Write On Rubee

An Arizona-based food, beverage and travel writer since 2008,  I launched this website in 2015 to document my culinary adventures, beverage escapades, gardening endeavors, and travel in the Phoenix area and beyond.  Also find a comprehensive calendar of Phoenix-area food and drink-related events on my Events page.

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RUBEE TUESDAY: May 24-30: Gertrude's, Christopher's, Rock Springs Cafe, Mariposa in Sedona, Proof, Market Street Kitchen, Different Pointe of View

A weekly feature, Rubee Tuesday is a recap of my week's adventures in dining and drinking in the Phoenix area.

Mariposa Latin Grill in Sedona

Mariposa Latin Grill in Sedona

Wednesday, May 23.  My aunt and uncle from New Hampshire were visiting Arizona for the first time and we had a fun week of exploring Arizona, including a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden.  

Temperatures at 105+ were a little too warm for me, my husband, and my dad, so we relaxed at Gertrude's, the on-site restaurant, where we enjoyed snacks and cocktails.  

I also spent some time in the Garden Shop

That night I joined photographer Jenelle Bonifield and Janet Gordon of The Gordon Group who introduced me to one of her clients, Kazzit, a brilliant new winery resource.  We met at Christopher's and Crush Lounge, where I interviewed co-founder Babak Motamedi and Master Sommelier Laura Williamson. After learning about this application, I'm excited to share this indispensable tool for travelers and wine lovers.  Look for an upcoming interview and feature in June. 

Babak Motamedi, Chef Christopher Gross, Laura Williamson, MS

Babak Motamedi, Chef Christopher Gross, Laura Williamson, MS

As described on the website: "Kazzit was founded by long time friends Babak Motamedi, a wine-lover and entrepreneur, and Peter Kasperski, the proprietor of Scottsdale’s Kazimierz World Wine Bar and owner of one of the largest collections of fine wine in the United States.  Recognizing the need for a comprehensive source of information for all things wine, Kazzit was created to bridge the information gap between wine producers and consumers. Still in its first year of operation, Kazzit is helping select vineyards and wineries tell their stories to an international audience of consumers".  You can find out more at  http://kazzit.com

We chatted over cocktails and charcuterie as we learned the Kazzit story. My husband and I also stayed for dinner at Christopher's to take advantage of Restaurant Week with a three-course meal at the chef's counter, starting with foie gras torchon paired with a glass of Domaine Bru-Bache Jurancon.

On Thursday, May 25th, we began our Sedona road trip with breakfast at Rock Springs Cafe. They're known for their pies but my stack of dinner-plate-size pancakes was so good, I was too full to order a piece.  Next time! 

We then headed to Jerome to show our visitors this unique historic mining town founded in 1876. Located on Cleopatra Hill, its winding roads offers beautiful views of Arizona.  

We spent a couple hours in Jerome wine tasting at the Echo Canyon Winery tasting room with my friend Cody, aka The Wine Monk, visiting galleries and shops such as Rickeldoris Candy & Popcorn Company, and ending with a stop at the Grand Jerome Hotel. I came home with wine purchases from Echo Canyon and Caduceus Cellars

Next was the beautiful drive to Sedona with stops at photo op viewing sites. Once there, the men relaxed with beers at Oak Street Brewery & Grill while I spent the afternoon shopping with my mom and aunt at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village

Sedona road trip

To end our family day, I had planned dinner and sunset at one of my favorite Sedona restaurants - Mariposa Latin Grill - and it couldn't have been more perfect. 

We were seated on the covered patio and greeted with complimentary appetizers from gracious chef and owner Lisa Dahl - flaky corn and queso empanadas with pineapple criolla, addictive Aguacate Frito (fried avocado) with pimentón aioli, and smoky grilled housemade chorizo (a must-order!)  We rounded out our delicious feast with dishes such as grilled rack of lamb accompanied by a roasted yellow pepper coulis and cilantro-mint pesto, a juicy veal chop with zesty house chimichurri, decadent mashed potatoes scented with lemon and draped with lobster in a buttery garlic sauce, and sweet finales of key lime pie and chocolate and pistachio gelato.  

As sunset approached, the restaurant and patio quickly filled with people gathered to celebrate the stunning view (video below). It was a glorious ending to a beautiful day in Arizona. I'll be back at the end of the month to join Mariposa as they celebrate two years with a festive party.  You can register to join in on the festivities here

On Friday, May 26th, at Proof at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, I met friends Rich and Shayleen of Campari America. Shayleen, Regional Manager, was visiting from her home state of Texas, so this was a special treat.  I sipped on a Boulevardier (bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth) as Chef Del Morris treated us to his fabulous smoked prime rib special

We ended the night at Market Street Kitchen for, as usual, excellent cocktails by Garrit Guthrie and Chef Hunn's winning menu, including fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, burrata with heirloom tomatoes, pasta alla vodka with lobster, and a fantastic special of fresh littleneck clams tossed with sauteed leeks and nduja.  

