Tag Archives: cowboy ciao

11-2014 Food Court-79

Sky Harbor renovations elevate travelers’ experience

Friends embrace. Families explore an art exhibition. Shoppers admire handcrafted wares and hungry travelers survey a myriad of local eateries before settling on a lunch destination.

This is the scene at the newly renovated Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It’s where about 85 percent of the airport travelers, more than 100,000 people a day, have their first encounter with Arizona — an encounter that will help shape their impression of the state and the Phoenix metro area.

“For many travelers, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the first experience they have of the Phoenix area, so our goal is to provide them with a world-class experience,” explains Heather Lissner, acting public information manager for the City of Phoenix Aviation Department.

Impact on tourism

The $590 million facelift is more than strategically placed art displays, designer walkways and vibrant southwest décor. Seamless transportation, sustainable design and streamlined customer service enhance the airport’s reputation and reflect upon the local tourism industry.   

“The recent additions to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, from the Sky Train to public art to the abundance of local restaurant options, have extended the unique qualities of the metro Phoenix area and created an improved visitor experience,” says Toni Smith, director of communications for the Tempe Tourism Office. “We’re lucky to have an airport that travelers want to see, which helps set us apart as a destination and encourages repeat visits.”

If travelers’ destinations are along the Valley Metro light rail line, the PHX Sky Train provides a seamless transition between the terminals and the 44th Street and Washington Street station. From there the light rail transports travelers east through Tempe and Mesa, or west into Phoenix.

Douglas MacKenzie, director of media relations for Visit Phoenix, appreciates the 15-minute trip from the airport to the downtown area. “Phoenix is primarily a fly-in market for both our leisure and meetings visitors so the airport is very important to our convention and leisure business.” Whether travelers are coming for a convention or mega event like the Superbowl, the transition from airport, to PHX Sky Train, to Metro light rail adds great value.

“It’s a wonderful plus for attendees. It’s the ease of convenience for our meeting delegates to get into downtown,” MacKenzie says. “It’s a perfect tourism factor in more people choosing Phoenix as a destination.”

Authentic Arizona dining

MacKenzie says a mix of eateries that includes delicious local choices can also encourage return visitors.

Two companies, HMSHost Corporation and SSP America, have orchestrated a blend of local, regional and national eateries with more than 40 establishments providing dining options from the fast food national brands to locally owned wine bars. Part of the strategy to provide authentic Arizona dining was to offer the best restaurants in the area and keep the street prices.

Among the eateries chosen to enhance Phoenix’s reputation as a foodie destination are Barrio Café, Cowboy Ciao, Sauce Pizza & Wine, Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles and Joe’s Real BBQ.

“What has truly happened is that the culinary offerings at Sky Harbor for the first time ever are probably some of the best in the nation,” says Tad Peelen, operating partner at Joe’s Real BBQ in Gilbert. “I think people who travel a good deal recognize the fact that it is not the preponderance of national chains.

“We are happy to have a Gilbert presence at the airport for the first time,” Peelen says. “We think the brand extension is fantastic. We like the fact that when people get off the airplane they see a logo of a place east of the airport and in many cases more of those people are staying east of the airport.

“They say they are America’s friendliest airport and I think this is an extension of that. It was a very passenger friendly thing to do to give so many independent really tasty options at the airport.”

MacKenzie agrees. “It’s a wonderful culinary entrance into the southwest. If people don’t have a chance to visit all of our local restaurants, it gives them a taste of what they’ve missed,” he says.

Memorable connection

Passengers with connecting flights also benefit from the new design and abundant shopping and dining.

Additional amenities include water bottle filling stations, strategically placed kiosks and a pet park. Airport navigators wearing purple jackets and “Ask Me” buttons answer questions and direct travelers needing assistance.

There is also an indoor walking trail with ample views of the area.  “It’s a little over a mile long,” Lissner says. “You can see Camelback Mountain, the Buttes at Papago Peak, the Sky Train bridge and South Mountain. At Terminal 3, the Phoenix Sky Train station has some very gorgeous views of downtown Phoenix as well as the airfield.”

