Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

1/2 off bottles of wine at Kasai for National Red Wine Day

Sunday August 28th the Japanese steakhouse in Scottsdale celebrates all day with $2 off all glasses and 1/2 all bottles of wine. Red wines make great pairings for several entrees including Caymus Cabernet pairs well with Mongolian Lamb Chops, Angeline goes well with Wagyu Sliders and Yolo with the NY Strip.

Schmooze welcomes back students & teachers this weekend

All students and teachers can get 15% off their order today through Sunday at the downtown Scottsdale coffee shop & cafe. Mention “Back to Schmooze” and present a valid ID when ordering to get your discount. Looking to buy gift cards? If so, their also offering a free $20 gift card when purchasing a $100 gift card. Both offers are only available in store when ordering from a team member.

Pork on a Fork gives police and fire personnel 50% off

The new Chandler location is saying “thanks” to all members on Tuesday & Wednesday August 30th & 31st. The first responders will need to show ID to get the discount.

Cult favorite peach topped pizza back at Myke’s Pizza

The popular downtown Mesa eatery brings back it’s uncommon fruit topped pizza. While supplies (peaches) last, usually into October, guests can get a pizza topped with aged Gouda and mozzarella cheeses, crispy sage, pistachios, and golden Utah peaches for $18.50. Owner Myke Olson was inspired by his mother’s peach pies she made when he was growing up in Utah. The pizza shop has gained national attention for his use of peaches and other fruits on his pizzas.

Koibito Poke offers student discounts at all locations

All Phoenix area locations offer students with ID 15% off your entire purchase daily from 2 – 5 p.m.

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.

Jason Caballero takes over as Wine Director at Wrigley Mansion

Advanced Sommelier Jason Caballero has taken over a highly desirable position as the new Wine Director at the historic Wrigley Mansion. Caballero will oversee the award-winning wine program at the mansion’s signature restaurant Geordie’s, Jamie’s Wine Bar, Christopher’s and events held at the Mansion. In his new role he hopes to bring a Grand Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator back to Arizona and make wine more approachable to guests and not have wine used as a “social weapon”.

“Wrigley Mansion is a unique and stunning property with one of the largest wine programs in the country and a James Beard award-winning chef at Christopher’s,” says Jason Caballero. “I’m honored to be a part of it, especially at this time when Arizona is stepping up its dining and beverage scene.”

In addition to overseeing the wine program and cellar, Jason will work with and mentor other sommeliers at the Mansion, help guests with discovering new wines, pour rare wines by the glass, have a more approachable wine list and plans wine dinners and events.

How it began for Jason Caballero with wine

Jason’s journey in the restaurant and wine industry began in 2006 at Scottsdale’s Olive & Ivy before taking the reins at Chandler’s Vintage 95 as sommelier in 2011. From there he went to Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as Lead Sommelier then to Maple & Ash as Wine Director. While at Maple & Ash he helped them open Monarch in Dallas and Etta in north Scottsdale helping to curate the wine lists and train staff. Wrigley Mansion owner Jaime Hormel had met Jason at Maple & Ash several years ago and always wanted him to come join the property when the time was right.

“Jason’s credentials are impressive, and we are excited to have him join Geordie’s to elevate our already impressive wine program,” says Wrigley Mansion General Manager Vinnie Walia. “At the same time, we are equally impressed by his passion for mentoring and educating and we look forward to seeing him pursue this for our staff and guests.”

To stay on top of the ever changing wine industry he is a long time member and a newly seated on the Board of Directors at GuildSomm. Currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers he’s been invited to sit for the prestigious Master Sommelier test in July 2023 and co-founded the Society of Arizona Sommeliers to educating and support aspiring sommeliers.

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.

 

The Wine Collective of Scottsdale opens to feature Arizona wines

A new retail wine shop and wine bar quietly opened in downtown Scottsdale in April featuring almost all Arizona wines. The Wine Collective of Scottsdale is owned by wine industry veteran Zoya Vora- Shah who has several decades of wine industry experience in Arizona and around the country. Several Arizona wineries have tasting rooms nearby dedicated to their wines but The Wine Collective features about 40 offerings from many wineries around Arizona. Wines by the glass start at $8 and most bottles retail for less than $40.

“There are so many excellent Arizona wines,” Vora-Shah said. “But not everyone is familiar with them or knows which ones to try. I wanted a tasting room that was virtually 100 percent Arizona wines. That’s why I opened The Wine Collective.” She does offer a couple of sparkling wines from New Mexico’s Gruet Winery.

