Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

“Med Meets Mexico” seasonal menu now at Pita Jungle

All 23 locations in Arizona now offer new 10 dishes on their Seasonal Crafts Kitchen Menu. Dishes using the flavors of the Southwest and their Mediterranean inspired menu will be available through April. Highlights of the new menu include Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, Mediterranean Ceviche, Labdeh Dip Mezze Veggies & Dip and a Wood Fired Gluten Free Enchilada. 

Orin Swift Wine Dinner at Palo Verde Restaurant

The signature restaurant at The Boulders Resort & Spa hosts a gourmet four-course dinner paired with wines on Friday, February 3rd with the reception starting at 6:00 p.m. Enhancing the experience will be the scenic views of the golf course’s 6th hole and duck pond. Seats are $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-595-4621.

Cider Corps hosts dinner to raise money for traumatic brain injuries

The downtown Mesa cidery will pair its award-winning ciders with dishes from valley chefs Friday, February 3rd. Guests attending the Speakers Dinner for Traumatic Brain Injury Solutions will hear updates from researchers at Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The 21 and over dinner starts at 6 P.m. and is %200 per person. Two other fundraising events are scheduled for the 22 Jumps event with more information and to RSVP click here.

New seasonal dishes at Over Easy launch January 30th

The locally owned and nationally recognized breakfast spot adds two new dishes to its menu on Monday. The scratch made Cinnamon Apple Corncakes ($14) and JohnJay Burrito Bowl ($17) are available for dine-in, take-out or delivery. $1 of every Burrito Bowl will be donated #LOVEPUP Foundation. Also new will be the Spicy Mango Margarita ($8) but only available for dine-in. The new dishes and drink are available at all 11 Phoenix area locations.

Nominations are open for Foodist Awards until February 5th

Its award season and time to nominate your favorite Food & Beverage, Experience, Restaurant and People in the Arizona Restaurant Association’s annual recognition of those in the food and beverage community. The online nominations include 20 categories and 8 new categories for the 2023 awards. Winner will be announced in alive ceremony on Monday April 24th at 5:30 p.m. at The Van Buren in Phoenix.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Semifinalists for 2023 Restaurant & Chef Awards announced

This morning The James Beard Foundation announced the Semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Arizona is again well represented throughout several categories. Nominees will be announced Wednesday, March 29th and winners announced Monday, June 5th 2023 in Chicago. You can see the list of all 2023 semifinalists here.

The 2023 Arizona semifinalists are……

Outstanding Chef

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café, Phoenix

Outstanding Restaurant

Proper Meats + Provisions, Flagstaff

Emerging Chef

Christian Lowe, Shift Kitchen & Bar, Flagstaff

Outstanding Bakery

JL Patisserie, Phoenix and Scottsdale

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

Glai Baan, Phoenix

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, Bacanora, Phoenix

Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber, The Table at Junipine, Sedona

Nephi Craig, Café Gozhóó, Whiteriver

Wendy Garcia, Tumerico, Tucson

Fernando Hernández, Testal, Phoenix

Yotaka and Alex Martin, Lom Wong, Phoenix

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Wing Wednesday specials at The Bar in Gilbert

Have you heard the news, people are flocking to downtown Gilbert to get their hands on the flavorful, crispy & juicy John Blaze Honey Hot, Buffalo, BBQ, “Blow Your O-Ring” and Teriyaki wings. The Bar‘s grilling then fried wings are specially priced every Wednesday from 3 p.m. – 1 a.m. for $9 for 6 wings or $14 for a dozen. Each order comes with celery & carrots and your choice of blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Pillsbury Wine Co. and more pouring at Arizona Wine Festival

20 Arizona wineries and other vendors will make downtown Phoenix’s Heritage Square home January 28th -29th. Beer and food trucks will also be on hand with tickets for $35 on Saturday and $30 on Sunday. Friday night will be a benefit for Horses Help and the festival starts at 11 a.m. on both days. Information and tickets can be purchased can be found at Eventbrite.

