A collection of Phoenix food news items to whet your appetite.

Amuse-Bouches

Written by Craig Outhier, Pavle Milic Category: Amuse Bouches Issue: July 2016
Group Free

 

The Tip Line 

Seasonal Menus

Spring has sprung and gone, leaving us with some exciting new summer food menus. 

St. Francis
Chef Aaron Chamberlin goes garden-centric with seven healthy new dishes. The PM consensus favorite: wood-fire roasted summer squash. stfrancisaz.com

Counter Intuitive
This season’s rotating theme: Prohibition-era Tijuana, featuring a fascinating cocktail menu modeled after a betting sheet. Our pick of the many tequila- and mezcal-based drinks: the pineapple-and-cayenne-infused Good & Hot. In true Tijuana form, look for a Caesar salad on the nibbles menu. The “speakeasy” also has new expanded hours:
 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. 

Lon’s at the Hermosa inn
Chef Jeremy Pacheco is back, and he’s bringing hellishly-good farm-to-table fare with him. PM food writer Wynter Holden reports that “roasted pork belly, Mangalitsa breakfast sausage, head cheese and bone-in pork chops” – all butchered in-house from an AZ Fine Swine pig – will make frequent appearances. hermosainn.com/lons

Pav on Juice: 

Destination Drinking

A monthly look at arizona wine
with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.

Come July, we all have two choices: question our existence while circling the parking lot searching for the one lonely branch to shelter our car, or escape to wine country where it’s cooler by 10 degrees or more. I suggest the latter. Explore our beautiful state while getting acquainted with three easy-drinking summer wines that pair superbly with grilled food. 

 

2015 Chateau Tumbleweed Picpoul Blanc ($26)

Known for its whimsical labels (pictured), Chateau Tumbleweed has a tasting room (1151 W. Hwy. 89A, Clarkdale, 928-634-0443, chateautumbleweed.com) located in the heart of Verde Valley wine country. This refreshing white wine would be reason enough to head there. Picpoul Blanc, normally grown in the Languedoc region of southeastern France, is a grape varietal with high acidity, so it’s lean and bright. This rendition is so convivial it can be sipped poolside on its own, or paired with grilled vegetables. 

Hours: Th-M, 12-7 p.m.

 

2013 Rune ‘Pillsbury Vineyard’ Grenache ($28)

If you like Pinot Noir, this wine will win you over. It’s light without sacrificing flavor. Rune founder James Callahan is like MacGyver with a fruit press. He practically built the winery and tasting room by himself, epitomizing the pioneering spirit of Arizona. On site you’ll find an Airstream (his humble abode) and the tasting room (3969 Hwy. 82, Sonoita, 520-338-8823, runewines.com) cocooned under a tent with a backdrop of undulating hills. A priceless view that would, no doubt, have Robin Leach’s approval. 

Hours: F-Su, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

2013 Dos Cabezas Toscano ($28)

My close friends Todd and Kelly Bostock (who happen to make Los Milics, my little humble house label at FnB) make this classic Arizona light red, composed of 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent Cabernet Franc, making it versatile in terms of pairings. Conveniently, the winery and tasting room (3248 Hwy. 82, Sonoita, 520-455-5141, doscabezas.com) are located next door to Dos Cabezas Casita, available to rent in case you want to stay a bit longer. You could take in the Patagonia 4th of July parade. and not worry about driving back the same day.

Hours: Th-Su, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

 
First Bite: Helton Brewing

Former Rock Bottom brewer Todd Helton has “hung a shingle,” as it were. The industry veteran – and multiple World Beer Cup Award-winner – unveiled his new 10,000-square-foot warehouse and tap room in May to eager habitués of the emerging Arcadia Lite dining scene. We paid a recent visit.

Wither the beer? Though the brewery lists four year-round beer releases, there were only two on the menu when we dropped by: a floral, well-proportioned ‘tweener IPA (7.7 percent ABV) and a Milk Stout. The tap list also included a smattering of Valley craft brew colleagues. 

Cheese it. Helton recruited Troy and Krista Daily – of the dearly departed Wedge & Bottle wine shop – to curate the brewery’s cheese and charcuterie program. Highlights include a sharp, nutty “bandaged” cheddar from California’s Fiscalini Farms, and a zesty juniper-orange peel salami from Indiana called Gin and Juice.

Missing? Well, the beer selection was a bit meager. And if you’re in the mood for something heartier than cheese, cured meats and house-marinated olives, tough bananas. But with 10,000 square feet at his disposal, Helton has plenty of play space if he wants to add some toys. A pizza oven, for example.

2144 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-730-2739, heltonbrewing.com

Eat with Your Eyes: Trend Thermometer

What food trends are hottest in the Valley this summer? 

Consult the mercury.

Wood-only grilling programs 

Joe’s Midnight Run on Seventh Street doesn’t even have a range. Now, that’s wood-devotion. 

Cauliflower 

If you can name one upscale-casual restaurant that doesn’t have the versatile cruciform on the menu, we’d be impressed. Ocotillo does it roasted with kale pesto, chiles and mint.

Cucumber love 

You’ll find it in beer, courtesy of Historic Brewing. You’ll find it in soup, courtesy of the prix fixe menu at Sel. The cucumber rules. 

Beef tongue 

Joe Absolor’s beef tongue pastrami at Stock & Stable completes the offal meat’s continental tour. Others: DOZO Izakaya, Tacos Chiwas, Szechwan Palace.

Burnt to a... 

Inde Fusion sees Buck & Rider’s crispy Brussels sprouts and raises with crispy falafel. 

Can “crispy soup” be far behind?