Tag Archives: food

Foodie Faire

Foodie Faire at Kierland Commons benefits foster care

Arizona Friends of Foster Care Children (AFFCF) is hosting their annual “AFFCF Foster Care Foodie Faire” on Sunday, November 23 from Noon – 3 p.m. at the Kierland Commons, 15205 North Kierland Boulevard, in Scottsdale.

The Foodie Faire is a gourmet picnic on wheels featuring the finest in food truck cuisine along with children’s activities, entertainment and a silent auction.  Guests will choose items from nine gourmet food trucks and a dessert truck. Food trucks include: Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse, Emerson Fry Bread, Mama Toledo’s Pie Truck, One Eighty Q, Aji Mobile Foods, Buzz-n-Beez Good Food, Paletas Betty, The Roasted Shallot, Chef Wade’s Bistro on Wheels and Grilled Addiction.

The Bucket Baker Trio will provide live music throughout the day.  Children’s activities include arts and crafts and other games.

Tickets are on sale now at https://fs25.formsite.com/AFFCF/FoodieFaire2014/index.html and cost $35 that includes four food tickets and two drink tickets. Additional food tickets can be purchased at the event for $8 each and drink tickets are $2 each.

“The Foodie Faire is a delicious way to help AFFCF raise much needed funds for foster care children and families. The community support we have experienced in the past few years has been tremendous and we’re looking forward to a well attended and dynamic event,” said AFFCF Executive Director Kris Jacober.

AFFCF is actively seeking sponsorships and raffle items for this important event. To donate, please contact Jacober at 602-252-9445.

MDA’s annual Taste of the Town returns

2014-STD-e1401834875195
Hundreds of Valley foodies, wine enthusiasts and the culinary curious will gather under the stars for a night of music, dancing and delectable tastings during the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 14th Annual Taste of the Town, Friday, Oct. 17 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Scottsdale Quarter. Emceed by KTVK’s April Warnecke and Mark McClune, the charitable evening will feature more than 20 of the Valley’s top restaurants serving up their finest food and drink for a great cause.

The event, presented by Cigna, will showcase a variety of fine wine, spirits and beer from Barefoot Wine, Angels Envy Bourbon, Alliance Beverage and Hensley Beverage Company alongside world-class fare from restaurants such as Tanzy, Capital Grille, TK’s Urban Tavern, True Food Kitchen, Fogo De Chao, Brio Tuscan Grille, Lucille’s BBQ, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and more. Besides eating and drinking to their heart’s content, guests will also spend the evening socializing with other donors, bidding on a variety of luxury items and enjoying the music of local band Elvis Before Noon, a Valley favorite for fans of the 90’s Tempe sound.

In addition to the culinary offerings and the first-class silent auction, there will be an opportunity to make a donation to MDA and receive a custom necklace by luxury jeweler Cornelis Hollander through the Drinks with Dazzle raffle. The award-winning jewelry designer will be donating 50 necklaces featuring sterling silver pendants to adorn the wine up for grabs. The Drinks with Dazzle raffle is an exciting opportunity for guests to buy a bottle of wine for $65, which will come with two wine glasses courtesy of Le Creuset, and win one of five diamond encrusted versions of the sterling silver pendant necklaces.

General admission tickets for Taste of the Town are priced at $75 through Oct. 3, after which general admission increases to $100. Tickets can be purchased online at tasteofthetownaz.com.

weekend jetaway

PGA Star Tom Lehman to host Weekend Jetaway

Tickets are now available for the 3rd Annual Weekend Jetaway presented by AXA Advisors Southwest, Aero Jet Services and Prisma, which will take place on Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will feature music, culinary creations from leading Valley chefs, cocktails, surprise “elevated” entertainers and casino games set in a private jet hangar within the Scottsdale Airport. During the event, guests will take part in a casino-style dice game, with several lucky winners taking home a multitude of lux prizes, including the grand prize – a luxurious all-inclusive, first-class vacation on a private jet for four. Hosted by celebrated PGA golf star Tom Lehman, tickets are $100/person and available now at www.weekendjetaway.org.

