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PHAT WINE DINNER AT FAT OX

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We don’t generally write about every wine dinner that comes along, but when one does that is just too good to pass up, we have to share!

This Thursday night, the Fat Ox is hosting a 5-course show-stopper with ZD Wines. Chef “Ro” and Chef Matt Carter are pulling out all the stops to perfectly pair their epic food with this giant among wines.

Tickets are $135pp (not including gratuity).

Make a rezo at- 480.307.6900

Check out the menu below:

Brews on the Block

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The only thing better than drinking the great beer from Oskar Blues, is being able to ride your bike from one awesome Upward Projects restaurant to another, to drink it!

On February 18, between 2pm-6pm, the 2nd annual “Brews on the Block” craft beer & live music party will flow between all four of Upwards’ Central Phoenix locations (Federal Pizza, Joyride Taco House, Postino Central and Windsor.)

Brews on the Block will feature four pours of limited-access Oskar Blues Brewery beers (Hotbox, The Deuce, Icey.P.A and Reeb Rye’d,) served inside a keepsake 16-ounce pint glass, all for only $35.

Plus, if you prefer your craft beers canned, all four restaurants will also be offering $3 cans of Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale beer all day long.

Best of all, treat your ears as well as your tastebuds thanks to live music from several of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival’s featured local bands.

Proceeds from the 2nd annual “Blues on the Block” benefit the Oskar Blues Can’d Aid Foundation, the breweries non-profit arm. Funds raised will provide musical instruments and bikes to the Phoenix community.

Get Tix:

www.brewsontheblockup.eventbrite.com

Windsor
5223 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-279-1111
windsoraz.com
Federal Pizza
5210 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-795-2520
federalpizzaphx.com
Joyride Taco House
5202 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-274-8226
joyridetacohouse.com
Postino Central
5144 N Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-274-5144
postinowinecafe.com

Tostitos wants you to blow them!

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Everyone knows that the Super Bowl usually brings about a slurry of clever ad campaigns and commercials, all trying to leach off of the grandiosity of the single biggest day in sports-period (Potus).

That said, Tostitos, not a rookie player in this game, is launching a new bag of chips that doubles as a breathalyzer.

The limited-edition “Party Safe” bag is meant to discourage drinking and driving, and will even provide those with a trace of alcohol on their breath with a $10 Uber code on game day. The company promises it comes equipped with an alcohol sensor that, when breathed into, will turn red if alcohol is detected and green if it’s not.

“Our goal is to remove 25,000 cars from the roads that Sunday evening,” said Jennifer Saenz, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer. “Whether watching the big game at a friend’s house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away.”

Still the One!

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Moonshine Whiskey, made a big comeback a few years ago, re-introducing its past illegal self, back into our popular lexicon.

This time around, legal distillers starting jumping on the category and—as we culturally tend to do—had to put their updated “twist” on it. This twist for most, came in the form of a more sophisticated and mellow distillation process, (think production facilities, stainless steel vats and quadruple distillation,) as opposed to a homemade copper still in an undisclosed area of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

Well not far from there in Columbia, Stillhouse Whiskey is continuing in the tradition of the verboten spirit (get it—’spirit’,) but adding their twist.

Stillhouse comes in Original and five flavors, including Apple Crisp, Peach Tea, Coconut, Mint Chip and Red Hot. See, adding the flavors is the ‘twist’. They also have a very durable package design, coming in what looks like a can of paint thinner, as opposed to a fragile bottle. And although many moonshines taste like paint thinner, the comparison stops at the package as their whiskey, is great.

They call themselves “an unapologetic disruptor, breaking tradition at every turn”—disruptors are so hot right now! Made from estate-grown corn, Stillhouse is 100% clear corn American whiskey, and they ARE actually distilled in authentic copper whiskey stills and charcoal-filtered for superior quality and taste and cool factor.

