Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day at STK Steakhouse

Still looking for a restaurant to take mom on Sunday? The cool Scottsdale restaurant hosts a traditional tea starting with a glass of  champagne ($89 & $99) or prosecco ($69) followed by a selection of hot tea and tower of petite sandwiches, scones and desserts. Tea infused cocktails are offered for $21 each.

Over Easy celebrates National Mimosa Day

The breakfast cocktails are $2 off flights next Tuesday, May 16th at all 11 Arizona locations. Guests can choose 4 flavors including orange, peach, guava, mango, strawberry or raspberry during breakfast or lunch.

National Burger Month features at Kona Grill

The month of May and “America’s Favorite Grill” celebrates one of our favorite comfort foods with 3 burger features. A $7.99 lunch and take-out burger, Kona Sliders for $6 at happy hour and a Chophouse Burger are available throughout the month.

The much anticipated Course Restaurant is now open

Personal chef Cory Oppold’s new restaurant is open and taking reservations near Scottsdale Rd. & Shea Blvd. The highly acclaimed chef and Food Network’s “Chopped” winner serves a 5 course tasting menu Tuesday and Wednesday’s for $135 and 10-course menu Thursday-Saturday for $190. Wines paired by sommelier Nick Padua are additional an additional charge. May 28th Oppold will debut his Sunday brunch, Morning Would. His take on brunch favorites will be served in 6-courses from 10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. for $75.

Spitz Mediterranean opens its first location Arizona

Desert Ridge Marketplace is where you can find healthy and modern Mediterranean street food found around Europe. Wraps, gyros, rice salads & bowls, falafel, hummus and more from this California based concept. Started almost 15 years ago when a couple of college friends who studied and traveled in Europe wanted to bring this type of food home to the U.S. Serving sangria, beer & wine Spitz is participating in DRM’s Sips & Stroll program allowing guests to take their drinks outside the restaurant. The fast casual restaurant is located on the east end near the AMC Theaters.

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

Jason Caballero takes over as Wine Director at Wrigley Mansion

Advanced Sommelier Jason Caballero has taken over a highly desirable position as the new Wine Director at the historic Wrigley Mansion. Caballero will oversee the award-winning wine program at the mansion’s signature restaurant Geordie’s, Jamie’s Wine Bar, Christopher’s and events held at the Mansion. In his new role he hopes to bring a Grand Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator back to Arizona and make wine more approachable to guests and not have wine used as a “social weapon”.

“Wrigley Mansion is a unique and stunning property with one of the largest wine programs in the country and a James Beard award-winning chef at Christopher’s,” says Jason Caballero. “I’m honored to be a part of it, especially at this time when Arizona is stepping up its dining and beverage scene.”

In addition to overseeing the wine program and cellar, Jason will work with and mentor other sommeliers at the Mansion, help guests with discovering new wines, pour rare wines by the glass, have a more approachable wine list and plans wine dinners and events.

How it began for Jason Caballero with wine

Jason’s journey in the restaurant and wine industry began in 2006 at Scottsdale’s Olive & Ivy before taking the reins at Chandler’s Vintage 95 as sommelier in 2011. From there he went to Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as Lead Sommelier then to Maple & Ash as Wine Director. While at Maple & Ash he helped them open Monarch in Dallas and Etta in north Scottsdale helping to curate the wine lists and train staff. Wrigley Mansion owner Jaime Hormel had met Jason at Maple & Ash several years ago and always wanted him to come join the property when the time was right.

“Jason’s credentials are impressive, and we are excited to have him join Geordie’s to elevate our already impressive wine program,” says Wrigley Mansion General Manager Vinnie Walia. “At the same time, we are equally impressed by his passion for mentoring and educating and we look forward to seeing him pursue this for our staff and guests.”

To stay on top of the ever changing wine industry he is a long time member and a newly seated on the Board of Directors at GuildSomm. Currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers he’s been invited to sit for the prestigious Master Sommelier test in July 2023 and co-founded the Society of Arizona Sommeliers to educating and support aspiring sommeliers.

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.

 

Cala to open with all-star culinary team led by Beau MacMillan

When the Cala restaurant opens next week at the new Senna House hotel in Scottsdale it will have an all-star cast running the food, wine & cocktail programs. Celebrity chef and Food Network star Beau MacMillan serves as Culinary Director with Executive Chef Peter McQuaid Jr. returning to Phoenix to from Las Vegas where he opened Money, Baby! at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Also returning to Phoenix from Las Vegas is Clint “Spotty” Spotleson who will oversee the restaurants cocktail program and just this weekend David Johnson announced he’s coming on board as the restaurants Sommelier and Wine Director. Johnson was last at Octotillo Restaurant in central Phoenix as General Manager and both are long time staples on the valley’s cocktail and wine scene.