Outerbound Wines featured at Hyatt Scottsdale Winemaker Dinner Series

The Gainey Ranch resort and spa continues its Winemaker Dinner Series in 2023 with its first dinner on Thursday, January 19th. High end wines from Sonoma County will be paired with a five-course dinner from Chef Joaquin Estolano Jr. and his team. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m. with Phillip Kube of Outerbound Wines followed by dinner at 7:00. Seats are $170 per person and can be reserved by calling 480-629-6231.

Save your receipts for 50% off at Koibito Poke

For the month of January purchase lunch between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. then return for dinner from 5 p.m. til closing and get half off. The “Save Your Receipt” promotion is good on the same day 7 days a week at all 4 locations.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Jackson Family Wines dinner at Ling’s Wok Shop

The north Scottsdale flex casual restaurant Ling’s Wok Shop rings in the Chinese New Year with an Asian inspired five course dinner paired with Jackson Family Wines. The wines are sourced from Jackson Family Wines properties in California, Oregon and Italy. Wednesday, January 25th at 6:30 guests will celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with this one of a kind dinner for $88++ per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-801-6524.

FIRST COURSE
Dim Sum Sampler with Steamed Dumpling, Pork & Shrimp Dumpling, and Spicy Chicken Wonton
paired with Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay

SECOND COURSE
Cantonese-Style Sea Bass with Ginger and Lop Cheong
paired with Diatom Santa Barbara Chardonnay

THIRD COURSE
Peking Duck with Hoisin and Green Onion
paired with WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir

FOURTH COURSE
Char Siu Pork Tenderloin with Asparagus
paired with Hartford Family Russian River ZInfandel

HAPPY ENDING
Cheesecake with Vanilla-Orange Sauce
paired with Benvolio Prosecco

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Yulissa Acosta named Chef de Cuisine at Hearth ’61

Rising through the ranks can be the most satisfying and rewarding ways to earn a promotion. That’s how Yulissa Acosta earned her new title as Chef de Cuisine at Mountain Shadows Resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61. Acosta was part of the opening team at restaurant as a cook when it opened in 2017. Always looking to improve her culinary skills and with her culinary knowledge she was promoted to Sous Chef in 2018.

“We are delighted to have Chef Yulissa Acosta take the reins of our beloved Hearth ‘61 restaurant in her new role,” said Vice President & General Manager Andrew Chippindall. “With her unique culinary flare and working alongside Executive Chef Charles Wiley and Executive Sous Chef Alfred Muro, Chef Acosta will be the perfect person to continue elevating our cuisine by highlighting the best local ingredients.”

The Nogales Mexico born and Phoenix raised Acosta realized her passion for cooking in high school and was awarded a scholarship to Scottsdale’s Classic Cooking Academy upon graduation. From there she worked at Bink’s Midtown and Mirabel Golf Club before joining Hearth ’61.

Part of her new role is menu development and she will use her roots and love of Mexican-American & Southwestern cuisines and incorporate classic French cooking skills to the menu. She recently debuted Duroc Farm’s Pork Chop with Jacob bean ragu and black pepper glaze as well as the Two Wash Ranch Chicken Roulade with barley risotto, romanesco, and natural jus to the menu. She will also continue to follow the culinary standards set by Chefs Wiley and Muro.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year for two weeks at Ling & Louie’s

Not long after we hop into 2023 the traditional Lunar New Year starts celebrating the Year of the Rabbit. Local Asian fusion restaurant Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill celebrates with classic Chinese New Year dishes and specially created cocktails from January 21st – February 5th. A traditional Lion Dance performed by 9 Dragons Lion Dance Phoenix kicks of the celebration on the 21st.

In Chinese culture the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity and 2023 is predicted to be the year of hope. Throughout Asia the Lunar New Year is steep with symbolism and you’ll see it throughout the 5 dishes on the special menu. Dumplings and spring rolls signify wealth, fish and shrimp represent an increase in prosperity and happiness while Longevity Noodles symbolize a wish for a long life.

