Tag Archives: Taggia

Top 5 Italian Restaurants (Spring-Summer 2012)

Event showcases Valley’s top Italian chefs and wineries

Join the Italian Association on Friday, September 18, 2015 for one of the best culinary showcases Scottsdale has ever seen. This food and wine celebration will feature delicious bites from five Valley, top Italian chefs and wine tastings from five top Italian wineries. The event begins at 6 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott Salt River in Scottsdale. With only 200 seats available, don’t miss out on this exclusive opportunity to experience the “Best of Italy!”

WHO:  The Italian Association of Arizona and five Italian local celebrity chefs; Massimo De Francesca of Taggia at Fire Sky Resort, Chris Nicosia of Sassi, Gio’ Osso of Virtu’,Marcellino Verzino of Marcellino Ristorante and Andrea Volpi of Toscana Osteria.

WHAT:  This is the second annual “Best of Italy” event that the Italian Association has hosted. Guests will enjoy fabulous Italian cuisine and sophisticated wines from five top Italian wineries from different regions: Cantine Catena, Cesari, Fanti, San Felice, and Vietti.

WHEN:  Friday, September 18, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Registration starts at 5:30 pm.

WHERE:  Courtyard Marriott Salt River
Mark Ballroom
5201 North Pima
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

* To book a room with a special rate at the Courtyard Marriott Salt River, contact info@italianassociation.org.

COST:  Tickets are $99 for members, $125 for non-members if purchased in advance or $125 for members, $150 for non-members at the door. Price includes tastings of all chefs’ entrees and 15 wines from participating wineries. To purchase tickets online, go tohttp://italianassociation.advertisingbusinessconsultants.com/.


Arizona Restaurant Week celebrates evolution of Arizona’s taste

Early anticipation for Spring Arizona Restaurant Week, May 15 through the 25, shows how much of a “foodie” town the Phoenix-Scottsdale area is becoming, said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri.

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week celebrates the Arizona food scene with more than 100 restaurants offering three-course prix fixe menus between $33 and $44.

There are currently 32 restaurants’ menus available to view at arizonarestaurantweek.com

“Arizona has always had Mexican food and another kind of Mexican food,” Chucri joked. “But it has evolved immensely over the years, especially in the past five.”

Scottsdale has been recognized as the second best “foodie town” by Livability.com, USA TODAY and publications like Forbes.

Arizona is about a decade behind other cities like Montreal, Chicago and Boston, Executive Chef Massimo De Francesca, of FireSky Resort & Spa, said.

Although in 2014, for the second consecutive year, the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast said Arizona will lead the nation in restaurant industry sales growth and projected to post the fastest growth in restaurant jobs in the next decade.

De Francesca said Arizona has all the tools to become better. The wonderful sunny weather allows for open rooftop restaurants and concepts that other cities can’t invest in all year-round.

By bordering California and Mexico, the quality of produce like vegetables and fresh fish also becomes higher.

“(Arizona) it’s diverse. There is strong southwest influence,” De Francesca said. That means chilies, dried peppers and smoked meats, he said.

California is a big window, which has an Asia meets Europe meets North America feel that also influences Arizona’s special cuisine, De Francesca said.

For example, one of De Francesca’s appetizers at the Taggia restaurant is a warm salad made of roasted corn with a spicy sauce, queso fresco, crumbled corn nuts and lime.

Apart from the obvious influences, Spring Arizona Restaurant Week’s restaurants offer Italian, Indian cuisine and even Fondue. Various restaurants will also vegetarian and gluten-free options.

If the Spring Arizona Restaurant Week has not got you excited, there is also an Arizona Breakfast Week in the works, Chucri said.

Spring Arizona Restaurant Week is really a celebration of food, family, what Arizona has to offer and affordable for those 10 days, Chucri said.

“This isn’t going to be a flash in the pan, no pun intended,” Chucri said. “This is going to be long-running and we are going to see more Arizonans embracing Arizona’s culinary fair.”

123rf, Andriy Popov

10 Valley restaurants’ special menus on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year. Looking for a restaurant to celebrate? Here’s a list of 10 Valley restaurants to do such the thing. Reservations are recommended. (This is part one of a two-part series.)


