Food & Drink News

CuisineWineNoveauBeaujolais111815Cuisine & Wine Bistro in Gilbert is the latest East Valley restaurant to be featured on Channel 8’s popular TV show ‘‘Check, Please! Arizona.’’

The wine bar and restaurant, located on the northeast corner of McQueen and Warner, will appear in the show at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18.

In each episode, three guests dine at and review three local restaurants that they have recommended to each other.

“We were very nervous but very excited during the filming of our episode,” says Mairead Buschtetz, who manages Cuisine & Wine with her husband, executive chef Fabrice Buschtetz (both pictured). “We were surprised when we were asked to participate, and obviously very honored.”

Cuisine & Wine Bistro debuted in 2015. A second location opened in south Chandler in 2016.

The Buschtetz’s three adult children and their daughter-in-law also work at the two restaurants.

“We want our guests to feel like they had dinner with family when they visit our restaurants,” Mairead Buschtetz says. “We hope the guests from ‘Check, Please! Arizona’ left with the same impression.’’

If you miss Thursday’s episode, it reruns at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20.

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B2BurgersBrews010918B2 Burgers & Brews, a new Chandler eatery that launched in September but closed after a kitchen fire Dec. 1, has finished repairs and reopened.

The bar is open tonight – if you buy one drink you’ll get a second for $1. Food service begins Wednesday, Jan. 10.

The family-friendly venue offers 14 specialty burgers (see menu), 20 beers on tap for adults, and pool, air hockey, and video games for kids of all ages.

A grand re-opening party will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, with all-day happy hour, live music in the evening, and promos with OHSO Brewing (noon-2 p.m.), Three Olives Vodka and Four Peaks Brewing (2-4), Uncle Bear’s Brewery (6-8), and Fireball Whisky (8-10).

The strip-mall space on Warner, just west of Arizona Avenue, previously was home to The Reef and, before that, The Draft House.

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La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen in Gilbert adds brunch on Saturdays

BY Jess Harter Monday, January 8, 2018

LaRistraChilaquiles010817Good news for East Valley brunch fans: La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen in Gilbert now is offering its Sunday brunch menu on Saturdays as well. It’s available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. both days.

  • Biscuits & Green Chile Gravy: Two homemade biscuits topped with a homestyle green chile and sausage gravy. Served with two eggs any style. ($10.99)
  • Breakfast Sopapillas: Two sopapillas tossed in cinnamon and sugar and stuffed with eggs and bacon. Drizzled with honey. ($9.99)
  • Steak & Eggs: Two eggs served on top of carne asada with Hatch green chiles and onions. Served with two flour tortillas. ($15.99)
  • Adovada Benedict: Toasted English Muffin layered with adovada pork, two fried eggs, Canadian bacon, and topped with our homemade jalepeno hollandaise. ($11.99)
  • Santa Fe Style Eggs: Two fried eggs on top of a blue corn tortilla, beans, and your choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo,adovada or chile Colorado served enchilada style. ($11.99, pictured on left)
  • Red Chile Stacked Hash Browns: Hash browns layered with pinto beans, fried egg, cheese, and your choice of sausage, chorizo adovada, or Chile Colorado, Topped with bacon & avocado. Served with a side of flour tortillas. Not served with additional sides. ($10.99)
  • Breakfast Chilaquiles: Homemade corn tortilla chips layered with red & green enchilada sauce, cheese, pinto beans, two eggs, & your choice of chorizo, bacon, sausage, adovada, or chile Colorado. Not served with additional sides. ($10.99, pictured on right)
  • Hatch Chile & Egg Muffin Sandwich: Toasted English muffin served with Canadian bacon, egg, green chiles and cheese. ($8.99)
  • Breakfast Burrito: Scrambled eggs, beans, cheese, bacon, and your choice of sausage, chorizo, adovada, or chile Colorado served enchilada style. ($10.99)
  • Southwest Scramble: Eggs, peppers, onions, and your choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo, adovada, or chile Colorado served with a side of flour tortillas. ($11.99)
  • Bottomless Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s ($14.95)
  • Kids Breakfast: Two sausage patties, scrambled eggs, and potatoes. ($5.99)
  • Kids Egg & Cheese Burrito: Eggs and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla and served with a side of potatoes. ($6.99)

Unless noted, all brunch items are served with homestyle potatoes and your choice of pinto beans, black beans, or calabacitas.

