Sip Social

IMG_5363

IMG_5365

IMG_5364

I had a fun evening eating and meeting new foodie friends. Two long time friends Erika and Kaylyn of Sip So Good hosted their first event at Arizona BBQ Company in Gilbert and invited me to come. This place just opened recently (not too far from where I used to live). This was a fun media event with a bunch of food bloggers and Instagram influencers. My first impression when walking in was that this place pays a nice tribute to Arizona. The decor is southwestern with a fun board listing Arizona facts and history. The restaurant itself is very simple and comfortable (great for kids!) with counter order service and a bar located to one side. The owners are longtime Gilbert residents and they opened this place to give back to the surrounding community. I was here for a buffet style dinner so I don’t have a lot of info on portion sizes of their platters, but their menu prices seem very reasonable to other BBQ restaurants. I felt very welcome here and Colette was great at sharing her passion for this place to us. Even though I came here for BBQ, I was immediately drawn to the tray of green chili bacon mac n’ cheese. I’m huge mac n’ cheese guy and I thought it was fantastic. Not too spicy but nice and cheesy with lots of flavor. We also tried their black bean and corn salad, brisket and pulled pork. These guys definitely know their BBQ and do a great job of capturing the flavors of the southwest. The BBQ comes naked as they have a condiment bar with different flavors of BBQ sauce. My favorites were the sweet and tangy and habanero sauces. Overall this was a great experience and I wish this place was open back when I had a house in the adjacent neighborhood. AZ BBQ Co. accepts non-perishable foods that they donate to a local food bank. Just another way they try to give back.

IMG_5367

Black Bean and Corn Salad

IMG_5368

Green Chili and Bacon Mac n’ Cheese

IMG_5369

Pulled Pork and Brisket

IMG_5370

Condiment Bar

IMG_5375

IMG_5373

IMG_5374

IMG_5376

Arizona BBQ Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Helio Basin Brewing

IMG_3700

IMG_6693

Quality Crafted in Phx

Helio Basin Brewing has become one of my favorite local breweries. Their slogan is Quality Crafted in Phx. They took residence in an old pool hall that I used to hang out at in Arcadia. Helio Basin is founded by Mike Conley and brewmaster Dustin Hazer. Chef Tamara Stanger creates the amazing food that is served here. It’s the perfect pairing of top quality brews with simple but innovating food. Many of the dishes here have some sort of representation of Arizona in it. For beers, their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. I think my favorite thing about this place is the sense of community they have created here. They have a few large tables for large parties and have the ability to open up the patio for outdoor events. From talking to many guests that I sit next to, Helio Basin had become a popular neighborhood favorite. I came here for their one year anniversary party with a buddy and my son. I ordered a beer flight got a nice variety of beers as my selection. The Robust Porter is one of my favorites. Chef Tamara put together some delicious roasted pig tacos with banana cornbread and Sonoran rice. We had a great time and enjoyed our beers and food. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and definitely check out their great happy hour and Taco Tuesdays!

IMG_3702

IMG_3701

IMG_3703

IMG_3704

Helio Basin Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beer Dinner with Brew Masters at Helio Basin

FullSizeRender-6

I came here for a Local First AZ promoted dinner with the brew masters. I was surprised Helio Basin is taking residence in an old pool hall I used to hang and drink cheap bad beer at. It’s definitely great to see an upgrade in the beer being served at this location – lol. I had blast hearing the stories from the brew masters of how this place came about and how they make their beer. You can tell these guys know their stuff and are very passionate about serving a good beer. In fact their slogan is “Quality Crafted in Phx”. Not only do they serve good beer, but the food is phenomenon. Chef Tamara Stanger just recently won the Devoured Culinary Classic excellence award for her smoked bison taquito. About thirty of us were served a four course dinner with a beer paired with each dish. Their IPA and Blackberry Wheat are the big sellers. Both were very clean, crisp and delicious. But I think the Robust Porter was my favorite. It’s not too heavy and full of flavor (a nice blend of chocolate, caramel and coffee). My favorite courses were the Palo Verde Torte and the Blueberry Tamarind Pudding. Each dish was beautifully presented and had some sort of representation of Arizona in it. Hello Basin is a great addition to the Arcadia food scene and worth another stop. They have a great happy hour and I hear Taco Tuesdays is a must. Check them out!

