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.

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.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen opens today in Scottsdale

There’s new restaurant opening today at the intersection of Tatum and Shea Blvd. Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is the the first restaurant by Ben Sinion, former General Manager of The Wrigley Mansion.

The fast casual concept will transport you to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and beyond with its classic and contemporary Caribbean and Latin dishes. A meat filled Cubano sandwich, Jerk Chicken, Mofongo( smashed plaintains, think guacamole) and vegan friendly dishes are among the authentic dishes. You can’t go the tropics without tropical cocktails or a cold beer, rum based sangria and more are available.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen
Cubano sandwich. Photos by Debby Wolvos

It’s a laid-back concept,” said Sinon. “Guests can grab-n-go, dine in and it’s perfect food for a party.”

Stop in during opening weekend a get a FREE plantain appetizer. Choose from the Tostones, Marquitas De Platanos or Maduros.

Little Cay Latin Caribbean Kitchen is at 4912 E. Shea Blvd. #108 Scottsdale 85254. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information and to see the menu check out their website.

 

1/2 off Signature Cuts at Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse

“Out with the old and in with the new” they say and Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is doing just that next week. Tuesday October 1st is not just the start of a new month but the day the restaurant at the Scottsdale Waterfront rolls out its new menu. Most sections of the menu will see new dishes including appetizers, salads, pastas, Signature Cuts (entrees) and dessert. To celebrate the new menu the evening of the 1st give guests the chance to order any of their signature “Cuts” for 1/2 off.

Reservations are highly recommended for dinner that starts at 6 p.m. on this special evening. Select bottles of wine will be 1/2 off during the night as well.

Pesto Pasta. Photo credit Riot Hospitality Group- Aaron Bowman

New dishes

  • Grass Fed Meatballs – Arizona grass fed beef meatballs baked in a red pepper tomato sauce with burrata cheese and served with garlic bread
  • Crab Cakes – Lump crab cakes, fresh herb cucumber salad finished with avocado lime vinaigrette
  • Baby Iceberg Wedge – Baby iceberg, Monforte blue cheese, Campari tomato, pickled shallots, crumbled bacon with a buttermilk basil dressing
  • Vegetable Chopped Salad – Chopped romaine, candied tomato, red pepper, crow’s dairy goat cheese, grilled artichokes and shaved cauliflower in a red wine vinaigrette
  • Beets and Brussels Sprout Salad – Roasted brussels sprouts, golden beets, parmesan cheese, shaved red cabbage, garlic dressing and herb croutons
  • Filet Sandwich – Spice rubbed filet served sliced with melted blue cheese, bacon jam and arugula pesto
  • Bone-in New York Steak –18 ounce Cedar River Farms bone-in, grilled with a side of signature Hand Cut steak sauce
  • Bison Loin – 8 ounce pasture raised bison loin, spice rubbed and served with hibiscus butter sauce
  • Seasonal White Fish – Served sautéed with lemon herb chardonnay sauce
  • Scallops and Mushroom Fettuccine – Roasted wild mushrooms, scallops and egg fettuccine in a white wine mascarpone sauce
  • Crab Mac and Cheese – Lump crab, parmesan cream, cavatappi pasta, chili breadcrumbs and fresh herbs
  • Meatball Mac and Cheese – Cavatappi pasta, red pepper cheese sauce, grass-fed meatballs and crispy basil
  • Fettuccine Genovese– Imported Genovese pesto, parmesan cheese, slow roasted tomato with egg fettuccine
  • Seasonal Cheesecake and Affogato

New cocktails too

Their award-winning cocktail menu will also be adding new cocktails that include two new dessert cocktails. New cocktails include….

  • Barrel Aged Manhattan – Bulleit Bourbon, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and Angostura Bitters aged in French Oak.  Served up but can be served on the rocks upon request.
  • Scottsdale Sunset – Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon juice, Simple Syrup, egg white, Angostura Bitters and topped off with a touch of Cabernet.
  • Kir Royale – Poema Cava Brut, blackberry syrup, vanilla Bean, Yucatan Honey Shrub
  • Cold Brew Martini – Fugu Horchata Vodka, Passport Cold Brew Coffee, in house cinnamon syrup and almond milk
  • Key Lime Martini – Smirnoff Vodka, Vanilla Giffard, pineapple syrup, condensed milk, fresh lime juice, finished with a graham cracker rim

Hand Cut Burgers & Chophouse is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd. # 154 Scottsdale 85251. To make a reservation call 480-494-2008.

Match Restaurant and Lounge serves up brunch buffet & burgers

Downtown Phoenix’s Match Restaurant and Lounge now offers two new weekly food specials. The signature restaurant inside the Found:Re Hotel is offering  burger and beer fans a pairing of the two. Every Thursday from 5 p.m. -11 p.m. enjoy a burger & draft beer for $10. What a better way to end your week than with a hot juicy burger washed down with a cold draft beer.

On Sunday’s head to Match for their new brunch buffet. Feast on a rotating menu of crab legs, prime rib and other breakfast and lunch favorites. Make your way to the omelet station then stop by the Bloody Mary bar to mix up your favorite Sunday cocktail.

Brunch is offered from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for $35 ++ and include 2 Bloody Mary’s or 2 Mimosa’s.

Whether your dining on Thursday or Sunday, Match offers 2 hours of complimentary valet parking.

Match Restaurant and Lounge is at 1100 N. Central Ave. Phoenix 85003. 602-875-8080

French restaurant celebrates 4 years in Scottsdale

When Chef Jean- Christophe and Segolene Gros opened their French restaurant, Voila French Bistro four years ago they were fulfilling their American dream. They chose Scottsdale for their restaurant having fallen in love with the desert after only a one day visit in 2007.  On October 20th the couple will be celebrating their 4 year anniversary of their French restaurant with a prie-fixe wine paired dinner.

Chef Jean- Christophe has been a chef in French restaurants for over 30 years working with French master chefs before venturing out on his own. He approaches his French cooking with modern twist as he adapts it for his American audience.

The three-course dinner is $79 per person and goes from 5 – 7p.m. The menu is as follows.

La Chartreuse – lump crab layered with vegetables and wrapped in lettuce leaves. Paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc Atlantic 2016

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Terre et Mer – Pork Surf & Turf, pork filets served with jumbo shrimp and a lobster sauce. Paired with a glass of Château Fongaban 2015 – Bordeaux St Emilion

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Chocolate Caramélia Valrhona Entremet – A flourless chocolate cake with caramel chocolate mousse. Served with a glass of Mirabelle Plum Kir Royal

To reserve a seat for this special evening go to their website or call 480-614-5600. Voila French Bistro is at 10135 E. Via Linda, Scottsdale 85258.

Brie and Nikki Bella pair their wines at Hearth ’61 cuisine

Since their not body slamming their opponents in the wrestling ring anymore, twin sisters Brie and Nikki Bella are stomping grapes at their Napa Valley winery, Belle Radici. They launched the winery with partner Ryan Hill in 2017 and is Italian for “beautiful roots”. Belle Radici wines along with wines from Hill’s Hill Family Estate Winery will be poured on Sunday September 15th at Hearth ’61.

The dinner is part of the Mountain Shadows Resort’s Sunday Supper Club with food prepared by Chef Charles Wiley. Chef Wiley will be joined in the kitchen by Elements at Sanctuary executive chef Beau MacMillan. The pair worked together at Element’s when Wiley was executive chef and mentored MacMillan.

They’re collaborating on a four-course menu that includes Black Garlic Braised Beef Cheek and Honey Crisp Apple and Daikon Radish Salad.

The monthly Sunday Supper Club pairs wines or spirits with Chef Wiley’s modern cuisine. Upcoming dinners include Rombauer Vineyards on October 20th and Champagne Henriot on December 8th.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and each seat is 474 plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 480-624-5400.

Mountain Shadows Resort is at 5445 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

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.

Middle of the week fun and exploring in Harwich Port

Mid-week on the cape finds laid back days at the beach and exploring what goes on around Harwich Port. Waking to foggy and humid mornings for coffee and my morning walk lead to sunny and warm days.

Tuesday was a beach day and lingering around town before heading to dinner in Dennis Port at The Oyster Company. A family favorite for dinner we shared quite a bit of oysters, Portuguese and Bangkok mussels and more for appetizers. Still needing to get my fill of lobster I went with the Lazy Man Roasted Lobster. The stuffed lobster with crab meat stuffing satisfied my craving for the local delicacy.

Harwich Port
Nauset Marsh

Fun and adventure around Harwich Port

Wednesday had us checking out a few attractions within a few miles from the house. Stopping at Cape Cod Lavender Farm was new to me and had me enjoying the aromas of one of my favorite scents. From there we needed to keep my 10 year old niece happy going to the go-kart track and bumper boats. The adults acted like kids as we all had fun trying to beat each other around the track and getting soaked on the bumper boats. A fun afternoon of playing like a kid.

Dinner had us going to the highly rated Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich Port. Plenty of shared appetizers including polenta, charcuterie, proscuitto wrapped artichokes and Aracini had me practically full before our entrees arrived. A grilled romaine salad before my Buca’s Bolognese arrived had me packing up it after only a few bites. It made for a great breakfast the next couple of mornings with the wild boar ragu spread on crispy bread leftovers for my homemade breakfast bruschetta. A breezy sunset made for a great after dinner walk on the beach and through town during its weekly festival with live music and more.

Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger at Mooncusser’s Tavern

Kayaking the marsh

Thursday brought out our adventuresome side with a 3 hour guided kayak tour through the Nauset Marsh. After meeting up with Matt of Cape Marsh Kayaking we made our way with the outgoing tide towards Nauset Beach. Paddling through the marsh Matt pointed out native birds looking for fish. Did you know there is no such specie as a “sea gull” as it’s a general term for the gulls found in and around the water.

Arriving at the beach 70 minutes after of paddling we had time to explore the beach and watch the seals bathing in the sun and poking their head out of the water to greet us. Before heading back Matt taught us about the different kind of clams, scallops and horseshoe crabs found in the area. Horseshoe crabs are related to spiders more than they are crabs. Paddling back to the boat launch made for quite the workout as we were paddling into the outgoing tide.

Getting hungry

Working up quite the appetite after kayaking we headed up Route 6 to Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham. Packed with families getting their fill of fried seafood for lunch, my Wedge Salad with lobster meat was well earned. Hanging by the pool for a little while it was time to freshen up for dinner at Mooncusser’s Tavern.

Steamers at Arnold’s Restaurant in Eastham

Mooncusser’s is a inn and tavern built in the 1700s for retailer Jordan Marsh and his family. Mooncusser’s were land pirates who destroyed lighthouses and set fires on the beach so ships would run a ground to be robbed of their cargo.

My nephew and I shared an appetizer of PEI Mussel Dijonaise followed by my duck infused Gorgonzola & Bacon Burger. The first burger I’ve had on the cape in several years was delicious topped with the melted blue cheese, Crimini mushrooms, Cabernet caramelized onions, garlic aioli and smoked bacon. Saving room for dessert we made our way back to Schoolhouse Ice Cream for the homemade sweet treat.

Heading home from Harwich Port

Friday has us packing and getting ready to head out for the 5 hour drive down I-95 to NJ for the weekend before I head back to Scottsdale. Another great week on the cape full of fun, adventure and eating.

To see more of my visit Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass

Back exploring food and more in Boston and Cape Cod

If you’ve followed this blog for a few years you would’ve seen a post or two from my visits to Cape Cod. Well I’m back for another visit by way of Boston for the week to escape the Arizona heat. After my first 3 days I have enough to tell you about from my morning in Boston to the days on The Cape.

Breakfast in Boston

I flew into Boston early Saturday morning and was greeted by my friend who re-located from Phoenix to the Boston area 20 years ago. It was pretty early so we decided to head into the city to wake up and made our way to the newly built Seaport District along Boston Harbor. On the south-side of downtown Boston the Seaport District is full of high rise office and apartment buildings, restaurants and attractions. The big attraction for us was the Harbor Walk that led us towards Boston’s North End for breakfast.

Italian market in Boston’s North End

The North End is Boston’s “Little Italy” neighborhood full of narrow streets lined with Italian markets and restaurants. We made our to Theo’s Cozy Corner for breakfast on Salem St. The small cash only breakfast joint serves up traditional breakfast fare at good prices. Eggs, pancakes, etc and good portions Theo’s was full of neighborhood regulars and a few of us outsiders looking to start our day. My friend and I both went with corned beef hash with 3 eggs, home fries and toast. A good choice leaving us both satisfied.

No trip to the North End is complete without a stop at Mike’s Pastry for cannoli for a my mid-morning snack. We also stopped into a traditional Italian market for sliced prosciutto and other meats and fresh bread.

After a walk back along the harbor to the car we headed to the south bay so I could continue down to the Cape.

Saturday and Sunday on the Cape

For years my family has been spending a few weeks every August in Harwichport which is on the south side on Nantucket Bay on a part of the cape that is considered Mid-Cape. A cute town we venture to restaurants to get our fill of fresh seafood. Whether it’s $1 oysters for happy hour at The Port or trying to find the “Best” lobster roll we have our favorites and are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try.

By the time I arrived in mid-afternoon Saturday I was ready to get my fresh seafood feast going. My nephew, brother-in-law and I went across the street to The Port for the $1 oysters from Chatham and Wellfleet. The week before I hear they polished off 90 oysters during one sitting but that wasn’t going to happen on this day as the restaurant was shorthanded with shuckers and we weren’t the only ones there for happy hour. 48 oysters were good enough to satisfy us on this day.

Oysters at The Port in Harwichport

Most days on the cape are lazy with a later start than had I been home in Arizona. Sunday morning started out foggy(the weather, not me) but by late morning the sun was out we’re off to Bank St. beach for a little sand and sun. After a few hours on the beach it was back to relax and decide where to do dinner. We decided it was time to get lobster rolls so we made our way to the Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis. Sesuit on the north side of the cape about a 15 minute drive from Harwichport. Like other “seafood shacks” on the Cape and in New England, Sesuit Harbor Cafe offers fried, broiled or raw seafood. Place your order, find a table outside and wait for the servers bring your food. It’s fast casual before fast casual became a restaurant trend.

Lobster rolls for most of us were served with fries and cole slaw, my nephew went with half a broiled lobster. All were happy as we sat among the sea gulls, marina plotting our next move. We saved room for desert and made our way for homemade ice cream at Schoolhouse Ice Cream in Harwichport.

Sunday or Monday its all the same

When you’re on vacation all the days run together and you realize the work week has begun when the weekenders head back. Not us as Monday has us sleeping in, getting coffee and starting the day. After coffee and my morning walk I made my way to Brew’s Coffee Bar & Beer Garden for breakfast. Disappointing as they stopped serving many of the breakfast sandwiches I remember from 2017.  Only 4 choices to choose from that we’re pre-made and warmed up. My egg and bacon burrito was good but not really worth the $9 I paid for it.

Lunch had me craving fried oysters so I drove down the road to the Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport. The place has been around since the 1950s and had the old school drive-in feel. Seafood, burgers, hot dogs and more, my fried oyster craving was fulfilled.

Oyster roll at The Original Seafood Restaurant in Dennisport

After a lazy afternoon walking off my lunch and visiting with family it was time to think about dinner. My nephew and I were on our own and debated which pizza place to go to. The debate was George’s or Ember Pizza and Wings. Ember won out since we’ve never been so we decided to try their coal fired charred pizza. Getting their early before the dinner rush we ordered boneless Buffalo wings which were chicken tenders tossed in Buffalo sauce. Not my idea of wings and going forward I will always order bone-in wings.

Since my nephew doesn’t eat anything green most vegetables were out so we went with the Meat Lovers Pizza. Topped with bacon, sausage, pepperoni and meatballs the thin crust pizza was good and service was good too. Time for a walk and a relaxing Sunday night before we start another day on the Cape.

Check back for more eating adventures and exploring for the next few days. For more images of my trip follow me on Instagram @SandyWass