Laura’s Gourmet Granola celebrates 15 years with continued growth

You’ve probably had Laura’s Gourmet Granola if you’ve been to OverEasy, Scramble or Fox Restaurant Concepts locations. They’re just a few local restaurants who serve the popular healthy mix of nuts, oats, fruits and other ingredients. As the company celebrates its 15th anniversary it expands to accommodate the growing demand. The new west Phoenix location is triple the size of its original production facility.

“Our sole focus always has been to make unparalleled, classic granola using only all natural ingredients and prove that healthy and delicious can coexist in every artisan crafted, gluten-free bite,” says Laura Briscoe, founder and executive chef of Laura’s Gourmet Granola.

The growth is not only due to local restaurants using her granola but consumers supporting it in Arizona markets including AJ’s, Tempe Public Market, Whole Foods and others. Until recently Laura’s Gourmet Granola was only found in Arizona specialty retailers, now it’s available in Texas, Chicago and Wisconsin. In 2012 Laura’s started working with hotels, restaurants and healthcare organizations around the country.

Started in 2004 with the classic Vanilla Almond Crunch, there now six flavors including AppleLicious Crunch and the newest, Sinful Cinnamon Crunch. The seasonal Pumpkin Pecan is available through the end of the year. “We are committed to creating granola flavors that will delight the palate without compromising one’s health or sending one to the dictionary to understand our ingredients. We have done this for 15 years with seven flavors and look forward to more.” says Briscoe.

The granola is low in sugar, has healthy fats and proteins with nut free, vegan, dairy free and gluten free options.

To find Laura’s Gourmet Granola near you visit her website.

 

New menu and new look as a re-vamped Zuzu re-opens

Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu is back open after getting a new look and menu. Hotel guests and locals will notice the restaurant’s new mid-century modern look is in-line with the hotels 1950’s style. Designed by Mendil + Meyer Design Studio, new features include a Zuzu neon sign, 1950’s inspired wood screens and new lighting. The lounge and dining room has been combined for welcoming space and the hotel’s signature circle design is noticeable.

“We are beyond excited to re-introduce ZuZu, not only to our wonderful Scottsdale community, but also to the guests of Hotel Valley Ho,” said Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. “Our new menu is meant to surprise and delight, while still satisfying those classic cravings.”

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Crispy Pork Shank. All photos courtesy of Kristin Heggli at Hotel Valley Ho

Look at the new menu

LaCasce’s new menu features smaller, shareable plates with a few guests’ favorite dishes remaining. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from the restaurant’s new 240 foot herb and vegetable garden. Zuzu continues to work with local farmers and purveyors including Pinnacle Farms, Schreiner’s Fine Sausage and Hickman’s Family Farms.

New signature dishes include Oxtail Pappardelle with foie gras & Parmesan and Crispy Pork Shank with sour apple molasses glaze, cucumber tarragon yogurt and pita. Two new monthly revolving dishes will be available….. Cut of the Moment will be a savory dish with a unique plating design and Farmer’s Plate will offer seasonal vegetables making for a great vegetarian meal. Those looking for a unique dining experience can let LaCasce Take the Wheel. For $75 per person chef will create a hand selected meal. Weekend brunchers will notice a few changes and brunch is now served all day during the week.

Zuzu Chocolate Bar

Save room for dessert as Zuzu’s famous Show Stopper Shake is still available along with new desserts. Le Cordon Bleu trained Pastry Chef Clarissa Robinson brings her chocolate expertise to new desserts Zuzu Chocolate Bar, a Donut Sundae and Buttermilk Pie. Adults can add their favorite spirit to dessert to spike it up.

Private dining, wine room and more

Speaking of spirits new cocktails have been added including the Zuzu Mango Tango along with a new wine room. The new “Vine Vault” house wines from around the world. “The Rosie Room” is a new hidden private dining room named for Rosalyn “Rosie” Bennett Lyon, the matriarch of the family that owns the hotel. Her grandchildren called Rosie “Zuzu” and the inspiration for the restaurant comes from her cooking and warm hospitality.

I’ll be visiting Zuzu next week to check out the new menu and more. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures.

