Chocolate, flowers and hearts are everywhere - that must mean it’s time for Valentine’s Day. Flowers and hearts are nice and all, but we think chocolate for Valentine’s Day is where it’s at. Here’s a list of where to get the best chocolate treats in Phoenix.
Christopher’s Chocolate Tower
A lacey chocolate column filled with milk-chocolate mousse, drizzled with espresso-scented crème anglaise and garnished with seasonal berries. Hello, lover. The waiters at Christopher’s see us coming a mile away – it’s impossible to resist a suggestion of the Chocolate Tower for dessert.
Chocolate Milkshake at 5 ‘n Diner
As self-proclaimed chocolate milkshake connoisseurs, we hereby name the chocolate shake at 5 ‘n Diner our favorite. Feel free to pair it with a side of French fries.
Locally owned but nationally known, we are known to get excited and scared whenever a delivery of Fairytale Brownies is delivered to the office. Excited, because these are the best brownies around, scared because we seriously lack self-control in their presence.
Find your “Wei” with Wei of Chocolate. Organic, vegan, fair-trade chocolate made with flower essences = guilt free indulgence. We find our “wei” at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market.
Our serendipitous discovery of Chocofin chocolates happened during a day trip to Cottonwood in the Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room. Our server recommended pairing a dark chocolate black currant marzipan chocolate with the red wine we were drinking. Wowza. We’re hooked. The flavor combination was like nothing we’ve had before. Simply amazing.
Cerreta’s has been a Phoenix staple for many generations. Located in downtown Glendale, you can take a tour of the factory to see how their candy is made. Even better, the tour is free and they often let you sample some product. Our personal favorites include the Arizona Camelback Bar and the French Mint Truffles.
Located at the Montelucia Resort, Julia Baker Confections offers European style chocolates, confections that you can enjoy with some wine, champagne and espresso in the café.
It was love at first taste for us when we tried this sweet, gooey and delicious dessert at Cornish Pasty. Homemade bread, baked in rich chocolate brandy sauce and served with crème aglaise or ice cream, we now make a point to order dessert first at Cornish Pasty.
I’ve lived down the street from Sierra Bonita Grill for four years and every time I drove by I would tell myself that I really needed to try that place. My fiancé and I finally stopped in last month. Now, it’s on our regular happy hour and dinner rotation. I should have stopped in earlier.
Located in Central Phoenix, Sierra Bonita Grill serves what can be described best as Southwestern cuisine. They take influences from many of the cultures of the Southwest and turn them into delectable dishes like the "Original" Cowboy Stew or fun happy hour snacks like the Sonoran hot dog. I’ve also heard that they have a fantastic brunch. I won’t be waiting four years to try it.
Sierra Bonita is located at 6933 North 7th Street, in Phoenix.
Now that all the holiday presents are unwrapped, it’s time to ring in the New Year! So if you need ideas of what to do for New Year's Eve and where to pop open the bubbly here in Greater Phoenix, look no further.
The bus will be loaded with all the standard NYE supplies (streamers, hats, poppers etc.) and champagne of course. Everyone will meet at the Rose and Crown Pub with stops at Time Finnegan’s, The Duce (food available) and Copper Blues. Just in time for the drop and more champagne!
Details: The Real London Bus. All tickets need to be purchased in advance by December 24th. $60 per person, which includes cover at each stop. Call 480.334.8372.
Celebrate the New Year at Westgate’s Fountain Park. The fun starts at 6 pm and includes live music, games, arts and crafts, and more.
Details: Westgate 6770 N. Sunrise Boulevard , Glendale. 6pm – 2am. Free. 623.772.4000
The Terrace Room Lounge
Celebrate the New Year in The Terrace Room lounge at Different Pointe of View beginning at 8 p.m. with live music, party favors, light far and a New Year’s champagne toast. The cost is $50 per person or complimentary for dinner guests of Different Pointe of View. Reservations are required.