Sustainably styled

The beauty of the project is supported by an environmentally conscious design. The first phase of the electric-powered PHX Sky Train construction received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation from the U.S. Green Building Council, while the Terminal 3 segment earned a LEED Silver designation.

The PHX Sky Train is part of the overall sustainability management plan that consists of investing in renewable energy, improving air quality, minimizing greenhouse gases, reducing waste and conserving water.

“We do strive for sustainability,” Lissner says, adding that the plan aligns with the City of Phoenix in terms of recycling and sustainability goals. “ We’re doing our part to help the environment.”

Continuing renovations

When renovations are complete, Terminal 3 will have a consolidated security checkpoint, additional ticket counters, new baggage carousels and expanded curb area. More shops and restaurants are included in the plan.

“I think Terminal 3 is going to be stunning,” says MacKenzie, who has seen the plan. “It’s going to be more open, with more windows and more restaurants. It will certainly enhance the service and experience of every traveler.”

Eventually, Terminal 2 will be closed and those airlines will move to Terminal 3, Lissner says. The project is scheduled to be complete by 2020. The approximately $590 million price tag is being paid by airport revenues generated through parking, tenant and concession fees. Local tax dollars are not used to support the airport, which has an annual economic impact reported to be nearly $29 billion.

Lissner says the changes are essential to quality travel.

“We pride ourselves on being America’s friendliest airport,” Lissner says. “We’re really looking to provide travelers with a world-class experience that is more efficient, more pleasant and something they can really enjoy so we can really welcome them to the state of Arizona.”

switch

Eight’s Check Please! is a must for Arizona foodies

The third annual Eight’s Check Please! Arizona Festival will be held on March 22nd, 2015 at Cityscape in Downtown Phoenix from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The culinary festival will feature local, independent eateries from hamburger haunts to five-star, gourmet restaurants. Local foodies will be able to try an array of different foods and explore in this one-stop shop festival.

A featured show on Eight, Arizona PBS, establishments that have appeared on the shows in previous episodes will again make an appearance at the festivals.

However, new to the festival in 2015 will be the showcase of different chef’s talents as they display their abilities to feed in style; this will include a second panel of top Valley chefs and a lineup of cooking demonstrations by local chefs on two stages, provided by SubZero/Wolf. You can also take a tour of favorite wines with Chef Christopher Gross, who will also provide insight into his favorite wine and food pairings.

The festival will be featuring the following returning establishments: Switch Restaurant & Wine Bar, The Wild Thaiger, Salerno’s, Haus Murphy’s, Frasher’s Steakhouse & Lounge, The Salt Cellar, Flavors of Louisiana, Rancho Pinot, Cowboy Ciao, Jewel of the Crown, Cucina Tagliani, Tarbell’s, San Tan Brewing Company, Thee Pitts “Again,” Hob Nob, Phoenix City Grille, Red, White and Brew, Betty’s Nosh, Avanti Restaurant, MacAlpine’s Restaurant & Soda Fountain, and TEXAZ Grill.

For the opportunity to try out these restaurants and explore the new additions as well, you can buy your ticket at www.azpbs.org/checkplease/festival. General admission is $79 if bought online, but $89 if bought at the door on the day of the festival. Cost admissions include food, wine and beer sampling as well as panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and guest lectures.

Last year, the event sold out, so obtain your ticket soon if you would like to attend.

For more information on sponsorship and participation opportunities with Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival, please contact Chelsea Fox at R Entertainment Co., 480.657.7333 ext.15 or email Chelsea@r-entertainment.com.

Top5-Southwestern

Top 5 Restaurants: Southwestern (Spring-Summer 2014)

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Get ready to experience Arizona’s spring/summer 2014 Top 5 Restaurants Southwestern! And use Experience AZ to guide you toward a visit that will make you want to come back time after time to keep crossing the must see hot spots off your Top 5 lists.



Top 5 Restaurants: Southwestern

Cowboy Ciao
7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(480) 946-3111
Website
What began as Tex-Mex Italian 14 years ago has evolved into modern American cuisine with global influences. Whether you’re not sure what you’re craving, or you’re with a group on finicky foodies, the Cowboy Ciao menu offers something for everyone.

