we walk over to dine-in or have it delivered it rarely disappoints. Ordering take-out I went pasta free ordering Chicken Scarpello with sausage, pepperoncini, mushrooms, garlic and a touch of garlic. So good I may have to head back sooner than later to get it again.

New Jersey
Chicken Scarpello from The Sicilian Sun

Wednesday lunch had a group of 20 family and friends at the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern for a 4 course lunch. Lots of history at this place that was constructed in 1796. The entree course had your typical, beef, chicken and fish option along with Bolognese Tagliatelle. I had the latter, I told you there was a lot of Italian food.

In the city

A trip to New Jersey isn’t complete without a visit to New York City. Thursday I caught a ride to lower Manhattan’s Financial District to play tourist and walk off the calories I consumed.

Getting into the city early I grabbed a a quick lox, egg & tomato bagel from the Park Place location of Lenwich, a local chain of sandwich shops I’ve never experienced before. Not my typical bagel and lox combination but it gave me the fuel I needed to pound the pavement.

Meeting a friend for lunch who had little time we opted for “street meat” from a food truck nearby. The city is know for it’s food trucks and carts offering a quick and reasonably priced lunch. We went for Mediterranean food and I opted for a falafel sandwich and my friend with a chicken and rice. Filling portions for only $5 each. The weather was one of the nicer days so we opted for a park bench to eat and chat.

New Jersey
NYC Falafel

Back on the Jersey side

Thursday dinner had us ordering in…… pizza from Anthony Franco’s Pizzeria. A visit to Jersey wouldn’t be a visit to Jersey without a couple of pizza pies. Sausage, onions, mushrooms and more topping our pies a few slices for now and few left for later.

In between rain drops on Friday I decided to give in to my burger craving at Red Cedar Market Season Kitchen for their RCM Mushroom and Swiss burger. This busy cafe made the best burger I’ve had in a while. Made to order and cooked to my preferred medium rare and drizzled with truffle oil and served with delicious fries.

New Jersey
RCM Mushroom & Swiss burger

Dinner had heading to the State Line Diner, a couple of miles south of the New York state border on Route 17. So much to choose from I didn’t know what I was going with until the words “Roat Beef & Swiss Cheese Triple Decker sandwich with a side of Steak Cut Onion Rings” came out. The rare roast beef was good but I wish I hadn’t ordered the onion rings as I compared them to a hometown favorite pile from the defunct Louie’s Charcoal Pit.

A quick trip upstate to Saratoga Springs

Saturday afternoon I drove up the New York Thruway to visit a friend I met in Arizona who re-located back home to upstate New York.

Once arriving I made my way to Broadway, the main drag in Saratoga Springs, waiting for my friend to get off work. The best weather of my visit had people out & about on this late Saturday afternoon and I found Druthers Brewery for a cold Raspberry Nut Brown Ale. It hit the spot before I strolled the downtown to Congress Park to taste the spring water known for in the area.

Meeting my friend at Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquors where she got off work but not before I tasted New York State made sangria and sparkling wine.

With other friends taking the train from Boston for an overnight visit the plan was for a festive Paella dinner. After wine, a generous portion of charcuterie and realizing it was late our Paella dinner was tabled until Sunday brunch. Made from scratch with each the chicken, shrimp and chorizo cooked separately we all watched and helped prepare as we sipped on our cups of Spot Coffee, an upstate coffee roaster.

New Jersey
The Cortile at Solevo

Dinner on Sunday night in Saratoga had us paying a visit to get this, a new Italian restaurant Solevo Kitchen & Social. For an appetizer we ordered the tasty Eggplant Chips drizzled with Calabrian Chili Honey and basil. My friends ordered the Sunday Sauce, rigatoni and meatballs in a San Marzano plum tomato sauce and Gnochhi with wild mushrooms, arugula, rosemary in a brown butter sauce.

After seeing several Items I’d already had that week I went with The Cortile, a mix of prosciutto, sweet peas, ground veal in a plum tomato & cream sauce with tagliatelle. Red wine and my Pinky Ring cocktail accompanied our meal and all were satisfied for our walk home.

Back to Jersey then back to Arizona

After a fun visit upstate I made my trip back down to New Jersey Monday morning. Deciding to raid my sisters cabinets and refrigerator for late lunch and early dinner I opted not to order….Italian food for dinner. Despite my best efforts to taste my niece and nephews Chicken Parmigna their like me very protective of their food. Early Tuesday I was on a plane back to my current home, Scottsdale.

More New Jersey and New York eats on my next visit east. See my Instagram for pictures of my visit @SandyWass

 

Save the date: Arizona Restaurant Week is 2 months away

It’s hard to believe we’re closer to the end of our busy season here in Phoenix than the beginning. In the next month spring training fans and winter visitors will head home to wait out the hot Arizona spring and summer. Restaurants will cut back their hours of operation and food festivals will go on hiatus for a few months. Don’t worry foodies we still have 10 days in May of Arizona Restaurant Week to look forward to. Save the date of Friday May 17th – Sunday May 26th and make your reservations soon.

save the date
Oysters at Buck & Rider

Arizona Restaurant Week is when many local restaurants entice new and returning customers with unique 3 course prix-fixe tasting menus for $33 or $44. It’s a great reason to visit a new restaurant or favorite one.

“Arizona Restaurant Week has become one of the most popular dining events in the state,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO, Steve Chucri. “We are proud to have a hand in sharing our state’s culinary chops with residents and visitors alike, and give our local restaurants a platform to showcase their amazing talents through a fun and creative outlet.”

