Local Foodie News

Leah LeMoineMay 18, 2021
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All the news that’s fit to nosh. 

Chino A-Go-Go: Long-time fans were shocked in March when Chino Bandido owner Eve Lee Collins announced the restaurant would be leaving its original location after 31 years. It officially closed on Mother’s Day weekend, and the new location at Bell Road and Third Avenue is slated to open in June. In the meantime, Chino’s devotees can get their jade red chicken fix at a food truck set up outside the new spot. The truck opened yesterday and will operate Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday from 5-8 p.m. and Sunday from 12-8 p.m. The temporarily limited menu includes fan favorites jerk chicken, jade red chicken, black beans, refried beans, white rice and jerk fried rice – and free snickerdoodles, natch. 

Tall Drink of Water: Retired NBA great – and former Phoenix Sun – Shaquille O’Neal will now be repping a local company. O’Neal is joining The Alkaline Water Company as an equity partner, member of the company’s board of advisors and brand ambassador. “Shaquille O’Neal’s track record as a multiple-time champion and Hall of Famer has translated into similar successes in business and corporate partnerships,” says Aaron Keay, chairman of The Alkaline Water Company. “His reputation as an astute investor, larger-than-life brand partner, and phenomenal ambassador makes this partnership extremely exciting.” For his part, O’Neal says, “Alkaline88 is an innovative product in the water category, and I am so excited to partner with The Alkaline Water Company to help raise their game to new heights.” Alkaline88 is ionized water that contains pink Himalayan rock salt and has an 8.8pH balance for advanced hydration. 

Classics Studies: Sure, the revamped Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion is the hot new ticket at the Phoenix architectural gem, but that doesn’t mean chef Christopher Gross is forgetting his roots. The James Beard Award winner recently debuted Christopher’s Classics, a special menu highlighting guest favorites from his four decades in the restaurant business. Diners choose from a selection of four starters, four entrées and three desserts for $100 per person (gratuity included). Look for house-smoked salmon with crème fraîche (circa 1988), mushroom and foie gras soup (1999) and Parnassienne au Chocolat (from Gross’ appearance on In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs with the late Julia Child). 

Eco Brew: As one of the Valley’s oldest and most respected breweries, SanTan Brewing Company has weathered industry ups and downs, relocations, recessions and a pandemic. Now it’s making a bid for sustainability of a different sort: reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Owner Anthony Canecchia is the first brewer in Arizona to invest in an Earthly Labs system, which captures the COthat is naturally produced during fermentation. It is stored as a liquid and then reused to carbonate SanTan brews. On top of that, Canecchia has installed a nitrogen generator to purify the air and take away the need for COto purge the kegs, tanks and aluminum cans at SanTan’s production facility. The use of these two technologies in tandem is expected to reduce the brewery’s CO2 emissions by more than 50 percent per year. “I’m really proud to be able to take this step towards creating a more hopeful future by doing our part to reduce carbon emissions and create a cleaner environment,” Canecchia says. “Earthly Labs is changing the game for our industry by giving us control over key ingredients that are good for the planet.” 

Welcome Back, Amigo: Have you noticed a painful lack of gratis cornbread in your life? Fix it this June with a visit to the new Scottsdale location of Z’Tejas Southwest Grill in the Mercado del Lago plaza. “We are thrilled to open our doors after a long renovation and planning period,” says chief operations officer Robby Nethercut. “We put a lot of thought into the design with the community in mind. We look forward to treating our guests to incredible food, drinks and indulgent service.” The new location of the Austin, Texas-based chain is set to open on June 18. The 35,000-square-foot space will have 35-foot ceilings, hand-painted murals and sliding garage doors opening onto a 2,200-square-foot patio with lake views and easy access to the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt. This outpost will replace the Tatum Boulevard restaurant, which will close on May 23. Additionally, 20 percent of sales from the grand opening will be donated to HonorHealth Foundation  

Still Hiring: Speaking of Z’Tejas, it’s one of a number of local food and beverage places continuing to re-staff as the world opens back up. Click on any of the following for more information: Fired PieSTK SteakhouseThe Humble GroupAngry Crab ShackThe Lodge Sasquatch KitchenPedal Haus BreweryZ’Tejas Southwest GrillPress Coffee. 

Happy Hours: Triple-digit temperatures may soon envelop us for the next several months, but it’s always cool in the rustic-chic hideaway of Roaring Fork. The iconic restaurant is bringing back its All Night, All Summer Happy Hour on Monday, May 31. Starting at 4 p.m., guests can receive happy hour pricing in the bar and saloon on select menu items and drinks. Check out our write-up on Roaring Fork’s HH last year. The summer savings end on Monday, September 6. 

Summer Eats: Ready for a break from nonstop pandemic cooking? Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa is hosting two dining series this summer. Each will showcase executive chef Beau MacMillan’s star new chefs – chef de cuisine Samantha Sanz (recently of Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale) and bar chef Christiaan Röllich (author of Bar Chef: Handcrafted Cocktails). 

  • Master of Taste – June 9 & 24
    These wine dinners will be hosted by award-winning Napa Vineyards Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel (June 9) and Plumpjack Winery, CADE and Odette (June 24). Seven “expressions” of wine will be paired with a four-course dinner, including a reception with passed hors d’oeuvres. $225-$250/person, not including tax and gratuity. 
  • Late Lunch Learn – July 10, July 31, August 14 & August 28
    The resort’s popular Lunch & Learn series resumes in July – but this time it’s for late lunch/early dinner. Sanz and Röllich will collaborate on a reception, three-course dinner and chef demonstration, with live music, to boot ($165/person, not including tax and gratuity)Mark your calendars for: 
  •  July 10: Meet Me in Mexico – an evening of Mexican cuisine paired with tequila cocktails 
  • July 31: Fire in the French Quarter – celebrating New Orleans’ rich culinary traditions through innovative food and craft cocktails 
  • August 14: Whiskey Made Me Do It – a whiskey dinner with paired cocktails and tastings of rare and exclusive whiskeys 
  • August 28: Fiesta de Sangria – traditional Spanish cuisine served with Spanish wines and Röllich’s signature sangria 

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