Upscale Mexican restaurant Toca Madera has opened.

A year and a half after I posted about it, the upscale Mexican restaurant Toca Madera has opened at Scottsdale Fashion Square. The Madera Group from West Hollywood is behind Toca Madera and its sister restaurants, the quick casual Tocaya Organica. Tocaya has two locations in the Phoenix area at Kierland Commons and next door to Toca.

Sashimi Mexicano

Co-founders Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer spared no expense at the 8,000 square foot Toca Madera. A lush courtyard with a retractable roof for patio dining leads to the dining room with the exhibition kitchen. Natural light from skylight breathes life onto the Ficus trees in the restaurants. A lounge with full bar is located off the courtyard serving signature margaritas and cocktails.

“At our Scottsdale location, we want guests to feel as though they’re stepping into another reality,” CEO Berman said. “From the sophisticated design to the theatrical spirit through which we serve food and beverage, every element has been precisely chosen to provide an unparalleled dining experience. The community has been incredibly supportive since opening Tocaya next door so we’re excited to introduce another one of our concepts to the area.”

Baja Rosa

Executive Chef Joseph Castillo comes to Toca Madera from the nearby Sushi Roku at the W Hotel. Castillo, a native of southern California goes from upscale sushi and Japanese food to an upscale Mexican cuisine. His culinary team creates signature dishes such as Enchiladas de Mole, Tiger Shrimp Tacos and Pescado de Dia (seafood of the day).

Dinner starts at 5 p.m., the lounge opens at 4 for happy hour and weekend brunch begins on November 9th. To view the menu and for more information check out https://www.tocamadera.com/

 

Dia de los Muertos 4 day celebration at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco

Hispanics around the world honor deceased family and friends every year with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. The festive holiday includes candle lighting vigils, traditional decorations and more. Downtown Chandler’s Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is showing their respect for the colorful holiday with a four day festival. The inaugural Dia de los Muertos event will benefit the Los Diablos ASU Alumni Chapter.Dia de los Muertos

“We are extremely excited to be hosting this Dia de los Muertos celebration for the first time,” said Wally Ansari, owner of Ghett’ Yo’ Taco’. “With four days of activities we’ve made sure that there is something fun for all ages. We are also very pleased to partner with Los Diablos for this event and support their mission to assist outstanding Latin college students at ASU. We look forward to bringing the Chandler community together to celebrate our departed loved ones.”

Dia de los Muertos events

Here is the schedule of events.

Thursday, October 31 – Halloween bar crawl will take place from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will include stops at Chandler establishments The Local, Perch, Sleepy Whale and Quart Haus. The night will continue at Ghett’ Yo’ Taco with a costume contest for cash prizes and a candle lighting vigil. Guests are encouraged to bring candles and photos of their departed loved ones. Each bar will have drink specials and live music. Tickets for Thursday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Friday, November 1 – From 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. attendees can enjoy a live DJ and patio expansion for guests to bring candles and/or pictures of deceased family members for a candle lighting vigil. Candles will be available on site for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 2 – Dia de los Muertos celebration will take place all day from 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Guests will be able to fully embrace Hispanic culture and experience a traditional celebration honoring departed loved ones. The day will consist of live musical performances, traditional Hispanic food, piñatas and sugar skull painting. Tickets for Saturday are available online at GhettYoTaco.com.

Sunday, November 3 – Celebrate Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Guests of all ages can enjoy music, food, drinks, a bouncy house and kid’s activities. This event is free and open to the public.

Los Diablos raises funds for scholarships and financial assistance for students in Arizona. The organization is committed to mentorship and community service as well.

Ghett’ Yo’ Taco is at 241 S. Oregon St. Chandler 85225.

 

Serrano’s celebrates 100 years in business with Centennial Fiesta

Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant celebrates 100 years of the family business with a week long celebration at their 5 locations. There will be a week’s worth of food and drink specials and a Centennial Fiesta.

The family business started in September 1919 when there were less 1,000 people living in Chandler. At first the family business was as a retailer with The Serrano Brothers Popular Family Store and switched to Mexican restaurants in 1979 as department stores and indoor shopping malls gained popularity.

“The Serrano family is ingrained in Chandler’s history,” said Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. “Their entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, dedication and family pride has sustained them throughout these past 100 years. We honor their strong ties to the community and their heart of service as they celebrate this incredible milestone.”Centennial Fiesta

To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the week of September 16th will offer specials at all 5 locations.

