Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

“Med Meets Mexico” seasonal menu now at Pita Jungle

All 23 locations in Arizona now offer new 10 dishes on their Seasonal Crafts Kitchen Menu. Dishes using the flavors of the Southwest and their Mediterranean inspired menu will be available through April. Highlights of the new menu include Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, Mediterranean Ceviche, Labdeh Dip Mezze Veggies & Dip and a Wood Fired Gluten Free Enchilada. 

Orin Swift Wine Dinner at Palo Verde Restaurant

The signature restaurant at The Boulders Resort & Spa hosts a gourmet four-course dinner paired with wines on Friday, February 3rd with the reception starting at 6:00 p.m. Enhancing the experience will be the scenic views of the golf course’s 6th hole and duck pond. Seats are $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling 480-595-4621.

Cider Corps hosts dinner to raise money for traumatic brain injuries

The downtown Mesa cidery will pair its award-winning ciders with dishes from valley chefs Friday, February 3rd. Guests attending the Speakers Dinner for Traumatic Brain Injury Solutions will hear updates from researchers at Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The 21 and over dinner starts at 6 P.m. and is %200 per person. Two other fundraising events are scheduled for the 22 Jumps event with more information and to RSVP click here.

New seasonal dishes at Over Easy launch January 30th

The locally owned and nationally recognized breakfast spot adds two new dishes to its menu on Monday. The scratch made Cinnamon Apple Corncakes ($14) and JohnJay Burrito Bowl ($17) are available for dine-in, take-out or delivery. $1 of every Burrito Bowl will be donated #LOVEPUP Foundation. Also new will be the Spicy Mango Margarita ($8) but only available for dine-in. The new dishes and drink are available at all 11 Phoenix area locations.

Nominations are open for Foodist Awards until February 5th

Its award season and time to nominate your favorite Food & Beverage, Experience, Restaurant and People in the Arizona Restaurant Association’s annual recognition of those in the food and beverage community. The online nominations include 20 categories and 8 new categories for the 2023 awards. Winner will be announced in alive ceremony on Monday April 24th at 5:30 p.m. at The Van Buren in Phoenix.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Semifinalists for 2023 Restaurant & Chef Awards announced

This morning The James Beard Foundation announced the Semifinalists for its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards. Arizona is again well represented throughout several categories. Nominees will be announced Wednesday, March 29th and winners announced Monday, June 5th 2023 in Chicago. You can see the list of all 2023 semifinalists here.

The 2023 Arizona semifinalists are……

Outstanding Chef

Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café, Phoenix

Outstanding Restaurant

Proper Meats + Provisions, Flagstaff

Emerging Chef

Christian Lowe, Shift Kitchen & Bar, Flagstaff

Outstanding Bakery

JL Patisserie, Phoenix and Scottsdale

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker

Crystal Kass, Valentine, Phoenix

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program

Glai Baan, Phoenix

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

Rene Andrade and Roberto Centeno, Bacanora, Phoenix

Jaren Bates and Brett Vibber, The Table at Junipine, Sedona

Nephi Craig, Café Gozhóó, Whiteriver

Wendy Garcia, Tumerico, Tucson

Fernando Hernández, Testal, Phoenix

Yotaka and Alex Martin, Lom Wong, Phoenix

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Barro’s Pizza replaces Chandler location with a new one

The locally owned pizza restaurant has been at its original Chandler location for over 20 years and the family felt it needed a change. They’re moving to a new location in the Ocotillo neighborhood at Queen Creek and Alma School Rd. beginning Tuesday January 24th. The closing location will be open right to the end closing at the end of service on the 23rd. The new modern decor will still have the comfy neighborhood feel customers have come to over 40 years.

Ling & Louie’s Lunar New Year celebration starts tomorrow

As featured last month the north Scottsdale Asian fusion restaurant celebrates the Year of the Rabbit for 2 weeks. The celebration with food and drink specials start tomorrow with all details found in here.

Sunday grilled cheese pop up at Garden Bar

Fates Bread Co. will be making gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches every Sunday at the downtown Phoenix cocktail bar. Starting at 5 p.m. until they sell out guests can choose from a BLT Melt or The Secret Garden. Sundays also feature industry specials for hospitality workers. Reservations are suggested for all visits.