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ElPalacioSerranoChopped010217Anthony Serrano, chef and owner of El Palacio Mexican Restaurant and Cantina in Chandler, continues to build his national profile tonight on the Food Network’s popular show ‘‘Chopped.’’

Serrano will compete in the show’s ‘‘Gold Medal Games,’’ a special four-part event with a grand prize of $50,000 (compared to $10,000 for a regular episode of ‘‘Chopped’’).

Tonight’s episode follows the show’s standard format:

  • Four chefs must use a mystery basket of ingredients to create a breakfast dish in a limited amount of time.
  • The chef with the lowest-rated dish gets ‘‘chopped,’’ and the remaining chefs use a new mystery basket to make an entree.
  • After another chef is eliminated, the last two get a final basket to make a dessert.

The theme of tonight’s episode is ‘‘Frying.’’ The next three Tuesdays will feature new competitors squaring off in ‘‘Grilling,’’ ‘‘Baking,’’ and ‘‘Racing the Clock.’’ On Jan. 30, the four winners will meet in a grand finale for the $50,000 prize.

Tonight’s episode is listed as 8 p.m. Mountain time, but the actual air time varies depending on your cable provider.

El Palacio, located on the northwest corner of Gilbert and Germann, will host a viewing party tonight with $2 Mexican pints and 50 percent off appetizers during the show (in addition to its regular Taco Tuesday specials).

Making the cut

‘‘Chopped’’ announced last spring it was holding auditions in the Valley. Serrano undertook a series of questionnaires, biographies, and two interviews at a Scottsdale hotel in June. ‘‘I actually had the summer flu and was just getting over it,’’ he remembers.

Finally, he was told he made the cut and would be invited to tape a show sometime in 2018 or early 2019.

It turned out to be much sooner. The show’s producers called and asked him to compete in the opener of the ‘‘Gold Medal Games,’’ which was shot in New York in October, just two weeks after the birth of Serrano’s latest child, Benjamin.

The episode was filmed in a single 17-hour day. ‘‘I met the other three chefs at a McDonald’s, of all places, at 5 a.m., and a casting person walked us over the studio,’’ he says.


Shooting the episode

Serrano says his only preparation for the competition was to watch ‘‘about a million’’ episodes of ‘‘Chopped.’’ Given the theme, he says he correctly guessed that each mystery basket would contain a fried item.

He was allowed to bring only a set of seven knives with him to the studio, and before entering he had to surrender his phone, wallet and watch.

‘‘I was hoping we wouldn’t have to skin a fish,’’ he says. ‘‘Being born and raised in Arizona, that’s not exactly my style of cooking.’’

He was disappointed the show’s pantry – which competitors are allowed to raid to supplement the required items in their baskets – did not include avocados, an ingredient he planned to use. ‘‘Apparently, New Yorkers consider them exotic or something.’’

‘Very positive experience’

Serrano is not allowed to reveal the outcome of tonight’s show. In fact, the show’s strict rules prevented him from even sending out a release to local media. He was allowed to post about it on social media – but only using the show’s pre-approved wording and hash tags.

But Serrano is familiar with dealing with national shows and organizations. He advanced to the finals of the World Food Championships in 2016 and made his Food Network debut on ‘‘Ginormous’’ last June.

Tonight’s ‘‘Chopped’’ appearance is yet another high-profile feather in Serrano’s signature fedora.

‘‘I left there, like, ‘What a crazy day!’’ he says. ‘‘It was a very positive experience.’’

(Images courtesy of the Food Network)

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HolmbergBound122917Holmberg Bound, a red ale brewed to benefit the Arizona Humane Society, is now on tap at Good Time Charli’s in Chandler.

John Holmberg, a radio show host on KUPD (97.9 FM) and owner of eight dogs, brewed the beer with Four Peaks Brewing last month.

Holmberg Bound (7.5% ABV) only has been available at a few select bars and events around the Valley in December. A portion of all sales goes to the Humane Society.

