Husstoberfest with authentic German fare and fun at Uptown Plaza

Oktoberfest becomes Husstoberfest when Huss Brewing Company celebrates the traditional German eating and drinking festival at their Taphouse at Uptown Plaza. Saturday October 19th guests will enjoy locally made bratwurst and other authentic German fare from Schreiner’s and the untapping of Huss’s Bavarian style Marzen beer. The full bodied dry beer is copper red in color and has slightly malty sweet taste.

Other award-winning Huss beers will be poured in traditional German steins.  Gourmet caramel dipped apples will be available from Not Your Granny’s Apples food truck.

Husstoberfest takes place from 12- 6 p.m. at 102 E. Camelback Rd. Suite 160 Phoenix 85012.

Desert Mountain Club’s “The Mountain Chef” food truck hits the road.

North Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain Club has introduced Arizona’s first golf club owned food truck “The Mountain Chef”. Currently the food truck will be around the community for residents, club members and special events before hitting the road. “The Mountain Chef” serves dishes from the 10 clubhouse restaurants and grills around the community including the new Seven Clubhouse.

Seven Clubhouse is named for the new 7th golf course in Desert Mountain that opened a few months ago. Chef de Cuisine Greg Guerva will be serving up favorites including the Seven Burger, Glazed Short Ribs and adult milkshakes. Before coming to Desert Mountain Guerva had worked at Sumo Maya and North Italia.

“We’ve seen this trend at other high-end golf clubs around the country, but we are proud to be the first exclusive golf club here in Arizona to own our own truck and be servicing our diverse cuisine out of it,” said Chef Guevara. “Many items we create out of our 10 restaurants at Desert Mountain right now can be served out of ‘The Mountain Chef’ truck, with a little notice, of course.”

In coming weeks “The Mountain Chef” will be serving food around the valley for special events and available for catering. For more information check out their website.

 

 

 

Local eats in suburban New Jersey, NYC and Saratoga Springs

Like many of us living in Arizona, I too came from somewhere else. Across the river from New York City in suburban New Jersey I grew up on take-out pizza, diner food, and bagels. Despite many New York and New Jersey transplants opening restaurants serving food from our home state those foods just taste better back east. Whenever I head back for a visit I head for my favorite foods and I was back a couple of weeks ago.

Most people wouldn’t visit these family restaurants in suburban Bergen County unless you’re visiting family or friends in the area. But if you live there or happen to be traveling through the small towns that dot the metro area they’re easy to find.

Let’s eat

When you don’t know what you want or everybody wants something different a local diner is always a good call. So with family who flew into town we headed to to Matthews Colonial Diner in Waldwick. Wanting a char-broiled burger I opted to eat healthy knowing there would be plenty of food this week. The Beet & Goat Cheese Salad was a solid and out of the ordinary choice for me. My family knowing my eating habits gave me the “are you feeling ok” look when the word salad came out of my mouth.

Seems like Italian food reigned the week with 2 or 3 meals as we wound having pizza or pasta delivered. A favorite of my sister and her family is The Sicilian Sun in Ho-Ho-Kus. Whether we walk over to dine-in or have it delivered it rarely disappoints. Ordering take-out I went pasta free ordering Chicken Scarpello with sausage, pepperoncini, mushrooms, garlic and a touch of garlic. So good I may have to head back sooner than later to get it again.

New Jersey
Chicken Scarpello from The Sicilian Sun

Wednesday lunch had a group of 20 family and friends at the Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern for a 4 course lunch. Lots of history at this place that was constructed in 1796. The entree course had your typical, beef, chicken and fish option along with Bolognese Tagliatelle. I had the latter, I told you there was a lot of Italian food.

In the city

A trip to New Jersey isn’t complete without a visit to New York City. Thursday I caught a ride to lower Manhattan’s Financial District to play tourist and walk off the calories I consumed.

Getting into the city early I grabbed a a quick lox, egg & tomato bagel from the Park Place location of Lenwich, a local chain of sandwich shops I’ve never experienced before. Not my typical bagel and lox combination but it gave me the fuel I needed to pound the pavement.

Meeting a friend for lunch who had little time we opted for “street meat” from a food truck nearby. The city is know for it’s food trucks and carts offering a quick and reasonably priced lunch. We went for Mediterranean food and I opted for a falafel sandwich and my friend with a chicken and rice. Filling portions for only $5 each. The weather was one of the nicer days so we opted for a park bench to eat and chat.

New Jersey
NYC Falafel

Back on the Jersey side

Thursday dinner had us ordering in…… pizza from Anthony Franco’s Pizzeria. A visit to Jersey wouldn’t be a visit to Jersey without a couple of pizza pies. Sausage, onions, mushrooms and more topping our pies a few slices for now and few left for later.

In between rain drops on Friday I decided to give in to my burger craving at Red Cedar Market Season Kitchen for their RCM Mushroom and Swiss burger. This busy cafe made the best burger I’ve had in a while. Made to order and cooked to my preferred medium rare and drizzled with truffle oil and served with delicious fries.

New Jersey
RCM Mushroom & Swiss burger

Dinner had heading to the State Line Diner, a couple of miles south of the New York state border on Route 17. So much to choose from I didn’t know what I was going with until the words “Roat Beef & Swiss Cheese Triple Decker sandwich with a side of Steak Cut Onion Rings” came out. The rare roast beef was good but I wish I hadn’t ordered the onion rings as I compared them to a hometown favorite pile from the defunct Louie’s Charcoal Pit.

A quick trip upstate to Saratoga Springs

Saturday afternoon I drove up the New York Thruway to visit a friend I met in Arizona who re-located back home to upstate New York.

Once arriving I made my way to Broadway, the main drag in Saratoga Springs, waiting for my friend to get off work. The best weather of my visit had people out & about on this late Saturday afternoon and I found Druthers Brewery for a cold Raspberry Nut Brown Ale. It hit the spot before I strolled the downtown to Congress Park to taste the spring water known for in the area.

Meeting my friend at Purdy’s Discount Wine & Liquors where she got off work but not before I tasted New York State made sangria and sparkling wine.

With other friends taking the train from Boston for an overnight visit the plan was for a festive Paella dinner. After wine, a generous portion of charcuterie and realizing it was late our Paella dinner was tabled until Sunday brunch. Made from scratch with each the chicken, shrimp and chorizo cooked separately we all watched and helped prepare as we sipped on our cups of Spot Coffee, an upstate coffee roaster.

New Jersey
The Cortile at Solevo

Dinner on Sunday night in Saratoga had us paying a visit to get this, a new Italian restaurant Solevo Kitchen & Social. For an appetizer we ordered the tasty Eggplant Chips drizzled with Calabrian Chili Honey and basil. My friends ordered the Sunday Sauce, rigatoni and meatballs in a San Marzano plum tomato sauce and Gnochhi with wild mushrooms, arugula, rosemary in a brown butter sauce.

After seeing several Items I’d already had that week I went with The Cortile, a mix of prosciutto, sweet peas, ground veal in a plum tomato & cream sauce with tagliatelle. Red wine and my Pinky Ring cocktail accompanied our meal and all were satisfied for our walk home.

Back to Jersey then back to Arizona

After a fun visit upstate I made my trip back down to New Jersey Monday morning. Deciding to raid my sisters cabinets and refrigerator for late lunch and early dinner I opted not to order….Italian food for dinner. Despite my best efforts to taste my niece and nephews Chicken Parmigna their like me very protective of their food. Early Tuesday I was on a plane back to my current home, Scottsdale.

More New Jersey and New York eats on my next visit east. See my Instagram for pictures of my visit @SandyWass

 

Bulleit Bourbon hosts Kentucky Derby party at Turf Paradise

Many weeks and months go into preparation for the two and half-minute Kentucky Derby. Not just the horses and trainers in Louisville at Churchill Downs but at bars and restaurants celebrating around the country.

On May 4th the place to be is Phoenix’s Turf Paradise racetrack to get into the derby day spirit. No better place to show off your head wear and sip on a Mint Julep other than the All New Bulleit Bourbon Derby Dayclub. Tickets will be sold out by the time the races start at this all day party.