Details: The Terrace Room Lounge 11111 N. 7th St, Phoenix. Call 602.866.6350
Ring in the New Year Western Style at Rawhide's Steakhouse. Enjoy a delicious buffet menu, live music, dancing, party favors and a sparkling beverage to toast the New Year.
Details: Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse 5700 W. Tham Yog North Loop Road, Chandler. 9pm – 1am. $45 Adults, $18 Kids 4-12. 480.502.5600
Ring in the New Year with The Phoenix Symphony performing classics from New York to Vienna. Enjoy waltzes, Broadway tunes and more from legends like Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, and Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Details: Symphony Hall 75 N. Second Street, Phoenix. 7pm. Tickets $27-83. 602.495.1999
The festivities will include live performances by local bands, ice skating, and vendors selling a variety of beer, wine and other spirits. A headlining perfomance by former LIVE front man Ed Kowalczyk will ring in the New Year.
Details: CityScape 1 E. Washington Street, Phoenix. 7pm. $20 General Admission $35 VIP Red Zone. 602.772.3900
Ring in the New Year at this annual adults-only gala with music, dancing, Zoolights, snacks and a no-host bar. Complimentary champagne will be provided at the stroke of midnight while the ball drops to ring in 2012.
Details: The Phoenix Zoo 455 N. Galvin Parkway Papago Park, Phoenix. 9:30 pm - 12:30am. $45 per person: $85 per couple. 602.273.1341
As Arizona's biggest and most exciting New Year's Eve bash, the Fiesta Bowl Block Party is a jam-packed evening of fun and entertainment for the entire family. With rockin' bands, beer gardens and a host of entertainers, this is one fantastic celebration you won't want to miss.
Details: Mill Avenue District 500 S. Mill Ave, Tempe. 5:30pm – 12:30am. $20. VIP $100. 480.350.0900
Scottsdale's largest party hits the streets for New Years Eve with live DJ performances, four open bars, (Dos Gringos, Rock Bar, White House and Upper Deck) and a special performance by local favorties Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.
Details: Craftsman Court 4209 N. Craftsman, Scottsdale. 6pm. Tickets $35.
Hosted by Barbra Seville, this New Year's Party is sure to Rock your world! This Vegas style show will feature live performances, a dinner buffet, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight.
Details: The Rock 4129 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix. 8pm. Tickets $10. 602.248.8559
This dinner and dance extravaganza presents live performances by legendary 80’s acts Morris Day and the Time and Sheena Easton. There will also be party favors and a balloon drop.
Details: Salt River Grand Ballroom at Talking Stick Resort 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale. 8pm. Tickets $99-150. 480.850.7777
Dance 2011 away at FilmBar in downtown Phoenix. This unique event promises to be an evening of enchantment and festivity. The $15 cover includes champagne toast at midnight, masks, party favors and appetizers. Fantasy costumes or formal attire is encouraged, masks are required.
Details: FilmBar 815 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix. 21+ only, $15. 602.595.9187
Blue Martini: Diamonds Are Forever Casino Royale
High-end lounge Blue Martini pays tribute to James Bond and hosts a black-tie soiree to ring in the New Year. Dress your best in gowns and tuxes. Open bar from 8-10pm. Reservations are encouraged.
Details: Blue Martini 5455 E. High Street, Phoenix. $25 for women, $50 for men. Tables are available by reservation only. 480.638.2583
Rip’s Ales & Cocktails: The Final Countdown at Obscura
DJ Roya and Adrian Flanagan will spin their best ‘80’s and Brit pop tracks for New Year’s Eve so be prepared to dance the night away. Get there before 10pm and pay only $5 cover. Drink specials all night long.
Details: Rip’s Ales & Cocktails 3045 N. 16th Street, Phoenix. $5 before 10pm, $10 after. 602.266.0015
Crescent Ballroom: New Year’s Eve Pahtay
DJ Sean Watson will be joined by BC/AD, Benni Beatnik, Ariel, Ellery, Hartbreaks and Aaron Hempsey and electro duo Peachcake at this FREE New Year’s Eve party.
