Scottsdale’s Taste of Italy arrives in October

The Scottsdale Waterfront will host Italian food, culture, opera singers and more when the Italian Association of Arizona hosts Scottsdale’s Taste of Italy on Saturday & Sunday October 15th & 16th. The 2 day festival will also feature two stages with live music including Michéal Castaldo considered the next Andrea Bocelli. Non-food vendors will be set up so you can shop off the calories.

Foodies will want to indulge in Italian cuisine from food trucks including L’Impasto along with pizzas, and Italian desserts cannoli, biscotti, gelato and more. Nothing goes better with Italian food than Italian wines and there will be wine tasting as well.

Tickets for Scottsdale’s Taste of Italy and Music Festival will be sold online for a limited time and can be purchased in advance for $10. Day of tickets are $20 and children under 12 are free. The festival starts at 11 a.m. both days and goes until 9 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Tempe Beach Park is the place to be for Foodie Fri-YAY in May

Food trucks, beer & wine and live music is a good way to end the work week. Those looking to unwind can head to Tempe Beach Park Friday’s in May for Foodie Fri-YAY from 5 – 9 p.m. Each week offers different food trucks, breweries and musicians with May 6th hosting Hot Bamboo, Seoul Good Food Truck and Kingpin BBQ. Huss Brewery will be pouring cold beer and Nomadica red, white and rose wines will be available for wine drinkers. Admission is free with food, beer & wine available for purchase. Alcohol purchases will be cashless with only credit card payments.

“Tempe Beach Park has always been a top destination for festivals, concerts and other enjoy all that Downtown Tempe offers,” said Kate Borders, Executive Director of the Downtown Tempe Authority. “With Foodie Fri-YAYs, we’re welcoming everyone back to this beloved hot spot while celebrating the best of local food, drinks and musicians.”

Tempe Beach Park is at 80 W. Rio Salado Dr. Tempe 85281. For more information and to see the complete line-up of food trucks. beer & wine partners and live music head to their website.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

New menus debut at Zuzu

The signature restaurant at Old Town Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho recently debuted the new menu from Executive Chef Russel LaCasce. Hotel guests and locals can choose from a Steak & Potato Skillet, Strawberry Crème Brûlée French Toast, the Hot Hot Chicken Sammie and more on the everyday brunch menu.

The dinner menu now includes Grilled Portuguese Octopus, a Slow Braised Pork Shank, Pan-Seared Diver Scallops and more. Save room for the Blood Orange Panna Cotta, Double Dark Chocolate Cake and other desserts from new Pastry Chef Maria Arenas. Reserve your table by calling 480-421-7997.

3rd Tuesday Dinner next week at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

The popular cafe in downtown Gilbert still has seats left for its monthly dinner on Tuesday, April 19th. The three course dinner is paired with wines from around the world to complement each dish chosen by his staff. The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling 480-962-4224.

Eat Up Drive In celebrates its 1st anniversary

Starting Monday, April 18th through Sunday, April 24th the Arcadia restaurant will be serving up iced teas, lemonades, including their new seasonal cucumber lime lemonade, French fries and their famous gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, all for just one dollar each.

After a 2 year hiatus Foodstock is back next weekend

Over 55 food trucks will be heading back to the Peoria Sports Complex for the return of Arizona’s favorite food truck festival. The family friendly event is next Saturday, April 23rd from 4-10 p.m. Admission is $5 with children under 12 getting in for free. The event is a collaboration between Get Local Arizona Events and Peoria Diamond Club with all the proceeds from the gate going to feed hungry children in the west valley.

Huss Brewpub ready to open at Phoenix Convention Center

It’s been a long 2 plus years that I wrote about the local brewery opening in downtown Phoenix and a longer four years of planning for co-owners Jeff and Leah Huss. It’s about to pay off next Wednesday, April 20th on Monroe St. between 2nd and 3rd St. on the Convention Center’s north facade.

As part of the celebration one lucky winner will win a “Season Table at the Brewpub”. The winner and 3 guests will enjoy a table for 24 games with the reservation guaranteeing them a table during busy times. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 18th on social media in time for the Phoenix Suns playoff rally.

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Tap into Mesa brings blues, brews & food festival to downtown Mesa

Downtown Mesa is home to more breweries than any other downtown neighborhood in the valley and those beers will be poured at the new Tap into Mesa festival. Admission is free on Saturday March 12th from 2-6:30 p.m. for local beers, food trucks, live music for all ages.

“We really want to show people just how many walkable breweries we have in this one square mile,” said Nancy Hormann, President of the Downtown Mesa Association. “All of the breweries you will visit at this event call Downtown Mesa their home.”

The Main Stage Beer Garden is where you’ll find beers from Oro Brewing, Desert Eagle, Cider Corps and other downtown breweries while listening to the blues from “The Sugar Thieves”. Following them on the stage will be the “Bob Corritore Chicago Style Blues Band”.

Tap into Mesa tickets are on sale for “full” pour beers for $5 each and an optional special beer tasting tour for $25 with 10 tastes when you buy online and $30 day of the festival. Add a $5 VIP Fast Pass which avoids lines and has reserved seats in the four beer tasting garden. The VIP Fast Pass is only available in advance online. The festival will be at Main & Macdonald with tickets online available until 6:00 p.m. and all tickets need to be redeemed by 6:30.

Wines to flow at the 4th annual Verde Valley Wine Festival

After a 2 year hiatus the Verde Valley Wine Festival has announced that wines from Arizona’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) will flowing when the festival returns to Cottonwood on the April 29th & 30th.

The festival takes place on the Saturday the 30th at the Old Town Activity Park with a kick-off VIP platinum winemaker dinner the night before at the Old Town Cottonwood Clubhouse. More than 20 wineries are expected to be pouring their wines along with local breweries and distilleries. Dozens of food trucks, local arts, craft vendors and live music will feed and entertain guests.

“We are thrilled to be able to host the event again this year,” said Maynard James Keenan, director of the Arizona Wine Growers Association (AWGA) and owner of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards. “Guests will be treated to some of Arizona’s best wines, taste some great food in a picturesque setting and be able to learn about our growing viticulture. We look forward to welcoming back old friends and introducing newcomers to this great event.”

Festival organizers are working with both Arizona wine non-profit organizations the AWGA and the Arizona Vignerons Alliance (AVA) to ensure the quality and authenticity of the Arizona wines. The festival starts at noon for General Admission ticket holders and 11 a.m. for those with VIP ticket holders. The festival goes until 5 p.m.  GA tickets are $35 and VIP tickets are $125 and Friday’s winemaker dinner is $99 per person. The Platinum VIP Experience is $199 and includes Friday’s dinner and VIP admission to the festival on Saturday.

 

Downtown Camp Verde is the place to be for pecans & wine in March

Tickets are on sale for the return of the 21st Annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival in downtown Camp Verde the weekend of March 19-20th. The Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the Town of Camp Verde co-host the two day festival that will also include a beer garden, local artists and a pecan pie eating contest.

“We have learned a lot as event organizers as the pandemic has continued to take its toll and many of the COVID related changes have turned out to be more popular than ever,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “We have a new style of vendor booth arrangements that is working great and the open-air wine canopy was a big hit with both vendors and attendees last spring.”

Two new experiences have been added to the festival this year including a children’s activity area and live music. Glorybound Publishing is sponsoring a Puppet Theatre & Children’s Art Exhibit and the Northern Arizona Blues Alliance (NAZBA) brings the “Northern Arizona Blues & Roots Review” to the main stage. 8 bands will entertain festival goers during the two days.

13 wineries with new Verde Valley AVA designation will be pouring their newest releases including Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Salt Mine Wine, Cove Mesa Vineyard and the Southwest Wine Center.

Entry to the festival is free and those 21 and over can purchase wine tasting tickets for $20 in advance or at the door for $25. Six wine tasting tickets and a commemorative glass are included and additional tickets can be purchased. The festival will be in downtown Camp Verde at 75 E. Holloman St. 86332 and starts at 11 a.m. both days. Safety precautions will be in place with sanitizing stations and vendors will be socially distanced. For more information visit their website.

Arizona wineries pouring at 9th Annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival

23 Arizona wineries will be pouring their award-winning wines at the return of the 9th Annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival on Saturday February 19th in Oro Valley. Hosted by the Arizona Wine Growers Association the festival will also include local food trucks, local artists, live music and other vendors with Arizona made products.

“We are thrilled to be back at the Steam Pump ranch after taking a year off due to the global pandemic,” said Kris Pothier, president of the AWGA and owner of Chateau Tumbleweed. “Off the Vine has become one of the AWGA’s biggest events of the year and 2022 will be no different. We have some of Arizona’s best wines being poured in an absolutely beautiful setting aside the Catalina Mountains.”

A few of the Arizona wineries from northern and southern Arizona pouring on the 19th include Merkin Vineyards, Carlson Creek Vineyard and Deep Sky Vineyard. The Pete Swan Quartet entertains attendees at 11 a.m. then Paul Green and Midnight Blue take the stage at 2:15 p.m.