Jackson Family Wine dinner next week at Ling’s Wok Shop

If you haven’t made reservations for the 5 course dinner next Wednesday there is still time to do so. The Asian inspired dinner will be paired with wines from across the globe. For reservation details and to see the menu, see my post from earlier this month.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

Events & news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

The last Third Tuesday dinner of 2022 at Romeo’s Euro Cafe

A delicious wine pairing dinner ends the year at the popular downtown Gilbert restaurant next Tuesday, December 20th. Three courses including The Lafayette Kraut, Spuds Veggies & Pork and Chocolate Temptation Cake will be paired with wines from Washington, Oregon and California. Seats are $44 per person and the dinner starts at 6:30, for reservations call 480-962-4224.

Rooftop Disco Bash on New Year’s Eve at Pedal Haus

The downtown Phoenix restaurant hosts a fun and unique way to ring in 2023. A buffet, complimentary champagne toast, a disco ball drop and a Disco DJ will make this a memorable evening. General admission is $20 with guaranteed seating for 6 and all the amenities are $180. You can purchase tickets at this link.

Chompie’s offers Chanukah and Christmas catering meals

If the shopping is done it’s now time to focus on the food for next week’s holidays. All 4 locations are taking orders for meals for all 8 nights of Hanukkah and Christmas. 24 hours advanced order is required and 72 hours for whole turkeys and larger catering orders.

The Unforgettable Chanukah at Home Package features all the favorites. Choose from sliced brisket & gravy, roasted chicken or turkey breast with Challah stuffing accompanied with Matzoh Ball Soup, a choice of two sides, dinner rolls and one of Lovie’s Holiday desserts. The dinner is $249.99 and serves 8.

For Christmas choose The Traditional ($299.99) or The Basic ($249.99) dinners. XL whole oven roasted turkeys with homemade stuffing & gravy, cranberry relish, fresh baked dinner rolls and a two 9 inch pies (pumpkin and apple) make up The Basic. Add candied yams, mashed potatoes and home-style green beans and you’ve got yourself and family The Traditional dinner. Both dinners feed 12-15 people.

Scottsdale’s new ski lodge is now open

Wait what, a ski lodge in Scottsdale you say. Yes as Old Town Ski Lodge is open Thursday – Sundays from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. in the hideaway upstairs at Wasted Grain. Enjoy Après-Ski cocktails Smores Martini, a Jack Frost Martini and boozy snow cones and winter vibes all year long. The Ski Lodge atmosphere also offers a large selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch to keep you warm. It’s available for private parties and events.

Barros’ Pizza raises a lot of money for St. Mary’s Food Bank

Last week’s 11th Annual Doran Barro Holiday Hunger Fight raised more than $415,000 almost $85,000 over last year’s fundraiser. All proceeds from all the day’s sales the 46 locations in Tucson and Phoenix were donated. Co-owner Mike Barro thanks loyal customers for coming out year after year that has raised more than $2.5 million dollars in the 11 years.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

The Blue Heron opens alongside Crust Simply Italian in Gilbert

Crust Simply Italian continues their expansion with their newest location in the Verde at Cooley Station development in Gilbert. With the new opening comes the new speakeasy themed cocktail bar, The Blue Heron. It’s not owner Mike Merendino’s first dual concept as his Chandler location of Crust also houses The Ostrich cocktail bar downstairs.

“We have been looking in Gilbert for some time now, and when we found the Verde project in Cooley Station we fell in love with the neighborhood,” says owner Merendino. A Mesa location is expected to open in mid-2023.

The East Coast Italian restaurant serves up classic dishes and pizza Merendino used to make in his father’s pizzeria on New York’s Long Island. Authentic pasta dishes, Italian style Rustica shaped pizza’s and craft cocktails are signature to Crust. Happy hour happens Monday -Friday from 3- 6p.m. and offers specials on their popular appetizers and cocktails.

“Crust Simply Italian is looking forward to serving the local Gilbert community with delicious authentic East Coast Italian food! We want our customers to come in as friends and to walk away feeling like family!” says Merendino.

“Dealer’s Choice” at The Blue Heron

The Blue Heron specializes in craft cocktails and the popular “dealer’s choice” cocktail. The “dealer’s choice” is perfect for those aren’t sure what they want to drink so the bartenders create custom cocktails based on the customer’s preference of ingredients. Merendino continues his Birds of a Feather theme in naming The Blue Heron, a native bird to Arizona. Doors open daily at 5 p.m.

Both Gilbert locations offer catering and have space for private dining and events. Crust opens daily at 11 a.m. and is at 2470 S Recker Rd #101,Gilbert AZ 85296.

