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Thirsty Thursday: Halloween Cocktails Edition

Keep your Halloween bash’s libations in good, haunted spirits with the following recipes provided by RA Sushi, Sapporo and  and STILLHOUSE Moonshine.

 Geisha's Spell

Geisha’s Spell

Cast a spell with one of RA Sushi’s Potent Potions, such as:
• Witches Brew (single $9/double $18): a bubbling blend of Southern Comfort, Amaretto Disaronno, cold sake, liqueurs and tropical juices.

• Frozen Black Lagoon ($7) is a spine tingling mix of sparkling white wines, Bacardi Rum, yuzu, and peach and strawberry purées.

• Geisha’s Spell ($7) is a magical concoction of cold lemonade, Skyy Raspberry vodka, Chambord, fresh lemon sour and a splash of soda.

Geisha’s Spell from RA Sushi
What you need:
1.5 oz. Skyy Raspberry
.5 oz. Chambord
2 oz. lemon sour
.5 oz. soda
.25 oz. Blue Curacao
Garnish: sugar rim, lemon slice, gummy worm
Directions: In an ice filled mixing glass, add all ingredients except Blue Curacao. Shake and pour into a glass rimmed with sugar and filled with ice. Top with Blue Curacao. Garnish with a lemon slice and gummy worm.
Visit RA Sushi in Scottsdale: 3815 N. Scottsdale Rd.




Cocktail: Jack-O-Lantern from Sapporo
What you need:
1 oz cognac
.5 oz grand marnier
1.5 oz orange juice
.5 oz ginger ale
Orange wheel and lime twist for garnish
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange and lime “Pumpkin Top.” Fold a small piece of lime twist/peel in half and insert it into the center of an orange wheel.

Visit Sapporo in Scottsdale: 14344 N. Scottsdale Rd.


STILLHOUSE Moonshine Whiskey’s Haunted Cocktails




What you need: 

2 oz STILLHOUSE® Original Moonshine

3 oz Tomato juice

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

Salt & Black Pepper to Taste

3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

2 Drops Tabasco

Garnish: Celery Stalk

Method: Build over ice

Glass: Pint

Monster Mash

Monster Mash


What you need:

2 oz Stillhouse Original

2 oz Fresh Juiced Squash

3/4 oz Browned Butter Beer

3/4 oz Sage Simple Syrup

Garnish: Whole cinnamon stick

Method: Shake & fine strain. Serve down.

Glass: Rocks




What you need:

2 oz Juniper-infused STILLHOUSE Original Moonshine

1 oz Pasteurized Egg White

1 oz Fresh Juiced Granny Smith Apple

¾ oz Fresh Lime Juice

¾ oz Simple Syrup

Garnish: Fresh Rosemary sprig across

Method: Shake hard & Hawthorne strain up

Glass: Coupe glass

Photo by Shavon Thompson

Sapporo’s summer menu is a work of art

srp-azbigmedia2014_Sapporo-002All it takes is one minute of conversation with Sapporo’s executive chef, Stephen Stromberg, at to know he is passionate about food. He creates one-of-a-kind seasonal menus that pop with color and are flavorful to the last bite. His new Asian cuisine summer menu debuted June 30 and it will not disappoint.

The restaurant’s teppanyaki and wok items have mostly stayed the same, but the same cannot be said about the entrée section of the menu. Stromberg noticed that when customers come to eat at Sapporo, they love sharing their food. He has decided to make his new dishes as share-friendly as possible. They are served in smaller portions, will no longer come with rice and the price has gone done to match the portion size. Do not fear.  These changes have not affected the quality of the food. Stromberg uses fresh local tomatoes from Four Peaks Farm and receives fresh shipments of fish every day.

Stromberg was kind enough to let me try a couple of his new creations and to put it in perspective of how amazing this food is, I will drive the 30 minutes from Mesa to Scottsdale, in rush hour traffic to eat his food again. The New York Strip steak salad is literally the “meat and potatoes” of all salads. It comes with fresh local tomatoes, avocadoes, NY Strip steak (that is srp-azbigmedia2014_Sapporo-001cooked to perfection), fingerling potatoes and mixed greens. My favorite dish he made was the Japanese-style Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio. The thinly sliced pieces of filet melted in my mouth and the sesame-lemon glaze on top is incredible.  I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The Scallop, Shrimp and Mango Ceviche is a wonderful blend of sweet and tangy flavors. It has fresh mango, shrimp, scallops, green onions and chili peppers marinated in Ponzu Shoyu sauce. This chilled, light dish is served with wonton chips. The Kushiyaki-style chicken comes on skewers and is simply delicious.  The chicken and vegetables are marinated in a teriyaki sauce. The chicken is juicy and the vegetables are cooked just right. The almond chili dipping sauce that comes with this dish is a crazy mixture of flavors that work well together and really make the skewers pop in your mouth.

