Life's a fish, and then you die. At least if you're a fish destined for the sushi eating contest being held at Sushiko, 92nd Street and Shea in Scottsdale. There's no savoring the salmon or yellowtail on August 18, when iron stomachs are challenged to consume as much of the raw stuff as they can within 15 minutes.
Yuck. Although admittedly not as gross as the time I hosted a goldfish eating contest for a local real estate company. The winner ate something like 75 live fish, collected his prize, then promptly upchucked. It wasn't pretty.
So you couldn't pay me to attend Sushiko's event, but if gorging nigiri sounds good to anyone, stop by the store and register. Participation is limited to 15 people, and there's a $20 entry fee. First prize is a $100 Sushiko gift certificate good for, yup, more sushi.
Pwah, Pow: Café ah Pwah is proving that the Gilbert area is indeed ready for an upscale gourmet restaurant. The classy little place hidden off the main strip north of Elliot is thriving, and has introduced a new summer menu. What looks particularly good is the grilled escolar with a cornbread salad, roasted red and yellow bell peppers, and basil crème fraîche.
Closed but Coming Soon: A couple of notable eateries have shuttered their shops, but plan on returning with new concepts sometime this fall. The Famous Door in downtown Scottsdale has closed for renovations and a new format.
Valencia Lane in Phoenix, meanwhile, has closed "indefinitely," though owners Tom and Chrysa Kaufman are mulling over the idea of a BYOB bistro.
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Neat Meat: Daniel's Prime Meats & Seafood sells meat and seafood beef, pork, poultry, lobster and shrimp. But the butcher at 16th Street and Glendale also can supply the exotic stuff, like giraffe, kangaroo, beaver and lion.
I'll stick to hamburgers, thanks.
Ethnic Invasion: The Valley's going global this summer, with plenty of new ethnic eateries setting up shop. The selection is mind-boggling, including Filipino (Manila Cafe at Alma School and Elliot in Mesa), Northern and the less ubiquitous Southern-style Indian (Mayari at Central and Van Buren), Ah So Sushi and Teppanyaki at Scottsdale Road and Via de Ventura, and Tabletop Grill & Sushi at 42nd Avenue and Bethany Home Road. I'm heading first to Bunga Raya, though, a Malaysian spot just set up in Mesa.