As opposed to popular belief, moonshine nowadays does not necessarily pack an alcohol content that can be used for fueling a jet. In fact, The Original 80-proof has a remarkable mellow flavor and smooth finish. Stillhouse uses a proprietary sour mash recipe to create a clean, crisp, gluten-free (you know we hate gluten in our moonshine,) Original whiskey. Their all-natural flavors (Apple Crisp, Peach Tea, Coconut, Mint Chip and Red Hot ) ring in at mild 69-proof whiskeys.

Stillhouse Original–the backbone of every Stillhouse flavored-whiskey–took home the gold medal at the 2016 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. Recognized for its excellence in Spirit Packaging Design, Stillhouse received a Double Gold Award in the 2016 San Francisco World Spirit Competition, a Rosey Award, and a Silver award The One Show in 2016.

Stillhouse is currently available for purchase at select retailers in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin with additional states to be introduced this Fall. Suggested retail price is $27.99. Find out more at www.Stillhouse.com.

Toro! Toro!

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Last year, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess answered the burning question— “what food goes great with a world championship golf course?”

Their answer—Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar, another collaboration (they also have La Hacienda,) with acclaimed chef Richard Sandoval ‘featuring a menu of Pan Latin cuisine, which combines the distinct flavors of South and Central America with ingredients rooted in the Japanese and Chinese Peruvian cultures.’

WTF does that mean? is Pan Latin really a thing?

We were curious, to say the least, so we investigated.

Turns out, our timing was great, as they just recently updated their year-old menu.

El Hefe A.K.A. Richard Sandoval, asked his AZ team, to work on the update and then present to him on a recent visit.

Executive Chef, Forest Hamrick, of both La Hacienda and Toro, who just recently took home the guacamole crown in the “1st Annual Rock the Guac” Competition — took up the mantle and worked with his team, including Fernando Fernandez, Toro Chef De Cuisine, and Toro Sous Chef, Fidencio Alatriste, who’s resume includes (Mission, Zinc Bistro, Bootleggers and more,) to answer the call.

Lesser known Alatriste began his culinary career pushing his own Pastor Taco Cart through the streets of his hometown

Huauchinango in Puebla, before working in the Matt Carter kitchens.

As for the bountiful portions, it would take several trips and several guests to eat your way through their delicious menu, but we tried do just, go-for-the-gold and chow down.

Sampling is impossible, like a wine tasting, when it’s good, you just want to throw the whole thing back. To take just a “bite” of their Seared Salmon Sushi roll with Chipotle Aioli, is just not feasible. Chef actually sears the salmon with a torch before serving. That smokiness matched with creamy chipotle aioli is just about as good as smokey flavors can get without visiting Franklin’s BBQ in Texas.

We demolished the other two rolls, Angry Tuna (spicy tuna) and Crunchy Shrimp Roll, before digging into a couple show-stopper ceviches; Sea Bass with aji amarillo, corn and sweet potato and a Ceviche Mixto with sea bass, octopus, shrimp, langostino in a rocoto crema. To quote Action Bronson “Fuck That’s Delicious!”

Like an edible freight train barreling down the tracks to our stomachs, the next stop could have happily been our last, as it was our favorite bite—the Octopus Tostadas with avocado, cucumber, Criollo (what a fine Arabica bean is to coffee, the even finer and rarer Criollo bean is to chocolate,) and bacon….Just go and eat it. We could attempt to describe the sublime octopus cooked to perfection, not gummy, or rubbery, etc…or the flavor balance of the Criollo and bacon, but we wouldn’t do it justice.

Not discounted at all, was the Parmesan Crusted Sea Scallops. Light, flavorful and almost felt like an amuse in comparison. The mojo butter helps it to just slide on down your throat, but if you choose to bite, the parmesan crust creates a great counterpoint to the silky scallop.

Even though we were already approaching a culinary coma, we had to buckle up for the final big protein, which came in the form of a flavorful, fork-tender Braised Short Rib with an edamame wasabi puree, green pea shoots, pickled onions and a Char Siou Sauce —

AHHHHH PAN-LATIN!

最后-lo entendemos!

