Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

“Med Meets Mexico” seasonal menu now at Pita Jungle

All 23 locations in Arizona now offer new 10 dishes on their Seasonal Crafts Kitchen Menu. Dishes using the flavors of the Southwest and their Mediterranean inspired menu will be available through April. Highlights of the new menu include Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, Mediterranean Ceviche, Labdeh Dip Mezze Veggies & Dip and a Wood Fired Gluten Free Enchilada. 

Orin Swift Wine Dinner at Palo Verde Restaurant

The signature restaurant at The Boulders Resort & Spa hosts a gourmet four-course dinner paired with wines on Friday, February 3rd with the reception starting at 6:00 p.m. Enhancing the experience will be the scenic views of the golf course’s 6th hole and duck pond. Seats are $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-595-4621.

Cider Corps hosts dinner to raise money for traumatic brain injuries

The downtown Mesa cidery will pair its award-winning ciders with dishes from valley chefs Friday, February 3rd. Guests attending the Speakers Dinner for Traumatic Brain Injury Solutions will hear updates from researchers at Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The 21 and over dinner starts at 6 P.m. and is %200 per person. Two other fundraising events are scheduled for the 22 Jumps event with more information and to RSVP click here.

New seasonal dishes at Over Easy launch January 30th

The locally owned and nationally recognized breakfast spot adds two new dishes to its menu on Monday. The scratch made Cinnamon Apple Corncakes ($14) and JohnJay Burrito Bowl ($17) are available for dine-in, take-out or delivery. $1 of every Burrito Bowl will be donated #LOVEPUP Foundation. Also new will be the Spicy Mango Margarita ($8) but only available for dine-in. The new dishes and drink are available at all 11 Phoenix area locations.

Nominations are open for Foodist Awards until February 5th

Its award season and time to nominate your favorite Food & Beverage, Experience, Restaurant and People in the Arizona Restaurant Association’s annual recognition of those in the food and beverage community. The online nominations include 20 categories and 8 new categories for the 2023 awards. Winner will be announced in alive ceremony on Monday April 24th at 5:30 p.m. at The Van Buren in Phoenix.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Uchi bringing award-winning Japanese cuisine to Scottsdale

Austin, Texas based Hai Hospitality plans to open its first Arizona restaurant later in 2023 when Uchi opens in Old Town Scottsdale. It will be the James Beard award winning restaurant groups sixth location of its flagship restaurant and will be located in the previous Bandera restaurant at Scottsdale Rd. and 1st St. Hai also operates Uchiko, Uchibā and Loro Asian Smokehouse and bar.

“We’re both honored and excited to have the opportunity to bring Uchi even further ‘West’ to Scottsdale, said Hai Hospitality CEO Tony Montero. “I know Uchi will only add to the already vibrant and dynamic mix of destination dining, eclectic art, and nightlife in Old Town Scottsdale when it opens later this year, and we’re looking forward to bringing the distinct flavors, unique perspective, and unparalleled dining experience that is Uchi to Arizona,” he said.

What to expect at Uchi

“Uchi” translates to “home” in Japanese and is named after the little red house where Chef Tyson Cole opened the first Uchi in 2003. Cole’s non-traditional take on Japanese cuisine balances elevated dishes with relaxed service in a welcoming atmosphere. Guests dining at the restaurant can expect a menu that is updated daily and includes signature hot & cold tastings, sushi & sashimi, makimono, yakimono and tempura. A ten course seasonal omakase chef’s tasting, six course tasting and a six course vegetarian tasting will also be offered. Signature cocktails, sake, beer and wine will be ayailable to compliment the food.

The restaurant will seat 180 people and feature a sushi bar, cocktail bar, outdoor patio and private dining room. Phoenix based architecture and urban design firm AV3 Design and Tucson’s architect and design studio Hazelbaker Rush will design the restaurant. Two sculptural’s will flank both the sushi and cocktail bar  along with wood ceilings and artwork and lighting fixtures from local artists.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

High praise for Christopher’s at Wrigley Mansion from Gayot Guide

Christopher Gross is no stranger to racking up accolades over the years for his cooking and restaurant’s experience. He can now add being named one of the “Best Restaurant’s in the U.S.” and “Most Memorable Meals of 2022” from Gayot- Guide to the Good Life to his resume. Sophie Gayot gave Christopher’s at Wrigley Mansion an 18/20 score for his French/ Contemporary cuisine.