Stromberg recommends several dishes for old and new customers. There are two new salads that he is very proud of and wants people to try. One is the Sapporo Chopped Salad that comes with spring greens, toasted pine nuts, dragon fruit and dragon fruit shiso vinaigrette on top. The other is a twist on a caesar salad, called the Brussels Sprouts and Rhubarb Ceasar Salad. As the name implies, it comes with rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, romaine lettuce and wonton croutons for an added crunch. If salads aren’t your thing, he suggests trying the Blue Fin Tuna dish or the Sea Bass, which is his personal favorite.

Each dish is presented beautifully and each is a work of art for the eyes and mouth. Stromberg believes that each person who walks through the doors of Sapporo are “guests,” not customers, and each individual is treated as such. He has created a gorgeous summer menu that will keep people wanting more.

Pumpkin Pie Martini, Super Cut

Thirsty Thursday: Pumpkin Pie Martini

The holiday season is usually full of family traditions passed down for generations. This could consist of making grandma’s green beans with the bacon bits or auntie’s super-secret cookie recipe every year, but have you ever considered mixing up your holiday feast? A few Thanksgivings ago, my family traded in our turkey and mashed potatoes for enchiladas and refried beans. It was an interesting twist to our Thanksgiving dinner and fun trying something new for something that is so enriched in tradition.

If you’re not big into cooking and finding new recipes to mix up your Thanksgiving fare, then you should head over to Sapporo and try its not-so-traditional menu.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Seriously, Sara? Sushi for Thanksgiving?” But, hear me out before you hit that back button.

Chef Steven Stromberg has crafted an exceptional menu of Pacific Rim Teppanyaki and sushi that incorporates traditional Thanksgiving fixings. His Thanksgiving-exclusive menu includes orange-miso glazed duck breast,  a turkey sushi roll, teppan grilled turkey breast and ginger-pumpkin cheesecake

My favorite part of this menu, though, is the specialty drink Sapporo has crafted for this holiday season — a pumpkin pie martini.


Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini


2 oz Svedka Vanilla Vodka

2 oz White Crème de Cacao

¼ Cup Heavy Cream

1.5 oz Pumpkin Puree

Dash of Nutmeg

Glass is rimmed with graham cracker crumbs


If you would like to make this tasty drink at home, just combine the ingredients and serve!

In addition to the specialty Thanksgiving menu, regularly priced menu items including sushi rolls, liquid market drinks, beer and wine will also be available.

Roka Akor features Robatayaki cuisine. Photo: Roka Akor

Top 5: Sushi Bars (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Sushi Bars — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:


14344 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
(480) 607-1114
Sapporo offers its guests a fresh experience with premium sushi and Teppanyaki, Asian specialties like grilled black cod (glazed in Miso), happy hour specials and more.

Stingray Sushi

Three locations in Phoenix
and Scottsdale
(602) 955.2008 (Phoenix)
Delivering a unique blend of contemporary style and energy with Latin-influenced Japanese cuisine, Stingray Sushi is a truly distinctive experience.

Geisha A Go Go

7150 E. 6th Ave.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(480) 699-0055
This is truly an entertainment dining experience, bringing Japanese pop culture to Scottsdale with sushi, rock ‘n’ roll and private karaoke rooms.

RA Sushi Bar

Six locations throughout the Valley
(480) 940-1111 (Phoenix)
Signature rolls, Japanese fusion cuisine, a vibrant atmosphere with lively music and inventive cocktails — you’ll find it all (and more) at RA.

Roka Akor

7299 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
(480) 306-8800
Voted by Bon Appétit magazine as one of the Top 10 Sushi Spots in the United States, Roka Akor offers prime steak and sushi in a robatayki-style (open charcoal) cuisine.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012


Sapporo Scottsdale

Sapporo's For The Holidays: 'Pink' Menu, Wine Wednesdays And More

October is a busy month for Valley chefs!

