New menu and new look as a re-vamped Zuzu re-opens

Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu is back open after getting a new look and menu. Hotel guests and locals will notice the restaurant’s new mid-century modern look is in-line with the hotels 1950’s style. Designed by Mendil + Meyer Design Studio, new features include a Zuzu neon sign, 1950’s inspired wood screens and new lighting. The lounge and dining room has been combined for welcoming space and the hotel’s signature circle design is noticeable.

“We are beyond excited to re-introduce ZuZu, not only to our wonderful Scottsdale community, but also to the guests of Hotel Valley Ho,” said Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. “Our new menu is meant to surprise and delight, while still satisfying those classic cravings.”

look
Crispy Pork Shank. All photos courtesy of Kristin Heggli at Hotel Valley Ho

Look at the new menu

LaCasce’s new menu features smaller, shareable plates with a few guests’ favorite dishes remaining. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from the restaurant’s new 240 foot herb and vegetable garden. Zuzu continues to work with local farmers and purveyors including Pinnacle Farms, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage and Hickman’s Family Farms.

New signature dishes include Oxtail Pappardelle with foie gras & Parmesan and Crispy Pork Shank with sour apple molasses glaze, cucumber tarragon yogurt and pita. Two new monthly revolving dishes will be available….. Cut of the Moment will be a savory dish with a unique plating design and Farmer’s Plate will offer seasonal vegetables making for a great vegetarian meal. Those looking for a unique dining experience can let LaCasce Take the Wheel. For $75 per person chef will create a hand selected meal. Weekend brunchers will notice a few changes and brunch is now served all day during the week.

Zuzu Chocolate Bar

Save room for dessert as Zuzu’s famous Show Stopper Shake is still available along with new desserts. Le Cordon Bleu trained Pastry Chef Clarissa Robinson brings her chocolate expertise to new desserts Zuzu Chocolate Bar, a Donut Sundae and Buttermilk Pie. Adults can add their favorite spirit to dessert to spike it up.

Private dining, wine room and more

Speaking of spirits new cocktails have been added including the Zuzu Mango Tango along with a new wine room. The new “Vine Vault” house wines from around the world. “The Rosie Room” is a new hidden private dining room named for Rosalyn “Rosie” Bennett Lyon, the matriarch of the family that owns the hotel. Her grandchildren called Rosie “Zuzu” and the inspiration for the restaurant comes from her cooking and warm hospitality.

I’ll be visiting Zuzu next week to check out the new menu and more. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures.

Zuzu and Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen opens today in Scottsdale

There’s new restaurant opening today at the intersection of Tatum and Shea Blvd. Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is the the first restaurant by Ben Sinion, former General Manager of The Wrigley Mansion.

The fast casual concept will transport you to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and beyond with its classic and contemporary Caribbean and Latin dishes. A meat filled Cubano sandwich, Jerk Chicken, Mofongo( smashed plaintains, think guacamole) and vegan friendly dishes are among the authentic dishes. You can’t go the tropics without tropical cocktails or a cold beer, rum based sangria and more are available.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen
Cubano sandwich. Photos by Debby Wolvos

It’s a laid-back concept,” said Sinon. “Guests can grab-n-go, dine in and it’s perfect food for a party.”

Stop in during opening weekend a get a FREE plantain appetizer. Choose from the Tostones, Marquitas De Platanos or Maduros.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is at 4912 E. Shea Blvd. #108 Scottsdale 85254. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

 

1/2 off Signature Cuts at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

“Out with the old and in with the new” they say and Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is doing just that next week. Tuesday October 1st is not just the start of a new month but the day the restaurant at the Scottsdale Waterfront rolls out its new menu. Most sections of the menu will see new dishes including appetizers, salads, pastas, Signature Cuts (entrees) and dessert. To celebrate the new menu the evening of the 1st give guests the chance to order any of their signature “Cuts” for 1/2 off.

Reservations are highly recommended for dinner that starts at 6 p.m. on this special evening. Select bottles of wine will be 1/2 off during the night as well.

Pesto Pasta. Photo credit Riot Hospitality Group- Aaron Bowman

New dishes

  • Grass Fed Meatballs – Arizona grass fed beef meatballs baked in a red pepper tomato sauce with burrata cheese and served with garlic bread
  • Crab Cakes – Lump crab cakes, fresh herb cucumber salad finished with avocado lime vinaigrette
  • Baby Iceberg Wedge – Baby iceberg, Monforte blue cheese, Campari tomato, pickled shallots, crumbled bacon with a buttermilk basil dressing
  • Vegetable Chopped Salad – Chopped romaine, candied tomato, red pepper, crow’s dairy goat cheese, grilled artichokes and shaved cauliflower in a red wine vinaigrette
  • Beets and Brussels Sprout Salad – Roasted brussels sprouts, golden beets, parmesan cheese, shaved red cabbage, garlic dressing and herb croutons
  • Filet Sandwich – Spice rubbed filet served sliced with melted blue cheese, bacon jam and arugula pesto
  • Bone-in New York Steak –18 ounce Cedar River Farms bone-in, grilled with a side of signature Hand Cut steak sauce
  • Bison Loin – 8 ounce pasture raised bison loin, spice rubbed and served with hibiscus butter sauce
  • Seasonal White Fish – Served sautéed with lemon herb chardonnay sauce
  • Scallops and Mushroom Fettuccine – Roasted wild mushrooms, scallops and egg fettuccine in a white wine mascarpone sauce
  • Crab Mac and Cheese – Lump crab, parmesan cream, cavatappi pasta, chili breadcrumbs and fresh herbs
  • Meatball Mac and Cheese – Cavatappi pasta, red pepper cheese sauce, grass-fed meatballs and crispy basil
  • Fettuccine Genovese– Imported Genovese pesto, parmesan cheese, slow roasted tomato with egg fettuccine
  • Seasonal Cheesecake and Affogato

