Tag Archives: SOL Mexican Cocina

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Valley dining spots welcome patio season

It’s fall which means the desert is starting to cool down! Restaurant and bar goers all over the Valley begin to seek out the best spots to indulge in the beautiful Arizona weather. But look no further— these local restaurants have Valley residents covered with killer patios throughout Metro Phoenix.

TEMPE

Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill: Located in Tempe Marketplace, Thirsty Lion Pub and Grill has a great wrap around patio. With a southwestern exposure, the Thirsty Lion patio is perfect for watching the fall sunset. At this hip gastropub, you’ll find great food, more than a dozen big screen TVs, two bars and 52 beers on tap. Enjoy happy hour, seven days a week from 3:00 p.m.—6:00 p.m. & again from 9:30 p.m. to close. For more information, visit www.thirstylionpub.com.

SCOTTSDALE

TapHouse Kitchen: Located at The Hilton Village in Scottsdale, this neighborhood kitchen features a seasonal menu of “Modern American Cuisine” prepared in a “Scratch” kitchen. The 3,500 square foot location accommodates 144 guests and features a rustic and woody décor. The restaurant has a fully air-conditioned patio, with a large garage door that creates an indoor- outdoor atmosphere. Take advantage of their happy hour seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy $2 off House Wine (Cupcake Chardonnay & Cabernet), $2 off all draft beer, spirits & wine on tap, $2 off all beer flights, $2 off all TapHouse Kitchen custom cocktails, $2 off Tap”House” Margaritas and $1 off all well drinks. TapHouse Kitchen is located at 6137 N. Scottsdale Rd, #108 in Scottsdale. To find out more visit them at TapHouseKitchen.com or visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/TapHouseKitchen.

Kelly’s at SouthBridge: To both enjoy the cool weather and feel the awesome Old Town atmosphere, hit Kelly’s at SouthBridge this fall. Their spacious outdoor patio, adorned with bright red umbrellas, is hard to miss—it’s the perfect place for lunch, dinner, happy hour or late night festivities. There’s also plenty of room for big groups or parties too! Located on Sixth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, the 8,000 square foot upscale restaurant offers traditional pub classics mixed with exceptional modern cuisine and the perfect laid back atmosphere. Enjoy ½ price bottles of wine (with purchase of food) 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day and all day Sunday. For more information, visit www.kellysatsouthbridge.com.

NORTH SCOTTSDALE

SOL Mexican Cocina: Located at the Scottsdale Quarter, SOL Mexican Cocina’s patio is the ideal place to sit back, relax and sip on margarita after a day of shopping or before a night out. The perfectly shaded patio features plush seating, an outdoor bar and a view overlooking the vibrant heart of Scottsdale. The restaurant’s menu features Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s bold, modern interpretations of traditional Coastal Mexican cuisine with a focus on fresh, sustainable ingredients. Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert of the Baja peninsula, SOL features old world charm juxtaposed with an urban comfort. For more information, visit www.solcocina.com.

DOWNTOWN PHOENIX

Tilted Kilt: Overlooking downtown Phoenix at Cityscape is where this patio is located. At this Celtic-themed pub and eatery, you will always find five things: ice cold beer and plenty of it, a mouthwatering menu full of traditional and contemporary pub fare, large TV screens showcasing sporting events, a festive atmosphere full of fun and friends, and attractive cast members eager to put a smile on your face and make you feel right at home. Enjoy specials on their “Hoppy Hour” menu throughout the week. www.tiltedkilt.com.

WEST VALLEY:

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Enjoy your favorite pizza while you soak up the beautiful fall season. Each of Grimaldi’s eight Arizona locations has a distinct patio. The Peoria location has one of the largest—lining the entire north side of the building with seating for about 50 people. So if you’re in the mood for pizza and cannoli or just want to enjoy a glass of vino or beer, Grimaldi’s in Peoria is a perfect place to unwind. For more information, visit www.grimaldispizzeria.com.

Uptown Alley: Uptown Alley, located in Surprise, is a 60,000 square foot family entertainment venue featuring bowling, an arcade, two-level laser tag, an ultra-lounge and more. Check out their great patio during this fall at their full-service restaurant, Red Embers Bar and Grill. Indulge in six-hundred calorie selections, gluten free dishes, craft sandwiches, new signature burgers and a custom Burger Bar. Guests can also take advantage of the special Tailgate Menu that’s available every Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday throughout football season. The menu includes items such as Smoked Turkey Legs, Chili Cheese Franks and Stadium Nachos. During the regular season every Sunday guests can enjoy the Touchdown Special that includes one game of bowling, shoe rental and a $5 game card all for just $7. Visit www.uptownalleysurprise.com for more information.