Many of us are unveiling our fall menus while conceptualizing potential winter recipes as well as spending most of our evenings and weekends speaking about and sampling our newest creations and all of the amazing taste events leading up to the holidays. In between, we are also working with our mixology teams in creating new cocktails and testing innovative seasonal wine pairings then hooking up with our GMs and event teams to prep for holiday party season.

It’s an organized – and delicious – chaos.

And, I am so pleased to announce that this year the chaos has paid off like never before. All in the same week, we’ve been able to launch our fall menu as well as an October-only pink menu in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and kick-off a new wine option in-house. As such, I wanted to take some time to give details on each, as well as ask that if any other community organizations have great ideas for ways we can improve our menus or get involved with their special events or fundraisers, we are all ears.

Breast of Scottsdale October Menu

Throughout October, guests can eat for a cause via our “Breast of Scottsdale” menu, which includes pink-themed food and drink options with a portion of the proceeds from all items benefiting the Arizona Institute for Breast Health and its critical mission to offer Arizona women diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion on their treatment options, completely free of charge.

The Breast of Scottsdale menu, available through October 31, includes:

  • The Flirtini – Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, cranberry juice, lime juice
  • The Pink Geisha – Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, black raspberry liqueur, fresh strawberries, basil leaves, cranberry juice
  • Hollywood Cocktail – Belvedere Pink Grapefruit, fresh grapefruit juice, grenadine, egg white
  • Pink Panang Chicken Skewers
  • Pink-fin Ahi Tuna Poke
  • Pink Velvet Cake Pops

New Wednesday Wine Offering

Come wind down with us each Wednesday through the end of the year! During our new, all-day “Wine Down Wednesdays,” we are offering  guests half off ALL bottles of wine with no strings attached.

“What’s better than celebrating the half-way point to the weekend than uncorking a half-off bottle of wine on our world-famous patio?” asks Mike Hanley, beverage manager at Sapporo. “Just like that, Wednesdays will go from ‘hump days’ to ‘happy days’.”

We currently carry more than 40 wine selections, ranging from $24 to $400 per bottle, and includes varietals from Australia, California, France and Washington. Among the notable wineries represented at the restaurant are Caymus, Dominus, Duckhord, Jordan, La Crema, Plumjack, Silkwood, Stag’s Leap and many more.

Community Happenings

To be a leader in the community, one must serve the community.

We are taking this to heart. As such, in addition to our partnership with the Arizona Institute for Breast Health, we are also taking an active role in fundraising and social events for organizations, including:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
  • The Auxiliary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
  • Junior League of Phoenix
  • National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter
  • Pat Tillman Foundation
  • Phoenix Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

Have an idea for a unique partnership or interested in having us sample at one of your fundraising events? Simply email our team at abailin@hmapr.com, and we will see how we can help.

For more information about Sapporo, visit sapporoscottsdale.com.

Breast of Scottsdale 2012

Sapporo Throws Scottsdale's Pinkest Party, Breast Of Scottsdale

Breast of Scottsdale 2012On Wednesday, September 12, Sapporo proudly opened its doors to breast cancer survivors, their family and friends with its first-ever Breast of Scottsdale, benefitting Arizona Institute for Breast Health (AIBH). Their event, which included half off all bottles of wine along with a pink theme, complimentary pink Belvedere signature drinks and pink treats all night long, helped the organization to obtain sponsors for its annual Pink Light District and served as a kick-off event for Sapporo’s planned breast cancer awareness menu this fall.

Breast of Scottsdale 2012“Over the summer, we came across AIBH,” said MaryAnna Ford of Sapporo. “This organization, which was founded by Dr. Coral Quiet, who is a trailblazer in breast cancer care and treatment nationwide, has a singular focus — to offer women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion on all of their treatment options.”

Inspired by the critical service the organization provides, Sapporo put its head together with Belvedere Vodka and Clique Photo Station to dream up Breast of Scottsdale — Breast of Scottsdale 2012the pinkest party Scottsdale has ever seen.

Among the pink menu items debuted, each of which will be available all October long at Sapporo with a portion of proceeds being given to AIBH, were:

  • The Flirtini — Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, cranberry juice, lime juice
  • The Pink Geisha – Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, black raspberry liqueur, fresh strawberries, basil leaves, cranberry juice
  • Hollywood Cocktail – Belvedere Pink Grapefruit, fresh grapefruit juice, grenadine and egg white
  • Pink Panang Chicken Skewers
  • Pink-fin Ahi Tuna Poke
  • Sapporo Pink Rice Sushi Roll
  • Pink Velvet Cake Pops

Breast of Scottsdale 2012To get in, each guest was asked to sponsor a $25 pink light with AIBH.

“From now through October 31, Arizona and beyond has the opportunity to express its love, appreciation and gratitude for those impacted by breast cancer by sponsoring pink light bulbs, which will be placed on the Marshall Way Bridge in coming days,” said Christine Fenwick, a breast cancer survivor and executive director of AIBH.

Breast of Scottsdale 2012

These Pink Honor Lights will be illuminated the evening of October 4. The Marshall Way Bridge is located next to Olive & Ivy Restaurant, south of Camelback and west of Scottsdale Rd., across from the Nordstrom’s parking garage. These Pink Honor Lights will glow throughout October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in recognition of all those touched by this disease.

 All proceeds generated from this unique fundraiser will benefit AIBH, and the funds will go directly to support women who are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Breast of Scottsdale 2012The event helped to sponsor about 250 lights, but thousands more are still available. Please visit ThePinkLightDistrict.org to sponsor lights today.

In addition, with the success of the half off bottles during the evening, Sapporo is pleased to announce it will continue to offer this deal on all of its wine all day, every day each Wednesday through the end of 2012. For full list of wines available, please visit sapporoscottsdale.com. And be sure to visit Sapporo in October to sample all of the pink items in honor of those you live touched by breast cancer.


Sapporo presents the 2012 Breast of Scottsdale

Did you know that each year, more than 4,000 women in Arizona are diagnosed with breast cancer?

And, that each and every single one of them has a place to go for help for free?

It’s true –Arizona Institute for Breast Health (AIBH) is a non-profit organization headquartered in north Scottsdale focused solely on providing women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion on treatment options completely free of charge.

“Since our inception in 1998, we’ve sought to provide education, resources and support to newly diagnosed patients with the help of our volunteer team of physicians and medical professionals whose specialties include breast radiology, breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, reconstructive surgery, and breast pathology,” said AIBH co-founder Dr. Coral Quiet, who was recently named a finalist for the 2012 ATHENA Award for her to education women on their breast cancer treatment options.

And the organization’s hard – and sometimes costly – work has not gone unnoticed.

This year, in fact, the Scottsdale Airpark community is rolling up its sleeves and stepping up to join AIBH in its mission to help the women of Arizona with a special event – The First-Ever Breast of Scottsdale, which will be the PINKEST party Scottsdale has ever seen!

Sapporo Scottsdale, in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, is pleased to present this special event on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 from 6 p.m. to close. During this event, the community is invited to sip and sample sumptuous pink-themed food and drink menu items while enjoying great music, interactive photography by Clique Photo Station and other surprises. Pink attire is requested, and prizes will be awarded to the most creative, zany and fabulous pink costumes and casual wear alike. A portion of the proceeds from these items, which will be officially available throughout October at Sapporo Scottsdale, will benefit Arizona Institute for Breast Health and its critical mission. All proceeds from this September event will benefit the organization’s Pink Light District. Guests are also able to take advantage of the regularly priced wines, beers and cocktails as well as traditional menu items throughout the evening. The cost to attend is a simple $25 online donation that will be used to sponsor an AIBH “Pink Light,” which will honor a loved one of the guest’s choosing impacted by breast cancer. These lights will illuminate the Marshall Way Bridge in Scottsdale starting October 4 and throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of all those we love impacted by the disease. To register, please visit aibh.org.

And, for those who want to get involved but are unable to make the party, starting today, members of the Scottsdale Airpark community and beyond are invited to sponsor a pink light in honor or in memory of a loved one touched by cancer as part of the annual Pink Light District to benefit AIBH by visiting www.PinkLightDistrict.org.

Pink Honor Lights may be given to anyone touched by breast cancer in any way, which is all of us:
· In honor of a brave survivor
· In memory of a loved one
· To recognize that special person in your doctor’s office

In addition to the light, each honoree who is gifted a light will receive a Pink Light Tribute Card, and their name will be placed in the 2012 Pink Light Honor Album on the AIBH website. There is no limit to the number of lights one can buy to recognize and honor those in their lives. Sponsorships of multiple lights and other donation opportunities are also available.

