Compass Lounge & Restaurant welcomes new chef Brandon Drummond

Chef and new culinary director at the Hyatt Phoenix Brandon Drummond is no stranger to hotel life having worked for Hyatt Hotels around the country for the past 15 years. He come from the Hyatt in Greenwich, Connecticut to run the culinary team at Compass Lounge & Restaurant, Arizona’s only revolving rooftop restaurant.

The downtown hotel is finishing a multi-million dollar facelift and they’ve hired Drummond to re-vamp the menu at their signature restaurant. He brings his experience working in culinary management in the Hyatt family in Washington D.C., Bonita Springs Fla., New Orleans and San Antonio to his new role.

Both the lounge and restaurant will see new dishes including fresh seafood and regional ingredients. In the lounge guest will have the chance to order Buttermilk Fried Quail, a Charcuterie Board and more. The new menu includes Quick Cured Duck and Elk Chops in addition to other new dishes and longtime favorites.

New cocktails include the Strawberry Blonde made with Meyer lemon vodka, house made simple syrup and strawberries. The Bramble Rose mixes Maker’s Mark bourbon with house made rosemary simple syrup and blueberries.

Meet Chef Drummond when he participates in Plated and Staged at the Herberger Theater on Sunday March 29th. The annual fundraiser benefits for the theatre’s youth outreach program. The program exposes youths to culinary programs and the performing arts.

The Compass Lounge & Restaurant the Hyatt Phoenix is at 122 N. 2nd St. Phoenix 85004. Visit their website for more information.

What restaurants are open to serve you on Thanksgiving.

Still un-decided if you want to make Thanksgiving dinner or holding out for that one special invite? If the answer is “no” but you’re still looking to celebrate with turkey and all the fixings and wondering what restaurants are open on Thursday November 28th, wonder no more.

Liberty Station American Tavern & Smokehouse- Both Scottsdale locations are open serving a 3-course dinner for $32 per person and $16 per child 12 and under. Reservations for can be made online at www.libertystationtavern.com or by calling (480) 278-7044 for seating at the DC Ranch location or (480) 595-9930 for seating at the Terravita location.

Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse- From 12 noon- 7p.m. join this north Scottsdale steakhouse for 3- course a la carte menu of traditional holiday favorites. The three-course menu is $55 per person or individual pricing is available per course — 1st course is $10, 2nd course is $39, and 3rd course is $10. A turkey dinner for children ages 12 and younger is available for $25 per child. Reservations can be made online at www.keelerssteakhouse.com or by calling (602) 374-4784.

Luci’s Healthy Marketplace will be open from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. for your morning coffee, breakfast and last minute needs. Luci’s is at 1590 E Bethany Home Rd. Phoenix.

Dave and Busters at Tempe Marketplace opens at 4 p.m. til 12 a.m. and will offer Game Day specials.

Agave del Scottsdale in Scottsdale is offering a Mexican inspired 3 -course menu for $55. To see the offerings and make reservations head to https://agavedelscottsdale.com/

Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria- Up in Cottonwood check out a one plate Thanksgiving dinner with a Merkin’s twist from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. http://merkinvineyardsosteria.com.

Voila French Bistro is doing special Thanksgiving Brunch from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required. The three-course menu is $49 per person. Kid’s, 12 and under $20. www.voilafrenchbistro.com

Modern Oysterbar Chophouse is taking reservations for its traditional turkey dinner will offer a special menu crafted by Executive Chef Mike Bouwens from 1 to 8 p.m. The regular menu will also be available that day. http://modernoysterbarchophouse.com/

Fired Pie’s Tanger Outlet and Arrowhead location will open at 6 p.m. for hungry shoppers getting a head start for Black Friday.

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar at Tempe Marketplace and Desert Ridge Marketplace will be open 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. offering a 3 course dinner for $30.

Lucille’s BBQ at Tempe Marketplace has a Thanksgiving menu and limited regular menu from 11 a.m – 8 p.m.

