Taste Tidbits


Foodie news roundup for the week of Feb. 18.
The Italian Association of Arizona welcomes the Sixth Annual Italian Festival celebrating all things Italian. This two-day event will entertain and delight guests with live music, delicious Italian food and wine, dance performances, authentic Italian crafts and more. The festival will take place on Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24,  at Old Town Scottsdale’s “Piazza del Southbridge”, south of Camelback Road and west of Scottsdale Road. A portion of the proceeds from the event will go toward St. Vincent de Paul, an organization that helps feed, clothe, house and heal those in need in Arizona.
Chef Justin Beckett invites guests to “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler” (let the good times roll) featuring Southern Rail’s signature all-day menu with Mardi Gras favorites like red beans and rice, jambalaya, po’boys and beignets served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5. Among the favorites are  slices of King Cake and New Orleans signature cocktails, Monsoons and Sazeracs.
On Saturday, March 9 from 9 to 10 a.m., guests of the Old Town Farmers Market, located at the corner of Brown Avenue and 1st Street in Scottsdale, can enjoy a special presentation by Rebecca Seitz, co-owner of Sphinx Date Company. As part of the Old Town Farmers Market’s Original Arizona educational food and chef series that features a different native food speaker and topic each week, Seitz joins Mark Lewis of Chmachyakyakya Kurikuri in a demonstration on pairing Arizona-grown dates with other regional wild foods. The event is free and the market runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mountain Shadows has introduced the 3 Man Blend, a custom bourbon made through the Private Select barrel program from Maker’s Mark. The special blend is a collaboration between Executive Chef Charles Wiley, Director of Food & Beverage Jim Gallen, and Bill Nassikas, the president and COO of Westroc, the resort’s development and management group (pictured). The 3 Man Blend is available at PV Mercantile for $99 per 750ml bottle, with a limited batch of 250 made. It can also be savored at the Hearth ’61 Bar-neat, on the rocks or in The Big Easy cocktail, which features the bourbon paired with Courvoisier and St-Germain. The blend will also be featured at a special 3 Man Blend Bourbon Dinner on the Camelback Overlook rooftop deck on Thursday, Feb. 28. The evening kicks off with The Big Easy, followed by a three-course wine dinner including Alaskan King Crab Salad with roasted golden peppers, Molasses-Glazed Prime Niman Striploin of Beef with asparagus hollandaise, and Warm Valrohna Chocolate Torte with banana brûlée. After dinner, stick around for an included bourbon tasting, with cigars available to purchase along with bottles of the 3 Man Blend for $100. The dinner is $125 per person, including tax and gratuity. Tickets are required and can be purchased here.
On March 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA) presents the 17th Annual Melrose Street Fair. The event takes place throughout the entire Melrose District – which is located along 7th Avenue from Camelback to Indian School. Open to the public and free to attend, the daylong event will feature more than 200 booths by local artisans and independent businesses; a variety of food trucks; the “Melrose Patio” craft beer garden sponsored by Huss Brewing; a kid’s zone with face painting, video gaming truck and more; and live entertainment with local bands, including The Senators and Josh West Trio. Back as a partner this year is also Chester’s Classic Car Show, a massive car show that promises more than 200 vintage automobiles, each of which will be displayed at the event. Parking is free throughout the neighborhood and general vicinity, and there will be pedicabs available.
Mora Italian will celebrate its two-year anniversary from  4 to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 with free appetizers and a welcome cocktail. There will also be a wine tasting station, where guests can taste three Italian wines from Mora’s menu. Additional festivities will include a live DJ, photo booth, cake celebration and more. For guests who choose to dine-in, be sure to say hello to celebrity chef, cookbook author and restaurateur Scott Conant as he mingles at Mora Italian for the evening.  They will also be hosting a gratitude menu to celebrate the two-year anniversary leading up to the party. The four-course menu will be offered for just $50 and from Feb. 20 to Feb. 26.

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