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Hotel Thrillist Phoenix was one of the highlights of my summer. Good food, tantalizing cocktails and great company made for a perfect weekend. Thrillist had everything on point, from the music and the vibe, to the entertainment (mermaids in the pool, drones potentially crashing into things, custom decor, etc.). It is actually difficult to sum it up in words because it was just that fun, but I will do my best.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix - cocktails

Hotel Thrillist

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast

For one night, 16 amazing local restaurants came together on the rooftop of the W Scottsdale to serve up some of their best dishes, including some special off-menu items. The W Wet Deck bars mixed Jack Fire with magic to make a sweet tea cocktail that tasted like autumn in a glass, even though the weekend made it feel like summer would never end in Arizona.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Autumn Cocktails

In my opinion the two winning restaurants were Gadzooks and Sumo Maya – not that it was a competition, but Gadzooks served a ridiculous taco. Starting with handmade half corn/half flour tortillas, they piled on tomatillo roasted chicken, sweet slaw, spicy-sweet cornbread, and drizzled creamy flavor-packed sauces on top and I just couldn’t tear myself away. But luckily I saved some room because we made it to Sumo Maya’s booth near the end of our evening, and OH man, maybe I’m just a sucker for sushi, but I couldn’t get enough. It didn’t hurt that there were flower petals on top.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Gadzooks Taco

Gadzooks Taco

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Tacos from Diego Pops

Diego Pops Tacos

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Feast - Sumo Maya

Sumo Maya

Some of my other favorites included Diego Pop’s, Tabasco’s chocolate fountain (!!!), Lolo’s Chicken and Waffles, and Snooze Eatery.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix

Hotel Thrillist Pool Party

For some reason I thought the good eats were reserved for Friday night only, but I was wrong. The chefs for the Hotel Thrillist Pool Party seriously delivered, serving up roasted pork bahn mi, boozy shaved ice, a DIY taco bar, sweet corn and crab bites – and – Grilled Sea Bass with Citrus Jalapeno Beurre Blanc (recipe below). I was completely enchanted by this grilled sea bass. The grill itself was somehow a cross between a mini smoker and a grill and I now need to figure out how to make one for myself, because this sea bass needs to be a regular thing at my house.

Hotel Thrillist - Grilled Sea Bass

I want to cook everything on that grill. It had pieces of wood sending smoke straight up into the fish like grilled heaven, but it was the sauce that completed it; creamy, vibrant, and impossibly silky. You have to taste it to believe it because words do not do it justice.

Hotel Thrillist Phoenix Pool Party - Sweet Crab Salads & Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Sweet Corn & Crab

On this day, the W Wet Deck bars mixed even better cocktails which I did not know was possible; I was so not a whiskey person but now I am? and I know I need to keep Jack Fire and Jack Honey on hand so that I can sip Autumn cocktails and (alcoholic) apple pie in a glass whenever I feel like it. These cocktails perfectly set the tone for the beginning of Fall and I’m excited to whip them up come Thanksgiving. Check out the recipes below for an easy Autumn cocktail & grilled Sea Bass. If Hotel Thrillist is featured in your city next year, you can’t miss it!

Fiery Smashed Apple Cocktail

1 ½ oz Jack Fire
1 oz sour mix
Fill with apple juice (chilled)
Build ingredients in order in a glass with no ice.

Chilean Seabass Skewers with Citrus Green Jalepeno Tabasco Beurre Blanc

Hotel Thrillist Sea Bass

1 1/4 lb Chilean Seabass (if not readily available, Salmon, Shrimp or even Scallops make a great substitute)
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 orange (Zested and Juiced)
1 lemon (Zested and Juiced)
1 lime (Zested and Juiced)
1 diced jalepeno
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2oz Green Jalepeno Tabasco
4 tbsp cold butter
Cilantro and/or micro greens, to garnish

Directions

Place milk, cream, garlic and Jalapeno together in a sauce pot and bring to a slight simmer. Remove from heat and strain. Add to the strained cream the zest and juice from the three types of citrus and return to the stove and reduce by half.

Once reduced, remove from heat and add Greem Jalapeno Tabasco and 4 tbsp butter. Whisk together untill butter is completely melted.

Cut fish into 1×1 cubes and place 4 pieces on a skewer.
Place skewers onto a hot grill and cook both sides till cooked through (about 3 minutes per side)

Generously coat skewers with Beurre Blanc sauce and top with chopped cilantro and/or micro greens.
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