“Pair of bubbles”  Valentine’s Day at TAGGIA 2015

Taggia at FireSky Resort & Spa, a Kimpton Hotel, 4925 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-424-6095, $85 per couple++

Chef Massimo de Francesca offers the following menu:

Tartine / Canapés: A platter of avocado, with queso fresco and truffle; Gamberi: Shrimp cocktail with spicy tomato cocktail sauce / gf; Asparagi: Prosciutto wrapped asparagus with lemon aioli / gf

Antipasto/Appetizer: Carpaccio: Thinly sliced beef carpaccio, cilantro crema, crispy capers, parmesan, arugula and lemon / gf; Insalata di Mozzarella: A salad of marinated fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, basil, olive oil and saba  / gf

Secondo/Entrée: Manzo: Grilled New York striploin “fiorentina”, rosemary-garlic potatoes, heirloom, carrots, Broccolini, Barolo demi glace / gf; Risotto: Langoustines, scallops, lobster, crab, tomato, basil / gf

Dolce/Dessert: S’Mondu: a play on the classic s’mores and fondue. Toasted marshmallows, graham cookies, strawberries, sliced pear and warm nutella sauce

Valentine’s Day 2015 at Rusconi’s American Kitchen

Rusconi’s American Kitchen, 10637 N Tatum Blvd. Ste 101, Phoenix, 480-483-0009, $55 per person+

Executive Chef and Proprietor Michael Rusconi offers:

First course (Choice of one): Baby greens with apple-pears: Amish blue cheese, spiced almonds and pomegranate; the “kitchen” caesar salad with cotija cheese; creamy garlic dressing, roasted corn relish, smoked bacon, and basil pesto; Lobster bisque: Cilantro crema and american caviar; Grilled vegetable risotto: Parmesan cheese and sherry jus; Guajillo seared ahi tuna: Chilled quinoa salad with mushrooms, tomato, olives and pesto; Pan roasted gulf shrimp: Creamy grits, cured tomato, and roasted corn

Main course (Choice of one); Grilled natural breast of chicken; Creamy white corn polenta, French beans and baby Portobello mushrooms; Granny smith apple glazed pork tenderloin: Butternut squash spaetzle, wilted organic spinach and port wine jus; Smoked tomato crusted rack of lamb: Fingerling potatoes, fennel, and black olives; Pan roasted sea bass: Cauliflower potato puree, small green beans, and herbed butter sauce; Pecan wood-grilled beef tenderloin filet: Spaghetti squash, wilted spinach, goat cheese gnocchi, and pomegranate syrup

Dessert (Choice of one): Grilled Anjou pear beignets for two: Hazelnut chocolate and blackberry sauces; Duo of crème brulée: Dark chocolate and vanilla bean; Passion fruit budino: Tropical fruit and strawberry jus

Local Bistro, 20581 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale, (480) 302-6050, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Andrea Volpi features the following menu:

Starters (choice of): Capesante: Seared giant scallops, lobster roe- foie gras mousse, truffle oil; Carpaccio Palmetto: Shaved beef, watercress, hearts of palm, pioppini, picked mustard seeds, salsa verde and Grana crisps; Mushroom Bisque: Vegetarian cream of wild mushrooms soup, black truffle shaving, truffle oil

Salad (choice of): Spring mix, tri-color quinoa, carrots, tomato, red onion, yellow peppers, shitake, roasted poblano vinaigrette; Arugula, strawberries, toasted Marcona almonds, goat cheese, lemon oil dressing; Heirloom tomato, Gorgonzola, anchovies, fried onions, lemon-basil, warm cherry vinaigrette

Main course (choice of): Lobster in Nero: Black ravioli stuffed with lobster and wild mushroom, lobster-crab jus; Lamb chop Lollipops: Lamb chop, mint aioli, garlic French fries, red beat puree; Sea bream alla Plancha: Crispy seared sea bream, citrus beurre blanc; Eggplant Parma: Eggplant paper, mozzarella di buffala, velvet tomato sauce, grana padano

Dessert (choice of): Amaretto coffee bomb love cake; Zuppa Inglese; Champagne zabaglione with wild berries, Saba

Central Bistro, 3160 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 480-646-8560, Centralbistroaz.com, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Chris Mayo’s menu includes the following:

First course (choice of): Winter squash soup, duck confit, cider-soaked currents; Caramelized sea scallops, cauliflower puree, fennel, apples, grapes, cured lemon; Warm asparagus salad, crème fraiche, salmon caviar, and pistachio vinaigrette

Optional course: $20 supplement: Ricotta gnocchi, butter-poached lobster, parmesan fonduta

