Summertime, and the Livin' Is Easy?: If you have to spend June, July and August in the Valley of the Perpetual Sun, you know there ain't no cure for the summertime blues.
But you can ease your misery somewhat by taking advantage of special restaurant deals.
Restaurants like Different Pointe of View, at the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs, and Cafe Terra Cotta in the Borgata are desperate to find local fannies to fill their seats while the tourists are elsewhere. So they offer bargain rates to try to lure us out of the house.
Until September 12, Different Pointe of View is offering three-course, fixed-price meals for $29.95. I know it doesn't sound like much of a bargain, but that's the price you'd generally pay for just an entree in season at this swanky resort room. Among the starters, you'll find crab and crawfish cakes, mushroom strudel and salad greenery with smoked mushrooms and Indian corn. The entree options include beef tenderloin, salmon seared in mustard seeds, chile-rubbed pork chop and roast chicken. For dessert, there's an apple-lime coffee crumble cheesecake, mango mousse and buttermilk chocolate cake. Call 863-0912.
Cafe Terra Cotta, meanwhile, has a summer menu featuring selected appetizers and entrees for $14.95. Appetizers include crab-stuffed tamale, sweet corn risotto (one of the best starters in town) and grilled flank steak with a mesclun/wild mushroom salad. Entrees might be eggplant-topped bruschetta pizza, sea-bass enchiladas or roast chicken chili. Call 948-8100.
Cafe Corner: You can't have too many cute, comfortable cafes. A new one, run by Valley food veteran and television personality Jan D'Atri, recently opened at Windmill Plaza, on the southeast corner of Scottsdale Road and Shea.
It's called D'Atri's Cinema Paradiso. You'll find breakfast pastries, panini sandwiches, pasta, gnocchi, pizza, homemade soups, salads and her signature sausages and biscotti. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 348-0377.
Reader Request: A correspondent has asked me where he can find cassoulet. This stewlike dish, a specialty of southwestern France, is made from white beans, sausage and duck (or goose). He had loved it in France, but has had no luck finding a decent version here. The one cassoulet he found locally was, in his words, "an abomination that tasted like a can of white beans with Polish sausage added--yeeech!!!"
I know what he means--that seems to be the standard Valley recipe. If you've found otherwise, drop me a note and I'll pass on the information.
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What's Hapa-ning: Stacey and James McDevitt are the exceptional team behind Restaurant Hapa, which after only six months is already one of the Valley's top restaurants.
They're attracting out-of-town attention, too, from some influential places. The James Beard House has invited the couple to New York to prepare their Asian-American dishes for the Big Apple cognoscenti on Thursday, July 23. If you're in Manhattan that day, you can reserve a spot by calling 1-212-627-2308.
Suggestions? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,