Lizard Breadth

Okay, so it's a little late. By almost a year. But Iguana Lounge, the intriguing-sounding creation of Spyros Scocos, has finally opened on the former site of the old Greyhound Bus Station at Fifth Street and College in Tempe. This after an original scheduled debut of last August. But hey, it takes time to pull together such an ambitious concept combining Cuban, Caribbean and American comfort food.

Scocos is a familiar name to Valley foodies, Spyros being co-founder of the highly creative RoxSand restaurant at Biltmore Fashion Park. RoxSand was the first local restaurant to showcase fusion cuisine back in 1993, stunning us with a highly creative menu uniting elements of Mexico, Thailand, China, the tropics and the Middle East.

So it's not surprising to see scintillating, global selections again at the Iguana. Alongside grilled Chilean skirt steak there's a sloppy Joe sandwich. Lamb picadillo empanadas with mint mojo share the menu with a grilled cheese sandwich. For dessert, there are Florentine cookies with chocolate-praline sauce and whipped cream, or a triple chocolate peanut butter cookie sundae.

Check 'em out and see if you wanna iguana.

Boxty Shorts: Yes, that was a priest wandering around Séamus McCaffrey's Irish Pub & Restaurant the other day. He was there to bless the eatery's expanded dining room, which should be up and running in about a month, complete with dartboards and more room for live music on the weekends. Having a priest perform the rite is an Irish tradition, explained the pub's new owner, Frank Murray.

The comfortable spot at Central and Monroe is open for business during the construction, so stop in for traditional Irish fare -- shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, or boxty, a western Irish dish featuring griddled potato cakes topped with savory stews. The pub's founder, by the way, Séamus McCaffrey, has opened another Irish restaurant called Rosie McCaffrey's at Ninth Street and Camelback.

Oh Say Can DC: Circling around on the new Loop 101, the gleaming tile roofs of new homes seem to stretch as far as you can see. Now one of those north Scottsdale mini-cities, DC Ranch, has its own steak house, a restaurant/brew pub called The Unlikely Cowboy. It opens next month at Pima Road and Market Street. Named in honor of its owners, transplants from Illinois, the eatery focuses on fare like alehouse mussels, onion soup roast, beer-basted chicken and chile-cherry pork tenderloin.

Beers, including root beer, are house-brewed by brewmaster Ryan Ashley, proud recipient of the 2001 Great American Beer Festival gold medal.

Yee-haw, and bottoms up. -- Carey Sweet