Tag Archives: the herb box

Dish from the Herb Box

The Herb Box’s Recipe For Success

They weren’t even friends when they launched a 20-year partnership. “We didn’t know each other until we started the business,” said Susan Smederovac-Wilcox, who created The Herb Box with Becky J. Windels in 1995. “We heard about each other and met for breakfast. I said, ‘If you can cook it, I can sell it.’ We were very young and said, ‘Why not, we’ve got nothing to lose.’”

What blossomed was The Herb Box, a critically acclaimed catering company and casual dining establishment with two Scottsdale locations. The establishments serve some of the healthiest and most creative dishes in the Valley.

“The magic to our relationship is we each have equally impressive skill sets and they don’t cross whatsoever,” Smederovac-Wilcox said. “Not only do they not cross, we are not interested in each other’s piece of business.”

Windels takes care of the food. “I have a huge passion for being in the kitchen,” she said. “It’s my therapy. It’s my happy place.” Smederovac-Wilcox handles the business. “I thoroughly enjoy playing the big game,” she said, “and that’s the game of business.”

While she enjoys the game, Smederovac-Wilcox points out that it’s still a game mostly played by men. “We still have to deal with people who look at us as girls, not women in business,” she said. “The most common question we are asked is, ‘Are you two best friends?’ You’d never sit down with two businessmen and ask them if they were best friends. It would just be weird. We just have to go in there that much more sure of ourselves, that much more prepared and that much more driven.”

That drive had led the pair to create a recipe for success. Eight years after launching their prosperous catering company, their customers clamored for them to open a restaurant, sometimes sitting in the parking lot outside of the catering business, eating food from The Herb Box.

“Opening a door to wait for people to come in wasn’t something we wanted to do,” Smederovac-Wilcox. “We were pulled into this kicking and screaming. But we built the business by listening to what our customers were asking us to do.”

Now, the business partners have a goal to open at least 10 Herb Boxes, with two more in Arizona and the rest out of state. “We don’t want to lose who we are in the meantime,” Smederovac-Wilcox said. “We will continue to feed our customers really good food that keeps them very healthy.”

Pork Meatball Bahn Mi

The Herb Box brings back summer supper club

This summer, take a culinary adventure around the world without leaving the Valley during The Herb Box’s third annual Summer Supper Club Series. From July 8 to August 27, every Tuesday and Wednesday evening, The Herb Box at Southbridge and DC Ranch will serve a weekly changing, themed prix fixe menu of casual summer specials that explore a variety of cuisine styles from places such as Thailand, Argentina, Germany and more.

The dinners are $30 per person and include three courses, plus a glass of wine. Pick up a Summer Supper Club dining passport at The Herb Box and after purchasing six prix fixe dinners, the seventh dinner is free.

Here is the complete summer supper club menu:

July 8 & 9: My Thai
First Course: Spicy Thai Soba Noodles with farm egg, miso-pepper paste, and bean sprouts
Main Course: Stir Fry Pork Sausage and Brussels Sprouts with Kaffir lime, and Thai red chili
Dessert: Thai Banana Roti Gluay with sweetened condensed milk, mint, and sugar

July 15 & 16: Greekfest
First Course: Arugula-Watermelon Salad with orange, Greek feta and mint
Main Course: Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), made with ground beef, lamb, Kasseri cheese, and yogurt
Dessert: Loukoumades Me Méli – Greek doughnuts in honey syrup, cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate and crushed walnuts

July 22 &23: Argentine Street Food
First Course: Wild Mushroom Empañada with ancho-pasilla, cilantro, and crema
Main Course: Grilled Skirt Steak with red chimichurri, caramelized Cippolini onions, Provoletta (Argentinean Grilled Provolone) and crusty French bread
Dessert: Caramelized Plantains with coconut ice-cream and rum raisin sauce

