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.

Maple & Ash to open August 20th at the Scottsdale Waterfront

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019, Maple & Ash has announced an opening date of Tuesday August 20th. The restaurant will open at the Scottsdale Waterfront and will be the first location after the original in Chicago. Two star Michelin chef Danny Grant and partners opened the first restaurant in 2015, before that worked in Scottsdale.

“This has been an incredible journey, and we can’t wait to open our doors to the Scottsdale community,” said Chef Danny Grant. “It has been a dream of ours to come home to where I began my culinary career and show off the Maple & Ash experience.”

What to expect at Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash uses wood fired cooking and although they don’t use the word “Steakhouse” in the name it’s considered a modern take on a classic steakhouse. Local chef Sean Currid joins chef Grant to execute the menu that includes the famed “Fire Roasted Seafood Tower” and “I Don’t Give a F*K” (IDGAF). The two chefs met when they worked together at Elements Restaurant at Sanctuary Resort & Spa on Camelback.

Guest will enjoy a world class selection of dry aged beef and fresh seafood. The IDGAF is Grant’s take on a chef’s menu and he thinks is the best choice from the menu. No mention of what’s included with the IDGAF so you’ll have to leave it up to chefs Currid and Grant. Currid boasts an impressive resume having worked around town at Michael’s at the Citadel, Zuzu at the Hotel Valley Ho and Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician.

Sommelier Jason Caballero curates a wine list from around the world that won’t be your traditional steakhouse wine list. Caballero comes to Maple & Ash from Bourbon Steak at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

The centerpiece of the 10,000 plus square foot restaurant will be the 14 foot wood burning hearth. It will be surrounded by the dining room and lounge along with an outdoor patio and private dining rooms.

Maple & Ash will be open daily at 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. Sun. – Thurs. and until 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat. The restaurant is at 7135 E. Camelback Rd #130 Scottsdale 85251. For more information visit their website.

The 9th annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival set for Aug. 22 -25

The culinary stars shine bright on southern California when the 9th Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine festival launches for four days in August. Celebrity chefs and local food icons show off the coastal cuisine of southern California cooking. Jerimiah Tower and Nancy Silverton are two of the chefs cooking for guests at diners, cooking demonstrations and more.

The four days start with a series of dinners Thursday evening at restaurants around the city before shifting to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica airport for the weekend.

Los Angeles Food & Wine festival events

14 culinary events will span the weekend including…..

The Legends Dinner at Chi SPACCA: The widely credited father of California cuisine Jeremiah Tower joins queen of the Mozza-Plex Nancy Silverton at her white-hot Chi SPACCA. This epic, one-night-only pairing promises a lifetime of bragging rights to the 40 festival-goers fortunate enough to snag a ticket.

Dinner at Otium: Fans of Netflix’s “The Final Table” can pull up a chair to watch 2018 season winner Tim Hollingsworth share the spotlight with rising star chef Travis Swikard at Hollingsworth’s downtown masterpiece, The Broad museum-adjacent Otium. 

The Epic Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan: In a city known for great burgers, the best are going bun to bun to win the coveted LAFW Golden Burger Show Trophy. Host Alvin Cailan, of YouTube’s “The Burger Show,” joins celebrity judges Seth Rogen, Tiffani Thiessen and Adam Richman in this juicy battle of the beef.

LA’s Faves & Craves: In one short stroll, festival-goers can take in the breathtaking diversity of L.A.’s culinary landscape as the city’s own Jet Tila hosts a showcase of the most crave-worthy dishes of 25 local chefs. L.A’s finest tacos, pizza, hot dogs, donuts, fried chicken and Asian-inspired specialties will share one location for one afternoon.

Meat Me at LAFW’s Great Steak-out & BBQ: Meat master Curtis Stone of Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant and 25 other great tamers of the flame are bringing their A+ game to LAFW. Surf, sides, caviar and Big Cabs will complement the slabs at this event evoking the nation’s greatest steakhouses and BBQ joints.

Sunday Brunch So Hard: Those lucky enough to score one of the very limited VIP tickets to LAFW’s grand finale enjoy rare pre-event access to Jeremiah Tower, the illustrious self-taught chef dubbed “The Last Magnificent” by Anthony Bourdain. Standard tickets are anything but shabby, too, at the culinary legend’s brunch-to-end-all-brunches.

To see a full list of events, more information and to purchase tickets visit their website.

Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” achieved at Hearth ’61

Building an award winning wine program is no small task and Jim Gallen is no stranger to building them. Gallen, Food and Beverage Manager at Mountain Shadows Resort, built the Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 “Award of Excellence” wine list for Hearth ’61. Criteria used to judge restaurants for the award include wine pricing, wine director experience, cuisine type & menu pricing and overall wine selection.

Wine Spectator
F & B Manager Jim Gallen. Photo credit Skyler Scott.

Gallen has over 25 years of experience wine buying having been the wine buyer for Phoenix’s Tarbell’s Restaurant and others. It’s the restaurants first honor by Wine Spectator for its diverse list of over 180 wines from around the world.

It’s important for Gallen to build a wine program that compliments Executive Chef Charles Wiley’s cuisine and culinary events.

