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.

 

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.

Miracle Mile Deli celebrates National Sandwich Month

Starting Monday August 1st the central Phoenix deli is serving up a weekly sandwich special for only $12. 8/1-8/6 – Corned Beef Sandwich 8/8-8/13 – Brisket Sandwich 8/15-8/20 – Combo (Pastrami & Corned Beef) 8/22-8/27 – The Straw. Each sandwich comes with a choice of sides and a dill pickle spear.

Phoenix City Grille offers exclusive Caymus Vineyards tasting event

Wednesday August 3rd join the vineyard’s Arizona Market Manager Stephanie Martindale for a tasting of five wines. Enjoy sipping on Emmolo Sparkling, Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Sea Sun Pinot Noir, The Walking Fool Red Blend and Bonanza Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines tasted during the event will be available for purchase with limited seating costing $25 ++ per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Britinee Reed at 602-510-7170 or privatedining@phoenixcitygrille.com

Hearth ’61 welcomes Chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos

The Chef and owner of Essence Bakery Cafe in Arcadia will be the guest chef at the restaurant’s Sunday Supper Club in August. The four-course dinner is set for August 14th at 6 p.m. and is paired with wine. Seats are $189++ per person and can be reserved here.

Sardinia’s food featured at Queen Creek Olive Mill’s dinner

The Italian region’s flavors and foods will be on prepared for August’s Tavalo dinner. Thursday August 18th from 6:30 -9:30 p.m. guests will dine on a 6-course’s with optional wine pairings. Much of the ingredients are locally sourced including from Golden Rule Dairy in Elfrida. Dinner is $124.99 per person and wine pairings are an additional $39.99. Reservations can be made here.

Caffe Vita opens tomorrow with FREE oat milk lattes.

The Seattle based coffee roaster opens its first Arizona location in the former Easley’s Fun Shop at 5th Ave. & McDowell Rd. Lattes will be available from 7 a.m. – 6p.m. Read more about the opening and more here.

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.

Lisa Dahl opens second location of Pisa Lisa

Sedona’s Culinary Queen, Lisa Dahl has brought her popular restaurant and pizzeria Pisa Lisa to the Village of Oak Creek. This is Dahl’s sixth restaurant in the Sedona area and the first with a second location. The first Pisa Lisa opened in west Sedona in 2013 with the new location offering an expanded menu with favorites including wood-fired thin crust pizza, organic salads, tapas and locally made gelato.

Pisa Lisa gets its name from what Dahl’s father would affectionately say to her when giving her a pinch growing up, “I wanna little piece of Lisa”. “I put my heart and soul into the first Pisa Lisa location which is a testament to my dedication to serving people special experiences that will turn into cherished memories while honoring the adoration I feel for my family members who are no longer with us,” said Dahl.

A personal touch from Lisa Dahl on the menu

Guests will find many personal touches on the menu including naming dishes after family members. Da Dororthy pizza is named after her mother and made with Mother sauce, provolone-mozzarella, fennel sausage, picante peppers, Parm-Reggiano. The Justino pizza is dedicated to her late son and made with Ricotta, provolone-mozzarella, San Danielle prosciutto gold, organic arugula, and white-truffle oil.

New are the antipasto plates including Lisa’s Plate, an antipasti sampler with fresh bocconcini mozzarella, tomatoes, finnochio slaw, magic mushrooms, caselveltrano olives and fire-roasted artichokes. New from the pastry team for dessert is the Cookie Monster, a warm and molten giant chocolate chip cookie sundae with Strawberry-stracciatella plant-based gelato (vegan and gluten free).

Beverages include natural sodas, local mead, 16 taps for craft beers, and top selling wines. A wide-range of healthy grab-n-go items including paninis, prepped pizzas, morning treats, and locally sourced roasted coffee are available.

The restaurant has an industrial and bohemian look in its 3,500 square feet. The raised bar is surrounded by Rock n Roll memorabilia from Capitol Records from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Indoor and outdoor seating is available as is communal seating at two large tables.

“This new location enables us to expand this heartfelt concept to a larger audience as it is ultimately a culmination of my work and passion for the Sedona culinary scene and my gratitude for those who dine at Pisa Lisa and stand with me in the belief that Rock ‘n’ Roll is here to stay!”

Pisa Lisa in the Village of Oak Creek is located at 6657 AZ-179 Ste D1, Sedona, AZ 86351. For more information visit their website.

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen brings a taste of Italy to north Phoenix.

Father and son Rocco and Marco Pezzano are no strangers to owning and operating Italian restaurants. In the summer of 2021 after a few years out of the business they were drawn back in and opened Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen in the Desert Ridge neighborhood of North Phoenix. Sfizio is Italian for “you don’t need it, but you want it” or a “craving” and you’ll want this authentic Italian cooking.

Rocco was born in southern Italy’s Calabria region and moved to Torino at 16 working in his aunt’s bakery and pizzeria. In 1986 after visiting family in the United States he re-located to Arizona and opened “That’s Italian” and “Caffe Italy” in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Marco, an architecture student at ASU often worked in the restaurants growing up and learned to love it the way his father does. Like many in the industry Rocco got burnt out and started a wholesale company opting for a desk job.

Young Marco noticed his dad, although successful, wasn’t happy and had a “unspoken passion” for owning his own restaurant, inspired him to get back in the kitchen. That was 2019 and the idea for Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen started to become a reality. Mom Zee and Marco’s sister round out the family and can be found at the restaurant when not working or in school.

The food at Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen

All the food at Sfizio is scratch made with all the ingredients imported from throughout Italy. Fresh bread and pizza dough is made twice a day and pasta is made in house every day. Popular dishes include the seafood Frutti Di Mare with shellfish tossed in a spicy red sauce over squid ink pasta, plump Lobster Ravioli and Pollo Parmigina. Pizza Napoletana get tossed and baked in the brick oven in full view of the bar and dining room. Salads, small plates, entrees, antipasto boards and pizzas are served daily at dinner. The lunch menu includes pizza, sandwiches and a couple of pastas until 3 p.m. A full bar is available as is a mostly Italian wine list.

By the time you read this a new menu should be introduced including “The Original Sfizini” available during lunch.  Created by Rocco, hollowed out fresh bread is filled with classic Italian ingredients. Sausage & Peppers, Chicken Cacciatore and Eggplant Parmigiana are just a few of the fillings. Make sure you save room for classic Italian desserts of cannoli, tiramisu and more

Sfizio Modern Italian Kitchen is open daily Monday – Friday at 11 a.m. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. 7 days a week. Happy hour is available daily in the bar. Find them at 21050 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. Visit their website for more information and to view the menus.

Winery to host Wine Country BBQ in August

Not a whole lot happens in Arizona during the summer but something you can count on is the Wine Country BBQ hosted by LDV Winery in Pearce. On Saturday August 6th, in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona winery owners Peggy Fiadaca and Kurt Dunham host wine club members and guests for their annual celebration of the harvest in progress.

The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p..m. followed by tours until 4 p.m. Lunch will of course be paired with award-winning wines and the educational tour will visit the winery and vineyards. Taking pictures is encouraged as the property has picturesque views and lots of natural beauty.

Those looking to spend the night are encouraged to speak with Peggy about nearby lodging. Those with RVs or looking to camp (bring your own tent,etc) are invited to spend the night “amongst the vines”. Cost is $40 per person and $30 for wine club members. Lunch, a glass of wine and a tour are all included. You can register to attend here or call or email Peggy at 480-664-4822.

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.

” Cool, Cool Summer” patio parties at Los Sombreros

All 3 locations are cooling things down this summer with Oaxacan- inspired patio parties. DJs, a taco bar, Margarita specials and giveaways will be featured at all events.

The Uptown Phoenix location hosts Los Amigos Brunch Party on Sunday June 25th & July 28th.

Extended Happy Hour in Mesa from 4 – 9 p.m. Thursday’s June 23rd and July 21st.

Scottsdale Extended Happy Hour also from 4 – 9 p.m. on Thursday’s June 30th & July 28th.

Sand Reckoner wine tasting tonight at GenuWine Arizona

A free wine tasting tonight from 6-9 p.m. during Roosevelt Row’s First Friday. 20% off any bottles purchased tonight too.

Wagyu specials at STK Steakhouse in June

In celebration of National Steakhouse Month the Scottsdale steakhouse is offering premium cuts of Wagyu from Japan, Australia and America.

Choose your choice of Wagyu – Masami Ranch Roasted Bone Marrow ($33), A5 Wagyu Spinalis ($99), A5 Kumaou Wagyu ($39 Strip / $44 Filet) Hanger Steak ($79), Picanha ($84), Rosewood Ranch Gold Ribeye ($134), or Tomahawk ($139).

Select your topping – Unami A5 Butter, A5 Miso Bacon Butter, Wagyu Tallow Caramelized Onions, Bourbon Bacon Marmalade ($12).

Meet the Winemaker at Scottsdale Wine Collective

Sam Pillsbury will be pouring his wines and telling his story on Thursday June 9th at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be reserved here.

2 Summer Clubs offered at LDV Winery

The Arizona winery is hosting 2 monthly non-club member events at their Scottsdale tasting room starting in June.

Summer Wine Circle offers guest new Arizona wines and compare it to an LDV wine. Taste and talk with bites to eat on June 8th, July 13th, August 10th & September 14th from 6 – 7 p.m. Cost is $75 per month.

