Category Archives: Wine Bar

The Novelist – July 2018

The Novelist – July 2018

335 N Gilbert Rd #103 | Gilbert, AZ | 85234 | 602-775-5490

Organized by: Tony and Kelly

For July, we went to a restaurant inside another restaurant. The Novelist is called a speak-easy style bar/restaurant but I think that is a stretch. You can see the bar through windows on the street, which doesn’t seem to summon the vibe of a speak-easy. However, you do have to enter the restaurant from inside OHSO brewery, which can make the journey loud and adventurous.

The décor is creative with a mural on the back wall that seems vibrant and nice, but then you suddenly realize that all the décor is based on female novelists, such as J.K Rowling, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bronte. As a book nerd and female leadership advocate, that touched a certain part of my heart!

The only place they had for a group our size was a couple of large tabletops next to the bar but it felt comfortable. The food was definitively tavern style but felt upscale a notch with dishes such as Thai Steak Salad, Seared Crab Cake, a Flat Iron Steak, and Grilled Seabass. The menu also has a cute nod to the literary process with sections such as Introduction, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. J

All in all, it was a good night and certainly a place we wouldn’t mind going again. Sadly it is soooo close to another one of our favorite restaurants that if we ever venture to Downtown Gilbert, we are magically drawn across the street to our favorite haunt.

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Posted by on 07/15/2018 in American, Wine Bar


Bar Viñedo – April 2018

Bar Viñedo

7215 S Power Rd | Queen Creek, AZ | 85142

480-840-9709 |

Organized by: Fred and Pat

How many times have you seen a tree in the middle of a restaurant? Well, stop by Bar Viñedo and you can add one more to your list. This unassuming wine bar delivers some recognizable favorites but stepped up a notch or 3 or 4 or 5. There are Beer Battered Pickle Chips but with chili ranch sauce, panko crusted risotto spheres with mozzarella, and smoked gouda mac and cheese bites.

For entrees, you can find a Mac and Cheese dish but it is going to come with a Port Wine Derby Sauce and Avocado Lime Cream. You will also find a grilled chicken dish, but it is going to be paired with Farfalle pasta, spinach, and a Gruyère Mornay sauce or you can get Risotto but it will be joined by some shrimp, broccolini, argula, and baby portobellos.

The wine selection was vast – it is a wine bar after all J – but they even offer craft beer options and private wine tastings if you are interested.

Relaxing atmosphere paired with good food and wine and friends makes for a wonderful evening!

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Posted by on 04/26/2018 in American, Wine Bar




FnB Restaurant

December 17, 2017

7125 East 5th Avenue Suite 31
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Organized by: Jen and Don

Merry Christmas! The Ds celebrated their annual wine exchange this year at FnB in Scottsdale.

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Posted by on 12/17/2017 in American, Wine Bar


June 11, 2016 – Kagie Wine Party

Another year and another summer tradition of the Kagie Wine Party! We missed seeing some of our DDs because of summer vacation travels, but we also introduced some new friends to “wineapalooza”.

Great food was there as usual with all the guests making some really tasty dishes to share to support Pat’s super secret and tasty meatballs. 😉 I especially loved Ann’s caprese on a stick. It was a toothpick with bite size mozarella, cherry tomato, and basil leaf all drizzled with balsamic. Perfect little bite size and refreshing as well.

This year there was a good representation of Australian Shiraz along with the regular tastings of Cab Sauv, Merlot, and white varietals. Cheese selection was extensive with lots of choices including the delectable Brilliant Savann.  

Until next year,


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Posted by on 06/11/2016 in theme party, Wine Bar


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March 12, 2016 – House of Tricks

House of Tricks

114 E 7th St

Tempe, AZ 85281


Organized by: Jen and Don

House of Tricks is a well-known oasis in the middle of the bustling Arizona State University campus. Surrounded by trees, this little 1920s bungalow has a fire pit, bar, and open patio seating making it perfect for a quiet and tasty retreat.

