The Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest returns for its 6th year

Downtown Chandler will feel a bit like New Orleans’s French Quarter for a few hours on Saturday, February 15th 2020. This is when fans of Cajun food and culture can expect to party into the night at the 6th Annual Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest.

AJ Chandler Park will again host over a dozen restaurants including Angry Crab Shack, Bayou Bistro and Honey Bears Cajun BBQ Cuisine serving up gumbo, crawfish, Po’boys and more. Abita beers such as Purple Haze, Hop On and more will be on draft.

“Angry Crab Shack is excited to team up with HDE Agency and bring a Mardi Gras party to the East Valley while benefiting one of our partners in Phoenix Children’s Hospital,” said Andrew Diamond, president of Angry Crab Franchise. “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”

HooDoo Coasters, Bluesman Mike, NolAz Band and Souled Out Jazz Band will perform live throughout the 9 hour festival. Food eating contest, lawn games, flame throwers and a Kid’s Zone will entertain festival goers.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Phoenix Children’s Hospital as they plan to expand into the east valley. The festivities start at noon and ticket options including veteran’s discounts, general admission and the Big Easy Lounge are available. To purchase tickets for the Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Fest and get more information head to their website.

AJ Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. Chandler

Donuts and pizza are in good supply this weekend in downtown Phoenix

It’s going to be a busy weekend in downtown Phoenix for fans of pizza and donuts. Tickets are still available on-line for both festivals at Margaret T. Hance Park. Click on the link for information about Saturday’s Phoenix Pizza Festival and below is what I know about this Sunday’s Downtown Donut Festival.

About 4,000 festival goers are expected on each day and Sunday’s donut festival will have 20 donut vendors give or take. Hurt’s Donuts, Alien Donut’s, The Beignet Babe and The Local Donut are a few of the local donut shops showing off their sweetened fried dough. Arizona Wilderness Brewing will be pouring their beers all weekend along with wines from Acrobat. Donut festival goers can sip on specialty coffee drinks and Mimosas. Lawn games, live music, a kid’s zone and a marketplace with local vendors will be part of the festivals.

Donut samples will be a $1 each and the festival will benefit the Downtown Phoenix Inc. DPI promotes the re-development of downtown Phoenix by supporting events and local businesses.

The donut festival starts 10 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $8 for entry after 12 noon. Tickets can be purchased only on-line at http://www.downtowndonutfest.com/

Maragret T. Hance Park is at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004.

Tourist Home All Day Cafe in Flagstaff overcomes its past

In its 93 years the “Tourist Home” in downtown Flagstaff has seen its ups and downs. The last 5 years have seen more of the ups than the previous 40 years. The Tourist Home All Day Cafe celebrates its 5th anniversary since it was opened by owners Kevin Heinonen and Chris Kemmerly.

Before the pair had bought the property the boarded up house sat vacant surrounded by a yard full of weeds. Originally built by Jesus Garcia, a Basque sheepherder and his mother Isabella in 1926 as a boarding home for sheep herders who came to Flagstaff for business and to re-locate their sheep as the seasons changed. Today the Tourist Home All Day Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and brunch to locals and out – of – towners. The cafe also serves as the kitchen for the Annex Cocktail Lounge.

Kevin Heinonen before the transformation

“Tourist Home is one of the most sought after destinations, and considered a downtown gem,” said Terry Madeksza, Executive Director of Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance.

“Not only does the menu offer exceptional baked goods, breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes, it is also a vibrant place for locals and visitors to gather,” Madeksza added.  “It is important to remember that before Tourist Home, the building was dilapidated and considered an eyesore for years. The vision and ongoing investment into Tourist Home has spurred revitalization of an entire area.” The served as a case study for the Urban land Institute as an example of private developers and city government working together for redevelopment and economic development for historic places in Arizona.

History meets modern times at Tourist Home All Day Cafe

Technology helps keep the cafe running smoothly and its historic charm  keep the cafe a relevant part of Flagstaff’s history. GM Lisa Valentine, Chief Culinary Officer Mike Schmitz and Master Pastry Chef Kat Biemann create menus and relationships with customers, staff and vendors to make the cafe successful.

“The business was and continues as an example of always meeting the changing needs of your customers,” said Heinonen.

The Garcia’s built a “Pelota” (handball) court next door for sheepherders to stay in touch with their Basque roots. Today it’s a performance stage for live music. The owners have added a fire pits, tables with umbrellas and a service window for the Annex to the outside.

