The return of Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week in September

As plant-based diets get more popular diners are looking for more restaurants and food options when dining out. The return of Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week, September 11th-18th, people can get a chance to dine on special plant based meals at full service restaurants, food trucks, bakeries, meal delivery services and more.

Founders Jozh Watson (PHX Vegan) and Chef Jason Wyrick (The Vegan Taste) want to continue to bring awareness to plant-based diets get more popular diners are looking for more restaurants and food options to dine out at. “According to Watson, “Last year, Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week was so well received by the community. Every eatery that participated reported a significant increase in traffic during the event. This year promises to be even bigger and better.”

During the week-long event diners will be treated to plant based meals during breakfast, lunch and dinner at participating restaurants not normally found on their menu. Breakfast will be capped at $15, lunch will offer an appetizer, entree and drink for $20 and a three course dinner for no more than $30 with a 5 course meal no more than $44. Reservations are now being taken for the week at restaurants including Salvadoreno Restaurant (Phoenix and Mesa), Dilla Libre (Phoenix and Scottsdale), Early Bird Vegan, Freak Brothers Pizza and others.

A list of restaurants and menus can be found at their updated website as the list continues to grow. Non-vegan restaurants are encouraged to participate to showcase their plant based options. Menus are available for both dine-in and take-out. According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are realizing they need to appeal to a variety of food preferences. Veganism is a lifestyle choice that is here to stay, and we’re proud to show off the amazing culinary mark Phoenix is making.” Photo credit Debby Wolvos

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.

Chef Angelo Sosa to open Tía Carmen at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort

Early April will see the debut of Tía Carmen, a contemporary Southwestern cuisine restaurant from Bravo’s “Top Chef” and HBO Max’s “Selena + Chef” Angelo Sosa. He and seasoned restaurateur Mark Stone’s new signature restaurant at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort is named the after Sosa’s aunt. Chef Sosa learned alongside chefs Jean-George Vongerichten, Alain Ducasse, Stephen Starr and Masaharu Morimoto before opening his Michelin recommended Añejo Restaurant, a Mexican hotspot in New York City.

“Throughout my life, my Tía Carmen instilled in me a passion and love for cooking, teaching me the impact and the power that food can have when made from a place of pure love,” said Chef Sosa. “The discovery of traveling through the Southwest gave me the opportunity to explore the region through the lens of ranchers, potters, farmers, and artisans. I have always had a deep fascination and appreciation for Southwestern food traditions. It has been an honor and privilege to be able to contribute to this beautiful and rich culinary narrative.”

The menu from Chef Angelo Sosa

Serving dinner, Tía Carmen’s dishes will be made with regional ingredients from local purveyors prepared in a wood-fired grill. The menu will be written in three sections, light + fresh, maize + harina, and charcoal + wood + fire. Chef Angelo Rosa’s signature dishes will include Tuna Crudo with chilled corn coconut broth accented with jicama and garnished with dill; Southwestern style tri-tip kebabs garnished with Thai Basil, cilantro, pickles, and serrano chilis; Lamb Ragu with mesquite noodles; and Tía Carmen’s Chicken Guisado, a stew made with succulent pieces of thigh meat and seasoned with a mélange of cumin, annatto, arbol, and oregano.

Mitchel O. Bushell is creating a cocktail program emphasizing local herbs & spices, distilleries and ingredients for house made syrups and juices. Many of the cocktails will be prepared with artisanal agave spirits. The wine program is being curated by former Morimoto Restaurant Group’s Eduardo Dingler. Emphasis will be on wines from Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe and other west coast wineries and emerging wineries in Europe.

The 130 seat restaurant is designed by Thomas Schoos and his L.A. based hospitality design firm Schoos Design. The “Earth meets Art” theme offers a clean and warm ambiance with natural forms from the local landscape. Plateware and the Southwestern tablescape from Phoenix’s Blue Door Ceramics was made exclusively for Tía Carmen. For more information and to stay up to date about the opening follow @TiaCarmen.Phx on Instagram.

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.

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.

Merkin wines and gelato pairing at GenuWine Arizona

The Roosevelt Row wine shop is giving you 2 chances to taste Arizona’s Merkin Vineyards wines with Merkin’s homemade gelatos. Next Tues Aug. 17th or Thurs. the 19th pair 3 wines with 3 gelatos for dine-in or take-out. To place an order or save a seat head to their website.

Free Mimosa for early diners at Z’ Tejas

Did you know the Southwestern restaurant serves brunch?? Daily starting a 9 a.m. in Scottsdale and on weekends in Chandler starting at 9 a.m. Join them at either location between 9 -10 a.m. and get a free Mimosa with the order of any entree.

Catch a flight at Renata’s Hearth

The Arizona Biltmore’s signature restaurant is offering several new flights of Mezcal & Tequila, Cocktails and a Vermouth flight. Each flight consists of 4 samples starting from $33 -$275 depending on the uniqueness and the limited availability of each spirit. For more information visit their website.

Napa’s Duckhorn Vineyards wine pairing dinner at Tommy V’s

Join Zoran at his downtown Scottsdale restaurant for an evening of wine & food on Thursday Aug. 26th. The 5 course dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and pairs white and red wines from the popular winery with seafood, lamb and vegetable dishes. The dinner is $100++ per person and to see the menu and make your reservation visit their website.

National Sandwich Month continues with weekly specials at Miracle Mile Deli

You still have 2 weeks to enjoy a favorite deli sandwich and save a few $$s in August. The central Phoenix deli is offering its Pastrami & Corned Beef Combo for $11 from Mon. Aug. 16th -21st. From Mon. Aug. 23rd – 28th get The Straw also for only $11. Each sandwich comes with a side and pickle spear and is available for dine-in or take-out.

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.

Carcara Restaurant to offer Native American & Sonoran inspired cuisine

Finishing touches are being put on the yearlong renovation at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown and will culminate with the opening of its new signature restaurant in September, Carcara. Executive Chef Chaz Frankefield has been tapped to oversee the new restaurant that will offer locally sourced ingredients for its Southwestern inspired menu.

The 7,000 square foot restaurant includes a 2,000 square foot patio that will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and hand crafted cocktails. Chef Frankenfield’s menu will include dishes such as prosciutto wrapped seared sea scallops served alongside Ramona Farms red corn polenta, wilted spinach and tangerine cranberry sauce or beef ribeye with roasted fingerling potatoes, jalapeno cilantro chimichurri, shaved garlic and lemon broccoli.

“We are thrilled to introduce Carcara not only to our local Phoenix community, but also to travelers and guests of Sheraton Phoenix Downtown,” said Frankenfield. “From the modern design incorporating lush greenery and warm earth tones to the Sonoran and Southwestern-inspired menu using locally sourced ingredients, Carcara evokes the heritage and history of the local Phoenix community and welcomes all to immerse themselves in the destination.”

New York based Celano Design Studio designed Carcara with the regions agricultural history including cotton fields and citrus groves as inspiration. A 14-foot tall Chestnut Oak tree grows in the heart of the dining room and offers a 21 foot canopy. Other feature include a fireplace, two fire pits with Cara Cara orange trees lining the patio and three private dining rooms.

To make a reservation at Carcara Restaurant call 602-262-2500.

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.

Cider Corps’ Mango Foxtrot now stocked at Sprouts Farmer’s Market

The Mesa cidery has its first cider in the locally owned market at more than half the locations from Flagstaff to Tucson. The 4-pack cans will be added to even more locations throughout the summer. The award-winning Mango Foxtrot is one of Cider Corps more popular ciders.

Win free pizza for a year from Fired Pie & Truly Hard Seltzers

For the next 6 weeks customers 21 and over can enter to win a free pizza (1 a month) for a year. Each week a winner will be selected on the fast casual pizza concepts social media platforms. You can follow them @FiredPie to see the winners.

Z’ Tejas new Scottsdale location to open July 21st

After several postponements the Southwestern grill restaurant will open its newest location at Mercado de Lago in Scottsdale on July 21st. The renovated restaurant is on the lake, just off the Indian Bend Greenbelt making accessible to bikers and neighbors in McCormick Ranch. In addition to lunch and dinner, breakfast will beserved from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. during the week and until 2 p.m. on weekends.

Barro’s Pizza opens 2 new locations

The locally & family owned pizza restaurants have opened its 2 newest locations in Buckeye (Verrado) and Apache Junction this month. “We get a lot of requests from customers all over the Valley to open locations in their neighborhood,” said Mike Barro, co-owner of Barro’s Pizza. “Verrado is an area we’ve had our eye on for quite some time now. We are honored and excited to be able to serve customers in this neighborhood.”

Kids eat free every Tuesday at Chompie’s

Every Tuesday at all 4 locations kids under 10 get a free meal off the kid’s menu with the purchase of an entree. Kid’s meals are available during breakfast, lunch & dinner.

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.

Renata’s Hearth to open at the Arizona Biltmore this week

A couple of weeks after re-opening with a new look, the Arizona Biltmore Resort debuts its new restaurant, Renata’s Hearth on Tuesday. The Central & South American inspired restaurant will tempt you palate with its smoky aromas of chiles, meats and more. The restaurant joins the newly opened outdoor Inspire Bar.

Chef Jose Figueroa Ortega’s menu pays homage to his Hispanic heritage with its meat and seafood dishes. Ortega’s taste for southwest flavors started at a young age while cooking at home with his family. He built on what he learned at home by attending the Arizona Culinary Institute to hone his skills before working at Cafe Monarch & Tarbell’s. His photo worthy dishes include Grilled Branzino, Renata’s Pozole Blanco and Mole Negro Rubbed Smoke Wagyu Brisket.

Signature cocktails will include the Burnt Paloma and White Sangria and the Los Muertos and Smoked Pineapple. Two signature carts will roam the restaurant including a fresh guacamole & Spanish tapas cart and the Mezcal Mavens will have their craft cocktail cart. Inspire Bar pays tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright whose influences are found throughout the resort that dates back to 1929.

Moroccan lanterns strung from trees along with tiles and aged leather will set the mood. “We believe that Renata’s Hearth will be unlike any other restaurant that exists in the current Arizona culinary scene,” said Cornelius Cover, general manager at Renata’s Hearth. “The alchemy of authentic flavors and the essence of smoke mesh in a sophisticated atmosphere perfect for nights out and special occasions.”

For more information and to make a reservation visit their website.

 

A new culinary team takes over when Ghost Ranch re-opens.

When the popular south Tempe restaurant re-opens in mid-January guests will see new faces in the front and back of the house. Executive Chef David Mora, Sous Chef Tyler Moonsoo and Pastry Chef Lisa Graf are new culinary team and General Manager Ashleh Robles runs the front of the house.

Mora will run the kitchen was born in Colombia and raised in Florida where learned to love the diversity of food. He started his restaurant career in Miami before making his way to Arizona. He’s worked at Flagstaff’s Copa Cafe, Mariposa in Sedona and was sous chef at Palo Verde and chef de Cuisine at The Spotted Donkey at The Boulders in Carefree. “I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the complexity of southwest cuisine and I am thrilled to bring what I’ve learned to Ghost Ranch,” Mora said. “I know the restaurant has quickly become a staple in the Tempe community and I hope to continue serving the area authentic dishes with innovative twists.”

Sous Chef Monsoo will help Mora develop and execute the dishes of Ghost Ranch. He has over 15 years of experience in Arizona at The Boulders, Ah-So Sushi and Steak, Obon Sushi and Ramen and Wrights Kitchen at The Arizona Biltmore from Waldorf Astoria.

Pastry Chef Graf rounds out the new culinary team. A native of Colorado, Graf draws inspiration from traveling as a teenager through Europe, learning and tasting local foods. Back in the states she re-located to Santa Fe, New Mexico to launch her culinary career as a pastry chef. After earning her pâtissier certificate she ran pastry programs at James Beard Foundation recognized restaurants La Boca and the Compound. She’s also worked at Mama’s Fish House in Maui and Scottsdale’s Roka Akor and Hotel Valley Ho.

Tempe native Robles takes over as General Manager running daily operations and administration. Starting her career in the hospitality industry at 17 she’s dedicated her career to to customer satisfaction and enjoyment. Her experience in psychology, finance and event planning give her know how to continue to keep customers happy. Customers will notice her creative cocktails, menu pairings and attention to detail in the dining room. She’s worked for more than 10 years in in several roles in high-end lounge, club and bar settings around town.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Suite in Tempe. For more information visit their website.

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.

Start 2021 off celebrating National Bloody Mary Day

New Year’s Day lands on a Friday in 2021 so nobody is in a hurry to get back to work so continue celebrating the New Year with a Bloody Mary. U.S. Egg, Pedal Haus Brewery, Angry Crab Shack, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Twin Peaks are all celebrating the A.M. cocktail favorite. Signature Bloody Marys are shaking up your morning as you get ready for what 2021 has in store.

Restaurants continue open new locations around the valley.

Not only is Dog Haus opening a new location but so are Z’ Tejas, Angry Crab Shack & Thai Chili 2 Go. The popular Southwestern & Mexican cuisine restaurant is opening a new lakeside restaurant in February at Scottsdale’s Mercado de Lago on Hayden Rd. at Via de Ventura. Angry Crab Shack has already started serving seafood and its popular Seafood Boils at its 12th Arizona location in Laveen. Thai Chili 2 Go is opening its 11th quick casual restaurant in Gilbert on December 30th.

Still time to order take-out or make a reservation for NYE.

Restaurants continue to take reservations and planning for take-out food as we say good bye to 2020. This updated list has restaurants around the valley serving up your last meal of 2020.

Restaurants continue to give and give in the holiday season.

In November Dominick’s Steak House, Ocean 44 and Steak 44 raised over $64,000 for local charities. Make A-Wish Foundation Arizona, PANDA and The Phoenix Heart Ball/ American Heart Association will benefit from the money raised.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria has raised over $110,000 in 2020 for No Kid Hungry through its fundraising initiatives. May 2021 be as generous to the local community from Phoenix restaurants.

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.

Z’Tejas launches seasonal menu

The Chandler and Phoenix locations debut a new Winter menu on Monday December 28th. Chipolte Short Ribs, Posole and Grits & Lobster are just a few of the new dishes that use traditional Mexican and Southwestern ingredients. Two new specialty drinks have also been added to keep you warm.

Holiday gifts still available from Garden Bar

Cocktail kits and grazing boxes are available for your favorite foodie or mixologist. Perfect for staying at home and enjoying the holiday’s cocktails kits from mixologist Kim Haasarud include ingredients and a how-to video.

Gabriella’s launches weekend brunch

The Scottsdale restaurant that opened earlier this year now offers brunch on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. From 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. guests can enjoy such dishes as a Crab & Lobster Benedict, Gabriella’s Chicken Hash and Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Berries. Enjoy those and more with Bottomless Mimosa’s for $18.

Barro’s Pizza raises money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

The locally owned pizza restaurants bested 2019’s donations by over $50,000. Through the 2020 Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight over $335,000 was raised at the families 44 locations in Phoenix and Tucson on December 1st when all sales where donated to the food bank.

Kasai Japanese Steakhouse donating to Arizona Children’s Association.

Through Christmas Eve a $1 from each teppan meal will be donated to Arizona’s oldest and largest foster care organization. Also every Tuesday and Wednesday in December the Scottsdale restaurant has been hosting foster family’s for dinner.

 

 

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