Zuzu and Hotel Valley Ho is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

Salty Sow treats you to Buy One, Get One dinners on Halloween

Those with Halloween on the brain are trying to decide what to get dressed up as or what candy to give out to neighborhood kids. Foodies are more concerned with “where are we having dinner?”. Lucky for us Salty Sow is treating us to a Buy One, Get One Free dinner on Thursday October 31st.

No trick is needed for this treat that goes from 4 – 10 p.m. and includes the whole menu. This isn’t the first time Salty Sow has run it’s annual “Dinner On Us” promotion and its become very popular.

Farm fresh signature entrees are included on Halloween night and include.

  • HAND CUT FILET MIGNON 8oz filet*, served with demi-glace caramelized shallot butter, crispy chile onions, and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes
  • GOAT CHEESE RAVIOLI handmade pasta stuffed with goat cheese and smoked date, and beurre blanc
  • SLOW COOKED BEEF SHOULDER served with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, glazed root vegetables, and fried egg
  • CRISP CHICKEN THIGHS all-natural chicken, with fried smashed potatoes, and neck bone gravy
  • BLACKENED RIBEYE TACOS served with romaine Caesar, chimichurri, pickled red onion, avocado, cotija, and BBQ beans

  Salty Sow is at 4801 E. Cactus Rd. Phoenix 85032. For more information and to view the full menu checkout their website.

 

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.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen opens today in Scottsdale

There’s new restaurant opening today at the intersection of Tatum and Shea Blvd. Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is the the first restaurant by Ben Sinion, former General Manager of The Wrigley Mansion.

The fast casual concept will transport you to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and beyond with its classic and contemporary Caribbean and Latin dishes. A meat filled Cubano sandwich, Jerk Chicken, Mofongo( smashed plaintains, think guacamole) and vegan friendly dishes are among the authentic dishes. You can’t go the tropics without tropical cocktails or a cold beer, rum based sangria and more are available.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen
Cubano sandwich. Photos by Debby Wolvos

It’s a laid-back concept,” said Sinon. “Guests can grab-n-go, dine in and it’s perfect food for a party.”

Stop in during opening weekend a get a FREE plantain appetizer. Choose from the Tostones, Marquitas De Platanos or Maduros.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is at 4912 E. Shea Blvd. #108 Scottsdale 85254. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

 

Polo, Champagne and French Fries make for an interesting trio

When the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships comes to WestWorld of Scottsdale next month your taste buds will be in overdrive. “The World’s Greatest Polo Party” will be the place to “see and be seen” on Saturday November 2nd when the gates open at 10 a.m.

In the “Barrett Jackson Champagne and Jazz Lounge” you’ll not only sip on champagne and Bottomless Mimosas you’ll get to snack on M Culinary’s signature French fries, an interesting yet tasty combination. The complimentary snack will be served with Chandon Aluminum Rose and Sweet Star and cocktails made with Ketel One Botanicals. Tickets for the lounge are $65 in advance, $75 at the door.

All photos courtesy of Rose + Moser + Allyn Public Relations

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience at the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships, and what’s better than champagne and complimentary French fries while watching some the greatest polo played in Scottsdale,” said Chef Michael DeMaria, Co-founder of M Culinary Concepts. “We know this is going to be a tasty addition to Barrett-Jackson’s Champagne and Jazz Lounge.”

All attendees can feast on fried chicken and champagne from the Fried & Fizzy food truck in the general admission area. A VIP experience in the Prime: Luxury Tent Experience by Steak 44 ($275 in advance, $285 at the door) is available. Riot Hospitality Group, owners of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row and Riot House will have DJs spinning tunes in their party tents.

All photos courtesy of Rose + Moser + Allyn Public Relations

General Admission tickets are $30 and $40 at the door. To purchase tickets and tables head to their website. WestWorld of Scottsdale is at 16601 N. Pima Rd. 85260.

 

Save the date: 2019 Slider Throwdown is returning to Kierland Commons

If your calendar is filling up like mine is you’ll want to save the date of Sunday November 17th. That afternoon is when food trucks will battle to see who makes the best slider at the popular Slider Throwdown at Kierland Commons. The annual family friendly event raises money for the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation (AFFCF).

“Our mission is to help foster children navigate the difficult and often unchartered waters of foster care by providing them with valuable resources as well as opportunities to participate in childhood activities that promote confidence and independence so they can grow into responsible, happy adults,” says Kris Jacober, executive director of the AFFCF. “With popular events like the Slider Throwdown we are thrilled and grateful to see the public aid in our mission to build up our community’s youth.”

