Dining out or take-out for Valentine’s around Phoenix

February 14th to some Valentine’s Day to others is coming up fast and those looking to celebrate with Cupid its time to make a plan for you and your significant other. Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year and some local restaurants and wine bars are celebrating all weekend long. These establishments are serving up dinner for 2 whether you’re dining out and for take-out.

Match Market & BarDowntown Phoenix- Fri., Sat. & Sun. Pizza, house salad & a bottle of wine for $35. 2 entrees, house salad, dessert & a bottle of wine for $55. Dine- in & take-out.

Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse– Carefree- Specially prepared passionate starters, entrees and dessert on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. Dine-in.

Hotel Valley Ho Old Town Scottsdale- 3 – course dinner on Sunday $55 – $75++ per person depending on entrees selected. Reservations required.

Hearth ’61– Paradise Valley- Saturday & Sunday a 3 – course seasonal prix fixe dinner $89 per person. Reservations required.

Rusconi’s American Kitchen– Phoenix- Fri. & Sat. 3 course Sweetheart Menu for dine-in menu is $62++per person. Sunday a special menu for dine-in at $82 ++per person. Special to-go menu available for $82++ per person.

Cowboy Club– Sedona- Slow Smoked Prime Rib & Cold Water Lobster Tail on Sunday for dine-in. $40 for 10 oz. prime rib, $49 for 14 oz. prime rib.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse– Multiple locations- Fri., Sat, Sun, and Mon. 3 – course Prime Surf & Turf for 2. $240++ for 2 people. Dine-in & take-out.

Phoenix City Grille– Phoenix- Several special dishes available for lunch & dinner on Sunday.

Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain– Paradise Valley- 4-course prix fixe menu on Sat. & Sun. for $149++ per person. Reservations required.

JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa– Paradise Valley – Special dinner on Sat. & Sun. at Rita’s Cantina and Bar. Complimentary champagne tasting on Valentine’s Day.

L’ Auberge de Sedona- Sedona- Hotel guests can enjoy a multi-course dinner from Executive Chef Frank Desplechin on Sunday. $165++ per person, $220 with wine pairings. Reservations required.

Tracey Dempsey Originals– Tempe- A romantic dinner for 2 or prepare a dinner together with ingredients and recipes provided for $90. Pre-order by 11a.m. on Thursday February 11th for pick-up on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wine available by request.

Vicinos Local Italian- Scottsdale- Saturday and Sunday enjoy a 3 course prix fixe menu for $79.95++ for 2. Reservations highly recommended when dining out.

Los Sombreros– Scottsdale & Mesa- Enjoy a starter, 2 house specialties and dessert for $50++ on Sunday. Dine-in or take-out with reservations highly suggested for dining out.

STK Scottsdale– Scottsdale- Several opportunities to dine for brunch, dinner and date night leading up to Valentine’s Day weekend. Dining out or take-out available.

Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants- Multiple locations- The downtown Chandler location has a special Comedy Dinner with Cory McCloskey. Seating’s at 5 & 7 p.m. on Saturday the 13th with with a 3-course dinner for 2 for $125++. Reservations required.

A Sizzling Dinner for Two is available at all locations on Saturday the 13th. A three course dinner is available for dine-in and to- go for $45++ per couple.

Kasai Japanese Steakhouse– Scottsdale- Chateaubriand for 2 for $65 on the 14th. Add 2 lobster tails for $40 and a bottle of Cristal for $200. Not available tepanyaki tables.

Miracle Mile Deli– Phoenix- Kids eat free with with adult entree purchase on Saturday the 13th.

Jalapeno Inferno– Multiple locations- A “South of the Border” 3 course dinner for 2 for $48. For dine-in or take-out.

Gabriella’s Contemporary American Cuisine– Scottsdale- 4-course prix fixe dinner with Stuffed Dover Sole or Surf & Turf as your entree for $85 per person.

