My Foodie Valentine:

Valley festivals abound

foodie-valentineBy Kathryn M. Miller ~ It’s February, and love is in the air. However, it’s not cupid’s arrow that is hitting its mark, but rather purveyors of all things food and drink who are sending a delectable love letter to Valley foodies – so get ready to celebrate the delicious diversity that can be found in town and around the state.

Beverages take the spotlight early with Arizona Beer Week (February 9-18), followed by Street Eats Fest (February 11-12), Arizona Cocktail Week (February 17-24) and PHX Vegan Food Festival (February 25).

Rounding out the month is a Valley favorite, the Devour Culinary Classic. The premier week long annual culinary celebration is hosted by Devour Phoenix, Local First Arizona, Phoenix Art Museum and Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance at several distinct venues in Phoenix. The goal of the events is to showcase Arizona’s celebrity culinary talent as well as its fine food and drink producers and purveyors, all while furthering Metro Phoenix as a dining destination worthy of international prestige.

The Devour Week of events will be held February 26 – March 5 with a series of events celebrating Arizona’s unique culinary talents. The main event, the Devour Culinary Classic, will be held Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5, at Phoenix Art Museum, where the Dorrance Sculpture Garden will come alive with tastings of food, wine, beer and cocktails, as well as cooking demonstrations and interactive stations where attendees will have a unique opportunity to meet and interact with Arizona chefs.

This year, Devour introduces the Devour Excellence Awards, culinary demonstrations and workshops, exciting new restaurants who have been invited to participate and an expanded local foods experience.

Not only has the Classic weekend of offerings expanded, Devour Week pre-events offer more opportunities to indulge, including Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition (kicking off February 26); the 7 chef Singh Along (March 1), which includes the Arizona Seven: Cullen Campbell (Crudo, Okra Cookhouse & Cocktails), Kelly Fletcher (El Chorro), Josh Hebert (Posh Improvisational Cuisine), Scott Holmes (Little Miss BBQ), Stephen Jones (the larder + the delta), Bernie Kantak (The Gladly, Citizen Public House) and Gio Osso (Virtù Honest Craft, Nico); Palette to Palate (March 2), which pairs Valley chefs with local artists; and a new event, Devour Film Screening: Elements at FilmBar (March 3).

veganSo whether residents like it shaken or stirred, sashimi or shishkabob – and everything in between – February and March will offer a delicious distraction for just about every palate.

For complete information on Devour Phoenix 2017, visit www.devourphoenix.com/classic.

Three Ways To Eat, Drink Or Go Vegan In February! Read more about Arizona Brew Week, Street Eats Festival and PHX Vegan Food Fest, click here and see page 40.

 

Love Letter From Arizona Brews & Blends

bartenderBy Kathryn M. Miller ~ It is February and love is in the air – but it’s a crafty, malty, hoppy, fruity, herby, spicy kind of affair, as the Valley celebrates all things beer, craft beverage and cocktail.

Kicking off a month of festivities is the Brewers Bowl craft beer festival February 6. Hosted by Bad Water Brewing in Downtown Scottsdale, the event showcases the burgeoning craft beer scene in Arizona, featuring 15 local breweries competing for “Best of Show” (won by North Mountain Brewing Company last year), live music and food trucks. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Paradise Valley Emergency Food Bank. Visit www.brewersbowl.com.

Continuing the love affair with craft beverages is the Crush Brew Craft Beverage Festival at the Scottsdale Waterfront February 19-20. Sample the latest trends in handcrafted beers, enjoy wines produced by small vineyards from the state and around the world and meet the distillers driving the craft spirits movement, all while enjoying music from local bands and a “Pizza Throw-Down.” Visit www.crushbrewfestival.com for details.

February also brings the 16th annual Arizona Beer Week (www.arizonabeerweek.com), presented by Arizona Craft Brewers Guild and celebrated February 11-20, with more than 150 events across the state. Its marquee event, Arizona Strong Beer Festival, will be held Saturday, February 13, at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. For details, visit www.craftbeeraz.com.

veggiesBut it is not all about the “brew,” as bars, lounges, restaurants, watering holes and drinking destinations across the state gear up for their own spirited celebration this month. The fifth annual Arizona Cocktail Week is back for another round February 13-21 with an all-new lineup of cocktail events, highlighted by the new Cocktailgating Festival, a three-day outdoor cocktail party hosted February 13-15 at Hotel Valley Ho. Among other new events, Agave Alley, a tequila-fueled bowling party Saturday, February 13, at Scottsdale Bowlmor, that also doubles as the official after party of the Cocktail Carnival. Returning favorites include the premier bartending competition, Last Slinger Standing, the award-winning Top Bars of America event featuring pop-up versions of the nation’s finest craft cocktail lounges and the Artisanal Spirit & Cocktail Market, showcasing the finest in local cocktail products, small-batch bitters, farm-fresh ingredients, demos and tastings in a farmer’s market-style format. Plus, all week long, guests can once again enjoy Imbibe & Dine cocktail and food pairing dinners at restaurants across Arizona. To ensure that everyone gets home safely, the event will offer special discounts to all attendees with Uber. Visit www.arizonacocktailweek.com for details. |CST

Arizona Cocktail Week Photos: Lisa Olson Photography

Back For Another Round: Arizona Cocktail Week

DrinkContestArizona’s statewide salute to cocktails and cocktail culture is back for another round as the fourth annual Arizona Cocktail Week (AZCW) returns February 14-21. The 2015 AZCW has a bigger and better line up including the Last Slinger Standing competition and even more pop-up bars at the Top Bars of America event.

A highlight is the Cocktail Carnival at the Hotel Valley Ho Saturday, February 14. This poolside shindig will showcase dozens of vendor booths, carnival games, aerial pool performers and countless cocktail tastings. The premier bartending competition, the Last Slinger Standing Event – Monday, February 16 – is hosted at the Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour in Downtown Phoenix. The Artisanal Spirit & Cocktail Market will also be back showcasing the finest in craft and boutique spirits, small-batch bitters, farm-fresh ingredients, demos and tastings in an appealing farmer’s market-style format. All week long, guests can take advantage of cocktail specials at favorite local bars and restaurants with the AZ Cocktail Week Wristband, purchased online or at any BEVMO store, enjoy Imbibe & Dine cocktail and food pairing dinners at restaurants across Arizona and more. For a complete details, visit www.arizonacocktailweek.com.

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