Devour Bartending Competition Sunday, February 9
We still have a while to wait (sigh) until Devour comes around, but you can get your first taste of the culinary action this weekend, when the state's up-and-coming and established bartenders go head to head during the fifth annual Devour Bartending Competition. The lineup of "Star-tenders" includes Jax Gonzales of Phoenix Public Market Café, Michael Allmandinger of The Parlor, Manny Pena of Windsor, Evan Gibbs of Maizie's Café, Ryan Richardson of Kazimierz World Wine Bar, and Matt Tobey of District American Kitchen. The competition begins at 2 p.m. at Crescent Ballroom. Tickets cost $20 and include samples of seven cocktails and three sets of live acoustic music. For more information, visit the Crescent Ballroom website.
Taste In Tempe Sunday, February 9
This Sunday, Valley chefs will head to Tempe Center for the Arts to celebrate the first Taste in Tempe event. From 1 to 4 p.m., attendees will be able to sample food and wine, check out cooking demonstrations, and hear live music and entertainment from local radio personalities. Participating restaurants include 24 Carrots, La Bocca urban pizzeria + wine bar, The Lodge, and The Handlebar Tempe. Participating breweries include Four Peaks Brewery, and SanTan Brewing Company. There will also be a special appearance by Mike Ditka, the Chicago Bears Hall of Famer, as well as cooking demos from Chef Mark Dow of La Bocca and Chef Sunil Kumar of Bombay Spice Indian Grill. Tickets cost $59 for general admission and can be purchased online.
"Sweets for the Sweet" Class Sunday, February 9
We've given you plenty of ideas about where to buy Valentine's Day treats for your love this year, but if you're going for a truly personal touch Denise Clayton of Denise Is Cooking can help you out. This Sunday, she'll host a "Sweets for the Sweet" class where you can learn how to make decadent homemade candy, filled chocolates, exotic spiced caramels and chocolate dipped strawberry marshmallow hearts. The $45 class fee includes recipes, a light lunch and a pink bakery box. The class runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register sign up online.
Sundays in Paradise Sunday, February 9
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Starting this weekend and continuing through the end of March, the Sanctuary Resort and Spa in Paradise will host its Sundays in Paradise music series. The weekly event takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. on the patio of the newly redesigned jade bar. Admission costs $5 a person and this week's show will feature the Joe Costello Syndicate, a jazz group that holds residency gigs at both the Montelucia Resort and Spa and Kazimierz World Wine Bar. Food and drinks are available a la carte, of go all in with a Gourmet Picnic Package ($65) that includes admission for two, preferred seating, a bottle of wine, choice of appetizer, and a blanket for the afternoon. Call 480-607-2300 for a reservation.
Noble Bread Knife
Jason Raducha's Noble Bread, the small-scale bakery making artisan bread using Old World techniques, has teamed up with Eytan Zias of Phoenix Knife House to offer custom-made Noble Bread knives. The Japanese-made knives feature a 10.5-nch scalloped edge made with a special molybdenum-vanadium steel designed to remain sharp for long periods of time. Each knife, which is also inscribed with the Noble Bread logo, costs $69 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the CulinaryWorks program of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center's Vocational & Life Skills Academy. You can order your knife online and select to pick it up at a farmers market near you -- along with a loaf or two of Noble's country bread, of course.