On Saturday, May 27th, we celebrated my aunt's and uncle's (17th) and my parents' (53rd) anniversaries at one of Arizona's gems - Different Pointe of View. Sommelier Ian spoiled us with a round of bubbly and Chef Anthony sent out fabulous oysters and scallops that had mom and dad exclaiming they were the best they ever had.  This special occasion also happened to fall on Arizona Restaurant Week.  DPOV is one of the best deals in town where the special three-course prix-fixe includes full-size dishes from the regular menu with choices in red.  

Seared scallop on polenta cake topped with herb-artichoke tapenade

Seared scallop on polenta cake topped with herb-artichoke tapenade

A memorable dinner and gorgeous sunset, what a grand finale to the weekend! (video below): 

For last week's Rubee Tuesday recap of visits to Desert Mountain Club for the Arizona Foothills Magazine Best of Valley Party, Cafe ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho, Arrowhead Grill, and The Mix Up Bar and T. Cook's at Royal Palms Resort, see photos at this link

To browse past Rubee Tuesday recaps, visit this link. 

 

RUBEE TUESDAY: May 1-9: Bitter and Twisted, Mora, Casa Anejo, Proof and Onyx at the Four Seasons, Artizen at The Camby, Kentucky Derby Brunch at Bourbon Steak, North, and CRUjiente Tacos

A semi-regular feature, Rubee Tuesday is a recap of my week's adventures in dining and drinking in the Phoenix area.

On Monday, May 1st, I attended a special media preview of Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour's fourth annual Book o' Cocktails along with a sampling of some of Chef Bob Tam's delicious new dishes.  Loved it! You can read my photo recap by clicking the picture below.  

Afterwards, our friend Kirti joined us for a nightap at Mora Italian, where we shared the foie gras and chicken liver pate with cippolini agro dolce.  And a special treat was chatting with one of the valley's best chefs - chef de cuisine Matt Taylor. 

On Tuesday, May 2nd, I joined fellow media at Casa Añejo Tacos and Tequila, the newest addition to The Colony.  It's a winning trifecta, with a beautiful space designed by HGTV and DIY Network's Kitchen Crashers star Alison Victoria, Riley Jones in charge of cocktails, and Chef Joe Absolor helming the kitchen. Look for a full recap later this month.  

Designer Alison Victoria

Designer Alison Victoria

On Thursday, May 4th, I was on assignment for Phoenix Home and Garden at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale.  Pick up the July issue for a feature on Executive Chef Chuck Kazmer and his special summer recipes. I was also treated to a dish on Talavera's "Spring in France" tasting menu running through May 17.  The rabbit paté with caper berries and pistachios, preserved Meyer lemon aioli, and fava beanss is amazing! 

Afterwards, I joined my fellow food writer friend Lauren Topor for Proof's Thursday-only Tiki Pop-Up.  

We sipped our way through tropical tiki drinks such as the Flaming Zombie Bite (my favorite - with Plantation overproof rum, gin, pineapple, orange, and orgeat), Pimm's Plunder (Pimm's, Wild Tonic's Tropical Turmeric kombucha, ginger beer, raspberry, lime, and cucumber) and Piña Luau (ixa reposado tequila, amaro, demerara simple syrup, pineapple, lime).  Chef Dell also shared his delicious housemade kombucha  - thank you Dell!

Don't miss out on Chef Del's rotating selection of Ono Grindz such as this Hawaaian Fried Rice with pineapple, U-5 shrimp and hoisin-glazed scallops, and the bacon bao with turmeric preserved cabbage, chicharrones, charred shallot, and garlic blossoms. Chef Dell cures the bacon for 8 days and then smokes it over black walnut. For more information about this weekly event, click this link

And we couldn't leave without enjoying the sunset on the picturesque patio of Onyx.  

On Friday, May 5th, we received a media invitation to explore Chef Dushyant Singh's new dshes at a personal favorite - Artizen at The Camby. Chef not only surprised us with a custom tasting menu but WOW this is one of my best meals of 2017. I was already a huge fan, but now I'm an even bigger one. These are just a few of the fantastic highlights. Some are currently on the menu, and some are still being finalized. Look for a detailed feature later this month.  

Purple potato gnocchi with saffron-poached mussels, charred leeks, asparagus, and a saffron beurre blanc

Purple potato gnocchi with saffron-poached mussels, charred leeks, asparagus, and a saffron beurre blanc

Saturday was the Kentucky Derby. This was my first time joining the Kentucky Derby Brunch at Bourbon Steak at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, but not my last! Festivities included Bulleit mint juleps, live blues music, and a Southern brunch featuring pickled shrimp, filet mignon with Henry Bain sauce, hush puppies and fried oysters, Kentucky burgoo, shrimp and grits, hot browns, fried chicken, Derby pie, red velvet cupcakes, and more. My friend Kirti and I also left as winners! Each guest drew a horse name as they entered and since Always Dreaming won, so did we - a free overnight stay at this gorgeous resort. 