Among the popular restaurants and beverage partners sampling scrumptious items from their Fall and Winter menus at the event are: Alliance Beverage, Proof Canteen at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North, Talavera at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort Troon North, Sassi, SOL Cocina, The Yacht Club, Tom’s Thumb Marketplace, The Mission and The Melting Pot. A silent auction including resort, spa, golf, dining and vacation packages will also take place, with proceeds from the entire evening benefiting Elevate Phoenix.

“Elevate Phoenix is a unique and often life-changing program for Arizona youth that provides in-school teaching; after-school mentoring/tutoring; career instruction/ post-secondary preparation; character, life skills and peer leadership development; community service; adventure activities; and reading/literacy improvement within urban public schools,” says Scottsdale resident Lehman, who also serves on the Elevate Phoenix board of directors.

AXA Advisors Southwest, Aero Jet Services, Jet Set Magazine and Prisma are serving as the presenting and title sponsors of the event. Additional current sponsors include Phocus Financial and Alliance Beverage Distribution Company. Limited sponsorship packages starting at $500 are still available at weekendjetaway.org.

“In 2012, AXA Advisors Southwest dreamt up this special event as our way to give back to this great community,” says Dillan Micus, executive vice president of AXA Advisors Southwest. “Our team donated its time, money and more – and with the help of amazing partners, sponsors and party-goers, we were able to gross more than $130,000 our first two years. We welcome the community to come out for the best party of the fall to help us double this number!”

This is a 21 and over event.

Sprinkle's maple bacon cupcake

Bacon Day Eateries Breakdown

Bacon has become one of America’s favorite meats. Two billion pounds of bacon is produced in the U.S every year. Saturday, August 31st recognizes and celebrates this country’s guilty breakfast pleasure.

The 31st is more than a Saturday. It is international Bacon Day! There is no better way to celebrate other than by eating. Here are a few places in the Valley to order up a slice of hog heaven:

The Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill at Tempe Market Place will be serving Bacon Wrapped BBQ Prawns, grilled with Newcastle BBQ sauce, Napa slaw and grain mustard vinaigrette, garnished with curly green onions. This dish will showcase the eclectic restaurants bold flavors and original recipes and celebrate the meat’s big day.

Sprinkles just announced their newest creation — maple bacon cupcakes.  Harnessing bacon’s unique umami taste, Sprinkles serves up their first savory cupcake.  Thick, smoky bacon is baked to a crisp and woven into their Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cake.

The sweet treats are topped with rich, buttery maple cream cheese frosting, you will want to top all your sweet treats with Maple Bacon! These limited edition cupcakes are available August 30 to September 15 at the Scottsdale location.

Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse in Old Scottsdale is the perfect place to celebrate International Bacon Day. Their signature Sizzling Canadian Bacon is served extra thick by the slice and can be found on Ben & Jack’s award-winning menu year-round as an appetizer. You can’t go wrong pairing that with Ben & Jack’s prime dry-aged steaks, chops, or fresh seafood.

 Salut Kitchen Bar is a restaurant and wine bar in Tempe offering a flavorful and 149709751innovative menu inspired by a mix of Mediterranean and American cuisine. The restaurant has a dish perfect for the holidays that will pacify all bacon cravings.

Salut Kitchen Bar’s Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon will be served with peppercorn demi-glace, Sautéed spinach with bacon, Parmesan French-toast, and piquillo pepper relish.

 

 

Larry Pobuda

Commercial Real Estate Veteran Larry Pobuda Joins Transwestern's Phoenix Team

 

Transwestern announced that commercial real estate veteran Lawrence (Larry) Pobuda has joined its Phoenix office, increasing its role in the leasing and sales of office buildings and providing in-depth expertise in development and investment.

As senior vice president, Pobuda serves institutional, corporate and private owners, as well as corporate users.

“It is exciting to make strategic expansions in our range of services with someone such as Larry,” said Transwestern Senior Vice President Bill Zurek. “His national relationships and experience in a variety of real estate disciplines will enhance our already strong capabilities.”

Pobuda arrives from Minneapolis where he co-founded Stewart Lawrence Group, a partnership involved in acquiring and developing commercial real estate assets. In Minneapolis, he provided advisory services to key clients including the University of Minnesota.

