6 Things You Should Know About AZFWE

Photo via azcentral’s Food and Wine Experience Facebook

Photo via azcentral’s Food and Wine Experience Facebook

AZCentral is taking over Salt River Fields again. The Food & Wine Experience is back, and this year it’s bringing together an impressive amount local culinary talent, and internationally-known culinary superstars. Our own Chris Collins will be heading out to join in on the food-centric spectacle. Here’s six things to know before you go.

Seeing Stars
Last year’s event saw celebrity chef, author, restaurateur and host of ABC’s “The Chew,” Mario Batali, and now local chef, Scott Conant, who’s also an author and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped.”

This year, festival attendees have the chance to meet Martha Stewart. That’s right, the Emmy award-winning television show host and best-selling author is coming to Scottsdale.

Martha Stewart Experience
Martha will be sharing her culinary knowledge live at the Martha Stewart Experience, where guests can have a rare “up-close” experience with the lifestyle leader. Although the experience will require a special ticket, it’s well worth it, as it includes wine tasting, a Martha-curated gift package, book signing, two complimentary bottles of wine, access to the VIP Grand Tasting and much more.

Insider Exclusives
AZCentral Insiders can get $15 off tickets for the festival. Admission ranges from $85 to $325.

Wines Galore
Fancy fine wines? We sure do. If you’re like us, this event is for you. There will be a hefty selection of spirits, including over 200 fine wines, craft beer and spirits.

Unlimited Sampling
Come hungry! The Food & Wine Experience will offer an unlimited sampling from more than 35 participating restaurants.

Location
The culinary event is happening November 4-5 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. To get there, take Via de Ventura of Exit 101 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale

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Why Arizona Restaurant Week is Important

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We’re dishing out deals this month! Arizona Restaurant Week is back, and we’re happy to say that we’re participating in the gastronomical affair taking place across The Valley, September 15 through 24. Not only are we participating in this season’s Restaurant Week, Twisted Grove Parlor + Bar, in Scottsdale and Phoenix, and Wally’s American Gastropub will be offering up deals on some of their most popular dishes.

Arizona Restaurant Week 101

So, what exactly is Arizona Restaurant Week? Hosted by the Arizona Restaurant Association, Arizona Restaurant week is a 10-day long culinary showcase that gives restaurants from around the state of Arizona the chance to show off some of their most popular dishes from their kitchens at a prix fixe price, at either $33 or $44, per person. Often called Arizona’s most edible time of the year, Arizona Restaurant Week provides locals and visitors alike the opportunity to channel their inner foodie and try that restaurant that’s been at the top of their “must try” list.  

10 Years of Arizona Restaurant Week

Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri said, “Arizona Restaurant Week gives Valley diners a unique opportunity to try some of the state’s finest and most popular restaurants featuring special menus designed to let their culinary staff shine. We are proud to have contributed to the interest, development and support of the local culinary scene for the past 10 years — and counting.”

Over the last decade, Arizona Restaurant Week has worked to position Arizona as a one of the top culinary destinations in America through increasing the awareness of over 8,500 dining opportunities throughout the state, giving local restaurants, like Grassroots, a boost.

Arizona Restaurant Week is happening September 15 to 24, join us!  

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4 Award Winning Brews You Can Find on Tap at Grassroots

From near and far, these are the award winning beers you can find on tap at Grassroots.

Black Butte Porter, Deschutes Brewery
Taking its first gold medal in 1996 at The Great American Beer Festival, Black Butte Porter is the one that started it all at Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery. With over a dozen wins since its inception, and a recent win at The International Brewing Awards in 2015, this rich and creamy beer with chocolate and coffee notes is a standout on our beer list.

HefeWeizen, SanTan Brewing Company
Exploding with notes of citrus, clove and banana, this Hefe has a fruitiness that pairs well with sweeter dishes and fresh cheeses. The East Valley-brewed beer took first place at Canfest Reno in the Wheat Ale category and was awarded 90 points by The Beer Connoisseur in 2015.

Longboard Lager, Kona Brewing Company
This smooth refreshing lager is fermented and aged for weeks in cold temperatures to create its award winning taste. The malty body of this beer is complemented by a slightly spicy hop aroma and pairs well with lighter fare such as chicken or fresh greens. Its long list of accolades include big wins at The North American Beer Awards, United States Beer Tasting Championships, The U.S. Open Beer Championships and a fresh win in 2016 at The International Craft Awards Competition.

Knotty Pine Pale Ale, Lumberyard Brewing Company
Hailing from Northern Arizona, this locally-brewed craft beer comes in at 5.4% ABV and 50 IBU. The pale ale is both crisp and refreshing with a firm hop bitterness and light malt flavors. The Lumberyard Brewing Company pale ale took its first gold medal in 2013 at the Great American Beer Festival and just recently celebrated a win at The World Beer Cup in 2016.

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How to Make Brother's Tangy Slaw

Named after Chef’s four brothers, the Brother’s Tangy Slaw is our restaurant's most popular side. The secret to this side, says Chef, is the use of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Now, hungry foodies don’t have to visit the restaurant to get a taste of the tangy slaw. Here’s how you can make it at home.

 

What You’ll Need for the Slaw Dressing

Here’s a list of ingredients that you’ll need to get started. In most cases, you’ll likely already have these items in your pantry or refrigerator.

