Whether you want to treat Mom for Mother’s Day or you’re just having withdrawals from Downton Abbey, high tea at a Phoenix area resort is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Hosted by their very own in-house tea sommelier, Jeffrey Hattrick, afternoon tea at The Ritz Carlton is Wednesday – Saturday at noon and 3 p.m. Three courses are served – finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and French pastries.
One lump or two? High Tea at the Arizona Biltmore is offered in two seating’s at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Lobby Tea Court every Thursday through Sunday from November through May. You’ll indulge in an exceptional variety of gourmet teas, freshly baked scones, miniature pastries and delectable tea sandwiches.
In the English tradition, afternoon tea is served daily in the Lobby Tea Court. You’ll feel pampered while being treated to finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, pastries and a selection of fine blends. Classical music provides a charming backdrop for a relaxing afternoon break. First seating is at 2 p.m. and reservations are required.
The most edible week in Arizona is almost here. Explore Arizona’s best restaurants at amazing prices May 18 - 27 during Spring Arizona Restaurant Week. The Greater Phoenix area is fast becoming a foodie destination, so this is a great opportunity to see what the buzz is all about at an affordable price. Reservations will fill up fast for the most popular restaurants so make your reservations today!
Which restaurants are you most excited to try during Arizona Restaurant Week?
After a long week my husband and I decided that we needed a date night. We headed over to Trattoria del Piero at the Biltmore Fashion Park to enjoy some refreshing drinks and appetizers on the patio. Later that evening on the main lawn of the Biltmore Fashion Park one of my husband’s favorite movies, Caddyshack, was being shown as part of the Movies in the Park series. A perfect date night.
Trattoria del Piero is the second location of the Queen Creek Olive Mill’s Tuscan themed restaurants and is a part of the new UNION shops at the Biltmore Fashion Park. The menu consists of appetizers, bruschetta, soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts made from local and organic ingredients. You can sit inside or outside on the patio. Or, if you prefer, you can belly up to the bar. Since it was such a lovely spring evening, my husband and I opted to sit on the patio. (Tip: If you want to sit on the patio to eat, let someone inside know first so they’ll come out to take your order. The patio is shared with other businesses in UNION so they may not know you are waiting for service.)
A little known fact is that Trattoria del Piero serves the famous meatballs made by Lisa G. All of those that mourned Lisa G.’s closing can now enjoy her famous meatballs anytime at Trattoria del Piero. Upon the confirmation of this rumor, my husband promptly ordered a bowl. I decided on the bruschetta board and a hot pink Prickly Pear lemonade.
Now, I’m going to be honest with you, while perusing the menu I noticed the cupcake sampler right away. I wanted to order it as an appetizer but held off until the end of our meal. The wait was well worth it. The cupcakes are made with olive oil from the Queen Creek Olive Mill and are delicious. My personal favorite was the Mexican chocolate cupcake. I had to stop myself from going inside and buying a full sized Mexican chocolate cupcake to go.
Trattoria del Piero is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I’m ready to go back soon for their famous Vanilla Bean Olive Oil waffles). Take note that the dinner portions are more like appetizer portions. Trattoria del Piero also serves wine and beer.
If you want to make a date night out of it like my husband and I did, check out the Movies in the Park spring schedule.
Trattoria del Piero is located at the Biltmore Fashion Park at 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix.
From the folks behind Gallo Blanco comes Otro Café, which recently opened in my ‘hood so I had to check it out. The menu at Otro Café is not the same as Gallo Blanco, but carries the same theme - Mexico City style cuisine made from fresh, local Arizona ingredients.
The space at Otro Café is very open with lots of natural light, and on the day I visited fresh air flowed through the restaurant through the patio doors. We started with the chips and salsa. The green tomatillo lime salsa was quickly the table favorite.
