Cool Sippings

Written by Gwen Ashley Walters Category: Three Bites Issue: August 2014
Group Mid-Level
Character count 2500

Chilly summer soups beat the heat.

St. Francis
111 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Some call it summer, but Phoenicians call it "pain." Take action, Valley diner. Wage elemental warfare on triple-digit summer temps with a bowl of heat-relieving chilled soup. Popular in warm Latin climes – and also in the Far East, where Koreans sip on a chilled beef stock called mool naeng myun – these bracing broths translate nicely to the Southwest. A good place to start is with the French-inspired "chilled potato and leek soup" at St. Francis, or vichyssoise to you Francophiles. Chef Aaron Chamberlin puts a contemporary spin on the potage with garnishes of pickled seasonal vegetables, crisp-thin coins of fried fingerlings and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. ($6)

J&G Steakhouse
6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale

All summer long, Chef Jacques Qualin plays with fruits and vegetables to create unusual and often stunning gazpachos. There's nothing wrong with the tomato-based Spanish classic, but on any given week, you can step out of the box with raspberry gazpacho crowned with goat cheese; honeydew spiked with wicked jalapeño, lime and mint; or juicy watermelon paired with sweet, succulent crab. One thing is a given: Whichever saveur du jour gazpacho suits Qualin's fancy will likely tickle yours, too. ($9 and up)

Bourbon Steak
7575 E. Princess Dr., Scottsdale

Chef Chris Curtiss captures the sweet taste of summer with a silky corn soup, part of a "locals only" summer prix fixe menu ($49). But here's a tip: You don't have to order the whole menu to get a bowl of this naturally sweet corn nirvana. Using both the kernels, pureed and strained, and a stock made from the cobs, Curtiss lets the corn speak for itself, but he covertly chimes in with a Spanish chorizo croquette, smoked paprika oil and tempura-fried jalapeño rings. One sip, and who cares what the temperature is outside? ($15)