El Chorro Lodge
5550 E. Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

(480) 948-5170
Website
El Chorro Lodge, which sits on 14 desert acres in Paradise Valley, is more than a Valley tradition, it’s a sensory experience. Enjoy the captivating Sonoran landscape and relish in the chef’s nightly inspirations and award-winning dishes.

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill
Location: Five locations in Arizona
(480) 948-9010
Website
Z’Tejas appeals to families, business professionals and happy-hour crowds. It offers creative Southwest fare with Cajun, Mexican and Pacific influences. Popular dishes include voodoo tuna, shrimp tostada bites, catfish beignets, Santa Fe smoked chicken enchiladas and ancho fudge pie.
Richardson’s of New Mexico
6335 N. 16th St. Phoenix, AZ 85016

(602) 287-8900
Website
Home of the original green chile potato, Richardson’s of New Mexico has the ambiance, service and Tex-Mex menu that will keep you coming back for more.

Old Town Tortilla Factory
6910 E. Main St. Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(480) 945-4567
Website
Built from an historic 75-year old Scottsdale adobe home, Old Town Tortilla Factory captures timeless charm and distinct atmosphere that exemplifies the essence of the Southwest and offers food that is Southwestern with a Mexican twist.

fun-fact-southwesterm
Photo: Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill

Top 5: Southwestern Restaurants (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Southwestern Restaurants — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Cowboy Ciao

7133 E. Stetson Dr.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) WINE-111 (9463)
cowboyciao.com
What began as Tex-Mex Italian 14 years ago has evolved into modern American with global influences. Whether you’re not sure what you’re craving, or if you’re with a group of finicky foodies, the Cowboy Ciao menu offers something for everyone.


Tonto Bar & Grill

5736 E. Rancho Manana Blvd.,
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
(480) 488-0698
tontobarandgrill.com
This rustic restaurant takes pride in creating signature dishes from the finest, freshest ingredients, all-natural meats and sustainable seafood, and as many native Arizona products as possible. And you’ll love the ambiance: it looks like an Old West pueblo without the restaurant kitsch.


Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill

Five locations in Arizona
(480) 948-9010 (Phoenix)
ztejas.com
Z’Tejas appeals to families, business-lunch professionals and happy-hour crowds. It offers creative Southwest fare with Cajun, Mexican and Pacific influences. Popular dishes include voodoo tuna, shrimp tostada bites, catfish beignets, Santa Fe smoked-chicken enchiladas and ancho fudge pie.


El Chorro Lodge

5550 E. Lincoln Dr.,
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
(480) 948-5170
elchorro.com
El Chorro Lodge, which sits on 14 desert acres in Paradise Valley, is more than a Valley tradition, it’s a sensory experience. Enjoy the captivating Sonoran landscape and relish in the chef’s nightly inspirations and award-winning dishes.


Richardson’s of New Mexico

6335 N. 16th St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85016
(602) 287-8900
burningembersphoenix.com
Home of the original green chile potato, Richardson’s of New Mexico has the ambiance, service and Tex-Mex menu that will keep you coming back for more.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

 

Top 5 Southwestern Restaurants (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 5: Southwestern Restaurants (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 5 Southwestern Restaurants — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Cowboy Ciao

7133 E. Stetson Dr.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
480-WINE-111 (9463)
cowboyciao.com
What began as Tex-Mex Italian 14 years ago has evolved into Modern American with global influences. Whether you’re not sure what you’re craving, or if you’re with a group on finicky foodies, the Cowboy Ciao menu offers something for everyone.


El Chorro Lodge

5550 E. Lincoln Dr.,
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
480-948-5170
elchorro.com
El Chorro Lodge, which sits on 14 desert acres in Paradise Valley, is more than a Valley tradition, it’s a sensory experience. Enjoy the captivating Sonoran landscape and relish in the chef’s nightly inspirations and award winning dishes.


Fuego Tacos

2501 E. Camelback Rd.,
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602-441-5728
fuegotaco.com
Fuego Tacos was awarded Best Taco by local food critic Howard Seftel. It’s also a gathering spot for the young and hip, as well as celebrities who visit Phoenix.


