“Chopped” champion Chef Nick LaRosa has a new menu at Nook Kitchen

Arcadia’s Nook Kitchen has re-opened this week with a new menu from Chef Nick LaRosa. The restaurant moved to a new larger location along Indian School Road in December and was humming along as it did at the old location when Covid- 19 broke out. They did take out until several nearby restaurants were hit with the virus and owner Frank Vairo and partners decided to close for the summer.

Nicholas Winger, managing partner, said: “We can’t wait to welcome back our guests.  We are operating with limited-seating and dining socially distanced due to pandemic regulations, so we encourage reservations, especially with our small dining room. It fills up quickly.”

What’s on the menu from Chef Nick LaRosa

With the opening comes a new menu of Italian favorites with a modern twist from LaRosa. House made pastas and fresh ingredients are on the menu such as Casarecce Bolognese for meat lovers and Veggie Campanelle for vegetarians. Napolitano styled pizzas are still coming out of the pizza oven along with entrees such as pan-seared salmon, a double bone-in pork chop and the Nook Burger.

LaRosa was champion of the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2017 and has earned other local accolades.

Chef Nick LaRosa
Aracini

“We’re excited and want to shout from the rooftops that ‘we’re back!’ ” LaRosa said. “And we’re really happy to be back, too.  The time off has given us the opportunity to add new menu items, plus fantastic desserts and still focus on the dishes we know our patrons love. “The specialness of our food is Italian with a twist.  If you want to eat hearty, we’ve got it.  If you’d rather eat light, we’ve got that too in spades.”

The menu also includes appetizers including Brussel Chips, Aracini and more. Exciting new desserts include a gelato flight from Cool Gelato and Nook’s version of Affogatto. Sommelier Matthew Wohleb has created a new and old world wine list to compliment the cuisine and mixoligist Gabe Chavez mixes up the cocktail program.

Nook Kitchen opens Wednesday thru Sunday at 5 p.m. and is at 4231 E. Indian School R. Phoenix 85018.

Pesto Italian Eatery to be Arizona’s first build your own pasta restaurant.

Update: The name has changed to Pasta78 and will open on November 2nd.

When Pesto Italian Eatery opens this fall in Chandler it will be the first build your own pasta concept in Arizona. Owner Cosmo Magliozzi is inspired by serving high quality Italian cuisine and by his celebrity chef father Antonio Magliozzi.

“We want to inspire our customers and allow them to express themselves while enjoying a meal with their friends and family,” Magliozzi said. “This is my way of sharing my father’s famous Italian recipes with the world. As he’s known for saying, ‘It’s no secret – it’s olive oil, garlic, onion, oregano, fresh basil and all of my heart inside the sauce.’”

Fresh pasta will be made on-site every day and guests can choose pasta, homemade sauces (marinara, pesto & specialty), proteins (meatball, sausage, chicken) and vegetables (grilled artichokes, eggplant, etc) to combine for themselves. Every bowl will be topped with basil and a special blend of cheese and served with a fresh baked bread sticks. Gluten -free pasta will also be available. Grab n go salads will be available and traditional Italian desserts such as cannoli, torta della nonna and sfogliatella will be served.

The fast casual Pesto Italian Eatery will be located at 2780 W. Chandler Blvd. Suite 6, Chandler. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information visit their website.

 

Let Chompie’s cook your home bound Passover and Easter feast

Holidays Passover and Easter don’t get cancelled because of the coronavirus, just with no large gatherings of celebration and cheer. In home traditions and meals will still be enjoyed with family and that means cooking a small feast. All 7 Chompie’s locations are preparing meal packages for delivery and pick up for the week long Passover from April 8th – 16th and Easter Sunday on the 12th. Below are several meal packages with pick up & delivery options for both holidays.

The following Passover Meal Box options are available via Door Dash Delivery only (not for takeout or curbside):

Turkey Dinner with Matzo Stuffing including roasted potatoes, home style green beans, a pint of matzo ball soup and three macaroons, $25.99

Brisket Dinner with a potato pancakehome style green beans, a pint of matzo ball soup and three macaroons, $25.99

Pre-packaged items include:

Matzo Box – $7.50

Honey Cake $12

Marble Sponge, $10

Half pound of Vanilla Macaroons, $10

Half pound of Vanilla Meringues, $10

The following Passover Dinner To-Go options are available for curbside pickup:

INDIVIDUAL MEALS (minimum six people for takeout pre-order), $34.95 each —

Choice of one starter:

House made Chopped Liver
Gefilte Fish with Horseradish

Choice of one soup:
Chicken with Matzo Ball
Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Choice of one entree:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of one potato:
Large Crisp Potato Latke with applesauce
Roasted Potatoes with caramelized onions