He also served as senior vice president and member of the five-person executive team at United Properties/NorthMarq, a 500-employee, full-service commercial real estate firm. Pobuda also served as the 2010 National Chair of NAIOP, the 15,000-member commercial real estate development association.

His recent role as NAIOP Chair also brings an additional national perspective to Transwestern’s Phoenix team. Pobuda will maintain his relationships in Minneapolis in order to facilitate connections between those clients and Transwestern’s Minneapolis office.

“I am delighted to join Transwestern’s Phoenix team, which offered me the rare opportunity to interface between the worlds of development, investment and brokerage,”  Pobuda said. “Phoenix is a wonderful community where I have felt at home even while I was based in Minneapolis. As the region’s economy continues to improve I look forward to helping grow Transwestern’s business.”

Pobuda’s activity in Minneapolis included tenant representation, project and facility management and lease administration. He served such high-profile clients as BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, Ecolab, UnitedHealth Group, Silicon Graphics and Macromedia.

Responsible for the leasing oversight of 1.8 MSF of Class A office space, Pobuda successfully closed more than 2 MSF of leases with an aggregate value of more than $420M for companies including GMAC/RFC, Bank of America, Weber Shandwick, Oracle, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, William Mercer and AON.

 

Josh Welp

Josh Welp Joins Kitchell as Safety Director

Josh Welp has been appointed Kitchell’s new Safety Director.

Welp has more than 15 years of safety engineering experience, including six years as Safety Manager and then Site Safety and Health Officer at Sundt Construction.

Recent projects include safety oversight of a new $21M hangar and aircraft wash facility for B-52 aircraft at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and construction of a $20M dormitory renovation project for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lackland AFB in Texas.

Welp received a B.S. in Safety Engineering from Kennedy Western University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in International Business from the University of Iowa.

Currently working on a M.S. in Safety and Environmental Management at Columbia Southern University, Welp holds various safety and risk certifications. He has received numerous awards including Projects of the Year from the American Public Works Association APWA (safety in the environmental category (Gilbert Water Treatment Plant), safety in the transportation category and safety in structures, among others).

In addition he was given the Project Safety Manager award of the year by Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix.

Welp will oversee safety programs for all Kitchell construction projects, bringing his extensive experience refined working on safety initiatives for highly regimented Federal projects to Kitchell’s diverse portfolio of projects.

 

Which Common Brands Are Most Sustainable?

As you do your shopping this holiday season, would it help to know exactly which toys, electronics, food and other items are better for the environment? A prominent researcher at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is helping to develop a system that will tell retailers, manufacturers, and eventually consumers, about the sustainability of many of the products we buy every day.

Professor Kevin Dooley is research director of The Sustainability Consortium, an impressive group administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, featuring big-name-members, such as Unilever, BASF, MillerCoors, Mars and Walmart, with combined revenue of more than $1.5 trillion. The consortium is developing criteria that will allow you to easily identify which products are the most sustainable in their categories, based on factors like emissions, labor practices, water usage and waste creation. The consortium’s efforts were recently named among 10 “world-changing ideas” that are “radical enough to alter our lives” by Scientific American, and this year, the consortium’s work really vaulted forward.

“We have now established the critical issues and best areas in which to improve more than 100 types of the most common products — everything from electronics and toys, to food, drinks and personal care items,” says Dooley. “We’re helping businesses focus on the most important sustainability issues and giving them a way to measure and share their progress in making products better. This year, we were able to make rapid progress, thanks to the intense efforts of our staff and the stakeholders involved.”

In addition to big advances in creating these tools for companies to use, the consortium also finalized a huge partnership this year. The Consumer Goods Forum is a commercial trade organization with more than 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and others as members worldwide. Working with this group will help the consortium to create a single global framework for sharing information between retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and consumers.

The consortium also announced expansion into China, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The consortium will build relationships with Chinese manufacturers and retailers, exchanging information about best practices. It will also help implement a training program for Chinese factory managers and owners, utilizing regional knowledge about social and environmental issues. In other global efforts, the consortium hosted visits and events in Chile and Japan this year, and it’s strengthening ties with a university in Europe.

Dooley says making products more sustainable is getting even more important, as the number of middle-class consumers worldwide keeps growing. We’re creating and consuming more goods — using more energy and disposing of more waste in the process.

