Zoom out of 2020 and into 2021 for a return to normal

Who thought that on December 31st 2019 the word “Zoom” would become a household name and conjure up flashback’s to the PBS children’s show from my youth. 2020 has been a crazy year we all want to put behind us, the year started like any other with plans for travel, eat my way food festivals and anticipating new restaurant openings. Two months in things changed and 2020 wasn’t going to be typical year. It got serious for me when around St. Patrick’s when the NBA put the season on hold. Before you knew it lock downs were in place, toilet paper was at the top of every bodies doomsday “must have” list and distilleries were making hand sanitizer.

Zoom to a virtual happy hour then a Teams meeting as businesses learned to pivot their business model on a moment’s notice. April and May were like a hazy version of Groundhog’s Day and I was foodie version of Bill Murray’s character. Eating in parking lots and collecting plastic utensils became the norm, taking out from neighborhood favorites wondering how dine-in restaurants are adapting. Some restaurants took a hiatus to figure it out, others stocked up on to-go containers and others closed all together. Food festivals and small, medium and large gatherings were cancelled on a daily basis as many still are into early 2021.zoom

In mid-May when Governor Ducey lifted restrictions while adding new restrictions for restaurants we wondered if we would dine-in and was it safe even wearing masks and washing our hands. I thought I would still do take-out and eat in parking lots or take food home. On Day 2 of dine-in I found myself sitting at the bar alone at The Stockyard’s Restaurant for a burger. To this day I haven’t been afraid to dine-in early and before restaurants get crowded by 2020 standards. By the time summer rolled around more people were venturing out & about and us foodies started to gather. Not at festivals but cautiously as new restaurants began to open after several delays.

I’m still not sure what my final meal will be for 2020 or my first meal of 2021. Still pondering my future meals I’m looking for what 2021 will bring. Less Zoom meetings for sure, in the food world I’m curious how Arizona’s new legalization of recreational cannabis will open new opportunities for cannabis infused meals, foods and restaurants. What new restaurants will be anticipated and which favorites will close their doors. What will the long term effect will 2020 have on local businesses and society? Many un-answered questions going forward into 2021 but I do know one thing……in order to survive we MUST eat and drink. Cheers and to a better 2021!!!

“Keep Arizona Brewing” virtual beer festival to benefit Arizona brewers

Are you doing too much social distancing and looking for socialize with others? One way is Arizona Craft Brewers Guild’s “Keep Arizona Brewing” virtual beer festival. From the comfort of your own home on Saturday April 18th grab some Arizona beers and join craft beer enthusiasts. The festival will benefit breweries and their employees affected by the coronavirus.

Starting at 2 p.m. the festival will be hosted on Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube Live. “Keep Arizona Brewing” includes brewery tours, chatting with brewers, a Best Pretzel Necklace contest and a live music stream called “Couchella”.

“Beer enthusiasts are some of the most friendly and social people you will meet. It’s been tough on all of us not to be able to connect at beer bars, brewery taprooms or festivals,” says Rob Fullmer, Executive Director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild. “But, even when we’re apart, we can still spend time together celebrating craft beer and showing our support for Arizona’s craft brewers. Help us keep Arizona brewing!”

Tickets start at $5 with a limited amount of VIP tickets available for $50. VIP tickets let you participate in festival programming on the webcast with brewers, ask questions and chat between segments. T-shirts are for sale and offers the best value with free admission if purchased before April 15th. For more information and to purchase tickets and t-shirts head to their website.