I always enjoy wine tastings paired with good food. Tonight’s event was at Farmboy in Chandler. It was a reception-style evening that hosted James Callahan of Rune wines and was paired with Hors D’oeuvres from Chef Dennis Bagnasco. I just recently visited Farmboy for the first time for lunch a couple of weeks ago. Rune Wines (Rune means a mark or letter of mysterious or magical significance) was founded by Arizona native James Callahan in 2013 and is located in Sonoita – the heart of southern Arizona wine country. Tonight we got to sample four of his Arizona wines that were paired with samples of locally sourced cheeses, meats, and vegetables. Farmboy is all about using and highlighting local Arizona ingredients and was the perfect place to host this event. Both Oren Molovinsky of Farmboy (who owns Molovin Farm in South Chandler, AZ) and James Callahan of Rune wines were on hand to talk about their lasted endeavors.
Smoked Chicken, Goat Cheese & Grilled Tenderloin
Flourless Chocolate Cake & Rune Wild Syrah
Our first wine was the Rune 2015 Viogner paired with goat cheese and a rice cracker. Our second pairing was the Rune 2016 Rosé paired with a smoked chicken breast with arugula and topped with a aioli. Their third pairing was the Rune 2015 Grenache paired with a Mesquite grilled tenderloin with mushrooms. And the final pairing was the Rune 2015 Wild Syrah paired with a flourless chocolate cake topped with a raspberry. I really love the artwork on the wines and the story on the back of the bottles. The food was delicious and paired nicely with the wine samples. My favorite was the Wild Syrah – Rune’s flagship wine. Tonight was an enjoyable evening of meeting new people and supporting local businesses.
Pesto’s Pizza & Wine Bar is a little establishment in Chandler that serves up gourmet pizzas and a large selection of wines. The restaurant has some unique decorations and has a fun atmosphere to it. I love the pesto dishes and the calzones. I attended a party tonight where everyone had to wear white.
A post office and a Circle K used to make up this small intersection in this Arcadia neighborhood. But now it is one of the hottest upscale corners for dining in the Valley anchored by Postino Wine Bar and La Grande Orange. Postino is known for their bruschettas and paninis and La Grande Orange is a pizzeria and marketplace. I love this little area and had a fun night hanging out with some good friends.
Postino East is one of the newest restaurants in Gilbert. It is nestled near Joe’s Real BBQ, Liberty Market, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, and the Hale Centre Theatre. It has a lounge area and an open outdoor patio that looks out toward the town’s water tower. Native Chris DeMarco first opened Postino WineCafe in the East Phoenix Arcadia neighborhood in April 2001 and one in downtown Phoenix in 2009. The Gilbert location is the third location and is housed in a building that previous restaurants have failed. DeMarco hopes to find success here. It offers the same menu offered at its Phoenix locations with most prices being under $13, including bruschetta, panini, soups and salads, all made with local ingredients and artisan breads. There are over 100 bottles of wine available to buy and six wines on tap at Postino East.
Over 20 of us met for Katrina’s birthday. Because of our size, we had to wait in the grassy area for a table to be available. My friend Juliana happens to work here and I asked her to help speed the process for us. I also ran into a local artist that I knew and she offered me a job to shoot some of her interior design work. I guess she saw some of my pictures on Facebook. While waiting, I walked Jaimie over to Liberty Market and gave her a tour of the place (she had never been there). Once we got in, her and I shared meals so we could sample some of the different foods. I ordered the Prosciutto with Brie Panini (Prosciutto with triple cream brie, fig jam and arugula) and Jaimie got the bruschetta sampler (warm artichoke, smoked salmon with pesto, roasted peppers with goat cheese and the ricotta with dates & pistachios). I love her passion for food and it was all delicious. My friends Heather and Geoffrey (newlyweds) from Redemption church happened to be there too. Heather was a team member on my first mission trip that I led into Tijuana. Her husband is a photographer and asked me to come to do some still life photo shoots with him. Wow.. two photo shoot offers in one night! It was a lot of fun catching up with them. We all had a fun evening and then we headed to Toby Keith’s to go dancing.
Switch Restaurant & Wine Bar is a contemporary lunch and dinner restaurant located in the heart of downtown Phoenix just off the light rail path. With its beautiful spacious modern decor, Switch is a nice relaxing place to eat or stop in for a drink. They also have a great patio area with some unique artwork. Their menu is influenced by American and European cuisine and they use fresh seasonal products that allow them to ‘switch’ up their menu from time to time. Switch is known for their popular ‘Ombre speciality drink (a spicy jalapeño pineapple vodka cocktail) that is very popular with regulars. I had the Switch House Burger (9 oz of angus beef with goat cheese, crispy onions and Canadian bacon) and found it fresh and delicious along with a great tasting Sangria. The staff was very friendly and I look forward to stopping in again sometime.
Redemption. Christin and I went through a tough breakup and God restored us. We were back together and we needed a little time away to reconnect. We took a trip to northern Arizona and toured some of the wineries in Oak Creek. We then stayed in Sedona and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the red mountains. We ate at Taos Cantina and then headed north to the Grand Canyon. We camped on the outskirts and enjoyed a quiet evening to ourselves under the stars. Burgers, corn on the cob and some sangria was on the menu for dinner. We then headed into the park and gazed at the magnificent size of the Grand Canyon. What an amazing trip it was!!