Hearth ’61 was one of over 3,800 restaurants around the world to be awarded the honor by Wine Spectator. Gallen will grow the wine program to earn the magazine’s “Best of Award of Excellence” and its highest honor “Grand Award”. The restaurant was one of several Arizona restaurants to earn honors from the magazine including Tarbell’s Tavern and Cafe Monarch.

Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort is at 5445 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Oysters are 1/2 off at happy hour as Ocean Prime re-opens

Popular seafood restaurant Ocean Prime re-opened last week after plumbing repairs and a new look to its dining room. The north Phoenix restaurant located at High Street also added more seating to accommodate the areas growth and restaurants popularity. To thank their patient customers the restaurant is offering 1/2 off oysters during happy hour.

Every Monday until September 16th from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. guests can enjoy a half dozen of the days featured oysters with frozen granita for $13. Pair your oysters with a glass of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs for $8.50 a glass or $42. 50 a bottle. Enjoy Schramsberg Rose for $10.50 a glass or $52.50 a bottle.

Other Ocean Prime specials include wild and fresh caught Alaskan Halibut($48) paired with Cakebread Chardonnay. The white, flaky fish is in season and is prepared with seasonal ingredients including celery root puree, spring peas, asparagus, fava beans and buttered lobster claw. The fish is finished with a lemon pesto vinaigrette. “The mix of spring vegetables complements the fish well, and the citrus-forward vinaigrette with the lobster elevates the entire dish,” says Ocean Prime Regional Chef Ian Rough.

Beverage Director Andrea Hoover chose the family owned Cakebread Chardonnay for its citrus and orange-blossom flavor profile. “Chardonnay is weighty on the tongue, yet well-balanced with acidity, complementing the dynamic nature of this dish,” says Hoover. The chardonnay is available by the bottle.

From July 31st – August 10th guests can purchase Ocean Prime gift cards online of $100 or more and receive 20% off when using promo code Prime19.

Ocean Prime is at 5455 E. High Street, Phoenix 85054.

Weekly dinner series starts at Nico Heirloom Kitchen

Thursday nights will be better than most the next 12 weeks at Nico Heirloom Kitchen. The downtown Gilbert restaurant is launching a weekly dinner series on Thursday, July 25th. The chef driven restaurant will offer 4-courses with drink pairings for $70 which includes tax and gratuity.

Guests can expect dishes that may include hand-rolled pastas, fresh and locally grown produce and family recipes. Below is a preview of the first weeks dinner.

  • Sweet Corn Fritter | Green Chili Aioli |Tomatillo Chow Chow | Ferrari Carano Rose
  • Warm Cauliflower | Crispy Kale | Caper | Golden Raisin | Girard Sauvignon Blanc
  • Porchetta | House Made Sausage | Tomato Barley | Arugula | Jackson Estate Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
  • Strawberry Olive Oil Cake | Burrata Cream | Picked Rhubarb | Pink Peppercorn | Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling

To reserve your spot for the weekly dinner series head to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/travel-the-us-nico-heirloom-kitchen-dinner-series-registration-65133691625

Nico Heirloom Kitchen is at 366 N. Gilbert Rd. Gilbert 85234.

Carlson Creek’s Scottsdale tasting room has 3rd anniversary celebrations

Carlson Creek Vineyard’s is celebrating the 3rd anniversary of its Scottsdale tasting room. Throughout the month of July daily and weekly events and tastings are planned. Wine Society members and the public are welcome to celebrate with them. Photo courtesy of Jenelle Bonifield of Food & Lifestyles AZ.

Scottsdale tasting room events

July 8-14: For current Wine Society members only, refer a new member and each will receive a complimentary bottle of 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

13th at 2pm:  Scottsdale tasting room’s 3rd Anniversary party featuring live music, food from Old Ellsworth Brewing Company and conversation with the winemakers (free to attend)

14th: All-day happy hour featuring $5 glasses of Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé

July 15-21: Purchase a bottle of Carlson Creek wine + Queen Creek Olive Mill’s olive oil or vinegar and receive $5 off

18th at 6pm:  Wine Society members-only Library Wine Flight featuring five wines from the Carlson Creek library ($20/person)

July 22 – 31: Daily featured food and wine pairings ($15/person)

22nd: 2013 Sangiovese paired with garlic hummus, red pepper hummus, pesto and pita chips

23rd: 2013 Chenin Blanc paired with tortilla chips and date salsa from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

24th: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc paired with watermelon, feta and mint topped with Queen Creek Olive Mill’s balsamic vinegar

 25th: 2014 Rule of Three paired with chorizo, olive, mozzarella and parsley stackers

26th: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc paired with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber bites

27th: 2014 Sangiovese paired with bleu cheese and dates from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

28th: 2017 Grenache Rosé paired with chocolate filled roll

29th: 2018 Chardonnay paired with butter and kettle popcor

30th: 2018 Sweet Adeline Riesling paired with spicy street corn

31st: 2015 Rule of Three paired with brie and Sauvignon Blanc fig preserves on a toasted baguette

July 25 at 6pm: Arizona Wine History class with Q&A and wine tastings ($10 for members / $15 for non-members)

The tasting room is at 4142 N. Marshall Way 85251. For more information, call the Scottsdale tasting room at 480.947.0636.

