4th Annual AZ Wine & Dine

Corporate and Commercial Photographer for Worldwide Assignments

One of our favorite culinary events is coming up on April 2nd, AZ Wine & Dine! This intimate food fest is directed at foodies as it boasts 19 of the Valley’s top resort and hotel restaurants, plus several Scottsdale Quarter favorites. Stellar selections of wine provided by Young’s Market Company and craft beer provided by Hensley Beverage Company are sure to quench your thirst as your make your way from booth to booth for samples of culinary delights! Hope to see you there!  -WSWE

 

AZ Wine& Dine Scallop  AZ Wine & Dine Stonegrill   AZ Wine & Dine   AZ Wine & Dine   AZ Wine & Dine

Early bird pricing is being offered again this year:
Through March 31st:  $65
April 1st and AT THE DOOR:  $75

For Tickets: www.azwineanddine.com

Nabers Experience

He Said

 

Just hanging at the Nabers! Next time your significant other asks where you are, this is a great place to be and a good cover story. Seriously though, I had heard great things about this bar and grill and decided it was time to check out this Chandler/Ahwatukee hotspot. Located close to Ray Rd. and the 10 off of 54th St. it’s a great watering hole for residents on both sides of the 10. Lots of parking and inside space means you won’t ever feel crowded even when it does get busy. You will be thankful for the openness, as it will get busy with all the live music scheduled and fun nights like trivia night (with amazing prizes by the way). There is a nice patio to enjoy the beautiful weather, a lot of TVs to watch any game you are dying to see, and fun games like corn hole. What you might not expect is the level of food you have waiting for you.
As is the standard at bar & grill’s, there is a great variety of options; however, the quality is hands down one of the best I have ever experienced at a bar & grill. From the appetizer section I highly recommend “When Pigs Fly”. Mesquite smoked‏ mini pork shank “wings” fried up crispy on the outside and tender to the bone, sauced with their Nabers honey habanero BBQ sauce. These are indeed fall off the bone as the meat literally fell to my plate when I picked up the bone. While they are not true ribs, they look and taste like them, and they will make your previously favorite ribs taste like a McRib (no offense McRib lovers). I could easily order a few of these and call it a night. We also tried the cheese curds and the Nabers pale ale battered pickles, which were both fried in a very light doughy crust which reminded me of the fry bread you can get at the state fair. Ever since my time working in Wisconsin I have been an addict to cheese curds and these did not disappoint. The pickles were spears which is rare and as fried pickles are more commonly done in chip form. I think I still love the chips more than the spears but from a taste factor these were spot on. The jalapeno ranch that accompanies them was wonderful.
For the main course I chose the “Ma, The Meatloaf”. Each slice wrapped in bacon and stuffed with mozzarella, havarti, cheddar, and gouda cheeses. The flavors blended together nicely and not one ingredient stood out above the rest, allowing your mouth to enjoy each bite holistically. It came accompanied by mashed potatoes and onion straws all covered with a brown gravy. It felt like going home again only your mom took a few more cooking classes while you were away.
For desert the clear winner was the cinnamon apple bread pudding. Not over the top with the sauce, instead letting the cinnamon and vanilla stand out on their own. It does have a house made fireball whisky caramel sauce drizzled over the top which is great but the nicely sautéed apples and perfectly moist bread pudding are the stars in this dish.
The menu contained so many great options that it was hard to make a selection. As mentioned before, this is not your run of the mill bar & grill when looking at their menu. I don’t think you will ever get bored making this a go-to selection.

She Said

 

Located in The Pavilions off the south side of Ray Road, it was so refreshing to find a locally owned restaurant among the chains. The sign on the exterior of Nabers says “Where Friends Gather” and I would say that sums up the friendly and fun vibe inside. The staff couldn’t have been nicer as we settled into a booth near the bar.  Patrons were cozied up to the bar, some were sharing one of the community tables and others were mingling around with their drinks. It gave a nice relaxing and casual feeling to the restaurant. There is a separate dining area if you desired a quieter spot.

Our booth had a perfect view of the stage-like area where a two-man band was setting up for the nightly entertainment.  We ordered and sipped Naber’s Pale Ale by Four Peak’s Brewery as we surfed the menu. We started with Balls Balls Balls! which the name alone has me amused and intrigued. Panko deep fried balls filled with garlic mashed potatoes, cheese, bacon and fire roasted Poblano peppers. Whoa, what a hearty and naughty treat! Next we ordered the “When Pigs Fly” wings. These would be my Go-To item during Sunday Football! Mesquite smoked mini pork shank “wings” that are fried to give that crispy delicious goodness on the outside but tender inside that literally falls off the bone. Finished with honey habanero sauce that has just enough kick to keep ya coming back for more! YUM!

