Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Hopdoddy Burger Bar gives free burgers to First Responders

Wednesday, October 28th is National First Responder’s Day and the Camelback & Scottsdale locations are responding. Show your badge or come in uniform for a free Classic burger or cheeseburger when you dine-in or take-out.

Marcellino Ristorante begins Fall Wine Dinners

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant known for homemade pastas and authentic Italian cuisine has its first dinner on Tuesday October 27th. Paired with Italian wines chosen by sommelier Dario Soldan of Classico Wines, Chef Marcellino decides on what to serve at the 4-course dinner the day of. Prepaid seats are $75 ++ per person for the 6 p.m. dinner and can be reserved by calling Bettina at 480-990-9500.

“Crazy for Curry” then head to Thai Chili 2 Go

Until Wednesday October 28th, curry fans can get a bowl for half price when a bowl is purchased at regular price. Red, yellow, green, Massamann and Panang curries are available at all locations for pick-up and delivery.

Nashville Hot Chicken Pizza now available at Fired Pie

All 20 locations of the fast casual pizza restaurant are now selling the new specialty pizza. Made with house-made dough Nashville Hot sauce, mozzarella cheese, then topped with Nashville Hot Chicken, spicy cole slaw & chopped Dill pickles. It can be made with regular, cauliflower and gluten-free dough.

Hotel Valley Ho launches The R + R Show virtual cooking class

Executive Chef Russel LaCasce and hotel General Manager Ronen Aviram debut their first free episode of their monthly cooking, cocktail and recipe podcast. Details of each month’s classe and link to the podcast can be found at an earlier post.

 

Virtual cooking classes offered from Hotel Valley Ho

Looking for new recipes to impress friends and family look no further than new virtual cooking classes coming from Hotel Valley Ho Executive Chef Russell LaCasce. The R+R Show will feature Russell and his “Sous Chef” hotel General Manager Ronen Aviram preparing dishes with recipes and ideas for cocktails and leftovers viewable one Friday a month.

The free classes debut October 23rd with the VH Chopped Salad. Future virtual cooking classes include Petaluma Chicken on Nov. 20, the Hawaiian Poke Bowl on Dec. 18, The John Berry on Jan. 22, and Charbroiled Ribeye on Feb. 26. All classes are viewable at http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/. Private viewable classes are available for groups and private celebrations.

Also happening at the Scottsdale hotel will be a celebration of the tropics on Tiki Weekend October 30th – November 1st. Dust off your favorite Hawaiian shirt and tropical attire for a luau Friday night. Enjoy live music, a pig roast & tropical cocktails, hula dancers, fire dancers and more under the palm trees of the Palm Court. Tickets are $129 per person include chef prepared food, 3 drinks and a festive lei.

Halloween night put on your best tiki inspired costume for a Tiki-Mask-erade Party. The guest whose costume gets the loudest applause will be the winner. Enjoy cocktails, small bites, DJ music and of course Halloween candy outside in the Main Place Courtyard and hotel’s ballrooms. $99++ per person includes 4 drinks, small bites and candy. Space is limited to all events with social distancing enforced as will mask wearing unless seated. Special room rates are available starting October 27th and will include a welcome cocktail and $50 resort credit. See the website for details and to reserve your room.

 

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/

 

 

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.

Chef + Farmers Market series returns to Hotel Valley Ho

Don’t let this weeks cooler than normal temperatures fool you, the triple digits are coming. When the heat returns many of the Phoenix area farmers markets take the summer off but not at Hotel Valley Ho. Summer is when their Chef + Farmers Market returns indoors at their Sands indoor venue.

Saturday’s from June 22nd – July 13th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. guests can enjoy tastes from local chefs, purchase fresh produce and more goodies from local purveyors. While shopping and tasting enjoy live music and sip on Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s or taste wine and spirits. Valley Ho’s chef Russell Lacasce will provide the tasty bites along with Matt Taylor of Mora Italian and Rene Andrade of Ghost Ranch.

Save room to taste the milkshakes made by contestants of the Battle Freak Shake contest to see who makes the best “Show Stopper” Shake.  The winning shake  will be featured in Augustin Zuzu. All attendees will receive a voucher for 25% off a summer visit to Zuzu.

Each weeks Chef + Farmers Market will have a theme from food to music, here is the schedule.

June 22nd- South of the Border

June 29th- Bada Boom

July 6th- Grillin ‘n’ Chillin

July 13th – Sweet Treats

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

“Battle Freak Shake” invites you to build your Show Stopper Shake

Ever want to have one of your homemade culinary creations on the menu at your favorite restaurant? Now’s your chance as you have until May 1st to submit your best milkshake recipe to Hotel Valley Ho’s “Battle Freak Shake” contest.

Once submitted online the Zuzu culinary team will review recipes & ingredients before picking the finalists on June 1st. The finalist will make their milk shake for them and the top shakes will go to “Battle Freak Shake”. The winner will….Have their shake featured as the Showstopper Shake in August, 3 night stay at hotel w/ upgraded guest room, Dinner for 2 at Zuzu and 2 90-minute VH Spa treatments. And of course bragging rights.

3 shakes will be featured at each of the hotel’s Chef + Farmer’s Market events. Guests and chef judges will vote for a winner who goes to the final market event of the summer to be crowned the winning shake.

Arizona Tiki Oasis kicks off the weekend at Hula’s Modern Tiki

A recent post announced the Arizona Tiki Oasis weekend, they have now added a kick-off happy hour Hula’s Modern Tiki in Scottsdale. The Tiki Time Happy Hour starts at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday April 11th. The public is welcome to join tiki fans who are calling Scottsdale and Hotel Valley Ho home for the weekend.

Photos courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

Guests will enjoy $6 Signature Tropical Cocktails, $6 Island- style starters and more until 6:00 p.m. It will be the first opportunity for guests to purchase Arizona Tiki Oasis collectible souvenirs and merchandise.

Tiki fans in Phoenix can take advantage of Hula’s Tiki Time Happy Hour at their location on 7th St. The Phoenix location is not hosting the event.

Hula’s Modern Tiki is at 7213 E. 1st Ave. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

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.

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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.

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

 

Zuzu releases dates for Monday Night Chef’s Table for coming months

Zuzu and executive chef Russell LaCasce  know how to pull off exciting off menu dinner events. Diners and wine geeks should be excited for their continued success as the next four months of their monthly Monday Night Chef’s Table is set.

The signature restaurant at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho will offer guests a 4-course dinner paired with wines from prestigious wineries. A guest from the winery will be on hand to speak about the wines and pairings. Although all the menus are not finalized the wineries are and dates are as follows….

August 27th Frog’s Leap Winery– Guests can expect a menu of cabbage cured salmon, charred jumbo asparagus with prosciutto and lobster, dry aged pork chop, and chocolate pot de crème with almond crumble.

September 17th- Wagner Family of Wines

October 22nd– ZD Wines

November 12th– Willakenzie Estate

Each of the dinners start at 6:30 p.m. and cost $75 ++ per person and reservations can be made at http://www.hotelvalleyho.com/ or by calling 480-376-2600. Zuzu is at 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.