On Monday, May 8th, I joined fellow travel writers and local tourism representatives to kick off National Travel and Tourism Week. We were hosted by Visit Phoenix at North Italia in Arcadia and feasted on new favorites like zucca chips, Seasonal Vegetable salad, chicken pesto with gigli pasta, and tiramisu.

Across the street is one of my favorites, CRUjiente Tacos. Since they had just launched their new brew collaboration with Pedal Haus Brewery, I had to stop in after lunch, especially as they were promoting a one-day-only taco pairing. Crujiente's award-winning Executive Chef Richard Hinojosa and co-owner Jason Morris worked with Julian Wright and Derek “Doc” Osborne of Pedal Haus to create a blood orange Gose-style beer. I loved it! But get it while you can as it is very limited. Chef paired it with an incredible roasted pork belly taco with orange-habanero glaze, tomatoes, and cilantro mojo.  

For past Rubee Tuesday recaps, visit this link.  Stay tuned next week as I visit Il Capo Pizzeria, attend a private culinary film movie screening, support my friend Kirti at an LLS fundraising cocktail dinner at Hyatt Gainey Ranch (she's been nominated for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year), explore the new cocktail menu at House Brasserie...and film a segment as a guest on Good Morning Arizona!

RUBEE TUESDAY, July 5-11: Proof, Arrowhead Grill, Sel, 5th and Wine, Citizen Public House, DeSoto Central Market

A recently-launched feature, Rubee Tuesday is a recap of my week's adventures in dining and drinking in and around Phoenix.  

Squash blossom stuffed with mesquite-smoked lobster on roasted corn puree at Sel in Scottsdale

Tuesday, July 5.  Proof at the Four Seasons Scottsdale Resort held a contest inviting Facebook fans to suggest a burger with creative toppings for a BYOB or Build Your Own Burger.  The winning submission would be featured for a week in July.  I was so excited to find out that my Spanish-inspired burger won, and also that it would be featured for the whole month! On Tuesday, we were invited for dinner to launch the burger and I even joined the chefs in the kitchen. Click the photo below for details of the delicious burger Chef Joey Cavaretta created. Thank you Chefs! 

Chorizo burger with smoked paprika mayo, Manchego cheese, romesco, and arugula

Chorizo burger with smoked paprika mayo, Manchego cheese, romesco, and arugula

Wednesday, July 6.  My favorite neighborhood steakhouse, Arrowhead Grill in Glendale, had a Buy One, Get One special on their signature Delmonico. It's my favorite cut so I didn't hesitate when my husband suggested dinner out.  And bonus! We timed it right for Wine Down Wednesday where they offer special bottles at 50% per off.  Justin Vineyards Isosceles was a perfect pairing.  

We also shared sides of baked stuffed potatoes and creamed spinach, and finished with the addictive butter cake.  And a shout-out to Ronnie Buchanan for the great service. 

Thursday, July 7.  On assignment for the Scottsdale Visitors Bureau, we spent an evening at downtown Scottsdale's weekly Artwalk. What a fun event. It was my first time (what took me so long?), but not my last. The theme was International Artwalk and in addition to beautiful galleries like Casa des Artistas owned by one of my husband's high school friends, I admired Vietnamese artists at the Calvin Charles Gallery, and enjoyed entertainment such as Japanese Taiko Drummers and live Caribbean music and Japanese lanterns.

Cocktail and restaurant stops included a new gem I had never been to before: Sel. Located right in the middle of the artwalk (it was a former gallery), it's a wonderful find that has only been open three months.  Chef Branden Levine welcomes guests to a  fine dining experience with a four-course, prix fixe dinner menu. You can also order a la carte, as we did when we stopped in for excellent cocktails and fabulous appetizers before our stroll. Look for a future in-depth feature when we return for dinner. 

Yellow tomato gazpacho with avocado-lime gelée, peach granité, tarragon oil drizzle. 

We strolled on to more galleries and our next two stops: Offering 35+ wines by the glass and live music, 5th and Wine was a perfect oasis to cool down and take a break between the galleries. Bonus was live music on gallery nights.  

Later, we ended our evening with cocktails at the bar of Citizen Public House. We also couldn't resist ordering another round of appetizers. Thanks to Elijah for the great recommendations and cocktails. 

Sunday, July 10.  We weren't out, but since it was National Piña Colada Day, we had to whip some up at home. 

Monday, July 11.  Uber announced the launch of its UberEats Phoenix program at DeSoto Central Market.  Check out the current UberEats delivery area, which will be expanding in the near future.  Invitees at the private event were treated to cocktails from Bitter and Twisted, an array of delicious food by The Larder + The Delta, Tacos Chiwas, The Vig, The Clever Koi, and, for dessert, High Spirited Cupcakes.  Yes, you can now have dishes from Phoenix' best restaurants like these delivered right to your door. Aside from enjoying Lauren Klein's wonderful High Spirited Cupcakes at Bitter and Twisted, UberEats is now exclusively the only other way to get these delicious boozy cupcakes. 

Check back next week when my plans include visits to Tanzy, SumoMaya, Blue Hound Kitchen, VOM FASS, and a special Chef's Roll event at The Camby.