Cafe Reviews


Eire Apparent: Almost 1,600 years ago, Saint Patrick converted Irish heathens to Christianity and drove all the snakes out of Ireland. On Friday, we celebrate that happy event by dressing in green and consuming enormous quantities of alcohol. It doesn't exactly make sense, but it's fun.

Now, the words "Irish" and "gourmet" rarely appear on the same page, let alone in the same sentence. But Irish food, despite its lack of snooty appeal, can sport a simple, down-home heartiness. And one of the few places in town to find it is at Ireland's Black Rose.

This Scottsdale restaurant and pub offers traditional tavern favorites like shepherd's pie, corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, lamb stew and chicken and dumplings. Not only are the dishes ample and tasty, prices won't turn you green, either. The Black Rose is at 4341 North 75th Street. Call 941-0040. If you're looking to slake your thirst in an Irish pub setting, head over to Samus McCaffrey's Irish Pub and Restaurant. You'll hear genuine Irish brogues and plenty of genuine blarney, while enjoying a first-rate selection of Irish beer and spirits. It's a lively place, located downtown at 18 West Monroe. Call 253-6081.

Getting Malled: Going shopping for clothes is not high on my list of pleasurable activities. It ranks just below taking a stroll in an electrical storm with a copper helmet strapped to my head.

But after my only pair of shoes started falling apart last Thanksgiving, I knew I couldn't stand the irritating flapping noises they made for more than a few months. So last week, I wandered over to get a new pair at Metrocenter, a place that has the same effect on me a visit to Torquemada's workshop has on a heretic.

Given my shopophobia, I've developed what I consider the perfect purchasing technique: Wearing the frayed piece of apparel that needs replacing, I point to it and tell the clerk I want a new model of the exact same thing. No fuss, no unnecessary thought, no anxiety. Fifteen seconds after entering Florsheim, I left with a new pair of the same style shoe I've worn since 1973. As you might well imagine, my shoe expedition had taken so much out of me that I required immediate feeding. But when it comes to food, I can be incredibly picky. Even when I'm famished, I'm capable of inspecting two dozen menus before deciding where to eat. And Metrocenter's food court didn't seem to be overflowing with lunchtime possibilities. So I was astonished and gratified to encounter Fowl a Round, which flips a pretty tasty bird, especially for mall fare. It specializes, as the cutesy name suggests, in rotisserie chicken. I was impressed by the hot chicken breast sandwich. Before your eyes, the help hacks up a chicken, rips off half a juicy breast and places it and some fixings on a fresh-baked roll. Not a bad deal for $3.49. And for a buck more, you can get a cup of tasty chicken soup skimmed of fat, filled with carrots and homemade noodles.

When you consider that mall food options generally run from yesterday's pizza set under a tanning lamp to corn dogs with enough oil in them to join OPEC, Fowl a Round is a welcome alternative.--Howard Seftel

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Howard Seftel