Oil of Soy-Lay

The menu at Scottsdale's Cowboy Ciao features this actual guest quote: "That mushroom dish is so good, I want to take off my clothes and roll in it!" While Cowboy Ciao's management doesn't encourage that kind of behavior, guests so inclined might soon be able to give it a try at Christopher's Fermier Brasserie.

Chef Christopher Gross has teamed up with The Body Shop to demonstrate how food not only pleases the palate but also nourishes the skin. A recent demonstration at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Body Shop included a specialty menu prepared and served by Gross, featuring the same ingredients in the store's new lotion products. As they nibbled, guests were invited to rub themselves as much as they pleased.

Just in time for the holiday season, lotion lovers can slather themselves silly with cranberry-based toiletries like bath gel, shimmer lotion and body butter (accompanied by Gross' recommended menu of boudin of turkey with cranberries and brioche; and cranberry biscotti with wild-mushroom cappuccino).

We're told that organic soy body butter pairs well with edamame ragout with truffle essence of olive edamame spoons or with coconut spoons in lobster vanilla soy essence. What goes best with Brazil-nut body butter? Tuile with brazil nuts and olive sorbet; parnassienne of Brazil nut praline chocolate towers; or coconut macaroons with Brazil nuts.

According to a Body Shop spokesperson, the partnership isn't as offbeat as it sounds. Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants, and also make gentle cleansers and moisturizers. High in protein and dietary fiber and low in saturated fat, soy helps prevent the development of heart disease, while gently cleansing and moisturizing skin. Brazil nuts have many essential vitamins and minerals that help prevent heart disease and circulatory problems. They also boast skin-softening properties.

The Body Shop also markets body butters fashioned from mango, olive, sesame and coffee. I'm more interested, though, in seeing what Gross can create to complement another new lotion original: hemp body butter.

From Russia With Love: A new Russian restaurant is hoping to make a go of it in the West Valley. Moscow Nights has opened at 27th Avenue and Bethany Home Road. As its name suggests, it serves only dinner, and only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Look for a backdrop of live music and belly dancing, and a traditional menu featuring pelmenis (meatballs in phyllo), shish kebab and borscht.

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Carey Sweet
Contact: Carey Sweet