Local food trucks Two Fat Guys Grilled Cheese, Food Diva and others will compete for “Best Slider”. Judge’s will look for creativity in the sliders and taste and attendees will vote for the “People’s Choice” award.

All proceeds will benefit AFFCF to help foster children have a “normal” childhood and prepare them for adulthood. Since 1983 AFFCF has raised over $10 million for foster care here in Arizona.

The Throwdown goes from 12 noon – 3p.m. and admission to the event is $35 per person. Included are samples of all sliders and 3 non-alcoholic drink tickets. There will be a silent auction to bid on with exciting packages and music by Lane Change. Tickets are available at https://www.affcf.org/sliderthrowdown/

 

1/2 off Signature Cuts at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

“Out with the old and in with the new” they say and Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is doing just that next week. Tuesday October 1st is not just the start of a new month but the day the restaurant at the Scottsdale Waterfront rolls out its new menu. Most sections of the menu will see new dishes including appetizers, salads, pastas, Signature Cuts (entrees) and dessert. To celebrate the new menu the evening of the 1st give guests the chance to order any of their signature “Cuts” for 1/2 off.

Reservations are highly recommended for dinner that starts at 6 p.m. on this special evening. Select bottles of wine will be 1/2 off during the night as well.

Pesto Pasta. Photo credit Riot Hospitality Group- Aaron Bowman

New dishes

  • Grass Fed Meatballs – Arizona grass fed beef meatballs baked in a red pepper tomato sauce with burrata cheese and served with garlic bread
  • Crab Cakes – Lump crab cakes, fresh herb cucumber salad finished with avocado lime vinaigrette
  • Baby Iceberg Wedge – Baby iceberg, Monforte blue cheese, Campari tomato, pickled shallots, crumbled bacon with a buttermilk basil dressing
  • Vegetable Chopped Salad – Chopped romaine, candied tomato, red pepper, crow’s dairy goat cheese, grilled artichokes and shaved cauliflower in a red wine vinaigrette
  • Beets and Brussels Sprout Salad – Roasted brussels sprouts, golden beets, parmesan cheese, shaved red cabbage, garlic dressing and herb croutons
  • Filet Sandwich – Spice rubbed filet served sliced with melted blue cheese, bacon jam and arugula pesto
  • Bone-in New York Steak –18 ounce Cedar River Farms bone-in, grilled with a side of signature Hand Cut steak sauce
  • Bison Loin – 8 ounce pasture raised bison loin, spice rubbed and served with hibiscus butter sauce
  • Seasonal White Fish – Served sautéed with lemon herb chardonnay sauce
  • Scallops and Mushroom Fettuccine – Roasted wild mushrooms, scallops and egg fettuccine in a white wine mascarpone sauce
  • Crab Mac and Cheese – Lump crab, parmesan cream, cavatappi pasta, chili breadcrumbs and fresh herbs
  • Meatball Mac and Cheese – Cavatappi pasta, red pepper cheese sauce, grass-fed meatballs and crispy basil
  • Fettuccine Genovese– Imported Genovese pesto, parmesan cheese, slow roasted tomato with egg fettuccine
  • Seasonal Cheesecake and Affogato

New cocktails too

Their award-winning cocktail menu will also be adding new cocktails that include two new dessert cocktails. New cocktails include….

  • Barrel Aged Manhattan – Bulleit Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and Angostura Bitters aged in French Oak.  Served up but can be served on the rocks upon request.
  • Scottsdale Sunset – Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, Simple Syrup, egg white, Angostura Bitters and topped off with a touch of Cabernet.
  • Kir Royale – Poema Cava Brut, blackberry syrup, vanilla Bean, Yucatan Honey Shrub
  • Cold Brew Martini – Fugu Horchata Vodka, Passport Cold Brew Coffee, in house cinnamon syrup and almond milk
  • Key Lime Martini – Smirnoff Vodka, Vanilla Giffard, pineapple syrup, condensed milk, fresh lime juice, finished with a graham cracker rim

Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. # 154 Scottsdale 85251. To make a reservation call 480-494-2008.