“It’s vital to show companies that sustainability and profits aren’t mutually exclusive,” says Dooley. “Investing in sustainability can actually help boost a firm’s bottom line. Sustainability efforts involve streamlining processes, using less energy and creating less packaging. All of this can help save both money and the environment.”

Dooley adds that 40 to 50 percent of environmental impacts can be traced to the life cycle of consumer products sold in retail stores. Therefore, making better choices about which products we buy and how those products are manufactured are truly significant. Dooley notes that some criteria developed by The Sustainability Consortium are already influencing major companies.

“For example, Walmart now requires all suppliers of laptop computers to ship those computers with energy-saving settings as the default,” says Dooley. “Other retailers are already using the consortium’s criteria to choose areas in which they can ask their suppliers to improve. Hopefully, we’re helping many companies consider more sustainability aspects when they’re selecting suppliers and drawing up contracts.”

Dooley teaches sustainability in the W. P. Carey School of Business’ supply chain management programs, consistently ranked Top 10 nationwide. He points out the pioneering way The Sustainability Consortium is integrating the efforts of members across academia, government, private companies and non-governmental organizations. The group is conducting practical research that can affect mainstream consumers around the world.

“The current focus of the consortium is to make the existing system of creating and using products as efficient as possible,” says Dooley. “As industry capabilities mature, we and others will also start looking at how we can consume less, reuse more, change products to services, and make items last longer overall.”

In 2013, the consortium will start working on criteria for clothing, footwear, textiles and many different durable goods like bicycles and hardware. To learn more about The Sustainability Consortium’s efforts, visit http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org/.

happy hour hotspots feature

Happy Hour Hotspots In The Valley

Enjoy Valley happy hours with culture and style.  There are places to go in the Valley that have edgy appeal, cozy atmosphere and cheap prices. Our six valley locations will intrigue your taste buds, lift your spirits and cultivate your thirst for culture.

Nakama Sushi Restaurant

Nakama Sushi Restaurant opened in October 2010 in the Goodyear dining scene. Located at Dysart Road and McDowell Road, the new non-chain restaurant offers a lounge area, full bar and the red-and-black décor invite people to relax as the service is exceptionally welcoming. Happy hour is every day between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and all day Sunday. On Wednesdays, get 10 percent off the entire food bill, and on Thursdays, ladies get half-priced martinis and margaritas.

Rula Bula

Rula Bula, a Tempe Irish pub located on Mill Avenue and Third Street — whose name translates to uproar and commotion — is at the heart of the social life. The historic, Victorian-style building was a place to buy saddlery and harnesses in 1888.  Walk into wooden antique flooring, dim lighting and designs that reflect Ireland more than 100 years ago. Happy hour specials are Monday through Saturday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to close (2 a.m.).

“The food is great,” says Lauren Hillhouse, an ASU student. “Lots of people in my classes go.”

Upcoming events take place daily, including Industry night, where CEOs and other professionals get two-for-one drinks from 9 p.m. to close every Sunday; and there’s ASU night, where students get drink specials 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursdays.

FEZ

Want to enjoy a meal downtown and not worry about parking? FEZ is conveniently located on Central Avenue in Phoenix just two blocks south of Clarendon. FEZ, with seating for 150, offers a full menu, lounge, bar, and outdoor patio with great views of downtown Phoenix and plenty of free parking. The unique, contemporary, urban atmosphere features American cuisine infused with Mediterranean spices and ingredients. Happy hour is 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight daily. Want to call yourself a FEZ foodie? Join them the second and fourth Sunday of every month.

Game Time Sports

Looking for a sports bar that can indulge your taste buds and not hurt your wallet? Travel to Game Time Sports on the northeast corner of McDowell and Dysart in Avondale. Nothing is over $10 and you can get a beer, taco and watch sports. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.

“Anywhere I can take my kids and enjoy great food is a plus,” says Shree Washington, guest of Game Time. “I love the atmosphere.”

Come dressed to impress or in jeans and a t-shirt. This neighborhood favorite, with food fresh to order, offers casual dining, daily chef specials and pleasant service that is family friendly. This hotspot can be a great place to unwind after a long day.