The Tourist Home All Day Cafe is at 52 S. San Francisco St. Flagstaff 86001. Check out their website for more information.

 

 

Dish It Out to raise money to fight childhood hunger

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix raises money for various causes through annual events. One of those causes is the fight against childhood hunger and their annual Dish It Out culinary event will do just that. Sunday October 20th from 5 -8 p.m. over 35 local restaurants will be at High. St. serving up samples for this year’s event. Last year the popular fund raising event was named “Best Event” in the valley by Arizona Foothills magazine.Dish It Out

Attendees of the 21 and over event will taste samples from Lou Malnati’s pizzeria, Ocean Prime, Fogo de Chao and other restaurants. Craft beers from Ballast Point, SanTan Brewing and Laguintas are just a few beers to sample. Local bands will entertain throughout the evening and Mix 96.9’s Matthew Blades and Pricilla Ornelas will host the upscale event. Deep Eddy Vodka will pour specialty cocktails from their tricked out 1946 Spartan Trailer in the VIP lounge. Lady La and her Mahalo Made food truck will be in attendance.

Proceeds from the event helps BGCMP serve over 330,000 healthy meals and 336,000 healthy snacks to children in the Phoenix area.

General admission tickets for Dish It Out are $75 and VIP tickets are $200. VIP guests get early access with a glass of champagne, preferred packing, access to VIP lounge with exclusive restaurants, wine and more. The event is dressy casual with comfortable shoes recommended for walking. Tickets can be purchased on their website along with more information. High St. is at 5415 E. High St. Phoenix 85054.

Hance Park Conservancy hosts 4th Annual Noche en Blanco

Dressed in white under the stars people will gather on Saturday October 26th for the picnic styled Noche en Blanco. This is the 4th year the Hance Park Conservancy has held the fundraiser for downtown Phoenix’s popular gathering spot. The park is home to food festivals, music festivals and one of the last open spaces in downtown Phoenix.

Inspired by Paris’s “Dinner in White” guests are encouraged to dress in white for an evening of live entertainment and dancing under the stars. The evening ends with the highly anticipated grand carnavale parade with samba dancers.

Photo credit: Kassidy McDonald at Evolve Marketing

Picnic tables will be draped in white with guests invited to decorate them with flowers, lights and more. Local brewer Huss Brewing and Action Wines will be pouring beer and wine and guests can pre-order a picnic from Conceptually Social.

The event will donate all proceeds to the Conservancy which is dedicated to the future of the park. The non-profit has been instrumental in developing the master plan of the park adopted by the city in 2014.

Tickets for Noche en Blanco

Tickets for this 21 and over event are now on sale at http://hanceparkconservancy.org./ Pre- sale tickets are available until September 26th for $30, table of 8 for $225 and a gourmet picnic for 2 is $75.

Hance Park is at 116 E. Moreland Phoenix 85004.

Downtown Mesa to host 2nd annual Southwest Cider Festival

Over 300 cider enthusiasts including myself made their way to downtown Mesa last year for the inaugural Southwest Cider Festival. I’m happy to announce that tickets are on sale for the 2nd Southwest Cider Festival on Saturday October 19th at Cider Corps. Refreshing samples of local and out of state ciders will be poured along with live music, food trucks and more. People are still discovering this new and unique beverage according to Cider Corps co-owner Josh Duren.

“Craft cider is so different from mass produced drinks and even from traditional European ciders,” Duren explained. “We’re experimenting with flavor profiles and techniques that make this a really unique beverage without artificial flavoring or added sugars. The festival is a chance to sample the variety out there and really support the craft cider community.”

The festival goes from 4-8 p.m. and General Admission tickets are $35. Tickets include 15 sample tickets and a commemorative glass. VIP tickets are $50 and get early entry at 3 p.m., a t-shirt, 20 sample tickets and commemorative glass. Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite.

The event will be outside at Cider Corps in downtown Mesa at 31 S. Robson St.  85210. For updates check out the Facebook page.

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row rolls out all day menu

A new all day menu was rolled out at the downtown Gilbert location of Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row earlier this month. The new menu offers lighter and healthy options which include vegetarian and seafood dishes among popular favorites.

all day
Buffalo Cauliflower

New dishes include spicy Buffalo Cauliflower, Spinach & Berry Salad, Roasted Chicken Primavera and Grilled Salmon Jambalaya. Fans of the Tennessee Hot Slider, Fried Pickles and Southern Fries don’t need to worry as those guilty pleasures are still on the menu.

