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

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

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria launches new Spring menu

The new menu at the 7 Arizona locations celebrates the Garden of Flavors thru June 7th. Seasonal ingredients include artichokes, asparagus, sweet peaches and more. Dishes like the Panzanella Salad, Bacon & Asparagus Pizza go well with new cocktails such as the Kentucky Peach Mule & Peach Bellini. A new cauliflower crust pizza has been added as has desserts Banana Cream Cheese Cake and Caramel Coconut Cheesecake.

Found:RE Hotel celebrates Women in Wine

The downtown Phoenix hotel and signature restaurant Match Market & Bar feature wines made by women all month long in honor of International Women’s Day Monday March 8th. 18 wines from around the world are featured with a portion of sales donated to Hope Women’s Center. Many of the wines feature also donate to women’s causes around the world.

Local First Arizona film series highlights local food economy & community

March 9th is the first of a monthly series of its Good Food Film Series featuring 12 independent short films. Each film discusses the challenges the farm and food community faces over the next year. The first film titled “The State of Arizona Farmland” about the owners of Blue Sky Farms. April 13th will be “Are Edible Landscapes and Trees the answer to Arizona’s Rising Climate Crisis?” and May 11th brings “The Business of Farm to Food Banks“.

A Su Salud virtual kitchen offers healthy Mexican food.

Pita Jungle has jumped into the virtual kitchen game with A Su Salud at its Tempe location. Meaning “to your health” A Su Salud offers Mexican wood fired specialties available for pick-up or delivery from DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grub Hub and Postmates. Bowls, burritos, salads, tacos and fajitas are on the menu along with healthy kid options and Pita Jungle desserts.

All-you-can-eat tacos at Jalapeno Inferno

Every Taco Tuesday customers visiting the Pinnacle Peak, DC Ranch and Park West restaurants can get as many tacos as you can eat for $10.99. The special price is for dine-in only.

 

 

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

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

FRANCINE adds new dishes using award-winning olive oil

The Scottsdale restaurant is now using MillPress Imports olive oils sourced from Spain for new dishes. FRANCINE owner Laurent Balasz met MillPress owner Tim Balshi 15 years ago and uses his olive oil at his L.A. restaurant Fig & Olive. A few of the south of France inspired dishes using the olive oil include Mediterranean Branzino, Grilled Lamb Rack and Golden Apple Pear Sorbet.

Devour at Home pre-orders start February 1st

Foodies can start to order meals for the virtual food festival starting this coming Monday. Local restaurants will prepare meals for the weekend of February 27th and 28th. The virtual Devour at Home is the 2021 version of the annual Devour Culinary Classic from Local First Arizona. Only 25 orders from each restaurant will be available with 10 restaurants participating each day. Orders can be placed starting at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. on February 19th. For more information and to place an order visit https://www.devourphoenix.com/

Pita Jungle’s new food truck rolls out in February

The locally owned Mediterranean food restaurants with locations around Phoenix debuts its new food truck next month. Selections from their menu will be available around Phoenix and will soon be available for private events and corporate functions. New dishes just for the on the go crowd will be available along with meal combos at a set price. Find out where to find the food truck at https://www.pitajungle.com/

National Tater Tot Day at Angel’s Trumpet Alehouse

Enjoy the popular side dish on February 2nd at the downtown taphouse and restaurant with a Basket O’ Tots for $7. The special is available all day and even during happy hour form 3-6 p.m. where you can get $5 pints of local drafts and $9 flatbreads. You can ask for basket upgrade for only $2 more.

Daily Dose debuts dinner at its midtown location

Good news for dinner fans, the restaurant known for fresh and scratch made brunch debuts dinner on Tuesday February 2nd at its 20th St. and Highland location. New dishes include Chorizo Mac n Cheese, Roasted Baby Back Ribs, a selection of loaded fries and more. A new budget friendly happy hour will also be available and includes new cocktails.