Photo courtesy of Dorian and LDH Consulting

The air-cooled track-side tent opens at 10:30 a.m. with live racing starting at 11:30 where you can cheer and bet on your favorite horses. The Kentucky Derby will be shown live later in the afternoon.

Tickets for General Admission for the Dayclub are $30 in advance with reserved seating $60 per ticket. Inside you’ll have access to track side betting, a cash bar for Mint Juleps, beer, wine and cocktails, a DJ and “65 inch TVs to watch the race. The Fried & Frizzy food truck will be outside the tent serving up fried chicken and champagne.

Kentucky Derby
Photo courtesy of Rose-Moser-Allyn Public Relations

Prefer to sit in the first few rows to see all the action than pony up $1,000 for a first row table with a bottle complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon, $750 for second row table with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot or $500 for third row table with a bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne.

Other Phoenix area bars and restaurants will be celebrating the fastest 2 minutes in sports. Reserve your seat at Mowry & Cotton, Dorian and Arcadia Tavern to watch all the fun.

Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass, Twitter @SandyWasserman and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pullingcorksandforks/

Southwest Cider Festival offers sips of local & national ciders

With the popularity of ciders the last few years, local cideries decided to showcase this refreshing beverage. The inaugural Southwest Cider Festival takes place on Saturday Nov. 10th at Cider Corps in Mesa. At the 5-hour festival Cider Corps will pour Arizona’s Stoic Cider & Crush Craft Cider and ciders from Colorado, Texas, Washington, California and New York.Operation Homefront

Guests will also be able to sample bites from local food trucks and enjoy live music.

“People are so interested to learn about and experiment with cider and that’s what this event is all about – a chance for everyone to continue to learn, sample and collaborate,” said festival organizer Josh Duren.

Brothers Josh and Jason opened Cider Corps last year and have produced over 70 ciders and have a loyal legion of fans. They push the envelope when it comes to making cider and helped put Arizona on the cider map.Tickets for the festival are $50 per with a portion going to Operation Homefront. A non-profit Operation Homefront helps local veterans and their families. Tickets include up to 20 cider samples and $5 food truck credit. The festival goes from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.

More details are at their Facebook page.

Cider Corps is at 31 S. Robson #103 Mesa 85210

 

Good bye Hawaii, it’s been fun. Until we meet again.

My last two days on Kauai were low-key and relaxing trying to take it all in of my first visit to Hawaii.

Laying low my next to last day.

I stopped for a donut at Daylight Donuts on my way to breakfast at Daddy O’s, a recommendation from locals the night before. I went with early bird special for $6.95. 2 eggs, Portuguese sausage and hash browns. One thing I realized is breakfasts are not exactly man-sized meals(except Da Big Moco at Roland’s Mix Plate) in Lihue. After a blog post I made a lunch run to Historic Kapaa town from the popular Tacos Al Pastor food truck. Bored of fish tacos I went with….al pastor tacos.

I found myself chatting with a California transplant to Hawaii who owns Java Kai coffee shop that I visited a few days earlier. I didn’t get her name but she seemed to adjust well to the culture shock after living on Kauai for 10 years. With 3 business’s and 3 kids she hasn’t slowed down. After lunch I strolled the main drag looking for that special souvenir t-shirt. Pictures and memories only go so far. Found the right t-shirt and what I thought would be my last shaved ice at Ono Ono Shave Ice.

On my way back to Kauai Palms Hotel I stopped into the Koloa Rum Company Store & Tasting Room. The tasting room is at Kilohana, a 104 acre plantation for visitors to explore with a train ride, restaurants, garden and galleries. A great way to get a feel for old Hawaii.

Kale was behind the bar and told me about the rum, distillery and the history of the Kauai sugar industry. I looked for the distillery in Koloa only to find out it’s in the next town over and isn’t open to the public yet.

After a brief nap I made my way to Rob’s Good Time Grill for dinner and couple of tropical drinks. Rob’s is a sports bar serving bar food and was the busiest place in town with most games on TV. Getting there for happy hour and $2 off drinks Ola made good Mai Tai’s using Koala white and dark rums. The pastrami burger was really good and uses locally sourced Kauai beef. The refreshing Mai Tai’s did their thing I and I was done for the night. See you tomorrow.