New cocktails too

Their award-winning cocktail menu will also be adding new cocktails that include two new dessert cocktails. New cocktails include….

  • Barrel Aged Manhattan – Bulleit Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and Angostura Bitters aged in French Oak.  Served up but can be served on the rocks upon request.
  • Scottsdale Sunset – Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, Simple Syrup, egg white, Angostura Bitters and topped off with a touch of Cabernet.
  • Kir Royale – Poema Cava Brut, blackberry syrup, vanilla Bean, Yucatan Honey Shrub
  • Cold Brew Martini – Fugu Horchata Vodka, Passport Cold Brew Coffee, in house cinnamon syrup and almond milk
  • Key Lime Martini – Smirnoff Vodka, Vanilla Giffard, pineapple syrup, condensed milk, fresh lime juice, finished with a graham cracker rim

Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. # 154 Scottsdale 85251. To make a reservation call 480-494-2008.

National Cheeseburger Day is Wednesday September 18th

Although National Cheeseburger Day is this Wednesday, where I live it can be everyday as I love a good cheeseburger.

A few restaurants around the valley are offering deals on the American favorite comfort food.

Twin Peaks is celebrating with a $6 cheeseburger and fries with the purchase of a beverage. Visit them at 2135 E Camelback Rd. in Phoenix, 8787 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale, and 6922 N. 95th Ave. in Glendale.

National Cheeseburger Day
Broadway burger at Miracle Mile Deli. Photo credit Joanie Simon

Miracle Mile Deli isn’t waiting til Wednesday as today thru the 22nd they are offering their Broadway Burger for $10. This burger is topped with aged Cheddar, crispy bacon, Green leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion and Miracle Mile dressing. Miracle Mile is at 4433 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016.

Dorian offers 2 sliders and a beer for $10. Get 3 three sliders and without the beer for $13. Dorian is located at 7419 E. Indian Plaza Drive, Scottsdale 85251.

Arcadia Tavern saves you a few dollars on their Tavern Burger for $10, normally $13.99. The tavern is located on the corner of 48th and Indian School in Phoenix.

Luci’s at the Orchard and Pomelo at the Orchard is giving you 10% off any burger On National Cheeseburger Day. Stop by 7100 N. 12th in Phoenix for your cheeseburger.

Luci’s at the Grove is also giving you 10% off all day on any burger at McCormick Parkway and Hayden Rd. in Scottsdale.

National Cheeseburger Day
Twin Peaks

Luci’s Healthy Marketplace at Bethany Home Rd and 16th St. is saving you 10% on all burgers all day long.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill’s 3 valley locations is serving up the Gastropub Burger. Filled with Gorgonzola infused burger with grilled sweet onion, maple pepper bacon, white cheddar, arugula and horseradish cream. Here are three Valley locations: 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 1041  in Tempe, 7014 E. Camelback Road, Suite 1423  in Scottsdale and 2212 E. Williams Field Road  in Gilbert.

What the cluck! Koi Poke now offers chicken for its bowls

Poke the trendy bowl with raw fish, rice and assorted healthy toppings is getting a makeover. At least at Koi Poke as they’re now offering chicken as a protein instead of fish at their 5 Phoenix area locations. Guests can add grilled white meat chicken in three portion sizes to their white or brown rice or spring mix base, Small (4 oz.) $9, Medium (6 oz.) $11 and Large (8 oz.) $13.

Fresh lobster, Yellowtail, shrimp, Hawaiian tuna and more fish toppings are always available.

After adding your protein you can top it with any or all of the toppings available. A few of the toppings include kale, Brussel sprouts, cucumber, jalapenos, cilantro and more. Looking to “sauce it up” you can add teriyaki or house made Sriracha aioli to your bowl and finally garnish it with crispy onions, garlic or other options.

Koi Poke has locations at……

DC Ranch 18221 N. Pima Rd., #100-105, Scottsdale 85255 480-209-1137

Arcadia 4280 E. Indian School Rd., #108, Phoenix 85018 602-368-2222

The SHOPS Gainey Village 8977 N. Scottsdale Rd., #500, Scottsdale 85253 480-306-8440

The Plant 4041 S. Gilbert Rd., #1, Chandler 85249 480-361-6533

Scottsdale Waterfront 7135 E. Camelback Rd., #175, Scottsdale 85251 480-454-4957

For more information check out their website.