Lunar New Year dishes and cocktails

Lunar New Year Dim Sum Bar – featuring your choice of different dim sum including Ginger-Pork Dumplings, Pork + Shrimp Dumplings, Spicy Chicken Wontons, and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

Dim Sum Tower – can’t decide on which dim sum to enjoy? Choose three of the above dim sum for a decadent New Year’s treat both.

Szechuan Sea Bass – crispy sea bass wok’d with asparagus, green beans and dried chilies in spicy citrus-soy, topped with pineapple salsa.

Char Siu Pork Tenderloin – specially marinated pork tenderloin served with wasabi mashed potatoes and wok’d asparagus, drizzled with sweet chili sauce.

Longevity Noodles – grass-fed New York strip stir-fried with egg noodles, green onions, mushrooms and carrots in traditional stir-fry sauce.

Tables that order off the special menu will receive a Lucky Red Envelope with offers to use on future visits at Ling & Louie’s and its sister restaurant Ling’s Wok Shop.

Toast to the New Year with these unique craft cocktails.

Spicy Peach Margarita – ghost chili-infused tequila shaken with premium orange liqueur, fresh lime juice, peach puree and Thai basil.

Apples to Apples – rye whiskey shaken with apple puree, house-made ginger-lime syrup and fresh lemon.

Pineapple Punch – gin, Suze, pineapple, five spice and fresh citrus topped with sparkling wine.

New Wave Pina Colada – Jamaican rum, Amarula cream liqueur, five spice, cream of coconut and pineapple, shaken hard and served on the rocks.

For more information visit their website.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

The last Third Tuesday dinner of 2022 at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

A delicious wine pairing dinner ends the year at the popular downtown Gilbert restaurant next Tuesday, December 20th. Three courses including The Lafayette Kraut, Spuds Veggies & Pork and Chocolate Temptation Cake will be paired with wines from Washington, Oregon and California. Seats are $44 per person and the dinner starts at 6:30, for reservations call 480-962-4224.

Rooftop Disco Bash on New Year’s Eve at Pedal Haus

The downtown Phoenix restaurant hosts a fun and unique way to ring in 2023. A buffet, complimentary champagne toast, a disco ball drop and a Disco DJ will make this a memorable evening. General admission is $20 with guaranteed seating for 6 and all the amenities are $180. You can purchase tickets at this link.

Chompie’s offers Chanukah and Christmas catering meals

If the shopping is done it’s now time to focus on the food for next week’s holidays. All 4 locations are taking orders for meals for all 8 nights of Hanukkah and Christmas. 24 hours advanced order is required and 72 hours for whole turkeys and larger catering orders.

The Unforgettable Chanukah at Home Package features all the favorites. Choose from sliced brisket & gravy, roasted chicken or turkey breast with Challah stuffing accompanied with Matzoh Ball Soup, a choice of two sides, dinner rolls and one of Lovie’s Holiday desserts. The dinner is $249.99 and serves 8.

For Christmas choose The Traditional ($299.99) or The Basic ($249.99) dinners. XL whole oven roasted turkeys with homemade stuffing & gravy, cranberry relish, fresh baked dinner rolls and a two 9 inch pies (pumpkin and apple) make up The Basic. Add candied yams, mashed potatoes and home-style green beans and you’ve got yourself and family The Traditional dinner. Both dinners feed 12-15 people.

Scottsdale’s new ski lodge is now open

Wait what, a ski lodge in Scottsdale you say. Yes as Old Town Ski Lodge is open Thursday – Sundays from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. in the hideaway upstairs at Wasted Grain. Enjoy Après-Ski cocktails Smores Martini, a Jack Frost Martini and boozy snow cones and winter vibes all year long. The Ski Lodge atmosphere also offers a large selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch to keep you warm. It’s available for private parties and events.