Main course (choice of): Wood grilled filet of beef, sunchoke creamed spinach, potato pave, and red wine-truffle jus; Pan roasted sea bass, artichokes, braised leeks, and warm mushroom vinaigrette; Crispy skinned duck breast, farro, root vegetables, citrus

Dessert (choice of): Lavender honey poached pear, candied hazelnuts, champagne; Black Forrest cake, cherries, grand mariner; Raspberry cake, coconut, basil, white chocolate

Each couple who dines at Central Bistro and Local Bistro will receive one voucher for Kendra Scott jewelry*. For anyone who is looking for a more vibrant atmosphere or is currently unattached or in a “complicated” arrangement, SumoMaya is celebrating all relationship statuses. At SumoMaya, each individual in the party who makes a reservation will receive a Kendra Scott voucher.

*Rayne necklace, Danielle earrings or Elle earrings, while supplies last in-store. Only one voucher can be redeemed per person at Kendra Scott.

SumoMaya, 6560 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, (480) 397-9520, sumomaya.com, $65 per person+

Executive Chef Matt Zdeb will feature:

First course choice of: Strawberry and Cucumber Gazpacho: Olive oil and Marcona almond; Lobster Ceviche: Grilled lemon and truffle; Fluke Crudo: Yuzu vinaigrette and candied kumquats; Bacon wrapped dates: Chorizo, queso Cotija, caramelized onion foie gras sauce

Second course choice of: Oyster trio: Thai basil mignonette, yuzo kosho with black salt and daikon puree, uni with citrus ponzu; Baked Crab and seared Waygu Beef roll: Lobster sauce; Chicken Mole with Crispy sweet plantains: Vegetarian “tofu mole” upon request; Filet wrapped asparagus: Sizzling on a hot rock with soy caramel

Something extra… $44 supplement: Seared Japanese Waygu beef (3oz) with a red miso glaze and citrus ponzu

Third course choice of: Wood Grilled filet of beef: Sautéed asparagus, soy-mirin reduction (add seared foie gras  $15 supplement); Dou of grilled duck breast and pork belly: Roasted apples and cauliflower-truffle puree; Soba Noodle vegetable stir fry: Green tea soba noodles and tamarind yuzu glaze; Grilled Chilean Seabass: Tatsoi, miso-truffle sauce

Dessert choice of: Mexican Chocolate Mousse: Chocolate mole, tamarind caramel, churro; Tres Leches Cake: Sweet vanilla milk reduction, toasted marshmallow fluff; Sake poached pear: Coconut sorbet, orange rosewater, sweet and salty marcona almond


Los Sombreros Scottsdale, 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, 14795 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-994-1799, lossombreros.com, $75 per couple 

Tasting menu includes:

(all portioned in smaller, tasting sizes)

Corn Chowder Soup

Two Crispy Hibiscus Taquitos

Fig and Panela Cheese Salad, with greens in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Crab & Mango Salad with honey lime vinaigrette

Snapper with Esquites

Trout with Almonds in Lemon Butter with Capers

Corn Cake Soufle with Mole Sauce

Pechuga Rellena, grilled chicken breast, stuffed with goat cheese and huitalacoche in a chipotle tomato sauce

Pork Chop with Tamarind Mole

Pilconcillo Ice Cream or Damiana Flan

Pink Pony Scottsdale, 3831 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-945-6697, Prices vary

In addition to the regular menu, the Pink Pony Scottsdale will be serving a special Valentine’s menu that includes:

Bubbles: Henriot Champagne, half bottle ($25)

Crab Cakes & Greens: Blue Crab cakes, poached pears, arugula, tarragon vinaigrette ($12)

Scallops: Day boat scallops, carrot and ginger broth, braised greens, fried ginger ($14)

Devils on Horseback: Bacon wrapped date, marcona almonds, scallions, Iitoi onion & ginger vinaigrette ($9)

Lobster & Veal: Butter Poached Maine Lobster, Veal Ravioli, Chive oil

Lobster Butter Broth (AQ)

Niman Ranch Pork “Osso Buco”: Cassoulet, bacon, leeks, natural jus, citrus gremolata ($25)

Something Sweet: Red Velvet Cake, Mascarpone, Midnight Ganache ($9)

Complimentary Truffles For The Table: Rosemary, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnuts

Bistro du Lac, 8320 North Hayden Road, Suite D-101, Scottsdale, 480-203-2075, bistrodulacaz.com, $65 per person

