Best Place To Eat With The Animals 2002 | Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club | People & Places | Phoenix
So we're not kid people. So shoot us. Or better yet, shoot the kids. No, really, we think kids are okay; we just don't understand how people can have them and hope to have any chance of a normal life afterward.

Farrelli's feels our pain. And so, in a stroke of genius, this feeding/film house offers family festivals, offering dinner and a movie for parents with small kids, even babies. Dailey movies at 5 and 6 p.m. cater to the wee folk, when Mom and Dad can cart in the kid, watch a flick and feed on baked Brie a l'orange, spinach salad with feta and pine nuts, and center cut top sirloin. Kiddies keep happy snacking on pizza, chicken or spaghetti, while watching classic yarns like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

It's full table service as the movie rolls, and there's even an isolation room to handle the infants acting infantile (or parents who've simply had enough). At all other movie showtimes, it's no diapers allowed, just as the world should be.

One of the things we love about hanging in the Caribbean is the laid-back attitude. No pretension, just cool. At Callaloo, owner Michael Washington-Brown keeps the spirit. If we want our food spicy (and we do), we don't ask politely. We bluntly tell our waiter to "Jerk This!" That's the signal to pile on the killer Jamaican spice called jerk.

And the kitchen doesn't apologize. There's no in-between on heat level -- you either Jerk This! or you don't. If you do, just keep an ice-cold Red Stripe close at hand.

Ordering is easy. Adjustable dishes are noted with the instruction, "Jerk This." Choices are impressive, too: chicken wings with cucumber dill dipping sauce; island barbecue ribs; chicken salad with fruit and mango vinaigrette; chicken pasta in spiced mango sauce with angel hair pasta; and rum-glazed pork ribs with plantains. A favorite is Callaloo's signature Dat Ting, a chubby pork chop with plantains, sweet corn and okra risotto drizzled in a passion fruit sauce.

At Callaloo, being a jerk is a good thing.

The folks at Fighter Combat International use flyers from the Top Gun program to offer you everything from dogfights to acrobatic stunts. Using laser weapons mounted on the spectacularly agile, German built, Extra-300 L, experienced pilots take you up for aerial combat against other professionals. Or maybe you don't want a dogfight. Maybe you just want to strap on a diaper and try a few face-stretching acrobatic moves like hammerheads, lomcevaks, loops and rolls. No experience required. Prices range from $285 all the way up to $955, depending upon the amount of flight time you want and how often you want to take the stick. You can be a passenger with your stomach in your mouth, or you can take the stick and shoot down the bad guy.
Patricia Escarcega
We love hanging out in nice places with our friends. The trouble is, nice places usually don't want us.

Dick's Hideaway has become our personal haunt when we've got a group of up to 25 party pals. There's a $500 minimum to use the room, but divided among our cohorts, that comes to only $20 each, and the money is applied to food and drink (the contract lets us know the fee can be used to cover damage to the room, too, but we've never tested it).

The place is just too cool, hidden behind a door set invisibly into the paneled wood wall of the tiny bar called Dick's Hideaway. Signs? Doorknobs? Not here. Inside, it's startlingly opulent, centered by a copper-topped table and comfy booth tables lining the wine-rack-lined walls. There's a loft above one of the booths, too, in case we feel like taking a nap.

Dishes are the best of next door's Richardson's, lauded for its creative New Mexican fare like surf and turf (tenderloin with jumbo chipotle pecan grilled shrimp, enchiladas, green chile potato and fried egg), or blue corn smoked turkey enchiladas with grilled portobello mushroom.

At Dick's, we can get as raucous as we want, and no one will shush us. That alone is worth the price of admission.

You go to an aquarium to see sharks swim around and eat little guppies, not to jump in the tank with them. So when you want to see the game of billiards executed as nature intended, go to where the real sharks swallow up the competition. It is said that the Hustler himself, Paul Newman, has frequented the Pool & Brew, and it's known to attract the most intimidating cadre of shooters you're likely to see in Phoenix. They don't care about what's on the jukebox or even what's on tap -- they're here for the dark, smoky ambiance, the eight bar boxes and the two nine-foot tournament-size tables. It's a good idea not to challenge any of these ice-veined top dogs to a game if you don't know what the extra foot is for, because otherwise you'll be wearing it out of your ass.
When we go to Las Vegas, it's to eat at the world-class restaurants that suddenly have populated the once buffet-for-a-buck town. When we go to Casino Arizona, it's to eat at Cholla, an amazing upscale restaurant that's completely isolated from the clinging clanging sounds of machines sucking money.