Gayot says “During my soirée at the 32-seat restaurant, my head spun at each of the modern French cuisine dishes presented to the table. There is no show, no eccentricity, just perfectly calibrated and balanced execution.”

Bubbles wine tasting at GenuWine Arizona

Just in time to toast the New Year the downtown Phoenix wine bar hosts a tasting on Thursday, December 29th from 6- 8 p.m. 4 sparkling wines will be tasted for $10 with 20% off any bottles purchased that evening. Tickets are available here.

New Year’s Eve and Day at Ghost Ranch

The Tempe restaurant is offering its NYE Chef Series Menu on a first come, first serve basis until it sells out. The four course dinner offers chicken, seafood & Wagyu NY Strip before dessert. New Year’s Day enjoy specials on Bloody Maria’s, Birria Tacos & Burritos.

B & B Cocktail Lounge now serving weekend brunch

You can now check out weekend brunch from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the new lounge that opened earlier this year in Old Town Scottsdale. Bacon Steak & Eggs, B & B Breakfast Fries are included on the gourmet menu. You can even “Build Your Own” Avocado Toast with 25 toppings to choose from. For the sweet side there is Bourbon Coffee Cake, Sweets Board with fruit, bacon and sweet garnish.

Of course brunchy cocktails are served including Breakfast Bee, a bourbon-infused milky play on Honey Nut Cheerios, a Mimosa Flight with 9 juice options and Lemon Basil Squeeze with Haku Vodka, Chandon Rosé, lemon juice and more.

Hundred Mile Brewing releasing its first beers

The newly opened Tempe brewery started releasing its own beers the past couple of weeks. New beers include Natural Blonde Ale, Pinetop Pilsner, Infinite Coyote a West Coast IPA, Crowd Surfer a Mexican style lager and Desert Neon hazy IPA.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

The last Third Tuesday dinner of 2022 at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

A delicious wine pairing dinner ends the year at the popular downtown Gilbert restaurant next Tuesday, December 20th. Three courses including The Lafayette Kraut, Spuds Veggies & Pork and Chocolate Temptation Cake will be paired with wines from Washington, Oregon and California. Seats are $44 per person and the dinner starts at 6:30, for reservations call 480-962-4224.

Rooftop Disco Bash on New Year’s Eve at Pedal Haus

The downtown Phoenix restaurant hosts a fun and unique way to ring in 2023. A buffet, complimentary champagne toast, a disco ball drop and a Disco DJ will make this a memorable evening. General admission is $20 with guaranteed seating for 6 and all the amenities are $180. You can purchase tickets at this link.

Chompie’s offers Chanukah and Christmas catering meals

If the shopping is done it’s now time to focus on the food for next week’s holidays. All 4 locations are taking orders for meals for all 8 nights of Hanukkah and Christmas. 24 hours advanced order is required and 72 hours for whole turkeys and larger catering orders.

The Unforgettable Chanukah at Home Package features all the favorites. Choose from sliced brisket & gravy, roasted chicken or turkey breast with Challah stuffing accompanied with Matzoh Ball Soup, a choice of two sides, dinner rolls and one of Lovie’s Holiday desserts. The dinner is $249.99 and serves 8.

For Christmas choose The Traditional ($299.99) or The Basic ($249.99) dinners. XL whole oven roasted turkeys with homemade stuffing & gravy, cranberry relish, fresh baked dinner rolls and a two 9 inch pies (pumpkin and apple) make up The Basic. Add candied yams, mashed potatoes and home-style green beans and you’ve got yourself and family The Traditional dinner. Both dinners feed 12-15 people.