TORO LATIN RESTAURANT & RUM BAR

7575 E Princess Dr.

Scottsdale, AZ 85255

(480) 585-4848

Fogo De Chao Goes Fishing

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We are betting folks here at EATERAZ, and we are sure that the ‘second’ most asked question after “How would you like your meat cooked,” is from meat-weary customers asking — “do you have any fish?”

Well if you are one of these guilt-ridden carnivores (shame on you,) then your prayers have been answered, as Fogo De Chao, now has a few seafood options.

On a recent visit, we were blessed with the delicious plate of  Grilled Shrimp (pictured above) with their amazing and spicy jalapeño toreados with grilled onions. Def a must even as a side with the meat entrees.

Here are a few items for those willing to forsake the Picanha Sirloin.

An Early Chanukah Gift From Us

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It is no surprise to our readers, that we are obsessed with tacos, burgers and bagels. So imagine our surprise upon the realization that the best bagel and smoked salmon in town, is at the perennially fabulous Sanctuary Resort & Spa at their elements restaurant.

Now why would that surprise us you ask?  Well typically when ordering this classic plate at resorts, it is served up with anemic dry salmon and a bun impersonating a bagel. The real kicker is, you usually pay through-the-eyes for this pale reflection of a proper bagel and smoked salmon.

Now we are not going to get into the great bagel debate of NY vs. Montreal, but we will tell you, we roll with the time-honored Jewish NY Bagel. It’s not the water that makes them so great, it is the sweat, tears and tsuris, of hundreds of years of bagel-makers.

So back to our story…

To satisfy our ethnic cravings, we usually find places to eat in town, where we can “get our fix.” For this particular one, it is usually the beloved Jewish Deli, Chompie’s, not quite Katz’s, but will do in a pinch.

Chompie’s is the ultimate “fix,” with their mile-high sandwiches and homemade buns bagels, but on a recent trip to elements restaurant for breakfast, we realized they charge the same price for the same dish!

Here we are thinking we are taking the cheaper and more pedestrian way out, lo, we are supporting local, not a hotel, but guess what people, elements’ version SMOKES Chompie’s and at the SAME PRICE with waaaaayyyyy better coffee.

Chef Beau Macmillan, has mad bagel respect, and brings in bagels from New York, and not just bagels, but H&H Bagels. Yes Nocawich in Tempe also offers bagel from H&H, and smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters, who by the way gets their salmon from ACME, which is a fish house in Brooklyn, whose products are widely available right now in retail, and also used at La Grande Orange and Chompie’s, so not so special anymore, but again we digress…

elements salmon plate is not only satisfying to the palette, but to the eye, and how can you beat the serene view of the mountains from that restaurant while crunching down on your bagel with a buttery piece of salmon on top.

YOU CAN’T BEAT IT—that’s the point!

Just look at the two versions of the same thing pictured above and the answer is clear.

If you are looking for an elevated experience at the SAME PRICE, then your choice is clear.

Mazel Tov Beau Mac and elements!

Rock Out with Your Guac Out this Friday!

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THIS FRIDAY, September 16th, we ask ourselves, Who Doesn’t Love Guacamole?
So join us on National Guacamole Day (no joke!) for our new ROCK THE GUAC event, marking one month before our Arizona Taco Festival, and also marking the only place you can rock out with your guac out without getting arrested.
Taking place in the Sands Ballroom of the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, this rock n’ roll themed event goes from 6pm to 9pm and includes all the guac you can eat from the incredible list of chefs below, and two drink tickets good for Patron margaritas or Corona cervezas.

