Eat the High Country: The Valley isn't the only area of Arizona exploding with restaurants. The Sedona/Flagstaff region (see this week's Cafe column) is also booming.
One reader has alerted me to a couple of offbeat restaurants that local weekend travelers may want to try.
The first, in Flagstaff, is called Down Under. Believe it or not, it specializes in New Zealand cuisine. What does that mean? Think lamb. It also serves a popular Australian dessert called a "pavlova." Named after the famous Russian ballerina, it's a meringue cake topped with whipped cream and kiwi, pineapple or other fresh fruit. Down Under is at 413 North San Francisco. Call 1-520-774-6677.
The other recommendation is for The Sage in Sedona, described as an "upscale vegetarian restaurant." My correspondent is especially enamored of the pumpkin-yam soup. The Sage is at 2611 West Highway 89A. Call 1-520-204-2079.
Restaurant Notes: How can you tell that restaurant times are good? Two signs: Fancy restaurants go private, and high-end resort restaurants stay open all year.
It's happening here. For the past few years, the Wrigley Mansion has been open to the public for dinner. Not anymore. Now it's reverted to being a private dinner club, as it had been during the booming 1980s. Either come up with the dues, or you'll have to make do with the Sunday brunch, at which the local proletariat is still welcome.
For the first time ever, the magnificent Boulders resort in Carefree isn't closing down for the summer. That means its restaurants will be staying open, too. The swanky Latilla room will feature dishes like golden gazpacho with smoked rock shrimp; coriander-crusted rare tuna with sweet melon salsa; and achiote-basted sea bass with braised summer greens.
Over at the tony Scottsdale Princess resort, the formidable Marquesa is also keeping its doors open throughout the summer. If you can't afford to summer in Catalonia, dinner here is the next best option.
Fans of Carlsbad Tavern, the wonderful New Mexican restaurant, should note that it's on the move. It will be leaving its current spot at Scottsdale Road near Osborn next month and reappear at 3315 North Hayden around the beginning of August. Look for expanded indoor and patio seating.
Book Notes: If you're looking to rev up several of your senses, feast your eyes on Pleasures of the Palettes: Fine Food and Fine Art (Golden West Publishers, $24.95).
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The book features recipes from 39 well-known chefs, including many local heavy-hitters. Razz Kamnitzer offers "Spiced Cashew and Mustard Seed Crusted Tuna with Watermelon Salsa"; Michael DeMaria shares "Rigatoni Pomodoro"; and Chrysa Kaufman contributes "Orange Yogurt Cake with Fresh Berries."
Along with recipes, the book presents some eye-catching contemporary art--hence, the catchy title. Pleasures of the Palettes is available at AJ's, Williams-Sonoma and other culinary retailers, as well as through the publisher. Call 265-4392. A portion of the proceeds benefits CASA, the Center Against Sexual Abuse.
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