At The Whining Pig, friends and neighbors gather to nibble on cheese and charcuterie or freshly baked cookies while sipping glasses of wine and frosty beer. Guests imbibe the fine wines and beers at a shiny bar top decorated in a varnish of pennies—an ostentatious display of $32.67 in spare change. They can also relax at tables near the tavern's chalkboard wall, pausing every so often to add their own doodles. In the kitchen, the proprietor's dad slices up sausage from Schreiner's, pairing the meats with fresh fruits and savory cheeses for plates that perfectly accompany the vino.
At Ticoz Resto-Bar, the chefs draw from traditional Central American, South American, and Mexican recipes to whip up modern interpretations of authentic dishes such as tamales and enchiladas. Their menu includes grilled chicken doused in sherry chipotle sauce, street-style corn and flour tacos, and the cheesy housemade corn chips of Nachos Montana, named for the state's cheese-covered founder. Behind the bar, bartenders craft signature cocktails and martinis to complement the menu's innovative Latin flavors.
Meals and merriment unfold in an intimate lounge outfitted with dark woods, earth tones, and scarlet chairs and booths. Candles and a string of overhead lights illuminate a relaxing outdoor patio warmed by a space heater.
Once a week at Urban Beans, the sounds of a jazz band fill the room. As they listen, customers perch on mismatched chairs that give the space the kind of quirky charm that's usually attributed to a baby wearing a crossing-guard uniform. A look around the room yields visions of guests sipping coffee and munching on fresh pastries as they chatter or work, or ordering beer or wine to go with sandwiches and salads.
Every day, the chefs at Allen and Traci Thompson's award-winning The Grind cook their organic burgers in coal-fired ovens. At Chick Rotisserie & Wine Bar—the duo’s other restaurant, located just next door—the culinary team relies on an alternative means of preparation. Here, Chef Bevin O'Neil cooks free-range and organic meats on rotisserie racks before brushing them with homemade glazes such as peach barbecue and mandarin orange chutney. He supplements these meats with American comfort staples that include breads, soups, cinnamon buns, and whipped potatoes.
Guests can monitor the rotating rotisserie racks from an open-air dining room with floors of Aspen wood. They might be distracted, however, by a wine list with more than 40 varieties of reds and whites. Along with in-house meals, the Chick Rotisserie team sells entire to-go chickens that, unlike a middle-school dance, are entirely free of hormones.
What started with the brilliant idea to put a contemporary wine bar in the historic Arcadia Post Office building has blossomed into a three-location media favorite that was named the Best Wine Bar of 2011 by the Phoenix New Times. Wine merchant Brent Karlicek fills a global wine list with bottles hailing from Austria, Italy, Spain, and other global locales, and servers stay well-versed in the selection so they can recommend the right varietal for their diners' tastes. Meanwhile, a modest beer-tap lineup joins a lengthy list of craft bottles and cans from as nearby as Scottsdale and as far-flung as Belgium. Whatever libation you fancy, pair it with the food menu's variety of bruschetta, paninis, and artisan cheese boards, which can be used to fashion a full-size birdhouse if you order enough of them.
A plug-and-play wine-tasting service, Raising Glasses LLC helps local nonprofit organizations, sports teams, and individuals navigate the choppy waters of today's economy with professional wine-tasting fundraisers. The Raising Glasses staff handles all aspects of each event, including securing a venue, providing the wines, and developing a marketing campaign to get the word out. In addition to its fundraisers, the company draws from a deep barrel of knowledge to pour wine education into open ears at in-home tastings and informative series. Customers can also use Raising Glasses for party-planning assistance, during which an expert will help chefs pair wines with meal courses and explain regional differences in tastes so hosts know what language to speak when asking a bottle to attend the party.