A friend had already scoped out Phoenix and found it fabulous. Yeah, you heard that right! This burg's great; it's like Lotusland, sans the ocean, the murderous traffic and all the pretentious louts. And of all the restaurants in Phoenix, Bite Me's flesh-lovin' fairy friend had fallen in lust with Durant's. He insisted that it had to be the first stop on this gal's gallivant of local eateries. Sweet Jesus! She quickly learned that the place has been in business and owned by the same family for more than half a century. Bite Me entered the place through the kitchen, of all gateways, and stepped into a dark-red-leather and wood-encrusted booth wonderland. She ambled up to the bar and ordered a mai tai as she awaited the arrival of her dinner companion. Coming from stick-up-the-ass L.A. just hours earlier, she was pleasantly shocked to find folks just about as friendly as frogs on lily pads. The fellas on stools on either side of her were all too happy to chat her up as she waited. (Could it have had anything to do with the tight tank top she was sportin'?) Truth be told, she could've spent the night winding down with these happy-ass dudes, but she couldn't exactly dis her only close friend in a spankin' new town, so she cheerfully glommed onto her buddy when he ambled in.
And then, by cracky, the night just kept gettin' better. Bite Me and pal were seated at a plush, comfy, dimly lighted booth. Egad, then came the ice-cube-laden silver dish with olives, radishes, carrots and celery. Right on! Chasers for the third double-shot she'd just ordered. They next brought out, in proper order, a plate of the most kick-ass, buttery garlic bread, a salad smothered with ranch and a plate of prime rib that was better than hard sex. The service rocked. The dude who served her was around just enough.
Wiping her chin, Bite Me set out to see what the people in her new town, and her new favorite beefery, had to say. (Bite Me's shtick is to interview diners inside and outside cafes, the food being her metaphor.) Along the way, she hooked up with a fabulous Durant's bartender, who kept good-naturedly needling Bite Me's gay date, saying he resembled career-dead comic actor Tom Green. Read on, you kooks!
Graphic artist for a trade-show company
Bite Me: What does that mean? What do you do?
LH: I create! I design! I do everything that goes on in the trade-show industry.
Bite Me: All right, fancy-pants. So, uh, do you live around here?
LH: I live here.
Bite Me: You live in this restaurant? Novel!
LH: Uh, no. But they do have excellent drinks, the best martinis in Phoenix.
Bite Me: I don't drink martinis so I can't imagine how that whole thang works. So, why does this place have the best Phoenician martinis?
LH: Well, because they don't overdo them.
Bite Me: And what would be overdone, Mr. Graphic arrrrr-tisssste?
LH: You don't want too much gin or too much vodka. It should be smooth. Theirs are.
Bite Me: So do you order regular martinis? You're not an apple martini kind of guy?
LH: God no! I'm from Chicago. We don't do that.
Bite Me: Whoa! Don't they, like, grow apples in Illinois? Anyhow, so since I just moved here, why should I dig this place?
LH: You'll like it if you can remain Midwestern. A lot of people change once they move here. Don't let that happen to you! (How the dude picked up on Bite Me's Michigan roots she'll never know, but God love him for spottin' a corn-fed betty.)
Bite Me: Oh, hell no! In fact, I've lived in West Hollywood for the last five years. If that didn't, uh, turn me, then nothing will.
LH: Staying Midwestern will be your center of gravity.
Bite Me: Where else should I go? (Bite Me's favorite restaurant is Taco Bell; can't beat the prices. But she doesn't want to let on to this upscale dude.)