The azcentral Food & Wine experience is a two day event. This year it took place November 4th & 5th at Salt River Fields. It was a showcase of mostly local restaurants, libations and demos. The featured special guest was Martha Steward who was there on Saturday.
Overall I DID ENJOY MYSELF but I feel this festival has taken a few steps back from the last two years as I do have a few legitimate gripes.
Several restaurants promised were not there. These are the restaurants I don’t recall coming across either day….
Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlor, Tapatio Cliffs, Little Miss BBQ, Nico Heirloom Kitchen, Orange Sky at Talking Stick, The Larder + The Delta, The Second Story Liquor Bar, Virtu Honest Craft, Zuzu at Valley Ho. I was expecting to come across these restaurants and since I didn’t I am disappointed. (Sadly El Panzon y Frida suddenly closed for business so I understand why they weren’t there)
I am also upset because I paid for VIP so I could drink better wine and use the VIP restrooms.
The wines offered this year seemed like much lower quality to the VIPS. I tried three wines Saturday that made me gag that I had to dump. I know last year they offered good well made wines like Hartford and Freemark Abby.
Freemark Abby Wine provided by AJ’s…Possibly the best wine you could drink at the festival 2016
Yesterday the VIP restrooms were crowded to they sent me off to the regular restrooms even though I was a VIP. TODAY ON SUNDAY the VIP restrooms were locked at least till 1:30.
So I felt cheated between the inferior wine selection and the VIP restrooms I didn’t get to use.
My last gripe is that the discussion panels didn’t seem as star studded as they have been the last two years….I really enjoyed last year discussion panel and the first years discussion panel.
2015 Star studded panel
Photo of discussion panel 2016 star studded panel
Maybe 2017 was just an off year….I don’t know…..
All my complaints are out now so off we go to the food.
Mostly everything I tried was either good or great! The food on Sunday in comparison to Saturday seemed to offer more upscale choices. Here are not all but some of the offerings I came across.
Among my favorite plates at the festival were the Halibut Ceviche and the Cornish Hen Mousse from Quiessence at The Farm at South Mountain. I didn’t think I’d like Cornish Hen Mousse because it seems weird to me….but the flavors were outstanding. I have to give it a big thumbs up.
J&G Steakhouse also was among my favorites. They lightened up a steak in a different and delicious way. They used butternut squash and flavors and textures of orange. It was amazing. I wonder if this is ever on the menu?
From Gallo Blanco and Otro Cafe Pozole
Gnocchi in Lamb Sauce from Rancho Pinot
We both thought the the vegetarian Potatoes Bravas and Shrooms and Grits from Artisan at the Camby Hotel were very tasty.
My husband said this Pork Belly Taco from Crujiente Tacos was good!
From one of the most UNUSUAL CASUAL restaurants in Phoenix……Chino Bandito offered Red Jade Chicken, Jerk Fried Rice and Vegan Cuban Black Beans and Snickerdoodle Cookies. It was pretty tasty….
We tried several different treats from Sweet Republic. The macaron filled with orange basil sorbet was my FAVORITE!
Mariposa Latin Restaurant served a tasty quinoa salad and a very tasty chicken laced soup.
Braised Lamb and Lentils from Talavera
Another among the favorites was this short rib stuffed ravioli with horse radish cream. It was from Hearth 61 at Mountain Shadows
Mamma Toledo’s The Pie Hole served Blueberry Hand Pies
Pigs Ears from Citizen Public House and a very unique unusual Ceviche from the Gladly.
Gnocchi in Veal Sauce from an Italian Restaurant I think from Bella Gusto……
Gadzooks award wining Chicken Taco! Spicier today than last time. Still delicious!
Different Point of View did these very detailed Pork and Cheese Ravioli.
Our Own Iron Chef Tarbel’s served Octopus Tostadas.
Buffalo Brisket, a tiny Detailed Cheesecake and a Fruit Beverage came from Kai at Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
Beef Carpaccio from Cartwright’s
Kobe Burger from Aj’s Fine Foods
Well that was day 2 of the azcentral Food & Wine experience of 2017.
The Forking Truth