Scottsdale’s new ski lodge is now open

Wait what, a ski lodge in Scottsdale you say. Yes as Old Town Ski Lodge is open Thursday – Sundays from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. in the hideaway upstairs at Wasted Grain. Enjoy Après-Ski cocktails Smores Martini, a Jack Frost Martini and boozy snow cones and winter vibes all year long. The Ski Lodge atmosphere also offers a large selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch to keep you warm. It’s available for private parties and events.

Barros’ Pizza raises a lot of money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

Last week’s 11th Annual Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight raised more than $415,000 almost $85,000 over last year’s fundraiser. All proceeds from all the day’s sales the 46 locations in Tucson and Phoenix were donated. Co-owner Mike Barro thanks loyal customers for coming out year after year that has raised more than $2.5 million dollars in the 11 years.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

December specials at Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

From now until New Year’s Eve you can order delicious red beef/pork and green corn tamales by the dozen for $34.99. Having a party and want some traditional Mexican specialties mini chimis, flautas, chicken and cheese rollups, and jalapeno poppers are available to order in increments of 3, 6 or 9 dozen ($45.99, $84.99, $129.99). Orders can be placed any of the 4 locations with 24 hour notice for phone orders and online orders require 48 hours’ notice.

Gift cards are available for purchase with 20% kickbacks. $5 for every $25 purchased, $10 kickback on $50 gift card, $20 kickback on $100.

Looking to dine-in, you’ll find these specials on the menu for the month.

Lisa’s Pronto Bowl: A classic choice with shredded chicken, pinto beans, Spanish rice, red sauce, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce and tomatoes all piled high on a house-made taco shell topped with chunky salsa. $14.99
White Christmas Margarita: A house-made margarita with white cranberry juice, Sauza Silver tequila, triple sec and lime juice. Garnished with sugar-covered cranberries and mint. $9.99
Caramel Flan: Back by popular demand! House-made caramel flan topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. $6.99.

Barro’s fights hunger on December 6th

From open to close next Tuesday all 46 of the locally owned pizza restaurants in Phoenix and Tucson will donate 100% of the day’s proceeds to St. Mary’s Food Bank. It’s the 11th year the Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight fundraiser which has raised over $2.1 million dollars in ten years. The money raised is equivalent to 14.7 million meals and is St. Mary’s largest yearly cause marketing effort.

The Buzzed Bull Creamery offers new flavors for the season

Ice cream never tasted so good, especially buzzed with spirits of the season. The ice cream shop at the Scottsdale Waterfront offers 4 new flavors all month long. Buzzed or non-buzzed the sweet treat can be in a milkshake or cup of ice cream. Need an afternoon pick me up; take 15% off every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 – 5 p.m. The new flavors are….

Girl Scout featuring mint syrup, chocolate sauce, brownie bites and peppermint schnapps.

Apple Cider featuring cookie butter syrup, cinnamon and apple pie moonshine.

Double Chocolate Bourbon with chocolate sauce and bourbon.

Cherry Cake featuring cake batter, cherries and cherry vodka.

Hundred Mile Brewing is ready for its soft opening

Arizona’s newest brewery is putting the final touches for next Wednesday, December 7th opening. The first couple of weeks will feature local beers on tap and starting December 19th fresh brewed HMBC beers will be tapped one day at time. The new brewery is close to the ASU campus and the owner and brewer are alumni and were featured in my August post. During the soft opening (7th-11th) a daily drawing for a $100 gift card will be awarded and Sunday the 11th is Sun Devil Sunday. Anyone wearing Sun Devil gear will get 15% off.

Get 6 free tamales when you pre-order a dozen

Authentic scratch made tamales are a December specialty at Jalapeño Inferno and until December 23rd they are available to order. Choose from sweet green corn tamales and spicy red chili pork tamales for pick- up at their Peoria or North Scottsdale locations.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Cloud kitchen helps Chesapeake Bay Bistro to expand

Nowadays if you can figure out a successful recipe for running a restaurant the best way to maximize your potential is through expansion. That’s exactly what’s going on at Chesapeake Bay Bistro a year and half after opening in Ahwatukee. Unlike their brick and mortar location the owners opted to open their new location in a cloud kitchen inside the Tempe Food Court earlier this month. They’re not stopping there as third location will also be in a cloud kitchen in their former hometown of San Diego in January 2023.

