So we'll let Carlsbad do the talking. We'll bring our loser, er, lover in for dinner. A romantic evening out, we'll say. Don't bother with a menu, we know exactly what you need, we'll insist. And then we'll order the chile cheeseburger for them. We won't bother to mention that this isn't just any Anaheim chile burger, but one fashioned with Carlsbad's New Mexican artillery, the incendiary habanero chile.
It comes with fries, salad and a free glass of milk (though if we're feeling really wicked we'll tell the server to hold the beverage).
As Carlsbad's menu warns, the burger may cause temporary blindness or loss of hearing. Maybe our beloved will lose the ability to speak, too. Gee, that would just be too bad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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!