Desert Digest

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We’ve lost so many restaurants to COVID-19 this past year — Amuse Bouche, Barrio Gran Reserva, Delux, El Zocalo, Josephine, La Marquesa, La Piazza al Forno, Phoenix Public Market Café, Razz’s, Sierra Bonita, The Dressing Room and Yasu Sushi Bistro, to name a noteworthy dozen — and just as is true with the virus itself, the devastation is nowhere near over. Brace yourself for more fallout because the next to go is Cotton & Copper,...

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Attention fellow potato lovers: Tuesday, Feb. 2 is National Tater Tot Day. While many people turn up their noses at the thought of tater tots rather than french fries, I’m here to tell you that the deep-fried cylinder-shaped potato shreds need no defense. To wit, here are five places in the Valley to get tater tots. Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers This Valley-wide burger joint puts out two crave-worthy tater tot dishes: Original “Tot Chos” smothered...

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Winter dining al fresco is usually a treat in the Valley of the Sun – we devoted a whole cover story to patio dining, after all. This week’s dreary, drippy weather has limited outdoor dining options, though. As if anticipating this, Scottsdale Quarter and Culinary Dropout have been plotting Desert Domes, partially closed geodesic domes for outdoor dining.   They follow in the wake of several major U.S. cities whose restaurants have introduced private dining structures to provide “COVID-safe” experiences. These pop-ups huts – from New York City’s yurts to Chicago’s greenhouses – are technically outdoors, yet they protect patrons from the elements, which...

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Sure, the Stetson chopped salad is the Valley’s preeminent leafy entrée, with its tidy rows of air-dried corn, Israeli couscous, avocado, tomatoes, pepitas and currants all snuggled atop a bed of peppery arugula bathed in creamy basil buttermilk dressing. But plenty of other salads around town have developed a well-deserved cult following. Here are our best bets to depose the king. Turkey & Avocado Cobb at Flower Child Among the cornucopia of made-to-order salads on...

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Chadwick Price and mixology ninja Blaise Faber (best loved for his brilliant cocktails at Tratto) have teamed up to open this sweetheart of an all-day restaurant parked at the front end of Modern Manor, Ryan Durkin’s mid-century modern furniture store in the Melrose District. Chef Donald Hawk (the guy who started The Gladly’s popular raw bar program) oversees the menu and kitchen, which turns out exceptional baked goods, breakfast dishes, snacks, burgers, small plates, coffee...

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Now that Valley restaurant veteran Chris Nicosia has a few months under his belt as executive chef and partner at The Craftsman Cocktails + Kitchen, we decided to check in and see how he’s doing. Nicosia spent close to eight years at now shuttered Sassi, a popular Italian restaurant in North Scottsdale, and before that, almost 12 years at Desert Mountain. Here’s what he had to say: Q: How’s your new gig now that you’ve...

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Attention, wine-country enthusiasts: If you love The Tavern Hotel in Old Town Cottonwood, chances are you’ll have similarly positive feelings about the newly unveiled The Clinkscale Hotel, Bar + Grill in Jerome. Originally built in 1899, the six-room boutique property was restored to pedestal-sink perfection in 2020 by The Haunted Group – the growing Verde Valley hospitality company behind the aforementioned Tavern Hotel, along with Pizzeria Bocce and other high-country favorites in the Cottonwood-Cornville-Jerome wine...

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THE SCENE Warm, glossy wood and industrial touches dominate the décor at this elevated brewpub. A North Phoenix outpost joined the original Scottsdale location in January 2019 under new ownership. Newer ownership held a grand re-opening in September 2020. Abundant TVs make it a destination for sports fans.   THE FOOD Everything on the happy hour menu is $6, and since most dishes are carb-y, it’s easy to fill up quickly and inexpensively. The soft and chewy brewery pretzel is...

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Peter Kasperski, the crazy-creative Scottsdale restaurateur behind dearly departed Cowboy Ciao, Sea Saw, Digestif, Kazimierz World Wine Bar and Counter Intuitive, partners with longtime friend, former employee and inventive master barman Richie Moe to open Roosevelt Row’s most sophisticated restaurant and bar to date (Speakeasy Alias, which sits behind Character, hasn’t opened yet, but it’s almost ready to rock). I popped in to see how Kasperski, an Old Town Scottsdale boy since his salad days...

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Set in the storied strip-mall spot formerly occupied by Crudo and, ages ago, an Italian restaurant with mob connections, Nanaya Japanese Kitchen opened in October to minimal fanfare – a “stealth opening,” one might say. This was dictated both by form (the speakeasy-ish, around-the-back location is easy to miss from the street) and function (the restaurant is evidently serving as a “test kitchen” for a future project in Old Town Scottsdale). When the tavern-style Japanese...

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Looking for a new place to wine and dine? Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant just opened in North Scottsdale and it’s the perfect place for date nights, family dinners and catching up with friends. Upon entry, you immediately find yourself in a tasting room with more than 40 varietals. And if vino isn’t your vibe, there are amazing cocktails and beer and even non-alcoholic options for the teetotalers in your tribe. Location: The Promenade in Scottsdale...

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January is an excellent time to take stock of old habits and make changes accordingly. Many of us vow to exercise more and clean up our diets. Your local juice bar is a good place to start and we’ve rounded up five spots for you to check out. Craft Juice Bar For a build-your-own juice experience, Craft Juice Bar delivers the goods. Want a pineapple, ginger, cucumber and celery mix – no problem. You can...

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It wouldn’t be overstatement to say that 2020 drove us to drink. Off premise and online liquor sales boomed this past year as we stayed away from bars and restaurants — which have had a dismal year by contrast — and drowned our coronavirus sorrows in home-made cocktails. As the owner of perennially popular Park Plaza Liquors & Deli in Prescott, Trevor Phillips could see that opening a boutique liquor store in South Scottsdale might...

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