Four Peaks Brewery

Housed in a warehouse rich in history, Four Peaks Brewery, having been home to an ice plant and creamery, has updated their brewing equipment as of March 2009. The restoration leaves the brewery finished with red brick, glass clerestory and wooden ceilings. Guests can enjoy two locations — Tempe on Dorsey Lane and Apache Boulevard or in Scottsdale southeast corner of Hayden and Frank Lloyd Wright. Nearly 20,000 barrels of beer are produced each year at Four Peaks. Tours are available.

Liz Doon Varna Irish Pub and Restaurant

The newest addition to the Arrowhead Fountain Center, Lis Doon Varna Irish Pub and Restaurant, located just down the way from the sports complex in Peoria, offers a piece of Ireland with its meals. All the furniture is unique to or shipped from Ireland.

“The bar in the restaurant is 200 years old,” says Kristen Lomuscio, a waiter at the pub. “Disney designers designed the rebar (hay) on the roof.”

The pub is famous for matchmaking and music festivals. Lisdoonvarna, a city in Ireland, hosts an annual Matchmakers Festival and draws singles from all over the world and this is integrated into the pub.  Wine Down Wednesdays presents a complimentary bottle of wine with a party of four or more. The bread pudding is a signature dish.

“My friend and I would go somewhere else to have a meal then go to the pub for the bread pudding,” says Denise Vines, a guest of the pub. “The food here is hearty, and I enjoy it.”

No matter what side of town you are on, you can enjoy a meal with a deal at these happy hour hot spots.

Photo Credit: Sweet Evie

Glendale Glitters and Glow Block Party

During the holiday season, one area of Arizona outshines all others. The small, historic town of Glendale is lit up by more than one million Christmas lights that are strung throughout the trees and shine brightly on the small, antique homes and shops that compose the 12-blocks from Old Towne and Catlin Court Districts.



Photo Credit: Sweet Evie



However, one of the more popular events of the Glendale Glitter festivities takes place on Jan. 8, when the city hosts their traditional Glendale Glitters and Glow Block Party to finish their annual celebrations. From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. friends and families will make up an attendance of more than 75,000 people who stroll the sidewalks of the district for one last chance to witness the twinkling, colorful lights.

Adults have the chance to enjoy looking through each of the antique shops, which are decorated for the holidays, for fine crafts and historic relics. The kids will be entertained by large, tethered hot air balloons as they are blown up to reveal fantastic designs and patterns from the glow of their flame. Together, families can feel the festive spirit from the multiple live bands and performers throughout the evening. Other kid-friendly and family-fun activities will be available, as well as an assortment of food vendors.



Photo Credit: Sweet Evie



Parking for the event is limited but if you can find a spot in the neighborhood, it is free. Otherwise, you can use the Glendale Community College parking lot where a free shuttle, which runs all night from 3:30 until 11:30 p.m., will take you to-and-from the night’s event. This event, like all of Glendale Glitters festivities, has no admission charge.

Tourist Group 2008

The Tourist Trade

By Don Weiner

Arizona’s tourism industry expects to take more than a few hits from an uncertain economy. “Whenever we see a downturn in the economy like this, especially when the staples of life are so much more expensive — food, gas, that sort of thing — it does have some downward pressure on leisure travel. People are less inclined to travel,” says Jonathan Walker, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau. “They’re traveling for shorter periods of time or cutting out travel altogether.”

tourist trade 2008

But for every hit from soaring fuel prices and consumer cutbacks, Arizona tourism can deliver some pretty effective counterpunches. Its luxury resorts and spas, gourmet dining establishments and world-class golf courses are no less attractive to high-value visitors. Scenic wonders such as the Grand Canyon and a favorable climate are still huge draws. Major events should continue to attract crowds. And visitors from near and far are still intrigued by the state’s mixture of Hispanic, American Indian and cowboy cultures.

“What’s great about Arizona is we have the whole package,” says Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association.

Cheryl Cothran, a Ph.D. and director of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center at Northern Arizona University, notes that the travel industry has historically been a big part of the state economy.

“Tourism has always been important,” she says. “It looks like going forward a couple of decades it’s going to continue to be that way.”

