FRANCINE from restaurateur Laurent Halasz to open in April

Every few weeks it seems another restaurant is opening at the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Come late April we’ll have a new restaurant from Fig & Olive and Farmhouse owner Laurent Halasz. FRANCINE will join Nobu, Toca Madera and other restaurants that have opened in recent months. This will be Halasz’s most passionate project serving cuisine from the south of France where he grew up. Halasz also owns several locations of FIG & Olive and L.A.’s Farmhouse.Francine

“Everything on my mother’s table was fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor, and that is exactly what FRANCINE will offer our guests,” says Halasz. “We are so excited to bring our new take on classic French Mediterranean and open FRANCINE this April in Scottsdale.”

The fine dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with guests gathering in the plant filled restaurant of 5,000 square feet. In his youth Halasz’s mother would host meals around beautiful foods and draws inspiration and pays homage to those days with friends and family.Francine

Signature dishes to be on the menu include Zucchini Terrine, Grilled Octopus, Salmon Carpaccio and Seared Duck a la Provencal. A less formal lunch will serve a selection of pizza, salads and shareable dishes.

Check back for updates about the opening or head to their website.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards and Huss Brewing dinners coming to Quiessence

February is quick upon and social calendars are filling up. Quiessence at The Farm is hosting two special dinners’ pairings its seasonally grown vegetables, herbs and edible flowers with food friendly wine and beer. Chef’s Dustin Christofolo’s Tasting Menus pairs with wines from Robert Sinskey Vineyards followed a week later with beer from Huss Brewing Co. Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Robert Sinskey Vineyards dinner

Thursday January 30th at 6:00 p.m. the Napa Valley winery food driven wines will compliment Chef’s menu with much coming from the farms own Seed to Soil Garden. The five course meal is $95 per person plus tax & 20% gratuity.

First Course paired with 2016 Abraxas

Cauliflower Soup- Poached Scallops, Braised Greens, Currants

Second Course enjoyed with 2016 Vin Gris

Arizona Aged Beef Carpaccio -Bread Spoon, Parmesan Aioli, Pickled Shallots, Tempura Herbs

Third Course pairs 2014 Pinot Noir

Tortelli di Zucca- Rabbit Confit, Crushed Hazelnuts, Borage Flowers

Fourth Course paired with POV

Guinea Hen Roulade- Wrapped In Tessa, Crimson Lentils, Wild Mushrooms,  Grilled Daikon Radish, Red Pepper Jam, Fried Sage

Fifth Course paired with Pinot Gris Late Harvest  

“The Farm At South Mountain” Preserved Apple Pie- Vanilla Ice Cream, Lavender Honey Drizzle

Huss Brewing Co. beer pairing dinner

Huss Brewing’s Brewmaster Jeff Huss will join guests for this dinner on Thursday February 6th at 6:00 p.m. Starting on the patio with a beer cocktail and passed appetizers. The Arizona Beer Week celebration moves to the solarium for dinner. Limited seating is available for $85 per person plus tax & 20% gratuity.

1st Course Paired with Scottsdale Blonde

Wild Shrimp And Carrot Risotto- Roasted Carrots, Tomato Vinaigrette, Parsnip Chips, Chervil

2nd Course paired with Koffee Kolsch

Smoked Diver Sea Scallops Dusted With Espresso- Sunchoke Puree, Fingerling Potato Chips, Tempura Button Mushrooms, Koffee Kolsch Gastrique

3rd Course paired with Papago Desert Sage

Two Wash Ranch Chicken Fried Cornish Hen- Herb Aioli, Sous Vide Turnips, Preserved Farm Buddha Hand Citrus, Kale

4th Course paired With Copper State IPA

Artisanal Cheese Board- Nuts And Savory Jams Served With Grilled Noble Bread And Lavosh Crackers

Seats are limited for both dinners and can be reserved by calling (602)276-0601 or going to the Open Table links for the Sinskey dinner and for the dinner with Jeff Huss. Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd St. Phoenix 85042.

 

The Arizona Native Edible Experience is coming to Scottsdale

Arizona’s Native American tribes will be showcasing foods and culture at the Arizona Native Edible Experience. The cocktail style tasting on Saturday February 8th will be at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West from 6-8 p.m. The annual event is hosted by the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association (AAITA)and will feature native art and a silent auction in addition to food tastings.

“This event gives us an opportunity to showcase the dynamic Native communities and multitude of tribes thriving here in Scottsdale today and also allows us to educate the residents and visitors of Scottsdale about these tribes and their important role in the City’s rich heritage,” said Geri Hongeva, President of the AAITA. “We are proud to represent such a vibrant group of peoples and share their stories that have shaped the past.