Details: Crescent Ballroom 308 N. Second Avenue, Phoenix. FREE. 602.716.2222
MercBar New Year’s Eve
Put on your best black and white attire and be fancy while you ring in 2012. General admission guests enjoy a hosted bar from 8-11pm with hors d’oeuvres. Table specials available.
Details: MercBar 2525 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. $50-125. 602.508.9449
Champagne Supernova New Year’s Extravaganza at Dollhouse Cocktail Lounge
Enjoy complimentary champagne, food and half-off all cocktails from 8-10pm. DJ Circle will be spinning and a complimentary midnight toast is included.
Details: Dollhouse Cocktail Lounge 7419 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale. $45 at the door, $25 in advance. Call 480.359.7118
Brunswick New Year’s Dance Party
Bowl your way to 2012. Enjoy an appetizer buffet, party favors, DJ music and a champagne toast. There will be contests, prizes and bowling of course!
Details: Brunswick Lanes 1160 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. Prices vary. Call 480.813.2695
New Year’s Eve at Carefree Station
Carefree Station celebrates the New Year in every American time zone! Complementary champagn toasts and party favors at 10pm, 11pm, midnight, and 1am. Live music from Jon McConnell, lobster tail and surf-and-turf dinner specials will be available in addition to regular menu items. Reservations are suggested.
Details: Carefree Station Grill & Bar 7212 Ho Hum Road, Carefree. Call 480.488.8182
Fountain Hills Theater New Year’s Eve Block Party x3
Bring the kids at 6pm for a family-friendly event with kiddie music, finger foods, soft drinks, noise makers, hats and a sparkling cider toast at 8pm. A second celebration takes place with music dancing and a buffet that ends at 10pm with a champagne toast. Then Arizona’s New Year will be celebrated at midnight with another champagne toast. Guests are welcome for all three celebrations.
Details: Fountain Hills Theater 11445 N. Saguaro Blvd, Fountain Hills. $30, $15 for age 7 and younger. 480.837.9661
National Comedy Theatre New Year’s Eve Extravaganza
This all-ages improvisational comedy performance includes a catered buffet, party favors, noise makers and balloons. A champagne and cider toast is featured at midnight. Advanced tickets required.
Details: National Comedy Theatre 1111 S. Longmore Road, Mesa. $59. 602.374.5638
Golfland New Year’s Party
Ring in the New Year at Golfland in a family friendly environment. Unlimited attractions, video games, a live DJ, dance floor and a midnight balloon drop.
Details: Mesa Golfland/Sunsplash 155 W. Hampton Avenue, Mesa. $15-18. 480.834.8319
Uncle Lucius New Year’s Eve Party
Uncle Lucius plays The Compound Grill. A champagne toast at midnight is included with ticket purchase.
Details: The Compound Grill 7000 E. Mayo Blvd, Phoenix. $25 for table seating, $20 for general admission. 480.585.5483
Axis/Radius: Welcome to the Jungle
Ring in the New Year at Axis/Radius with this “Welcome to the Jungle” themed party. Dress up as rock starts or jungle beasts. Guns N’ Roses original drummer Steven Adler will be in attendance. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
Details: Axis/Radius 7340 E. Indian Plaza, Scottsdale. $25 single, $45 couple. 480.970.1112
Pussycat Lounge: PCL NYE
Dance your way into 2012 with tunes spun by DJ Aaron Taylor. Get there early and enjoy a hosted Ciroc vodka bar from 8-10pm.
Details: Pussycat Lounge, 4426 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale. Free for women, $20 for men. 480.481.3100
American Junkie: Junkie Bash
This is the place to ring in the New Year on a budget. No cover and a hosted Ciroc vodka bar from 8-10pm. Complimentary champagne toast at midnight.