Robert and Robin Trick opened this fine dining restaurant way back in 1987. I am sure they have seen so much change with how ASU has grown around them.

The seasonal menu changes regularly and they are known for using only the freshest ingredients from local sources.

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Posted by on 03/12/2016 in American, Wine Bar


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November 21, 2015 – Moore Wine Party

After a nice holiday/winter slumber, I am back. Looks like I owe a few updates.

In November, we celebrated with friends as we do every year at the Moore Wine Party! It was a chilly evening but Tony and Kelly make it so easy to warm up with wine, BBQ meatballs, a smorgasbord of cheeses, and a decadent table of desserts.  My drink of choice this evening was a Cabernet Sauvignon by Cult out of Napa Valley.

Bill and I took on some fun rounds of pool with Ann, Karna, and Fred, but I had left my game back at the house. 🙂 Lucky for me you don’t need game to have a bundle of fun with friends.

Even so, it was a great evening of old friends, meeting new ones, and ringing in the holiday season. Oh and wine!




5 years and counting: a celebration in the most appropriate way

Lawrence Dunham Vineyards Wine Gallery and Tasting Room

6951 E 1st St.

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Organized by: Don and Jen

Who can believe we have been hosting Dinner Club for 5 years this month?! It is not often that random ideas said over a bottle of wine and a casual Italian dinner would turn into a monthly engagement that could bring together people with such different backgrounds. This is the power of connecting. This is the power of a good meal and a bottle of red. This is the power of people.

Don and Jen – brimming with class and creativity – helped us celebrate our 5 year anniversary in style with a wine tasting at the LDV Wine Gallery in Scottsdale and catered by Triple Dot Food Truck. The weather was amazing and that made the setting the epitome of relaxing and magical at the same time. Chef Josefina – who is from Argentina – runs Triple Dot Food Truck with her Dutch husband and is seen cruising around many parts of the valley. They cherish the ability to do things out of the ordinary and truck menus provide a random mixture between Argentinian street food and Dutch favorites with a mixture of other random favorites. This evening we started out with a charcuterie board and then moved to a delicious helping of chicken paella with red peppers and saffron rice. Yum! For dessert, there was a very rich but decadent tiramisu pudding. All of the dishes were paired with wines – both new release and some old favorites – from Lawrence Dunham. Curt and Peggy also spent time with us sharing a history of the wines and talking about the process. What a couple of awesome people!

After the dinner, Don surprised everyone with personally engraved wine glasses for every DD which celebrated our 5th Anniversary. He even had the great idea to incorporate our logo, created by our very own Fred K! What a memorable and special 5 year anniversary!

Thank you to Don and Jen for putting all this together and a big CHEERS to the DoubleDs!

Here is hoping for 5 more wonderful years with all of you lovable rascals! I wouldn’t change us for the world.


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November 22, 2014 – Moore Wine Party

Moore Wine Party

Time for the annual holiday festivus-ness that is the Moore Wine Party! Kelly made sure that her screen was protected from injury by installing a large duct tape X over each one. Good thinking Kelly!

Weather was great, food was a plenty, and friends were all around for a good time.

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Posted by on 11/22/2014 in theme party, Wine Bar


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A night for bons vivants – homemade pasta and wine at VinciTorio’s

1835 E Elliot Rd C-109
Tempe, AZ 85284
Organized by Fred and Karna S.

The Double D’s met up again in July to experience VinciTorio’s Italian Restaurant in Tempe. And yes, I mean not just visit, but experience it. The night we visited was also the night of the dueling pianos in the wine bar (Enoteca) section of the restaurant. There are other live music offerings in the wine bar during the week – such as Sarah Vanell who we have seen before at Vintage 95 – however the dueling pianos are only once a month, so reservations are required. There is a quieter dinning side if you are not in the mood for song and dance, but trust me…you would be missing out.

We started with a bottle of 14 Hands Chardonay (Washington) for some and a bottle – then another – of Alexander Valley Vineyards Syrah (Sonoma County). The Syrah was delicious and a little bit lighter, which was nice for the summer evening.

All of our entrees came with a choice of soup or salad. Surprisingly all the men chose a salad and all the ladies ordered the cream of mushroom soup, at Karna’s recommendation. The soup was tasty and quite thick and creamy with little pieces of mushrooms included.

The entrees were well-prepared classic rustic Italian dishes: Raviloi di Formaggio (four cheeses), Raviloi Carbonara (sauteed bacon), Spaghetti Bolognese, Raviloi di Zucca (butternut squash), Linguine Vongole (clams), and Gnocchi Garganico – just to name a few. What sets these dishes apart is the focus on quality. The raviloi, trofie (short rolled shells), and gnocchi are all made in-house by Mario and his team. The remainder of the pasta is imported from Italy and made fresh daily. The tomato-basil sauce on top of the cheese raviloi and the gnocchi was refreshing and flavorful as opposed to a heavy marinara sauce. There was an extra abundance of sauce on the raviloi which could probably be reduced but it was tasty all the same. The linguine with clams was quite a bit heavier than expected and it is a large portion but the white-wine broth was good. The special of the evening was chicken stuffed with cheese in a marinara sauce paired with gnocchi in a cheese sauce. It was a lot of food, but delicious. Don enjoyed the gnocchi so much that he wished he could secretly lick the plate before they whisked it away. To sum it up the food was not overly pretentious, rather it was classic dishes with simple quality ingredients that allowed you to enjoyed the meal and not overwhelm your senses.

The service was exceptional. Mario (the owner) was very visible walking around the restaurant making sure that all the guests were taken care of. Water glasses were regularly filled, dishes were cleared quickly after you were done, and question or need was quickly addressed by a courteous employee, and all this with a very packed house. You could see the staff bustling around and clearly focused on making sure that everything was taken care of. Even when we left, staff that we had not even seen before were thanking us for coming and bidding us good night. This made for a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere during the entire evening.

The dueling pianos was a special treat which was lively and entertaining. Some of the girls in our group were dancing fools and enjoying every minute while some of the guys (I’m looking at you two, Bill and Don) were in agony. They are not fans of their wives dancing and signing at the table and this just gave them the freedom to do it all night and quite loudly.

All in all, it was an extremely fun evening with singing, dancing, lots of laughter, good food and wine, and great friends. Another successful DD’s event – thanks so much Karna and Fred!

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Posted by on 07/28/2013 in Italian, Pizza, Wine Bar


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Kagie Wine Party

Kagie Wine Party

It’s amazing how quickly the year goes by! It seems like it was just a couple months ago that we were getting to sample the vast array of offerings at the annual Wine Fest de Kagie. As in typical Kagie fashion, the event was classy but casual, tasty but unpretentious, and comfortable but not sloppy. They again opened their wine cellar – that’s right…wine cellar, not cabinet – and provided their many, many guests with a chance to sample possibly over a hundred wines. There was also a sampling of a massive variety of cheeses excellently paired with each wine variety. A new shining cheese star for me this year was the Brilliant Savant (a soft French sheep’s cheese) which was paired with the Shiraz. So delicious and creamy! Each cheese is specifically designed to bring out the absolute best in each wine, or is just delicious on its own. The wine bar upstairs is completely finished in beautiful detail and becomes quite a gathering place. Or you can choose to play a game of pool or darts (if you can find the elbow room).

Also featured upstairs was a large selection from the Darioush Winery out of Napa which offers Bordeaux style wines. This evening we sampled the Viognier, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Dual, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Always a fan of a great Cab, that one was my favorite and had me coming back for another wee taste a few times!

In addition to the sacrifices to the cheese gods, each guest brings a small appetizer to share and naturally there is always Pat’s famous “secret” meatballs. There is never a shortage of tasty food – that is for sure!

Since we all come and go at different times during the evening, we sometimes only get fleeting moments with the other DDs but it’s also a chance to meet and mingle with other people and make some new friends.

Cheers to another great night of wine, cheese, and friends. Prost!

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Posted by on 06/08/2013 in theme party, Wine Bar