She also points to a few factors that, while not recession-proof, are still encouraging.

Cothran says state tourism is population-driven. As the metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson areas continue to grow, an increasing number of visitors are coming to see family and friends. In fact, a research presentation for last year’s Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism shows that 46 percent of nonresident overnight visitors indicated they came here specifically for that reason. It was still the main reason when it came to Arizona’s resident overnight visitors. In other words, don’t expect Mom and Dad to give the kids a pass on visiting just because they’re feeling some pain at the pump.

Then there are those who fill the resorts, book the tee times and top off their days with some fine dining.

“Those high-income visitors who travel to the expensive resorts and spas are probably not going to change their plans that much,” Cothran says.

In fact, a report she prepared, “Arizona’s Tourism Future: Effects of Population & Demographic Change,” states that the bulk of travel spending is by the top 20 percent of affluent households.

Even with this market segment, however, there are some definite challenges.

First, experts agree that Arizona is primarily a fly-in market, and the fact is that airlines are trimming routes and downsizing some planes heading to various destinations.

Also, according to Johnson, visitors may be doing some downsizing of their own.

“I think what you see generally sometimes is that people who might have stayed at a … luxury resort are maybe dropping down a tier,” she says.

This has resort operators working extra hard, says Rachel Sacco, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“The only thing that you can do in a destination like this, where you are very dependent on a fly-in market, is really to just look at your customers and hopefully you’ve done a very good job of creating value, a great experience and (are) making it very, very difficult for your customers to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to skip my trip to Scottsdale this year,’” she says.

This may equate to credits that can be used for spa treatments, meals or golf. It may even mean gasoline credits.

cover october 2008

“Maybe there are high-end customers less concerned about discounting, but they certainly want value,” Sacco says. “And the smart approach is make them feel like they’re always getting more than what they’re giving.”

Sacco also says area restaurants and retailers are feeling the pinch. Some have told her tourism accounts for as much as a third of their bottom line.

“And for a restaurant to even say 20 (percent) or 25 percent, that’s a large amount,” she says.
One sensible marketing strategy, according to Johnson, is to reach for what she calls “lower-hanging fruit.”

“I think what we’re finding and what we’re seeing already is that people are traveling closer to home,” she says. “And so for us, what that means is kind of changing a little bit of our marketing strategy and make sure that we’re doing a good job of marketing to our residents and to people that are within a good driving distance to Arizona.”

www.visittucson.org
www.azhla.com
www.nau.edu
www.scottsdalecvb.com

Chef Eddie Matney Returns With Eddie's House, 2008

Chef Eddie Matney Returns With Eddie’s House

Chef Eddie Matney, Eddie's House, AZ Business Magazine Oct. 2008

The Valley’s original celebrity chef, Eddie Matney, would like to invite you to his house for dinner. Well, it’s not his actual house, but at Eddie’s House, Matney’s newest Valley restaurant, it’s like eating home cooking as only this chef can make it.

It’s been a couple of years since Matney had an eatery in town that bears his moniker, but the wait was well worth it. Eddie’s House in Old Town Scottsdale combines all the things Matney is famous for, plus some new and comforting elements.

Overall, the decor strives for a stylish, but inviting and casual vibe. Those who sit at the head of the table get to relax in large, comfortable armchairs upholstered in a mix of leather and green and purple striped fabric.

But you don’t go to Eddie’s House for decorating tips. You go there for the food, and once again, Matney doesn’t disappoint. His food has always lived in a region where America meets the Mediterranean.

The appetizers reflect all of these influences. Matney’s flatbread and tartar starters change daily. The day my party went, the flatbread was topped with smoked salmon and roasted garlic, while the tartar selection was a tuna blend that had my dining companions raving.

We followed that with the soup and salad portion of the dinner. I jumped at what the menu dubbed the “serious” lobster bisque cappuccino. Unlike other bisques that tend to have a cream base, this lobster bisque appeared to be made primarily of a lobster stock that allowed the sweet, rich taste of the lobster meat chunks inside to really shine.

On to the entrees, where Matney kept to his tradition of hearty portions. The special that night was a pork chop dish, which quickly became a favorite at the table. The chops were tender and tasty, with everyone claiming more than one bite. Another favorite was the bacon-infused meatloaf. Oh Eddie, you had me at bacon. Add to that Yukon gold mashed potatoes and onion strings and we all forgot our diets that night.