Arizona Native edible experience
Photos by Haile Sutton
Native chef tasting stations will offer traditional foods as well as modern tastes and cocktails. Featured chefs and guests include San Carlos Apache forager & Ancestral Food Archivist Twila Cassadore, Brian Yazzie aka “Yazzie the Chef”, Renetto – Mario Etsitty and Andrew Humeyumptewa.
The Experience is part of Scottsdale’s Western Week and the Arizona American Indian Festival 2020 being held over the weekend. Tickets for the Arizona Native Edible Experience are $25 and can be purchased at http://www.arizonanativeexperience.com. The Museum of the West is at 3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale 85251.

Villa Pozzi & Grimaldi’s partner for new winter menu

Tis the season for wine and food and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has collaborated with Villa Pozzi for its new winter menu. The seasonal menu, Pizza & Pozzi is available until March 2nd, 2020 and features wines, pizza, cheesecake and more.

“Winter is a great time to introduce warm, rich ingredients and flavors to our menu,” says Grimaldi’s Executive Chef, Cory Lattuca. “Through my collaboration with Daniele Pozzi, founder and winemaker for Villa Pozzi, we crafted sausage and Villa Pozzi Nero d’ Avola braised red wine onion pizza, evoking the comforting feelings we share during the holiday season.”

Villa Pozzi
All photos courtesy of Hannah Johnston of Evolve Marketing

The Sicilian winery was originally built in 1860 and has been owned by the Pozzi family for 5 generations. A new modern winery was completed in 2000. All grapes are hand harvested and picked in the evening or early morning during cooler temperatures. The winery makes 6 varietals of food friendly wines.

The Pizza & Pozzi menu includes the Winter Harvest Salad with roasted Brussel sprouts over a bed of Arugula, Sausage & Wine Braised Onion Pizza, a Resse’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake and Eggnog Cheesecake.

Nero d’ Avola and Pinot Grigio are the featured wines along with Winter Citrus Sangria and a Holiday Cranberry Mule.

To find a Grimaldi’s Pizzeria near you visit https://www.grimaldispizzeria.com/.

Mediterranean diet favorite dishes return to Pita Jungle

For the last 25 years Pita Jungle has been serving up healthy Mediterranean diet inspired dishes. Many customers have their favorite’s over the years but they tend to come and go with seasons. As part of their Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu they’ve brought back many fan favorites from the past.

All 23 locations throughout Arizona are serving dishes with a balance of Mediterranean diet and global cuisine. The menu is popular with all dietary needs including keto, paleo, vegan and gluten-free. The seasonal menu will be available thru the rest of the year. Dishes include……

  • Cauliflower Hummus (V) – cauliflower, tahini, garlic, evoo, lemon juice, cucumbers, pita (gluten free with blue corn chips).
  • All Veggie Pita Pocket – avocado, baby greens, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, sprouts, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, in a pita pocket, severed with tahini (vegan with no tabbouleh, gluten-free with gluten-free pita upcharge).
  • Bone Broth Ramen with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – beef bone broth, with miso, kimchi, red onion, gluten-free soy sauce, garlic and ginger, shirataki noodles, spinach, green onions.
  • Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles (GF) – stir-fried fresh vegetables and kimchi, shirataki noodles, spicy ginger sauce, beef bone broth, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, pea sprouts (vegan with no kimchi and no beef broth).

    Mediterranean
    Ginger Stir Fry with Shirataki Noodles
  • Wood-Fired Medchilada (GF) – savory garlic-cilantro chicken in a beef bone broth enchilada sauce, cheddar and feta, turmeric cauliflower rice, cabbage-kale super greens, fresh jalapenos, radish, pico de gallo, pine nuts, gluten-free pita.
  • Chicken Avocado Pita Tostada with Cauliflower Hummus – grilled and chopped marinated all-natural chicken breast, avocado, cilantro-avocado crema, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled red onions, bell peppers, cauliflower hummus, feta, pine nuts, baby arugula, pea sprouts, chipotle vinaigrette, pita tostada or low-carb pita or gluten-free pita (vegetarian option without chicken.
  • Mediterranean Tuna Pita Pocket – albacore tuna, avocado, seasonal mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, tabbouleh, lemon vinaigrette, pea sprouts, in a pita pocket.
  • Baklawa Bread Pudding sweetened with stevia and agave syrup.

To find a Pita Jungle near you head to their website.

Laura’s Gourmet Granola celebrates 15 years with continued growth

You’ve probably had Laura’s Gourmet Granola if you’ve been to OverEasy, Scramble or Fox Restaurant Concepts locations. They’re just a few local restaurants who serve the popular healthy mix of nuts, oats, fruits and other ingredients. As the company celebrates its 15th anniversary it expands to accommodate the growing demand. The new west Phoenix location is triple the size of its original production facility.

“Our sole focus always has been to make unparalleled, classic granola using only all natural ingredients and prove that healthy and delicious can coexist in every artisan crafted, gluten-free bite,” says Laura Briscoe, founder and executive chef of Laura’s Gourmet Granola.