  • Monday, 9/16:$1.00 Margarita Monday 10 oz. house margarita
  • Tuesday, 9/17:$1.00 Taco Tuesday (street taco or shredded beef/chicken crunchy taco)
  • Wednesday, 9/18:$1.00 Hump Day Heavenly Bites
  • Thursday, 9/19: $1.00 Throwback Thursday (shredded beef or chicken taco, rice and beans entree)*
  • Friday, 9/20: $1.00 Fried Ice Cream Friday
  • Saturday, 9/21: $1.00 Cerveza Saturday 10 oz. draft Mexican beer

*Limit of one special per person; all specials are dine-in only

Centennial Fiesta

On Thursday the 19th at the Chandler location the family will celebrate with a Centennial Fiesta. Guest will be treated to $1.00 shredded beef and chicken tacos and beans and rice. At 7 p.m. there’s a taco eating contest with local mayors, fire and police representatives competing for $1,000 grand prize donated to the 100 Club of Arizona. There will also be face-painting for the kids and raffles and prizes.

“Our family has seen our fair share of changes and challenges over the years, but we have always been able to adapt. Today, our business model is centered around the values we hold most dear – faith, family and food,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “We look forward to celebrating this big milestone with our loyal customers and we invite new customers to come give us a chance. You can be sure we’ll be breaking out our famous bean dip!”

In addition Serrano’s will be collection new children’s books and stuffed animals for the W. Steven Martin Police and Fire Toy Drive. Anybody who donates a book or stuffed animal in September receives a voucher for a FREE fried ice cream.

In September the Serrano Centennial Sampler will be on special for $10 and $1 of every sale will go to the 100 Club of Arizona. The Sampler offers classic dishes including machaca, shredded chicken, green chile beef and red chile beef served with warm tortillas, rice and beans.

Visit their website for more information and to find a Serrano’s near you.

 

Downtown Chandler gettin’ ready to host 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

It’s now August which means the metro Phoenix food festival calendar is starting to fill up. One of the first festivals of the season on September 14th is the 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest. Once again downtown Chandler’s Dr. A.J. Chandler Park hosts the day long event.

taco street fest
All photos courtesy of Claire Natale at Evolve Public Relations

Over a dozen local restaurants and food trucks including Ghett Yo Taco, Taco Chiwas and Willie’s Taco Joint will be serving up tacos and more. Festival goers will enjoy cold beverages such beer Micheladas, margaritas and fresh fruit frescas.

“The Rockin’ Taco Street Fest is one of our most popular signature events that we produce,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We strive to build our community style events to be the best Arizona has to offer with activations that enhance the attendee’s experience. We look to reach 15,000 at this year’s celebration.”

Live music, eating competitions, a car show, wrestling and more will keep festival goers entertained for the 9-hour event. The family friendly event goes from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will have a Kid’s Zone. “While the food is a featured element at Rockin’ Taco Street Fest, we strive to create an experience for our attendees,” said Evans. “We have a bit of something for everyone whether it’s shopping, refreshing drinks, food aficionados, great entertainment and the list keeps going.”

Taco Street Fest donates and tickets

The 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Junior Achievement of Arizona. The local non-profit helps young people gain knowledge and skills to be an economic success as they plan for their future. They also help to educate them to make smart academic and financial decisions.

Tickets for the festival are available online. Starting today those looking to save money sponsors Food City and Basha’s are selling 50% off tickets until September 14th. Kids under 12 are FREE. Dr. A.J Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. chandler.

Uptown Phoenix to get 9th Someburros location this summer

The family-owned Someburros Mexican eatery continues to grow and has announced their 9th location in Uptown Phoenix. It will be the first location outside the east valley when it opens at 7th St and Camelback. Expected top open later this summer, they will be serving award-winning burritos, tacos, enchiladas and more authentic Mexican food.

The fast casual restaurant will also serve frozen margaritas and draft beers to go with your food.

Co-owner Amy Vasquez is very excited about the Uptown Phoenix location as its where she lives. “It’s been a dream of mine for some time to open a Someburros in my neighborhood,” she said. “We know this community, we love this community and we’re raising our own families in this community, so we can’t wait to build our workforce and fanbase within it.”

When George and Mary Vasquez opened the first Someburros in 1986 they insisted on giving back to the community. Their three children continue this tradition of philanthropy at the current 8 locations.  When the new location opens it will partner with local schools as part of their community outreach.

“This is a bustling area, and with so many students, professionals and residents around, fast-casual is always in demand,” said Tim Vasquez, of the decision to open in Uptown Phoenix. “We’ve been thinking about expanding to this area for a while now, but we wanted to wait until we could find the perfect place. Now that we’ve found it, we can’t wait to get the doors open.”

To keep up to date on when the new location will open and to find the other location check out their website.

 

Mixologist Kyla Dahl brings new cocktails to Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild restaurant takes the new year pretty seriously as they’ve introduced new cocktails and food. The new cocktails were crafted by new mixologist Kyla Dahl who comes to Taco Guild after spending the last few years crafting cocktails at Scottsdale’s Liberty Station Smokehouse. It was there she learned to make creative cocktails and make a name for herself in the Phoenix cocktail community.