Courtesy of SOL Cocina

The Dish: National Guacamole Day

It’s no secret that Americans love their food. Following suit of our country’s beloved foodstuffs, the Mexican cuisine-inspired green mash known as guacamole has its own day — September 16.  If this isn’t the best excuse to eat guac on a spoon, we don’t know what is.

If you’re anything like us, guacamole is a dinner staple. Whether it’s slathered on a burger or piled on a mountain of tortilla chips, we’ll eat it in a box, with a fox, etc. From Barrio Queen’s pomegranate or craisin guacamole to Sumomaya’s cherry gauc, Arizona’s chefs have taken the avocado dip to whole new levels. One of our favorites is from Scottsdale Quarter’s SOL Mexican Cocina. The restaurant was kind enough to share a recipe for its Guacamole Verano.

GUACAMOLE ‘VERANO’
Notes: This light guacamole tastes just like summer. It contains no onions, tomato or cilantro.
Serves: 2 to 4

What you need:
Juice of half a fresh lime (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon sliced almonds, lightly toasted
8-10 ripe raspberries
1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chiles
1 tablespoon cotixa cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon ‘Tajine’ brand chile con limon
 
Preparation:
Peel and seed the avocado and mash it with the fresh-squeezed lime juice and salt to taste in a molcajete or small bowl. Arrange the almonds, raspberries, serrano chiles and crumbled cheese in neat rows on top. Spinkle the chile con limon on the raspberries to bring out their sweetness. Stir everything together before enjoying with tostadas and an ice-cold margarita!

Cinco de Mayo, Thinkstock, WEB

Tastes of Cinco de Mayo

Although Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, but rather a small win for the Mexican army in Puebla against the French in the Franco-Mexican War, the holiday is recognized in the United States as a day of awareness and celebration of Mexican culture. Many restaurants provide special menus with Mexican-inspired cocktails and appetizers as well as mariachi music, folk dancing and parties. Hopefully there will be enough limes to support all those margaritas and guacamole!

This weekend, starting with Saturday, May 3, through Monday, May 5, provides a multitude of Cinco de Mayo options such as:

Mexican Food

  • America’s Taco Shop: If you are looking for authentic Mexican food, you have to visit America’s Taco Shop. They will be serving a traditional Mexican dish – Al Pastor – a slow-cooked, thinly sliced pork, marinated in a mild spiced citrus and pasilla adobo and served with minced cabbage, cilantro, tomato sauce, guacamole and thin strips of grilled pineapple.

Margaritas

  • SOL Mexican Cocina: Looking for the perfect margarita? SOL Mexican Cocina’s Corralejo Watermelon Basil Margarita is simply fruity perfection. Combine that with guacamole and Baja cuisine and you are ready for a great Cinco de Mayo.
  • The Herb Box: Drink without the calories? Try the $5 Skinny Superfruit Margarita at The Herb Box. The drink includes Herradura Blanco, Chambord, fresh lime juice and club soda. The Herb Box will also release its new Drinx menu with all day happy hour pricing. Try 10 new cocktails for $8 such as the Vanilla Lemon Drop or Nutty Angel. They will also be serving wine and craft beer.

Parties and New Experiences

  • Sandbar: If you are looking for a full-weekend experience, then Sandbar is your place. The three-day party will include live music and DJs, the Mayweather vs. Maidana fight and, of course, drink specials. Music includes Rockhard and Whiskey’s Quicker on Saturday, The Crown Kings and Pyrosteria on Sunday and Jay Allen and The Uncommon Good and Redneck Rockstars on Monday. You can get your drink on with $3 beers and $5 margaritas all weekend long.
  • Uptown Alley: Try an entirely new Cinco de Mayo experience with the entertainment venue of Uptown Alley. You can eat and drink Mexican-inspired items like $3 tecates, $5 tacos and $5 margaritas while you go bowling, play video games or dominate at laser tag.
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes: If you are really looking to try something new this weekend, you have to try the margarita cupcake from Sprinkles Cantina. This inspired cupcake is composed of a tequila-key lime cake, topped with key lime frosting, a rim of fleur de sel and a festive green and red modern dot. This item is sure to make your Cinco de Mayo party unique.

 

SOL Carnitas Tacos

SOL Mexican Cocina to Introduce Taco & Tequila Tuesday on February 5

SOL Mexican Cocina is bringing a popular Southern California Tuesday night tradition to the desert! On February 5 beginning at 4 p.m., SOL Cocina is introducing Taco & Tequila Tuesday. Every Tuesday at SOL Cocina, guests will enjoy special discounts on tacos, tequila, Mexican Beer, and margaritas all night long, while also rocking out to live music. To introduce the launch of Taco Tuesday, on February 5, Major League Baseball great, Mike Hampton, will guest bartend at SOL Cocina, and guests will have a chance to win an autographed Billy Gibbons guitar.