The Hotel Valley Ho has a Thanksgiving Buffet from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Sands for $69. Zuzu is serving buffet dinner from 4 – 9 p.m. for $52 – $72 depending on entree selection. Children 12 & under can eat for $22 at either buffet. Reservations can be made at https://www.hotelvalleyho.com/hotel/hotel-events/thanksgiving

Mountain Shadows Resort- Hearth ’61 is serving a seasonal brunch menu and special Thanksgiving dinner menu from 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Visit https://www.mountainshadows.com/resort/events/thanksgiving to make reservations.

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain has a generous buffet in the Views Ballroom from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for $105 ++. The resort’s signature restaurant Elements offer s 4-course prie-fixe menu for $115++. Kids 12 & under can eat at either for $35. Reservations can be made at http://www.sanctuaryaz.com/

Match Restaurant & Lounge serves a chef prepared feast from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and includes turkey and all the fixins for $29 ++, $12 for children ages 9-12 and $7 for children 6-8. http://www.matchphx.com/

 

 

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa offers guests and locals culinary delights

In the northern part of the “Valley of the Sun” sits the village of Carefree, home to CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa. The AAA Four Diamond award resort offers guests and locals the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate from everyday life. Whether you prefer to pamper yourself at the spa, relieve stress through art or spirituality or tempt your palate with sips and bites from the resorts culinary team the resort has your best interest in mind this holiday season.

Whether you prefer to dine morning, noon or night, the resort’ signature restaurant Terras and Executive Chef Justin Macy offer several unique dining opportunities and events. Holiday dining, learning to cooking something new or visiting with out of town friends on the patio overlooking the Sonoran desert this line-up will keep you and your appetite satisfied.

Holiday Dining

Celebrate the holidays with healthy, yet indulgent culinary creations at Terras. Holiday dinners will celebrate the season’s best flavors with an exclusive prix-fixe menu complete with all the trimmings. Seating’s start at 5:00 p.m. with pricing ranging from $65 per adult and $32 per child.

  • Thanksgiving Dinner – November 28, 2019
  • Christmas Dinner – December 25, 2019
  • New Year’s Eve Celebration Dinner – December 31, 2019
CIVANA Wellness Resort and Spa
All photos courtesy of CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa

Half-Off Happy Hour

The happiest of hours is available daily 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Terras, featuring half off all beer, house wine & well cocktails along with all bar menu bites

Sunday Brunch

Make Terras the new Sunday morning tradition and indulge in a variety of healthy and comfort classics from yogurt parfaits, breakfast goods, savory creations to decadent charcuterie boards and top it off with a glass of champagne.

  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • $25 per person

Private Chef’s Table Experience

An intimate four-course dining experience at Terras for three to six people featuring a four-course dinner highlighting the season’s best ingredients and perfectly paired wine. Each night features a different Chef’s choice menu.

  • Available Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • $150 per person

Tequila Sunset

Enjoy the epic Carefree sunset nightly on the Terras Terrace with a rainbow Tequila flight and choice of 3 tacos (steak, fish or chicken)

  • Available daily from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • $20 per person

Bottle & Board

Choose from a variety of Chef Justin Macy’s featured charcuterie boards, along with a bottle of vino for a perfect shareable evening at the Terras Lounge.

  • Available daily from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • $25 per person

CIVANA Culinary School

The CIVANA Culinary team spotlights tips and tricks to create health-conscious, delicious recipes. Choose from a variety of classes available to resort guests and the public.

  • Sustainable Juicing Class
  • Shake and Stir Cocktail Class
  • Soulful Soups
  • Bake Shop 101
  • Vines to Wines
  • Culinary Clinic

To make reservations for holiday dining & classes, spa & wellness packages and for staying at CIVANA visit their website.

CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa is at 37220 Mule Train Rd. Carefree 85377. 480-653-9000

The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale now offers weekend brunch

In the heart of old town Scottsdale sits the colorful Saguaro Hotel and it’s signature restaurant La Senora. The trendy hotel started serving weekend brunch in January offering breakfast starting at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For those looking for a more lunch inspired brunch the All Day menu starts at 11 a.m.

The breakfast menu includes Chiliquiles Verdes, Avocado Toast, Banana Foster Buttermilk Pancakes and a Citrus Cured Steelhead Trout Bagel.

The All Day menu includes Chicken Tinga Quesadilla, Cactus Tacos and The Saguaro’s take on a Sonoran Hot Dog. Like the breakfast menu there’s more offered to choose from.

The Trout Bagel. All photos courtesy of Erin Weinstock at Sydell Creative

Executive chef Caesar Vasquez takes pride in the authenticity and house made ingredients in the traditional dishes served. From the house made chorizo and berry compote at breakfast or the corn tortillas for tacos all are made from scratch.

The Saguaro Scottsdale Brunch Specials

Two new specials are offered during weekend brunch, Gluten Free Churros($9) and Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight($12).

The Gluten Free Churros are made in-house and prepared when ordered. Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon they come served with Mexican caramel (Cajeta) and chocolate dipping sauces.

Watermelon
“Eating out with friends can be difficult when dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying your favorite foods,” said Maritza Portillo, Director of Food & Beverage Outlets. “Not at The Saguaro! Here, we created a dish that everyone

can share. Our churros are so good, we’re sure you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten-free!”
The Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight compliments your sweet, spicy or savory relaxing weekend brunch . The Saguaro Classic, Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Mimosa’s offer a refreshing start to the day. “Your drinks should be as beautiful as your surroundings. We took the colorful tones of The Saguaro and the unique flavors of the desert landscape to create a mimosa flight that is sure to impress,” said Portillo.
Hand-crafted cocktails are available by the glass or by the pitcher including The Saguaro Belle. Sweet and spicy it’s made with pineapple vodka, sparkling wine, honey, jalapeno and lime.
The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale is at 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information or to see the full menus visit their website.

 

 

New breakfast, lunch & dinner menus debut at Zuzu

Fall arrived early here in Scottsdale and right on time for the new seasonal menus at Zuzu. The retro Hotel Valley Ho’s signature restaurant last week debuted a new menu for all three meals and dessert.

Burrata. All photos courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Executive chef Russell LaCasce created the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and left the dessert menu for new pastry chef Lisa Graf. The new dishes offer ingredients for the Fall season and many ingredients are sourced locally.

What’s new on the menus

The new menus offer something for all diets and palates including spicy, sweet, meaty and those who like vegetables.

Korean BBQ Burger

Breakfast and brunch fans will enjoy Cereal Milk Stuffed French Toast, made with Fruity Pebble crumbs, cereal milk pastry cream, maple syrup and whipped cream.

Lunch offers a Korean BBQ burger, Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and The John Berry. The latter is full of spaghetti squash, cherry heirloom tomatoes, spinach, pesto, pine nuts, 3 jumbo shrimp and Parmesan cheese.

Dinner serves up two new starters such as Burrata and a Baby Back Rib Stack with mango chipolte BBQ sauce.

60- Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse

Entrees include Jidoori Half Chicken, Braised Beef Short Rib and the 60-Day Dry Aged Pork Porterhouse. The Portehouse is brined with aji pepper & maple and comes served with brussel sprouts and candied kombucha squash.

Make sure you save room for dessert

This is pastry chef’s Lisa Grafs first menu since joining Zuzu. Diners will enjoy Butterscotch Creme Brulee, Baked Alaska and The Troubled German Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake is made with chocolate sponge cake, German chocolate filling, graham pretzel crust, espresso cheesecake, buttercream and ganache.

menus
Butterscotch Creme Brulee

The famous Showstopper Shake celebrates the arrival of the state fair for the month of October. A Twinkie shake base, a fried cheesecake ball, funnel cake and more make this dessert a fun for at least two people.

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

Arizona Restaurant Week at Artizen and Hearth ’61

Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.

Artizen

Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.