Good night the party’s over

With a full day ahead of me before my red-eye flight to Phoenix I tried to keep busy. Check out is at 11 a.m., rental car back by 3 p.m. what to do. Hoping to sleep in I didn’t and found my way back to Daylight Donuts before breakfast. With nothing but time on my hands I walked back to Roland’s Mix Plate for breakfast. Roland’s serves the best breakfast in Lihue in my opinion. Back to hotel to relax some more and pack up checking out just before 11.

I decided to swing into the Kauai Marriott Resort to see what it’s about. Glad I did as the beachfront resort is bigger than I thought and offers great views across Nawiliwili Bay.

I strolled the resort to a touristy shopping area and grabbed a lunch from a Kikukchi’s food truck. A local recommended the Ginger Fried Chicken Bao or Hawaiian Club sandwich with Ginger Fried Chicken. I went with Hawaiian Chicken Club sushi roll. A good recommendation. I saw a Shave Ice shack and couldn’t resist, Coconut Cream shave ice was on. Plenty of dining options for resort guests and NCL cruise ship passengers that drops anchor every Thursday. Time to take the car back and wait out the rest of the day at the airport watching football while planes land and take off.

A few things to know about Kauai and Hawaii

  1. It’s often cloudy and humid on the island. Rain in the morning but clears up. Blue sky is shared with clouds almost always over the mountain. Don’t forget sunscreen though. Temps at during my visit were between 83-92 F during the day.
  2. Getting around is pretty easy as Highway 50/56 is the only road that gets around the island from Kekaha to Hanalei. Traffic flows pretty good but slows down to a crawl through Kappa and Wailua most times of the day. You could probably do end to end in less than 2 hours.
  3. Most beaches are public and easily accessible.
  4. If you go to Waimea Canyon, locals suggest early in the day as cloud hamper visibility later in the morning.
  5. Lihue Airport is small and easy to maneuver with 1 terminal only 5 minutes from Lihue center and highways 50/56.
  6. Hotels are not everywhere, most are in the southeastern part of the island between Poipu and Kappa.
  7. Shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops are the norm. The evenings stayed warm in the 70s overnight.
  8. Prices are higher in Hawaii…I noticed gas about $4-$4.08/gallon. Most breakfasts are $9 and up even for a simple breakfast 2 egg breakfast.

I’ll be back to Kauai but first I need to explore Maui, Oahu and The Big Island. Mahoalo!

*** For photos and videos see Facebook & Twitter @SandyWasserman and Instagram @SandyWass*** Feel free to comment and subscribe to my blog and social media.

 

 

 

Crushbrew Festival sneak preview party at Oh-So Brewery Arcadia

Craft beer fans don’t have to wait until the 3rd annual Crushbrew Festival  to kick off on Saturday February 17th to taste a collaboration beer to be poured. Crushbrew has partnered with Oh-So Brewery to create 2 beers with the Crushbrew Saison to debut at a sneak peek preview party for the festival on Thursday February 1st at Oh-So’s Arcadia location.

The Crushbrew Festival will bring over 40 brewers, wineries and distillers  from around the country to  downtown Scottsdale’s Civic Center Plaza along with food trucks and live entertainment for the  5 hour event.

Beer collaborations

The Crushbrew Saison is a crisp and dry beer with flavors of bubblegum, banana and clove for beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

For the Crushbrew Collab Barrel Aged Saison Oh-So partnered with Carlson Creek Vineyards to use their rose wine barrel to age the beer. A hint of rose and oak are noticeable on the palate. The Barrel Aged Saison will be ready for its debut on the 17th.

Crushbrew Festival & Sneak Party tickets

Tickets are available on-line for the Sneak Preview Party for $10 for the 3 hour party to start at 6:30 p.m. and for the festival. General Admission tickets are $45 for entry & 10 drink tickets and $95 for VIP Area Access.

 

 

Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese truck hits the streets of Phoenix

Your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy made have hit a speed bump as Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese truck is now roaming the streets of Phoenix serving every bodies favorite side dish turned entrée.

When Chef Wade realized there was no food truck focusing on Mac-n-Cheese he converted his Bistro on Wheels to serve only cheesy noodle goodness. The decision was made easier as mac-n-cheese was his best-selling selling item for years.