Barros’ Pizza raises a lot of money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

Last week’s 11th Annual Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight raised more than $415,000 almost $85,000 over last year’s fundraiser. All proceeds from all the day’s sales the 46 locations in Tucson and Phoenix were donated. Co-owner Mike Barro thanks loyal customers for coming out year after year that has raised more than $2.5 million dollars in the 11 years.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Ring in 2023 at these local restaurants

As we approach New Year’s Eve plans are being made about how to ring in 2023. These local restaurants are planning specially prepared dinners and as you can imagine reservations are necessary. Click on the restaurants link for more information and to make a reservation.

FRANCINE RestaurantEnjoy a French inspired menu with a Mediterranean twist for a five course meal with seating’s between 7 – 9 p.m. A DJ and champagne toast at midnight is included all for $225 per person. Go online or call 480-690-6180.

Phoenix City GrilleDinner starts at 3 p.m. with specials and the regular menu.

Hearth ’61–  A four-course dinner with first seating at 6:30 p.m $159, $199 for a 9:30 reservation. Reservations can be made by calling 480-624-5458.

ZuzuJoin the party with noshing stations, drinks and more for $150, reserve a VIP table for two for $500 or rent out the Rosie Room for up to 16 people for $4,000. The evening starts at 8 p.m. and a DJ starts entertaining at 9. Call 480-421-7997 for reservations.

Keeler’s Neighborhood SteakhouseThe Fourth Annual New Year’s Eve Gala starts at 6 p.m. with dinner buffet, live music & more for $135+ per person. Phone reservations only by calling 602-374-4784.

Thirsty Lion GastropubAll 4 Phoenix area location ring in 2023 special a la carte food and cocktails ranging from $8.95-$39.95.

Match Market & BarDinner is served from 6 p.m.- 11 then join the “Come On Barbie Let’s Go Party New Year’s Eve Party” in the Found:RE Hotel. Barbie’s Food Truck will be there with food for purchase from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. Reservations for dinner in Match can be made by calling 602-875-8080 and for Barbie’s Party click on the link above.

STK SteakhouseAn a la carte menu featuring Japanese Wagyu, caviar, Australian Wagyu and more is available starting on Friday, December 30th. On NYE enjoy a champagne toast at midnight, live DJ and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Rusconi’s American KitchenStarting a 5 p.m. enjoy a three course prix-fixe menu from Executive Chef Michael Rusconi. Dinner is $90++ per person and reservations can be made online or by calling 480-403-0009.

Roaring ForkA special Steak & Lobster dinner starts at 4 p.m. along with seasonal menus items available on only on NYE. Steak & Lobster is $68 and prices vary on other menu items. Call 480-947-0795 to make a reservation or go online.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

New Camelback Smokers coming to Joe’s Real BBQ

After 25 years in Downtown Gilbert’s Joe’s Real BBQ is undergoing an expansion to offer guests a better experience. The biggest change is the addition of two Camelback Smokers to enhance the flavors of their signature smoked meats. The restaurant will continue using its three Oyler BBQ pits and its Ferris wheel type smoker with racks.

“Camelback Smokers allow for ideal air flow during the smoking process, which really helps bring out the flavor of the meats,” says Joe Johnston, owner of Joe’s Real BBQ. “With more smoke particles flowing over the meat and getting embedded throughout the cook, guests will enjoy a delicious crispy bark and tender, juicy meat. We always strive for customer satisfaction and we are really excited to further improve the food we are serving our guests and the experience they have with us from start to finish.”

Guests will have full view of the new smokers and meats from a fenced off area outside the restaurant. Other changes to the restaurant will help maximize efficiency and keep costs down at the restaurant. A second carving and dish-up line, a to-go window and an additional door for catering are being added. Almost half of Joe’s business has been from take-out and catering since the start of Covid-19. The expansion will help the kitchen meet and exceed demand and will be completed in January 2023.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

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