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.

Platform 18 at Century Grand on 50 Best Discovery list

The Arcadia Lite cocktail bar made the prestigious list and it’s the first time an Arizona restaurant or bar has made the list. The list is compiled by 50 Best and is an extension of the global list of 50 best bars & restaurants. Global experts approve the restaurants and bars around the world with 2,000 establishments making their original list before cutting it down to the final 50. Restaurants don’t apply for consideration but qualify from receiving a significant amount of votes from current round of polling. Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour also made the list.

Sphinx Date Ranch Co. celebrates 70th anniversary

The downtown Scottsdale retailer of locally made foods, wines & more is celebrating with special items, discounts and Mayor David Ortega proclaiming September 16th – 18th as “Sphinx Date Co. Days”. Guests can get 20% off orders of $20 or more when using promo code 1951, the year it opened. The discount goes until September 23rd and special 20th anniversary merchandise will help raise money for the Scottsdale Historical Society. For more information visit their website.

Pedal Haus Brewery release Oktoberfest beer and menu

The downtown Tempe & Chandler brewpub today release their seasonal beer and food menu. Beer brats, pork schnitzel and more are on the menu with the Tempe location also serving a special Flammkuchen pizza. An Oktoberfest celebration is scheduled for October 2nd in Chandler.

Match Market & Bar offer wine class & agave pairing dinner

Wednesday September 15th you can learn about wines from Southern Italy & Sicily while tasting the wines of the region. The downtown Phoenix tasting starts at 7 p.m. and is $25 per person and includes tasting note & pairings, light bites and wine samples. Wines tasted that night can be purchased by the bottle at 15% off.

The 4 -course agave pairing dinner takes place on Friday September 17th from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The chef crafted menu will complement the different types of agave. Cost is $109++ per person and includes a welcoming Corralejo Reposado at arrival.

Caracara Restaurant delays opening til January 2022

The signature restaurant at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown hotel has delayed the opening until 2022. The restaurant was expected to open this month but with Delta variant of Covid-19 on the rise management opted for the safety and health of employees & guests. Check back for updates and to see what you can expect read my post from July.

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.

Hot Dog Days starts Friday September 3rd at Joe’s Farm Grill

Labor Day weekend we un-offically say “good bye” to summer and “hello” to a month long of gourmet hot dogs and sausages at Gilbert’s Joe’s Farm Grill. From September 3rd til October 3rd celebrate the return of Hot Dog Days with six delicious specially created all-beef, natural cased premium hot dogs & sausages from Phoenix’s Schreiner’s Fine Sausages.

Each Hot Dog Days special come with a side of French fries or another side from the menu. Each hot dog is $12 or a combination of 2 for $18 and a special Peach Melba Shake to wash it down is only $5.50.

Hot Dogs Days gourmet dogs

The six hot dogs are….

Cheddar Coney Dog — A grilled hot dog smothered with mild homemade Michigan Coney sauce and yellow mustard then topped by a quarter-pound mountain of finely shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese; served with diced onions on the side.

Danger Dog — A jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with atomic horseradish, honey mustard, homemade sweet-hot pepper relish and a heap of finely shredded ghost pepper jack cheese; served with extra relish on the side.

Carolina Blue Dog — A grilled dog topped with a generous portion of Joe’s signature BBQ pulled pork, tangy blue cheese crumbles, and hand-cut sweet coleslaw then drizzled with Joe’s Real BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw dressing; served with extra Joe’s Real BBQ sauce on the side.

Sonoran Dog — A long-time Joe’s Farm Grill favorite, this (slightly) new and improved recipe features a jalapeno-stuffed, bacon-wrapped fried hot dog with homemade Farm beans, queso de cotija, pico de gallo and finished yellow mustard and a sour cream-mayo drizzle; served with whole fried peppers on the side.

Big Fat Greek Dog — Schreiner’s smoked Greek-seasoned pork sausage topped with cucumber tzatziki sauce, drizzled with yellow mustard, and then piled high with Joe’s Greek fries (featuring garlic sauce, feta, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh herbs); served with extra sauce on the side.

Italian Sausage Dog — A fresh sweet Italian link baked into Joe’s fresh-made focaccia dough with pepperoni, marinara, and creamy brick and pecorino-Romano cheeses, then topped with sautéed onions and peppers; served with side of mild Giardiniera (*This hot dog requires a slow hand but is worth the wait! Please allow for slightly longer service time.).

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week launches mid-September

Two of the valley’s vegan advocates have come together to launch the first Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week September 12th- 18th. Chef & author Jason Wyrick and vegan taste maker and owner of Phoenix Vegan Jozh Watson launched the week long culinary event to bring more attention to plant- based restaurants, foods & cooking.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.”

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week
Simon’s Hot Dogs. Feature photo Maya’s Cajun Cuisine’s Po’ Boy

How Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week works?

The pair are encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, food trucks and others to showcase their plant-based cooking and more. During the week participants will be offering a specially created menu with breakfast & lunch offering at $20 and a 3-course dinner menu at $30.

“We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

During the week diners can experience the growing Phoenix plant-based food scene visiting new establishments or returning to familiar ones. A a few of the participating eateries include: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.” For more information and to see additional participants 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.

Merkin wines and gelato pairing at GenuWine Arizona

The Roosevelt Row wine shop is giving you 2 chances to taste Arizona’s Merkin Vineyards wines with Merkin’s homemade gelatos. Next Tues Aug. 17th or Thurs. the 19th pair 3 wines with 3 gelatos for dine-in or take-out. To place an order or save a seat head to their website.

Free Mimosa for early diners at Z’ Tejas

Did you know the Southwestern restaurant serves brunch?? Daily starting a 9 a.m. in Scottsdale and on weekends in Chandler starting at 9 a.m. Join them at either location between 9 -10 a.m. and get a free Mimosa with the order of any entree.

Catch a flight at Renata’s Hearth

The Arizona Biltmore’s signature restaurant is offering several new flights of Mezcal & Tequila, Cocktails and a Vermouth flight. Each flight consists of 4 samples starting from $33 -$275 depending on the uniqueness and the limited availability of each spirit. For more information visit their website.

Napa’s Duckhorn Vineyards wine pairing dinner at Tommy V’s

Join Zoran at his downtown Scottsdale restaurant for an evening of wine & food on Thursday Aug. 26th. The 5 course dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and pairs white and red wines from the popular winery with seafood, lamb and vegetable dishes. The dinner is $100++ per person and to see the menu and make your reservation visit their website.

National Sandwich Month continues with weekly specials at Miracle Mile Deli

You still have 2 weeks to enjoy a favorite deli sandwich and save a few $$s in August. The central Phoenix deli is offering its Pastrami & Corned Beef Combo for $11 from Mon. Aug. 16th -21st. From Mon. Aug. 23rd – 28th get The Straw also for only $11. Each sandwich comes with a side and pickle spear and is available for dine-in or take-out.

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.

PRONTO by Serrano’s to serve fast casual Mexican food later this year

This Fall the Serrano family will be debuting their new fast casual concept PRONTO by Serrano’s at their Tempe location. Known for serving Mexican food at several east valley restaurants since 1979 they decided to convert that location since it’s been closed for the last year for re-modeling.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years and we know that fast-casual concepts have experienced significant recent growth,” said Ric Serrano, CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “Our Pronto concept will offer customers fresh, quality ingredients at an affordable price. We hope our loyal customers embrace Pronto and that we gain some new fans as well.”

With a focus on “fresh, flavorful and familiar,” Pronto will offer build-your-own combos featuring burritos, tacos, nachos, salads and more. Favorite Serrano staples like machaca, shredded chicken, asada steak, tomatillo pork and more will be offered. And customers will also be able to add the famous Serrano’s bean dip, chips and salsa to their orders if desired.

“With our customizable menu options, our customers will have an array of meal options to choose from that are served up fast just the way they like it,” Serrano added. “With Arizona State University a few miles up the road and numerous local businesses and busy families in the area, the fast-casual concept should be appealing to both our lunch and dinner crowds.”

PRONTO by Serrano’s will be looking to hire 20 employees in the coming months for all positions in front & back of the house. Be the first to find out about hiring, the grand opening and more head to their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. When opened it will be at 6440 S. Rural Rd. Tempe.

Valley Coffee Co. to offer coffee, craft beers and all day eats

The valley’s crowded coffee scene will get a little more crowded when Valley Coffee Co. opens for business at Portland St. and Central Ave. The pet friendly coffee shop welcomes local residents and visitors to stay and enjoy not only the food and drinks but the art from local artists.

“Valley Coffee Co. has a little something for everyone whether stopping in on the way to work or relaxing with friends and family after a long day,” says Owner Donny Peper, an NAU graduate who grew up in the Valley and resides in the neighborhood. “We’re proud to work with local vendors to feature the best of Arizona food and drink, and we can’t wait to welcome our neighbors and new friends.”

Valley Coffee Co. sources their coffee from Flagstaff’s Firecreek Coffee Roasters and offer local craft beers, kombucha and wines. Light bites and snacks from Scottsdale’s Squarz Bakery include pastries & baked goods and meat pies. Specialty coffee blends, mushroom jerky, gourmet treats and merchandise are available on the shelves for purchase. Artlink Phoenix curated art features the people, places and things found around Phoenix.

Day to day operations and customer satisfaction will be overseen by manager Jace Musfelt who is hiring and those interested can send an email to dt@valley-coffee.com  for more information. Valley Coffee Co. is at 100 West Portland Street and open Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For more information visit their website.

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.

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen opens 6th location

Arizona and family -owned Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen opened its newest restaurant in Gilbert with a limited schedule. Currently opened Thursday – Sunday the new location will gradually open on other days in the coming weeks. Picazzo’s originally started in Sedona serving organic and healthy pizzas, salads and other Italian specialties but in the years since have grown to include the flavors of Asian, Mediterranean and Mexican ingredients.

“We can’t wait to welcome the Gilbert community to Picazzo’s!” says Picazzo’s Operations Manager, Chris Disney. It’s our pleasure to offer a variety of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and allergy-friendly items. Families can enjoy a meal at Picazzo’s and get their favorite dishes, whether they have special dietary needs or preferences or not. We’ve actually had guests cry with happiness when they realize they can order exactly what they want, how they want it!”

The menu in Gilbert is the same as the other locations and includes 95% organic ingredients for its pizzas, pastas, entrees, salads and more. Guests will notice a new modern look that will be rolled out to the other restaurants in the future.  A separate vegan menu is available using plant- based ingredients from Follow Your Heart, Daiya and Beyond Meat.

Picazzo’s new modern look

The restaurant’s spacious 4,300 square feet includes a roll-up garage door connecting the indoors and outdoors. “We thought a lot about our consumer when designing the new restaurant,” explains Disney. “That means creating a space that can accommodate solo diners and couples just as easily as large families. We also focused on selecting aesthetically pleasing textures and surfaces on everything from countertops to walls to the patio decking. We think our guests are going to love the experience here – and we hope they take advantage of the Instagram-worthy setting for taking photos with family and friends!”

Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen is at 884 E. Williams Field Rd. Gilbert 85295 with the other locations in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe/Chandler, Arrowhead and Sedona. To find the location closest to you and to view the menu, visit their website.

 

The Arizona Taco Festival is coming back for its 11th year

2020 may have knocked down the Arizona Taco Festival but it didn’t knock it out as the popular 2 day festival returns in October 2021. This will be the 11th year of the festival that is planned for October 23rd & 24th and will be returning to Salt River Fields.

Over 50 taco vendors will be on hand serving up hundreds or thousands of their homemade tacos and more starting at $3 each. In addition to tacos festival goers can get a Tequila Passport to sample 10 premium tequilas to go with their tacos and 6 chefs from local Mexican restaurants will prepare their specialties at the new Super Food Stations. Vote for your favorite tacos to win the People’s Choice Taco Competition and hang out at one of the shaded party tents with DJs providing music, vendors and bars serving margaritas, beer and more.

Tickets for the 11th Annual Arizona Taco Festival go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday May 21st at the ticketweb site. General Admission tickets are $14 in advance and $20 day of event. The Tequila Passport is an additional $25 and VIP Tickets are $100 ($120 day of) and include the Passport. The El Presidente ticket is $200 with the Passport, $220 day of. Parking at Salt River Fields is free. For more information 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.

Good news National Cold Brew Day is Tuesday 4/20

Those liking a cold brew can get a free can at Press Coffee when you spend $5 or more on their app.

Trapp Haus BBQ pop-up at Found:RE Hotel

Phil “The Grill” Johnson takes his smoker and more around the corner this Sunday April 18th for a pop-up appearance at the downtown Phoenix hotel. From 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. hotel guests and locals are invite poolside to enjoy Phil’s smoked meats, a DJ spinning some tunes and creative cocktails from Match Market & Bar. Admission is free, reservations needed.

Kitchen United Mix giving $10 off $30 for vaccine

The Scottsdale ghost kitchen with more than 10 restaurants under one roof is offering $10 off $30 order from any or all restaurants under its roof. Use promo code “Vaccine” when ordering.

Winemaker dinners at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa taking reservations.

The upscale resort with views of the McDowell Mountains released the dates for its upcoming winemaker dinner series. Paul Hobbs Winery is next Wednesday 4/21, Copper Cane Wednesday 5/19 & Miner Family Wines is Wednesday 6/23. Each dinner starts with a reception at 6:30 followed by a 4-course culinary experience of food & wine at 7:00. “Take Home” wines are available for purchase at the end of the dinner. Each person is $145++, seating is limited and reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-629-6231.

Cider Corps named 5th Best Cidery in Country

USA Today named the three year old Mesa cidery one of the best out of over 800 cideries vote on by a panel of judges. Started as a hobby during recovery from an injury suffered in Afghanistan, retired SGT. USMC Jason Duren says” it means a lot to be considered as one of the best”.

 

Modern Tortilla food truck opens brick & mortar location

The popular food truck Modern Tortilla has opened its first brick & mortar location inside the Fry’s Marketplace in Litchfield Park. If that sound a little familiar it’s because Modern Tortilla’s sister restaurant Aioli Gourmet Burgers opened inside the same Fry’s in March 2020.

Both Modern Tortilla and Aioli are co-owned by Chopped champion chef Tommy D’Ambrosio. “Modern Tortilla was our second food truck concept. It’s been a huge success for us at events and through catering with weddings and large events. To have the opportunity to offer our southwestern style cuisine alongside our other brand is going to be an incredible experience,” said D’Ambrosio.

Tommy will be serving up his signature tacos including the El Ranchero made with 24 hour marinated skirt steak and Flew the Coop chicken tinga tacos. Burritos, quesadillas, chicken flautas, elote and more will be served. A cold case is filled with tacos kits and meal prep ingredients for home cooking along with grab-n-go meals.

“Our customers are looking for fresh and convenient meal options for them and their families,” said J.J. Mattison, Fry’s Food Stores Deli/Bakery Merchandiser. “Solutions like Modern Tortilla, Aioli Gourmet Burgers and others offer customers a variety of already prepared or easy-to-prepare options that they can easily enjoy.

Fry’s Marketplace is at 13730 W. Camelback Rd. Litchfield Park. For more information visit their website.