Many of Saturday’s events around Phoenix were cancelled but don’t mess with foodies and our food festivals but that’s what the weather gods did on day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic. A rainy morning forced Desert Botanical Garden staff, Local First Arizona and purveyors to scramble to but it didn’t deter those in attendance. Umbrella, tents and raincoats were busted out to minimize the rain and puddles.
Here are a few of the many highlights of day 1. Be sure to check back for sunnier day 2 and for more images and commentary check my Instagram @SandyWassFacebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman
Up in the Scottsdale Airpark set amongst big box stores and office complex’s one would not expect to find a foodies paradise when it comes to restaurants, but that is changing with the June arrival of Twisted Rose Winery & Eatery www.twistedrosewinery.com Owned by car dealer & winery owner Frank Yacos and partner Beth Ann who also is the winemaker for their wines and with the kitchen under the guidance of Arizona Culinary Institute graduate Chef Nicholas who has created a menu that includes unique combination of flavors and are beautifully presented. During a recent visit I had the opportunity to taste several courses, all were delicious and here are my thoughts.
The Stuffed Apple ($10) is baked and with its core cut out and replaced by in house made pulled pork prepared with a Merlot BBQ sauce. This was one of the more creative dishes I’ve seen in a while and makes for a unique appetizer. Crunchy and sweet with a burst of BBQ flavor this should be on BBQ enthusiasts list to try.
The Wrapped Salmon Roll ($11) made for a pleasant appetizer and is Chef Nicholas’s take on a stuffed pepper as the poached salmon comes in a stuffed roasted pepper and topped with warmed goat cheese and dill cheese spread and surrounded by a drizzle of a balsamic honey reduction. With several strong flavors all are well balanced offer you the opportunity to try a dish as an appetizer that usually would be a entree at other restaurants.
For the entrees we dined on the classic Chicken Piccata ($19) with its lightly breaded chicken breast prepared in butter with mushrooms and capers. It comes complimented with herbed roasted potatoes. No complaints here from this Italian staple as I would’ve licked my plate had I not been dining with others.
The Beef Tournado ($23) is a medallion that is grilled to medium rare and is set a top asparagus and cheesy scalloped potatoes amongst a port demi-glaze sauce. The beef is tender and flavorful and on this occasion we were served smashed potatoes which were tasting just they way grandma used to make.
Having saved room for dessert I (we) were all glad we did as Chef Nicholas’s version of Bread Pudding ($8) is one for the ages. Using raspberries and brandied cranberries where raisins usually go, along with a red wine reduction it made for a perfect ending to a very fulfilling evening.
All courses were paired with Twisted Rose wines which are used in many of the menu items and are available to drink at the restaurant or for you to enjoy at home. The wines are sourced from Lake County, California and aged & bottled here at their facility in Fountain Hills. Other wines are available too.
As I plan a return visit I expect Twisted Rose to be considered for one of the “Best New Restaurants of 2013” as the discussion begins as we enter the final few months of of the year.
15040 N. Northsight Blvd., Ste. 104. Scottsdale, AZ 85260 480-398-7700 and hours are
M – TH : 11:00am – 9:00pm
F – SA : 11:00am – 10:00pm
Su : 10:00am – 3:00pm – Brunch
5:00pm – 9:00pm – Dinner
Happy Hour : M – F : 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Celebrating Arizona’s more than 8,500 restaurants and their 260,000 employees while making Arizona a top culinary destination.
With the always popular Arizona Restaurant Week www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com starting in just 10 days May 18th- 27th, the Arizona Restaurant Association invited myself and a few other lucky media people to take tour, and taste, of 4 of Scottsdale’s newest restaurants participating in Spring 2013 celebration. Here is a sample of what you can expect.
We met at Taggia at The Firesky Resort & Spa to taste a sampling of the 3 choices they will be offering for their 1st course. The Cappuccino dei Fungi was a personal favorite as I love all things mushrooms, this mushroom soup uses Portobello and porcini along with some truffle spuma. The Caprese was a soft burrata, yellow heirloom tomato slice and pink peppercorns. Insalata Manago is roasted red peppers wrapped in thinly sliced mango tossed with pickled red onions and arugula.
All were prepared by executive Chef Massimo De Francesca and his staff. To read more about Taggia see my post about Massimo’s coastal Italian cuisine https://pullingcorksandforks.com/?p=840
On to our next stop at Searsucker we were provided with transportation by Uber www.uber.com the newest way to catch a ride with their app on your cell phone for on-demand car service with professional drivers.
Greeted at Searsucker with a Peter Rabbit cocktail we enjoyed a sampling of Farm Bird lollipops with snake bite hot sauce for those of us who enjoy a little heat with their chicken. The squid “sweet heat” is Searsucker’s unique take on calamari with sweet and spicy a taste. www.searsucker.com/scottsdale
After a quick ride in one of Uber’s Escalades we arrived at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse for our main course of Sirloin steak or salmon filet. My filet was perfectly cooked to medium rare and was served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. There is nothing wrong with a good steak from Peter Luger’s alums Ben & Jack and their first foray outside of NYC. www.benandjackssteakhouse.com
Almost full, we all saved room for dessert and we were off to Davati Enocteca for executive chef Peter DeRuvo’s Millie Foglie which is berry sauce and whip cream in between a puff pastry and a drizzle of creme anglaise. A perfect way to end the evening as the dessert was not to heavy and cured my daily sweet tooth. www.davantiscottsdale
Based on what I tasted and saw this should be another record-setting week for the twice annual culinary celebration and reservations are highly recommended if you plan to check out your favorite restaurant or get to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
Fast-casual and customer creativity is a concept that Phoenix foodies have come to embrace, and the build-your-own sushi roll bar franchise is about to see how much Shark’s really like sushi on Friday’s episode of ABC’s hit reality show, Shark Tank. The pitch will be fed to the sharks on Friday, February 15 at 9 p.m. EST.
While the franchise was created by two Austin-based brothers and co-founders Yuen and Peter Yung, the concept has been very successful for Valley couple, Shane and Sherri Sender, who opened the Phoenix location at 1515 N. 7th Ave. on February 2, 2012. The fast-casual couple also owns and operates 11 Subway franchises in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
Very much like Subway, when customers visit How Do You Roll?, they can create their own sushi by choosing proteins like raw tuna to grilled chicken and a variety of fruits and vegetables. The restaurant also boasts vegan and gluten-free foods to satisfy diverse dietary needs. Don’t worry, if you would rather not make your own roll, they have a pre-made roll menu to order from.
While the owners are not at liberty to say what the outcome is on Friday’s episode, they will still be celebrating the store success.
For more information on How Do You Roll? please visit http://www.howdoyouroll.com.