Meet the Winemakers of the Scottsdale Wine Trail for dinner

Have you ever wondered why a certain wine is grown or made? Why did the winery use French or American oak for this wine? These questions and others along with a winemakers’ stories about winemaking will be answered on June 27th at Aridus Wine Company in Scottsdale. Meet the winemakers from the Scottsdale Wine Trail as they come together to co-host the Winemakers Inspirational Dinner.

The dinner will bring the winemakers’ from Aridus, LDV Winery, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Salvatore Vineyards. The wines will be paired with dinner from Nonna Urban Eatery in Scottsdale.

Meet the winemakers at the reception beginning at 6:00 with wines and appetizers followed by a four-course dinner. Throughout the evening the winemakers’ will tell stories of their time in the wine industry and answer questions from guests.

Because of the limited seating reservations are needed and can be made at Eventbrite. The dinner is $150 per person.

The Aridus Wine Company’s Tasting Room is at 7173 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa offers Winemaker Dinner Series

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa has announced their lineup for their Winemaker Dinner Series for the rest of 2019. The dinners will feature California wineries paired with a delicious four-course menu prepared by chefs Juan Solorio & Joaquin Estolano Jr.

Dinners will be held in the resorts Alto Ristorante e Bar and will start with an appetizer and wine reception at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7. I recently had the opportunity to taste the several dishes prepared by the creative culinary team and guests are in for an epicurean experience. To see what I dined on visit my Instagram @SandyWass.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa’s Winemaker Dinner Series.

Nickel & Nickel -Thursday, May 23, 2019

Established in 1997, Nickel & Nickel are devoted exclusively to producing 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinctive personality of each vineyard.

Joseph Wagner Wines -Thursday, June 20, 2019

A family of fine wines, Joseph Wagner is made from some of the best regions in California.

Frog’s Leap- Thursday, July 18, 2019

Adhering to the premise that the greatest wines are those that truly reflect their soil, climate and circumstance. Frog’s Leap believes the winemaker’s role is to stand back and let the natural beauty of grapes show through.

BV (Beaulieu Vineyards)- Thursday, August 15. 2019

Founded in 1900, BV continues with the spirit of innovation to produce exceptional wines that stand among the world’s finest.

Duckhorn- Thursday, September 19, 2019

Over the past 40 years, Duckhorn has established itself as one of North America’s premier producers of Napa Valley wines.

The per person price for June through September is $95++.

Orin Swift- Thursday, October 17, 2019

Combining excellent wines with creative labeling, Orin Swift has grown very fast to become one of the wines most enjoyed.

Plumpjack- Thursday, November 14, 2019

Their wines are a reflection of their unique terroir, the passion and precision of their winemaker, and their commitment to craft wines consistently express the distinct qualities of their estate vineyards in the Oakville appellation.

ZD- Thursday, December 19, 2019

Over three generations, their passion for wine has gained ZD the recognition as one of Napa Valley’s favorite offering unrivaled world-class wines.

The per person price for October through December is $115++.

Reserve your seat

Because seats are limited, reservations are required. To make a reservation call (480)444-1234 ext. 8650. Repeat guests will receive 10% off the new dinner. To see menus as they are planned visit their website. Wines will be available for purchase at a discounted price.

The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is at 7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. Scottsdale 85258.

Rune Wines & Farmboy pair up for “Blue Zones” pop-up dinner

Grace Farms in Chandler will be the site of a “Taste of The Blue Zones” pop-up dinner on April 28th. The dinner will pair a creative worldly four-course menu from Farmboy with wines from Sonoita’s Rune Wines. Farmboy chef Dennis Bagnasco will use ingredients that are sourced locally as will be the wood used to cook over.

Blue zone’s are identified as parts of the world where certain lifestyle elements create an excellent quality of life. The blues zones have been identified by author Dan Buettner’s National Geographic articles and books. Lifestyle elements in the blue zones include diet and positive outlook on life.

Rune Wines owner and winemaker James Callahan will be pouring his wines with each course.

The menu is as follows….

Reception (Nicoya, Costa Rica) — Black Bean Dip with corn tortillas, papaya salsa and plantains paired with Rune 201 Viogner, craft beer and specialty cocktail

1st Course (Okinawa, Japan) — Purple Sweet Potato with tofu, snap peas, sesame and sweet and spicy soycomplemented by Rune 2016 Roussanne

Intermezzo (Icaria, Greece) — Ikarian Longevity Stew with black-eyed peas, veggies and heirloom tomatoes

2nd Course (Sandinia, Italy) — Whole Smoked Lamb with artichoke and garlic white wine sauce served with Rune 2016 Grenache

 3rd Course (Loma Linda, California) — Cherry Nut Bark with dried cherries, pecans and dark chocolate paired with Rune 2016 Wild Syrah

The dinner is $119 per person plus tax and starts at 5:30 p.m. You may purchase tickets to the dinner here.