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Besides, Grandpa never siphoned me with anything fancier than Phoenix's finest, and I find Eurasia's on-tap model to be excellent. The restaurant uses a reverse osmosis system. Better yet, a glass studded with crystal ice and a slice of lemon is free. The plain stuff is good enough with a first-class French dip, mounded with beautiful ripples of tender, sliced sirloin of beef, gooey Swiss cheese and sweet, caramelized onions on a pillowy kaiser roll. I guzzle four glasses while working my way through the rotund sandwich, dipping beefy pulls in jus and slathers of real horseradish, slipping bites of crisp-skinned shoestring fries.
A Reuben can't be faulted either, lush with fresh, tender sauerkraut. Soups are homemade, and they taste it -- from a satisfying cream of potato to a casserole-fat cup of gumbo overflowing with andouille sausage, chicken, crabmeat and shrimp to a decadent cream-rich New England clam chowder choked with meaty shellfish, red and yellow potatoes, celery, carrot and lots of herbs. And I adore the firecracker spring rolls, three crispy bundles thick with pork, onion and Chinese cabbage, atop mixed greens with tart vinegared cucumbers.
The best place to sit at Eurasia, not surprisingly, is at the bar, noshing a first-rate half-pound Angus sirloin burger with aged cheddar and lots of bacon on an onion roll. The clutch of tables and a few scattered booths are nice at dinner, when, on weekends, couples spin to live music on the petite dance floor. But I find more fun shooting the breeze with Greg and listening to neighboring guests gripe good-naturedly about chef Ron Baermann's choice of a daily special. "Liver and onions?" a lady sighs. "That's good for us?"
8225 E. Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250-4805
Region: North Scottsdale
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.
Actually, it is, as the featured "Body for Life" offering that nods towards Eurasia's health club setting. It's tasty, too, with delicate slices of center-cut premium Strauss veal liver, lightly broiled medium-rare, decorated with par-boiled red jacket potatoes, steamed garden vegetables, fat-free sour cream and a side of fresh fruit. Paired with Scottsdale's tap water, it's delicious indulgence.
Elisabeth thinks I'm goofy, getting all blubbery over a stupid gag gift. But I wish I'd had the portable IV when I first haunted the grounds comprising the Scottsdale Athletic Club more than a decade ago, then in its original wood-shack structure backing acres of open desert. I used to ride my horse, the spectacular Wicked Native, in the wash behind the property, trotting him over from the Indian Trails Country Club stable across the road (since bulldozed to become the Scottsdale Pavilions mall). God, we got thirsty, stopping at the club to steal a sip from a garden hose in the back. That water, rushing down my throat in its warm, soil-perfumed glory, mingled with the sweat on my lips for a heavenly concoction that no Fancy Spring Source will ever duplicate.
Now Elisabeth wants to negotiate a trade. If I give her back the IV, she'll return the herring gumdrops. She'll even throw in the MOMA-designed fly swatter that another family member gave her.
Sorry, I tell her. While I'll gladly treat her to a plate of moist, perfectly oven-broiled New Zealand orange roughy at Eurasia anytime, with all the designer water she can drink, the IV is mine.