Enjoy my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

Cloud kitchen helps Chesapeake Bay Bistro to expand

Nowadays if you can figure out a successful recipe for running a restaurant the best way to maximize your potential is through expansion. That’s exactly what’s going on at Chesapeake Bay Bistro a year and half after opening in Ahwatukee. Unlike their brick and mortar location the owners opted to open their new location in a cloud kitchen inside the Tempe Food Court earlier this month. They’re not stopping there as third location will also be in a cloud kitchen in their former hometown of San Diego in January 2023.

“For restaurant owners, the past year has been challenging with staffing, higher prices for food supplies and rising costs for rent and utilities,” says James Brown, who co-owns the Ahwatukee-based bistro with his wife, Yolanda. “Adding locations through a food-court style expansion makes sense on many levels.”

Expansion into a cloud kitchen

Working in a cloud kitchen also gives them the opportunity to open new concepts without all the expenses of a brick and mortar location. That’s why the couple is planning to open a Creole/Cajun concept out of Tempe in 2023. Another reason for the expansion into cloud kitchens is CBB is seeing a lot of take-out from their Ahwatukee location.

“We believe that the food delivery model is the future and allows us to fulfill our customer base request,” said Brown said. “Sixty percent of our sales are call in or pickup now.” CBB works with several food delivery services to deliver the hot and fresh seafood dishes for delivery within 15 minutes.

To help alleviate some of the staffing issues of the past few years, the couple’s three grown sons have joined them in restaurants. One son will be running the new San Diego location in the Aztec Food Hub near the San Diego State University campus. The other two sons help out when mom and dad can’t be at the Ahwatukee location.

“Using cloud kitchen locations benefits small mom-and-pop restaurants like ours in several ways, allowing us to keep our labor and maintenance costs down,” Brown said.

The Tempe Food Court location is at 1900 E. 5th St. 85281, not far from the ASU campus and Tempe Marketplace. The Ahwatukee location is at 5033 E. Elliot Rd. Phoenix 85044. For more information visit their website or to order for delivery or takeout check out the delivery services.

 

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

The TLC eXperience returns with Friendsgiving at Agritopia

The monthly supper club is back after taking the summer off with its first dinner of the season Friday, November 18th at Agritopia in Gilbert. Seating is limited for the 4-course dinner created by Chef Tom Baumbach and his team. Cocktail hour starts at 5:30 with dinner at 6:30. Tickets are $150 per person and can only be purchased here.  Tables of 8 or 10 are also available for purchase.

Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. Craft Beer & Music Festival happens Saturday

Tomorrow November 5th welcomes NASCAR fans, country music lovers and beer drinkers to Bell Bank Park starting 6 p.m. The popular Hillbilly Deluxe is the headliner with DJ Jeffro and the Get Lit Dancers opens the show. VIP Happy Hour hosted by Michael starts with early entry at 5 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ older festival are available at BellBankPark.com or at Tixr.

Press Coffee opens today inside Sprouts

The first in-store location of the locally owned coffee roster is now open inside the Sprouts at 3320 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix. All weekend long small drip coffees are $1 and all of the proceeds will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Foundation. Give away will be happening on Saturday and Sunday with more details here.

Loco J’s Tacos & Tequila now open in Cave Creek

Navy veteran Jason Clouse opened his new taco joint in this week making it the first Mexican restaurant to open in town in a long time. He was the former owner of nearby Rosati’s Pizza and sold it to focus on Loco J’s. The restaurant is at 28260 N. Tatum Blvd. and opens daily at 3 p.m.

LDV Winery hiring for their Scottsdale tasting room

Looking to make some extra money for the holidays or keep up with inflation, put your wine knowledge and customer service skills to work in the fun and friendly atmosphere.  Submit your resume to info@ldvwinery.com and learn more about the winery at their website.

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Dia de los Muertos Festival at Cien Agaves

The newly re-modeled restaurant and bar in Old Town Scottsdale is showing off its new look this Sunday, October 30th. From 1 – 4 p.m. festival goers can taste 15 different agaves, enjoy live music & get a swag bag. Capacity is limited and tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.

Tommy V’s hosts The Carlton Winemakers Studio dinner

Next Thursday, November 3rd the Scottsdale restaurant hosts a 5-course dinner paired with wines starting at 6:30 p.m. Red & white wines will be paired with Shrimp & Tuna Wheat Ceviche, Hazelnut Risotto, Braised Short Ribs and more. Seats are a $135++ and reservations can be made by calling the Scottsdale restaurant at 480-427-2264.

Trinchero Family Estates wine dinner at The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Tara & Travis Rawlings purchased Moon Valley’s Aiellos and Isa’s Pizza in May and changed it to The Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar making some changes to higher quality ingredients and adjusted the menu to regional Italian. They host a six course dinner featuring Italian wines from the California based wine company on Wednesday, November 9th. They’re offering two seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. for $125++. You can reserve your spot for this memorable evening at their website.

