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.”

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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.

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.

French restaurant celebrates 4 years in Scottsdale

When Chef Jean- Christophe and Segolene Gros opened their French restaurant, Voila French Bistro four years ago they were fulfilling their American dream. They chose Scottsdale for their restaurant having fallen in love with the desert after only a one day visit in 2007.  On October 20th the couple will be celebrating their 4 year anniversary of their French restaurant with a prie-fixe wine paired dinner.

Chef Jean- Christophe has been a chef in French restaurants for over 30 years working with French master chefs before venturing out on his own. He approaches his French cooking with modern twist as he adapts it for his American audience.

The three-course dinner is $79 per person and goes from 5 – 7p.m. The menu is as follows.

La Chartreuse – lump crab layered with vegetables and wrapped in lettuce leaves. Paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Atlantic 2016

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Terre et Mer – Pork Surf & Turf, pork filets served with jumbo shrimp and a lobster sauce. Paired with a glass of Château Fongaban 2015 – Bordeaux St Emilion

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Chocolate Caramélia Valrhona Entremet – A flourless chocolate cake with caramel chocolate mousse. Served with a glass of Mirabelle Plum Kir Royal

To reserve a seat for this special evening go to their website or call 480-614-5600. Voila French Bistro is at 10135 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale 85258.

Maple & Ash to open August 20th at the Scottsdale Waterfront

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019, Maple & Ash has announced an opening date of Tuesday August 20th. The restaurant will open at the Scottsdale Waterfront and will be the first location after the original in Chicago. Two star Michelin chef Danny Grant and partners opened the first restaurant in 2015, before that worked in Scottsdale.

“This has been an incredible journey, and we can’t wait to open our doors to the Scottsdale community,” said Chef Danny Grant. “It has been a dream of ours to come home to where I began my culinary career and show off the Maple & Ash experience.”

What to expect at Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash uses wood fired cooking and although they don’t use the word “Steakhouse” in the name it’s considered a modern take on a classic steakhouse. Local chef Sean Currid joins chef Grant to execute the menu that includes the famed “Fire Roasted Seafood Tower” and “I Don’t Give a F*K” (IDGAF). The two chefs met when they worked together at Elements Restaurant at Sanctuary Resort & Spa on Camelback.

Guest will enjoy a world class selection of dry aged beef and fresh seafood. The IDGAF is Grant’s take on a chef’s menu and he thinks is the best choice from the menu. No mention of what’s included with the IDGAF so you’ll have to leave it up to chefs Currid and Grant. Currid boasts an impressive resume having worked around town at Michael’s at the Citadel, Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho and Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician.

Sommelier Jason Caballero curates a wine list from around the world that won’t be your traditional steakhouse wine list. Caballero comes to Maple & Ash from Bourbon Steak at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

The centerpiece of the 10,000 plus square foot restaurant will be the 14 foot wood burning hearth. It will be surrounded by the dining room and lounge along with an outdoor patio and private dining rooms.

Maple & Ash will be open daily at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and until 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. The restaurant is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd #130 Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

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

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.

Morning Squeeze lets kids eat free until August 31st

The kids are out of school and if their not at camp one way to keep them happy is to feed them. Feeding them all summer cad add up so Scottsdale’s and Tempe’s Morning Squeeze is letting kids eat free all summer.

Until August 31st kids 12 and under can eat for free during breakfast or lunch, no purchase is necessary. The offer is good Monday – Friday and is for dine-in only.

Morning Squeeze
Egg My Way with bacon and potatoes. All photos courtesy of Morning Squeeze.

Choose from Mouse Pancakes, French Toast Sticks with maple syrup, 1 Egg My way with bacon and potatoes or Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French fries.

With a dog friendly patio, the restaurant is one of the more popular Scottsdale restaurants and has been serving breakfast and lunch since 2013. Your dog even has it’s own Tail Wagger’s menu to order from.

The restaurants are open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Morning Squeeze is located at 4233 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and 690 S. Mill Ave. Tempe, 85287. Visit their website for more information.

Celebration of Summer at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.

I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.

Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.

Salmon Belly Tartare
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Negroni Spritz
Ultimate Honeydew

Proof, An American Canteen

Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.

Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America”  along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.

Four seasons Resort at Troon North
Texas BBQ Platter

June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade

July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!

August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.

Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)

Huss Arizona Light Lager

Le Cumbre Elevated IPA

Talavera Restaurant

The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.

Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Brazilian Carrot Cake

Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil

Queen Creek Olives

Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime

Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds

Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde

Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.

Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries

Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry

Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?

The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262