Appetizer (choose one): Wild Mushroom Bisque: with Tellagio filled profiterole, truffle essence and mushroom chips; Salade De Magret De Canard Fume: Salad of baby greens, with smoked duck, baby gem lettuces, shallot vinaigrette tomato and smoked pine nuts

Entrée (choose one): Grilled Atlantic Salmon:Red pepper beurre blanc, pancetta pomme puree, arrowleaf spinach roasted tomatoes on the vine; Filet De Beouf Aux Morilles: haricot verts with lardons, wild mushroom-spinach crepe cabernet-mushroom broderlaise, sunnyside quail egg

Dessert (choose one): Cannele De Bordeaux: With vanilla bean gelato, myers rum sabayon; Chocolate-Gianduja Crunch Cake:Red raspberry couli, praline ice cream, chocolate honeycomb

East Valley Restaurants

Umami, 21 E. 6 Street, Tempe, 480-625-4565, umamitempe.com, $40+ per couple


Two customized ramen bowls

1 bottle of sake

Desert Bento Box with strawberries, bananas, pound cake and marshmallows for dipping in melted chocolate

Perfect Pear Bistro, 9845 South Priest Drive, Tempe,  & 1241 East Chandler Boulevard, Ahwatukee, perfectpearbistro.com

Bottomless Mimosa Valentine Brunch $44.99++ per couple

Choice of 2 Frittatas served with Fresh Fruit and Sweet Potato Tots

Mimosa options include Fresh Orange Juice, Pear or Pomegranate.

Complete menu available online

Social Box Neighborhood Eatery, 1371 N. Alma School Road, Chandler, 480-899-6735, Socialboxeateries.com, $75 per couple


Shared bruschetta appetizer

Simple salad per person

Choice of Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Loin OR Herb Dijon Crusted Escolar, per person

Shared Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Ice Cream

1 glass of red or white wine or non-alcoholic beverage per person

Restaurant Industry

Arizona Restaurant Week Returns Sept. 21-29

Valley food lovers rejoice! Arizona Restaurant Week will return this fall from Saturday, September 21 through Sunday, September 29 for nine action-packed and scrumptious nights.

The Arizona Restaurant Association proudly hosts this week of extravagant edibles to showcase the state’s vibrant restaurant industry. This chef-powered event sets the stage for menus and dining trends for the fall and winter months and helps put Arizona on the map as a nationally known culinary destination.

“When you think of Arizona food, you may think of tacos, burritos, menudo; but that’s not the whole story,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President and CEO Steve Chucri. “There are so many different cuisines and foods available in Arizona beyond traditional Southwestern food.”

Diners will have the opportunity to try up to nine restaurants during Arizona Fall Restaurant Week. Many restaurants have already joined forces and signed up to take part in this exciting event and the Arizona Restaurant Association is actively seeking more restaurants to participate in the Phoenix metro area and Tucson.

“We’ve got fan favorites like Beckett’s Table, Binkley’s and Lon’s already signed up as well as newcomers like Searsucker, the Salty Sow and Taggia at Firesky Resort and Spa,” said Chucri.
Other loyal restaurants like Monti’s La Casa Vieja, The Melting Pot and Vincent on Camelback never miss a season of Arizona Restaurant Week and this fall is no exception.

During Fall Arizona Restaurant Week, more than 200 Phoenix area and Tucson restaurants will offer specialty prix-fixe dinner menus for $30 and $40 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity unless otherwise noted.

“Arizona Restaurant Week is a celebration of Arizona’s finest tastemakers and one of the state’s biggest industries,” said Chucri. “The twice yearly event allows us to highlight Arizona as a top culinary destination in the country.”

Fall Arizona Restaurant Week will feature everything from superior steaks and burgers to award winning white tablecloth establishments throughout Phoenix and Tucson and is sure to satisfy every craving.

“There’s something special about Arizona food. Some of our restaurants have been family-owned for nearly a century. Others have grown from new ideas and fresh ingredients,” added Chucri. “And the cuisine is just as diverse as the restaurants that serve it. It’s all on the table here in Arizona.”

A full list of participating restaurants and menus will be featured on www.ArizonaRestaurantWeek.com with an easy-to-use interface for searching for a favorite local chef, type of cuisine or restaurant wish list.