 

Devour at Home, a virtual Devour Culinary Classic coming in February

2021 is almost here but we’re not out of the woods yet from Covid-19 so virtual get togethers are still happening in the new year. Continuing to support local restaurants Local First Arizona announced their annual Devour Culinary Classic is going online with Devour at Home the weekend of February 27-28.

Each day local chefs will prepare and have delivered a special prix-fixe meal to enjoy in the comfort of your own home. There will be a limited amount of meals offered with each meal being $200 and feeds 4 people. Each meal includes wine glasses, warming instructions, chef bios, a 2021 Devour at Home place mat and a commemorative thermal tote.

Chefs participating in Devour at Home include Danielle Leoni of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Stephen Jones of The Larder +Delta, Silvana Salcido Esparanza of Barrio Cafe and others. Attendees can show off their plating skills from home to win prizes selected by the chefs and other virtual experiences. The nationally recognized event plans to return in person when CDC guidelines allow.

The participating restaurants will receive 100% of all proceeds from the weekend’s event. You can order your meals starting on February 15th and get more information at https://www.devourphoenix.com/.

 

Feed Phoenix initiative wants local food community to help feed the hungry

The city of Phoenix and Local First Arizona have joined forces to feed the city’s hungry for the Feed Phoenix initiative. They are using money from the CARES Act to recruit local restaurants, farmers & food entrepreneurs to provide and prepare meals. By keeping it with local businesses the money spent will stay local, sustain local jobs & supply chain and keep Phoenicians healthy.

“We are proud to be partnering on such a thoughtful and innovative approach to feeding Phoenix families. This initiative will touch all layers of our local food system and make the greatest impact possible for small businesses across various industries. From local chefs featuring three locally-sourced vegetables in every meal to opting for sustainable to-go packaging for delivery, community-driven solutions to complex problems are how we build a stronger local food system,” said Local First Founder Kimber Lanning.

Local businesses looking to participate in the Feed Phoenix initiative have until 12:00 pm on July 17th to submit a proposal to https://www.localfirstaz.com/feed-phoenix . Restaurants, farmers, caterers, mobile markets, and event venues are encouraged to apply for the 3 month program.

Feed Phoenix requirements

Businesses applying have to….

Be located in Phoenix and have proper licenses and insurance to prepare food for consumption.

-Be able to prepare, store, and safely deliver 500 meals per day. A minimum of one day per week for six weeks, using compostable packaging. 

-Use locally-sourced vegetables as part of the meal to be purchased by Local First

“We are excited that through this partnership we are able to feed individuals and families who are most vulnerable to hunger as a result of the pandemic. This effort also allows us to create economic opportunities for our local businesses and build relationships with our local farmers,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This innovative approach will benefit our local food system now and in the future.”

“I think it’s important to note the city could have chosen to hire one very large company to prepare all of these meals using food grown on the other side of the country. But instead, they contracted with us to spread the funds around locally so we can impact as many Phoenix businesses and jobs as possible,” Lanning added.

2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum hopes to go off as scheduled

With current events planning a festival or other culinary events is hard not knowing how the coronavirus will affect future events. I’m hoping the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum goes off as planned on April 28th & 29th 2020. The two day conference of farmers, local food advocates and food entrepreneurs will be held at the Corona Ranch & Rodeo Grounds in Laveen.

Organized by Local First Arizona the forum helps build and strengthen relationships aimed at collaborations between the Arizona food and farm industry. Arizona’s farming future will be discussed among the more than 200 food entrepreneurs and advocates.

“Phoenix is committed to achieving a healthy, sustainable, equitable, and thriving food system and has recently completed a 2025 Food Action Plan that includes various strategies and actions that address food insecurity, urban agriculture, land use, job creation, and the contribution of the entire food system to our local economy,” said city of Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

She added, “We are excited to host the Arizona Food & Farm Forum in South Phoenix to showcase the rich agricultural history of the area, its assets, and value to the development of a resilient food system for future generations.”

Arizona Food & Farm Forum line-up

The 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum will have farm tours, workshops and networking opportunities for all to participate in. Keynote speakers include Nephi Craig, Founder of the Native American Culinary Association, Lilian Hill, Executive Director of the Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute and Sara Dolan, Owner of Blue Sky Organic Farms.

“From strategizing local opportunities for farmland conservation to exploring food as medicine, the 2020 agenda is focused on ensuring Arizona can thrive as a delicious and nutritious place to live,” said Kate Radosevic, Local First Arizona Food & Farm Initiatives Manager.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Heritage and Planning for the Future” with sub-themes….. Planning for the Future is centered around policy and systemic changes, including strategy sessions on Agriculture Workforce Development, Urban Farmland Conservation, and Funding Community Food Systems.

Indigenous Foodways will provide a space for tribal members and allies to explore Decolonization Through Food, learn from the American Indian Farmers’ Panel, and explore Food as Medicine.

Growing a Food Business will offer technical assistance in Building Your Brand; Protecting Yourself & Your Workers in a Hotter, Drier Climate; and Strategies for Diversifying Farm Revenue Streams.

Tickets for the 2020 Arizona Food & Farm Forum are $99 for 2 days & $59 for 1 day. Students, ranchers and young farmers are $40 for 2 days and $20 for 1 day. Local First Arizona members will save 10% when you use the promo code “LOCALFIRST”. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.

 

Coronavirus and the Phoenix restaurant and hospitality community

As we are now well into this Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic its taking its toll on every industry around the world. Here in Arizona festivals and events are being cancelled or postponed, restaurants and other business’s are voluntarily cutting back hours. As I saw this weekend several Phoenix restaurants continued to be busy with people going out to eat & drink. Many are sending out emails and posting on social media how their following deep cleaning and sanitizing procedures and following guidelines from local and state health departments.

FnB and Rancho Pinot Grill made tough decisions to close their dining rooms but stay open to provide meals for take out or delivery. I’m sure others will follow with these and other decisions while looking at creative and necessary ways to continue to serve our community and pay staff and other expenses. So far the State of Arizona hasn’t required businesses to shut down the way other states have enforced curfews and closings.

How you can help during the coronavirus

When a cure is found for Coronavirus and the risk of it spreading slows down hopefully many of our favorite restaurants and hospitality industry rebounds with no permanent closures. Sadly I feel several will close permanently due to the sudden drop in business right during our busy season. Dining out is a great way to help local restaurants whether you cautiously dine-in, have food delivered or taken- out or buying a gift card for a future visit. If you do the latter I hope the restaurant or businesses are still in business when you choose to visit.

Looking on the bright side we as a community learn from experiences like we’re going through. New processes are being learned and implemented but may become a reality for when things return to as they were. Full service restaurants like FnB and Rancho Pinot may continue to do more take-out business than traditional dining. As few businesses may fall others will be created to take their place. Hopefully this will be short lived and we can get back to gathering at festivals & restaurants and sharing meals & good times together but it’s up to us to minimize the damage by supporting local restaurants and business when we can afford to and feel safe doing so. Visit Local First Arizona for a list of locally owned businesses you can support. Be safe!

Foodies don’t care about a little rain at Day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic

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 @SandyWass  Facebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman

Bar Magic serving up Hurricane Cocktail in the VIP Lounge with Mardi Gras theme
foodies
Prep & Pastry Churro Cronut & Blueberry Scone
foodies
Scandinavian Sushi coming to Scottsdale later this year from Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
foodies
AZ Wilderness PB & J Burger
foodies
A leaky tent didn’t dampen the spirits of L’Auberge de Sedona Chef Morgan serving her delicious dessert
foodies
T. Cooks Arcadia Orange Bombe- white chocolate, Grande Marnier mouss, hazelnut & citrus curd
foodies
Dust Cutter Restaurant’s confit pork belly, masa, chorizo & roasted poblano gremolata
foodies
Lincoln Steakhouse Surf & turf- Lobster Escargot & Beef Tongue Popover
Love seeing all the color exhibits and art at the Desert Botanical Garden

Devour the World kicks off Devour Week 2020 in Peoria

Local First Arizona’s popular Devour Week 2020 kicks off the celebration of Arizona restaurants with its first event in Peoria. Devour the World makes its west valley debut on Saturday February 15th at Peoria City Hall’s Centennial Plaza. Devour the World showcases the international cuisines, music and cultures found around Phoenix.

“From flavors that can only be found on the islands of Jamaica to the great vistas of the Navajo Nation, this is the perfect event to explore the rich diversity that makes Arizona so special and share it with friends, family, and community,” says, Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona Founder.Devour the World

The four hour event starts at 11 a.m. and is a partnership of the City of Peoria, Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance and Local First Arizona. Beers of the world will be poured in the beverage garden and over 24 restaurants and food trucks will be offer foods from over 12 countries. Music and dancing from different countries will be performed with cultural activities and workshops with local ambassadors are also featured.

A few of the restaurants participating include….

Cool Vybz Jamaican Restaurant- Chef Kelso Raymond

Everest Momo- Chef Subash Yadav

Salvadoreño Restaurant- Chef Yesenia Ramirez

Happy Buns- Chef Jay Kwan

“Peoria’s events scene continues to get better and better, and I am thrilled to have this multicultural, culinary experience coming to the heart of our city,” says Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat. “I can’t wait for family and friends to gather as they ‘Devour the World’ together.”

Tickets for Devour the World are $55 and include food samples and libations. Tickets can be purchased along with more information about other events at the Devour Phoenix website. Peoria City Hall is at 9875 N. 85th Ave. Peoria 85345.

Arizona Good Food Expo continues to promote locally sourced foods

Arizona Farmer + Chef Connection is now the Arizona Good Food Expo and returns for its 10th year promoting Arizona sourced foods. This years event will be Monday August 26th at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort. The event brings Arizona farmers and food & beverage producers together under one roof to meet face to face with buyers. The event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. is followed by a reception at the resorts signature restaurant, A Different Pointe of View.

“Changing the name to Arizona Good Food Expo better reflects the mission behind the event, to showcase Arizona’s best local food and build lasting relationships between food producers and wholesale buyers, but is more inclusive of the state’s broad range of food buyers who aren’t necessarily chefs,” says Emily Bell, Good Food Programs Manager at Local First Arizona Foundation.

Speakers at Arizona Good Food Expo

Over 75 vendors will provide samples and information for local restaurants, resorts and retail buyers. James Beard award-winner and “vegetable whisperer” Charleen Badman owner and chef of FnB will deliver the keynote speech. Other speakers include chefs Tamara Stanger of Tempe’s Cotton & Copper, Stephen Jones of the larder + delta and Shanti Ride, owner of Whipstone Farm.

“The Arizona Good Food Expo is the ideal setting to ensure the freshest Arizona-grown foods are being served on your plate – whether you shop at the grocery store, are eating at the school cafeteria, or dining out,” says Kimber Lanning, Founder of Local First Arizona Foundation, “The Expo makes it easier for our great chefs and food buyers to source local ingredients and be leaders in Arizona’s food scene. Sourcing Arizona’s homegrown foods is essential to build a healthier Arizona, and the relationships made at the Expo will leverage our agricultural bounty for the benefit of all.”

Tickets for the event are $25 for all day access and $99 for vendor packages. Vendor packages include 2 all day passes, reserved parking, table space and a listing in post event follow up. The deadline to purchase Vendor Packages is August 22nd. Information and purchasing tickets can be found at their website. The Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs Resort is at 11111 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85020.

 

Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.