Oyster Shucking and a prix-fixe menu at Modern Oysterbar Chophouse

Chances are you probably don’t get many opportunities to shuck oysters living in the desert. Modern Oysterbar Chophouse will show you oyster shucking along with a 5-course oyster dinner.

The week of August 4th – 10th the popular Scottsdale restaurant is celebrating National Oyster Day (Aug. 5th) with a prie-fixe menu for 2. The $80 per couple dinner will include oysters on the 1/2 shell topped with caviar to Oysters Rockefeller.

Modern Oysterbar Chophouse is at 10050 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85253

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

 

Roca Patron tequila private label available at Spotted Donkey Cantina

Guests dining at the Spotted Donkey Cantina have the opportunity to taste the world’s rarest tequila, Roca Patron. The Scottsdale restaurant is the only Arizona restaurant with its private label bottles and first in the country to pour what is considered by connoisseurs as an exquisite tequila.

“We are proud to be the privileged Arizona restaurant to offer Roca Patron,” said restaurant manager Ron Pacioni.  “We have more than 300 Roca Patron private label bottles in stock and we are excited to offer our guests something new, rare and exclusive as we constantly evolve our bar creations.”

The tequila can be served side by side with  three other Patron tequilas with the restaurants “Patron Flights”. The flights come served in tequila flutes and with tasting notes for $30.

What makes Roca Patron special

The process to produce Roca Patron is extensive. It begins with a unique “Roca” (meaning rock) called a “tohona” –a giant 2-ton stone that is hand-carved from volcanic rock.  The tohona slowly crushes the cooked agave to break the bonds of fiber and release the rich agave juice.  From here, the juice and the agave fiber are placed together into wooden formation vats for over 72 hours.  It is then distilled in small-capacity copper pot stills. Later the Reposado is rested in bourbon barrels for five months and the Anejo is aged in oak barrels for 14 months. Due to the long process, this tequila has limited bottle production.

Guests can enjoy the tequila with dinner. For a more intimate learning and tasting experience the restaurants private dining room is available to celebrate special occasions.

The Spotted Donkey is located at El Pedregal at The Boulders. 34505 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85262.

Desert Ridge Marketplace to get Arizona’s 4th Thirsty Lion Gastropub

Thirsty Lion Gastropub announced that it has chosen Desert Ridge Marketplace for it’s fourth Phoenix area location. The 6,500 square foot restaurant will open in the fall of 2019 on the southwest side of The District. This will be the tenth restaurant to occupy Desert Ridge Marketplace since it’s $22 million upgrade in 2017.

“Desert Ridge Marketplace continues to establish itself as the place to be in the North Valley, evidence of how we chose where to open the fourth Arizona location,” said John Plew, Owner of Thirsty Lion. “We know our bold flavors and creative cocktail program will resonate with the Desert Ridge community, and we look forward to showing them what Thirsty Lion offers.”

The restaurant will have a larger dining room and outdoor bar with a fire pit. The restaurant has locations at Scottsdale Fashion Square, Tempe Marketplace and Gilbert’s SanTan Village.

Once opened the restaurant will serve eclectic gastropub cuisine with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Meats, seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables are all part of the restaurants core menu. Craft beers are served on tap along with uniquely created cocktails and over 20 wines by the glass.

Phoenix based Vestar owns and manages the shopping and entertainment complex. “Thirsty Lion will create an energetic and elevated dining experience at Desert Ridge Marketplace,” said Jenny Cushing, vice president of leasing at Vestar. “With extensive culinary and beverage options, we know Thirsty Lion will truly provide something for everyone in the North Valley.”

The shopping center is on Tatum Blvd. just north of the Loop 101.

Dave Andrea opens 2nd Brat Haus in Uptown Phoenix

It took Brat Haus owner Dave Andrea a while to find the right location for the second location of his popular beer garden. The location came to be at 16th St. and Bethany Home Rd. in Uptown Phoenix and is now open. A slight departure from its popular Scottsdale restaurant as the Phoenix location will be “adult casual” with counter service.

“This second location is a chance for us to fully realize the original idea I had for Brat Haus, which was more geared toward the quick service model,” said Brat Haus owner, Dave Andrea. “The main goal, like what we’ve done in Scottsdale, is to foster a community of people from the neighborhood who are looking for a casual spot to enjoy specialty beers, delicious food and a fun atmosphere.”

The Phoenix restaurant will offer 100 seats, 52 inside and 48 outside on the dog friendly patio. The European styled menu offers imported beers and specialties including brats, pretzels, burgers and house made dips. Happy hour will be offered with $2 off glasses of wine and draft beers and the restaurants signature Giant Bavaria Pretzel for $10. Take out is also available.

“Uptown Phoenix is an eclectic neighborhood with an incredible mix of businesses and people,” said Andrea. “It’s growing rapidly and we’re excited to be a part of that. The timing is perfect for us to introduce our concept to the community.”

Brat Haus is open daily from 11 a.m. -10 p.m. and is at 6025 N. 16th St. Phoenix 85016 and 3622 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251.