Choice of one vegetable:
Home style Green Beans
Old World Tzimmis

Dessert:
A fine assortment of holiday cake

BASIC DINNER (serves 8), $235 —

Choice of two entrees:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of two side dishes:
Potato Latke
Roasted Potatoes
Old World Tzimmis
Home style Green Beans

Choice of two desserts:
Loaf Marble Sponge Cake
Loaf Honey Cake
8 Assorted Macaroons

FULL TRADITIONAL MEAL (serves 8), $279 —

Choice of one appetizer:
House made Chopped Liver
Gefilte Fish with Horseradish

Choice of one soup:
Chicken with Matzo Ball
Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Choice of two entrees:
Half Roasted Chicken with Matzo Stuffing
Braised Brisket of Beef with Gravy
Roasted Turkey Breast with Matzo Stuffing & Gravy

Choice of two side dishes:
Potato Latke
Roasted Potatoes
Old World Tzimmis
Homestyle Green Beans

Choice of two desserts:
Loaf Marble Sponge Cake
Loaf Honey Cake
8 Assorted Macaroons

Easter Sunday home cooking from Chompie’s

The following options are available for takeout and curbside pickup Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12: 

Easter Brunch (serves four) — Scrambled eggs, bacon slices, ham steak slices, home fries, bagels, cream cheese, fruit salad and a muffin loaf, $59.99

The Feast (serves eight) — Scrambled eggs, bacon slices, ham steak slices, home fries, bagels, cream cheese, fruit salad and a muffin loaf, $109.99

Á la carte additions include the Smoked Salmon Package with tomato and red onion for $24.99;
Mimosa Package with one bottle of champagne and one gallon of orange juice for $29.99 and more

For large catering orders, Chompie’s Catering Co. delivers directly for orders of $150 minimum. The preferred method to order is calling 480-348-CATR (2287), but guests may also order online via www.ezcater.com/brand/pvt/chompies-cateringFor details on Chompie’s Catering, visit www.chompies.com/catering/.

For more and to find a Chompie’s near you visit www.chompies.com.

James Beard Foundation’s “Taste America” stops in Phoenix

Phoenix is on the map of the James Beard Foundation hot off the recent win by FnB’s Charleen Badman’s for “Best Chef: Southwest”. It’s also on the map for the foundations “Taste America” tour scheduled for September 19th- 21st. Phoenix is one of 20 cities chosen to host the event.

Tickets went on sale this week for the three day event for the cross country culinary experience.

Photos courtesy of Rose Moser Ally PR

Taste America events

The weekend kicks off on Thursday September 19th with the “Raising the Bar” walk around reception at Seventh and Union. Guests will meet rising star chefs and mixologists while sipping on cocktails and tasting culinary creations. Kyla Dahl of Pigtails Cocktail Bar, Henry Whittaker of Century Grand and Matt Steward of Undertow are a few of the mixologists pouring cocktails.

Dom Ruggiero of Hush Public House, Juan Zamora of Chula Seafood and Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper along with others will show off their culinary talents.

Friday night is the “Gala Benefit Dinner” at The Royal Palms Resort & Spa. The cocktail and tasting reception starts at 7 p.m. with tastes created by local chefs Stephen Jones of The Larder & Delta, Cat Bunnag of Glai Baan and others. Guests will then be treated to a three- course dinner menu created by visiting chef Tiffany Derry of Plano’s Roots Chicken Shack, local all-star Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar and host chef Alexander Robinson.

A dessert reception with Danielle O’Day of Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop and Hollie Layman-Sanders of The Royal Palms ends the night.

A silent and live auction will be held during the evening. A portion of the proceeds from dinner and auctions will go to the foundations scholarship programs.

The weekend concludes with the James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Program, Owning It. The workshop will bring together 60 women who are in the idea or growth phase of a food related business. A few women will pitch local investors for funding for their project and all will learn how to advance in the culinary industry.

Be sure to Like the Facebook page and on Instagram and Twitter.

Celebration of Summer at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Whether you want to enjoy a cocktail and light bites or a sit down dinner the Four Seasons Resort at Troon North have something to offer. My last post about Talavera Restaurant dining experiences offers an epicurean adventure to Spain and Latin America. The resorts other restaurants Proof, An American Canteen, Onyx Bar and Lounge as well as Talavera, offer culinary treats created in time for summer.

I had the pleasure of tasting all of the dishes and drinks below. All cocktails below are created by the resorts beverage director in conjunction with the chefs of each establishment. The dishes are light and offer seasonal ingredients and the drinks were refreshing and unique.

Onyx Bar & Lounge at Four Seasons Resort at Troon North

Just of the lobby with a beautiful view to the south you can enjoy these specially created bites and cocktails. Talavera Restaurant Sous Chef Samantha Sanz and her culinary team created the these three dishes.