Vineyard to Table Supper Club- Only 20 seats are available for this popular multi-course dinner prepared by Benedict’s Catering & Events with LDV wine pairings. Each dinner is $140 per person and is all inclusive. Dinners start at 6 p.m. June 16th, July 21st (Peggy & Kurt do the cooking), August 18th and September 22nd. Reserve your seats for each months events by calling 480-664-4822 or emailing info@ldvwinery.com

Several of the above establishments and people in this week’s Sips & Bites have been guests on my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sip + Shop at the Hotel Valley Ho’s Summer Market Series

As things heat up in the valley, farmer’s markets tend to wind down until the Fall and the Hotel Valley Ho is filling that void with its Sip + Shop Summer Market Series. Hotel guests and locals are invited to attend the monthly market on the 3rd Saturday morning of June, July August and September from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sip + Shop is reminiscent to the hotel’s Chef + Farmers Market series from 2018 & 2019.

Each month’s market will have a theme with live music and feature local chefs & purveyors offering samples. It’s free to attend and each guest will receive a wristband allowing for 6 tastes of wine, spirits and beer. Guests will also receive a voucher for 20% off at Zuzu to be used before the next month’s market. Cocktails will be available for purchase and will include recipes.

Sip + Shop dates are June 18thRosé + Bubbles, July 16th–  Olé! Latin Flavors, August 20thViva Italia, September 17thBourbon + Big Reds.

To hear the hotel’s Executive Chef Russel LaCasce’s story listen to Episode 26 of Pulling Corks and Forks: The Podcast.

 

 

Queen Creek Olive Mill hosting Tavolo dinner

Family and tradition go together like food and wine and Thursday, June 2 all will be featured at the Tavolo Dinner at the Queen Creek Olive Mill. The family- style dinner will feature the flavors, foods & culture of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region known for Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, Parmigiano-Reggiano & Prosciutto di Parma. The 5-course dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and professionally paired wines are optional.

  • Antipasti
    • Prosciutto Di Parma  Rousseau Farm Melons, Burrata & Basil finished with QCOM Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
    • Mortadella Crostini Con Gnocco Ingrassato – Modenese Pork Fat Flat Bread with thinly sliced Mortadella finished with QCOM Peach White Balsamic Reduction
  • Primi
    • Tagliatelle Al Ragu – Fresh House-made Tagliatelle Pasta, served with a Ragu of succulent Lamb & Pork slowly braised with Onions, Carrots, Celery, Tomatoes, & hardy herbs finished with QCOM Balanced Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Secondi
    • Maiale Al Latte – Pork Loin from The Pork Shop braised in Milk and fresh Herbs, served with creamy Polenta & roasted Garden Vegetables
  • Insalata
    • Olio E Aceto – Fresh Greens from Steadfast Farm lightly tossed in QCOM Balanced Extra Virgin Olive Oil & QCOM White Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
  • Dolce
    • Latte Della Regione – Parmigiano Reggiano Panna Cotta + Parmigiano Reggiano with Fig Balsamic Reduction

Seats are $99.95 with $40 optional wine pairings and reservations are required and can be made here. The Queen Creek Olive Mill is located at 25062 S. Meridan Rd. Queen Creek 85142.

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.

Arizona Restaurant Week starts today

The twice yearly Arizona Restaurant Week gives locals & visitors a chance to visit new restaurants and try something new at their favorites. 126 restaurants are ready to serve a special 3 -course menu starting today and running until Sunday May 29th.  Prie-fixe menus of $33, $44 or $55 allow guests to discover unique dishes specially created for the next 10 days. Visit the Arizona Restaurant Association’s website to see participating restaurants and their menus.

Meet the owner of Aridus Wine Company

Founder & owner Scott Dahmer will be stopping by their Scottsdale tasting room today from 5-8 p.m. He’ll be telling his story of why he founded the wine company and about what’s next with the brand.

Pedal Haus downtown Phoenix add to brunch menu

Saturday’s and Sunday’s just got a little better in downtown Phoenix as the newest location of the award-winning brewery adds to their brunch menu.

The “You Wake, We Bake” special are the Southwest Gourmet Breakfast – fluffy scrambled eggs, chicken apple and chorizo pork sausage links, bacon, seasoned breakfast potatoes, black beans, pico de gallo, grilled peppers, and tortillas. Also the Haus Gourmet Breakfast – fluffy scrambled eggs, chicken apple and pork sausage links, bacon, seasoned breakfast potatoes, baked beans, roasted mushrooms and tomatoes, and toast.

Each entree comes with your choice of a select Pedal Haus beer, a BEERmosa, a regular mimosa or a Bloody Mary for $16.

“Dinner on Us” returns to the Roaring Fork

It’s been a Memorial Day tradition at the Scottsdale restaurant when you buy one entrée you get a 2nd for free on Monday, May 30th. Choose from Rotisserie Chicken, the Big Ass Burger, Bacon Wrapped Beef tenderloin and other wood-fired favorites. Reservations are suggested for dinner that starts at 4 p.m. and more information is at their website.

The Culver’s Food truck rolls into the Phoenix Zoo today.

All things are good as the “From Wisconsin With Love” Food Truck Tour makes its way to Phoenix today. As mentioned on Monday the truck will be serving up cheese curds and frozen custard from 10 a.m. – 4p.m. today.

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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