Match Restaurant and Lounge serves up brunch buffet & burgers

Downtown Phoenix’s Match Restaurant and Lounge now offers two new weekly food specials. The signature restaurant inside the Found:Re Hotel is offering  burger and beer fans a pairing of the two. Every Thursday from 5 p.m. -11 p.m. enjoy a burger & draft beer for $10. What a better way to end your week than with a hot juicy burger washed down with a cold draft beer.

On Sunday’s head to Match for their new brunch buffet. Feast on a rotating menu of crab legs, prime rib and other breakfast and lunch favorites. Make your way to the omelet station then stop by the Bloody Mary bar to mix up your favorite Sunday cocktail.

Brunch is offered from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for $35 ++ and include 2 Bloody Mary’s or 2 Mimosa’s.

Whether your dining on Thursday or Sunday, Match offers 2 hours of complimentary valet parking.

Match Restaurant and Lounge is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003. 602-875-8080

Middle of the week fun and exploring in Harwich Port

Mid-week on the cape finds laid back days at the beach and exploring what goes on around Harwich Port. Waking to foggy and humid mornings for coffee and my morning walk lead to sunny and warm days.

Tuesday was a beach day and lingering around town before heading to dinner in Dennis Port at The Oyster Company. A family favorite for dinner we shared quite a bit of oysters, Portuguese and Bangkok mussels and more for appetizers. Still needing to get my fill of lobster I went with the Lazy Man Roasted Lobster. The stuffed lobster with crab meat stuffing satisfied my craving for the local delicacy.

Harwich Port
Nauset Marsh

Fun and adventure around Harwich Port

Wednesday had us checking out a few attractions within a few miles from the house. Stopping at Cape Cod Lavender Farm was new to me and had me enjoying the aromas of one of my favorite scents. From there we needed to keep my 10 year old niece happy going to the go-kart track and bumper boats. The adults acted like kids as we all had fun trying to beat each other around the track and getting soaked on the bumper boats. A fun afternoon of playing like a kid.

Dinner had us going to the highly rated Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich Port. Plenty of shared appetizers including polenta, charcuterie, proscuitto wrapped artichokes and Aracini had me practically full before our entrees arrived. A grilled romaine salad before my Buca’s Bolognese arrived had me packing up it after only a few bites. It made for a great breakfast the next couple of mornings with the wild boar ragu spread on crispy bread leftovers for my homemade breakfast bruschetta. A breezy sunset made for a great after dinner walk on the beach and through town during its weekly festival with live music and more.

Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger at Mooncusser’s Tavern

Kayaking the marsh

Thursday brought out our adventuresome side with a 3 hour guided kayak tour through the Nauset Marsh. After meeting up with Matt of Cape Marsh Kayaking we made our way with the outgoing tide towards Nauset Beach. Paddling through the marsh Matt pointed out native birds looking for fish. Did you know there is no such specie as a “sea gull” as it’s a general term for the gulls found in and around the water.

Arriving at the beach 70 minutes after of paddling we had time to explore the beach and watch the seals bathing in the sun and poking their head out of the water to greet us. Before heading back Matt taught us about the different kind of clams, scallops and horseshoe crabs found in the area. Horseshoe crabs are related to spiders more than they are crabs. Paddling back to the boat launch made for quite the workout as we were paddling into the outgoing tide.

Getting hungry

Working up quite the appetite after kayaking we headed up Route 6 to Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham. Packed with families getting their fill of fried seafood for lunch, my Wedge Salad with lobster meat was well earned. Hanging by the pool for a little while it was time to freshen up for dinner at Mooncusser’s Tavern.

Steamers at Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham

Mooncusser’s is a inn and tavern built in the 1700s for retailer Jordan Marsh and his family. Mooncusser’s were land pirates who destroyed lighthouses and set fires on the beach so ships would run a ground to be robbed of their cargo.

My nephew and I shared an appetizer of PEI Mussel Dijonaise followed by my duck infused Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger. The first burger I’ve had on the cape in several years was delicious topped with the melted blue cheese, Crimini mushrooms, Cabernet caramelized onions, garlic aioli and smoked bacon. Saving room for dessert we made our way back to Schoolhouse Ice Cream for the homemade sweet treat.

Heading home from Harwich Port

Friday has us packing and getting ready to head out for the 5 hour drive down I-95 to NJ for the weekend before I head back to Scottsdale. Another great week on the cape full of fun, adventure and eating.

To see more of my visit Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass