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.

Press Coffee opens Gilbert location today

The local coffee roaster opens today at 225 E. Germann Rd. In addition to high quality coffee and coffee based drinks, breakfast sandwiches, burritos and avocado toast are available. $1 drip coffees are available from November 6th-8th with profits being donated to local non-profit Winged Hope. Temporary hours at this location are 6:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. on weekends until further notice.

Today is National Nachos Day, these restaurants are celebrating

Urban Margarita in Glendale is helping you save a few bucks on their Hatch Green Chile Nachos. Get 1/2 off ($7.25) when you dine-in all day.

Macayo’s Nachos Supreme is $8 today rather than regularly priced $12.99. Offer is available at all locations for dine-in, take-out or Macayo delivery.

2020 Slider Throwdown is Sunday

The popular fundraiser moves to High Street in north Phoenix this year and will have food trucks battling to see who wins “Best Slider” judged by local foodies including myself. Attendees can vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

Food & drink for military personnel on Veteran’s Day around Phoenix

Wednesday November 11th we say “Thank you” to all active and retired members of the military. Local restaurants are offering deals on food & drink around the Phoenix area.

Pita Jungle offers happy hour platter

National Happy Hour Day is Thursday November 12th and all Pita Jungle locations are showing off their signature tapas. $25 gets a platter of hummus and chicken with pine nuts, fresh mozzarella & tomato, baked pita chips, kafta mini pockets, feta, pickles, and cucumbers. A vegetarian platter is available too.

 

 

FRANCINE from restaurateur Laurent Halasz to open in April

Every few weeks it seems another restaurant is opening at the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Come late April we’ll have a new restaurant from Fig & Olive and Farmhouse owner Laurent Halasz. FRANCINE will join Nobu, Toca Madera and other restaurants that have opened in recent months. This will be Halasz’s most passionate project serving cuisine from the south of France where he grew up. Halasz also owns several locations of FIG & Olive and L.A.’s Farmhouse.Francine

“Everything on my mother’s table was fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor, and that is exactly what FRANCINE will offer our guests,” says Halasz. “We are so excited to bring our new take on classic French Mediterranean and open FRANCINE this April in Scottsdale.”

The fine dining restaurant will serve lunch and dinner with guests gathering in the plant filled restaurant of 5,000 square feet. In his youth Halasz’s mother would host meals around beautiful foods and draws inspiration and pays homage to those days with friends and family.Francine

Signature dishes to be on the menu include Zucchini Terrine, Grilled Octopus, Salmon Carpaccio and Seared Duck a la Provencal. A less formal lunch will serve a selection of pizza, salads and shareable dishes.

Check back for updates about the opening or head to their website.

Salut Kitchen Bar owner shows his European flair with new look

When Romain Lauro bought Salut Kitchen Bar two years ago he brought with him over 25 years of restaurant experience. For the Lyon, France native his love for food came early, at the age of 3 and easily as Lyon is the capital of the food world. Much of his life Lauro worked for his father serving ice cream at young age then taking over at his father’s fine dining restaurant Comme en Provence. He sold the restaurant after 20 years to fulfill his dream of coming to the United States.

“As a longtime restaurant owner in France, I am committed to bringing the elements of the high-quality dining experience to Salut Kitchen Bar,” said Lauro. “From adding new lights to changing the interior to a light, relaxing color scheme, I want Salut to be a place guests can enjoy an affordable, but delicious scratch made meal in a comfortable atmosphere.”

Salut Kitchen Bar
Saltimbocca di Marsala. All photos courtesy of PBS Studio 3 and Amanda Moore at Evolve Marketing.

What’s new at Salut Kitchen Bar

Salut Wine Bar is known for scratch made Mediterranean and American cuisine and been awarded “Best Wine Bar in Tempe”. Known for bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, gourmet tapas and an extensive wine list from around the world.

Most changes guest will see are to the interior and exterior of the restaurant. Wood accents, new lighting, landscaping and more will give guests an excellent wine and dining experience. Chef Trayton Hutchinson oversees the kitchen and makes sure the food is up to Lauro’s high standards.

Salut Kitchen Bar offers daily lunches for $9.99, daily happy hour from 3 -6 p.m. and weekly specials. Wednesday’s give guests the opportunity to choose a bruschetta board or Salut sampler & a bottle of wine for $25. Weekend brunch is offered from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Salut Kitchen Bar is at 1435 E. University Dr. Tempe 85281. For more information and to stay up to date on weekly specials visit their website.

 

Casa Terra will be Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant

Arizona restaurants don’t lack for diversity with many ethnic and specialty foods and restaurants available. With fine dining restaurants dwindling Casa Terra will bring vegan fine dining to the forefront when it opens in January 2019. Well known vegan chef and author Jason Wyrick opens Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant in downtown Glendale.

Shishito peppers

Wyrick’s menu will be plant-based regionally focused Mexican and Mediterranean fare with a fusion twist. His food preparation will include classic and modern cooking techniques offering flavorful meals appealing to all.

Purple Sweet Potato. All photos courtesy of Ampersand PR

According to Wyrick, “I’ve done a lot in my career as a chef, and the one thing that truly inspires me is exploring vegan cuisine and sharing it with people. For the past decade, I’ve had countless requests to open a restaurant. I’ve realized for a while that despite being one of the largest cities in the country with a burgeoning food scene, Phoenix doesn’t have a plant forward fine dining restaurant, and we need one. Casa Terra had to be the next step in my culinary journey.”

The menu at Casa Terra

Wyrick will serve only dinner with his seasonal menu of small plates, wood fired pizzas and sharable entrees. Because of the wide variety of choices Casa Terra offers Wyrick encourages exploring a variety of dishes. The exhibition kitchen will offer guests a glimpse of the food preparation. A few of the dishes include….

Appetizers

·      Charred Padrón Peppers: Calabrian chile caramel, candied ginger, sesame seeds, and Aleppo chiles.
·      Jicama Crudo: escabeche, avocado puree, orange segments, garlic chips, lemon zest, sea salt, and basil-chile oil.
·      Tapas Tacos: handmade tortillas, pibil mushrooms, shredded smoked seitan, and almond and chile de arbol salsa.

Thin crust wood fired pizza

·      Margherita: marinara, mozzarella, local olive oil, local basil and cracked pepper.
·      Salted Agave and Local Apple: fleur de sel, Aleppo chile, salted ricotta, pomegranate seeds, and herbs.
·      Carnitas with Mojo Pepita Sauce: almond queso fresco ricotta, tequila shallots, and chile threads.

Hearty entrees

·      Smoked Mushroom Cazuela: trumpet and oyster mushrooms in a cazuela, arroz, split peas, apples, garlic chips, cippolini pico and mole amarillo.
·      Saffron Chorizo Risotto: Nicoise olives, stewed peppers, asparagus, gold leaf, yerba buena.
·      Housemade Gnocchi: sweet potato, Merguez sausage, and preserved lemon pesto.

Desserts

·      Coconut Flan with Mezcal-Apricot Preserves: citrus zest, mole negro and candied pine nuts.
·      House Churros: piloncillo cajeta, spicy pecans, and bourbon-vanilla ice cream.
·      Mexican Chocolate Torte: espresso ganache, gold leaf, spiked cream and raspberry coulis.

Jicama Crudo

Fun and creative cocktails will be offered as will a thoughtfully prepared wine list for pairing with your meal.

Casa Terra will be open Sun. – Thurs. from 4-9 p.m. and Fri. & Sat. from 4-11 p.m. and will be at 6835 N. 58th Dr. Glendale 85301. (623)680-7468. For more visit their website.

KOVO Modern Mediterranean to open in northeast Phoenix

Long time restaurateur Yianni Ioannou opens his new restaurant KOVO Modern Mediterranean in mid-September on the northeast corner of Shea & Tatum. Growing up in Cyprus he came to the United States and operated Greek restaurants learning all aspects of the restaurant industry.

According to Ioannou, “We are excited to bring to the Valley the simple, delicious flavors and bright spices of the Mediterranean. This area of the globe is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences. This diversity of cuisine will be showcased at KOVO in a modern, approachable way.”

Traditional dishes at KOVO Modern Mediterranean

KOVO Modern Mediterranean will highlight traditional dishes from family recipes, Yianni’s travels throughout the region and his time in the Greek restaurants. A wood fired oven will cook pizzas and other specialties including lamb, beef and organic chicken. KOVO is Greek for “to carve” and the meats will be cooked vertically in a rotisserie style in the open kitchen.

Shared plates such as hummus, tzatziki, grilled eggplant, grilled octopus and Hallumi will be served along with cheese boards and bruschetta. Savory and sweet pastries including Spanokapita and Baklava will also be served and available for take-out.

Signature cocktails, craft beers and old and new world wines will be served.

The 4,000 square foot restaurant will have an open feel and modern design. Mediterranean tiles and ocean blue accents will highlight design features. The dining room, bar and patio has room for more than 140 guests.

Kovo Modern Mediterranean will be open 7 days a week with lunch and dinner Monday – Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is at 10625 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, Ariz., 85028. For updates and information check out http://www.kovomedi.com/

 

J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar brings together a culinary dream team

Housed in a former Arby’s restaurant just east of downtown Scottsdale J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar opened without fanfare as most restaurants do nowadays especially when you consider who’s creating the menu and making sure it’s executed the way it should be.

J’s Kaiyo owner Peji Malihi brought in chef Jason McGrath and sushi chef Todd Register to serve not only sushi but sharable dishes with a Mediterranean and Eastern influenced dishes.  Think Moroccan spiced lamb and crab stuffed and fire charred avocado rolled in exotic Asian spices and seeds.

J's Kaiyo
chef Jason McGrath. Photos courtesy of Chanelle Sinclair

J’s Kaiyo Sushi

All three are committed to the freshest ingredients including seafood for the sushi bar. So much so that the sushi bar is closed on Sunday’s because they can’t get their daily delivery of fresh seafood. Chef Register knows his sushi too as he comes to J’s Kaiyo from Roka Akor and RA Sushi and plans to use all fresh fish daily to maximize freshness and flavor.

“The focus is always on keeping the dishes fresh, clean, and simple,” McGrath says. “The only thing you’ll find in our freezers is our mochi ice cream.” As Malihi likes to say, “the roll speaks for itself,” there is no need for heavy sauces, creams, or batters to give their sushi mouthwatering flavor. “It’s all about sharing creative, quality food with the community,” McGrath says.

Family friendly and Izakaya

J’s Kaiyo is a family friendly restaurant named after Malihi’s son and McGraths nephew Jayden that includes a kid’s menu. McGrath practically grew up in the kitchen as his father Robert is an award-winning chef known for his work at The Roaring Fork and other local establishments and food festivals.

Adults will love the Japanese sake menu at J’s Kaiyo along with a full complement of craft cocktails, wines and beers. Communal drinking and sharing of sake known as “Izakaya” in Japan is encouraged as sake has a unique flavor profiles.

J’s Kaiyo Sushi and Bar is open Monday Friday for lunch & dinner starting at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday’s for dinner.

The restaurant is at 4412 N. Miller Rd.Scottsdale 85251 480-427-2526. For more info visit their website.

 

Pita Jungle introduces new Fall menu

Locally owned Pita Jungle is on a mission to have its guests eat healthy and in doing so offers its Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu and has introduced the Fall menu recently which will be available until the Winter menu rolls out in January.

Pita Jungle Fall Menu

All of Pita Jungle’s menus are influenced from around the globe with a strong emphasis from the Mediterranean region. As part of its healthy and sustainable philosophy the menus always  include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free  options.

The Fall menu consists of 8 new dishes with their roots coming from the  Levantine cuisine of the eastern Mediterranean. The new Fall menu dishes are……

Avocado Balila                                                                                                                        Garbanzo beans, garlic infused EVOO and cumin,  avocado, tomato, cucumber, jalapeno, green onion, red onion, fresh herbs, sumac, chili powder, blue corn chips

Flat Italian Green Bean Stew                                                                                        Local Arizona grass-fed beef, romano green beans, calrose white rice, onion, Greek yogurt

Pita Jungle

Baked Kibbeh (Lebanese Meatloaf)                                                                  All-natural ground turkey, russet potato, onion, basil, quinoa, walnut, golden raisin, beet & greens salad, red onion, tahini-beet dressing

Levantine Beluga Lentil Risotto and Kohlrabi (Mujaddara)                      Beluga lentils, organic brown rice, chopped kohlrabi root, cucumber, tomato, green onion, red onion, jalapeno, fresh mint, sumac, organic apple cider vinaigrette (mother included)

Streets of Beirut Chicken Pita                                                                      Grilled all-natural chicken breast, toum (unadulterated Lebanese aioli), parsley-red onion aleppo salad, side Greek salad, gluten-free flatbread. Also available with tofu or falafel.

Avocado Beef Asada Shawarma Lavash Pizza                                                   Local Arizona grass-fed beef, avocado, wood-fired tomato, bean mash, cheddar, mozzarella, lettuce, green onion, cilantro-avocado crema, cumin yogurt sauce, red chili hot sauce, herbs, green onion, lavash bread (gluten-free pizza crust available +2.49)

Turkey Kafta Burger

Gluten-Free Chocolate Pavé with Vanilla Ice-Cream

Pita Jungle has 19 locations in Arizona and 1 in California. To find a location near you check their website.