Tag Archives: chef created


2051 W Warner Rd #14 | Chandler, AZ | 85224 | 480.899.7191

Organized by: Jenn

Somehow we have missed this gem of Japanese cuisine that has been sitting right in our backyard for 16 years! Luckily Jenn saved us from ourselves and brought us all to try what Bill said was “the best sushi he has had”.

Now I am not a sushi fan but I can appreciate good quality when I see it. The restaurant was small but comfortable and intimate. The food and service quality was premium and the flavors were wonderful. There is a really nice square table in the back that sat our group of 10 very comfortably. Down side is that there is no restroom but they are working on that.

We arrived during happy hour and took advantage of some of the specials on rolls and the crispy fried Gyoza dumplings. Many have their favorite but I did hear murmurs of delight for all of the options. Jen enjoyed the Crazy Roll because of the soy paper instead of seaweed. The Tsunami roll with no rice was another good option and Bill and Jenn really loved the Big N’ Spicy with a nice jalapeno and sriracha sauce on each bite. Karna enjoyed the Las Vegas roll but the table winner was the Tuna Belly followed by the octopus and eel.

Not being a shellfish or sushi fan, I opted for one of the entrees. The grilled black snapper is not what you would think from an American fish house. This time, I chose to have mine served Panko breaded and lightly fried. The entrees also can come in a bento style with a small salad, miso soup, potato salad, and rice.

We washed the tasty treats down with some sake, beers, and wine and finished up the night with some of the desserts. Jen’s winner was hands down the chocolate pudding with 85% cacao and mascarpone. It was not overly sweet and very creamy. There was also the green tea ice cream, the tempura ice cream which – yes – is lightly friend, and the baked cheese cake.

As always the companionship at the table is the best part of the evening with each dinner club meet up but this place was certainly deemed a winner that is worth a repeat visit!

Fried black snapper entree
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Posted by on 02/23/2020 in Japanese


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Virtù Honest Craft – May 2019

Virtù Honest Craft

3701 N Marshall Way | Scottsdale, AZ | 85251

Located inside the Bespoke Inn | 480-946-3477

Organized by: Ann and Jay

Mixing it up with a Sunday Brunch! May 2019 was a busy month with lots of the DDs heading off for globetrotting adventures, so we decided to mix it up and have a Sunday brunch. What a great idea and a nice twist to our normal routine.

We visited Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale, which has been on my list to try for some time. We have been to Chef Gio Osso’s place in Gilbert (Nico Heirloom Kitchen) but haven’t had the chance to try this place yet. Virtù (which translates to virtue in Italian) feels like a world away from the vibe of downtown Scottsdale. Tucked away in a boutique hotel, the restaurant occupies small inside tables and the tree covered patio at the entrance.

The day we visited, it was a warm and sunny day with a gentle breeze. We sat inside just next to some French doors to the patio that allowed for some breeze while shielding us from the sun. It was almost magical how quickly I felt transported to a countryside villa.

The menu can change frequently, there are no set menu items but if you are a fan of octopus and “polpo” is on the menu, you should try it. Other than fish, I have an aversion to all things seafood but when I was told that Chef Osso’s was marinated in corks to make it tender and almost like a steak texture, I had to try it. My husband loved it and I will admit that it was unlike any octopus I have tried before. It did not taste fishy or chewy, rather it was extremely tender and well worth the try!

For brunch this Sunday, we enjoyed some wonderful cocktails, champagne, and beer options and followed it up with mouthwatering dishes. There was a risotto with chorizo and eggs, an apple cinnamon French toast that was so decadent and sweet that it was more like a desert and shared by all, a breakfast sandwich for grown ups paired with fresh and delicious coffee, and a fresh omelet paired with crispy and yummy bacon.

The magical brunch visit was topped off by Chef Gio Osso photo bombing our group picture. What a way to kick off a busy vacation month for the DDs!

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Posted by on 05/06/2019 in Italian


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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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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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June 28, 2014 – Kagie Wine Pairing Dinner

June 28, 2014 – Kagie Wine Pairing Dinner
Kagie Wine Pairing Dinner
Organized by: Fred and Pat

The DDs have got some mad culinary skillz, yo! For the second time, we gathered together to put our foodie adventure lessons to use and made some scrumptious treats to share with everyone.

Hosted again by the amazing wine- and beer-pairing duo of Fred and Pat, we devoured our way through a four course meal with each course sporting its own beer and wine pairing! My personal favorite was the Mollydooker, but that was an unfair advantage. Mollydooker always seems to be a winner in my book.

One of the fun standouts was Jenn’s deconstructed lasagna served with mascarpone cheese in addition to ricotta. She learned this little trick from our neighbors in the North and it provided a nice escape from the expected.

Ann and Jay, Don and Jen, and Kelly and Tony outdid themselves with the appetizers. Don and Jen’s salmon ceviche was light and refreshing but not fishy. Delicious! Ann and Jay brought the crostinis with sun-dried tomato jam, baked shrimp scampi and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. Tony and Kelly treated us to a caprese salad and blue cheese stuffed mushrooms poised on a crunchy pedestal for the perfect mix of flavor and crunch.

With so much goodness, we were almost stuffed by the time dinner came around. The Buccatini alla Amatriciana was light for a summer dinner but with some spice from the chili flake to wake up the taste buds.

Tony and Kelly’s two options of spicy and sweet Italian sausage were tender and juicy after cooking all day in a flavorful sauce. What a nice addition to Jenn’s lasagna.

We were so happy Karna and Fred made it to the smorgasbord even after a super long flight home from frolicking through Europe. The Black Forest Cake didn’t make it to the table but we did wrap up dinner with a sampling of rich and decadent cheesecake flavors.

Again we had such an amazing dinner and it was a fun departure from our normal routine to have a delectable dinner at “home”.

Cheers to all!


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Posted by on 06/28/2014 in theme party


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July 23, 2011 – Citizen Public House

Citizen Public House
7111 E 5th Avenue Ste E
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Organized by: Jen and Don Westhafer

This month, the Double D’s were treated to a new experience. We gave up our control to the chef and let him surprise us with the manifestation of his tasty imagination. We experienced our culinary adventure at the Citizen Public House restaurant in downtown Scottsdale with the assistance of the amazing Gina who made us feel so welcomed. The restaurant, which calls itself a contemporary upscale pub had a very modern and fun yet relaxing atmosphere. Amy (not short for Amanda) provided us with amazing service as we traveled through our courses with coordinating wine parings one by one.

Chef Bernie Kantak spared no imagination when he created a menu especially for our group. First we started with pan seared scallops, corn grits, cola gastrique and snow pea greens. These scallops had an amazing flavor and were huge! A clear favorite for the scallop lovers in the group and paired with a 2008 Heitz Cellars Chardonnay, St. Helena, Napa Valley, California.

Second we savored peppercorn pork belly with cherry mostarda, rapini (also called broccoli rabe) and chevre (french for goat cheese). The pork belly was extremely tender and was able to produce audible sounds of pleasure from some of our table. The dish was partnered with a 2008 Delas Syrah/Grenache, ‘Saint-Espirit’, Cotes-du-Rhone, France.

Next we enjoyed coffee short ribs, that literally fell of the bone they were so tender, with “not your childhood” toasted gorgonzola mac-n-cheese, and blueberry-cumin compote. A little bit heavier than the other dishes but not light on flavor, this dish received rave reviews. The blueberry-cumin compote was a surprising choice that did not disappoint and the whole dish was paired with a 2004 Casa Silva Cabernet sauvignon/Carmenere, ‘Quinta Generacion’, Colchagua Valley, Chile.

Finally, we ended the adventureland for our tastebuds with a challah-fig bread pudding, praline, and cinnamon ice cream which produced even more audible sounds from some of the group as they believed they were entering a figurative heaven. The pairing of Gonzalez Byass Pedro Ximenez sherry, ‘Nectar’, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain was a little overly sweet with the pudding and even more so by itself, but the desert was still delicious and had a little something for everyone.

This was a first for the Double D’s and one to be remembered for the great service, atmosphere, and scrumptious cuisine.

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Posted by on 07/23/2011 in American


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October 17, 2010 – Cafe Monarch

Cafe Monarch
6934 E 1st Ave
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
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Posted by on 10/17/2010 in American


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March 20, 2010 – Romeo’s Euro Cafe

And the journey begins!

Romeo’s Euro Cafe
207 North Gilbert Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 962-4224
Small location which makes for an intimate setting but with a good selection of wines to choose from and fresh dishes plus homemade desserts. Your mouth will celebrate the great flavors but picky eaters should beware. Making changes to the dishes may change the flavor creation so your “without this or add that” request may get denied. Instead, order a dish as it is created and sit back and enjoy the experience.
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Posted by on 03/20/2010 in American