The largest BBQ event west of Texas moves to Tumbleweed Park

Update: Postponed, no new date set!

When the 11th annual KNIX BBQ & Beer Festival opens the gates at 12 noon on Saturday March 28th it will be at new location. The BBQ event has moved to the larger Tumbleweed Park in Chandler with 50,000 people expected to attend.

The festival is attracting pit-masters from around Arizona and the country for what’s been awarded “outstanding event of the year”. Over 12 cocktails and beers will be showcased to wash down your spicy, sweet & tangy smoked meats and more. Local BBQ joints include Bobby Q’s, Can’t Stop Smokin’ BBQ, Farm Boy Foods and Tom’s BBQ.BBQ event

Lee Brice and Craig Morgan will co-headline the event presented by iHeart Media and 102.5 KNIX. Country music fans will enjoy non-stop music from multiple stages throughout the 10 hour event. Country superstars Locash and Caylee Hammack will perform along with local talent Jim Bachman & the Day Drinkers, Blaine Long, Drew Cooper and Jacob Morris. Festival goers can enjoy the “For the Love of BBQ” Lounge, VIP tent, Kid Kick Back Zone or other areas.

“This is an incredible musical line-up,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We are thrilled to partner with iHeart and KNIX to be able to bring this star-studded festival to Chandler for one of our largest events of the year.”

Tickets are on sale now and range in price from $15 for General Admission up to $150 for VIP. To purchase tickets or get more information for the largest BBQ event west of Texas head to their website. Tumbleweed Park is 745 E. Germann Rd. in Chandler.

Foodies don’t care about a little rain at Day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic

Many of Saturday’s events around Phoenix were cancelled but don’t mess with foodies and our food festivals but that’s what the weather gods did on day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic. A rainy morning forced Desert Botanical Garden staff, Local First Arizona and purveyors to scramble to but it didn’t deter those in attendance. Umbrella, tents and raincoats were busted out to minimize the rain and puddles.

Here are a few of the many highlights of day 1. Be sure to check back for sunnier day 2 and for more images and commentary check my Instagram @SandyWass  Facebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman

Bar Magic serving up Hurricane Cocktail in the VIP Lounge with Mardi Gras theme
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Prep & Pastry Churro Cronut & Blueberry Scone
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Scandinavian Sushi coming to Scottsdale later this year from Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
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AZ Wilderness PB & J Burger
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A leaky tent didn’t dampen the spirits of L’Auberge de Sedona Chef Morgan serving her delicious dessert
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T. Cooks Arcadia Orange Bombe- white chocolate, Grande Marnier mouss, hazelnut & citrus curd
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Dust Cutter Restaurant’s confit pork belly, masa, chorizo & roasted poblano gremolata
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Lincoln Steakhouse Surf & turf- Lobster Escargot & Beef Tongue Popover
Love seeing all the color exhibits and art at the Desert Botanical Garden

Bulleit Bourbon to again throw Derby Day party at Turf Paradise

Update: The party has been cancelled.

The Run for the Roses a.k.a. The Kentucky Derby comes early this year as the first Saturday in May falls on the 2nd. Phoenix’s only horse track, Turf Paradise is the perfect atmosphere to watch the horses run locally before the big race from Louisville’s Churchill Downs. Big hats, bow ties and fancy attire will be on full display at the track and more so at the return of the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub party.

Guests at the Derby DayClub can sit track side in an air conditioned tent to sip Mint Juleps, beer, wine & champagne, watch the horses (and people) and root for your favorite horse. Food trucks, a DJ, big screen TVs and track side betting are highlights of the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub. Bulleit Bourbon

Previous years DayClubs have sold out so the sooner you reserve your seats the better. Tickets are now on sale with several ticket options available. Enjoy the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge by reserving a table for you and 7 of your friends to get a close up view of all the racing.

Front-row Reserved Tables (8 guests): $1,000 and includes a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne. Upgrades to premier center of tent location for $100.

Second-row Reserved Tables (8 guests): $750 and includes a complimentary bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Upgrades to prime center of tent location for $100.

Third-row Reserved Tables (8 guests): $500 and includes a complimentary bottle of Chandon Champagne. Upgrades to center of tent location for $100.

General Admission to the DayClub are $30 before April 17th then $40 and $50 at the door. A limited amount of Reserved Seats are available for $60 until April17th then go up to $75.

 

 

Ted’s Dog Park opens today at Ted’s Refreshments in Tempe

Mill Avenue’s Ted’s Refreshments opens Ted’s Dog Park today at 11 a.m. An extension of the patio, dog owners can un-leash their pets and order food and drinks while your pooch makes new friends. The Chicago styled dive bar celebrates the opening today from 1-4 p.m. with live music and food & drink specials. The dog park will stay open until 8 p.m.

Get 2 for 1 hot dogs, $3 Jameson’s & well drinks, $4 Bloody Mary’s, $5 Margaritas and $7 Pedal Haus pitchers. Bring your dog with you and your first drink is $1. Text “DOGPARK” to (855)336-2917 to get a free gift for your dog.

Ted’s Dog Park at Ted’s Refreshments is at 404 S. Mill Ave. Tempe 85281

 

The Stillery coming to new development in downtown Chandler

A new development in downtown Chandler just snagged the popular Nashville bar and restaurant The Stillery to move in. When it opens this fall at the New Square mixed use development downtown it will be its first location outside of Nashville. Other tenants include a Hilton Garden Inn, the first hotel built downtown since the San Marcos Resort over 100 years ago and the 10 year old DC Steakhouse moves south of its current location.

Chandler residents Steve and Alane Kovach founded The Stillery and once opened it will serve elevated comfort food and be the largest music venue in Chandler. Signature dishes include Nashville hot chicken, double stacked burgers, wood-fired pizzas and more. Grab a southern style cocktail, beer or moonshine at the horseshoe shaped bar before you hit the dance floor.

A stage, lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system will give downtown Chandler an indoor venue for live music. The historic neighborhood is popular with music & food festivals at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park and restaurants and bars .

New Square started construction in 2018 and is a partnership between local developer Spike Lawrence Ventures and HCW LLC. The development is slated to have tenants move in this spring with a grand opening celebration on March 25th.

“At New Square, we’ve brought together a selection of businesses that fill a need and bring great meaning to the community. The Stillery is such an exciting addition and will help to further elevate downtown Chandler’s dining and nightlife scene,” said Spike Lawrence, founder of Spike Lawrence Ventures. To stay up to date about The Stillery’s open date head to their website.

 

 

Mardi Gras fun with a jazz brunch at The Boulders Resort

Bananas Foster, beads and beignets are part of Mardi Gras parties and you can celebrate the festive day at The Boulder Resort’s Mardi Gras Jazz Brunch. Sunday February 23rd on the outdoor terrace at the resort’s Grill Kitchen & Bar guests will revel in the sounds of Louisiana along with New Orleans and French Creole cuisine from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sip on New Orlean’s Hurricane cocktails or Mimosas from the cart while enjoying Classic Cajun Gumbo, Egg Sardou Benedict, Shrimp Grits and more. Take in the breathtaking desert views while grooving to live jazz music.Mardi Gras

Tickets are $75 per person plus tax & gratuity. Reservations and more information can be had by calling 480-488-9020 or visiting https://www.theboulders.com/. The Boulders is at 34631 N. Tom Darlington Dr. Carefree AZ. 85377.

KMLE Country Chili, Bourbon & Beer Festival brings the heat

A bowl of spicy chili, a shot of bourbon and a cold beer to wash it down sounds pretty good. Enjoy all three at the 3rd annual KMLE Country Chili, Bourbon & Beer Festival when it returns to downtown Chandler on Saturday February 29th. The festival at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park invites home cooks to the chili cook-off to see how they stack up against local restaurants.

A dozen top shelf bourbons, cocktails and craft beer will be featured along with a day’s worth of live music. Southbound, Western Fusion Band & Jim Bachman and the Day Drinkers are a few bands filling their air with country music. Life size lawn games and cornbread, chili dog and Frito pie eating contests will keep the day fun and festive.KMLE Country Chili, Bourbon & Beer Festival

“The event is a great combination of favor and flair,” said Landon Evans creative director of HDE Agency, the event’s producer. “From mild to unbearably hot chili offerings and over a dozen of top shelf bourbons you’re likely not to try – we welcome all to indulge, experience and engage with the variety of bourbons, beers and bands.”

A portion of the proceeds from the KMLE Country Chili, Bourbon & Beer Festival will be donated to the Greater Cause Foundation. The non-profit gives back to communities greater causes including a children’s welfare, anti-bullying, hunger, animal abuse and more.

Tickets for the festival that starts at 12 noon are available at the festival’s website. Dr A.J. Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. Chandler.

 

Top Chef John Tesar coming to 2020 Nirvana Food & Wine Festival

Update: Rescheduled to October. Purchased tickets good then, details to come.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa has announced the dates and schedule of events for the fourth annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival. April 16th -19th Chef and Nirvana host Beau MacMillan welcomes celebrity chef’s Robert Irvine, Scott Contant and Bravo Network’s “Top Chef” winner John Tesar. Celebrities including Rob Riggle and The Bella Twins and other chefs will be hosting and having fun with guests along with chefs and mixologists from around Arizona.

“This event is one that is so near and dear to my heart,” said MacMillan. “Having the opportunity to celebrate outstanding culinary talent, mixology, music and more alongside some of my closest friends and fellow foodies is a true privilege. Nirvana really offers something for everyone and that’s a big part of what makes the festival such a special experience.”

The annual festival celebrates food, wine, music and spirits in a most luxurious resort in the valley and has become a very popular festival in only three years.

Top Chef

Tickets for the five headlining events are available with additional events and after parties still may be added to the weekend’s festivities.

Thursday, April 16- Wood, Wine & Wagyu presented by Far Niente 

The 2020 festival kicks off with this ever-popular event, featuring superstar culinary talent from across North America preparing Snake River Farms American Wagyu cooked over open-wood flames while celebrity mixologists craft whisky-based cocktails utilizing Woodford Reserve. Guests will then be invited to take their places at the table for an intimate, family style dinner with wines hand selected by Far Niente. Country music superstars D. Vincent Williams, Dillon Dixon and Joe Diffy will provide musical accompaniment. Tickets start at $350.

Friday, April 17- Flutes & Coops

Experience the ultimate Champagne campaign and fried chicken feast headlined by DJ Miss Mixx, Fosterson and 17 of the Valley’s best chefs preparing their best fried chicken recipes. This indoor/outdoor event will feature full bars and cocktails shaken by some of the Valley’s best mixologists with one chef being crowned king of Flutes & Coops by popular vote. Tickets start at $150.

Saturday, April 18- Tequila & Tortillas

Grab the salt and limes! Held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho, this year’s Dia de los Muertos-themed Tequila & Tortillas event will feature nearly 20 locally and nationally recognized chefs cooking up the best of the best in southwestern fare. Since no fiesta is complete without tequila, several of the Valley’s top cocktailers will be on-site mixing up delicious tequila-based cocktails.

This year’s event also features a team “taco takedown” competition, tequila luges and a stunning art presentation by the renowned Gennaro Garcia. Tickets start at $125.

Saturday, April 18- Best of the West

The biggest event of the weekend, Best of the West will be hosted by Scott Conant and Tony Abou-Ganim and will offer 20 live-action stations showcasing cuisine from the most talented chefs of the Valley and greater Arizona. Set to the backdrop of the stunning Camelback Mountain, this not-to-miss event will also offer live musical performances from Double D and the Nashville Allstars to close out the night. Tickets start at $175

Sunday, April 19- Rosé Parté  

The star-studded rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, co-hosted by Robert Irvine and the Bella Twins. Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with some of the Valley’s top culinary talent as well as taste two-dozen different rosé wines. This brunch-style party will also include craft cocktails, ice carvings, a raw bar and beats by DJ Miss Mixx. Giving new meaning to the term “Sunday Funday,” this is a not-to-miss closing experience. Tickets start at $150.

Nobu Scottsdale opens Monday and is taking reservations

The new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square is buzzing with excitement as world renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa opens Nobu Scottsdale on Monday January 27, 2020. The sushi and Japanese cuisine restaurant has begun taking reservations for this highly anticipated opening. His first restaurant opened in New York City in 1994 with partners Robert DeNiro and Meir Teper, the trio now have restaurants on 6 continents.

“Scottsdale is a very special city, and a location we have been looking forward to opening for a very long time,” said Chef Matsuhisa. “Scottsdale is a truly unique destination for a special kind of luxury and Fashion Square is at the center of it all,” he said.

Chef Nobu made a name for himself in the 1990’s when he put his take on classic Japanese cuisine and sushi using new flavors and cooking techniques. He’s built a loyal following at over 40 restaurants and hotels around the world.

Nobu Scottsdale will have classic dishes such as Yellow Tail Sashimi and Black Cod with miso along with dishes only found in Scottsdale. Local ingredients will play a big role on the menu and cocktail program. The cocktail program continues to evolve as mixoligists from around the world continue to curate it.

“Each location has a unique menu that is influenced by global trends as well as the local scene,” says Nobu. “We look forward to bringing guests the signature dishes they have come to love, along with new dishes exclusive to Nobu Scottsdale.”

Nobu Scottsdale is taking reservations for dinner and can be made by calling 480-581-0055 or by visiting their website.

 

Plant based GuacStar Kitchen to open first location in Tempe

One of the biggest trends in 2019 was plant based foods and soon the first plant based restaurant in Arizona will open in Tempe. When GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina opens near ASU at University & Rural Roads it will be a one of a kind eating, drinking and entertaining restaurant.

Partners James Carlin, Tom Cerino, Randy Feldman, Suzanne Davis and Julie LaRussa look to re-define plant based restaurants with an upbeat and hip concept found in N.Y.C and L.A. “GuacStar’s goal is very simple – to show the masses that you don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds or your wallets by eating plant-based cuisine,” said Carlin, GuacStar co-owner. “Our mission is to make healthy food sexy and to create an exciting, unpretentious plant-based dining destination where the overall experience counts just as much as the food.”

Executive Chef Vincent Contreras has created plant based versions of classic Mexican cooking. The full-service restaurant will also have a beer, wine and cocktail program.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will have a contemporary decor with soft lighting, raw materials and a warm, inviting atmosphere. The restaurant will be open for lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late night dining.

GuacStar Kitchen and Cantina will be at the Cornerstone Mall at 930 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281.