Cafe Reviews

Second Helpings

Remembrance of Things Pasta: Nobody likes cooking this time of year. But if you don't mind doing just a bit of kitchen work--boiling water--you can fool your family into thinking you've been slaving over a hot stove all day.

The trick is to visit Garlic's Pasta and Bread Company, at 7001 North Scottsdale Road, in the Scottsdale Seville shopping center.

The place hasn't been around long, but, judging from the quality of its products, it's going to be.

The affable Italian proprietor is from back East, in "Joisey," where he ran a similar operation. He brings to town an astonishing array of fresh, homemade pastas, sauces, salads, soups, sandwiches and breads.

He has the full range of pasta cuts--fettuccine, linguini, fusilli, penne, pappardelle and angel hair, just to name a few. They're priced by the pound, generally $3.99. They can also be flavored about a dozen ways, ranging from sun-dried tomato or garlic and dill to whole wheat or roasted pepper.

Homemade ravioli is particularly wonderful. Look for ravioli stuffed with ricotta ($6.99 per pound), shiitake mushrooms ($7.99) or even lobster ($14.99). Top the pasta with made-from-scratch sauces like the Bolognese, Fra Diavolo, sun-dried tomato cream, putanesca, Italian plum tomato or pesto.

I'm impressed by the crusty breads. So are several big-name restaurants, which have their bread baked here. Along with a first-rate assortment of Italian bread, baguettes, flatbread and focaccia, Garlic's puts out some fine specialty loaves, too. I loved the eggplant-Parmesan bread ($3), stuffed with eggplant and crusted with cheese. Other varieties include sausage, spinach-mozzarella and broccoli with Swiss.

Salads and sandwiches make this a popular spot to pick up lunch. Try the tortellini salad, freshened with olives and peppers. The caprese sandwich is perfect this time of year, fresh mozzarella with tomato, olives and basil on luscious Italian flatbread. The veggie panini also sounds good: grilled zucchini, eggplant, yellow squash, pesto and roasted peppers.

Except for a couple of outside tables, the place isn't designed for eating-in. But Garlic's is looking to expand, possibly next door. When it does, the proprietor is hoping to add homemade Italian desserts to his product list.

During the summer, Garlic's Pasta and Bread Company is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 368-9699.

Birdland: Bandera, which dishes out some of Scottsdale's best American comfort food, has come up with a neat marketing ploy for the too-pooped-to-cook crowd.

If you'd like some of Bandera's terrific rotisserie chicken, wild-mushroom meat loaf or mashed potatoes, you don't even have to get out of your car.

Give the place a call at 425-ToGo (8646), from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Place your order, describe your car and tell them how you plan to pay. Then drive around back to the "Flying Chicken" lane, roll down your window and grab your food. You don't even have to shut off your air conditioning for a moment.

Bandera is at 3821 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, at First Street.

--Howard Seftel

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Howard Seftel

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