Local Foodie News

Leah LeMoineJanuary 6, 2022
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Hansel + Gretel | Photo by Tim Fuchs

All the news that’s fit to nosh.  

The Schnitz: While there are a handful of great German restaurants in the Valley – Edelweiss Biergarten and Haus Murphy’s, to name a couple – there aren’t nearly enough for those of us who delight in sausage, schnitzel and spaetzle. To the rescue: Hansel + Gretel, a new German food delivery service based out of a cloud kitchen in Tempe. Founded by German immigrant Ronnie Horvath and his wife, Nicole, the kitchen is helmed by chef Christopher Wiest, formerly of the Four Seasons. Nicole and Wiest focus on traditional family recipes, many passed down in the Horvaths’ families. Menu highlights include schnitzel (traditional and in “burger” form, on a sub roll), potato salad, strudel and cheesy spaetzle, aka German mac and cheese. I’ll take all of them, please! 

Sunday Supper: PHOENIX’s very own wine columnist, Pavle Milic, is the guest of honor at Hearth ’61’s latest Sunday Supper club dinner, scheduled for 6 p.m. on January 16. Milic will be showcasing wines from his Los Milics Vineyards, paired winningly with multiple courses from chef Charles Wiley. Look for diver scallop paired with Ita’s Rosé, wild mushroom raviolo with Renato’s Tempranillo Blend and Niman Ranch beef tenderloin with pork belly with Oliver’s Syrah blend. Reservations required – call 480-624-5458 to reserve your spot. $149/person, plus tax and gratuity. 

Fais Do-Do: Get a taste of New Orleans Mardi Gras right here in the Valley with the Angry Crab Shack Southwest Cajun Festival. The hootenanny will come to Dr. A.J. Chandler Park in Chandler on February 26 from 2-9 p.m. Culinary highlights will include seafood boils, gumbo, hush puppies, po’ boys, frog legs, beignets, king cake, hurricanes and daiquiris. And it wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without a float, beaded necklaces, Zydeco music, mask-making tent and magicians. “Whether it’s the smell of the seafood boil, the sounds of our brass bands, the thrill of our live gators or the thousands of beads being thrown, we want you to feel like you are transported right inside NOLA!” says David Horen, director of events at Forty8 Live!, the festival’s organizer. 

 Not Playing Koi: Big news for Valley poke chain Koibito Poke. The fast-casual eatery just entered into a franchise sales agreement with True Capital Partners LLC, which will sell at least 300 locations in eight states over the course of the next five years. “Winning in any endeavor is difficult. Who you pick as your teammates will always determine your level of success,” says Koibito co-founder and CEO Todd Stottlemyre, a former MLB pitcher and three-time World Series champion. “In this case, I truly believe this exciting new initiative will be an integral step in building our all-star team. After spending a year looking for the right development partner, we are very pleased to engage with a group with such a proven track record for success.” Something a bit smaller to chew on locally: Koibito recently debuted four new side dishes. Seaweed salad, cucumber salad, crab mix and spicy crab mix are all available for $4.99 for 5 ounces.  

Creative Re-Creation: If you like nostalgic art, you must make a pit stop at Giving Tree Café. The healthy eatery on Seventh Street is home to the largest street art installation in Phoenix, a sculpture replica of the 1932 photograph “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.” You know the one – a line of men eating lunch on a girder overhanging New York City, their bums perched on a plank that looks narrower than your average diving board. It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it, but you can now see a safer version – the humans are made of clay, steel, wood, PVC, fiberglass resin, textiles, chrome and rubber, not flesh and blood – outside the restaurant. Rosie the Riveter was a recent addition, for a nostalgic image double whammy. Sculptor Blake Emory and producer Gregory Kirschenbaum spent about two years on the project. 