Summer specials for locals at The Wine Collective of Scottsdale

The Wine Collective of Scottsdale offers locals who show an Arizona ID summer specials to include:

  • June: Sip four two-ounce pours of wines on a theme with a flight for just $15 (normally $18-22). Sample light, crisp and mineral-driven selections with the Gold Rush; enjoy the refreshing Rosé All Day; try a mix of red, white and rosé and Swing Both Ways; or tell your wine concierge your preferences and Just Trust Me — they’ll do the work to surprise you with something you’ll love.
  • July: Indulge in a gourmet food pairing with 20 percent off any nosh boards, which feature the highest quality artisan meats and cheeses and local sweets from Caroline’s Chocolates.
  • August: Purchase a bottle to imbibe on-site for the normal retail price with no corkage fee.

The shop hosts parties and a monthly “Meet the Winemaker” tasting which sold out in both May and June. Vora-Shah is looking forward to being included on the Scottsdale Wine Trail and joining the 6 other tasting rooms nearby. The Wine Collective of Scottsdale is at 4020 N. Scottsdale Rd. 85251 and opens Tuesday- Sunday at 11 a.m. For more information see the website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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.

Rio Verde on the map for March’s TLC eXperience dinner

The sunset, desert and the stars will be the setting on Sunday, March 27th for the monthly supper club’s dinner. The Vista, a private ranch in the northeast valley will play host when Chef Tom’s mystery menu is served. Cocktail hour starts at 4:30 with dinner at 5:30. Seats are limited and are $175 per person and can be reserved here.

No spring training, no problem at Il Vinaio.

The downtown Mesa restaurant is giving locals and out of towners an exciting evening next Tuesday, March 8th with its Daylight Wines Pairing Dinner. The 4-course dinner will be paired with winemaker Doug Bezenberg in attendance. The dinner & wines are $48 per person and starts at 6:30 p.m. Il Vinaio is at 270 W Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201.

A few seats left for the Pillsbury Gone Wild dinner

Sam Pillsbury pairs his award-winning wines with dinner next Friday March 11th for the 6 course dinner at their Cottonwood tasting room. The dinner is $139 with wine, $98 without and you can reserve your seat(s) by calling Val at 949-466-1054.

Pedal Haus Brewery brews a special beer for International Women’s Day

The female leadership at the local brewer will be brewing Desert Classic Pale Ale to celebrate women on March 8th. The beer, part of their rotating hop series at their 3 Phoenix area locations won’t be available until April. When it is $1 of every pint will be donated to the non-profit Pink Boots Society.

Gilbert Pizza Festival postponed til 2023

Organizers had hoped to have the inaugural pizza festival in the east valley in March 2020 and you know by now what happened. Rescheduled to March 2021 and another postponement came again. All things were good for March 2022 but the venue was booked. Fast forward a year from now organizers are planning March 18th 2023 to make the festival happen. Tickets purchased will be honored in 2023 but if you want a refund email dave@phxfest.com

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.

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.

February specials at Serrano’s

Throughout the month of February the family owned Mexican restaurants are featuring 3 dishes on the menu. Chichalada is a fried masa patty stuffed with chicharrones (fried pork bites similar to bacon), onion, cilantro and queso fresco, and topped with tomatillo sauce and crema is served with one side of your choice for $10.99.

The Phat Elvis is part of the Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge and features Tagalongs Graham cracker crust, peanut butter cheesecake, whipped cream and crumbled Girl Scout Tagalongs mixed with bananas and topped with chocolate ganache, brown-sugar bacon and a bonus Tagalong cookie for $7.99. The Strawberry Margarita is the Drink of the Month is $6.99.

All four locations are looking to hire both front and back of the house employees with on the spot walk in interviews every Wednesday from 2 – 4 p.m. Apply online if you can’t get to there on Wednesday’s.

Outdoor dining coming to Nook Kitchen

The Arcadia restaurant will increase capacity by 50 seats when their new covered patio opens. Owner Frank Vairo always envisioned al fresco dining at the restaurant but couldn’t get the city of Phoenix to approve it until it became a necessity during the Covid outbreak. The restaurant remains open for dinner and late night dining on Friday & Saturday’s til 2 a.m. during construction with reservations recommended.

Brick Road Coffee opens in Tempe

Co-owners and husbands Gabe Hagen and Jesse Shank opened their new coffee shop with the Wizard of Oz philosophy of acceptance and self-realization. All are welcome to enjoy a sense of community and art with their daily cup of Joe. Custom made murals by local artist Paige Reesor and L.A. artist Corrie Mattie adorn the walls and gender neutral restrooms. Coffee is supplied by local roaster CULT Artisan Beverage Company and pastries are from Tempe’s Squarz Bakery. Brick Road is on Rural Rd. just south the the 60 Freeway.

