Looking for something to put in your mouth this weekend? We've got you covered. Check out what's on our plate.
29th Annual My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge
Great salsa is something often taken for granted in Arizona, where we have more Mexican restaurants and hot sauces than we know what to do with. This Saturday, salsa gets all the love it deserves at My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge, held at Tempe Beach Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pros and amateurs alike will be competing for the grand prize of $1000, and attendees can vote for their favorite to win the People's Choice Award. To help you cool off, there will also be a Margarita Mix-Off competition, which ends at 3:30. The festival features over 100 homemade salsas, 3000 pounds of tortilla chips, kids' activities, live music, and the Macayo's Food Court. Tickets are $10 in advance online, $15 at the gate, and $55 for VIPs, and proceeds will benefit the Arizona Hemophilia Association. Get tickets here.
s.e.e.d. Café's Sunday Cooking Class
Wish you could wow friends and family at the table with healthy, delicious dishes like chicken with guava salsa and sugar snap peas? Join s.e.e.d. Café from 1 to 2 p.m. this Sunday, April 28, for a class that walks all levels of home cooks through how to prepare a summery three-course meal. Chef Joe Meyers will offer tips and tricks about working with seasonal ingredients, making salad dressings from scratch, and how to find substitutes for unhealthy ingredients using fresh fare. In addition to preparing a roasted beet and fava bean salad, the chicken entrée, and mini strawberry tarts, students will also learn how to mix up a fabulous strawberry mojito. The class is $30 per person, and registration is available online.
There can never be too many events highlighting Arizona's independent culinary scene. And this Sunday, we're welcoming one more, the inaugural Check, Please! Arizona Festival (full disclosure: Chow Bella is a sponsor), which will bring together more than 35 restaurants previously featured on the popular restaurant-review series hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef Robert McGrath. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CityScape in downtown Phoenix, there will be cooking demonstrations, a James Beard Award winners' panel, food and plenty of craft beer and wine. Plus, fans can audition for a spot on the show. There's a long list of outstanding restaurants slated to participate, including Tuck Shop, Phoenix City Grille, Pomegranate Café, and Petite Maison. General admission tickets are $60 and include food as well as wine and beer sampling. For $100, VIPs get exclusive wine tastings, early entry, valet parking, and entrance to a private seminar with the winners' panel chefs.
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It goes without saying that every weekend is a great weekend to eat Chris Bianco's famous pizza. But now it's easier to find, and we're hoping that means less of a wait too (but don't hold your breath). The third location in the Bianco family, Italian Restaurant, has just received some big changes. Now it's a full-blown Pizzeria Bianco, and the chef-driven menu of pasta dishes and other Italian-American classics has moved to the living room-style dining area in the back, renamed Trattoria Bianco. The trattoria is only open in the evenings for now, but fans can stop by Town & Country for pizza -- and Pane Bianco sandwiches -- any time between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
If you're planning a relaxing ladies' afternoon on Sunday, don't miss this sweet deal at Queen Creek Olive Mill. Head out of the big city to enjoy a special event with beauty treatments and other indulgences. Part of the Mill's Blossom Festival, the Girlfriend Sunday session begins at 1 p.m. and includes a mini hand aromatherapy treatment, talks about the health and beauty benefits of olive oil, and a class about wine, cheese, and olive pairing. Guests will also receive a jar of sugar scrub as a special take-home gift and can enjoy a glass of wine for an additional $6. Arrive early to enjoy breakfast or lunch at Trattoria del Piero along with live music and complimentary wine tastings in the grove starting at 11 a.m. This event is $15 per person. Reservations are required; call Sara at 480-888-9290.