New Restaurants on the Block: Itching to try something new? Add these to your to-dine list:

  • Cala Scottsdale: elements at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain chef and Food Network personality Beau MacMillan is the culinary director of this new “coastal cuisine” concept slated to open this month at Senna House Hotel in Old Town Scottsdale. He leads a team including executive chef Peter McQuaid and mixologist Clint Spotleson. “Beau Mac,” as he is known, will continue at Sanctuary as culinary advisor.
  • Foch Café & Bistro: From the culinary genius of Fares Tarabichi (The Crêpe Club, The Bodhi, AZ Liquids) and chef Timothy Richardson (Arizona Biltmore) comes this French-inflected eatery in Tempe. The name is a tribute to Tarabichi’s grandparents, who lived on a street called Foch in Paris and whom he would visit every summer. Look for inventive Euro-style small plates, craft cocktails, fresh pastries, a coffee bar and gelato and crêpe pairings.
  • Woo Woo Burgers: This ghost kitchen concept expanded this week! Previously operating only out of Z’Tejas Southwest Grill’s Chandler location, it is now operating out of the restaurant’s Scottsdale location. Old-school burgers, chicken sandwiches and sides are available for curbside pickup or delivery via third-party apps.
  • Salad and Go: The rapidly expanding healthy fast-food chain opened its first location in Glendale this week. Devotees can pop in for breakfast, salads, wraps, soups and seasonal dishes at 59th Avenue and Union Hills Drive.
  • Salt and Lime Modern Mexican Grill: Missing Christmas already? Keep the holiday revelry going at Salt and Lime, which is keeping its seasonal Feliz Navidad Cantina open through the end of January. The pop-up bar is still glowing with lights and decorations and still slinging White Christmas Martinis, White Russians, Christmas enchiladas and pumpkin churros.
  • Kura Sushi: Japanese import Kura Sushi opened its first Arizona location in December at the Camelback Colonnade. The revolving sushi bar features an express belt (made-to-order dishes) as well as the famed Bikkura Pon Prize System, which theatrically and robotically rewards diners with prizes for every 15 sushi plates they take down.  

Eligible Men(us): Exciting new menus are popping up at some of your favorite Valley restaurants. To wit:           

  • Adams Table: Seeing a show at the Orpheum Theatre Downtown and worried about squeezing in dinner before it starts? Adams Table has you covered with its new Show Night Menu. The eatery, which is across the street from the theater, is offering a three-course dinner for two for $75. Options include a Chef’s Nosh Board, deviled eggs, seared salmon, Bolognese (traditional and Impossible) and salted chocolate s’mores. Reservations are encouraged, and recommended to be scheduled for at least an hour and a half before showtime.
  • Nonna Urban Eatery: This Old Town Italian eatery is celebrating winter with a new seasonal prix fixe menu. Look for pumpkin and squash soup with winter spices and goat cheese; roasted Brussels sprouts with apples, carrots, balsamic-pomegranate vinaigrette and nuts; campanelle with pan-seared salmon, creamy lemon sauce, leeks and asparagus; Oaxacan mole chicken with wild rice and almonds; corn cake with pistachio semifreddo sandwich; and chocolate flourless cake with berries, among other tasty options. Make your reservations here.
  • Pita Jungle: The beloved local Mediterranean chain just debuted its latest Seasonal Kitchen Crafts Menu, “It’s All About the Balance.” As usual, the food is focused on fresh fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, lean proteins and olive oil. Highlights include white bean hummus with garlic-cilantro pesto shrimp, chile verde beef, Mediterranean mahi shawarma, a plant-based Gyro Super Hero and mascarpone kataïfi, a crispy pastry nest gilded with pistachio-studded mascarpone, honey and whipped cream. 
  • Flower Child: If you’re following a Whole30 diet in the new year, pop over to Flower Child for Alex’s Epic Baked Meatballs. The limited-time menu item is the product of a collaboration between the health-conscious eatery and blogger/cookbook author Alex Snodgrass of The Defined Dish. The meatballs ($15.95) are made with grass-fed beef, cremini mushrooms, cauliflower “risotto,” organic tomatoes, cashews and basil and are Whole30-compliant. They’re available through the end of February at all Flower Child locations. 

$aving$: Watching the old budget? Who isn’t? Here are some sweet deals to help you $ave.

  • Miracle Mile Deli: Salad specials are on deck at this Phoenix deli this month. A different one is available each week for $12: Mediterranean Salad (January 3-8), Aloha Salad (January 10-15), Fiesta Salad (January 17-22) and Big City Chopped Salad (January 24-29). Also $12: pastrami sandwiches on January 14, aka National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. 

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