“This year, we are extremely honored to have Dr. William Leighton as our 2012 Pink Light District Premier Sponsor,” said AIBH executive director Christine Fenwick, a 17-year breast cancer survivor.

In addition to Dr. Leighton, other valuable corporate sponsors include Yeager North, Iron Medical Systems, Olive & Ivy, Anasazi Internal Medicine, HMA Public Relations, Sapporo Scottsdale, Leighton & Abdo Attorneys at Law, Fiesta Furnishings and Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists, which is led by AIBH co-founder Dr. Quiet. She also serves as the organizations volunteer medical director.

Sapporo Scottsdale Presents the 2012 Breast of Scottsdale, Benefitting Arizona Institute for Breast Health
What:  It is the PINKEST party Scottsdale has ever seen! Sapporo Scottsdale, in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, is to pleased present the first-ever Breast of Scottsdale, benefitting the Arizona Institute for Breast Health. During this special event, the community is invited to sip and sample sumptuous pink-themed food and drink menu items while enjoying great music, interactive photography and other surprises. A portion of the proceeds from these items, which will be officially available throughout October at Sapporo Scottsdale, will benefit Arizona Institute for Breast Health and its critical mission to offer Arizona women diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion on their treatment options, completely free of charge. All proceeds from this event will benefit the organization’s Pink Light District. All guests are also able to take advantage of the regularly priced wines, beers and cocktails as well as traditional menu items during the event.
When: Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 6 p.m. to Close
Where: Sapporo Scottsdale, 14344 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Attire: Think Pink, of course! Prizes for most fabulous pink ladies and gentlemen will be presented during the fun.
Cost: $25 donation that will be used to sponsor a “Pink Light,” which will honor a loved one of the guest’s choosing impacted by breast cancer. These lights will illuminate the Marshall Way Bridge in Scottsdale starting October 4 and throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of all those we love impacted by the disease.
Registration: Tickets are limited and available now at www.aibh.org

DIY Sushi

Summer Date Night: DIY Sushi

Warm temperatures have you and your date hot and bothered? With temperatures on the rise, it can make going out for date night difficult; but, going on a date doesn’t have to mean dining out. Do-it-yourself (DIY) dinners can be a fun and exciting way for couples to beat the heat this summer. Bring the restaurant home with you on your next date with fresh ingredients and easy, DIY sushi dinner recipes.

Sushi makes for a refreshing, dinner option when trying to beat the heat and is easy to make. Want to tempt your palate with something spicy? Try making a California roll. The simplistic ingredients make it a great option for first-time sushi makers. Looking for something more challenging to make with your date? Try making a specialty roll like the Cougar Roll from Sapporo in Scottsdale, made with crab mix, avocado, cucumber, jalepeño, and topped with seared yellowtail, garlic butter sauce and siriracha.

Whether a first timer or an expert, DIY sushi dinner dates are a great way for couples to get creative and stay cool this summer.

For your next dinner date, dine in and try this DIY sushi recipe for this favorite, the Sapporo spicy tuna roll:

Sapporo Spicy Tuna Roll

6 ounce tuna fillet, without skin
1 cucumber
4 cups sushi rice, cooked
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
2 sheets nori seaweed
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons spicy chili oil or siriracha

Sushi mat
Cutting board
Large wooden bowl


1. Dice the tuna into small cubes using a sharp knife and cutting board until in fine pieces.
2. Combine the chili oil or siriracha with the chopped tuna. Use a spoon or pair of chopsticks to ensure that the ingredients are mixed evenly.
3. Lay a half sheet of the nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo rolling mat. Mix the rice vinegar and water in a mixing bowl, and moisten your hands with this hand vinegar to keep the rice from sticking to your hands as you work.
4. Spread about a ¾ cup of rice evenly across the nori, avoiding about a ½ inch from outside of the mat.
5. Add the spicy tuna to the nori and rice.
6. To roll, gently use fingertips to push up and roll bamboo mat so that the edge of the nori is lifted up and meets the far edge of the sheet. Continue to roll, correcting the shape by gently, but firmly, pressing the bamboo mat around the roll for about 30 seconds.
7. Wet a sharp knife and cut in ½ inch rounds. Serve with ginger and horseradish, and enjoy!

Don’t let the summer heat melt away your dinner plans. Choose your favorite sushi restaurant roll or another Sapporo favorite and follow the recipe to make your date night memorable with summer sushi fare.