Cholla is a sure bet, though, for exemplary dinners showcasing regional and Native American cuisine. This is one game we're guaranteed to win, feasting on roasted pheasant with Cabernet cassis, peppery elk tenderloin, pan-roasted Muscovy duck and "campfire" salmon with tomatillo-lime coulis.

Figuring that there's no tax charged on this Indian reservation, Cholla is in the only casino where we've ever come out ahead of the game.

We've fallen for more "you can fly" gimmicks and contraptions than Wile E. Coyote, but with Turf, we think we're finally onto something. The school offers sightseeing rides, flight instruction, and soaring and aerobatic sailplane lessons -- and falling anvils are almost never involved.

Want to fly the friendly skies without the deafening engine noise? Take a spin in a sailplane. After you climb to the clouds behind a powered towplane, your instructor explains a few bells and whistles, then lets you take the reins. You'll even get an official pilot's logbook to commemorate your adventure.

On October 19, Turf celebrates its 35th anniversary by combining the usual rides and lessons with aerobatic demonstrations, fly-bys, a barbecue, live music and dancing. (Remember to show your Mile-High Club membership card to enjoy special promotions and discounts.)

Best Song To Request From A Mariachi That's Not "Guantanamera"

You're feeling no pain from all of the margaritas you just drank. The mariachi is blaring song after song in a language you don't understand. But you enjoy the music and even recognize some of the songs. ("Wow, I like that one," you think as you hum along.) And the more you drink, the more you want to participate. Finally, you gather enough courage to request a song from the guy with the big hat and oversize guitar -- "Guantanamera" or "La Bamba," you say in your best Spanish. But there's so much more to mariachi than that.

Since Arizona has a large Mexican community, an abundance of Mexican restaurants and many occasions where you might be around a mariachi, we thought it would be only right for us to provide our readers with the following list -- to fit every mood:

If You Want to Break Up With Your Ex -- "Volver, Volver"

Sample lyric: "Return, return, return to arms again. I will arrive where you are; I know how to return. Return, return, return."

If You're Looking for a Mexican Version of "My Way" -- "El Rey"

Sample lyric: "With money or without money -- I always do what I want. My word is the law."

If Your Lover Is Out Loving Someone Else -- "Paloma Negra"

Sample lyric: "I am tired of waiting for you, and the morning is not here. I don't know whether to call down evil or cry for you -- black dove, where are you?"

If You're Broke but in Love -- "No Tengo Dinero"

Sample lyric: "I don't have money, and nothing to give. All I have is love."

Or If You Just Want to Hear the Best Feel-Good Mexican Song -- "La Negra"

Sample lyric: The words make no sense. But every mariachi plays it, and the crowds love it!

Seldom does the thought of camping conjure up images of submachine guns, unless you're camping at Ben Avery Shooting Facility, where nothing says "outdoor fun" like the sound of full metal jacket shells clinking on the pavement. Covering 1,650 acres, Ben Avery is touted as "the country's largest public shooting facility," with 16 competitive rifle and pistol ranges, as well as clay target, archery and airgun ranges -- and, of course, the campground. Yeah, you have to place your targets by hand, and it's hotter than hell in summer, but it's worth it just to have an open range with nothing but a mountain (and a paper cutout of a guy's head) in front of you. Ben Avery is a great place to sight in your rifle, network with other shooters, or just drop a few hundred rounds after a hard day. But the real reason we love it: Thursday nights at 7 p.m., women shoot free.

Excited about collecting all 50 state quarters? Screw that. Nedra Soloman has a state-centric collection with some bite. Inside her Katydid Insect Museum -- reputedly the only such establishment west of the Mississippi -- is a display case with space allotted for an insect from each state. (Should you find yourself in North Dakota anytime soon, perhaps you could pick her up a little something?)

In the pest-control biz since the 1960s, Nedra and husband Al decided two years ago to share their global assortment of insects, arachnids and reptiles -- all pinned, caged and encased in exhibits named for Nedra's granddaughters.

Not drawn to a building full of black widows, snakes, termites, tarantulas and Happy the downhearted iguana? Say a quick prayer to Gratus of Aosta (patron saint for the fear of insects, duh) and face your phobias. Thanks to Nedra's knowledge and charm, the whole ordeal somehow avoids The Silence of the Lambs creepiness and becomes a pleasant educational experience. After all, this is the home of a turtle that nods hello and a scorpion about to birth 25 babies. How could it not be a place of joy?

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