“For restaurant owners, the past year has been challenging with staffing, higher prices for food supplies and rising costs for rent and utilities,” says James Brown, who co-owns the Ahwatukee-based bistro with his wife, Yolanda. “Adding locations through a food-court style expansion makes sense on many levels.”

Expansion into a cloud kitchen

Working in a cloud kitchen also gives them the opportunity to open new concepts without all the expenses of a brick and mortar location. That’s why the couple is planning to open a Creole/Cajun concept out of Tempe in 2023. Another reason for the expansion into cloud kitchens is CBB is seeing a lot of take-out from their Ahwatukee location.

“We believe that the food delivery model is the future and allows us to fulfill our customer base request,” said Brown said. “Sixty percent of our sales are call in or pickup now.” CBB works with several food delivery services to deliver the hot and fresh seafood dishes for delivery within 15 minutes.

To help alleviate some of the staffing issues of the past few years, the couple’s three grown sons have joined them in restaurants. One son will be running the new San Diego location in the Aztec Food Hub near the San Diego State University campus. The other two sons help out when mom and dad can’t be at the Ahwatukee location.

“Using cloud kitchen locations benefits small mom-and-pop restaurants like ours in several ways, allowing us to keep our labor and maintenance costs down,” Brown said.

The Tempe Food Court location is at 1900 E. 5th St. 85281, not far from the ASU campus and Tempe Marketplace. The Ahwatukee location is at 5033 E. Elliot Rd. Phoenix 85044. For more information visit their website or to order for delivery or takeout check out the delivery services.

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Where to watch the World Cup

The 2022 World Cup kicks off Sunday and with the 10 hour time difference it may be hard to watch. Looking to watch it with other fans, Pedal Haus Brewery in Tempe will be showing all 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 12 noon games. Breakfast and drink specials will be offered on game days. All 4 Twin Peaks locations will be opening at 9 a.m. to show the games on almost 100 flat screen TVs. Scratch made breakfasts and beer specials will be served.

Dad’s Modern Cocktails & Eatery gears up for Thanksgiving week

You’ll have to do the cooking next Thursday but starting Sunday you can enjoy the restaurant’s popular Peach Sangria for only $5 until next Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday next week it’s Happy Hour all day then a Family Feast when they re-open on Friday. The Family Feast includes 8 wings, a Caesar salad and a 20 inch 1 topping pizza all for $45.

Holiday tamales available at Diego Pops

Whether you dine-in or take a dozen to-go the downtown Scottsdale restaurant has the traditional holiday food for you.  The Tamale Plate includes two tamales topped with black beans, corn queso, pickled onion, Fresno pepper and cabbage. It comes served a side of rice and beans of your choice. Choose a dozen red or green chile chicken Tamales Togo with a side of rice and beans. Tamales are available until the end of December and have limited availability.

Sportsman’s Park Market debuts tomorrow

The Great Lawn at State Farm Stadium is the home of the new farmers market from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. tomorrow. Over 100 fresh food vendors, local products and a Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar will be available along with live music and activities for kids. December’s market will be Saturday the 17th.

Chompie’s closes Tempe restaurant after 25 years

The popular restaurant for hungry students and others craving Jewish deli fare will have to find somewhere else to eat. It was a difficult decision to close the restaurant but necessary to help fuel the company’s growth. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Chandler locations are still open.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

YC’s Mongolian Grill opens a new Scottsdale location

Locally owned YC’s Mongolian Grill returned to Scottsdale last week with the opening its new Loop 101 & Raintree location. Loyal customers couldn’t wait to get back to building their own stir fry bowls as was evident when I visited with owner Geoff Stansic recently. The previous Scottsdale location was at The Pavilions but was shut down with the other 4 locations due to the pandemic. As the pandemic waned and the economy improved Stansic decided to re-open 3 of the locations in Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale with a 4th location slated to open sometime in 2023.

