Avery Pump[KY]n Is the Pumpkin Beer That Will Get You Drunk the Quickest

Beer: Pump[KY]n
Brewery: Avery Brewing Co.
Style: Imperial Porter
ABV: 17 percent

We are now in the thick of pumpkin-beer season. Beer labels, like leaves on trees, have shifted to shades of brown, black and orange. Pie spices and pumpkin puns can be found all over the place, and everyone wants to know: which of these gourd-based brews is the absolute gourdiest?

For myriad reasons that have to do with beer styles, availability and good old-fashioned personal taste, I can't tell you which pumpkin beer is best. I can, however, tell you which one will get you drunk the quickest: Avery Pump[KY]n.

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J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician Brings Flavors of Fall to the Table with New Menu

Categories: Events, Seasonal

Lauren Saria
The restaurant's seasonal menu blends fall flavors and traditional steakhouse fare.
Even the drive up to J&G Steakhouse, located at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, feels luxurious. A winding road leads you up and up until you reach the driveway of the resort, perched at the base of Camelback Mountain, when you can leave your car and enter one of the Valley's more beautiful and impressive resort properties. You'll find the restaurant on the fifth floor, giving diners impressive views of the Valley below while they enjoy some of the city's best steaks.

Last week we were invited to come experience the restaurant's new fall menu, one that blends celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's famous steakhouse fare with the flavors of the season. Who needs leaves changing color when you have squash gratin and caramelized Brussels sprouts?

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Hey, '90s Kids, Surge Soda Is Back!

JK Grence
Ohmigod ohmigod YES IT'S BACK!

The Guilty Pleasure: Surge soda.
Where to Get It: For now, exclusively on Amazon.com.
Price: $14 for a 12-pack.
What it Really Costs: New bigger cans mean even more empty calories per serving!

If you are of a certain age, you may well remember Surge soda. It was Coca-Cola's attempt in the 1990s to gain market share from Pepsi's perennially popular Mountain Dew.

The soda was marketed as an extreme citrus soda. Or, more likely back in the late 1990s, as an XTREME! citrus soda, with splashy graphics and people in commercials participating in intense sporting activities.

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Eight's Great GrillFest Brings America's Test Kitchen Stars to Peoria This Sunday

Categories: Events

Courtesy of Eight's Great GrillFest
Julia Collin Davison of America's Test Kitchen
This Sunday Arizona PBS will bring a handful of food and drink experts from across the country to Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia for a day of education, food, and drink at the second annual Eight's Great GrillFest. This year's special guests include Anthony Dias Blue, James Beard Foundation award-winning food and wine critic; Barbara Pool Fenzl, star of Eight's Savor the Southwest; Robert McGrath, James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and host of Eight's Check Please! Arizona; and two of the stars of America's Test Kitchen.

If you're not familiar with the half-hour cooking show, the general idea is that expert cooks perfect simple recipes to share them with American diners -- that means everything from a perfect omelet to a recipe for always-moist grilled pork tenderloin.

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Chris Collins of Grassroots Kitchen and Tap: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Categories: Pie Social

Lauren Saria
Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fifth annual Pie Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one through a quick Pie.Q. quiz to test their baking prowess.

Today: Chris Collins of Grassroots Kitchen and Tap

Chris Collins doesn't just like pie, he freakin' loves it. As proof, consider that his first job was carrying out pies at his dads' restaurant when he was just six years old -- and that was back when his pops, Wally of Wally's American Pub and Grill, ran the mother of all pie restaurants: Marie Callender's. Collins went on to serve pie -- not cake -- at his wedding and these days the chef lets his love for pie hang out at his two Valley restaurants. Both the Scottsdale and Phoenix locations of Grassroots offer pie for dessert, though Collins insists on making only one flavor at a time to ensure freshness. The Key Lime Pie has become the restaurant's signature offering; it's so popular that Collins says he recently had a customer break down in tears upon learning it isn't available everyday. (Word to the wise, call ahead.)

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"Fair" Versus "Direct" Trade -- What Does It All Mean?

Categories: Grind

Zaida Dedolph
Cartel Coffee is one of several local companies that prefer to work directly with coffee farmers.

When it comes to buying coffee most people are completely clueless. Shade Grown? Rainforest Alliance certified? Bird Friendly? Organic? There's no reason to be afraid of these labels, but there are some pretty understandable reasons to be skeptical of them.

For many people, there is a certain amount of mysticism regarding where that Coffee stuff actually comes from and how it gets here. Coffee is not a local crop. It won't ever be a local crop. Coffee plants require a very specific set of needs in order to grow and produce coffee cherries, and a whole other set of criteria in order to produce good coffee beans. But beyond quality, there's another issue that needs to be discussed, which is that coffee producing regions tend to be some of the most impoverished places in the world. This week we'll be debunking the issue of Sourcing, or in simple terms, where coffees come from and how the people who grow, harvest, and produce them are compensated.

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Pastry Guru Nick Malgieri Stops in Phoenix with His New Book Pastry

Categories: Books

Romulo Yanes
Nick Malgieri explores pastry in a new light.
Nick Malgieri has been at the pastry game for decades. He's been teaching classes on the topic in Phoenix for nearly 20 years at Les Gourmettes. From baking at home and watching Julia Child as a kid, he's come a long way and is now releasing a new cookbook simply titled Pastry. He spoke about his new recipes and some of the common misconceptions people have with baking.

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3 Best Places to Eat and Drink This Week in Metro Phoenix

Categories: Events

Courtesy of Sushi Roku
Sushi Roku
Monday, October 27 through Thursday, October 30

This week Sushi Roku in Scottsdale will be celebrating six years in business with a variety of dinner-only specials including half off your entire meal. The celebration will also include a two-course tasting menu with one dish from the sushi bar and one from the kitchen, paired with a glass of Veuve Clicquot French Champagne for $40 per person. Reservations are required to guarantee the 50 percent of dinner deal. Walk ins will be taken on a first come first served basis.

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Tracy Dempsey of Tracy Dempsey Originals Makes Original Bacon Pecan Brittle

Categories: The Trail

Today, we put bacon in everything. Seriously, everything. We're talking about bacon mayonnaise, bacon vodka, and yes, even bacon lube.

But a decade ago, that wasn't the case. So in 2004, when chef Tracy Dempsey decided to put some pork belly in a dessert, the reception wasn't what you'd expect given the current state of bacon-mania.

"People told me it was disgusting," Dempsey says.

Lucky for all of us with an appreciation for pork-filled after dinner treats, Dempsey's Bacon Pecan Brittle has since become the chef's signature creation. Dempsey says she goes through anywhere from 12 to 16 pans of the brittle every week. It's got a cult following and today we're finding out how she makes the sweet.

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Dana Stern of Bragg's Factory Diner: Pie Social Celebrity Bakers 2014

Categories: Pie Social

Heather Hoch
Dana Stern lives the pie life every day at Bragg's Factory Diner in Phoenix.
Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the fifth annual Pie Social from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, at the "What Should Go Here" Pop Up Park at Second and Roosevelt streets. We've got an all-star lineup of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now till Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one through a quick Pie.Q. quiz to test their baking prowess.

Today: Dana Stern of Bragg's Factory Diner

Don't get hung up on the vegan thing. Dana Stern says her vegan pies have been fooling co-workers and friends since before she was a professional baker and part-owner of Bragg's Factory Diner in downtown Phoenix. The added challenge of not using animal products keeps baking exciting for Stern, otherwise it's just "too easy," she says. Plus, she explains that the addition of healthy ingredients like flax seed means you can eat more pie because it's actually good for you -- right?

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