Koibito Poke adds a Keto bowl to the menu

Those on the high fat, low carb Ketogenic diet can now get the cauliflower based bowl packed with tuna & salmon, cucumber, green onion, kale, brussel sprouts, Sriracha aioli and topped with sesame seeds. The Keto bowl is available for dine-in, take-out and delivery.

LDV Winery receives 2 awards from prestigious wine competition

The San Francisco Chronicle 2022 Wine Competition announced the Arizona winery took home a gold and silver medal for their 2015 “The Signature” Petite Sirah in the $46 and over category and their 2015 Petite Sirah in the $40- $45.99 category. The competition had 45 judges from the trade, media, retail and hospitality industry and more 5,800 wines from North America were entered.

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.

 

Arizona wineries pouring at 9th Annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival

23 Arizona wineries will be pouring their award-winning wines at the return of the 9th Annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival on Saturday February 19th in Oro Valley. Hosted by the Arizona Wine Growers Association the festival will also include local food trucks, local artists, live music and other vendors with Arizona made products.

“We are thrilled to be back at the Steam Pump ranch after taking a year off due to the global pandemic,” said Kris Pothier, president of the AWGA and owner of Chateau Tumbleweed. “Off the Vine has become one of the AWGA’s biggest events of the year and 2022 will be no different. We have some of Arizona’s best wines being poured in an absolutely beautiful setting aside the Catalina Mountains.”

A few of the Arizona wineries from northern and southern Arizona pouring on the 19th include Merkin Vineyards, Carlson Creek Vineyard and Deep Sky Vineyard. The Pete Swan Quartet entertains attendees at 11 a.m. then Paul Green and Midnight Blue take the stage at 2:15 p.m.

The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the historic Steam Pump Ranch with early bird tickets available for $30 and can be purchased on-line. Tickets include a commemorative glass and 8 tasting tickets. Day of tickets can be purchased at the gate for $35. For more information and to see upcoming events visit the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s website.

Verde Valley becomes the third AVA in Arizona

Last Friday the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) named the Verde Valley an American Viticultural Area (AVA). It’s been 4 years since the region petitioned for the esteemed designation as a federally recognized grape growing region. The unique climate, soils, topography and geography are what makes the area unique and warranting the designation.

The Verde Valley becomes Arizona’s third AVA joining Sonoita and Willcox and wineries can use the new designation on the label when using grapes from the AVA. “I am ecstatic with this TTB announcement,” said Tom Schumacher, president of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium. “The Verde Valley AVA petition was submitted to the TTB by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium in 2017. This shows that our arduous efforts to submit the petition have been fruitful.”

Photo by Josh Grey

Verde Valley vineyards

Located in the geographic center of Arizona the new AVA is 219 square miles in northeastern Yavapai County centered near Oak Creek and the Verde River. 36% of the AVA or 79 square miles is privately owned land and includes 19 vineyards covering more than 136 acres planted to grape vines. The region also is home to 25 wine tasting rooms. Over 40 grapes varieties are grown in the area that can be made into wine including white grapes Malvasia Bianca, Chardonnay and Viognier. Syrah, Petit Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon are just a few of the red grapes grown in the AVA.

Yavapai College is also in the AVA and offers offers classes, certificates and an associate degree in viticulture and enology. The Southwestern Wine Center as it’s known has a commercial, licensed and bonded winery, a teaching vineyard and tasting room. Started in 2009 the school has continually grown in class size and curriculum with many of the graduates staying in Arizona to make wine. For more information about the region 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.

The Thirsty Lion to open new & larger Westgate restaurant

The newest location in Glendale will be Arizona’s 5th and its largest with two stories and an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar. The gastropub that specializes in scratch made and seasonal cooking is set to open in December 2022. The 5,000+ square foot restaurant will be able to seat over 700 people at full capacity.

New seasonal menu at EVO from new chef Nick LaRosa

The downtown Scottsdale neighborhood restaurant rolled out an Autumn inspired menu from LaRosa. The new chef who joined EVO earlier this year loves this time of year, perfect for his Italian style cooking. A Fall Spiced Duroc Chop and Five Cheese Angliotti are just a couple of his new dishes. To hear Chef LaRosa’s story check out Episode 45 of The Podcast to here what the Chopped champion has to say.