Details: American Junkie 4363 N. 75th Street, Scottsdale. 480.990.3000
W Scottsdale: New Year’s Eve Cirque Nouveau
Watch sideshow performances, musical acts and a fireworks display at this vintage circus themed party. Hotel guests have access to a hosted bar from 7-9:30pm and receive a top hat and feathered headpiece, and split of champagne.
Details: W Scottsdale Hotel and Residences 7277 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale. $75 for women, $100 for men. Hotel packages available. 480.970.2100
Make reservations for this four-course dinner served with Henriot Champagnes and Grey Goose vodka pairings. After dinner, dance in the ZuZu lounge to music spun by DJ P-Body. A rooftop champagne toast is featured at midnight. Seatings at 6:30pm and 9:30pm. Reservations recommended, special room rates available.
Details: Hotel Valley Ho 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale. $125 for 9:30pm seating, $95 for 6:30pm. Call 480.248.2000
The Mint: New Year’s Eve Experience 2012 ‘Vintage’
Start out the evening with a five-course prix fixe menu created by chef Jonny Chu that includes Black Dragon fish, wasabi shumai and sweet wontons. The Mint will be decked out in metallic décor so guests are encouraged to dress in silver and gold. The first 400 guests will receive swag bags.
Details: The Mint 7373 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale. $20 for women, $50 for men, $35 additional per person for dinner. 480.947.6468
Taggia at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa
Taggia offers a delicious Old Town option for your last supper of 2011. The coastal Italian restaurant is offering a four-course prix-fix menu with a delectable lineup of seafood, salad, filet and rich desserts including a torte, tarte and bombolini with ganache. For those who want to dine with wine, the Taggia team will be on hand to offer perfect pairings.
Details: Taggia at Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa 4925 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. Reservations recommended. 480.424.6095
Different Pointe of View
Indulge in a prix fixe holiday dinner with a choice of two seatings. The first seating is at 5 p.m. and is $125 per guest, or $175 with wine pairings. The second seating begins at 8 p.m. and is $150 per person, or $200 with wine pairings. The second seating includes a champagne toast at midnight.
Details: A Different Pointe of View 11111 N. 7th St, Phoenix. Call 602.866.6350
Rico’s American Grill
A three-course holiday menu from 6 to 10 p.m. The celebration includes a glass of champagne and live music in Rico’s Backyard as we celebrate the New Year. Cost is $42 per person and reservations are suggested.
Details: Rico’s American Grill 7677 N. 16th Street, Phoenix. Call 602.997.5850
New Year’s Eve Dinner at District Kitchen & Wine Bar
Delight in a decadent five-course New Year’s Eve dinner with wine pairings while listening to live jazz music throughout the night at District American Kitchen & Wine Bar. The delectable dinner creations showcase artisan products, herbs from the restaurant’s rooftop garden, and sustainably farmed produce from local growers. Savor traditional American comfort foods served with a classic twist this New Year’s Eve.
Details: District Kitchen & Wine Bar 320 N. 3rd St. Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, Phoenix.First seating is from 5:30 to 7pm. Prices are $59 for adults, $30 for kids, and $30 for the wine pairing. Second seating is from 8 to 10pm. Prices are $69 for adults with a champagne toast, $34 for kids, and $30 for the wine pairing. An a la carte menu will be available for bar patrons. Complimentary three-hour self-parking validation is available. Restaurant reservations are required. Call 602.817.5400
New Year’s Eve Dinner at Zinburger
On New Year’s Eve, enjoy a prix fixe dinner for two at Zinburger at Biltmore Fashion Park. The dinner is $40 (excludes tax and gratuity), which includes two burgers or entrée salads, one side dish, a slice of pie, such as Zinburger’s decadent Banana Cream Pie, plus two drinks. For drink selections, indulge in a glass of wine, a draft beer, or one of Zinburger’s signature handcrafted shakes, such as the new Salted Caramel Shake or the Gingerbread shake of the month. The special dinner is available from 4 to 10pm.