Chamoyada. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie at Evolve Marketing

New cocktails

Dahl has shaken things up with 7 new cocktails that pair well with Taco Guild’s Mexican food. All the new cocktails are priced at $12 each. Most of the new drinks use tequila or mezcal with a few of the drinks listed below.

      Chamoyada – Chamuccos blanco tequila, hibiscus, orange, mangonada, Tajin.

      Don Juan – Mexican rum, pepitas, lime, lemon, Curacao, dark rum.

·         Ponche – apple-infused gin, mango, orange piloncillo.

Seasonal Mezcal Mule – Mezcal mixed with seasonal flavor, lime and ginger beer

Taco Guild’s new dishes

The new chef driven dishes are spread throughout the menu from appetizers, tacos and dessert. There are 10 new dishes available for lunch and dinner and include…..

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta – citrus chile shrimp, guacamole, tomato corn salsa on top of house-made bruschetta. $12

Fundido – Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese blend with Serrano pepper, caramelized onion, tequila and mushrooms. Guests can now choose to add-on a variety of proteins

The Conquistador – chef’s choice charcuterie and cheese board served with nuts, jam, mustard and house-made bruschetta. $15

Cartel Coffee Beef Taco – Locally roasted Cartel coffee is used to season the beef before slow roasting it then it is topped with fresh jicama, cilantro and avocado. $4.95

Clandestino Shrimp Taco – Citrus-chile marinated shrimp are grilled then topped with avocado, chimichurri and cabbage slaw. $4.95

Chocolate Torte – A rich and dense chocolate torte with cashews, almonds, walnuts, cacao, coconut and sea salt.

Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

Agave del Scottsdale takes over former Butters space

A new upscale Mexican restaurant, Agave del Scottsdale will open in early 2019 at Mercado del Lago Plaza in Scottsdale. The authentic Mexican restaurant takes over the space vacated by Butters Restaurant at Via de Ventura and Hayden Rd.

Because the owners families have roots in Yucatan, Mazalan, Puebla and Veracruz regions of Mexico and the menu will reflect their unique cuisines. The executive chef is moving to Scottsdale from Mexico City to over see the kitchen and culinary team.

Tequila & chaser. All photos courtesy of Agave del Scottsdale and Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

Fresh seafood, made from scratch moles, tacos along with made to order guacamole are a few of the dishes. Bartenders will make hand crafted cocktails and a variety of mezcal and tequila will be noticeable at the bar.

“We are excited to bring Agave del Scottsdale to the community and share what we are passionate about – genuine Mexican food, diverse tequila, refined hospitality and entertainment,” said Hector Soto, general manager of Agave del Scottsdale.

The 4,000 square foot space will be renovated with vibrant colors, white marble and wooden tables. An exhibition kitchen, open air dining room, outdoor patio and indoor & outdoor bar will offer guests privacy or the ability to dine and socialize.

The restaurant will hire 50-80 employees in the weeks ahead and information can be found on their website.

Once opened Agave del Scottsdale will be served lunch and dinner Mon. – Fri from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. On weekends they will open at 7 a.m. and stay open til 10 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively. During the week the restaurant will offer an exciting happy hour.

 

 

Downtown Chandler to host Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

Food festival season is starting to get ramped up as the summer slowly comes to an end. On of the first festivals is the 7th annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest on Saturday September 15th in downtown Chandler.

This years festival hosts 20 restaurants and food vendors making more tacos than one can eat. Restaurants such as Las Palmas, Taco Guild and Nando’s Mexican Cafe are just a few restaurants breaking out the recipe book to create unique tacos. Specialty Poke tacos, cactus and Korean chicken tacos are a few of the non-traditional tacos being served up at the family friendly event.

Downtown Chandler
Evil Waze. All photos ciourtesy of Jen Pruett of HDE Agency

More than just tacos

You can’t eat tacos for all 9 hours of the festival so entertainment from Santana cover band Evil Waze will take the stage. Metalachi, the world’s first and only mariachi heavy metal band will headline the festival.

A custom low-rider car show with In the Streets magazine will show off over 60 cars, bikes and trucks. Lucha libre wrestling and food eating contest will be going on throughout the day.

Get your tickets here

General admission tickets on-line are $10, $15 at the door with kids 12 and under free. The 21 years old + VIP tickets are $100 and available on-line only. VIP ticket holders get a private area, 6 alcoholic beverage tickets, catered food and shaded area. 

The Tequila Tavern tickets are $30 on-line get you 10 tequila samples and unlimited chips and salsa.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival will be donated to the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership. The non-profit DCCP mission is to use leadership and resources to promote the downtown Chandler area.

Tickets are available at http://www.rockintacoaz.com/ 

The festival is from 12-9 p.m. and is at Dr. AJ Chandler Park in downtown Chandler.