Sips & Bites: News from the Phoenix restaurant community

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

Holiday Breakfast Box available from Morning Squeeze

Looking to feed friends and family breakfast Christmas morning? If so, each Breakfast Box serves up to 10 people and pre-orders are being taken from December 1st until the 20th. Each box includes 1 meat quiche, 1 vegetable quiche, potatoes, fruit, French toast casserole and orange juice. Orders can be picked up on December 23rd & 24th at their new catering kitchen at 1725 W. University Dr. Tempe and each box is $140. To order call 480-967-6610 or email TakeHome@morningsqueeze.com

Tracey Dempsey Originals to host Holiday Market

Now that we’re in the gift giving season make plans to attend the Local Love: Holiday Market next Saturday December 3rd. Baked goods and wines from Tracey Dempsey Originals/ ODV Wines along with other local partners including Ernest +Humble Coffee, The Sober Somm with alcohol free libation options, Broom Brush Tea, candle maker Cactus + Vine and 8 other local vendors. Non-profit partners The Joy Bus, Blue watermelon Project & Sun produce Co-Op will be selling gift cards, tickets to future fundraiser and food delivery subscriptions.

The market will be from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Tracey Dempsey Originals 1325 W. University Dr. Tempe.

Pork on a Fork Friday specials available for pre-order

Not wanting to cook dinner at the end of a long week then pre-order a smoked meat dinner from their North Phoenix or Chandler restaurants. Starting on Monday you can place your order for Tri-Tip for December 2nd pick-up and order Beef Ribs on Monday the 5th for pick-up on the 9th. Quantities are limited and pre-orders are necessary.

New Happy Hour menu at Sfizio in North Phoenix

The Italian restaurant in Desert Ridge just released a new menu available daily in the bar from opening til 6 p.m. Enjoy Shrimp Risotto, Mussel Marinara, Meatballs and Truffle Garlic Bread in house or consider them inspiration for your holiday cooking.

Oro Brewery Company brings home the gold from GABF

The Mesa craft brewer won was awarded a gold medal by the Brewers Asoociation at the 2022 Great American Beer Festival in October. The gold medal beer was the Café Oro, a Blonde Ale infused with cold-press coffee in the “Coffee Beer style” category. The cold press coffee used is from local Village Coffee Roastery.

Check out 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.

Where to watch the World Cup

The 2022 World Cup kicks off Sunday and with the 10 hour time difference it may be hard to watch. Looking to watch it with other fans, Pedal Haus Brewery in Tempe will be showing all 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 12 noon games. Breakfast and drink specials will be offered on game days. All 4 Twin Peaks locations will be opening at 9 a.m. to show the games on almost 100 flat screen TVs. Scratch made breakfasts and beer specials will be served.

Dad’s Modern Cocktails & Eatery gears up for Thanksgiving week

You’ll have to do the cooking next Thursday but starting Sunday you can enjoy the restaurant’s popular Peach Sangria for only $5 until next Saturday. Tuesday and Wednesday next week it’s Happy Hour all day then a Family Feast when they re-open on Friday. The Family Feast includes 8 wings, a Caesar salad and a 20 inch 1 topping pizza all for $45.

Holiday tamales available at Diego Pops

Whether you dine-in or take a dozen to-go the downtown Scottsdale restaurant has the traditional holiday food for you.  The Tamale Plate includes two tamales topped with black beans, corn queso, pickled onion, Fresno pepper and cabbage. It comes served a side of rice and beans of your choice. Choose a dozen red or green chile chicken Tamales Togo with a side of rice and beans. Tamales are available until the end of December and have limited availability.

Sportsman’s Park Market debuts tomorrow

The Great Lawn at State Farm Stadium is the home of the new farmers market from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. tomorrow. Over 100 fresh food vendors, local products and a Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar will be available along with live music and activities for kids. December’s market will be Saturday the 17th.

Chompie’s closes Tempe restaurant after 25 years

The popular restaurant for hungry students and others craving Jewish deli fare will have to find somewhere else to eat. It was a difficult decision to close the restaurant but necessary to help fuel the company’s growth. Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and Chandler locations are still open.

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

20th anniversary celebration coming to Picazzo’s

One day over lunch in 2002 custom home builders Rick Freedman and Doug Stanton realized there was no good pizza in their new hometown of Sedona. So what did the Portland transplants do, they decided to open their first Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen, now their getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary Wednesday, November 9th.

In the 20 years since they opened the Sedona location they’ve opened five more in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Arrowhead, Tempe and Gilbert. Since day one the gourmet pizza restaurant has focused on dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free with allergy-friendly options. They’ve since added Italian dishes with 95% of all ingredients being organic with many including sauces and dressings made from scratch.20th anniversary

“We pride ourselves on providing quality, healthy dining options for individuals who may have dietary restrictions as well as our guests who do not,” says Picazzo’s Managing Partner Chris Disney. “Picazzo’s is excited to celebrate our 20th year in business, and we’re even more excited looking towards the future and our continued growth. Our team can’t wait to celebrate with our many loyal customers, and we hope to see everyone on November 9!”