The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the historic Steam Pump Ranch with early bird tickets available for $30 and can be purchased on-line. Tickets include a commemorative glass and 8 tasting tickets. Day of tickets can be purchased at the gate for $35. For more information and to see upcoming events visit the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s website.

Mint Juleps & fancy hats return for the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub

Saturday May 1st brings the return of The Kentucky Derby and in Phoenix that means the Bulleit Bourbon Derby DayClub at Turf Paradise. After 2020 cancelled the Spring event and moved to an audience-less September running of the ponies guests are welcome back to sip on Mint Juleps, dress up and bet on your favorite horses. The 2021 Derby DayClub will have 3 separate viewing areas all with limited capacity and following CDC protocols.

Reserving a seat and tickets

Reserve a table in the Sanderson Lincoln Black Label Lounge air-cooled tent close to the finish line. Betting terminals, a no-host bar serving Mint Juleps, champagne & cocktails and 65″ TVs are all close to food trucks and refreshments. Tables start at $250 for 2 and up to tables of 8 for $1000. Some packages offer complimentary champagne and food.

The Ketel One Botanical Garden offers an open air tent closer to the finish line further back off the track. Tables include a bucket of Ketel One Botanical Vodka Spritz Seltzers and access to betting terminals and more. Tables of 4 start at $275 and up to $400 for front row seating.

The new VIP Winner’s Circle covered tent and offers the best view of the finish line. Guest in the Winner’s Circle have access to the other tents and comes with a complimentary Mint Julep, French Fry Bar, large screen TVs, access to betting terminals & food trucks and a no-host bar. Tables of 4 start at $750 and up to 8 for $1,600. All tables include a complimentary bottle of Veuve Cliquot or Chandon Champagne.

General Admission to the DayClub are $30 until April 15th, $35 after the 15th and $40 at the door. General Admission does not include a reserved seat. All ticket can be purchased and more information found at their website. Gates open at 10:45 a.m., Turf Paradise live racing at 11:30 a.m. and the Derby broadcasted live at 4:05 p.m.

Food trucks battle for “Best Slider” at Slider Throwdown

As culinary events are slow to return to the calendar the 2020 Slider Throwdown is back with a new location. Circle Sunday November 8th on your calendar for the popular burger battle between local food trucks. This year’s event is moving from Kierland Commons to north Phoenix’s High Street and proceeds will again go to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation.

Eight food trucks battle from 12- 3 p.m. for “Best Slider” chosen by judges and “People’s Choice” awards. Attendees will sample sliders for all tastes including beef, chicken, veggie and more. Food trucks cooking up sliders include Bayou Bistro, Food Diva, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and more.

“The Slider Throwdown is one of our favorite annual events because it brings the community together through food, fun, and entertainment,” said Kris Jacober, executive director of the AFFCF. “Without the support of our community through fundraisers like this, we could not continue to fulfill our vision of helping to give foster youth in Arizona the type of childhood that everyone deserves — so we are deeply grateful for every attendee.”

The burger battle will follow CDC guidelines including social distancing, limited ticket sales, hand sanitizer stations and attendees wearing masks. “We are excited to bring this event to High Street in a safe, secure and delicious environment on High Street,” said Jacober.

Tickets are $35 dollars per person and include samples of all sliders and three non-alcoholic beverages. The Josh West Trio will provide live music and attendees can bid for exciting prize packages at a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.affcf.org/events-2/

Trevor’s Liquors to offer retail and a beer & wine bar in south Scottsdale

With all the new development in the southern part of Scottsdale new businesses are opening to provide amenities in one of the hottest neighborhoods in the valley. With the new Papago Plaza under construction and other developments along Scottsdale and McDowell roads residents new and old will have a new wine and beer retailer when Trevor’s Liquors opens in November. It will be joining RIFT Tap & Wine Bar which just opened nearby that I posted about in July.

Trevor’s is the sister to Prescott’s Park Plaza Liquors & Deli and is owned by Jeff McDonald and Trevor Philips. Over 15,000 sq. ft. of space will include a large selection of single barrel bourbons and Arizona’s largest selection of agave. Beers will be housed in a walk in beer cave and and 50 reach in cooler doors. Trevor’s will also offer a 400 sq. ft. cigar humidor and a dedicated cigar patio. A craft beer and wine bar with a covered beer garden patio will let customers to enjoy beverages and socialize.

There’s a game area with corn hole boards and a rotating schedule of food trucks will be scheduled for customers. Trevor’s will be at 7340 E. McDowell Rd. 85257. For more information check out their website.

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