Beginning February 5, every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to midnight enjoy specially priced tacos, guacamole, and Mexican beers, plus tequila and margaritas featuring Pura Vida, a premium tequila distilled exclusively from hand-selected and hand-harvested, estate grown, 100% Blue Weber Agave. Every Tuesday, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Jake Dean will keep the party going with his blend of popular acoustic music. To kick off the festivities on February 5, Retired Major League Baseball Pitcher, Mike Hampton will be mixing up margaritas behind the bar from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Most recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hampton was known throughout his career for being one of the best hitting pitchers of his time, and currently he is a spokesperson and investor in Pura Vida Tequila. Guests will also have a chance to win a signed Fender guitar by ZZ Top Frontman, Billy Gibbons, who’s also an investor in Pura Vida.

The Taco & Tequila Tuesday menu features 2 Chicken Street Tacos for $2.50, 2 Carnitas Street Tacos for $3, an Ensenada Fish Taco for $2.50, a Grilled Fish Taco for $3.50, and Naked Guacamole for $5.50. Wash down these specials with a Pura Vida House Blanco Margarita for $5.50 (regular) or $8 (grande), a Pura Vida Blanco Skinny Margarita for $6.50 (regular) or $9 (grande), a Frozen Margarita for $5.50, or a Mexican bottled beer for $3.50. For a pure tequila experience, try a Pura Vida Tequila Tasting Flight for $12.

SOL Mexican Cocina is located on the north end of The Scottsdale Quarter at 15323 N. Scottsdale Rd. For more information, call (480) 245-6708 or visit www.SOLcocina.com. Follow SOL on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SolCocina and on Twitter at @SOL_COCINA.

SOL Cocina

Mimosas & Mexican Food: Brunch At SOL Cocina

On June 23rd, SOL Cocina began serving brunch with a south-of-the-border, Baja twist.


When I think brunch, I picture myself, mimosa in hand, mingling and schmoozing with socialites donned in their Sunday best — nay, more like their Kentucky Derby attire (floppy hats, sun dresses, the whole shebang).

But, in reality, brunch is nothing like that. Well, the mimosa is still in the picture, of course; those are always involved.

For this particular Sunday morning/afternoon, we decided on SOL Cocina, which had a newly added brunch menu. Now, I had only ever ventured to Olive & Ivy for brunch, and its menu consisted of dishes with typical items, including potatoes, eggs, toast, bacon, etc. So when I asked myself if Mexican food at 11 a.m. was a good idea, I had no idea what to expect. My stomach wasn’t used to digesting south-of-the-border food before the dinner (or fourth meal) hour.

After roaming the Scottsdale Quarter, we finally found SOL Cocina, and I’m still not sure how we missed it with its bright, bold-red awning. Here’s one thing to note: There is, in fact, a parking garage located right next to the restaurant.

While waiting for our other two guests, we were greeted by our spunky waitress, who informed us that the limes, hot sauce and salt on the table were considered in Mexico the “salt and pepper of the table.” Thank goodness because I was starting to worry I wasn’t wild enough for this place, thinking margaritas were in store.

If you’re a wimp like me and can’t handle spicy or hot food, go easy on the “mild” salsa when tostada dipping. Considered an eight (out of 10) by the restaurant, the waitress swore it was more of a two. No, that salsa had a spicy kick when I least expected it. Looks like I have at least one thing in common with the one who gave the salsa that eight rating — we’re salsa soul mates.

So as I washed down the salsa with my mimosa — which, by the way ladies and the only 20-something male in the restaurant that day daintily sipping on one, SOL offers $1 refills, after paying the initial $7; what a deal! — I skimmed the menu, looking over the brunch options, and this caught every one of our eyes: “Enough to feed the whole family — ”. We scoffed. Papas ‘Papi’, challenge accepted. We also ordered the Machaca Wrap Ahogado, the Breakfast Torta and the Souffle Carlotta.

Rounds of coffee, orange juice and water later, our food — or shall I say, “feast” — arrived.

Two things: One, they weren’t kidding about the Papas ‘Papi’ feeding the entire family; and two, just how big of a family are they referring to anyway?

The Papas ‘Papi’ was a heart-stopping heap of food, with potatoes, onions, melted cheese, pork chorizo, bacon, serrano chiles, green onions and pice de gallo — all smothered with crema. It made the rest of our dishes look like amuse-bouches. Surprisingly, the Papas ‘Papi’ was my favorite of the four dishes.

The Souffle Carlotta came in second, with its soft and sweet Mexican kick. Considered SOL’s version of the French toast, the Souffle Carlotta had a hint of Patron Citronage and lemon zest in the bread pudding, which, for a slight moment, brought back memories of my grandmother’s flan. (The language isn’t the only thing the Mexican and Filipino cultures have in common, even if just slightly.) Topped and drizzled with organic agave syrup, mango, berries, vanilla whipped cream, almonds and powdered sugar, this dish quickly became a favorite.

As for the Machaca Wrap Ahogado, who doesn’t love machaca? Growing up in Yuma, Ariz., I had yet to find a Mexican food restaurant in the Valley that ever came close to the authentic food found in the town bordered by both Mexico and California; but with this machaca dish, SOL Cocina is now the closest thing.

Cooked with ancho chile, onion, cumin and oregano, the shredded beef concoction folded in a flour tortilla with eggs, cheese, refried beans, all topped with red salsa and pico de gallo, had “great flavor composition,” according to one of my brunch companions. The layers of ingredients complemented one another and wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be.

The Breakfast Torta, on the other hand, was a more traditional brunch entree, compared to the flavor combinations of the other three dishes. The telera roll stuffed with eggs, cheese, bacon, avocado and pickled jalapenos, however, was still a delicious treat. Compared to other greasy, messy tortas I’ve had in the past, this one tasted fresh and didn’t weigh me down. (And this is probably due to the fact that SOL Cocina works with fresh, seasonal ingredients.)

With its old world charm, SOL Cocina not only offers a comfortable, cozy environment to gather with friends and family on an early Sunday afternoon, it also offers authentic Mexican, Baja California inspired cuisine and authentic flavors.

In hindsight, I’m glad we parked on the other side of the Quarter; I definitely needed to walk off all of that food — and window shop, of course.

For more information about SOL Cocina, visit solcocina.com.

SOL Mexican Cocina
15323 N. Scottsdale Rd.
(480) 245-6708
solcocina.com

SOL Mexican Cocina

SOL Mexican Cocina: A Healthy Approach To Mexican Food

Push away that heaping plate of beans, rice and melted cheese, and take a healthier approach to Mexican food with SOL Mexican Cocina.

SOL Mexican Cocina offers an alternative to Mexican food we are used to, focusing on healthy but flavorful cuisine in smaller portions. Opening its second location at the Scottsdale Quarter within the first two weeks of March, SOL Mexican Cocina models the cuisine and atmosphere of Baja, Mexico.

Rich Howland, operating partner of SOL Mexican Cocina, says that the goal of the restaurant is for diners to feel like they are on vacation while enjoying traditional cuisine and handcrafted cocktails.

“What you will find on our menu is a large selection of appetizers that have very bold flavors and are really designed to share,” Howland says. “You order three, four or five different things, and it keeps that social environment we discovered down in Baja.”

Deborah M. Schneider, executive chef of SOL Mexican Cocina, says her inspiration comes from Mexico, not from other Mexican restaurants in America. Schneider who is the author of “Baja! Cooking on the Edge” as well as five other books on Mexican cooking says traditional Mexican food is lighter and better for you.SOL Mexican Cocina

Most of the items on the menu are vegetable-based, high in fiber and include healthier items like brown rice. But this does not go along with the myth that all healthy food has to be boring and tasteless. In fact, at SOL Mexican Cocina it is quite the opposite.

Schneider says the trick to healthy, flavorful food is keeping it simple with fresh, high-quality produce.

“Chef always emphasizes letting the flavors speak for themselves,” Howland says. “If you take a really fresh, high-quality tomato, it tastes how a tomato should.”

Even the bar uses only the freshest, best-quality ingredients. For instance, the margarita sour mix is made from fresh juice everyday, and all cocktails are handcrafted with muddled fruit that also arrives daily.

SOL Mexican Cocina has created 20 to 25 original cocktails switched in and out throughout the year based on what fruit is in season.

Howland says SOL Mexican Cocina also strives to stimulate your visual senses and in doing so created a sophisticated but casual environment for their diners to enjoy.

“We hope the end result is people feel comfortable, but they also look at it from a standpoint of being stimulated visually because great food is enhanced through your other senses: smell, taste and sight,” Howland says.

The open kitchen may contribute to that.

“I insist on cooking in an open kitchen because of two reasons,” Schneider says. “One, the kitchen is the heart of the restaurant, and two, because they can see us, and we can see them. I am cooking for a real person, and I think it creates a deeper connection in each direction.”

Howland says a successful restaurant has to include more than great food nowadays.

“It has to be about atmosphere, ambiance and the environment that you create within the restaurant,” Howland says. “I think that really is our goal, to capture not just the great food, which you would expect but also focusing on creating a comfortable, social, fun and high-energy environment.”

For more information about SOL Mexican Cocina, visit solcocina.com.