Blue Hound Kitchen welcomes a new chef and new menu

Executive Chef Alex Robinson joined Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at Hotel Palomar in August and hit the ground running working on a new menu. The menu and new cocktails from Clint “Spotty” Spotelson debuted in early October and features chef’s signature BHKC 900 Hot Stone with Australian Wagyu or Yellow Fin Tuna, Net of  The Sea, Roasted Airline Chicken Breast to name a few. Cocktail highlights include the bourbon based Stealth Bomber, Open Sesame with black sesame infused George Dickel rye and Pedro Conejo, an interesting combination of liquors, carrots and lime.

Halloween weekend around Phoenix

There are too many spooky events to mention this weekend around the Phoenix area. Look and you’ll find spooky cocktails, costume parties and more at your favorite restaurants, bars and breweries. Have fun and be safe!

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Park West’s “Follow the Fork” event is tomorrow

West valley foodies can join Jalapeño Inferno and over a dozen more restaurants for a progressive dining experience from 6 – 9 p.m. Live music from Rock Lobster, interactive art and more will help to raise money for the Peoria Education Foundation.

National Taco Day is Tuesday October 4th

Next week’s Taco Tuesday has more tacos than most days as its National Taco Day and there are some deals to be had. Agave del Scottsdale has Happy Hour tacos all day. Z’Tejas offers 1/2 off Gringo Tacos all day with 3 beef tacos & toppings only $7.

Farmer’s Markets return this weekend

October bring the return of the popular community gathering spots that feature local produce and more. The High Street market returns to North Phoenix on Sunday’s from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Park West is at the Loop 101 & Northern on Saturday’s starting at 9 a.m. Also on Saturday morning’s is the Old Town Scottsdale farmer’s market returns tomorrow at 8 a.m.

October is National Pizza Month

The Streets of New York is celebrating all month long at their 16 locations with a 16″ one topping pizza for $20. You can save almost $4 when dining in, taking-out or for delivery, make sure you mention when ordering in use promo code $20PIZZA when ordering online. The restaurant is also launching its new seasonal menu from October 10th – December 31st. Enjoy Beer Cheese w/ Passion bread for $9, Baked Mac & Cheese for $12 and Pumpkin Cannoli for $4.

Halloween specials at Morning Squeeze

All 3 locations in Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale start October with a couple of new specials all month long. Pumpkin Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast ($14) is a twist on the restaurant’s annual pumpkin themed dish. The pumpkin sauce is made in house and comes topped with pumpkin granola. The Spooky Brunch Punch ($10) combines tequila, amaretto, lime and orange juice then tops it with an eyeball garnish. A syringe of raspberry puree comes on the side to drizzle into the drink or add appropriate bloodshot effects to the ghoulish eye. 

Don’t forget to check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

Chef Hector Godinez rolls out seasonal dishes at Grimaldi’s

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria introduced several new dishes and cocktails featuring the new Fall season that is upon us. Corporate Chef Hector Godinez and his team have been working on the 5 new dishes and 2 new cocktails since early summer. Grimaldi’s rolls out new seasonal dishes every 3 months as the seasons change and seasonal ingredients become available.

Chef Hector Godinez takes inspiration from his years working in various restaurants in Phoenix and Ahwatukee including the last 10 years at Grimaldi’s and 6 as Corporate Chef.

New on the menu at all locations for a limited time are…..

Fallin’ Wedge Salad- Traditional ingredients but swap out the Iceberg lettuce for higher quality Romaine and toss the ingredients.

The Bridge Board- Grimaldi’s version of a charcuterie board that changes seasonally and named after the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza- Chef Godinez’s take on Buffalo wings but with no fryer he puts all the ingredients including the crunchy celery on a pizza with Sweet Baby Ray’s hot sauce.

Pumpkin Cheesecake- Can’t have a Fall menu without a pumpkin spices.

Coco’nana Cheesecake– Godinez’s play on a childhood favorite, chocolate covered banana. Banana cheesecake with Oreo cookie crust and chocolate chips.

Italian Old Fashioned– Whiskey, Tiramisu syrup and bitters over ice with a Luxardo cherry and orange peel.

Amalfi Martini- Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Limoncello and lemon juice shaken and garnished with a lemon wheel and rosemary. 

Check out my podcast Pulling Corks & Forks: The Podcast with Sandy Wasserman to hear from those in our community. Please subscribe, like & comment.

 

 

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