July 29 & 30: Ploughman’s Pub
First Course: House Smoked Trout Power Greens Salad with sliced radish, pumpernickel croutons, crushed red pepper, olive oil, and horseradish crème fraîche
Main Course: Fish and Chips served with malt vinegar, celery root remoulade and micro celery
Dessert: Fruit Soup of mixed berries in rosé wine, topped with honey mascarpone and mint

August 5 & 6: Vietnamese Picnic
First Course: Summer Rolls with mango, cabbage, cilantro, mint, and vegan Nước Chấm
Main Course: Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with pickled carrot, radish, cucumber, cilantro, spicy Sriracha mayo, and sweet potato noodles
Dessert: Vietnamese Coconut Tartlets with dreamy mango pudding

August 12 & 13: German Kitchen
First Course: Currywurst and Pommes Frites with mayo and creamy dilled cucumber salad
Main Course: Paprika Pork Schnitzel served with bacon scallion potato salad and braised cabbage
Dessert: Boozy Black Forest Cherry Chocolate Trifle and Kirschwasser

August 19 & 20: Nuevo Latino
First Course: Pupusa – black bean and Manchego stuffed masa griddle cake
Main Course: Cuban Braised Pork with Tepary bean, cilantro, and Napa cabbage slaw, served with caramelized plantains with brown sugar, cinnamon and lime
Dessert: Kahlua Chocolate Bread Pudding, topped with sweet cream and shaved chocolate

August 26 & 27: Korea Town
First Course: Korean Green Onion Pancakes with sesame-soy dipping sauce
Main Course: Bulgogi Korean BBQ Beef served in soft butter lettuce cups with sticky calrose rice, hot cucumbers, and sesame bean sprouts
Dessert: Crystallized Ginger Ice Cream with candied orange and edible flower petals

There are two Valley locations of The Herb Box:

Southbridge in Old Town – 7134 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale, Ariz.

DC Ranch on Market Street – 20707 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, Ariz.

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.


  • 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.



The Herb Box Southbridge Presents the 2013 Breast of Scottsdale

It is the return of the pinkest party Scottsdale has ever seen. Tickets are now available for the 2013 Breast of Scottsdale, which will take place on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Herb Box’s Southbridge location to benefit the Arizona Institute for Breast Health (AIBH). AIBH is a local nonprofit organization focused on offering options before decisions to women recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

The event will feature small bites, samples of seasonal pink-themed cocktails thanks to Alliance Beverage, sumptuous pink pastries hand-made by The Herb Box artisans, photography, fabulous gift raffles, music and additional surprises. All guests are encouraged to think pink with their attire, and prizes will be awarded to the pinkest partygoers of the evening. Tickets are $25 each and available now at AIBH.ORG. This is a 21 and over event.

aibh party

“For us, the breast cancer fight is a personal one. We’ve all been touched by the disease, but Jennifer Velazquez, our general manager, is now two years breast cancer-free and eager to join in the local fight for her fellow survivors,” said The Herb Box co-owner Susan Smederovac-Wilcox, noting 100% of tickets sales are going directly to AIBH.

While sipping and sampling the tasty treats and drinks from the evening’s custom menu, guests will also be able to visit the AIBH “Pink Light District” table where they will have the opportunity to express their love, appreciation and gratitude by sponsoring pink light bulbs for just $25 each.

Each pink light will be placed on the Marshall Way Bridge, which is just outside of The Herb Box and links the Scottsdale Waterfront to the Southbridge District in downtown Scottsdale. These Pink Honor Lights – together called The Pink Light District – will be illuminated on October 3 and will glow throughout October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in recognition of all those touched by this disease.

Starting with the Pink Light District initiative on October 3, The Herb Box will be offering a special “Pink” drink, favorite items on their “Pink” menu as well as a variety of “Pink” pastries available for purchase the entire month of October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a portion of all proceeds being donated to AIBH.