For more information, menus (including more possible DIY sushi recipes), hours and the many locations of Sapporo, visit SapporoScottsdale.com or call (480) 607-1114.


Eat, Drink and Be Social: Dining Apps

Dining out? Check your phone first (if you aren’t doing that already); here are some dining apps for you to consider.

With today’s plugged-in landscape and social media savvy society, websites, blogs and smartphone applications are quickly becoming the go-to source for daily tasks like hunting down recipes, shopping for restaurant deals and connecting with friends. From check-ins to secret menus and Twitter notifications about the next happy hour, social media is the inroad to “what’s good” at bars and restaurants.

At Sapporo, social media has allowed us to give diners a backstage pass to our food and how we make it as well as provide a tailored personal experience. Hungry for a certain dish? Don’t worry; Sapporo has you covered. By liking Sapporo on Facebook, users can ask questions and checkout the new and most popular menu items and what people are saying. Through Twitter, users can follow and find out about upcoming events and exclusive promotions.

Whether you’re looking for a fine-tuned menu, a trendy, foodie destination (like Sapporo) or just wanting a burger, below are some social media app suggestions that will have you eating, drinking and being social in no time.

Digital dining promotions

Remember the days of cutting coupons? Cut no more; with today’s social media landscape, getting the best deals on restaurants is literally at the click of a button. With daily deal sites like Groupon, Living Social and Doozy of a Deal, diners can pre-purchase coupons and print them off to use them at their leisure. But that’s not all, more and more restaurants are utilizing their own social networking pages like Foursquare and Facebook to offer exclusive deals and promotions to help drive traffic through the door and create customer loyalty.

There are dining apps for that

For those who may be hungry but too lazy to make a reservation or order food, there’s an app for that. Today’s social landscape makes it easy for diners to get rid of their hunger pains by the push of a button. At Sapporo, an app called Open Table allows diners to make reservations through Facebook. Other restaurants have also created their own mobile applications that allow customers to place food orders from the convenience of their smartphones and even pay for their purchases.

Table tweets

Dining with social media isn’t just about getting the best deals; many restaurant guests enjoy the connection social media allows them to have with the restaurant and its chef. Through Twitter, many restaurants, chefs or owners will actively engage in conversation with the customer base by posting events, recipes, up-to-date menus and photos. Some even take customer interaction one step further by coming out to greet those patrons tweeting from their table.

Mind your mobile manners

“No phone at the dinner table” is a phrase everyone has heard at one time or another. Since mobile technology has improved and diners are more social media savvy, it has become socially acceptable to multitask during meals. Today’s guests are eager to check-in, snap photos or tweet about where they are and what they’re doing. Not sure what to order? Foodspotting and Forkly, apps that can be downloaded to a mobile device, allows diners to snap photos and share dishes so customers make better-informed purchasing decisions.

Dine and dish

After a dining experience, there is nothing more guests like to do than dish about what they ate and how amazing, or not amazing, it was. Several social networking sites have created a space where patrons can share their tips, reviews and rate restaurants. Urbanspoon is an app that allows customers to view ratings for the specific type of food or restaurant they are looking for. Yelp is another app that allows users to search for the restaurants closest to them and read reviews before choosing a specific restaurant.

In the past, dining out may have involved navigating an unfamiliar neighborhood aimlessly searching for a restaurant, unsure of what to expect on the menu ― but not anymore. Look no further than your smartphone, where restaurants like Sapporo are engaging in the social space and guests can stay in the loop and experience a new type of dining experience.

For more information, menus, hours and location of Sapporo, visit SapporoScottsdale.com  or call (480) 607-1114.


Lunchtime Sushi: Dining Out And Healthy At Sapporo

Lunch Dining is Back, Brown Bags are Out: Valley restaurants, including Sapporo and its lunchtime sushi, are offering healthy cuisine at lower prices

Brown-bagging it becoming a little boring? Then save them for the groceries, and take a stroll to the nearest eatery. After years of the recession eating away the midday lunch crowd and their wallets, restaurants are stepping up for those who are stepping out for a bite during their day.

Sapporo , and many other restaurants throughout the Valley, have gotten creative in order to keep up with the hot competition of other midday dining spots. Be it fresh fare offerings or the price point, dining out for lunch is regaining its momentum thanks to the end(ing) of the recession.

While Sapporo is known for its sushi, teppanyaki and Pacific Rim cuisine, the new lunch menu also includes everything from kobe beef sliders and an Asian BBQ pulled pork sandwich (recipe below) to Pad Thai tacos and a wonton chicken salad.

