5 Best Things to Eat and Drink This Weekend in Metro Phoenix

The Great Arizona Picnic Saturday, April 12

This Saturday and Sunday the Great Arizona Picnic will take over the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall in downtown Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Culinary Festival's signature two-day event will offer plenty for food and drink lovers of all types, including food samples from over 50 Valley restaurants, cooking demonstrations, and live music on three stages. The event also includes the Epicurian Expo, a showcase of cookware, knives and cutting-edge appliances, and the Southwest Festival of Beers, which will bring 200 specialty beers and some local breweries together for $1 beer samples. Tickets to the picnic, which runs from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 6 p.m. on Sunday, cost $10 a person. Additional tickets are needed for admission to the Epicurian Expo, Southwest Festival of Beers, and other events. For more information see the Scottsdale Culinary Festival website.

See also: Beth "Ms. American Pie" Howard to Visit Changing Hands on April 16 (Yes, There Will Be Pie)

Dinner d'Arte Pop-Up Dinner &White Party Saturday, April 12

A traveling pop-up dinner event will hit the Valley this weekend. Inspired by the annual Dîner en Blanc event in Paris, Dinner D'Arte brings together food and art lovers for a flash mob-style dinner. Guests, who are asked to dress in all white, are invited to bring decorations for tables and chair (which will be provided) as well as a full picnic dinner and non-alcoholic beverages. The organizers will bring the wine, music, and art. Tickets to the event cost $35 a person and proceeds go to The Care Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides support for families of seriously ill children. The location of the event will be announced to ticket holders four hours prior to the event's start. The dinner goes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information visit the Dinner D'Arte website.

South African Food and Wine Tour Saturday, April 12

Get to know South African cuisine and wine this weekend when the traveling South African Food and Wine Tour arrives in the Valley. The tour, sponsored by Wines of South Africa, brings chef Hugo Uys to the Westin Keirland Resort and Spa to introduce attendees to traditional South African bbq called braai and specialty side dishes inspired by the Valley. The event will also feature entertainment from mutli-media artist Xander Ferrara. Scottsdale is the second stop on the ten-city tour, which began in New Orleans. The inspiration for the event is to "promote a better understanding of South African culture through wine and food." Tickets, which include unlimited food and drink, cost $25 a person and can be purchased online.

Big Band Saturday at The Farm at South Mountain Saturday, April 12

There's nothing better than a free, family-friendly event and that's exactly what Big Band Saturday at The Farm at South Mountain will be. From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. the farm will welcome Upper East Side Big Band, Arizona's premier swing orchestra, who will play vintage jazz, early blues and be-bop in the farm's pecan grove. Families, kids, and dogs are invited to come enjoy the music and a meal at the The Farm Kitchen. Reservations for the event are not required. Seating will be on a first come first served basis.

Best of the Fest Sunday, April 13

Of all the Scottsdale Culinary Festival events, the Best of the Fest dinner at the Scottsdale Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa is one of our favorites. The festival's grande finale event brings together eight of the Valley's top chefs, each of whom will prepare a five-course, wine-paired meal for two tables of guests. Everything will be cooked table side and winery representatives will be on hand to talk about the pairings. This year's participating chefs include chef James Ducas of Lon's at the Hermosa Inn, chef Joshua Hebert of Posh, chef Mel Mecinas of Talavera, and chef Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro. Tickets to the dinner, which starts at 6:30 p.m., cost $125 a person and can be purchased online.

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