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.”

look
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.

Match Restaurant and Lounge serves up brunch buffet & burgers

Downtown Phoenix’s Match Restaurant and Lounge now offers two new weekly food specials. The signature restaurant inside the Found:Re Hotel is offering  burger and beer fans a pairing of the two. Every Thursday from 5 p.m. -11 p.m. enjoy a burger & draft beer for $10. What a better way to end your week than with a hot juicy burger washed down with a cold draft beer.

On Sunday’s head to Match for their new brunch buffet. Feast on a rotating menu of crab legs, prime rib and other breakfast and lunch favorites. Make your way to the omelet station then stop by the Bloody Mary bar to mix up your favorite Sunday cocktail.

Brunch is offered from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for $35 ++ and include 2 Bloody Mary’s or 2 Mimosa’s.

Whether your dining on Thursday or Sunday, Match offers 2 hours of complimentary valet parking.

Match Restaurant and Lounge is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003. 602-875-8080

Birdgang Travel Club partners with BBQ Island for tailgate cooking lessons

Football season is here and tailgaters are saving their parking spots for cooking and pre-game partying. The Birdgang Travel Club will be out and about psyching up Cardinals fans up for 2019 season. The NFL team has high hopes after drafting first taking QB Kyler Murray. One of the Birdgang’s first event is at BBQ Island in Tempe for a “Tailgating 101” cooking class.

Saturday August 24th the class will teach fans to cook brisket stuffed jalapeño poppers, smoked chicken wings and more.Birdgang Travel Club

“We started Birdgang Travel Club as a way to show our dedication to the Red Sea across the great state and beyond. It’s been so much fun putting events together, celebrating with friends and making new ones each season,” said Tyler Vasquez, Co-Founder, Birdgang Travel Club.

Space is limited for “Tailgating 101” that goes from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the BBQ Island Tempe 1715 W. Ruby Dr. #105 85284. Tickets need to be pre- purchased for $50 or $45 for 2 or more.

More Birdgang Travel Club events

The die hard Cardinals fans are planning to hit the road with the team a couple of times this season. Reservations are being taken for road trips to Oct. 24-28 to New Orleans and Nov. 7-11 in Tampa Bay vs former head coach Bruce Arians.

Home games they huddle up at Majerle’s Sports Bar in Chandler before busing out to Glendale. The safe ride option offers breakfast buffet, a tailgate lunch and a ride to & from the stadium for $65. Tickets to the game and alcohol are not included. Fans are welcome to bring beer and alcohol for the ride over to the game. Tickets need to be pre-purchased.

“We started out as a small group of friends that would travel to away games but found it to be very expensive in small groups and quickly realized that by traveling in larger groups we could save a ton of money and have a lot more fun! So, we started Birdgang Travel Club as a way to take some of the work and expense out of individual travel planning. Now, after four years of traveling as a group, we are booking 200-300 fans at a time and are able to pass along an amazing experience and savings to our members,” continued Vasquez.

Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl is back with more restaurants

Saturday August 10th is the return of the Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl and it’s bigger and better than last year. The self-guided crawl goes from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. and has 14 restaurants serving up food and drinks. $5 Event Ticket gets you $7 food and drink options at all restaurants, FREE parking & sunglasses.  Check-in on the southwest corner of 5th & Mill and your on your way.

Tickets are selling quickly and can be purchased here and more information can be found on the website.

The 14 participating restaurants in the Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl are……

  • Americana Burgers & Beer
  • Caffe Boa Bistro and Wine Bar
  • Daily Jam
  • Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row
  • El Hefe Super Macho Taqueria
  • Morning Squeeze
  • Nékter Juice Bar
  • Original ChopShop Tempe
  • Pedal Haus Brewery
  • Pita Jungle
  • Rula Bula Irish Pub
  • Snakes & Lattes Tempe
  • Spinelli’s Pizza
  • Varsity Tavern

 

Matt’s Big Breakfast announces Scottsdale for its next location

With 4 locations around the valley Matt’s Big Breakfast has announced that its 5th location will be in Scottsdale. After teasing and getting feedback from customers on social media the southwest corner of Scottsdale Rd & Thunderbird will be the new location. When it opens this fall people will line-up for one of the iconic names on the valley’s breakfast scene.