What to expect at Cala

Once opened Cala will serve Mediterranean dishes inspired by the cuisine of Spain, Italy, Morocco and other seaside countries. Envision handmade pastas, fresh cheeses & breads, locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood in a relaxed atmosphere. The simple, healthy and flavorful dishes will emphasize the seasonal ingredients of the coastal regions.

“Cala is a place that guests will find themselves not wanting to leave; it’s vibrant with great energy creating an immersive environment with an experience that offers something for everyone,” said MacMillan. “We’ve intentionally created a modern establishment with a perfectly curated vibe and approachable food that is incredibly cared for alongside unforgettable cocktails.”

Macmillan will continue at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain where he was recently named Culinary Advisor and McQuaid Jr. will be overseeing the day to day operations at Cala. It’s not the first time the two have worked together as McQuaid Jr. worked with MacMillan at Sanctuary and considers him a mentor. You can hear McQuaid Jr. tell his story and his relationship with MacMillan on Episode 42 of The Podcast.

Senna House opened last month in Scottsdale’s Entertainment District on the spot that used to house the legendary Don & Charlie’s Restaurant and is paid tribute too with a montage of sports memorabilia in the hotel’s lobby. Cala is owned by local restaurant & hospitality group Clive Collective which also owns Money, Baby! in Las Vegas. MacMillan also oversees the culinary program at Money, Baby! and is Clive Collective’s Director of Culinary Operations. Cala and Senna House is at 7501 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251 and reservations can be made at their website.

Quiesscence at the Farm offers “Locals Only” dining experiences

Those of us that stick it out through the long hot summer deserve an award and  Quiessence at the Farm is doing that, kind of. The award-winning farm to table restaurant is bringing back two popular dining experiences for locals before they take time off.

Locals dining experiences

Before chef Dustin Christofolo and staff shut down the restaurant from July 1st – August 9th they will be offering a limited seat dinner “Taste of Quiessence”. Tuesday-Thursday’s June 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th will offer 12 guests per night the opportunity to taste seasonal vegetables and more on a nightly changing Tasting menu. QuiessenceThe first come, first serve dinners will offer guests seasonal ingredients from the farm and from other Arizona vendor as part of the 3-course dinner.

The Taste of Quiessence dinners are $45++ per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $20 per person.

Thursday Wine Flight

When the restaurant re-opens in August after a research and development hiatus guests can join them for Thursday Wine Flights with a trio of tapas. Level 2 sommelier Alison Sponberg will select wines to pair with chef Christolofo’s special menu for the evening.

The three-week themes will be…

August 16 – “Southwest is Best”                                                                                  August 23 – “Farmers, Friends, and Friuli”                                                             August 30 – “Summer in the South of France”

Cost for the wine and food pairing experience is $40 per person++.

Guests can make reservations for both experiences by calling 602-276-0601 and can make reservations for August’s Thursday Wine Flights during the July hiatus. Be sure to mention the wine flights to receive the special menu and price.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85042. Visit their website for more information.

Beckett’s Table is tickled pink for National Rosé Week

Sipping on a chilled  glass of rosé wine is a year round activity in Arizona with our mild and dry climate. When it gets hot here in the desert rosé taste even better with its refreshing and medium bodied character.  The Arcadia neighborhoods Beckett’s Table has always known #ItsOK2DrinkPInk and will be celebrating the lighter bodied pink wine during National Rosé Week, June 6th-11th.

Sommeliers and owners Scott and Katie Stephens have built an international rose wine menu that should tempt all in for a taste of the fun and refreshing wine. Whether you are looking for a new rosé  you can choose from a 3-2 oz. flight($14), a glass or bottle of rosé your sure to find a style you’ll like with all the variety of the week-long menu.

Summer Rosé Flight –

Dos Cabezas Pink, Sonoita, Arizona

Callaghan Rosé, Elgin, Arizona

Andrew Murray ‘Esperancé Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley, California

 

Rosé by the Glass:

Callaghan Rosé, Elgin, Arizona

Dos Cabezas Pink, Sonoita, Arizona

Beckstoffer ‘Hogwash’ Rosé, Saint Helena, California

Jean-Baptiste ‘Adam’ Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rosé sparkling wine, Alsace, France

Rosé by the Bottle:

Copain Rosé, Anderson Valley, California

Eyrie Vineyards Rosé Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Domaine Tempier Rosé, Bandol, France

Caduceus Merkin Jane Pink Rosé, Cochise County, Arizona

Cans of Dos Cabezas Sparkling Pink will be available as will champagne rosé by the bottle.

Chef Beckett will be preparing a special rosé pairing menu with noble toast, grilled zucchini, seared organic salmon and a chopped salad.

Beckett’s Table is at 3717 E. Indian School Rd. Phoenix 85018 602-954-1700 http://www.beckettstable.com/

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