Many Phoenix restaurants participate as well as restaurants from around the state including Tucson and Flagstaff. Restaurants are being added daily to the list as are their menus being submitted. Here is a short list of a restaurants participating.

Prado

Elements

Hearth 61

Mother Bunch Brewing Co.

Roaring Fork

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

The Melting Pot

Four Peaks Brewing Company

Dorian

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

The Canal Club

Buck & Rider

Save the date
Dessert at Dorian

If you’re a long-range planner save the date of September 20th – 29th 2019 as Fall Arizona Restaurant Week has been announced.

To keep up to date of restaurants and their menus visit http://arizonarestaurantweek.com/

Opinion: Pump down the volume, why are restaurants so loud?

I consider myself as a blogger a messenger of information about the local restaurant and food community. Posts on food festivals, restaurants opening, wine tastings and on rare occasion my opinion may get in the way based on an experience(s).

Was it Gene Simmons or David Lee Roth who said “if it’s too loud, you’re too old”. I remember me and my sister telling that to our parents as teenagers as we cranked up the radio listening to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin around the house and in the car. Now it’s me that’s too old as I can’t understand why restaurants need to crank it up with DJs or loud music during our dining experience. Loud music is one of  a few pet peeves I have about the restaurant industry.

Recently I visited an establishment for brunch hoping to enjoy several dishes, cocktails and a visit with friends. Instead we were one and done as it was simply to loud to hold a conversation. On weekends it’s the norm in old town Scottsdale and other parts of the valley to wake up to loud music with your eggs bendict and Bloody Mary, but why?

It’s not just brunch you need to bring ear plugs to as were seeing more restaurants turning the volume up during lunch and dinner.

Loud music in restaurants isn’t new.

This trend isn’t new as this Bon Appetit article from 2010 suggests. I guess to a certain demographic loud music says a restaurant is “lively and successful”, to me it means ” you’re not getting my business at this time”. Many articles have been written since then and not just in restaurant related magazines and websites.

This Vox article mentions how the loud decibel level can be a health threat and this 2015 Bloomberg article calls out chef’s and restaurateurs to turn the volume down.

Acoustic technology and a restaurants design have effected the decibel level but the volume dial can cure that on a daily basis.

Good thing the Phoenix area has a diverse community of restaurants so I’ll patronize those offering good food, service and dialed down noise level.

What do you think about restaurant noise levels? Drop me an email or comment about what your restaurant pet peeves are and I may address it.

Picture credit: Seattle Times

Scottsdale restaurants gear up for Russo & Steele auto auction

2019 starts relatively quick here in Scottsdale with many of our valley’s activities kicking off. Before the PGA and MLB take the stage car enthusiasts flock to Scottsdale for 2 weeks in January. Russo & Steele start the auction season off on January 12th at Salt River Fields then Barrett- Jackson returns to north Scottsdale.

Whether you’re on your way to the auction or just bid on your dream car you need to eat and there are plenty of local restaurants on the way.

All photos courtesy of Kassidy McDonald & Evolve Public Relations

Local eateries near Russo & Steele

Within a few miles there are plenty of Scottsdale restaurants to feed all appetites.

Babbo Italian Eatery– 8840 E. Talking Stick Way. Scottsdale, AZ 85250

Fired Pie at Mountain View 9619 N. Hayden Rd. #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85258 Ph. 480.948.0808

Pomo Pizzeria Scottsdale8977 N. Scottsdale Rd.

Fired Pie at Fashion Square Mall. 7014 E. Camelback Rd,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Ph 480.874.4203

Hash Kitchen– 8777 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253.

U.S. Egg- North Scottsdale- 7119 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale 85253

Headed to Barrett-Jackson

Some of the same restaurants have location further north and can accommodate those heading to Barrett-Jackson at Westworld.

Grimaldi’s at The Scottsdale Quarter.- 15147 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale. 85254

Twin Peaks– 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. Scottsdale 85260

BLK Live– 7301 E. Butherus Dr. Scottsdale 85260

Fired Pie at Raintree- 14740 N. Northsight Blvd. Scottsdale 85260.

Fired Pie at Zocollo Plaza– 15425 N. Scottsdale Rd. 85254.

 

 

 

 

Mora Italian ends 2018 with 4 course menu on New Year’s Eve

As Phoenix restaurants fill up with New Year’s Eve reservations diners decide where to dine for a final meal of 2018. Mora Italian offers a 4 course prie fixe menu starting at 4 p.m. The Italian influenced menu offers guests a wide range of flavors from Chef Scott Conant and his culinary team. This will be the only dining option at Mora on NYE.

The modern Italian menu is as follows….

First (choice of)

Radicchio & Endives- blood orange, pignoli, black olives

Porcini & Artichoke Soup- fontina crema, truffle focaccia

Seacat Gardens Little Gem- black truffle & parmesan dressing, anchovy crumble

Second (choice of)

Pasta Pomodoro

Foie Gras Gnudi- masala reduction, crispy duck

Rigatoni Nero- king crab, squid bolognese, bottarga breadcrumbs

Third (choice of)

Beef Shortrib Daube- chestnut zuppa, celery root, parmesan

Roasted Turbot- hazelnuts, capers, tomato, brown butter

Pumpkin Parmesan- black truffle fonduta, frisée, pickled fennel

Dolce (choice of)

Budino- white chocolate, peppermint

Chocolate Torte- pickled blackberry compote, mascarpone gelato

Blackberry Sorbet- saba, basil Genovese

The multi course dinner is $65 per person with an optional wine pairing for an additional $25.

For more information and to make a reservation please got to their website.

Mora Italian is at 5651 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014 (602)795-9943