“Scottsdale was hungry,” said Matt Pool, owner and namesake of the most important meal of the day. “Local fans have even submitted suggestions on vacant spots for us to take over!”

This will be the eateries first franchised location taking on the atmosphere of the neighborhood. The menu, fundamentals and culture will be staying the same.

Matt’s Big Breakfast has received national attention with mentions in the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Eater. An appearance on The Food Network also helped put them on the national map.

Matt's Big Breakfast
French Toast

Relying on locals at Matt’s Big Breakfast

Sourcing ingredients from local purveyors customers in Scottsdale can expect sweet and savory dishes from Griddle Cakes to Salami Scrambles. The Big Butter Burger is a favorite of many and pays tribute to Pool’s Wisconsin upbringing.

“One of our main priorities is to avoid growing simply for the sake of growth, and to instead let it happen organically, and with the right people taking the reins of each new restaurant we open,” said Pool. “While this new location may have minor stylistic differences from existing Matt’s restaurants, guests will get to enjoy the same quality, consistency & superior service that they’ve come to expect from the Matt’s Big Breakfast family.”

Since opening in downtown Phoenix in 2004 the eatery has opened in Tempe, Arcadia and Sky Harbor Airport.

“We’re thrilled to add a Scottsdale location to the Matt’s Big Breakfast family,” Pool said. “Local fans will find everything they love about Matt’s at the new location – they just don’t have to drive as far now to enjoy it.”

For more information about Matt’s Big Breakfast checkout their website.

Chef Tandy Peterson has new Spring seasonal menu at Mowry & Cotton

Guests dining for dinner and brunch at Mowry & Cotton will notice new dishes to choose from the next time they dine at the restaurant. Chef de Cuisine Tandy Peterson has added Spring vegetables and proteins to the menu at the award-wining restaurant.

At the modern American restaurant inside The Phoenician Resort, Peterson has chosen lighter and fresh fare for Spring dining. New dishes on the dinner menu include Corn & Chorizo dip with chicharrones, chilis & Oaxaca cheese. Popular American comfort food favorite Chicken Pot Pie is packed with potatoes, sage veloute and Spring vegetables. A fresh tuna steak and Blistering Shishito Peppers are also featured on the new menu.

New brunch menu items feature Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Belgian Waffles with lemon curd, berries and Chantilly cream.

Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician 6000 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. To make reservations to dine with Chef Tandy Peterson call 480.423.2530

Tempe Public Market Cafe to close in May for a re-model

Popular eatery Tempe Public Market Cafe will temporarily close Monday May 6th to make some changes. The cafe will become a full service cafe and preparations are being made.

“We are committed to keeping in line with the look and feel of this close-knit area,” said Dave Chamberlin, president of Tempe Public Market Café. “When you are relaxing on our patio or if you’re getting a bite with friends and family, we want you to feel like you are at your second home.”

When the restaurant re-opens in early June customers will notice more tables, high top tables on the patio and  plans for a projector. Inside they will have new menu options along with full-service brunch and dinner. Other changes include community tables replacing booths, a new lounge area and an expanded retail area. The retail area will allow for more merchandise, sauces and products from local vendors.Tempe Public market Cafe

A new pastry case will entice customers with sweet treats and new tiles and murals will add color to the decor.

Local artist Gennaro Garcia has been commissioned for the murals both inside and out. Garcia is known for vibrant murals around Phoenix and is popular with other restaurants.

“The work we are doing at the restaurant is all with the community in mind,” said Chamberlin.

Valued employees will be offered jobs at the company’s headquarters and at its sister restaurant Ghost Ranch during the closure.

Tempe Public Market Cafe is at 8749 S. Rural Rd. Tempe 85284. For more information visit their website.