We ordered two appetizers; the El Español and the Coctel de Camaron. The El Espanol comes with Serrano ham, avocado, Cerignola olives, shaved chives, savory citrus dressing served with sliced crusty beer Bolillo bread. The Coctel de Camaron is a fresh and spicy dish made with poached shrimp, cilantro, Serrano pepper, lime juice, ketchup, diced tomato, kosher salt, white onions and tortilla chips. I did not try the El Español due to a food allergy, but my mother said she really enjoyed it. I personally could not get enough of the Coctel de Camaron. Yum!
The idea at Otro Café is to share and share we did. For dinner we ordered the Asado Chicken Salad, Paella de Campo, El Pollo Asado and three sides of local vegetables.
We all agreed that each dish was delicious. I especially enjoyed the touch of mint in the Asado Chicken Salad, and the spicy aji aioli and housemade tortillas that were served with the El Pollo Asado. As a veggie fan, I also loved the fresh local vegetables that we ordered on the side.
Otro Café is located at 6035 N. 7th Street in Phoenix
Our media relations intern Andrea recently visited the Desert Botanical Garden and it's new restaurant Gertrude's . She offered to provide her insider’s perspective of this popular attraction. Enjoy!
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, a popular attraction to both locals and visitors. It’s considered a “Phoenix Point of Pride,” and has over 50,000 desert plants to see and learn about.
The Desert Botanical Garden first opened in 1939 after a group of Phoenix locals saw the need to conserve the desert environment. Today, the Garden continues to grow and currently has 145 acres of desert plants not just found in the Sonoran Desert, but from other deserts around the world.
There are five thematic trails at the Garden that you can go on. My personal favorite is the Plants and People of the of the Sonoran Desert Trail which shows visitors the relationships between people and plants in our region and how the plants are useful when it comes to needing food, medicine and fiber. As you walk through this trail, you get an understanding of how past Indians used the desert to their advantage.
Walking along the other beautiful trails, you’ll find the scenic views are incredible. There are many hills surrounding the whole area that covered with hundreds of different types of cacti, as well as Papago Park in the distance. And, if you’re lucky, a roadrunner or quail might cross your path.
Earlier this year, the Garden opened a new restaurant called Gertrude’s, which was named after Gertrude Webster who founded the Desert Botanical Garden. The restaurant focuses on utilizing fresh ingredients from farmers and artisan food producers from around the state of Arizona and the Southwest. They kitchen even uses some of the fresh herbs and vegetables from their own garden located on the property.
Since the restaurant just opened at the end of January, I was very excited to go. Our group was seated outside on the patio, which was gorgeous. There were beautiful desert plants surrounding it and thankfully, a lot of shade to keep the Arizona sun at bay.
Everyone at my table ordered from the lunch menu and everyone seemed to be happy with their choices. Some unique items included:
- Chicken Sandwich (Achiote + Citrus Marinated Chicken Breast, Apple Wood Bacon, Avocado, Arizona Cheese Co. Pepper Jack, Jicama, Napa Cabbage, Brioche Bun)
- Beets Salad (Garden Beets, Seasonal Lettuces, Crow’s Dairy Cherve, Maple-Sherry Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts)
- Sonoran Dog (Bacon Wrapped Shriener’s Beef Hot Dog, Avocado, Tepary Beans, Queso Fresco, Tomatillo Relish, Poppy Bun)
The food was absolutely delicious and the atmosphere is great. If you want to get away from the city and enjoy a few hours getting drinks and food, Gertrude’s would be a great place to go.
Overall, my experience to the Desert Botanical Garden and Gertrude’s was fantastic - I highly recommend going. And if you want to be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies, be sure to go between now and May 12 for the Spring Butterfly Exhibit.
Spring in Phoenix not only brings Cactus League Spring Training, but it brings out the most delicious events of the year. Here are some of the food and beverage festivals happening around Phoenix this spring. Bon Appétit!
This craft beer tasting extravaganza will showcase more than 200 brews from more than 60 breweries from across the state, country and around the globe each providing samples of their proudest brewing achievement.
March 9 – 10
The Devoured Culinary Classic is Arizona's premier food festival. Held in the sculpture garden of Phoenix Art Museum, this annual must-do event features chefs and culinary creations from more than 70 of metropolitan Phoenix's best restaurants. Guests enjoy a panorama of inspired edibles and cooking demonstrations, coupled with delicious fare from local artisans, brewers and vintners.