Arizona Business Magazine October 2008 Cover

Earning special notice was the EHC or Eddie’s House Chicken. The chicken was cooked to perfection, but what captured everyone’s attention wasthe presentation. While the breast was served on a dish, the legs and thighs were placed in a small, whimsical ceramic “basket” painted to look like a bucket of chicken from that famous colonel.

Although I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, dessert is de rigueur for me. The dessert that earned the most “ooos” and “ahhhs” was the crème brûlée, so rich and sweet and surprisingly light. While the crème brûlée was very good, my personal favorite was the baked chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. It was almost like a mousse. I became even fonder of the dessert after Matney told the story behind it; he was inspired by his memories of his mother making a similar dish while he was growing up. How appropriate for a restaurant named Eddie’s House.

www.eddieshouseaz.com

Kona Grill opening new location

Kona Grill Opens Third Location In The Valley

By Noelle Coyle and Janet Perez

Despite the sluggish economy, restaurants continue to open or expand in the Valley, and Arizona native Kona Grill is no exception. Originally founded in Scottsdale in 1998, the restaurant has expanded throughout the United States, with locations in Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Texas and Florida. In June, it came back to its roots with the opening of a new location in Gilbert, and there are more plans for growth on the horizon. The Gilbert location joins two other Kona Grills in the Valley at Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Center.

The new Gilbert restaurant opened at SanTan Village, one of many recent outdoor lifestyle malls built in the Valley. Kona Grill’s interior includes many of its signature features, including soft lighting, a granite sushi bar and a 2,000-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with exotic fish.

Like its decor, Kona Grill’s menu is an inspired combination of American comfort food and Pacific Rim ingredients.

The appetizers exemplify this philosophy with onion rings served with a pineapple chipotle and spicy mustard sauce; blackened catfish or macadamia nut chicken tacos; calamari with a spicy aioli dipping sauce; and Kahuna Bites, beef sliders seasoned with onions and thyme. I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite Kona Grill appetizers is no longer on the menu, a spicy salmon sashimi paired with sour cream and avocado and wrapped in a flour tortilla that is then flash-fried. Here’s hoping Kona Grill brings that delight back.

Kona GrillThe dinner menu abounds with baby back ribs, pizzas, macadamia nut chicken, lemon grass crusted halibut and sweet chili-glazed salmon. The pizza toppings run the gamut of exotic from regular pepperoni to shitake mushrooms and goat cheese. The macadamia nut chicken might sound simple, but it features a shoyu cream sauce and a pineapple-papaya marmalade.

A special treat is the Big Island Meatloaf. If you’re expecting it to be just like Mom used to make, you’ll be in for a surprise — unless Mom hails from Hawaii. The meatloaf is made with sweet Italian and Andouille sausage with a mushroom ragu. The dish is topped off with white cheddar mashed potatoes and wok-tossed vegetables.

If you’re in the mood for steak, Kona Grill provides with 6 and 10-ounce filets, and a 20-ounce, bone-in rib-eye.

Now for me, the real attraction to Kona Grill is the sushi. I love sushi, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so with its full-complement of non-sushi dishes, friends and I can go to Kona Grill and both be happy.

The basic rolls and sashimi are handled well at Kona Grill, but it’s the restaurant’s specialty sushi dishes that are a real delight.

Called Kona Rolls, my favorites are the spider roll, deep fried soft-shell crab with crab mix, avocado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and soy paper, and topped with a sweet eel sauce; and the Sunshine Roll, spicy salmon with cucumbers wrapped with rice and seaweed, and topped with fresh salmon and thinlysliced lemon. Of the chef’s specials, I’m a fan of the Volcano, a dish made of baked crab, white fish and yamagobo (pickled burdock plant) and topped with motoyaki sauce, sriracha and eel sauce.

The Asian-fusion philosophy doesn’t extend to the dessert menu. The goodies there are strictlyall-American with fudge brownies, apple crisps, banana pudding and even a root beer float. The one exception is the crème brûlée, in which the traditional custard is infused with fresh passion fruit.