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.

EAT by Stacey Weber giving away a 3 free Thanksgiving meals

You can nominate a family to receive a Turkey and all the fixings (valued at $248) to feed a family of 4 until next Thursday, November 18th. You can nominate a family here or email at phoenix@eatbystacyweber.com. Pick up would be on Wednesday, November 24th between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the 4740 E. Shea Blvd Phoenix 85028.

The Phoenix Pizza Festival is this weekend.

Finally a favorite festival is here in downtown Phoenix’s Margaret T. Hance Park on Saturday and Sunday. See all the details, participants and changes for 2021 here.

2021 Slider Throwdown is this Sunday 11/14

The popular “Battle of the Burger” event returns to High Street in north Phoenix on Sunday. Stop by and vote for your favorite slider and help raise money for Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation from 12 – 4 p.m. Admission is $40 and includes sliders, lemonade from Cuties Lemonade & More food truck and dessert from Kicks Frozen Yogurt. Live entertainment and a silent auction will also be happening.

Seats still available for Miner Family Wines dinner

Assistant winemaker Michelle Safir will be in town for the dinner at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa next Thursday, November 17th. For more details see my September post about how to reserve your seat and December’s Truchard Vineyard dinner details.

Trade “Toys for Tacos” at Mesquite Fresh Street Mex

Until December 15th the fast casual concept has partnered with the Phoenix Rescue Mission to collect toys in exchange for a free taco. Drop off new & unwrapped toys, non-perishable foods and toiletries at a location near you.

The Montauk adds new dishes to its menu

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant added to its eclectic menu this week. The new dishes are as follows. Playa Salad – Oranges, red onion, pepitas and queso fresco over a bed of artisan greens with coriander vinaigrette to finish. Short Rib Bowl – Overnight braised short rib, house made BBQ sauce, roasted root vegetables, crispy baked potato wedges and scallions served with brown rice. Buddah Bowl– Roasted broccoli, cucumbers, spinach, avocado, grilled onions, edamame and pepitas, served with chipotle tahini and a soft-boiled egg over brown rice. Short Rib Huevos Rancheros (brunch only) – Eggs, braised short rib, refried black beans, red onion, queso fresco, morita-cashew salsa, sour cream, cilantro on a tortilla.

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.

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.

Mesquite Fresh Street Mex opening 8th location in Northwest Phoenix

The locally owned Mr. Mesquite has announced it’s now going by Mesquite Fresh Street Mex and will open its 8th location at the end of August. The grand opening is scheduled for August 28th at 10:30 a.m. at 1730 W. Happy Valley Rd. Phoenix.

“We are thrilled to expand the Mesquite brand in Arizona with our eighth location,” said Ahmad Alatrash, co-founder of Mesquite Fresh Street Mex. “Northwest Phoenix is a thriving area with strong businesses, services and a great community around it. We look forward to connecting with residents and sharing our authentic meets modern Mexican concept with the neighborhood.”

The 1,930 square foot fast casual restaurant will serve meats grilled over mesquite wood for a unique and smoky flavor. Tacos, killer burritos, protein bowls and quesadillas make up the menu. Family meals will also be available and tacos start at $2.19 each. All ingredients are of the highest quality and a prepared every day.  Grand opening celebrations will include giveaways and the first 200 people will win a free taco for week for six months.

The restaurant is looking to hire 30 people for the new location joining over 150 other employees throughout Arizona. “We are seeking ambitious and driven individuals ready to join a collaborative team,” said Naser. “We pride ourselves in a family-driven environment and place a large emphasis in creating a supportive and fun atmosphere for our staff.”  For more information about job openings and the grand opening visit their website.

CoreLife Eatery opening location in Gilbert with “Pay What You Want Day”

Former ASU & NFL player Adam Archuleta is opening the 2nd Arizona location of his healthy fast casual concept CoreLife Eatery in Gilbert next week. The restaurant is known for offering nutritious meals, useing fresh ingredients free of GMOs, trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners and additives. Grass-fed beef, antibiotic-free chicken & pork and cage-free eggs are used for their grain bowls, salads and dinner plates.

Archuleta, Managing Partner of CoreLife, spent 7 years in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins & Chicago Bears and during the football season he’s an NFL Game Analyst with CBS Sports. As an athlete Archuleta knows the benefits of eating nutritious meals and is passionate about promoting healthy eating at CoreLife. The menu caters to all diets and eaters with its customizable greens, grains & broth bowls. The menu also offers made-to- order tacos and wraps and features global flavors with naan bread, tortilla shell or or lettuce wraps. Handcrafted beverages are also available.