 

I spent my Spring Break eating my way through Salt Lake City

Most people spend their Spring Break heading to beaches or somewhere exotic. I spent my Spring Break road tripping to Salt Lake City to explore the city and food scene. I enjoyed meals at locally owned restaurants based on the recommendation of my friend who has spent the last year living in the area.

The 10 hour drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake City we knew we’d have to stop for at least one meal on the way up. Heading through Page and past Lake Powell into southern Utah you don’t have a lot options once you cross the border. Most meals were under $20 with a couple just above.

First 24 hours in Utah

We decided to stop for dinner in Kanab and pulled into Big Al’s Burgers Drive-In. Kanab is the main route as you head from eastern Arizona to the national parks of southern Utah and points north. A nice little town before you head up the back roads towards I-15. Big Al’s is exactly what you’d expect, burgers, fries, shakes and a few other drive-in favorites. I went with Double Rustler Burger value meal, a cheeseburger, fries and chocolate shake. Friendly service and made to order food made for a positive first impression of the Utah food scene. It was also my first experience being asked if I wanted “Fry Sauce”. Expect to be asked for this mayo ketchup combo in Utah when ordering fries and other fried foods. I declined as I prefer only ketchup but did taste my friends sauce. It was exactly what you’d expect.

After we made our way through the canyons and over the mountain pass into the night and a snowstorm we arrived late in the night at our destination.

After sleeping in and eggs and coffee at my friend’s place for breakfast we made our way for a mid-afternoon dim sum lunch at Cafe Anh Hong. In a small strip mall full of far east restaurants Anh Hong wasn’t the traditional dim sum restaurant. No ladies pushing carts full of dim sum delicacies but a picture menu under the plexiglass table top. Tell them what you want and everything is made to order. Many dim sum favorites to satisfy your dim sum cravings.

A late dinner was a homemade 24 hour sous vide short rib over risotto prepared by my host was so good I had to mention it.

Breakfast & lunch in Salt Lake City

Waking up the next morning we made our way to the Draper location of La Barba Coffee. Considered one of the if not the best coffee in SLC we sat there sipping our coffee pondering where to go for breakfast. Sipping on a Guatemalan drip coffee I paid more attention to it than I normally would a cup of coffee, it was good cup.

Desiring a breakfast burrito we drove to Taqueria El Gallo Loco in Sandy. I went with Chorizo burrito which was a little light on chorizo for my liking. My friend went with a bowl of Tripe thoroughly enjoying it. We ordered the Flan for dessert (yeah at breakfast) and glad we did, it was topped with toasted coconut and was so good. The owner and our server were friendly and offered good service. I’d give them another shot at a Chroizo burrito.

A mid-afternoon lunch had me desiring an Italian deli sandwich and my friend knew right where to go. We made our way to the 15th & 15th location of Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli where I went with The Caputo. Prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone and all the fixings. They dress it with balsamic vinegar as opposed to red wine vinegar which was an interesting choice. Served on an artisan roll I’d come back again. Check off Italian deli off my list.

Enjoying the neighborhood that Tony’s is in we went across the street to Sweetaly for a cup of gelato. It hit the spot after my meaty sandwich.

Park City here we come

With the ski town of Park City less than an hour away we headed into the mountains for lunch. It’s “Mud Season” in Park City so some restaurants close down for a few weeks. We found out the hard way when we wanted to grab a bite to eat at High West Distillery & Saloon. We wound up the brew pub of Wasach Brewing with brunch in full effect. Sipping on an Apricot Hefe with my Wasach burger made for a tasty Park City experience. The Wasach burger is made with buffalo meat and topped with a spicy Cajun remoulade.

I vetoed lunch a Tekila for the brew pub but my friend highly recommends it.

In case you’re wondering dinner at friend’s house back in SLC for homemade corn chowder and cake.

Final day in Salt Lake City

A lazy Sunday morning had us getting a slow start and finally motivating in early afternoon. We picked up a friend and decided to head for something new to me.

A couple of doors down from dim sum was Kungfu Hotpot where I experienced Hotpot cooking for the first time. A pot of mild and spicy boiling broth we filled it with beef, pork, mushrooms, vegetables and more letting it cook to our desired temperatures. The All-You-Can-Eat restaurant had us ordering more piles of beef, greens and seafood balls until I threw down my chopsticks and said “no more”. An interesting experience I’m not sure I could find in Phoenix.

Just a few miles from downtown SLC we made our way to Temple Square to see the gardens, the state capitol and the University of Utah. One last stop before we headed to my friend’s place for the night, Dolcetti Gelato. The Blueberry Balsamic & Rosewater treat to finish my foodie visit to SLC hit the spot after the spicy hotpot.

SLC looks to have a great restaurant scene as I scanned local magazines and websites. Locally owned restaurants and several chains I’ve never seen before looked interesting. I hope to return one day to eat my way through more of what there is to offer. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City on a Sunday be aware that many restaurants aren’t open, even those you’d expect to be including coffeehouses.

To see pictures of my trip to SLC follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix now offers weekend brunch

The new location of Taphouse Kitchen at Shea & 32nd St. has started serving weekend brunch. The brunch menu offers classic breakfast favorites and cocktails. Taphouse Kitchen favorites including Fish Fry Everyday Baby !!, their Signature Burger and more are available at brunch. Brunch is available on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Taphouse Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Taphouse Kitchen

Here are a few highlights from the brunch menu.

  • Eggs Benedict. Sourdough, smoked turkey, poached eggs, guacamole, smoked tomato, hollandaise sauce
  • Croque Monsieur. Sourdough, ham, gruyère, béchamel sauce
  • French Toast. Challah bread, cinnamon, vanilla bean crème brûlée, fresh berries
  • Pastrami Hash. Shaved pastrami, TapHouse taters, two sunny side up eggs, whole grain mustard hollandaise
  • Grilled Cheese. Sourdough, mushrooms, fontina, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, fried egg
  • Biscuits and Gravy. Cheddar biscuits, jalapeño sausage gravy, two eggs any style
  • Simple Breakfast. Two eggs any style, TapHouse taters, toast, choice of bacon or sausage

Brunch Cocktails

  • Mimosa. Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Orange Mango
  • Sangria. Seasonal red or white
  • THK Bloody Mary with local Paddington vodka
  • Strawberry-Peach Bellini
  • Basil Grapefruit Gimlet
  • Cucumber Press

Pizza at Taphouse Kitchen

The Phoenix location also serves “forno” style thin crust pizza. The handcrafted pizzas come with traditional pizza toppings including Meatball, Pepperoni and a White Pizza.

Taphouse Kitchen Phoenix is at 3131 E. Shea Blvd. 85028 and in Scottsdale at 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd #108 85250. For more information go to their website.

CB Live doesn’t stop the party during new Om-Lit! Brunch

If you like loud DJ pumped music with your morning coffee, Bloody Mary or Mimosa there’s plenty of Phoenix restaurants that will keep the party going into the afternoon. The newest is served up CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace which kicked off their Om-Lit! brunch this past Sunday.

“We are so excited to launch OM-LIT! at CB Live. Phoenix has some of the best brunch weather in the country and with our amazing patio and a menu like the one we’ve created, we’re thrilled to start making a splash for breakfast, in addition to lunch and dinner.” said Ryan Handelsman, marketing and business director for CB Live.

The boozy breakfast starts every Sunday at 11 a.m. with a new breakfast menu along with Bottomless Mimosas and BYO Bloody Mary’s. The menu includes breakfast classics with inventive twists such as eggs benedict, fried chicken and waffles and omelettes. Healthy food options such as coconut oatmeal are available as well.

Throughout out brunch DJ Myth and DJ V-Easy pump out music from their turntables at the stage above the bar.

CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace is at 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information see their website.