All 6 locations will be celebrating their 20th anniversary with happy hour specials from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. along with giveaways and fun photo opportunities. The first 20 guests over 18 at each location will receive a $20 gift card and those photos posted on Instagram and tagging Picazzo’s will be entered in a sweepstakes to win a $200 gift card. Details about the IG sweepstakes are available at each location which you can find at their website.

Hear more about Picazzo’s from Chris Disney listen to Episode 29 of Pulling Corks and Forks: The Podcast.

YC’s Mongolian Grill opens a new Scottsdale location

Locally owned YC’s Mongolian Grill returned to Scottsdale last week with the opening its new Loop 101 & Raintree location. Loyal customers couldn’t wait to get back to building their own stir fry bowls as was evident when I visited with owner Geoff Stansic recently. The previous Scottsdale location was at The Pavilions but was shut down with the other 4 locations due to the pandemic. As the pandemic waned and the economy improved Stansic decided to re-open 3 of the locations in Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale with a 4th location slated to open sometime in 2023.

“After a tough few years of working through adversity during the pandemic and beyond, we are ready to open the doors to an all-new YC’s experience and reconnect with our Scottsdale customers,” Stanisic said. “We take pride in the food we serve and love being able to provide our customers with the best ingredients and a bowl full of authentic flavor.”

Stansic took over in 1996, five years after the first location in Tempe was opened by the original owner YC. He knew a thing or two about the restaurant business as he was kitchen manager for Hyatt Hotels and Houston’s before going into business for himself. It shows as he greets his returning customers by name, knows what bowls they will build and sauces they will have them tossed with. He even has a few signature sauces named for long time customers. He credits much of the success to his attentive staff, several who have been with since before he took over almost 30 years ago.

YC's Mongolian Grill
Beef & Broccoli bowl

What is YC’s Mongolian Grill?

Folklore has it that in the days of Genghis Khan, his army would cook their food on their shields over a hot fire, similar to how it’s done at YC’s. In each location after you’ve piled high your meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces the cooks will grill them on 600 degree circular flat top grill in full view. During peak times 4 cooks will toss the ingredients on the grill rotating around the grill.

There is no one demographic at YC’s Mongolian Grill as the food has something for everybody. Vegan and gluten free diets can be accommodated as there are plenty of vegetables, noodles and sauces for all.  Want meat in your bowl, add white or dark meat chicken, pork and or beef with shrimp available during dinner. Don’t be afraid to pile your ingredients high, it’s encouraged. Their signature noodles are sourced from Chinatown in L.A. with vegetables coming from local distributors.

A separate bowl is used combine ingredients for your Asian inspired sauce. A menu board offers several signature sauces recommending how much and which water based sauces and rice wines to use. The staff is always nearby to help create your sauce before grilling making tastes and combinations endless.

Free Stir Fry Day

To celebrate the new location, customers coming in Wednesday, November 2nd will get free small bowl from 11 a.m. – 7p.m. The new location is at 14850 N. 87th St., Scottsdale, AZ. For more information visit their website.

Bartenders compete to create new Fall cocktails at Spinato’s

There’s no better way to create new cocktails for the Fall season than to go to those who make them on a daily basis. That’s why Spinato’s Pizzeria  bartenders organized a friendly contest with the bartenders at their six locations to see which cocktails make the final list.

“Our bartenders did a phenomenal job creating unique recipes for this contest,” said Erin Schultz, Spinato’s Marketing Director. “We’re really proud of them, and we hope our guests will enjoy the new cocktails as much as we do!” The creative cocktails will be on the menu until Spring and all participating bartenders received a gift card to several local breweries.

Bartenders new Fall cocktail list

The 6 new Fall cocktails are as follows.

Crystal Mirtillo: Crafted by bartender Milan Watt in Scottsdale. Featuring Hornitos Tequila, cranberry juice, lime juice, agave, Triple Sec, a splash of Sierra Mist and served with edible glitter and a sugared rim. $12

Dolce Delizioso: Crafted by bartender Janet Blau in Ahwatukee. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, Kahlua, heavy cream, caramel sauce and served with a salted caramel rim. $16

Harvest Apple: Crafted by bartender Allison Brackenbury in Scottsdale. Featuring Captain Morgan spiced rum, cider simple syrup, lemon juice, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, soda water and served with 3 apple slices and fresh grated cinnamon. $12

Orange You Feeling Cran’d: Crafted by bartender Andrew Brent in Tempe. Featuring Del Bac scotch whiskey and cranberry simple syrup. $16

Porch-Side Smash: Crafted by bartender Conan Zimmerman in Phoenix. Featuring Blue Clover vodka, creme de mure, lemon juice and a press. $10

Spinato’s Spritz: Crafted by bartender Mike Danner in Ahwatukee. Featuring your choice of Blue Clover gin or vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, muddled Luxardo cherries with a press. $10

Danner also created a 3 Halloween themed cocktails.

