Top Five Phoenix Food Stories of the Week

Categories: Chow Bella

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Every week, there's a cornucopia of Phoenix food news, features, and reviews to report here at Chow Bella. If you're like most people, you probably just don't have the time to get to all of it. It's kind of like those burgers at Old Town Whiskey; it just won't all fit in your mouth ... or in this case, your day. So, here's a recap of some of the top stories from the week that you may have missed.

AZ Hops & Vines in Sonoita Grows Arizona's First Commercial Hops Crop

Photo by Nikki Buchanan
Hops on the vine.
Nowadays, the rolling grasslands of Sonoita and Elgin are better known for wineries than big cattle ranches. But apparently, grapes aren't destined to be the only gold in them thar hills.

Shannon Austin Zouzoulas and Megan Austin Haller -- two 30-something sisters who just opened AZ Hops & Vines (their self-described "cheeky little winery" in Sonoita) in March of this year -- have also harvested their first crop of hops this week, the first hops commercially grown in the state of Arizona.

These chicks don't fool around.

They started out with grapes two years ago, planting six acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Grenache and Graciano. Because their grapes are still young (most wineries wait three years to harvest them for wine-making), they are currently offering six wines they've made using grapes sourced from other Arizona and California vineyards (including Stag's Leap for their big bad Imbibe).

Cheeky though they may be, these savvy sisters didn't go at this venture blindly. Check out the full story.

--Nikki Buchanan

Chris Bianco Writing Pizza Cookbook with Local-Food Movement Guru Gary Nabhan

Photo by Claire Lawton
Chris Bianco
Word's been out for a while that Chris Bianco's writing a book -- but Chow Bella just got the scoop on his co-author: local-food movement guru Gary Nabhan.

When it comes to understanding flour, dough, yeast, tomatoes, olive oils and other artisanal ingredients, heat sources and the whole pizza shebang -- Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco is the indisputable MAN. He's the only pizza-maker to ever win a James Beard Award (Best Chef Southwest, 2003), and his cramped but cozy pizza restaurant has earned accolades from every important food publication in the country, including "best pizza" from Bon Appetit and "best pizza in the nation" from Ed Levine of the New York Times.

And now that it's time to write it down, Bianco's keeping it classy by sharing everything he knows about pizza in a cookbook. Find out more about when and where you can get the "pizza bible."

--Nikki Buchanan

Arizona Restaurant Week Fall 2012 Is Coming. Have You Made Your Reservations?

Citizen Public House
Have you heard the news? Arizona Restaurant Week 2012: The Fall Edition is right around the corner. September 15 to 23, to be exact. And more than 200 restaurants across Phoenix and Tucson are participating with special three-course meals. Do you know where you're eating yet?

Well, you'd better head over to the website and decide because reservations (especially to the extra-fancy spots) fill up quickly. We've heard that Binkley's (which almost always sells out during restaurant week) is booking up already and it hasn't even posted its menu.

Find out more about participating restaurants, menus, and prices.

--Shannon Armour

Location Info


1840 S. Val Vista Dr, Mesa, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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