The growth is not only due to local restaurants using her granola but consumers supporting it in Arizona markets including AJ’s, Tempe Public Market, Whole Foods and others. Until recently Laura’s Gourmet Granola was only found in Arizona specialty retailers, now it’s available in Texas, Chicago and Wisconsin. In 2012 Laura’s started working with hotels, restaurants and healthcare organizations around the country.

Started in 2004 with the classic Vanilla Almond Crunch, there now six flavors including AppleLicious Crunch and the newest, Sinful Cinnamon Crunch. The seasonal Pumpkin Pecan is available through the end of the year. “We are committed to creating granola flavors that will delight the palate without compromising one’s health or sending one to the dictionary to understand our ingredients. We have done this for 15 years with seven flavors and look forward to more.” says Briscoe.

The granola is low in sugar, has healthy fats and proteins with nut free, vegan, dairy free and gluten free options.

To find Laura’s Gourmet Granola near you visit her website.

 

Castle Hot Springs re-opens with Harvest, serving crop driven cuisine

Arizona’s first luxury resort, Castle Hot Springs has re-opened for its first full season. Originally opened in 1896, the 210 acre property will be opened from October til late June offering guests the opportunity to detach from the digital world while rejuvenating and healing in the resorts 120 degrees thermal hot springs. Hiking, horseback riding, foraging and star gazing are a few of the many activities guests can enjoy at the iconic resort and its surrounding desert and mountains.

Harvest, Castle Hot Springs signature restaurant

Castle Hot Springs is home to Harvest, the signature restaurant and farm offering crop driven cuisine. Executive chef Christopher Brugman’s menu rotates daily based on what’s available at the resorts one acre farm. The farm and greenhouse are overseen by resident agronomist Ian Berger. He oversees over 150 fruits and vegetables native to the desert along with the properties groves that are home to 36 types of citrus trees. Included in the farm are over 35 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

Working together Brugman and Berger choose ripe fruit and vegetables for each days menu. What they don’t grow they  get from local vendors to fill in the gaps. Harvest also adheres to zero waste and sustainable guidelines. Guests can participate in daily foraging and learn about “flavor farming” that covers the sweet and savory tastes through a foods color. Dishes such as Coconut Carrot Bisque and Tandoori Octopus Grilled over Juniper Wood have been on the menu. The culinary team also has an in-house pickling program and creates concoctions such as Brugman’s Onion Ash.

Food & Beverage Manager and Sommelier Thomas Burris has created a beverage program to complement Brugman’s cuisine. Signature cocktails such as the Trade Secret and Lady & The Tramp also use ingredients sourced from the property. Trade Secret is made with rosemary infused vodka, Elderflower and pink grapefruit. The savory Lady & The Tramp combine Pecorino Romano infused vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and fresh basil leaves. Castle Springs Lithium Lager is made exclusively for Harvest and uses natural elements of the resorts hot springs.

The resort is at 5050 E. Castle Hot Springs Rd. Castle Hot Springs AZ. 85342. For more information and to make a reservation head to their website.

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.

Hatch Chiles are here and AZ Food Crafters is preparing meals with them

With the arrival of Fall and people on the go AZ Food Crafters offers prepared meals that are fresh and delicious. With the availability of Hatch Chiles the Chandler based food kitchen is offering Green Chile Pork Stew with other meals coming soon. The seasonal pork stew is made with pork shoulder, onions, green Hatch Chiles and homemade green chile sauce. A 16 oz. container is $7.

Other meals soon to be available include…..

New Mexico Red Chile Pork aka Pork Adovada — Slow cooked pork shoulder in New Mexico red chile mixed with seasonings and love. $16 for a 24-ounce container

Red Chile Beef Hand Pies — Red chile-braised grass fed beef in a savory homemade crust. Frozen three-pack, $12

Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese — Available beginning Friday, September 13, this dish features squash cheese sauce, roasted squash and sage. $10 for a 20-ounce

Shepherds’ Pie Entree – Gluten-free beef, onion, carrot, celery, butternut squash, and sage in butter sauce, topped with mashed gold potatoes. $14 for a 24-ounce container

Chicken Pot Pie – Enjoy chicken pot pie in a variety of ways! The hand pies offer a hand-held version of this comfort food favorite (frozen three-pack, $12) or enjoy a single serving pie-tin with homemade crust topping for $8.

Prepared meals are available until the end of October in limited quantities at their Chandler store or at farmers markets below.

Roadrunner Park Farmers’ Market 3502 E. Cactus Rd., Phoenix. Saturday’s from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. through September; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. beginning October.

Gilbert Farmers’ Market 222 N. Ash St., Gilbert. Saturday’s from 7:00 a.m.-11a.m. through September; 8:00 a.m.-noon beginning October.

Ahwatukee Farmers’ Market 4700 E. Warner Rd., Phoenix.  Sunday’s from 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. through September; 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. beginning October.

AZ Food Crafters 961 W. Ray Rd., #1, Chandler 85225. You can pre-order by calling 480-264-2532. Pick up hours are Tuesday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-3:00p.m.

 

 

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.