Check back often as new restaurants and menus will be added as they become available. Until then, find out all the delectable details by following Arizona Restaurant Week (ARW) on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards' wines

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Hosts 4th Quarter Wine Club Release At Firesky

This Saturday, December 15, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards is hosting a celebration complete with wine and light fair ― the 2012 4th Quarter Wine Club Release. During this special event held at Firesky Resort & Spa, guests will enjoy the tasting of two Arizona Stronghold Vineyard Site Archive wines as well as food from Taggia – Coastal Italian Cuisine & Cocktails, located in Old Town Scottsdale.

At the event, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards will be pouring its 2011 Nachise, 2011 Site Archive Riesling and 2011 Site Archive Bonita Springs Cabernet Pick 3. The two site archives will be available by the bottle at Taggia for a limited time.

Those at Arizona Stronghold Vineyards have planned the event in hopes to bring together Valley residents and Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Wine Club members to socialize and celebrate Arizona-made wine, which has had quite the impact on the state, pumping millions into the economy and drawing visitors from both in and out of state.

According to the Arizona Wine Tourism Industry Survey, produced for the Arizona Office of Tourism and conducted by Northern Arizona University’s Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center:

  • Arizona wine visitors had an estimated $22.7 million in direct expenditures, which resulted in an indirect economic impact of $4.3 million, and induced impacts of $10.5 million for a total industry economic impact of $37.6 million. Indirect business taxes based on direct expenditures produced an additional $5.9 million and the total economic impact supported 265 direct jobs and 140 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 405 jobs.
  • Day visitors had an average of $149 in direct spending, with restaurant and grocery expenditures ($44) accounting for the largest portion.
  • Overnight visitors had average expenditures of $370, with lodging or camping ($140) comprising the single largest item.
  • In terms of county origins, Maricopa County contributes more than half (55%) of all wine visitors followed by Pima County (33%).
  • Almost one‐third (29.0%) of the sample have never visited an Arizona winery before, while 6.8 percent have visited 11 or more Arizona wineries in the past 12 months (average 4 visits/year).
  • More than four‐fifths (82.7%) of all respondents said that their experience at the winery or tasting room was either “a little better than I expected,” or “much better than I expected.” A glowing endorsement of the customer service and value of the experience.

Admission into Arizona Stronghold Vineyards’ event is free for Wine Club members and $10 for non-members. For more information about Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, visit azstronghold.com, call (928) 639-2789 ext. 206, or email wineclub@azstronghold.com.

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards 2012 4th Quarter Wine Club Release

When: Saturday, December 15, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: FireSky Resort & Spa
4925 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Tickets: Free (Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Wine Club members), $10 (non-members)
(Purchase tickets here.)

Jurlique Spa at FireSky Resort & Spa

Escape, Relax And Win Prizes At Jurlique Spa's Spalidays Event

As the holidays quickly approach, Arizonans are thinking of magical places where they can escape the day-to-day and take a much-needed vacation. Naturally, there is no better way to celebrate the end of another joyful year than to treat yourself on a peaceful “Spaliday.”

Jurlique Spa's Spalidays eventJurlique Spa of the FireSky Resort and Spa will host its 5th annual Spalidays event on Dec. 6, offering guests a great reason to celebrate the new season. This special seasonal event will have spa-lovers of all ages basking in the winter glow as they indulge in complimentary services, exclusive discounts and exciting prizes.

Guests are encouraged to grab a glass of wine and swag bag as they enjoy such services as chair massages, Clarisonic Opal eye treatments and NuFace quick lifts. Jurlique Spa will also feature a team of beauty consultants from Jurlique products, Spa Ritual, Jane Iredale, Clarisonic and Rhonda Allison to assist anyone who wishes to make a splash at their upcoming holiday festivities.

After enjoying some of the relaxing spa services at the party, patrons will have a chance to win special raffle prizes, including spa services at Jurlique, dinner at Taggia and wonderful vacations at FireSky Resort and Spa, Hotel Palomar Phoenix and Hotel La Jolla.

Tickets for the momentous occasion are on sale for $20 a person, 50 percent of which will be donated to the Phoenix Dress for Success program, a local nonprofit organization that promotes economic independence of disadvantaged women.

Kick-start your holiday with delectable treats, exhilarating prizes and calming spa services with this special Spalidays event.

For more information about Jurlique Spa’s Spalidays event and to purchase tickets, call (480) 424-6072 or visit fireskyresort.com.

Jurlique Spa’s Spalidays
When: Thursday, Dec. 6 from 6-9 p.m.
Where: 4925 N. Scottsdale Blvd., Scottsdale
Tickets: $20/person
(480) 424-6072
Website | Facebook | Twitter