IV League

At the Scottsdale Athletic Club's Eurasia Bistro, you can get your water plain -- or with a twist

Elisabeth has given me an IV bag, and while she had suspected I would like it, she's surprised at how very much. It's a thing we do, my sister and I, bestowing upon each other questionable gifts. (The IV -- the intravenous kind, not the Roman numeral -- is in retaliation, I think, for my most recent offering of herring-flavored gumdrops imported from Scandinavia.)

The novelty IV is the latest rage with the kids, she explains, having been surrounded by the accessory this summer while at, of all things, a Japanese language camp in Vermont. Labeled "sang-froid" (French for composure, as in blood mixture), the clear plastic bag comes from Transylvania. Elisabeth's fellow campers thought nothing was neater than filling the bag with water, draping it around their necks courtesy of a stylish rope necklace, complete with a comfy neck pad, and sipping their beverage through the long plastic tube poking from the bag's bottom. Tres chic.

Elisabeth is happy I like my IV, though confused at my glee. Being substantially younger, she missed out on the growing-up years with my brother, Carter, and me. She never got to experience a classic overnight stay at our grandparents', when Grandpa was a sales executive for Abbott Laboratories. He was always brimming with nifty medical gadgets; to keep us little ones quiet and happy after lights out, he would hook up (real) IVs next to our beds, fill them with water and let us suckle our little hearts out. The tube clip was effortless to switch on and off, so we drank and drank and drank . . . and raced to the washroom . . . then drank a whole lot more. It was a time of joy, and I'm getting all misty-eyed now, playing with the Transylvanian toy draped about my neck.

The score is love for Eurasia's health-club cuisine.
Erik Guzowski
The score is love for Eurasia's health-club cuisine.

Location Info

Map

Eurasia Bistro

8225 E. Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250-4805

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: North Scottsdale

Details

Rock shrimp salad: $9.95
Meatloaf: $10.95
French dip: $6.50
Firecracker spring rolls: $6.95
Broiled veal liver: $8.50

480-991-1571. Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday though Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Dinner, 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

8225 East Indian Bend (in the Scottsdale Athletic Club), Scottsdale,

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While I won't be wearing my IV in public (though I'd love to be the entrepreneur who takes this gadget into nightclubs -- an IV martini -- finally, a way to drink and dance at the same time), I do think it's the next best thing to little plastic bottles for keeping hydrated with honest H2O.

Really -- how many of us were able to stomach the recommended eight glasses of water a day before it became cool to cart around a 16-ounce jug of Evian, Dasani or Aquafina? I've always imbibed buckets of the crisp, cold liquid. Yet since bottles became trendy, I practically slosh when I walk.

And beyond the nightclub gimmick, I'm thinking that Joanne Longobardi, director of food and beverage at Eurasia Bistro, would like to hear from me. Head of operations for the new, surprisingly full-service restaurant inside the recently rebuilt Scottsdale Athletic Club, she's as reverent of the sparkling pure aqua as am I. Health is one aspect at this crisp cafe overlooking 11 fancy tennis courts and off the lobby of the pilates mat and circuit weight-training studios.

Longobardi appreciates water like wine, absorbing its nuances of clarity, taste and brightness. She even acts as a sommelier at Eurasia, recommending specific bottled waters to complement the casual American-Asian cuisine of her restaurant.

I can't get the image out of my head; instead of a sommelier's cup-on-a-chain, Longobardi could sport one of my IVs as she visits tables. Samples for the sucking: the l'eau down on what tastes best with an already excellent chilled rock shrimp salad over mesclun with grapefruit dressing, a juicy steak wrap in a spinach tortilla with jasmine rice and Thai peanut sauce, or divine homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes and vegetable medley.

It's the water concept that got me in the door, in fact, curious about the success of a club geared more for pumping iron than pimping Chinese chicken salad. What I find is, while nobody's going to be making cross-Valley treks to explore this pretty expected menu (chef's or taco salad, grilled chicken sandwich, charbroiled salmon, steak and eggs, barbecue ribs), for a really inexpensive, classy-casual, made-from-scratch dining experience, Eurasia can't be beat.

This isn't just silliness. Longobardi has captured a good marketing hook with the water, but she's not being ridiculous about it. I admit I'm actually a little disappointed as I nestle at the bar, teasing friendly bartender Greg about the "H2O du jour," and he gives me no ammunition to make fun. There's no printed guide, he says, not like a wine list or anything, but he'll gladly set me up with a tasting if I like. He scurries through his cold storage to see what he's got, shoving aside bottles of wine and mixers for the dramatic array of liquor that would be more at home in a Zagat-rated restaurant than in one that counts on walk-ins from self-defense or step-aerobics courses.

"S. Pellegrino," he calls out. "Ty Nant. Perrier. Evian Natural Spring. She'll come down and pair them up for you." Longobardi, he means. Yet I'd already been coached that the five-spice calamari goes well with the Pellegrino, and the glazed chile-rubbed pork tenderloin brings out the charms of Ty Nant, and since I couldn't really taste the difference, I tell Greg not to bother.

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