IMG_2172

FullSizeRender

IMG_2174

FullSizeRender-5

IMG_2186

Smoked Sonoran Oyster Mushrooms

FullSizeRender-3

Squab filled BBQ Summer Squash & Robust Porter

FullSizeRender-7

Palo Verde Torte & Blue Line Blonde

FullSizeRender-4

Blueberry Tamarind Pudding & Blackberry Wheat Beer

Helio Basin Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kilt Run 2017

IMG_0748

 

IMG_0792

For St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to run a Kilt Run. I have been on this kick to start running again and my Uncle Joel told me about this one. This event is part of the Kiss Me I’m Irish run events that go on all weekend to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. The Kilt Run supports the The American Cancer Society Relay for Life and the Kiss Me I’m Irish Run supports the Prostate On Site Project. This was the 1st annual Kilt Run for these guys. It’s a 1K family fun run and it took place on the plaza of Westgate Entertainment District. You get a kilt, a finisher’s medal and a beer at the nearby McFadden’s after you finish the run. I was excited to get my first ever medal in a run event. Before the run, I fueled up by making a Guinness Shepherd’s Pie at home earlier in the day. Afterwards, I met up with my uncle and his girlfriend at McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon for a beer. The place was crazy crowded but still fun to be around everyone having a good time. I had a good time for my first run of the year and hope to keep it going.

IMG_0793

IMG_0794

McFadden's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

IMG_0746.JPG

Potato Topping

  • 1 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup milk, plus more as needed
  • ground white pepper
  • 1 egg yolk

Filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 close garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

For the potato topping, combine potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, return potatoes to pan and place back on the heat just long enough for excess water to evaporate. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add butter, cream and milk and mash. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, then stir in egg yolk. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, whip the mixture until light and fluffy, adding small amounts of milk as needed for a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Preheat over to 400 degrees F and generously butter a 9-inch pie platter or 4 individual casserole dishes.

For the filling, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up beef with a wooden spoon, until nicely brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully drain excess fat from the pan, lower the heat to medium and add carrots and thyme. Cook until carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in Guinness, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until about half the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and leeks and cook until leeks soften and the filling has thickened, about two minutes longer. Transfer filling to the prepared pie plate.

Spoon potatoes over the filling as evenly as possible. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the potatoes evenly to cover. Brush the top with melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until the potatoes develop a pale golden crust. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

IMG_0735

IMG_0738

Pedal Haus

FullSizeRender-3.jpg

I grew up in Tempe and remember when Islands was at this location and then it sat empty for some time after it closed. But is looks like Tempe finally found a winner in Pedal Haus. It is a locally owned brewpub that features handcrafted European-style beers along with a Belgian-American gastropub menu. They opened in 2015 and just recently went through a renovation. They have some pretty creative dishes like brisket argue pasta, lobster mac & cheese, tempura-fried cheese curds and moules frites. You can’t miss this place because it is huge. They have three bar areas with an enormous patio (with cornhole) and beer garden. I was first introduced to Pedal Haus on a food tour of Tempe last year and happy to finally make a return visit.

IMG_0694

I started my day off with the Bavarian pretzel which comes with sides of beer cheese, stone-ground mustard and a maple butter. The pretzels are shaped liked a baguette and come served warm and soft. The maple butter was a pleasant surprise. Then I got the Green Chili Bacon Burger which is a pretty good-sized burger loaded with all types of flavor. I’m an ale guy and enjoyed their amber ale for my beer choice. One fun fact that I found interesting is that they recycle heat in the brewing process. The steam (which is typically lost) is distributed to a hot water tank that warms up the next batch. They have a killer happy hour that offers reduced prices on their appetizers and beer. Like many of the new breweries opening up, they are pet friendly, so feel free to bring your dog.

FullSizeRender-4

Amber Ale

FullSizeRender-3 copy 2

Bavarian Pretzel

IMG_0698

Green Chili Bacon Burger

FullSizeRender-3 copy

Pedal Haus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi Brokers

IMG_3666.JPG

Heritage Marketplace in Gilbert includes restaurants like Even Stevens, Farm & Craft, Clever Koi, Nico Heirloom Kitchen and candy store Rocket Fizz. Sushi Brokers is one of their newer tenants. Sushi Brokers has locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix and offers a huge selection of sushi, vegetarian fare and dishes comprising seafood, chicken and beef if you are not into sushi. They have over twenty creative sushi rolls on their menu. They also have a nice selection of wines, draft and bottle beers, sake, and a large array of imported and domestic Vodkas. Their happy hour is what makes them so popular as they discount their prices on sushi and drinks. I came here with a buddy after an evening at the neighboring Art Intersection. We ordered quite a bit of rolls and drinks. The sushi wasn’t bad but definitely pretty pricey compared to most places. I may come back again for happy hour. 

IMG_1819

IMG_3667

Cowboy Roll

IMG_1812

Edamame

IMG_1811

IMG_1816

Sushi Brokers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato