Last weekend Emily and I attended Phoenix Cooks, a food and wine tasting event to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
When Emily and I arrived we took a quick look into the main tasting area to see where all the action was at, then headed over to our first class of the day. Unfortunately we didn’t have such great luck with out choices and our first class was cancelled (and they were sold out of the olive oil tasting one I wanted to go to!). They happily let us go into any of the available classes at that time.
I have to admit that we majorly lucked out, because this class rocked. It was led by Chef Rita French of Province Restaurant, in Phoenix and chef David Viviano of The Westin Downtown Phoenix. Province has a really great passport series that I can’t wait to try out!
In the class they talked about Argentinian cooking, and explained how they are really big on charring veggies/meat and chimichurri (a herb chili sauce) which is like the ketchup (or ranch!) of Argentina. Here are a few of the tips they taught us about charring:
- Start with a hot (smoking hot!) pan
- Pure olive oil has a higher smoking point which will allow you to cook at a higher temperature, and prevents the oil from burning.
They put on an excellent class with lots of other useful tips too, like how to season a cast iron pan. They said the best way is to rub it with oil and salt, then bake it in the oven. They also stressed the importance of drying your cast iron pans thoroughly so that they don’t rust.
They made small plates for each of us to taste the dishes they cooked in the class. Let me start by saying that this is the best steak I’ve ever had. Emily and I both hardly ever eat beef and we were both blown away at this dish. What was even more shocking, was that they made it in a pan on a burner in the middle of a conference room. I was in awe.
After our class we headed out to the main banquet room to check out all of the food and wine tasting:
In the picture above that was some sort of sweet and spicy goat cheese..not exactly sure of the specifics but it was tasty! And I might have a new favorite beer – the Alaskan Brewing Company white wheat ale was really good (I may have gone back later to get a second little cup )
Here are a few more photo’s I snapped of some of the stuff we ate. There was almost no way for me to photograph everything so there are just tidbits!
They also had a couple of stages set up throughout the event with cooking demos and whatnot. Here are a few shots of a Chopped like competition they were having at one of them.
Later in the afternoon we headed to out second class: Indigenous Wines of Umbria – Umbria is the center region of Italy.
This class was lead by one of the owners of the vineyard – he told us that his entire family works for the vineyard in Italy, which was kinda cool. He also told us that people in Italy love boxed wine and that it isn’t viewed the same as it is in the United States. Very interesting..
After wandering around a little Emily and I started to wonder why we hadn’t seen any desserts yet. We eventually asked someone and they told us there was an entire other section of tables…oops! And that is where we found the most delicious things we ate all day (the steak at our class was pretty good too!):
Lobster mashed potatoes from Mastro’s. These were so good! I really wanted to go back over there and get a second serving, but I decided to be a lady and only have one haha. Once I realized where they were from, it occurred to me that my dad used to work for them a few years ago – why the heck didn’t I take advantage of that delicious food sooner?! And my second thought was to see if my dad could hook me up with the recipe! Ahh soo yummy, I can’t believe we almost missed it!
Aaand moving along… This was the most tasty dessert we had all day. I can’t remember which table it was from, but it was good!
And the winner for best tequila of the day goes to Kah tequila blanco. I think it might get added into our rotation!
Overall it was a fantastic day – we got to try so many wonderful new foods from some of Phoenix’s best restaurants (and got to indulge in a little wine hehe). So if your in the Phoenix area on August 31st next year, I encourage you to check out Phoenix Cooks!