R + W Modern Bistro and Wine Market– Scottsdale- Enjoy a 3- course dinner with a reception to start at 5:30, dinner at 6 p.m. Limited seats are available for $85 per person++ and reservations can be made by calling 480-478-6999.

Nonna Urban Eatery– Scottsdale- An exclusive dine-in 3- course dinner for $48++. Reservations can be made by calling 480-663-3296.

Urban Margarita– Glendale- Fri., Sat., & Sun enjoy a 3-course dinner for $29++.

Trapp Haus BBQ– Downtown Phoenix- Date night dinner for 2 on SundaySpring Salad, Short Rib Pot Pie or Seafood Pot Pie  and Bourbon-Glazed Chocolate Coconut Bread Pudding for $46.99 for 2. For dining out or take- out on Sunday. Call 602-466-5642 to order.

Peacock Wine Bar– Gilbert- Enjoy a bottle of red, white or sparkling wine, charcuterie board for 2 and 6 chocolate dipped strawberries for $60. Available ion the 14th for dine-in or take-out.

ComicX– Desert Ridge Market Place- Valentine’s Day Couple Dinner: 2 entrees (reg menu), choice soup or salad, Churro Bowl with Chocolate hearts. It includes 2 bar drinks all for $65.

The Boulders Resort & Spa– Carefree- A 3-course dinner is being served at The Grill Kitchen & Bar on Valentine’s Day. $78++ per person. For reservations call 480-595-4621.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub– Desert Ridge Marketplace and Tempe Marketplace- A 3-course Dinner for two with a bottle of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay for $99 on Fri., Sat. and Sun. Reservations suggested.

Restaurants & shops are offering single item Valentine’s Day specials.

Soda JerkHigh Street

Crumbl Cookies– Multiple locations

Tikka Shack– Desert Ridge Marketplace

Sizzle Korean BBQ– Desert Ridge Marketplace

Genghi’s Grill, Mojo Yogurt, Portillo’s, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory-Tempe Marketplace- Tempe


First look at Renegade MOD in Scottsdale

Tonight Renegade MOD (formerly Renegade Canteen and Renegade Tap & Kitchen) www.renegadescottsdale.com opens to the public, last night a handful of people including myself got a first look and taste of several of the menu items. Most of the interior has stayed the same with the exception of several large murals on the walls in the dining room and over the bar by local artist Lalo Cota. The biggest change has been in the menu as former Kai executive chef Michael O’Dowd (the MOD in Renegade MOD) has come on board not only as executive chef but as a partner. Previously chefs Robert McGrath and Aaron May were involved but more in a consulting role. While at Kai, Chef O’Dowd garnered numerous 5 star and diamond reviews making it one of the best restaurants in the state and based on what I saw and tasted last night diners can expect more stellar reviews along with his outside of the box menu and creative presentation.

As guests mingled throughout the dining room, bar and patio we were served several samples of a few of the menu items brought to us by the attentive servers and we sipped on rum punch served in a plastic bag and drank through a straw and kept cold with a Kool Aid ice-cube. All of the samples were very good with my first taste being of the Grouper “Fish Stix”($26) is chef O’Dowd take on Macaroni & Cheese that is topped with Blue Crab and Shaved Cabbage and Ginger Slaw and is tossed with Toothpaste of Rouille. Creamy and good I found myself not turning this sample down when asked a couple of more times.

Grouper "Fish Stix"
Grouper “Fish Stix”

The Heirloom Tomato, Soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho($9) had kick to it and it’s cool temperature makes it a perfect starter for the hot summer months. Served for us in a shot glass made for a nice touch.
Heirloom Tomato, soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho
Heirloom Tomato, soy Beans and Crab Gazpacho

The Venison Lollipops Dusted w/ Dry Mole ($14) has a hint of a gamey taste along with traditional mole flavor. If your fan of Mole this is not to be missed.

The chunks of Simply Put…Pork Belly ($11) are infused with Mexican Vanilla, Blis 9 & Peach Cobbler. Nothing else need be said, after all it is pork belly & the name says it all. Get some!

The Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate ($12) looks like a sliced sushi roll and it’s uniquely topped with a poached free range egg, cured meat nuggets and rendered duck scented black bread made for one of the more creative dishes of the evening.

Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate
Kale & Chard Kim Chee on Braunschweiger Pate

All though we did not taste the Big Azz Burger ($12) as a whole we were served meatballs using the combination ground pork, chuck and buffalo meats that is forged with roasted Poblano peppers, Maple bacon and spices. A great way to tease us as you know I have to go back and check it out as the meatballs were awesome.

A couple of other menu items sounded very interesting including Seafood In a Bag ($33), Kobe Chicken “Jerked” with Sweet Potato Casserole ($28) and the Re-Imagined Panzanella Composition ($16).

This dinner only restaurant should definitely tempt the palate of local foodies and be one of the more innovative experiences that the Scottsdale restaurant scene has been exposed to and with Chef O’Dowd’s reputation it should make the 3rd time a charm for this Renegade.

Renegade MOD is at 9343 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale 85260 (480)614-9400 and hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Tues. – Thurs. 5:30 – 11 on Sat. and 5:30 – 10 on Sun. Closed on Mon.

My Sneak Peek of Arizona Restaurant Week Dine – Around

Celebrating Arizona’s more than 8,500 restaurants and their 260,000 employees while making Arizona a top culinary destination.

With the always popular Arizona Restaurant Week www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com starting in just 10 days May 18th- 27th, the Arizona Restaurant Association invited myself and a few other lucky media people to take tour, and taste, of 4 of Scottsdale’s newest restaurants participating in Spring 2013 celebration. Here is a sample of what you can expect.

Top to bottom : cappuccino dei Funghi, Insalata manago & Caprese
Top to bottom : cappuccino dei Funghi, Insalata manago & Caprese

We met at Taggia at The Firesky Resort & Spa to taste a sampling of the 3 choices they will be offering for their 1st course.
The Cappuccino dei Fungi was a personal favorite as I love all things mushrooms, this mushroom soup uses Portobello and porcini along with some truffle spuma.
The Caprese was a soft burrata, yellow heirloom tomato slice and pink peppercorns.
Insalata Manago is roasted red peppers wrapped in thinly sliced mango tossed with pickled red onions and arugula.
All were prepared by executive Chef Massimo De Francesca and his staff. To read more about Taggia see my post about Massimo’s coastal Italian cuisine https://pullingcorksandforks.com/?p=840

Peter Rabbit cocktail
Peter Rabbit cocktail

On to our next stop at Searsucker we were provided with transportation by Uber www.uber.com the newest way to catch a ride with their app on your cell phone for on-demand car service with professional drivers.
Greeted at Searsucker with a Peter Rabbit cocktail we enjoyed a sampling of Farm Bird lollipops with snake bite hot sauce for those of us who enjoy a little heat with their chicken.
The squid “sweet heat” is Searsucker’s unique take on calamari with sweet and spicy a taste.

After a quick ride in one of Uber’s Escalades we arrived at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse for our main course of Sirloin steak or salmon filet. My filet was perfectly cooked to medium rare and was served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. There is nothing wrong with a good steak from Peter Luger’s alums Ben & Jack and their first foray outside of NYC. www.benandjackssteakhouse.com

Ben & Jack's Steahouse's Sirloin steak w/ mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse’s Sirloin steak w/ mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli

Almost full, we all saved room for dessert and we were off to Davati Enocteca for executive chef Peter DeRuvo’s Millie Foglie which is berry sauce and whip cream in between a puff pastry and a drizzle of creme anglaise. A perfect way to end the evening as the dessert was not to heavy and cured my daily sweet tooth. www.davantiscottsdale
Davanti Enoteca's Millie Foglie
Davanti Enoteca’s Millie Foglie

Based on what I tasted and saw this should be another record-setting week for the twice annual culinary celebration and reservations are highly recommended if you plan to check out your favorite restaurant or get to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.