The American gastropub has also extended it happy hour to run all day Monday – Friday. Food and drinks specials start at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. During Sidewalks Fridays they’ve extended happy hour until 9 p.m.

Salmon Jambalaya sub grilled shrimp

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row is at 323 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234. To see the full menu head to their website.

Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest returns to Civic Space Park

The end of September should bring cooler temperatures but this is Phoenix so it could still be warm for the annual Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest. Quench your thirst at this German inspired festival that started as a wedding in 1810 and lasted for several days. The annual celebration continues around the world feasting and drinking for several days. Our downtown festival only lasts 6 hours on Saturday September 28th at Civic Space Park.

The doors open at 3:00 p.m. with authentic German food such as pretzels, brats, currywurst, schnitzel, spatzel and sauerkraut from Brat Haus, Eur Haus food truck and others. Huss Brewing makes sure the beer keeps flowing pouring their beers along with 8 German beers on tap.

“The Downtown Phoenix Oktoberfest is a chance for everyone to be German for the day,” said owner of HDE Agency, Landon Evans. “Oktoberfest is a long-running tradition in Germany and we love bringing it to Cityscape providing an authentic experience, live entertainment and plenty of fun.”oktoberfest

Funkhaus Brass Band will be playing New Orleans style music and games Corn Hole & Jenga will keep people entertained. Servers from Hooter will be serving food and drinks and will host a Stein Holding contest and Beer Maid contest. Save room and enter the brat eating contest.

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to ICM Food & Clothing Bank. Since 1983 ICM has provided basin needs such as food, clothes, diapers and more to poor families.

Tickets are $10 online and $15 day off. Groups of 4 can get tickets for $30 online for a 50% savings. Food and beverage sold separately. Civic Space park is at 424 N. Central Ave.

Tickets are on sale for the Phoenix Pizza Festival in downtown Phoenix

It will be a slice of heaven on Saturday November 16th as the Phoenix Pizza Festival returns to downtown Phoenix. Tickets are on sale for the 6 hour festival at Margaret T. Hance Park. Get there by bike, light rail or car to the conveniently located park that will host close to 20 pizza makers, dessert stations and more. Live music, lawn games and a kid’s zone will keep you busy in between bites and sips.

Grab a slice of pizza for $2-$4 or a whole pie and other tasty bites and wash it down with beer from local craft brewers.

Previous years pizza makers included Il Bosco, La Piazza, Freak Bros. and Nello’s. This year’s list is still being compiled and will be available soon at https://www.phoenix.pizza/

Downtown Phoenix Inc. has partnered with the Phoenix Pizza Festival as beneficiary. The community organization helps to promote the growth of downtown Phoenix and by supporting local business’s with events.

Tickets are on sale for the festival at the link above and are $10. The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 1202 N. 3rd St. Phoenix 85004. Photo courtesy of Flargus.

 

Downtown Chandler gettin’ ready to host 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest

It’s now August which means the metro Phoenix food festival calendar is starting to fill up. One of the first festivals of the season on September 14th is the 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest. Once again downtown Chandler’s Dr. A.J. Chandler Park hosts the day long event.

taco street fest
All photos courtesy of Claire Natale at Evolve Public Relations

Over a dozen local restaurants and food trucks including Ghett Yo Taco, Taco Chiwas and Willie’s Taco Joint will be serving up tacos and more. Festival goers will enjoy cold beverages such beer Micheladas, margaritas and fresh fruit frescas.

“The Rockin’ Taco Street Fest is one of our most popular signature events that we produce,” said Landon Evans, owner of HDE Agency. “We strive to build our community style events to be the best Arizona has to offer with activations that enhance the attendee’s experience. We look to reach 15,000 at this year’s celebration.”

Live music, eating competitions, a car show, wrestling and more will keep festival goers entertained for the 9-hour event. The family friendly event goes from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. and will have a Kid’s Zone. “While the food is a featured element at Rockin’ Taco Street Fest, we strive to create an experience for our attendees,” said Evans. “We have a bit of something for everyone whether it’s shopping, refreshing drinks, food aficionados, great entertainment and the list keeps going.”

Taco Street Fest donates and tickets

The 8th Annual Rockin’ Taco Street Fest will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Junior Achievement of Arizona. The local non-profit helps young people gain knowledge and skills to be an economic success as they plan for their future. They also help to educate them to make smart academic and financial decisions.

Tickets for the festival are available online. Starting today those looking to save money sponsors Food City and Basha’s are selling 50% off tickets until September 14th. Kids under 12 are FREE. Dr. A.J Chandler Park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave. chandler.