“Customers have been trained to believe that healthy food cannot taste good, but we are debunking that myth,” says Todd Mansfield, partner and chief cultural officer for CoreLife Eatery. “We create our menu every day in store from simple, top-quality ingredients that taste great and our customers want to eat.”

CoreLife Eatery opens on Thursday May 20th for its “Pay What You Want Day” to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Guests will decide who to pay for their meals with all the day’s proceeds being donated. Friday the 21st will be the Grand Opening. The first location opened in Tempe in October 2020 and there are plans to open as many as 300 locations. There are currently 3 locations in Utah.

The Gilbert location is at 1555 N. Higley Rd., Suite C-105 85234. For more information visit their website.

The Arizona Taco Festival is coming back for its 11th year

2020 may have knocked down the Arizona Taco Festival but it didn’t knock it out as the popular 2 day festival returns in October 2021. This will be the 11th year of the festival that is planned for October 23rd & 24th and will be returning to Salt River Fields.

Over 50 taco vendors will be on hand serving up hundreds or thousands of their homemade tacos and more starting at $3 each. In addition to tacos festival goers can get a Tequila Passport to sample 10 premium tequilas to go with their tacos and 6 chefs from local Mexican restaurants will prepare their specialties at the new Super Food Stations. Vote for your favorite tacos to win the People’s Choice Taco Competition and hang out at one of the shaded party tents with DJs providing music, vendors and bars serving margaritas, beer and more.

Tickets for the 11th Annual Arizona Taco Festival go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday May 21st at the ticketweb site. General Admission tickets are $14 in advance and $20 day of event. The Tequila Passport is an additional $25 and VIP Tickets are $100 ($120 day of) and include the Passport. The El Presidente ticket is $200 with the Passport, $220 day of. Parking at Salt River Fields is free. For more information head to their website.

 

Modern Tortilla food truck opens brick & mortar location

The popular food truck Modern Tortilla has opened its first brick & mortar location inside the Fry’s Marketplace in Litchfield Park. If that sound a little familiar it’s because Modern Tortilla’s sister restaurant Aioli Gourmet Burgers opened inside the same Fry’s in March 2020.

Both Modern Tortilla and Aioli are co-owned by Chopped champion chef Tommy D’Ambrosio. “Modern Tortilla was our second food truck concept. It’s been a huge success for us at events and through catering with weddings and large events. To have the opportunity to offer our southwestern style cuisine alongside our other brand is going to be an incredible experience,” said D’Ambrosio.

Tommy will be serving up his signature tacos including the El Ranchero made with 24 hour marinated skirt steak and Flew the Coop chicken tinga tacos. Burritos, quesadillas, chicken flautas, elote and more will be served. A cold case is filled with tacos kits and meal prep ingredients for home cooking along with grab-n-go meals.

“Our customers are looking for fresh and convenient meal options for them and their families,” said J.J. Mattison, Fry’s Food Stores Deli/Bakery Merchandiser. “Solutions like Modern Tortilla, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and others offer customers a variety of already prepared or easy-to-prepare options that they can easily enjoy.

Fry’s Marketplace is at 13730 W. Camelback Rd. Litchfield Park. 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.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new Spring menu

The new menu at the 7 Arizona locations celebrates the Garden of Flavors thru June 7th. Seasonal ingredients include artichokes, asparagus, sweet peaches and more. Dishes like the Panzanella Salad, Bacon & Asparagus Pizza go well with new cocktails such as the Kentucky Peach Mule & Peach Bellini. A new cauliflower crust pizza has been added as has desserts Banana Cream Cheese Cake and Caramel Coconut Cheesecake.

Found:RE Hotel celebrates Women in Wine

The downtown Phoenix hotel and signature restaurant Match Market & Bar feature wines made by women all month long in honor of International Women’s Day Monday March 8th. 18 wines from around the world are featured with a portion of sales donated to Hope Women’s Center. Many of the wines feature also donate to women’s causes around the world.

Local First Arizona film series highlights local food economy & community

March 9th is the first of a monthly series of its Good Food Film Series featuring 12 independent short films. Each film discusses the challenges the farm and food community faces over the next year. The first film titled “The State of Arizona Farmland” about the owners of Blue Sky Farms. April 13th will be “Are Edible Landscapes and Trees the answer to Arizona’s Rising Climate Crisis?” and May 11th brings “The Business of Farm to Food Banks“.