“AIBH was formed with one singular focus – to offer Arizona women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer a second opinion about their treatment options, completely free of charge,” said Christine Fenwick, executive director of AIBH and a 17-year breast cancer survivor. “AIBH has a 12-member volunteer team of physicians and medical professionals whose specialties include breast radiology, breast surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, reconstructive surgery and breast pathology. This team evaluates the best medical and surgical options for the preservation of a woman’s life, body and emotional well-being, as well as the continued quality of her life.”

To date, AIBH has worked with thousands of women and their families – and not only to provide second opinions. In fact, they also provide free support, resources, fitness and nutrition advice and more. For tickets or more information, please visit www.aibh.org.

E.J. and Jen Hughes, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale

Dynamic Duo Doing Good For Boys & Girls Clubs Of Greater Scottsdale

E.J. Hughes is a “middle kid.”

“Actually, I am the oldest of two, but I am definitely what you call a ‘middle,’ ” Hughes says.

To Hughes, a “middle kid” is neither the top 10 percent of kids who always overachieve, nor the bottom 10 percent of kids who are always in trouble. Both of these groups, according to Hughes, tend to get a lot of attention.

And then there is the other 80 percent — the middle kids.

“As a middle kid, I wasn’t quite sure where I fit all the time,” Hughes says. “Until I found the Boys & Girls Club.”

At first, Hughes mostly just played whatever Boys & Girls Club sport was being offered on any given day. However, once he hit his teens, he discovered the organization’s Keystone Club, a leadership development program focused on providing teens from 14 to 18 community service opportunities, academic success support and career preparation.

“It also didn’t hurt that there was a pretty girl in the group, Marion, who I had my eye on,” Hughes says. “Today, she is my wife and mother to our three kids.”

Through Keystone, Hughes and his team had the chance to volunteer in soup kitchens and at shelters as well as volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and raise funds to attend leadership conferences nationwide, including a trip to Washington, D.C.

Eager to touch the lives of other “middle kids” like himself, Hughes dedicated himself to the Club, first as a teen junior staff member, then as a youth development specialist, then as a branch director and finally today as director of Club services.

One of his biggest contributions to the Club has been the development of a College 101 program for high school students, which brings in guests speakers as well as community leaders and educators to help teens make decisions about life after high school.

“He certainly inspired me,” says Jen Hughes, E.J.’s younger sister, who followed in her brother’s footsteps into the Club when she was in first grade.

While E.J. first turned to sports at the Club, Jen was attracted to the many fine arts programs.

“I was the girl who would ask to go to the bathroom and then sneak into the art room for hours,” Jen says,

Like E.J., Keystone also caught her eye.

“I loved being able to volunteer in the community with all of my best friends, not to mention fund-raise for the opportunity to travel the globe as a representative of the organization,” says Jen, who worked for two years to help raise $30,000 so her team could visit Europe while in high school.

Even after she left the Valley to move to Flagstaff for college, she would come back every summer to work with the Keystone kids and in the art room.

Today, she is the art coordinator for the Club, focusing on providing kids with access to photography programs, fine arts programs and even digital art imaging programs.

“Our DigiKids ImageMakers is a program offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that encourages Club members to learn and practice digital arts, including movie making, photo illustration, music making and graphic design,” Jen says. “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the National DigiKids Art Festival, and for the past three years, we have had kids place in the regional and national competitions.”

So, what’s next for this dynamic duo and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale?

“We have our inaugural Jingle and Mingle event at DC Ranch Market Street at 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, December 9,” Hughes says. “Set under the beautiful Market Street Holiday Tree, the event will offer guests the chance to sample savory bites from the culinary masterminds of North Scottsdale restaurants, including Mia Francesca, Armitage, and The Herb Box as well as sumptuous sips of holiday-themed spirits and wines provided by Southern Wine and Spirits.”

Single tickets are available at $125, with discounts on three or more, and are available at bgcs.org.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale’s Jingle and Mingle Event

When: Sunday, December 9 from 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: DC Ranch Market Street
Cost: $125, with discounts on three or more
Web: bgcs.org