On Sunday, Dec. 31, Good Time Charli’s will host a New Year’s Eve music festival starting at 4 p.m. Carvin Jones will perform at 4, and Rockland at 9.

On Monday, Jan. 1, GTC will offer a special New Year’s Day brunch (with its full breakfast and lunch menus) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Brunch drink specials will include $3 mimosas, $4 Loaded Bloody’s, and $5 house-made sangria.

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Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve dinner party at La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen

BY Jess Harter Wednesday, December 27, 2017

LaRistraBar122717La Ristra New Mexican Kitchen in Gilbert toasts the end of 2017 with a New Year’s Eve dinner party at 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31.

  • Appetizer: Seafood ceviche
  • Entree: Short ribs with green chile mashed potatoes; crab cakes with cilantro rice, elote, and sopapilla.
  • Dessert: Green chile apple cobbler

Tickets are $45 per person, which includes one drink ticket and a free midnight champagne toast with a souvenir glass.

DJ Chris Marshall will provide the music. There also will be raffle prizes and a photo booth.

Reservations are limited, so call 480-545-2880 to secure your spot.

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RepublicaEmpanadaDDD122217Republica Empanada, a family-run Mesa eatery serving Latin American comfort food, will be featured on the Food Network’s ‘‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’’ on Friday, Dec. 22.

According to the cable network’s website, the 30-minute episode, entitled ‘‘Mom’s Kitchen,’’ will visit:

‘‘In Boulder, Colo., a mother-son team servin’ up Chinese specialties like dan dan noodles and steamed buns. In Columbus, Ohio, a Jamaican joint dishin’ out jerk chicken, red snapper and other island favorites. And in Mesa, Ariz., a family spot cooking lights-out Latin cuisine, from a Cubano empanada to arroz con pollo.’’

Show host Guy Fieri (shown above with Republica’s Jinette Meraz) spent a day filming at downtown Mesa restaurant in early October.

The network website lists the show at 9 p.m. Eastern, but my cable provider (Cox) airs it at 10 p.m. Arizona time. Your cable provider may vary. (Look for the ‘‘Mom’s Kitchen’’ episode at the end of a long block of reruns.)

Republica Empanada has been closed for the past 10 days for some kitchen renovations, but re-opens to the public Saturday, Dec. 23.

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SashasKitchen122017VB Lounge, which opened last December in downtown Chandler, has a new name: Sasha’s Kitchen & Cocktails.

Owner Sasha Cosic, who also operates Va Bene, an award-winning Italian restaurant and wine bar in Ahwatukee, bought the former di Sciacca glassware retail store on Boston Street in late 2015 and took more than a year to launch VB Lounge.

With the name change, chef Brent Tratten’s menu shifts from refined contemporary American to more casual American comfort foods. Goodbye, tartines and osso bucco. Hello, Gladys’ Meatloaf and Not Your Grandma’s Fried Chicken.

Sasha’s Kitchen & Cocktails is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

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The Hungry Monk in Chandler will ring out 2017 with a five-course prix fixe dinner menu from beer chef Gidi Goldberg available from 4-10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31.

Cost is $90 for two, which includes a bottle of wine, two beer pairing flights, two cocktails, or two draft beers. A solo option is available for $50.

Reservations are preferred. For more information, call 480-963-8000 or email


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JC’s Steakhouse adds more than dozen new menu items

BY Jess Harter Monday, December 18, 2017

JCsSteakhouseExteriorIn celebration of its third anniversary this month, JC’s Steakhouse in Gilbert has added more than a dozen new items to its menu.

Appetizer options now include charred brussels sprouts, fire-roasted artichoke spears, lobster ravioli, and crab-and-shrimp-stuffed avocado.

New house specialities include a 10-ounce culotte Delmonico, Alaskan stuffed halibut, poached salmon, wrangler steak, and chorizo-stuffed pork loin.

Other new entrees are baby back ribs (half or full rack) and a ‘‘perfectly roasted’’ half chicken.

Ultimate Mac Daddy (with chicken, bacon, jalapenos, mushrooms and more) joins the pasta roster. Sandwiches are bolstered with a Southwest burger and prickly pear chicken sandwich.

See the full menu here.

JC’s Steakhouse, located on the southeast corner of Gilbert and Ray, is open for lunch Wednesday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.

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