A Su Salud virtual kitchen offers healthy Mexican food.

Pita Jungle has jumped into the virtual kitchen game with A Su Salud at its Tempe location. Meaning “to your health” A Su Salud offers Mexican wood fired specialties available for pick-up or delivery from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates. Bowls, burritos, salads, tacos and fajitas are on the menu along with healthy kid options and Pita Jungle desserts.

All-you-can-eat tacos at Jalapeno Inferno

Every Taco Tuesday customers visiting the Pinnacle Peak, DC Ranch and Park West restaurants can get as many tacos as you can eat for $10.99. The special price is for dine-in only.

 

 

Mr. Mesquite Taqueria to open 1st drive thru location

Local fast casual Mr. Mesquite Taqueria opens its 8th location on Saturday December 12th in Gilbert. It will be the first drive thru for the fast expanding concept founded by brothers Naser and Ahmad Alatrash in 2015 as a walk-up taco stand in Scottsdale’s Entertainment District. Since then they’ve expanded around the Phoenix area and have a location in Illinois.

Their “authentic meets modern” Mexican street food is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Meats for their burritos, tacos & quesadillas are grilled over a mesquite charcoal fire gives the meat a fresh smoky smell you notice once you walk in. The menu is simple offering chicken and steak for its popular dishes that are made to order with toppings customers choose. 1, 2, and 3 pound family meals are available with meats, sides and tortillas.

The first 250 guests on Saturday will get free tacos for 6 months. Mr. Mesquite Taqueria have partnered with Academic Opportunity of Arizona for the month December for their toy drive “Toys for Tacos”. Drop off clothes, toys, supplies (make-up, hair products, sewing kits, bedding), sports equipment, games and electronics to any location to get a free taco at the time of drop off.

To find a location near you 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.

Toys for Tacos at Mr. Mesquite Taqueria

All 7 locations are collecting toys in exchange for tacos until December 31st. Bring in a toy, clothes or learning tool for The Academic Opportunity of Arizona and get a free taco for the day of drop off.

Monday night is Date Night at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant invites couples to join them on Monday’s for dinner for $50. Starting at 4 p.m. each twosome will get 2 pasta entrees, 2 salads and a pre-selected bottle of wine. Reservations required and must mention Date Night Special for special price. 480-427-2264.

Holiday tamales available from Los Sombreros

Order by the dozen for pick-up by December 24th. Mix & match Green Corn, Pineapple, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas, Carnitas & Red Beef Chile. All tamales are using produce from local farms. Order at their website.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria now available from ghost kitchen

Pizza to go is now available at Kitchen United MIX in Scottsdale. Order on-line and have the same delicious pizza and more made fresh and ready for pick-up or delivery.

Merkin Vineyards launches monthly Sunday brunch

This Sunday December 6th in Scottsdale will be the first brunch offered at the wine bar. The first Sunday of every month several dishes will be offered that use ingredients grown at its vineyards, gardens and orchards in the Verde Valley. Wines and Mimosas will be available to compliment your food.

Tru Tacos PHX pop-up from Jewel’s Bakery starts in December

Taco pop-ups are quite popular these days with gourmet tacos being served up in parking lots, residential drive ways and wine & beer bars. Looking to show off their taco game Justine & Misa Trujillo are launching Tru Tacos PHX pop-up on Friday December 4th at 6 p.m. Serving tacos on the patio outside their Jewel’s Bakery & Cafe. They’ll be drawing from age old family recipes  serving three tacos to start….. carne asada, al pastor & nopal (cactus) tacos. Covid-19 delayed the opening but the two felt now was the right time to share their family recipes.

“The concept of Tru Tacos PHX was born the moment I took my first bite of the al pastor tacos that my husband’s family had prepared for dinner. This recipe has been passed down through the years, with each generation perfecting the original recipe even more. These tacos are the kind you can only get “from mom,” as you can taste the care and heart that goes into each taco, says local chef and co-owner, Justine Trujillo. “You can’t get a taco like this anywhere else.”

The weekly pop-up will be on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights starts at 6 p.m. until they sell out. Opening weekend guests will get 2 free tacos of their choice for take-out or enjoy on the patio. Tacos will be prepared on a charcoal trompo grill and served on house made corn tortillas. Salsa de Cacahuate, Salsa Verde and Jalapeno salsa and $2 margaritas, aqua fresca and seasonal local beers will be available.

Tru Tacos PHX is at 4041 E. Thomas Rd. 85008.For more information visit their website.