 

Participating chefs include:
  • Alex Stratta- OAT Restaurant Group
  • Mark Tarbell- Tarbell’s & The Tavern and Wine Store
  • Jennifer Russo- The Market by Jennifer’s
  • Doug Robson- Otro Café & Gallo Blanco
  • Cullen Campbell- Okra & Crudo
  • Mel Mecinas- Talavera at The Four Seasons Scottsdale
  • Justin Pfeilsticker- Hotel Valley Ho
  • Aaron May- The Lodge & Overeasy & Goodwood
  • Stephen Jones- the larder + the delta
  • Bernie Kantak- The Gladly & Citizen Public House
  • Anthony Serrano- El Palacio Cantina
  • Kim & Tim Cobb- United Lunchadores & The Taco & Dilla Parlor
  • Aaron Pool- Gadzooks Enchiladas & Soup
  • Forest Hamrick- La Hacienda
  • Richard Hinojosa- CRUjienteTacos
  • Jacob Cutino- Homeboy’s Habanero
  • Serio Ganoa- Creations By Sergio
  • Gabe Madrid- TASTE! of New Mexico
  • Z’Tejas
  • Taco Guild

 

There will live music, full snack bar by Hotel Valley Ho chefs, and People’s Choice voting. This event partially benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona.

 

Tickets are $40 and available online only at www.universe.com/rocktheguac
Rock The Guac
September 16, 6p-9p
Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Grinding it Out

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Whenever we are asked who makes the best burgers in town, we ALWAYS include ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho in our top picks. Seriously, it’s like one of AZ’s best kept secrets.

Not to our surprise, and in fact gleefully so, ZuZu is launching a full burger menu! Each one of these fresh daily grinds are served with twice-cooked crispy fries, homemade chips, or cole slaw. And for the gluten-intolerant, there’s even a bun for you. All burgers are priced at $16 and available for lunch and brunch.

Check out the menu:

The Famous ZuZu Burger
smoked bacon, balsamic onions + blue cheese

Bayou Burger
blackened burger, smoked andouille sausage, red pepper chow chow + spicy remoulade

Tree Hugger Burger
toasted farro, bulgur wheat, quinoa, sprouts, pine nuts, wild arugula, creamy goat cheese + red pepper vinaigrette, served on a toasted cracked wheat bun

Hangover Burger
crispy jalapeño, cheddar, smoked chile aioli + crispy onions, topped with chorizo + a fried over-easy egg

PB + J Burger
peanut butter spread, balsamic glazed onions + merlot wine jelly, served on a toasted brioche bun

Smoke Stack Burger
grated smoked cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, red onion + tangy bbq sauce

Monster Burger $21
two burger patties, double bacon + double cheese, served with fresh tomato, shredded iceberg lettuce, onion + pickles on the side

Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St.
Scottsdale, AZ
480-421-7997
www.hotelvalleyho.com/zuzu

We Declare Margarita War!

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Starting this Monday, July 25th, The Arizona Taco Festival (aka us), is launching a new lead-up series of events called Margarita Wars. We’re helping to produce the ultimate head-to-head margarita showdown, hosted at our favorite fancy cocktail bar — Counter Intuitive — located in Old Town Scottsdale.

Each month, two top mixologists from other bars around town will head to CI and battle for the best margarita in this head-to-head. Guests will get to sample their entries and our celebrity judges will decide who the winning bar is at each battle. “The timing couldn’t be more perfect for us at CI, as we are now featuring our Agua Caliente Racetrack theme. We are so excited to be part of the AZ Taco Fest,” says CI partner and local celeb-u-tender, Jason Asher. Truth be told, it was Asher who inspired this competition. In last year’s Margarita Expo, Asher and his Counter Intuitive team served over 1,400 impossible perfect cocktails to tent attendees. Then the lightbulb went off–let’s turn Saturday’s Tequila Expo into a Margarita Expo on Sunday with multiple bartenders!

So back to the battles.

Each contestant will participate in the Taco Festival’s new Margarita Expo Tent on Sunday, October 16th. Here, attendees will get to vote for People’s Choice. Scores from both the judges and public will determine a winner, who will be sent to The Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans next year!

Here’s the initial lineup (more are signing up as you read this):

JULY 25: Clever Koi vs Modern Margarita
AUG 8: Crudo vs Jade Bar at Sanctuary
AUG 22: OBON Sushi Bar Ramen vs Okra
SEP 5:  Casino Del Sol PY Steakhouse vs Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
SEP 19: The Ostrich vs Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails

Battles are from 6-8pm. Counter Intuitive is located at 7133 E. Stetson, next door to Cowboy Ciao.