Salmon Belly Tartare
Chistorra and Peppers Flatbread with charred chistorra, pipperada, caramelized onion and mustard sauce, cotija cheese.
Cheesy Arepa Bite
Salmon Belly Tartare
Illegal Anejo Mezcal Old Fashioned
Negroni Spritz
Ultimate Honeydew

Proof, An American Canteen

Everything served in this roadhouse styled restaurant is from the good ol’ U.S.A. Take a road trip around the country in June, July and August with the specially created dishes and drinks.

Prepared by chefs Dell Morris, Joey Cavaretta and Conrad Butler “Proof Across America”  along with Smokehouse Fridays where entrees are cooked low n slow in their outdoor smoker.

Four seasons Resort at Troon North
Texas BBQ Platter

June- Stone Crab Cake with sea urchin and Key lime remoulade

July– Texas BBQ Plate with beef brisket, smoky beer cheese sausage and house made BBQ sauce. Watermelon Panzanella Salad with Crow’s Dairy goat feta and mint. I love BBQ!

August- Crispy cactus fries with cotija cheese and avocado ranch.

Havasu Heat (with Ixa Tequila, pineapple and charred jalapeño)

Huss Arizona Light Lager

Le Cumbre Elevated IPA

Talavera Restaurant

The Spanish steakhouse serves tapas styled small plates, desserts and cocktails unique to the Spanish culture. More from sous chef Sanz and dessert by Pastry Chef Lance Whipple.

Four Seasons Resort at Troon North
Brazilian Carrot Cake

Pan con Tomate – Noble bread, roasted garlic, heirloom tomato and Spanish olive oil

Queen Creek Olives

Summer Corn and Tomato Tapa with summer corn, heirloom tomato with tomato butter cilantro and charred lime

Charred Tuna with grilled peach and salted marcona almonds

Summer Corn Paella with chorizo Bilbao, prawn, peas, mussels and clams, and chermoula verde

Brazilian Carrot Cake with chocolate brigadeiro icing, and summer carrot purée. This was a personal favorite, like no carrot cake you’ve had before.

Leche Frita with cajeta goat milk caramel and sherry blackberries

Rose Sangria with watermelon, tangerine and strawberry

Tarragon Gin Tonic- Did you see my Instagram video of Beverage Director Laura creating this cocktail?

The Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is at 10600 Crescent Moon Dr. 85262

Keep cool with the “Pie of the Month” at Chase’s Diner

Chase’s Diner in Chandler is featuring a “Pie of the Month” for the hot summer months. Customers can get some relief from the triple digits from May 1st – August 31st with one of our favorite deserts.

During the month of May customers can enjoy a slice of Key Lime Pie. Peanut Butter Crunch is on the menu in June and July offers a cool refreshing Lemonade Pie. The featured pie in August is Chocolate Mint Creme.

Lemonade Pie

Grab a slice after your meal for $4.29 or take a pie to go for $13.29.

Chase’s Diner is at 2040 N. Alma School Rd. Chandler 85224. They’re open daily at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and 10 p.m. Fri. & Sat.

“Battle Freak Shake” invites you to build your Show Stopper Shake

Ever want to have one of your homemade culinary creations on the menu at your favorite restaurant? Now’s your chance as you have until May 1st to submit your best milkshake recipe to Hotel Valley Ho’s “Battle Freak Shake” contest.

Once submitted online the Zuzu culinary team will review recipes & ingredients before picking the finalists on June 1st. The finalist will make their milk shake for them and the top shakes will go to “Battle Freak Shake”. The winner will….Have their shake featured as the Showstopper Shake in August, 3 night stay at hotel w/ upgraded guest room, Dinner for 2 at Zuzu and 2 90-minute VH Spa treatments. And of course bragging rights.

3 shakes will be featured at each of the hotel’s Chef + Farmer’s Market events. Guests and chef judges will vote for a winner who goes to the final market event of the summer to be crowned the winning shake.

New breakfast, lunch & dinner menus debut at Zuzu

Fall arrived early here in Scottsdale and right on time for the new seasonal menus at Zuzu. The retro Hotel Valley Ho’s signature restaurant last week debuted a new menu for all three meals and dessert.

Burrata. All photos courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Executive chef Russell LaCasce created the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and left the dessert menu for new pastry chef Lisa Graf. The new dishes offer ingredients for the Fall season and many ingredients are sourced locally.

What’s new on the menus

The new menus offer something for all diets and palates including spicy, sweet, meaty and those who like vegetables.

Korean BBQ Burger

Breakfast and brunch fans will enjoy Cereal Milk Stuffed French Toast, made with Fruity Pebble crumbs, cereal milk pastry cream, maple syrup and whipped cream.

Lunch offers a Korean BBQ burger, Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and The John Berry. The latter is full of spaghetti squash, cherry heirloom tomatoes, spinach, pesto, pine nuts, 3 jumbo shrimp and Parmesan cheese.

