Writer Shoshana Leon

Photography Courtesy of Aaron Markus, Hermosa Inn, The Phoenician, 

Mountain Shadows and Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the best things about summertime in Phoenix is that many restaurants and resorts offer special menus and dining events. With fewer visitors coming into town and residents escaping to cooler temperatures during the summer, there are many opportunities to enjoy spectacular dining experiences across the Valley of the hot, blistering, summer sun. 

Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine

During the summer months and into the fall, Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine in Cave Creek hosts monthly collaboration dinners and casual indoor picnics with live music, guest chefs, beverage tastings, and local suppliers and merchants.

Cartwright’s celebrates the food of Arizona and local suppliers in the summer and all year long. 

“We have foraging teams all over the state collecting wild foods of Arizona to showcase at our restaurant,” said Cartwright’s chef-owner Brett Vibber. “We pair that with close relationships with our farmers and suppliers. 

“I want our food to tell a story of the past, the present and where we are going. My hope is that our passion for what we do is transferred onto every guest’s plate.”

Cartwright’s Aug. 28 dinner features Arizona charcuterie with Chef Joe Rodger of Indian Gardens Café and Market in Sedona. 

The Sept. 25 dinner highlights Arizona meats with Chef Dom Ruggiero of Hush Public House, a Scottsdale restaurant that opened earlier this year to high praise from critics and diners. 

“When you get two chefs together who are passionate about their craft, you can make magic happen,” said Chef Vibber. “I feel like people are a lot more interested in learning about where their food comes from, and it has been exciting to watch. 

“These dinners serve as networking events where chefs get to meet farmers and suppliers, and diners get to meet chefs and winemakers. It is also nice for my kitchen crew to be exposed to new ideas that help them continue to grow as chefs.”

LON’s at Hermosa Inn

Local resorts provide summer dining options with stunning settings and acclaimed restaurants led by some of the Valley’s most talented chefs. In addition to staycation deals and spa discounts, many resorts offer special summer menus and dining series to attract locals. 

LON’s at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley offers a three-course Taste of Summer menu for $49 through Sept. 15. 

“The menu highlights summer produce, including squash blossoms from McClendon Select and Abby Lee tomatoes,” said Melanie Volkers, director of sales and marketing at the Hermosa Inn. 

“Locals look forward to summer when stuffed squash blossoms are back on the menu. This summer, they are stuffed with chorizo and cheddar, and served with corn pudding and pickled peppers. Another Taste of Summer favorite is the cucumber gazpacho with Dungeness crab, marinated melon and piquillo pepper emulsion.”

For a truly unique summer dining experience, guests can enjoy a five-course menu for $69 in LON’s wine cellar with an optional wine pairing for $35 Thursday through Sunday. 

“Our wine cellar is our most coveted private dining room,” said Volkers. “Typically, the only way guests can dine in the wine cellar is if they are attending a private event. However, every summer we open it on weekends.” Those reservations are available seven days in advance.     

Talavera at the Four Seasons         

At Talavera at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, the Summer in Seville menu for two is available Wednesday through Sunday during August. The $98 menu includes sangria or txakolina, a Spanish sparkling white wine, tapas and vegetable dishes to share, and Talavera Chef de Cuisine Samantha Sanz’s summer version of her signature paella.

“Summer in Seville is perfect for date night or a fun time with friends,” said Chef Sanz. “The menu is designed for sharing and is focused on seasonality. We have beautiful dishes that showcase the bounty of summer, like our corn paella with chorizo de Bilbao, clams and prawns.” 

In addition to the Summer in Seville menu, Talavera is offering monthly interactive dinner experiences for $125, including the Latin Heat dinner Aug. 29, and Nights in San Sebastian Sept. 19, featuring pintxos—small appetizers that are popular in the Basque region of northern Spain.

“The team wanted to come up with a concept that would be fun and interactive for our guests,” said Chef Sanz. “The Latin Heat dinner is inspired by the rich culture of Latin America. We will have dishes like arepas, mofongo and ceviches, and refreshing cocktails, perfect for our August weather.

“The San Sebastian dinner will have interactive pintxo stations, offering a variety of fun little bites packed with flavor and inspiration, paired with Spanish ciders and txakolina.” 

More Specials to Savor

Other resort restaurants offering summer dining specials include Different Pointe of View at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in North Phoenix. Known for its breathtaking views, excellent service and romantic ambience, Different Pointe of View’s summer prix-fixe menu for $44 has three courses with optional wine pairings. Menu options include lobster bisque, sea bass, steak, creme brûlée and lemon blueberry cheesecake.

Elements at the Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley has a three-course, prix-fixe menu for $54 and half-off select bottles of wine Sunday through Wednesday until Aug. 28. Sanctuary is also hosting intimate Breaking Bread wine dinners Aug. 10 and 24. 

J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician in Scottsdale offers a three-course meal for $45 through Sept. 19 with options including raspberry gazpacho, charred corn ravioli, flat iron steak and warm chocolate cake. The Phoenician also offers summer specials on afternoon tea, flatbread and a bottle of wine for $25 at Mowry & Cotton, and Champagne Saturdays Aug. 3 and 17 featuring champagne options, hot and cold appetizers, and desserts.

In addition to a three-course menu for $46 and half-price bottles of wine Sunday through Thursday during the month of August, Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley continues its monthly Sunday Supper Club throughout the summer with guest chefs partnering with Executive Chef Charles Wiley to create four-coursers paired with beverages. Guest chefs include Mel Mecinas of Scottsdale National Golf Club Aug.18, and Beau MacMillan of Sanctuary Resort Sept. 15. 

While it may be too hot to stand over the stove or man the grill during the steamy Phoenix summer, there are plenty of opportunities to leave the kitchen and enjoy fine wine, local fare and good company at some of the Valley’s best restaurants and resorts.