Category - Eat

1
An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert
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Even Stevens Sandwiches Opens Location in Arcadia
3
Růže Cake House + Teaspressa Open in Scottsdale

An Enchanted Dinner In the Desert

Cloth & Flame, desert dinner, Phoenix, desert

I had first heard about the Cloth & Flame desert dinners when I met Matt Cooley and Olivia Laux during Phoestivus 2016. The duo come from two different backgrounds. Olivia worked in chemical engineering; while Matt worked in tourism in Alaska, and worked wholesale for an ice cream shop in Oregon.

Cloth & Flame was born on the premise of encouraging community, and inspiring people into helping protect the Sonoran Desert and wilderness areas here in Arizona. According to the website, “We pay to lease land for our dinners, so areas that might otherwise be developed can act instead as a source of income for the landowner. We also give 10% of every dinners’ proceeds to great coalitions that work to preserve migratory routes and wild places in our inimitable state.”

They had first included the dinners along with their balloon tours, but as of December 31st 2016, they branched out to also just do the dinners. “We just realized that more could be done with it. It’s just stunning out there and so many people in our community never have the chance to really spend time in the desert, or just don’t know where to begin. We started collaborating with local chefs and artisans, and realized that others are inspired by the desert too, and the rest is history,” Matt further explained. 

I had the chance to experience this magical desert bespoke, alfresco-style meal recently, and was just so impressed at the whole concept. I arrived that their North Phoenix office, which was the official meet-up point. After a brief introduction, and what to expect, we were loaded into two vans and drove to the destination.

About a half-hour later, we arrived in the heart of the desert; away from the city and freeways. The long community-style wooden table and benches were set up amongst the saguaros and cholla. The table was set with desert florals, china, and silverware. It was like a bohemian fairytale.

We started out with a cocktail hour, accompanied with an appetizer. While most everyone had the ceviche, myself and a couple other vegetarians had the kimchi “crackers” and guacamole. It was actually really good! It had just enough spice for a small kick, but the guacamole leveled it out with just the right amount of flavor.

 Kimchi and guacamole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Kimchi “Crackers” and Guacamole

 

After cocktail hour, we all gathered at the table, where Matt and Olivia introduced themselves and told us about the company. We then feasted on the first course. My vegetarian version was the Charred Spring Pea Toast. Again, didn’t disappoint. I definitely could’ve eaten more than one of those.

Charred Spring Pea Toast, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Spring Pea Toast

Next up was the pozole. Again, I had the meatless version. Mushrooms floated in this amazing broth, that had somewhat of a spicy kick. The cabbage and lime were added as extra flavor. Definitely one of those dishes that I could eat over and over.

Vegetable Pozole, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Vegetable Pozole

The main entree for me was the Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, and Spring Vegetables. I really loved the flavor of the charred cauliflower, which I also mixed in with the kimchi potato salad, making for an effortless flavorful combination.

Charred cauliflower, kimchi potato salad, spring vegetables, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Charred Cauliflower, Kimchi Potato Salad, Spring Vegetables

Our last course was dessert. We had the Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon. Goodness, what a great way to end an evening in the desert.

Pistachio pound cake, citrus, mint meringues, and citrus sabayon, Cloth & Flame, desert dinner

Pistachio Pound Cake, Citrus, Mint Meringues, and Citrus Sabayon

I want to personally thank (and e-hug) the following people that made that night possible and inspiring: Chefs Brent Kille and Donny Hawk from Okra and The Gladly respectively. The Cloth & Flame team: Olivia Laux and Matt Cooley- Co-Owners, Alana Tivnan- Events and Growth Manager,  Holly Ruggerio- Director of Operations, and Derek Christensen- Head Chef.

Be sure to also follow Cloth & Flame on Facebook and Instagram.

Even Stevens Sandwiches Opens Location in Arcadia

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Salt Lake City-based eatery Even Stevens had a recent grand opening of a location in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix. The craft-casual restaurant specializes in sandwiches, salads, breakfast, and other bites; while also bringing customers a sense of local attributes. Even Stevens also has a huge heart. They believe in “eat one, give one,” in that for each sandwich bought in store, they donate a sandwich to a local non-profit.

The folks at Even Stevens explain, “Eat to give turns customers into benefactors, investing in the community’s well-being and creating sustainable change. We aren’t handing out bologna sandwiches at the park. We’re partnering with non-profits who we’ve identified as partners, and donate healthy, fresh sandwich-making ingredients to bolster their meal programs. Saving them cash and allowing for reallocation into the programs they care about. Food connects everyone, and the culinary experience at Even Stevens begins with that understanding. By sourcing local and sourcing craft, welcome the community into our supply chain of love. By offering fresh takes on nostalgic recipes, we connect to our personal and collective roots through our palate.”

The Even Stevens Arcadia location paired with four non-profit beneficiaries: Native American Connections, ICM Food and Clothing Bank, Friendly House, and Joshua Tree Feeding Program. They also collaborated with Peixoto Coffee, San Tan Brewing Company, Proof Bread, and other local vendors for food and beverage partnerships.

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

I attended their “Hype Night,” a couple days before the official grand opening celebration. Guests were able to try the dishes, mix, mingle, and learn about the new store. I met the store’s designer- Daniel Packman, with Design Blue– who told me a little about the store’s unique features, such as that the tables were creating using 1930s bowling lanes. The store’s overall design was inspired by Arcadia’s rich citrus farming history. A bright color palette coincided with rustic accents, including reclaimed barn doors. The restrooms were inspired by vibrant indoor potting sheds, and even includes lotions and handy sprays in the convenient shelving. Don’t forget to also “Wash Yo Hands!”

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

I had the Jackfruit Torta, salad, pickle, and the Brava Tots- seen above. You guys… the photo doesn’t do the food justice. The sandwich had jackfruit carnitas, pepitas, guacamole, salsa morita, radish, cilantro, lettuce, pickled onions- all lovingly put between a sweet bun. The food was fresh and delicious. The Brava Tots- whomever invented those deserves a hug. The tots were sprinkled with smokey paprika, with Brava Aioli sauce drizzled on top. Best tater tots EVER!

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

Even Stevens Arcadia Grand Opening, Phoenix events, Phoenix restaurant

I ended my evening by doing a cheesy slo-mo video provided by Crazy Shotz (see below).

 

 

Růže Cake House + Teaspressa Open in Scottsdale

Ruze Cake House, Teaspressa, tea shop, Scottsdale

I’ve been following Růže Cake House for quite some time on Instagram, and had fallen in love with their minimalist cactus macarons, cookies,  and succulent-themed cakes. When I heard that they had recently opened up a brick n’ mortar, I was beyond thrilled to go check it out.

The newly-opened (August 26th 2016) space is located in a small shopping center in downtown Scottsdale. The iconic and most instagrammed white neon sign “Stop and Taste the Roses” catches my eye immediately. The quaint retail space is minimal, with white walls, light wood tables, copper chairs and accents, and of course – plants and succulents. The front of the house offers the day’s pastry selections, menu, and the tea station. The cupcakes, croissants, macaroons, and cookies are made fresh daily. The macarons and cupcakes are a huge “thumbs-up” in my book, as well as the London Fog and Růže Tea Lattes.

Ruze Cake House, Teaspressa, Scottsdale, sign, neon sign

Jessica Rose Boutwell and her mother started the baking business together after her mother baked a cake for a friend, who was having a wedding at El Chorro. Later, the wedding venue contacted them, saying, “Who are you? Your cake was amazing! We want to refer you to brides.” After meeting with the catering manager at El Chorro, they realized that there wasn’t really anyone in the Valley that offers cakes that are made from natural ingredients.  That’s when her mom said she was going into business. Jessica wasn’t originally going to be involved, but when her mom came to her, saying “Ok, I came up with some names… How do you like ‘Mommy and Me Bakery’?”

From that point on, Jessica immediately became heavily involved, though more so on the design and creative aspects, such as contributing to designing the cakes. It’s now a 50/50 partnership, with her mother doing more of the baking and recipes, and Jessica doing the concepts , working with clients, marketing and general business side of things.

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

The anatomy of a name… They pronounce it “Rooze”, but it’s růže in Czech (since they are Czech). Jessica’s middle name is “rose,” and when they first started, they worked out of the house…so Růže Cake House clearly made so much sense.

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

Aside from using natural ingredients, they also source from local dairies, have free-range chickens and feed them organic diets. These chickens provide eggs for the curds (prickly pear and lemon curds) …

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

Best-sellers? Their cactus cookies, macarons with succulents, and pink velvet wedding cake that’s made with white chocolate.

Jessica’s other business partner and owner of Teaspressa– Allison and her have been collaborating since last year. They decided to merge the businesses because their brands were aligned, they had the same clientele-base, and they were both looking for a space.  Jessica and her mother were looking for a commercial kitchen, while Allison was looking for a retail space. So instead of outsourcing pastries or coffee and tea, they thought, why not just merge. “To have two separate locations wouldn’t make sense, since we’d be getting products from each other anyway.”

Allison DeVane has always been a coffee fan.  She wanted to start a business, but since the coffee business is so popular, she decided to focus on tea, which is a healthier alternative. She was on Shark tank, which brought her to where she is today. She learned quite a lot and got great publicity. Teaspressa officially launched February 2015, and has since participated in numerous local markets and events throughout the Phoenix area.

Making the tea is like making an espresso, hence the name- Teaspressa. You have the concentrated shots of tea, then add the flavors, and then foam and steam the milk. Allison mentioned that she really loves steaming the milk and making latte art out of it, the most. She has a patent pending on the ‘made in the USA’ machine that she uses to create the tea lattes. “I make the tea in coffee language: such as  “tea americano,” “tea latte,” “tea cappuccino;” and it’s basically the anatomy of the espresso, but with tea.”

Her best-sellers are (online) black and earl grey teas, (in-store) Růže and London Fog Tea Lattes.

Stay tuned for a collaboration with Jessica, as they will be making a line of all-natural flavored syrups.

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

Růže Cake House + Teaspressa is located at: 7033 E. Main St., Ste. 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

They are open Wednesday – Friday: 8am-6pm, and Saturday -Sunday: 10-4.

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

ruze cake house, teaspressa, scottsdale, bakery, tea shop

 

 

 

 

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