  • 2 cups mayonnaise

  • ⅔ cup rice wine vinegar

  • ½ cup granulated white sugar

  • ¼ cup soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

 

Making the Slaw Mix

Fresh ingredients are the best ingredients. You can pick up these items at your local farmers market.

  • 6 cups green cabbage, sliced ⅛-inch thick

  • 1 cup green onions, sliced ¼-inch thick

  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

 

Time to Prep

First, find a small bowl. In your small bowl, mix together all of your slaw dressing ingredients with a wire whisk, then, set your mixture aside. Next, use a large mixing bowl to combine your cabbage, onions and chopped cilantro. Once all of the items are in your bowl be sure to mix up these ingredients well.

Before serving your dish, use a spatula to fold your dressing into the slaw, and mix until it is thoroughly combined.

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5 Cool Dishes Perfect for Hot Arizona Summers

The temperatures are rising and it’s only going to get hotter. Beat the heat this summer and cool down with these five dishes, perfectly suited for Arizona’s warmest season.

Tuna Poke
This beautiful plate of tuna poke is prepared with a list of colorful ingredients including shrimp, avocado, scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, fresh ponzu and wontons. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but so inviting you’ll want to dig in right away.

Housemade Smoked Salmon Dip
Our Housemade Smoked Salmon, with hints of cherry and applewood, served alongside toast points and Nola remoulade makes a great starter for an afternoon lunch spent in good company. The dish also pairs nicely with our Social Hour cocktail specials.

Sashimi Ahi Tuna Salad
Ahi tuna is having a moment. Enjoy it in our Sashimi Ahi Tuna Salad. This summer-friendly salad is made up of field greens, crunchy wasabi peas, edamame, fresh cherry tomatoes, avocado and features seared, rare ahi tuna. It’s finished with a drizzle of miso vinaigrette, agave ponzu and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Farm-to-Table Vegetable Platter
Our Common Ground family takes a simple approach to food. We believe that farm fresh is best. Try our Farm-to-Table Vegetable Platter. It combines Chef’s featured vegetables, cherry tomatoes and bleu cheese crumbles, sauteed chard and grilled asparagus with a side of Texas Toast.

Key Lime Pie
What’s homemade and oh-so sweet? Our Key Lime Pie, of course! Made with a tart and sweet custard, graham crackers and topped with whipped cream, our Key Lime Pie is a cool sweet treat for hot summer days. Still searching for a way to satisfy your sweet tooth? Visit our neighbors in Scottsdale at Sweet Provisions for ice cream made with Arizona dairy, baked goods and more delectable sweet treats.

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7 Things You Didn't Know About Our Chef and Owner, Chris Collins

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How much do you know about our owner and chef? From where he was born to his pet peeve, here are seven things you might not know about Chris Collins.

 

1. Collins was born in…
Reno, Nevada. He’s lived all over the country and today calls Phoenix home.

2. He’s a fourth generation restaurateur…
Chris’ first job was running pies out for elderly customers at his father’s Marie Callender's restaurant.

3. Collin’s has five siblings…
And he has 10 nieces and nephews. Chris also has two boys of his own.

4. He studied at Boston University…
Here, Chris earned a degree in hospitality management.

5. Collins was recruited immediately after school…
Hillstone Restaurant Group brought Chris onboard their famed management program. Today, in addition to Grassroots Kitchen + Tap, Collins operates Twisted Grove Parlor + Bar, Wally’s American Gastropub and most recently, our neighbor here at Grassroots, Sweet Provisions, a creamery and bake shop that uses only local Arizona dairy products.

6. He always brings his own pillows when traveling…
Because comfort is key. What’s his favorite Arizona escape? Sedona.

7. He’s not a fan of fat-free mayo…
And really, who is?
 

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Behind the Bar: Barrel-Aged Negroni

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If you’ve stopped by during our Social Hour, you may have noticed our barrel-aged cocktails behind the bar. Sure, you may have already have favorite, whether it’s the Manhattan, Sazerac or Way Down South, but we’ve recently added one more libation to the lineup -- Negroni! Here’s what you should know about this iconic drink.

Negroni 101
The Negroni is today’s “it cocktail” but it hasn’t always been that way. History traces the drink back to Florence, Italy in 1919. Legend has it that the iconic cocktail was born when an Italian bartender responded to a patron’s request for a stiffer version of the Americano, a tame mix of Campari, Sweet Vermouth and soda water. The thirsty, spirit-seeking customer went by the name Count Camillo Negroni, a name he had picked up during his time as a rodeo clown in the American West. The drink became his namesake.

For years the Negroni has remained a quiet classic. But throughout the course of the last decade the Negroni has piqued in popularity. The cocktail even has its own dedicated week, called Negroni Week, which was created by Imbibe, and just a few years ago, Campari dubbed 2011 The Year of the Negroni. Today, the classic cocktail is on more menus than ever before. And the Italian drink shows no signs of slowing in popularity.

What’s in a Negroni?
The Negroni is comprised of equal parts gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth. The drink is garnished with an orange twist. This was originally done to signify that it was different from the Americano, which is garnished with lemon. Negroni’s are served on the rocks, poured over ice and served up in an Old Fashioned Glass.

Why Barrel-Aged?
The Negroni is notorious for either being loved or hated for its distinct taste -- it’s quite bitter, and for some palates, too bitter. Aging cocktails in barrels can soften some of the harsh tastes. Barrel-aging allows the premixed drink to develop more flavors over the course of several weeks. The mixture even integrates with the flavors of the cask barrel, which range from oaky and caramel to vanilla.

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