However, it’s not just about burgers and sandwiches. Restaurants are now offering less processed food, more local ingredients, fresh flavors and gluten-free plates. In this health-conscious day and age, guests are looking for something light and healthy, in addition to being affordable.

Sapporo’s lunchtime sushi offerings have expanded to include bento boxes for guests on the go; some of their most popular sushi rolls at affordable prices; signature rolls, such as the Cougar Roll and Surf & Turf Roll; and a “$5 & Under” sushi menu for those who are dining on a dime. The wide range of sushi offerings, in addition to the noodle and rice bowls, is where guests will find the healthiest eat-out options available at Sapporo.

Some health-friendly facts that sushi novices, and aficionados alike, may not know is:

1.    Sushi has omega-3 fats, which protect the nervous system as well as provide vitamin D and proteins.
2.    Sushi can lower your cholesterol.
3.    Omega-3 fats contained in fish help prevent mental illness and can help maintain your blood sugar levels at a healthy range.
4.    All sushi dishes (excluding eel and some fusion-style sushi) are low in saturated fat and high in protein.

So when that lunch bell brings and your stomach is doing its midday growl, remember the keys to dining healthier, smarter and more affordable. Burger King and Panda Express are not the only options; restaurants throughout the Valley are pulling out the stops and providing the freshest fare available to offer guests a more enjoyable lunchtime experience.

Sapporo’s Asian BBQ Pork Sandwich Recipe



Pulled Pork Shoulder4 oz
Red peppers, julienne1 oz
Snow peas, julienne1 oz
Red onion, julienne1 oz
Fresh cilantro, chopped1 T
Asian BBQ2 oz
Napa cabbage (julienne)1.5 oz
Pork stock2 oz
Kosher salt / black pepperto taste
Slaw dressing (soy sesame dressing)2 T
Brioche bun1 each
Vegetable oil½  T


1.    Roast cleaned pork shoulder in 1 gal. pork stock to ½ gal Asian BBQ for 2.5 hours (in oven at 350 F). Remove from oven, remove from liquid, and cool for 1 hour. Pull pork and marinate in additional 2 cups asian BBQ; hold.
2.    Cut all veg. for slaw, and hold for service.
3.    Saute pork with oil, then add Asian BBQ, continue sauté on medium for 30 seconds.
4.    Cut and toast bun, place open faced on large plate, marinated slaw on top, pork on bottom.
5.    Serve with fries or salad.

For more information, menus, hours and location of Sapporo, visit sapporoscottsdale.com or call (480) 607-1114.

Sushi Etiquette

The Dos And Don'ts Of Sushi Etiquette

Traveling to Japan soon? Or maybe just the nearest sushi restaurant? For first timers, doing either can be intimidating. While no one will kick you from a restaurant or ban you from Japan for mixing sake with your sushi or using too much soy sauce, knowing sushi etiquette can help prepare you for your next sushi endeavor or even expand your knowledge of the culture.

As the executive chef at Sapporo in Scottsdale, I ensure the staff embraces the Japanese culture in everything from the preparation of our food to the overall dining experience. Most of our guests are sushi regulars. While the question of how to use chopsticks may be a no-brainer, many are unaware of the dos and don’ts of sushi etiquette.

Whether you’re a first timer or just wanting to brush up on your sushi etiquette, following are a few tips that will have you looking like a sushi pro in no time.

Greetings from Sapporo

When arriving at any restaurant, it is polite to acknowledge the hostess. At traditional sushi restaurants you may even hear hostesses greet customers with the traditional “irasshaimase” which means “please come in.” At Sapporo, guests are greeted with traditional décor and a warm hello.

Interactive experience

For guests who are looking for more interaction, sitting at the sushi bar or teppanyaki table will provide exactly that. Sushi chefs, better known in Japanese as “itamaes,” will engage in conversation while allowing you to watch as your food is prepared. Make sure to fill up and not leave any food on your plate, as the Japanese culture sees it as rude.

Sake to me

Many pair sushi and sake together, but the Japanese culture doesn’t seem to agree. Traditionally, sake should only be served with sashimi and should be drunk before or after a meal. At Sapporo, we offer 12 different selections of sake for guests to choose from — and don’t worry; we won’t judge you for drinking sake throughout your meal.