For dinner I ordered the Slider Combo. I picked the The B.M.F. (burger made fresh) Sirloin Slider, Meatloaf Slider and Pulled Pork Slider. All were served on a perfect mini brioche bun and I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite because they were all fantastic. The B.M.F. had angus beef , cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and chipotle aioli. This was your traditional slider with all that mini-burger goodness and a little hint of spice. The Meatloaf was bacon wrapped with smashed potatoes, brown gravy and caramelized onions. This was a comforting hearty meal in “slider” form, awesome! The Pulled Pork Slider was cider braised and chili rubbed pork butt with spicy Arizona Gold BBQ sauce topped with bacon potato salad for that full picnic taste in one bite! Genius!

We were enjoying the band so much we decided to linger a little longer and order dessert. The Cinnamon Apple Bread Puddin’ was decadent. Slices of warm bread pudding were sandwiched between vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream. Each bite of the bread was filled with flavors of caramelized apples and cinnamon. Topped with a house-made Fireball whiskey caramel sauce takes this rich dessert to the next level.

I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant. If you live near this spot this should become your weekly hangout and if you don’t, it is worth the ride over for wonderful food and fun nightly entertainment! It really is a Naber-hood Gem!

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Devoured Phoenix 2015 A Little Bit Of Everything

The event to beat all events is Devoured Phoenix. Every year the tickets sell out almost immediately and this year was no exception. For an event that occurs in March but sells out the December before is quite a feat for any event. It is simple proof that Devoured is a hugely popular and well-orchestrated foodie event. Held at the Phoenix Art Museum, adds a level of sophistication to the event but don’t be fooled, the event is as casual as can be. Everyone is welcome to indulge in the best local restaurants and chefs’ creations. From shorts and t-shirts to button ups and jeans, from sun dresses to tank tops, a little bit of every type of person descended into Uptown Phoenix on Sunday and Saturday this past weekend. It’s part of the charm of the event. From squid to burgers, there was a little bit of every type of food to feed everyone.

There were some of our usual favorites including; Beckett’s Table, Southern Rail, Postino, LGO, The Gladly, and Cowboy Caio, just to name a few. But the best part are the others you may not have heard of but we guarantee you will be happy you know them now; Maizie’s Café, Hula’s, Phoenix City Grille, Otro, GreenNami. The list really is endless of all the options this past weekend. We compiled an album of our favorite pics below, we hope you enjoy them!

The event wouldn’t be complete without some voting and winners declared, here are the winners from each day:
SATURDAY
Best Overall Presentation: Il Terrazzo at the Phoenician
Most Creative Booth: (tie) Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails AND Cibo
Best Dish: Roka Akor
Most Unique Dish: Roka Akor
Best Dessert: The Henry
Best Great Hall Exhibitor: Doc’s Ice Cream
Best Demo: (tie) Sassi AND Cartwrights Sonoran Ranch House
Grand Prize – Best of the Best: Roka Akor

SUNDAY
Best Overall Presentation: Kai Restaurant at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
Most Creative Booth: Tuck Shop
Best Dish: Elote Cafe
Most Unique Dish: Hana Japanese Eatery
Best Dessert: Windsor/Churn
Best Great Hall Exhibitor: Pistol Whipped Pastry
Best Demo: Barrio Urbano
Grand Prize – Best of the Best: Hana Japanese Eatery

So put your reminder on the calendar now, you’ll want to get your ticket before they sell out again next year.

Steak 44 Experience

He Said

 

44th Street and Camelback seems to be a hub of interesting restaurants and new concepts for some well-known restaurateurs. One of those is Steak 44 which replaced the Cork & Cleaver and is part of Michael Dominick’s Steakhouse group of restaurants. As with the Dominick’s at the Scottsdale Quarter, you will be treated very well, in a dark and classic looking steakhouse. But Steakhouse 44 tends to be a bit more casual in décor and styling. It may have been where we were seated, which was by the busy bar area in what seemed to be the main dining area. They have more secluded rooms around the corner if you are looking for a more intimate & quieter setting. Indeed, the main room was loud and busy the night we visited. In fact, I bet my dining partner that someone would most definitely get food dropped on them as trays of food were carried high and fast over our heads all night. This, of course, did not happen but with such tight quarters I can’t imagine it’s never or never will happen. The service was quick and informative, not to mention overtly friendly. There was no stuffiness I had expected, which was a nice change of pace from such a high end steakhouse. Our waitress was there just the right amount of time, never being intrusive but never leaving us wanting for anything. In fact, the timing of the food was perfect, as if she was watching us and waiting for the right time to put our orders in the fire. The one thing that was strange was the music. A mix between top 40, rock classics, and adult contemporary seemed very out of place with the décor, food, and service. I even asked if this was normal music for the restaurant and not some special music for the night. At times the music made me feel rushed and then just as quickly slowed down to a crawl. I am not sure I would have chosen it but happily the rest of our experience was enjoyable.
We started off with the calamari & shrimp plate which came with 3 sauces, a typical shrimp cocktail, a garlic aioli, and some sort of spicy sriracha or Thai chili type of sauce. Neither of us were fans of the latter, as was evident by the 2 empty bowls and one full one at the end of our appetizer. The calamari was not chewy or overly battered. Definitely not the absolute best I have ever had but enjoyable. The shrimp was perfect, not large, but more like rock shrimp. Popped in our mouth with wonderful flavor and again not overly breaded just as we like them.
We both ended up getting the same main course which was a petite filet mignon. I had wanted to add truffle butter but forget as we ordered. Turned out I didn’t need it as it was a buttery cut of meat that melted in my mouth. Both cuts were cooked to perfection even though we had ordered different temps. For the sides we decided to share a few instead of ordering for ourselves. Which was the right decision as we barley finished any of them due to all the food that arrived at our table. Dominick’s Potatoes were essentially a very cheesy version of scalloped potatoes, with caramelized onion, Gouda, and mozzarella. Cut into 4 squares almost like a pizza, it was sinful and delicious. The sautéed spinach covered in garlic and what I can assume was a very light dusting of parmesan was our green choice for the night and we made the right one. Just a tip from me to you, you can take the spinach leftovers and make an amazing spinach omelet the next day. Lastly we ordered the sautéed wild mushrooms, with just a little garlic, parsley, and thyme. We covered our steaks with them and both went in for seconds once those were devoured.
A bit on the pricey side; it is not a place to go for your everyday night out. However, I would happily take my significant other there on any special occasion.