“I wanted to take something simple that everybody loves and really turn up on the volume on flavor profiles and interesting ingredient combinations,” says Simpson of his new concept. “At the end of the day, it’s about making our customers happy and feeding them great tasting, good quality food.”

Chef Wade’s Mac-n-Cheese & more

Chef Wade has created some unique options for his truck including Truffle Mushroom Mac-n-Cheese, the spicy Southwest Mac-n-Cheese with green chiles and smoked pork, Lobstah Mac-n-Cheese and Nawlin’s Mac-n-Cheese with Andouille sausage, shrimp and Cajun spices.

Chef Wade has All American options on the menu including a Tomato & Bacon Burger topped with you got it mac-n-cheese, a Grilled Ham & Mac-n-Cheese sandwich on Texas Toast.

If you’re trying to stick to your New Year’s resolution Chef Wade offers a healthy & vegan option, Mac-n- Trees with broccoli, cauliflower, Butternut Squash and Cashew puree.

Classic Mac-n-Cheese can be customized to every bodies taste with additional toppings that include pesto, hot dog, bacon and more. For the adventurous eater order the Special Mac-n-Cheese and don’t ask for any specific ingredients and Chef Wade will surprise you.

Chef Wade’s continues to cater events around the valley serving customizable menus.

For more information see his website or call 602-301-8672

 

 

Slider Throwdown returns to Kierland Commons for charity

As memories of last years Slider Throwdown fall deeper into our subconscious we are made aware of this years Throwdown that is slated for Sunday November 12th from 12-3p.m. back at Kierland Commons.

For only $30 each attendees will be able to sample all the sliders and 3 non-alcoholic drink tickets. After tasting the sliders people will be able to vote the “People’s Choice” award along with “slider expert” judges for to see which food truck will wine “Best Slider”.

Food trucks competing include:

Two Fat Guys Grilled Cheese                                                                         Mango Flats                                                                                                                     Aioli Burger                                                                                                                     Food Diva                                                                                                                        Head to Hoof                                                                                                                    Left Coast Burrito                                                                                                    Emerson Fry Bread

One restaurant will partner with the Slider Throwdown to offer a signature cocktail at the chosen restaurant.

Proceeds from this years event will be donated to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation(AFFCF). The money raised will help foster children enjoy their childhood despite unfortunate circumstances.

Kris Jacober, Director of the AFFCF, says, “We help these children through difficult circumstances by providing them with resources and allowing them to take part in enjoyable activities that promote self-esteem.”

You can help by purchasing you Slider Throwdown tickets and having a good time enjoying the delicious sliders.

 

Drip Coffee and Espresso truck to hit the streets of Phoenix

If you don’t have the energy to walk to your nearby coffee shop to get your cup of “go-go juice” you soon will be able to have it come to you. That is if you find yourself along the route of the new Drip Coffee and Espresso truck that will start traveling the streets of  Phoenix  in late August or early September.

Owner Jeff Rorvig is combing his restaurant experience and his passion for coffee to bring this new innovative way to bring coffee to the people.

“I love coffee and I’ve wanted to be in this business for a long time. My life has taken many twists and turns, but I’m excited to follow my dreams with Drip Coffee and Espresso. We can’t wait to hit the streets!” Rorvig said.

Drip Coffee and Espresso will offer a wide selection of caffeinated and un-caffeniated drinks from CULT Coffee Roaster including drip, iced and nitrogen infused coffee, cappuccino, lattes and mochas.  Flavored & Chai teas, Italian sodas and energy drinks will also be available along with locally made pastries.

Signature drinks have been brewed up for Drip Coffee and Espresso including the “Rising Sun,” which is made with coffee, espresso, milk, Mexican chocolate and whipped cream. If you need that extra boost to get you through your day then you’ll want either the “Buzzer,” a quad shot Mexican mocha or the “Zipper,” drip coffee with quad shot of espresso or “Perk Me Up,” drip coffee with double shot of espresso.

When the truck hits the streets you’ll be able to find where it’s headed by checking Twitter, Facebook or their soon to be completed website http://azdripcoffee.com/