Details: Zinburger Biltmore Fashion Park 2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. For more information, call 602.424.9500
New Year’s Eve Dinner at NoRTH at Kierland
Enjoy a three course, prix fixe dinner on New Year’s Eve at NoRTH at Kierland Commons. The dinner is $40 per person from 4:30 to 5:30pm and $55 per person from 5:30 p.m. to close.
Details: NoRTH at Kierland Commons 15024 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. For reservations, call 480.948.2055
New Year’s Eve at Kai
Conclude 2011 in style at Kai, Arizona’s only Five-Star and Five-Diamond restaurant, where Executive Chef, Michael O’Dowd will present special five or nine-course tasting menus.
Details: Kai Restaurant 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd, Chandler. Reservations for the five and nine-course menus will be accepted from 5:00pm – 9:00 m. Prices for the meals range from $140 to $225 and include various ranges of optional wine-pairings. Call 602.385.5726.
NYE at Quiessence Restaurant at The Farm at South Mountain
Cheers to the end of a great 2011 and an even better 2012 with Quiessence Restaurant. We've crafted one of the most decadent menus ever served at Quiessence. Already have midnight plans? Enjoy dinner before the party with plenty of time to countdown!
Details: Quiessence Restaurant at The Farm at South Mountain 6106 S. 32nd Street, Phoenix. Dinner is $95 per guest with an optional sparkling wine pairings at $55 per guest. First seating 5-6pm, second seating 7-8pm. Call 602.276.0601 for reservations.
New Year’s Eve Five-Course Chef’s Tasting Menu at Prado
Toast 2012 as you enjoy a delicious five-course tasting menu featuring treats including Butter Poached Maine Lobster and Marinated Baby Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad.
Details: Prado 4949 E. Lincoln Drive Montelucia Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley. Reservations will be accepted for 6pm and 9pm seatings. Call 480.627.3004.
New Year’s Eve Indulgence at Elements at The Sanctuary
Choose from three seating’s to ring in the New Year. First seating’s at Elements are 5:30pm – 7pm at $125 per person and $165 with wine pairings. Second seating at Elements 8-10:30pm and includes a champagne toast at midnight. $150 per person or $190 with wine pairings. Or choose an exclusive seating in Praying Monk from 8-12:30am that includes live entertainment by Alice Tatum and her band. This special seating is $200 per person and includes a half-bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
Details: Elements at The Sanctuary 5700 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley. Reservations required. Call 480.948.2100.
New Year's Eve Dinner at Deseo and Kid's Club
Ring in the New Year with an incredible four or five-course dinner in deseo. Bring the whole family and take advantage of Kids Club packages for children ages 4-14!
Details: Deseo at The Westing Kierland 6902 E. Greenway Parkway, Phoenix. 6:00 pm seating includes a four-course prix fixe dinner at $95+ per guest. The 8:30pm seating includes a five-course prix fixe dinner and champagne toast for $125+ per guest. Reservations required 480.624.1030.
NYE: Il Terrazzo at The Phoenician
Gather around our table at Il Terrazzo for delicious à la carte offerings and a four-course prixe fixe menu - the celebration continues at Thirsty Camel -open til 2am- for live entertainment, fabulous vistas and an impressive drink menu featuring more than 80 varieties of vodka and an extensive champagne list.
Details: Il Terrazzo 6000 E. Camelback Road The Phoenician, Scottsdale. Dinner reservations required 480.423.2530
New Year’s Eve Dinner at Le Chalet
A three-course dinner begins with an aperitif and them an appetizer of salmon gravlax, followed by beef tenderloin and a dessert tray of puff pastry layered with vanilla custard and sliced strawberries, served with a glass of champagne. The second seating adds an assortment of cheese before dessert and features a champagne toast at midnight.