She Said

 

Coming Soon!

Read our Listing on this restaurant now.

Eggnog…More Than A Holiday Drink!

 

Danzeisen Dairy EggnogEggnog. An interesting drink with simple ingredients: milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs and nutmeg.  You either love it or you don’t.  For some, eggnog conjures up warm and happy memories of drinking eggnog laced with brandy and a dash of nutmeg on the top. For others, eggnog wasn’t a part of a holiday tradition. This holiday season, why not give eggnog another try with these tried and true recipes using Danzeisen Dairy’s delicious eggnog direct from their farm! I guarantee that once you try these recipes, you’ll never think of eggnog the same way again.

Danzeisen Dairy is a locally owned family dairy that has been at the base of South Mountain for over 50 years. In keeping with holiday timeless traditions, Danzeisen has rolled out their fresh eggnog just in time for your holiday entertaining.

Danzeisen Dairy

* Eggnog Pancakes – substitute milk or water with eggnog for a rich, fluffy stack of flapjacks.

 

* Shaken, Not Stirred – Martini with eggnog, vodka, nutmeg.

 

* Eggnog Bread – adding eggnog to your favorite bread recipe gives you a moist, rich bread

 

 

For More Information:

Danzeisen Dairy
6024 W. Southern Ave Laveen, AZ 85339
www.danzeisendairy.com

Marigold Maison Experience

He Said

Coming Soon!

She Said

Located in a strip center near Cactus Road and Tatum Boulevard, I was anxious but looked forward to my visit to Marigold Maison.

I admit I am far from an expert in Indian cuisine but was at ease as soon as I sat down. Not only were my dining companions extremely helpful with the menu, but the friendly waiter suggested some of his personal favorites as well.

The quaint restaurant is filled with warm colors and has hints of Indian décor. The subtle touches help turn this space into a more intimate experience.

The organized layout perfectly accommodated both my party of three and the large party of eight behind us.

The kitchen sits right off the dining area and your mouth starts to water as you smell all the wonderful aromas flooding into the room.

We started with the chickpea ceviche. The chickpeas are obviously the star of this dish, with finely diced onion, potato and tomato giving it a bean salad feel. Mint and tamarind have soaked into the earthy chickpeas seasoning the dish to perfection.

Two pieces of papadum (large thin crackers) accompany the ceviche and are perfect for loading with ceviche, but I loved this hearty appetizer so much I went in with a spoon!

We got a variety of naan for the table. Baked in a tandoor oven, this pita-like bread is delicious in its original form but the garlic naan and spice naan were outstanding and I was in carb heaven.

The next chaat (snack) on our table was bhel puri. Lentils, puffed rice, vegetables, yogurt and mint mixed together with a tangy tamarind sauce. The blended spices are loaded with flavor but the texture was the highlight.

The crispy and crunchy consistency was a treat. You can eat this alone, or like me, grab some naan to pair with it.

We ordered a trio of entrees: Goan vindaloo, saag paneer with chicken and the chicken tikka masala.

The chicken tikka masala is rich spices with a tomato base sauce. The marinated chicken soaks in all the flavors of this creamy savory sauce, giving it a kick with each bite. You can eat it alone or scoop over rice and let the entire flavors seep through.

Goan vindaloo is a curry-based dish popular in the Goa region of India. This dish was the spiciest and the most fragrant of the trio but not overwhelming.

This intriguing dish would be perfect on a chilly night as it delivers that warming sensation from your belly to your face.

The saag paneer was my favorite of the entrees. The mustard leaf and spinach are responsible for the green coloring and are combined with fresh cheese, giving this dish a milder flavor.

Traces of ginger and garlic finish this dish off making it irresistible. (I am already craving this dish.)

I soaked up the leftover sauces on my plate with what was left of the naan. I didn’t want anything to go to waste and sopped up everything in sight. I know I’m not an expert on Indian cuisine, but I know good food when I eat it and this meal was an exotic delight!

 

Read ourListingon this restaurant now.