New Nonna Urban Kitchen weekly wine tasting

Starting tonight and every Thursday night after (except Thanksgiving, cauz ya know somebody’s gonna ask or show up) the downtown Scottsdale restaurant offers a free tasting at 5:30 p.m. thanks to the help of their wine vendors.

GenuWine Arizona pouring Sand Reckoner wines on First Friday

Tomorrow night he wine bar on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix will welcome the folks from the Arizona winery to pour and mix & mingle with the crowd. Cajun food from Zydeco’s Louisiana Food truck will be on hand selling their good eats during the 6-9 p.m event.

Happy Veteran’s Day

Next Thursday November 11th is Veteran’s Day and more restaurants than not are doing something to say “Thank you” to our veterans, so many it was to many to list. Find one and raise a glass and say “Thanks”. Many local restaurants and bars are also veteran owned so look out and support those too.

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.

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.

Keeler Hospitality Group founder passes away

The Arizona restaurant community lost a good one this week when Paul Keeler sadly past away. He spent his career in the hospitality industry around the country running hotels & restaurants. He & his family owned Liberty Station Tavern in DC Ranch & Terravita, both in north Scottsdale and Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse in Carefree. They also owned to restaurants around the country. My condolences go out his family.

Serrano’s “Pink Out” in memory of Stephanie Serrano is tomorrow

All four locations will remember co-owner Stephanie who passed away from breast cancer 2 years ago this month. A portion of proceeds from sales during the month of October special will be donated to local non-profit Check for a Lump. The October specials are Stephanie’s Stacked Enchiladas, Pink Out Margarita Sampler and Pumpkin Spice Churro Donut.

A few seats still available for Monday’s dinners.

Jewel’s Cafe in Phoenix is hosting San Francisco chefs Frank Gama & Victor Aguilera for cannabis infused dinners. There are two seating’s at 5 & 8 p.m. with details and how to reserve your seats in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Gilbert Oktoberfest is next Saturday, October 23rd.

Local craft brewers, live music, food and games will be happening at Gilbert Regional Park next Saturday from 2 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 and on-sale now with children under 12 free.

Carlson Creek Vineyard releases new wines

Four hearty & bolder red wines are now available for the cooler temperatures. 2018 Rule of Three $33- 45% Malbec, 33% Grenache & 22% Syrah 2018 Malbec $47, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon $45 and 2020 Odyssey $50- a blend of Cabernet & Malbec. All wine make for great holiday gift giving and go well paired with the flavors of holiday meals. Wines can be purchased online or at their Scottsdale, Cottonwood or Willcox tasting rooms.

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.

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.

Oktoberfest at Pedal Haus Brewery October 2nd

Hard to believe its October and that means beer, brats and polka music in downtown Chandler. Saturdays celebration will include award-winning locally brewed beer and locally made brats from Von Hanson’s Meats along with pork schnitzel. Live music, a sausage eating contest and a stein hoisting contest are all part of the festivities. The Tempe location will be hosting its festival Saturday the 9th.

Wild Arizona dinner with Chef Brett Vibber hosted at Pillsbury Wine Company

Good news, two of my podcast guests are collaborating during the Willcox Wine Festival Weekend that’s coming up on October 16th & 17th. Sam Pillsbury’s award-winning winery is hosting a 6-course Wild Cuisine Dinner prepared by Chef Vibber. The $65 per person dinner starts at 5 p.m. and includes a glass of Rose 20. Bottles of wine are available for purchase and camping overnight is only $15. To see the full menu and purchase you tickets click on this link.

Smokin’ hot new menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Pitmaster Phil “The Grill” Johnson is adding to his menu starting today with Chicken Fried Nachos ($9.99) and more later this month. With Thanksgiving fast approaching (Yay!!) the downtown Phoenix restaurant debuts on October 18th a 1/2 lb. Cajun Fried Turkey Breast ($12.99) and a Turkey Monte Christo (13.99). Check out my interview with Phil here.

Press Coffee opening new downtown Phoenix location

The coffee roaster is opening its 9th location next Friday, October 8th at Van Buren and 2nd Street. During the opening weekend the community minded business will sell $1 drip coffees with 100% of its profits going to Pawsitive Friendships. The local non-profit provides animal assisted therapy for children with special needs. The downtown location will be open 7 days a week until 4 p.m.

Cooler weather means the return of farmers markets

The High Street Farmers Market returns this Sunday, October 3rd and goes through the Spring. Get locally sourced and made food, art and more from 10 a.m. – 1 :30 p.m. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market returns Saturday October 2nd from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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.

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