“After a tough few years of working through adversity during the pandemic and beyond, we are ready to open the doors to an all-new YC’s experience and reconnect with our Scottsdale customers,” Stanisic said. “We take pride in the food we serve and love being able to provide our customers with the best ingredients and a bowl full of authentic flavor.”

Stansic took over in 1996, five years after the first location in Tempe was opened by the original owner YC. He knew a thing or two about the restaurant business as he was kitchen manager for Hyatt Hotels and Houston’s before going into business for himself. It shows as he greets his returning customers by name, knows what bowls they will build and sauces they will have them tossed with. He even has a few signature sauces named for long time customers. He credits much of the success to his attentive staff, several who have been with since before he took over almost 30 years ago.

YC's Mongolian Grill
Beef & Broccoli bowl

What is YC’s Mongolian Grill?

Folklore has it that in the days of Genghis Khan, his army would cook their food on their shields over a hot fire, similar to how it’s done at YC’s. In each location after you’ve piled high your meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces the cooks will grill them on 600 degree circular flat top grill in full view. During peak times 4 cooks will toss the ingredients on the grill rotating around the grill.

There is no one demographic at YC’s Mongolian Grill as the food has something for everybody. Vegan and gluten free diets can be accommodated as there are plenty of vegetables, noodles and sauces for all.  Want meat in your bowl, add white or dark meat chicken, pork and or beef with shrimp available during dinner. Don’t be afraid to pile your ingredients high, it’s encouraged. Their signature noodles are sourced from Chinatown in L.A. with vegetables coming from local distributors.

A separate bowl is used combine ingredients for your Asian inspired sauce. A menu board offers several signature sauces recommending how much and which water based sauces and rice wines to use. The staff is always nearby to help create your sauce before grilling making tastes and combinations endless.

Free Stir Fry Day

To celebrate the new location, customers coming in Wednesday, November 2nd will get free small bowl from 11 a.m. – 7p.m. The new location is at 14850 N. 87th St., Scottsdale, AZ. For more information visit their website.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Tonight starts Four Peaks Oktoberfest

The weekend long festivities at Tempe Beach Park starts at 5 p.m. with happy hour. Live music, beer, food and more is only $20 Friday and Saturday with free admission on Sunday. To see the details of the event read my feature post from last month.

Save $6 on pizza every Monday at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

For National Pizza Month you can save $6 on a 16-inch cheese pizza every Monday in October. Get the pizza for $14 at all 6 Phoenix area and Flagstaff locations when you dine-in or take-out when you call your order in. No third party deliveries or online orders and not available on October 31st.

Beaulieu Vineyards featured at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa dinner

The historic Napa Valley winery’s wines will be paired as part of a 5-course dinner on Thursday, October 10th in the resort’s Alto Ristorante e Bar. The dinner begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7. Winery representative Julia Smith will be in attendance to walk guests through the wines, tell the story of the famous winery and answer questions. Chef Joaquin Estolano Jr. and his culinary team will pair a specially curated menu with guests having the opportunity to purchase wines at a discount to take home. Reservations are required for the $149 per person dinner and can be made by calling 480-629-6231.

Cider Corps nominated as one of the “Best Cideries” in the country

Vote for the locally and veteran owned cidery until October 24th as they’ve been nominated by USA Today for one of the Top 10 in the country. Only 20 cideries were nominated by a panel of experts and you can help them get into the Top 10.

Z’Tejas goes pink in October

For the entire month of October the southwestern restaurant in Chandler and Scottsdale is selling pink ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of the $10 proceeds of each ribbon is being donated to The Singleton’s. The local non-profit helps single parent families battling cancer. When purchasing a ribbon guests receive a complimentary watermelon strawberry margarita or a non-alcoholic, a strawberry lemonade (zero proof) cocktail.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

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