Tonto Bar & Grill

5736 E. Rancho Manana Blvd.,
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
480-488-0698
tontobarandgrill.com
This rustic restaurant takes pride in creating signature dishes from the finest, freshest ingredients, all-natural meats and sustainable seafood, and as many native Arizona products as possible. And you’ll love the ambiance: it looks like an Old West pueblo without the restaurant kitsch.


Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill

Five locations in Arizona
480-948-9010 (Phoenix)
ztejas.com
Z’Tejas appeals to families, business lunch professionals and happy-hour crowds. It offers creative Southwest fare with Cajun, Mexican and Pacific influences. Popular dishes include voodoo tuna, shrimp tostada bites, catfish beignets, Santa Fe smoked-chicken enchiladas and ancho fudge pie.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012

Citizen Public House, The Original Chopped Salad

Chef Kantak Of Citizen Public House Dishes About His Salad Favorites

When your salad has its own Facebook page, that’s when you know you’ve made a culinary Citizen Public House, Chef Bernie Kantakimpact; and Chef Bernie Kantak of Citizen Public House in Old Scottsdale is living proof of it.

After years of chefs — both locally and nationally — replicating and recreating his Original Chopped Salad, Kantak jokingly created a Facebook page for it, immediately following a chat with a friend, on Facebook. Since then, Citizen Public House no longer lists the ingredients of the salad on the menu; instead, the restaurant displays the web address for the salad’s Facebook page.

The Original Chopped Salad is considered just that, original and unique. When Peter Kasperski, the owner of Cowboy Ciao, decided the salad needed a fresh look and taste, Kantak took on the challenge. Inspired by a fennel soup with sweet dried corn and salmon, Kantak “liked the combination and herbatiousness of the soup,” and redeveloped it into the salad it is today.

After just two weeks on the menu, Cowbow Ciao sold more than 100 salads a day, and it continues to be the top seller at Citizen Public House.

The Original Chopped Salad has a seemingly abnormal combination of ingredients, including corn, salmon, couscous, asiago, pepitas, tomatoes, currants and arugula. Patrons can then drizzle the salad with buttermilk pesto dressing.

“When you first tell people what’s in it, it doesn’t really sound very good,” Kantak says. “But once they have it, it becomes magical to people. People go bananas for it.”

Kantak says it’s the combination of flavor and texture that keeps diners coming back for more, or intrigued enough to try it for the first time.

The Original Chopped Salad, Chef Kantak“I think it’s the combination of how everything is so different,” Kantak says, “but it comes together really beautifully, especially with the colors.”

This is why Kantak advises for your next salad to be adventurous and try different things. For instance, instead of croutons, Kantak substitutes potato chips.

“You can have a salad with two ingredients in it, and it can taste great; and then there’s the Original Chopped Salad that has a lot of elements into it,” Kantak says. “I think it’s the way things harmonize with one another. Don’t be afraid to try everything, and just think outside the box.”

For those looking to whip up a simple salad for lunch or a pre-dinner treat, Kantak recommends combining tomatoes, a little bit of red onion, basil, balsamic extra virgin olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.

But what makes a great salad are fresh ingredients, Kantak says, which can be found at various farmer’s markets around the Valley.

“Definitely the Scottsdale Farmer’s Market and the farmer’s market downtown,” Kantak says. “I really like to go to the market at the Chinese Cultural Center; they have stuff you just aren’t going to find in a grocery store.”

Kantak’s favorite salad? His own Mirliton Chopped Salad, which combines chayote, snow pea greens, grape tomato, cucumber-onion salad, heirloom popcorn, grilled halloumi cheese and parsley-garlic dressing.

“People are surprised by the heirloom popcorn,” Kantak says. “The Greek grilled cheese is grilled and has a nice smokiness; and the cucumbers are light, refreshing and summery.”

Try the Original Chopped Salad or The Mirliton Chopped Salad, both found on the Citizen Public House menu.

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If You Go: Citizen Public House

7111 E. 5th Ave, Ste. E, Scottsdale
(480) 398-4208
www.citizenpublichouse.com

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