March 9 – 10
Festivities include a marketplace, an island-food court and themed-activity centers. Performances include storytellers, Tahitian drummers, ukulele players and hula dancers. Make sure to bring cash for the food and trinkets at Island Marketplace, where vendors sell woven baskets, carved-bone necklaces and Hawaiian coffee.
The parade will kick off at Sheridan and Third streets in midtown Phoenix, featuring Irish step dancers, bagpipers, marching bands and more.The faire begins immediately after the parade, with two stages of entertainment including Celtic rock bands and Irish dancers. The kids area will feature a petting zoo, pony rides and face painters. A vendor specializing in genealogy will be on site, working with Irish names and family coats of arms. Fair attendees also will get a sneak peek at the construction progress of the Irish Cultural Center's 15,000-square-foot library, which will focus on genealogy.
March 21 – 24
A celebration of all things Western, Festival of the West is one of the largest events of its kind in the nation, attracting visitors from around the world anxious to immerse themselves in the culture, lore and romance of the American West.
Rock the Zoo features live music from local bands, beverage sampling, food tasting in the VIP Lounge, and food for sale from Valley food trucks, the Rockin' Raffle and other exciting activities all in the picturesque setting of the Phoenix Zoo.
This event is for the whole family to enjoy. Throw out the lawn chairs and picnic blankets and prepare to witness Chandler’s largest and best BBQ event. There will be live entertainment, an all ages Kid’s Zone, and Bike Show with the traditional backyard BBQ atmosphere. It's sure to be a finger licking good time.
Guests will again enjoy incredible food and wine selections from the Valley's hottest restaurants, resorts and caterers plus more than 700 great wines, beers, liquors and non-alcoholic drinks from presenting sponsor Bashas’. Bon Vivant will also feature live music, dancing, and a silent auction with golf, dining, and resort packages.
This 21-or-older party features food samplings from top Valley restaurants and resorts, along with tastes from boutique wineries and craft breweries. Last year, participating businesses included Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Westin Kierland and Different Pointe of View. Live music and a silent auction will be included.
April 9 – 14
As the longest running festival of its kind in the United States, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival draws more than 40,000 visitors looking to enjoy fabulous food, fun and festivities. This year's festival will feature a host of events from cooking demonstrations by some of the nation's top chefs to a one of a kind James Beard out of the house dinner.
April 13 – 14
Get a taste of Polish dishes, such as golabki (cabbage rolls), kielbasa sausage with sauerkraut and pierogi, a dumpling with cheese and potatoes. The free festival, among the largest Polish celebrations in the Valley, includes folk dance and musical performances, an art marketplace, kid's area, informational booths and food court with traditional cuisine and imported beer.
Between 40 and 60 BBQ teams will be cooking and competing at The Arizona Barbecue Festival. It's a day sure to be filled with food, fun and hot competition. The highlight of the Arizona Barbecue Festival is Pit Row, where the cooking teams will be grilling, smoking and braising in their best effort to be named the champion in their BBQ category.
The My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge is a culinary event featuring restaurants, businesses and individuals competing to make the best salsa in their category. Over 80 competitors prepare fresh salsa on-site in either the mild or hot category. The grand champion will win $1,000 cash prize and attendees can vote for their favorite with dollars through the People's Choice Award.
Highlighting Arizona's independent culinary scene, the event will showcase eats from over 35 restaurants previously featured on Check, Please! Arizona in addition to craft beer and wine, cooking demonstrations, a James Beard Award winners' panel hosted by Robert McGrath, and a chance for fans to audition for a spot on the show.
May 18 - 27
For two weekends a year Schnepf Farms opens it's peach orchards for public picking in Queen Creek for its annual Peach Festival. In addition to picking your own peaches, there are plenty of other activities to entertain the whole family include train rides, hay and carnival rides, a peach food-sampling tent, chef demonstrations and of course peach pies, peach cinnamon rolls and their famous peach pancakes complete this peachy festival.