To dunk or not to dunk

We’ve all done it; dunking our bites of sushi into soy sauce. That’s what it’s there for right? Wrong. Japanese culture says the purpose of soy sauce is to flavor the fish not the rice. Dunking or pouring soy sauce directly on the rice is a no-no. When using soy sauce, make sure to dunk only the fish side. If that’s not possible try pouring it over the fish in the center of your roll.

Chopsticks challenge

Some use their hands, others use a fork, but whether you know how to use them or not, there is one thing you can find at all sushi restaurants — chopsticks. In the Japanese culture, you’ll often find that it’s actually customary not to use chopsticks at all, but to use your hands. While we encourage you to follow this tradition, Sapporo also offers chopsticks for those who prefer. Two things to remember when using them: never use chopsticks to pass food and never leave chopsticks standing strait up in rice. Instead, pass the plate of food or set chopsticks flat on a plate.

Today’s sushi restaurants bridge the gap between modern and traditional, offering exciting palate pleasers and putting a new spin on the old favorites. At Sapporo, we take the traditional and make it 2012, infusing the little touches of culture in the overall dining experience.

For more information on Sapporo, visit sapporoscottsdale.com or call (480) 607-1114.

Sapporo Unveils its new Look

Sapporo Spruces Up: The Scottsdale Restaurant Unveils Its New Look

Sapporo’s remodel reveal soiree was one for the books. Complete with sake tasting, teppanyaki demonstrations and loud music, parent company Tavistock Restaurants celebrated the remodel of the Scottsdale establishment.

Sapporo’s exterior remains the same with the distinctive torches; flames shooting into the desert sky.  However, the interior has been remodeled to reflect iconic Pacific Rim elements.

Two large imitation sake barrels, adorned with Japanese characters and flowers, set the fun, lighthearted mood.  While the sake barrels flank the sushi bar, a red torii gate rises above the stairs leading to the sushi bar.  The torii gates are a traditional element of Japanese Shinto shrines. Chris Smith of CMS Architecture and Design was in charge of the redesign.

Bryan Lockwood of Tavistock spoke of revamping Sapporo’s atmosphere as well.  The inspiration for the new feel came from the balance of yin and yang, Lockwood said.  The new owners wanted Sapporo to feel like the hip place to be, but also like a neighborhood bar, he added.

A new look and a new feel go hand-in-hand with new dishes and drinks. Sapporo has a new lunch menu, and a few new dinner dishes, including ahi tuna sliders and a Scottsdale roll at the sushi bar.

On this night we sampled some of Sapporo’s traditional fare, including a spicy tuna roll and fried rice, but we also encountered a few unconventional but memorable dishes. With attentive waiters circulating delicious-looking appetizers, my companions and I decided to sample everything presented to us.

The lamb chop appetizer topped with Thai basil curry coconut glaze was a delicious combination of savory and sweet.  I’m grateful the restaurant was serving a miniature version of the Kobe burger, or else I would have eaten the whole thing, and had no room for the other appetizers.

The surprise delight of the evening was the Prince Edward mussels appetizer served with Thai coconut sauce and grilled sweet chili bread.  The unpretentious flavors and unexpected combination of sweet bread and mussels was one of my favorite bites.

As a tuna lover, I was very excited to see the Poki appetizer coming around. Poki is ahi tuna and sesame chili on a crispy wonton. The crunch of the wonton and the soft, buttery texture of the tuna was a delicious combination.

Sapporo’s fried rice is a treat. We had it served with chicken and steak, and shrimp and scallops.  Either combination is great when paired with the light but flavorful fried rice. As my companions and I were sampling the delicious rice, the tray of sangria came around and I couldn’t resist.  Although not traditionally a Japanese or even Asian drink, this sangria packed a fruity punch and would be a refreshing break after a day of hard work.

We had to make a stop at the sushi bar and sample the spicy tuna roll.  Although I found it a bit spicy, my spice-loving companion gave it her seal of approval.

Our final stop of the night was the dessert table. If Sapporo’s crème brulée cheesecake is as good as the chocolate covered cheesecake pops they served at their fête, it is a must have.

By the end of the night Sapporo was jam packed with people talking, laughing, drinking and eating, all feeding their energy into a vibrant atmosphere. It felt like the coolest place to be, and I was glad to be part of the party.


Sappor Revamps its Look

Pineapple Martini at Sapporo

The new interior at Sapporo

Delicious Sushi at Sapporo