There's a little Liz Habib in all of us. Even the most puritanical in the bungling bunch known as mankind likely has overindulged in alcohol at least once in his life. With New Year's Eve approaching this weekend, it's pretty much a given that come Monday, a lot of us will be dealing with a hangover.
Even those folks who should know better -- restaurateurs -- suffer the side effects of tipping back too many. Fortunately for us, some restaurateurs also are pros at overcoming the ughs, trained as they are in nutrition and nurturing the body.
Orange juice and pineapple juice. That's the recommendation of Andi Zeeman, legendary server at El Encanto in Cave Creek. The body loses sugar when plied with alcohol, she says as she plunks down one of the meanest margaritas this body has ever tasted. Pineapple juice, with its high sugar content, and fresh-squeezed orange juice, with its stomach-soothing pulp, help reset nature's balance. For an upset stomach, tomato juice coats and relieves, too, she notes.
"Another drink never hurts, either," she adds.
Christopher Gross is all over the hair-of-the-dog concept. Gross, chef-owner of Christopher's in Phoenix, recommends, "Don't stop drinking! Wean yourself off slowly over the week. If you do have to stop drinking, drink two quarts of water and take four aspirin before going to bed." Come New Year's Eve, he'll be knocking back Scotch. "The stinkier and peatier the better -- Laphroaig or Lagavulin, for example."
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Grease is said to soak up alcohol, and Mark Tarbell cooks his own cure. The man behind Tarbell's in Phoenix recommends whipping up a "phat" plate of huevos rancheros with chorizo. Another cure-all is "cold pizza from Pizzeria Bianco, lots of coffee and an afternoon nap." Tarbell's poison of the moment is Gin & Sin: lemon juice, Plymouth gin, fresh orange juice and grenadine.
Other chefs are a little more refined when they stumble through the party season, with champagne being the preferred choice of Chrysa Kaufman (Rancho Pinot Grill) and executive pastry chef Markus Bohr (the Phoenician). "Anticipate your hangover," recommends Kaufman. "Take two p.m.-type pain relievers with a lot of water before you pass out."
Bohr, who just moved here from Washington, swears by taking a long walk in the woods and sipping chicken broth. His Phoenician cohort, Mary Elaine's chef de cuisine James Boyce, meanwhile, is less fun. He doesn't drink alcohol, and his hangover cure is to not drink in the first place.