Dinner serves up two new starters such as Burrata and a Baby Back Rib Stack with mango chipolte BBQ sauce.

60- Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse

Entrees include Jidoori Half Chicken, Braised Beef Short Rib and the 60-Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse. The Portehouse is brined with aji pepper & maple and comes served with brussel sprouts and candied kombucha squash.

Make sure you save room for dessert

This is pastry chef’s Lisa Grafs first menu since joining Zuzu. Diners will enjoy Butterscotch Creme Brulee, Baked Alaska and The Troubled German Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake is made with chocolate sponge cake, German chocolate filling, graham pretzel crust, espresso cheesecake, buttercream and ganache.

menus
Butterscotch Creme Brulee

The famous Showstopper Shake celebrates the arrival of the state fair for the month of October. A Twinkie shake base, a fried cheesecake ball, funnel cake and more make this dessert a fun for at least two people.

Zuzu in the Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

Arizona Restaurant Week at Artizen and Hearth ’61

Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.

Artizen

Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.

First Course-
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint

Crispy Pork Cheeks gf
Popcorn Grits, Pickled Beets, Wood Sorrel

Pickled Rock Shrimp Tartine
Baby Peppers, Shallots, Tarragon, EVOO, Grilled Ciabatta

Second Course
Shaved Brussels Sprout salad gf/vegetarian

Sun Dried Apple, Shaft’s Blue, AZ Pomegranate, Ginger Serrano Vinaigrette

Third Course
Pan Seared Corvina
Glazed Turnips, Pea sprouts, Garlic Dashi, Beech Mushrooms

Braised Hudson Valley Duck
Duck Terrine, Crispy Leg, Charred Broccolini, Dried Blueberries, Hazelnuts, Smoked Duck Cream

Vegetable Sheppard’s Pie gf/vegetarian
Eggplant, Fava beans, Corn, Mirepoix, Thyme, Tomato Gravy, Whipped Potatoes

Fourth Course
Caramelized Banana Budino gf/vegetarian
Dulce de Leche, Peanut Meringue, Chocolate Twigs

Chocolate Panna Cotta vegetarian
Berry Compote, Vanilla Bean Gelato, Salt Shortbread Cookie

Artizen is inside The Camby Hotel at 2401 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016 and reservations can be made by going to their website.

Hearth ’61

Hearth ’61 Roasted Beet Salad. Photos courtesy of Jack Busch at J Public Relations.

Guests at Hearth ’61 will enjoy 3 courses for $44++ from Chef Charles Wiley using the highest quality ingredients.

To Begin (choice of)
Roasted Beet Salad | celeriac | arugula | candied pecans | brown butter vinaigrette

Wood Roasted Hawaiian Prawns and Polenta | smoked cheddar | andouille sausage |mushroom broth | scallions

Berkshire Pork Croquette | watercress & fennel salad | arizona dates | farro | glazed carrots

Entrées (choice of)
Pan-Roasted Ora King Salmon* | mushroom gremolata | melted leeks | parsley salad

Sweet Corn Agnolotti | smoked red onion | charred kale | walnuts | basil beurre blanc

Niman Ranch Prime Tenderloin of Beef* | red wine demi-glace | horseradish cream |smoked sweet potato mash

Dessert (choice of)
Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake | java chip bavarian cream | raspberry gastrique

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar | banana brulee | salted caramel ice cream

Peach & Sun-Dried Cranberry Bread Pudding | cinnamon ice cream | blackberry coulis

Reservations can be made by calling 855-485-1417 or by going to their website. Mountain Shadows Resort and Hearth ’61 is at 5445 Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Learn and lunch cooking class returns to Marcellino Ristorante

Class is back in session at Marcellino Ristorante with new themes and recipes for his monthly cooking class. Limited seating is available at the Chef’s Island where Marcellino will share his secrets to making his hand-crafted Italian cuisine.

Class participants will enjoy lunch following class that includes the main dish from the cooking demonstration along with a salad and dessert.

Classes are from 1 p.m. – 3p.m. with the first class starting in 2 weeks. Reservations can be made by calling 480-990-9500.Cooking class

Saturday, September 22

Cost: $35/per person

Menu: Chef’s fresh pasta and sauce featuring Italian Brocoli di Rape and Salsiccia (sausage)

Saturday, October 20

Cost: $40+/per person

Menu: Ravioli filled with fresh spinach and creamy ricotta cheese

Saturday, November 17

Cost: $40/per person

Menu: Pollo Saporito — humanely raised chicken breast sautéed with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and tomato

Saturday, December 15

Cost: $35/per person

Menu: “Christmas Eve in Italy” featuring Scialatielli alle Vongolle — handcrafted pasta sautéed with Manila clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine and red pepper flakes.

Marcellino Ristorante is at 7114 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. http://marcellinoristorante.com/