Details: Le Chalet 5626 W. Bell Road, Glendale. $89.95 for 8pm seating, $49.95 for 5pm. Call 602.337-8760
Italian cuisine and family just go together, which makes it no surprise to me that Tutti Santi is one my family’s favorites. I’ve been to two of the five Greater Phoenix locations, and have felt like a member of the Tutti Santi family at each one. You can taste the pride in the food and feel the pride in the service you get from their staff.
We recently celebrated my father’s birthday at the 16th Street Tutti Santi in Phoenix. Located near the Pointe at Squaw Peak, you could blink and miss Tutti Santi which is situated in the back corner of the strip mall facing 16th Street. This particular location has a great patio for a nice day and the inside of the restaurant is much bigger than you would expect from the outside. The décor is of your typical Italian restaurant with white tablecloths and wine and Italian themed imagery.
Whenever I visit Tutti Santi I have a hard time deciding on what to order. Everything on the menu sounds delicious and it is filled with seafood items along with more traditional Italian dishes like ravioli and lasagna.
We decided on two appetizers for the table after asking the waiter how fresh their mussels were. “Fresh!” He said, “We fly in our seafood three times a week.” The mussels are served in a white wine garlic sauce, and make sure to ask for extra bread to sop up the broth. We also ordered the calamari, which was perfectly crisp (not chewy!) and served with a spicy cocktail sauce.
Because the portions are huge at Tutti Santi, my fiancé and I split the Linguine del Marinaio that comes with fresh clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp sautéed in a light tomato sauce and served on a bed of linguine. Bravo! The seafood was fresh, perfectly cooked, and the sauce was delicious.
My mother ordered her favorite, the Homemade Ravioli alla Nina. I have to tell you, this ravioli will change your life – it’s like perfect little pillows of pasta, Ricotta cheese with spinach and marinara. It’s just amazing. Try it and thank us later.
My father ordered the lasagna and it was another hit. You just can’t lose when you order at Tutti Santi.
More photos from our visit to Tutti Santi can be found on Flickr.
Our marketing intern extraordinaire, Michelle, seems to have caught the blogging bug. Here's her second contribution to The Hot Sheet.
Adding to the list of great restaurants along Central Avenue is the latest addition, Timo. This wood fire oven restaurant and wine bar opened by the talent behind Brick Urban Kitchen, features a full menu with tapas, pizzas, bruschetta and sandwiches during weekday lunch and dinner, and a brunch menu on the weekends.
I dropped in during their Sunday brunch, and found the patio already packed - I could see why. Their patio, much larger than other wine bars, was very inviting with a center placed fire pit surrounded by leather couches and tables.
After a recommendation by the waiter, I tried their bruschetta. With choices of smoked salmon, apple and brie, and my favorite the roasted eggplant and goat cheese, I was not disappointed! The flavors were well paired and had a great smoky flavor brought out by the wood oven. I paired this with the mimosa flight, which is three glasses of champagne with fresh squeezed grapefruit, cranberry and orange juices.
When I was looking over the menu I had noticed they had foie gras with fig jam, and feeling a little adventurous, I decided to give it a try. For those not familiar with foie gras, it’s a pate like substance made from duck liver. I tried it and as instructed, treated the items as if they were butter and jam by spreading it on the provided crostini. Well, I can say this may not be my new favorite meal, but it was interesting to say the least, with a very rich, bitter like taste.
If you miss their weekend brunch, you can stop in on Mondays they offer flatbread and a bottle of wine for only $19 from 5:30-9:30pm.
Timo is located at 8801 N. Central Ave.
Ever wish you had a time machine? Well, the folks over at Thunder Bay Press were kind enough to send us one...sort of. The book, Phoenix Then and Now, takes you back in time with historic photographs of Phoenix, placed side-by-side with contemporary views of the same locations.
We really enjoyed reading this book and seeing how different locations in Phoenix have changed or stayed the same over the years. This book would be the perfect gift or souvenir for someone that loves Phoenix.
Want to win a copy of Phoenix Then and Now? Tell us in the comments below what you love most about Phoenix - the best answer wins a copy of the book. A winner has been chosen and the contest in now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!