Butter Beer Cocktail: For all the Harry Potter fans out there! Pinnacle Whipped vodka, butterscotch liqueur, Frangelico, caramel sauce and Grateful Spoon vanilla gelato. $14

Poison Apple Cocktail: Blue Clover vodka, apple liqueur, simple syrup, green edible swirl glitter and one Luxardo cherry. $8

Zombie Blood Cocktail: Kahlua coffee liqueur, creme de menthe and cream with a side of eyeball. $11

“Pink Out” coming back to Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the anniversary of the passing of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants co-owner and former Chandler City Council member Stephanie Serrano. In Stephanie’s memory and to raise money for local non-profit Check for a Lump the family owned restaurant is hosting the 4th Annual “Pink Out” on Saturday, October 15th. All four locations will participate with the Chandler location hosting the non-profit’s RV for free mammograms.

“We all miss Stephanie and know that she would be proud of us aligning with a nonprofit like Check for a Lump to provide life-saving education and testing for breast cancer,” said Ric Serrano, CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “Anything we can do to help prevent other families from facing this battle is worthy of our support, so we’re especially encouraged to have the mobile mammography unit at our Chandler location this year.”

Pink out
Pink Out Margarita Sampler

“Pink Out” specials for October

If you wear pink on the 15th to any location you will get a free order of pink sprinkled buñuelos for dessert. If you can’t make it by on the for the “Pink Out” stop in all month long to enjoy any or all of the three monthly specials with a portion of the proceeds getting donated to Check for a Lump.

Pink Out Margarita Sampler- $9.99 Get your pink on with our house raspberry, strawberry, passionfruit strawberry, and watermelon margaritas!

Stephanie’s Stacked Enchiladas- $12.99 Stephanie’s favorite! This gluten-free friendly dish includes corn tortillas, black beans and shredded chicken stacked high and covered in tomatillo sauce and cheese. Served with a side of your choice.

Homemade Apple Crumble- $7.99 Our apple crumble à la mode with caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar.

“We are grateful to Serrano’s Mexican Food Restaurant for hosting another fundraising event this year benefiting Check for a Lump to honor the memory of family member Stephanie Serrano who bravely fought breast cancer. Her blessed memory and event will help assist women in our community with life-saving mammograms, wigs and support. We appreciate the Serrano family and are privileged to share in Stephanie’s legacy. Cheers to treasuring memories of her with every dish served,” said Holly Rose, founder and chief executive director of Check for a Lump.

To schedule a free mammogram on the 15th call 480-967-3767.

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.

Zach Hunter joins Pedal Haus Brewery as Culinary Director

Pedal Haus Brewery recently announced the hiring of Michelin starred Chef Zach Hunter as its new Culinary Director. Hunter is no stranger to the Phoenix restaurant scene as he attended Arizona Culinary Institute before working at restaurants in Spain, NYC and Austin. The Illinois native came to Pedal Haus from Fox Restaurant Concepts and had previously worked at Wildfish in Scottsdale.

One of Hunter’s first tasks was to update the brunch menu at the downtown Phoenix location with the Chandler and Tempe locations to see the updated menu in the next couple of months. He will also focus on updating the menus frequently, beer pairing dinners, using more seasonal & locally sourced ingredients and spend more time 1 on 1 & mentoring the other chefs at Pedal Haus. Guests will find new dishes such as PB&J Sticky Buns, Smoked Short Rib Hash, Fried Chicken & Belgian Liege Waffles and more on the new brunch menu.

“Zach is an incredible chef and brings an impressive amount of experience and expertise with him. We’re excited to have him join the Pedal Haus family,” said Julian Wright, founder and CEO of Pedal Haus Brewery. “We look forward to elevating our food menu to match our expertly crafted beers and offering something unexpected to our guests.”

The career of Zach Hunter

After graduating ACI, Zach worked at Mugaritz in Spain and Atera in New York City where both were awarded two Michelin stars. From there he headed back out west to Austin where he was part of the research and development teams at Chef Tyson Cole’s acclaimed Uchi and Uchiko restaurants, before working at the namesake restaurant of James Beard award winner Paul Qui. At Qui, he was an important part of creating the multi-course menu in the restaurant’s tasting room.

He then went to Ausin’s Brewer’s Table as executive chef and learned about pairing beer and food. He was named Rising Star Chef of the Year by CultureMap Austin and the restaurant was named Restaurant of the Year by Austin Monthly Magazine.

“I’m thrilled to join the Pedal Haus family and work closely with our amazing teams to evolve and elevate our culinary program,” said Hunter. “I’m so excited to dive in head-first with my passion for hospitality and cuisine that seamlessly connects food and beer!”

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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