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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,

Salute!

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

 

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September 27 – The Market by Jennifer’s

The Market by Jennifer’s
3603 E Indian School Rd Suite A
Phoenix, AZ 85018
602.626.5050
http://themarketbyjennifers.com/

Organized by: Janice

The DDs (minus Fred and Pat who couldn’t make it) made our way to Arcadia this month to check out a local kitchen right in the same parking lot as Beckett’s Table and others. Hidden a little on the side of the plaza the restaurant had a cozy charming feel with an open seating area that is clean and simple without being stuffy, a beautiful wrap around patio, and a view into the kitchen to watch the magic happen.

Fred S demonstrated some of his playa skillz and hung out with the ladies at one table while the rest of the boys pretended like it was the playground at grade school hiding away from the girls and telling dirty jokes. 😉

Originally started as a catering company, Jennifer Russo-Fitzgerald used her magic to create a fun place to showcase her culinary innovations. Not only do they offer a great dine-in experience, there is also Curbside Catering offered as well as a Grab N’Go counter.

With a seasonal menu that offers fresh local ingredients, you are sure not to get bored by a variety of dining options. We started with some happy hour wine selections and some cocktails. The Black and Blue Mojito made with blackberries was divine and dangerous. It would be so easy to enjoy way to many of that refreshing beverage.

For starters we tried some of the options from the rotating “Bites” menu. This week it was the Meatball sliders with roasted San Marzano tomato sauce, the Fried Prosciutto/Provolone Balls with Garlic aioli, Grilled Chipotle BBQ wings, Cheddar & Italian Parsley nachos and Chili & Chive “Dirty Pop” popcorn. Very tasty way to start the evening!

Market by Jennifer’s was participating in Restaurant Week so some of us decided to try to prixe fixe options. This included selections such as the butternut squash & crème fresh soup; grilled cheese with white cheddar, gruyere and honey on a fresh brioche; fresh pasta with pancetta, parmigiano reggiano, poached egg and crisp prosciutto; and free range chicken with skin & crispy artichoke hearts paired with grilled corn polenta. All of these dishes were divine, but none made me swoon like the pasta with pancetta and poached egg that Ann so brilliantly chose.

Some other excellent choices for dinner was the roasted asparagus soup (which was better than the butternut squash if that was possible); the perfectly cooked ricotta gnocchi with peas, fava beans, Parmesan, and prosciutto; and the crispy salmon with roasted baby zucchini, saffron, baby onions, and natural jus. (FYI we heard that this was Jennifer’s signature dish! )

For dessert we ordered the lavendar crème brulee which was sadly a little disappointing, the HUGE chipwich ice cream sandwich, and the mason jar of lemon meringue pie.

In addition to watching a huge summer storm rage outside, we were also entertained with some live indie music by a guy who looked like he was channeling Johnny Cash. Thankfully, the music did not start until we were well into dinner and the volume so it did not drown out the good time we were having, but it was nice to add to the fun evening with some good music!

Pretty soon we were forced to say adieu and try to race the next wave of storms back to our part of the valley. Thank you Janice for picking a delicious place that also supports local farmers and merchants!

 
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Posted by on 09/27/2014 in American

 

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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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Art and cuisine on Calle 16

Barrio Café
2814 N 16th St
Phoenix, AZ 85006
602-636-0240
www.barriocafe.com
Organized by: Janice
 

Besides being an integral part of this neighborhood in Phoenix, Chef Silvana has created a place of legend with the original Barrio Café. Although she has now expanded to Barrio Queen in Scottsdale and even offers samples of her treasures to travelers at Sky Harbor Airport, it was a treat to be able to visit the place where it all began.

Barrio Café is not big, nor is it ostentatious with a ritzy location. Instead it is in Phoenix on 16th street at the entrance of an urban neighborhood and surrounded by strip malls with local businesses. The place is decorated in art by local artists which rotates every few months, showing Chef Silvana’s focus on promoting the people in our community. In addition, the exterior is covered in clever, colorful, and creative murals as part of the Calle 16 Mural Project, which celebrates the vibrant culture and Mexican heritage of the area. (for more on this check out our Links section!)

No reservations are accepted and seating is strictly on a first come, first serve basis. This means you need to get there early if you have a large group because Barrio Café has a reputation for magic and it is only growing with every passing day.

They do have a Happy Hour with super great discounts on their margaritas and Buck any Tacos but the downside is that it is only from 3-5pm on Tuesday thru Friday.

We tried a few different margarita options such as the Flaca (skinny marg with organic silver tequila, agave, and lime); the signature Lowrider (Don Julio Blanco with lime and Cointreau), and the Sergio el Suave (Milagro Anejo with pineapple, lime, agave, cilantro, and candid jalapeno). Warning these margs are smoooooth and go down like water but they pack a punch!

We started with the Guacamole del Barrio and Esquites (similar but not the same to the signature dish of Elote). The table-side guacamole was insane. So fresh with large chunks of avocado instead of just green mash. A special seasonal treat of pomegranate seeds were also included which gave it a nice bit of sweetness. Many of us also ordered the iconic dish of Chef Silvana which is the Chiles en Nogada (roasted poblano pepper filled with chicken, apple, pear, dried apricot, and pecans topped with almond cream sauce and cilantro, queso fresco, and pomegranate seeds). This dish was delicious! The sauce was much sweeter than expected and if you tried the pepper with just the filling it had a nice soft spice that could easily stand on its own without too much sauce.

We also tried a couple different Pescado del Dia since it was wild Alaskan Halibut; Veracruz style with onion, tomato, and black and green olives; and del Mar topped with shrimp, scallops, crab, chorizo, onion and roasted poblano. Yum!

Bill absolutely raved about his Enchiladas Suizas red onion, cilantro, Mexicana crema, and topped with chorizo. He said the chorizo was so perfectly done and not too greasy. It was so good he HAD to finish it all and left with “painfully full” tummy.

Don who is our resident Mole connoisseur ordered the Pollo en Mole and tried both the sweeter black and the spicier red. Both passed the Don test with a thumb’s up! Fred K had the center cut bone-in pork chop with chile sauce. He said it was cooked perfectly and the sauce was a sweeter chile sauce, which he enjoyed very much.

For dessert we sampled the Flan de mi Mami (traditional flan topped with candied pecans) and the Churros Rellanos de Cajeta de Cabra (churros filled with goat’s milk caramel and served with vanilla bean ice cream, more caramel, and candied pecans.) Whoo – talk about sweet but rich in flavor! But I wouldn’t expect anything less from a chef that started in a family Mexican bakery.

There is live music on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, as well as on Sunday afternoon. When we were there on a Saturday evening we enjoyed an upbeat duo with a guitar (and perhaps a conga drum?). Either way, they were fun, upbeat, and they graciously sang Happy Birthday to our very own Fred S. J

There was so much riding on this visit for me because of all the great things I had heard about it already and I am so pleased that they lived up to my every expectation! I can now say that I was able to enjoy the Barrio Café experience.

 
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Posted by on 09/14/2013 in Latin, Mexican

 

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