First Course-
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint

Crispy Pork Cheeks gf
Popcorn Grits, Pickled Beets, Wood Sorrel

Pickled Rock Shrimp Tartine
Baby Peppers, Shallots, Tarragon, EVOO, Grilled Ciabatta

Second Course
Shaved Brussels Sprout salad gf/vegetarian

Sun Dried Apple, Shaft’s Blue, AZ Pomegranate, Ginger Serrano Vinaigrette

Third Course
Pan Seared Corvina
Glazed Turnips, Pea sprouts, Garlic Dashi, Beech Mushrooms

Braised Hudson Valley Duck
Duck Terrine, Crispy Leg, Charred Broccolini, Dried Blueberries, Hazelnuts, Smoked Duck Cream

Vegetable Sheppard’s Pie gf/vegetarian
Eggplant, Fava beans, Corn, Mirepoix, Thyme, Tomato Gravy, Whipped Potatoes

Fourth Course
Caramelized Banana Budino gf/vegetarian
Dulce de Leche, Peanut Meringue, Chocolate Twigs

Chocolate Panna Cotta vegetarian
Berry Compote, Vanilla Bean Gelato, Salt Shortbread Cookie

Artizen is inside The Camby Hotel at 2401 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016 and reservations can be made by going to their website.

Hearth ’61

Hearth ’61 Roasted Beet Salad. Photos courtesy of Jack Busch at J Public Relations.

Guests at Hearth ’61 will enjoy 3 courses for $44++ from Chef Charles Wiley using the highest quality ingredients.

To Begin (choice of)
Roasted Beet Salad | celeriac | arugula | candied pecans | brown butter vinaigrette

Wood Roasted Hawaiian Prawns and Polenta | smoked cheddar | andouille sausage |mushroom broth | scallions

Berkshire Pork Croquette | watercress & fennel salad | arizona dates | farro | glazed carrots

Entrées (choice of)
Pan-Roasted Ora King Salmon* | mushroom gremolata | melted leeks | parsley salad

Sweet Corn Agnolotti | smoked red onion | charred kale | walnuts | basil beurre blanc

Niman Ranch Prime Tenderloin of Beef* | red wine demi-glace | horseradish cream |smoked sweet potato mash

Dessert (choice of)
Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake | java chip bavarian cream | raspberry gastrique

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar | banana brulee | salted caramel ice cream

Peach & Sun-Dried Cranberry Bread Pudding | cinnamon ice cream | blackberry coulis

Reservations can be made by calling 855-485-1417 or by going to their website. Mountain Shadows Resort and Hearth ’61 is at 5445 Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Hearth ’61 promotes Richard Garcia to executive sous chef

Hearth ’61 executive sous chef Richard Garcia

Correction: Richard was promoted to Executive Sous Chef of the resort, not Hearth ’61.

In less than a year at Mountain Shadows Resort, Banquet Chef Richard Garcia has been promoted to Executive Sous Chef at the Paradise Valley resort’s signature restaurant Hearth ’61. Garcia will be working under the guidance of Executive Chef Charles Wiley. This isn’t the first time the duo have worked together as they helped re-open Hotel Valley Ho in 2005.

New Mexico born Garcia spent time in Santa Fe where he found his love for food and cooking from local chefs. In 1998 he worked at Mark Miller’s Coyote Cafe learning how to cook southwestern cuisine before attending Scottsdale Culinary Institute. After earning an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts he returned to Santa Fe to work at the El Dorado Hotel.

Garcia returned to Scottsdale’s Avalon in his first sous chef position before heading to Trader Vic’s as sous chef. He joined Hotel Valley Ho’s Zuzu as their first chef de cuisine before being promoted to executive sous chef.

He was re-united with Wiley in late 2017 when he accepted a position at Mountain Shadows as banquet chef.

Wiley is thrilled to have him at Hearth ’61 as he brings his innovative cooking style using simple ingredients to the menu.

executive sous chef
Hearth ’61 Ahi Tartare. All photos courtesy of J Public Relations

 

Alex Stratta takes over the kitchen at MATCH: Restaurant & Cocktails

It was less than a year ago that I reported that James Beard Award winning chef Alex Stratta took over culinary operations at The Herb Box , well that short-lived stint has come to an end. Chef Stratta has taken his culinary talents to MATCH:Restaurant & Cocktails in The Found:Re Hotel in Phoenix.

New menu debut

The first change will take place in September when chef Stratta will debut a new menu for the wood-fired and local focused restaurant. “We are testing new recipes and seeking the perfect balance of flavor and relatable dishes that suit the tastes of our local residents and out-of-town guests,” said Stratta. “The wood fired oven and grill will continue to take center stage as we evolve our menu.”

He and his team will continue to focus on simple, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients that will be presented in an artful style to coincide with the hotels art inspired decor and design.

The Alex Stratta culinary history

The globe-trotting chef has collected awards for his Las Vegas restaurants Stratta & ALEX and his first stint in Phoenix at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician Resort. He’s also worked for famed chefs Alain Ducasse in Monaco at Louis XV in The Hotel de Paris and Daniel Boulud in New York at Le Cirque. He’s also made the finals on Top Chef Masters, Italian Iron Chef and Iron Chef America. In addition to his James Beard “Best Southwest Chef” award he’s been named a Food & Wine Best New Chef, several AAA Five Diamond awards and a two star rating from the Michelin Guide for ALEX.

MATCH is at 1100 N. Central Ave. in downtown Phoenix https://www.matchphx.com/

 

Zuzu introduces new dinner menu from Chef Russell Lacasce

When I wrote about new executive chef Russell Lacasce taking over the kitchen at the Hotel Valley Ho’s flagship restaurant Zuzu back in Dec. I wondered what direction he would take the restaurant. I now know as Lacasce has introduced his first dinner menu since arriving at the Zuzu in January. A few restaurant bloggers and myself had the opportunity to taste several of the new menu items and speak to Lacasce and other members of his culinary team.

Zuzu Lobster Rolls

“I wanted the new menu to be very approachable, while offering dishes with complex combinations of flavors and textures that diners might not expect,” said LaCasce. “Everything is fresh and seasonal, with a strong focus on showcasing our amazing local farmers and purveyors.” Several of the Zuzu’s previous American comfort food staples are still available in the lounge.

Chef Russell Lacasce new menu items

The new menu includes dishes that perfect for sharing and include….

Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartare with spicy chicharones, Avocado mousse, Heirloom tomatoes, with a local Feta and shallot buttermilk dressing. This small plate tasted fresh with a hint of spice and a nice touch from the crispy chicharone.

Chef Russell Lacasce Hawaiian Ahi Tartare

The Burrata has a creamy and smooth texture and the addition of pickled strawberries & toasted pistachios give it flavors you’d be hard pressed to find on other plates of Burrata around town.

The Hokkaido Scallops comes three to a serving separated by one of the more unique ingredients I’ve found recently, fried Meyer lemon wedges. Both are served over a bed of toasted cous cous & pine nuts and drizzled with a shellfish butter. The scallops practically melt in your mouth and citrus flavor and crunch from the Panko crusted fried lemon may have made me a scallop convert. This dish is not to be missed by scallop enthusiasts.

The entrée we tasted was the item on the whole menu that raised my eye brow when I read it…..Baker’s Bacon Chop. A 20 lb. back bacon loin that is house carved, cured, smoked and honey lacquered prior to being plated. Served with green harissa, burnt orange, fresh herbs, pickled chiles and pork rinds. All I can say is WOW! A loin of crispy back bacon will give a whole new meaning to bacon. It’s also great for those who prefer gluten-free dinners.

What’s next at Zuzu

At the same time the dinner menu debuted in early May, Lacasce introduced a lounge menu and new dessert menu from pastry chef Audrey Enriquez. In coming weeks he will be rolling out new breakfast, lunch and brunch menus for diners to sink their teeth into. If his first menu is any indication of what’s to come in June we should be pick a day now, circle on the calendar and plan to check out Zuzu.

Zuzu is in the Hotel Valley Ho at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251 (480)376-2600 http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/ZuZu