Celebrate tequila, food and live music at the coolest party in the desert? Now, that sounded right up our alley, so when friends invited us to attend Agave on the Rocks at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, of course we said yes!!
This is a annual fundraiser for the Desert Botanical Gardens whose mission is to help people understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty. For more than 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world so it was great to be able to attend their gala and support the cause.
The gardens were magical by night with the desertscape lit up by multi-colored lights and the temperature was perfect for wandering the 140 acres. Upon arrival we were treated to a refreshing margarita (aren’t all margaritas refreshing?) in a glowing glass. From there we made our way to one of the areas in the gardens where culinary treats prepared by some of the Valley’s best restaurants and caterers were being served.
Throughout the night, there was a rotation of bands, most of whom were from the local phoenix area. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers are an area favorite and they were fun to listen to. One of our favorites was a small band led by Miguel Melgoza. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, this singer-songwriter, drummer and percussionist began playing music professionally after moving to Phoenix, AZ. I was really impressed with talent in this three-man band, especially Miguel who is a drummer and the lead singer – that’s kinda unusual.
Having spent the last 12 year of my career in the non-profit sector, I have attended some really nice fundraisers and I must say that the Desert Botanical Garden did a really nice job. My only criticism was that the Mexican Moonshine Tequila and food pairing experience was lame. The tequila and food itself was good but standing in a que for what seemed like forever because there was only one tasting bar was what was LAME. I also wasn’t impressed by the signature cocktails that were served at the bars which were well located all over the gardens. Guess I was spoiled by my colleagues at the Oregon Humane Society who knew how to mix some damn fine cocktails. Miss you Barb, you would have loved this event!!!
No one went hungry… “Main Stage” Ceviche served in a tortilla cup with plantain chips, Spanish “Rock” Corn Cakes with chili braised beef, Olive Citrus Polenta Cake with whipped cream and strawberry cigars.
“Spotlight” Southwestern Style Paella with cilantro crema, Ibarra Chocolate Pot de Crème with Southwest chile threads, Red Hot Chili Peppers Poppers, Red Jalapeno and beef machaca relleno with poblano crema, “Limp Bizkit Biscuits” – Grilled shrimp, chorizo gravy and cotija, “Pearl Jam Shortcakes”, Petite Machaca Flautas with nopales, queso, guacamole, and fresno hot sauce, Ga’ivsa Porridge with agave syrup, chili smoked pecans and pomegranate arils. Quite an impressive list of food!
It was a wonderful evening under the stars with good friends, live music and delicious food. I highly recommend the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix for a day visit as well but if you just happen to be around in March check out Agave On The Rocks.