Amuse-Bouches - July 2015

Written by Dominic Armato Category: Amuse Bouches Issue: July 2015
Group Free

A collection of Phoenix food news items to whet your appetite

3 Best Bites for July: Beat the Heat
When the summer heat makes you feel as cooked as the meal on your plate, these cool dishes will provide a refreshing reprieve.

Beet and Buttermilk Soup @ A Touch of European Cafe
In contrast to its friendly, warm service, downtown Glendale’s homey Polish nook serves a cold borscht made with sweet beets, cool buttermilk, cucumber and fresh herbs. Clean and crisp with a gentle sourness, it’s a welcome break from the temperatures outside.
7146 N. 57th Dr., Glendale, 623-847-7119,

Campechana @ Mariscos Acapulco
When it comes to beating the heat, Mexico has a lot of culinary options in its toolbox, none better than a giant goblet of chilled seafood swimming in a frigid cocktail of tomato and lime juice. The campechana at Mariscos Acapulco, cool and briny, is one of the city’s best.
3220 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 602-954-1400,

Tempura Udon @ Hana Japanese Eatery
The accompanying shrimp and vegetable tempura is deftly fried, but when summer strikes, the real star of Hana’s tempura udon is the bowl of thick, chewy flour noodles, doused with an icy cold dashi- and soy-based broth.
5524 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-973-1238,


Visit for a list of stores that carry Desert Dry Gin.In Spirit: Desert Dry Gin
Few drinks are as summery as the classic gin and tonic, and Tempe’s own Arizona Distilling Co. recently brought home a coveted Double Gold medal from the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its Desert Dry Gin, made locally with Arizona botanicals. But if the intense heat has left you with barely enough strength to lift a swizzle stick, Shawn Gabor of Old Town Scottsdale’s Pink Pony has you covered with Three if By Desert, a citrusy and herbaceous concoction also made with Desert Dry Gin that earned the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Devoured Phoenix Bartending Competition.

The Pink Pony
3831 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale,
Visit for a list of stores that carry Desert Dry Gin.


Eat With Your Eyes: Chile Cool
Hot climate cultures throughout the world know that spicy hot chiles can help keep you cool, by fooling your body into thinking you’re hotter than you are.

In The Mouth
When eating chile peppers (or rubbing them on your skin, which we don’t recommend), the chemical that gives the peppers their spice, called capsaicin, binds with proteins in the body called TRPV1 receptors, which are also activated by heat.

In The Brain
The stimulated TRPV1 receptors send electrical signals through the nervous system to your brain, which the hypothalamus interprets as a rise in temperature.

On The Skin
Sweat glands respond to instructions from the hypothalamus, covering the skin with moisture that aids in evaporative cooling. Also, capillaries (tiny blood vessels) near the surface of the skin dilate and cause you to become flushed, bringing blood closer to the surface where its heat can be more easily dissipated.

In The Glass
Unlike milk, which will quickly quell the fire, alcohol provides only modest, temporary relief to your besieged tongue. It takes a lot of booze to wash away a mouthful of capsaicin – a good or bad thing, depending on one’s point of view.

International Eats:
Birria Blitz
Since a spicy hot broth can also help keep you cool, birria is a great summertime food. From the central Mexican state of Jalisco, birria is typically made with goat meat or beef that’s seasoned with adobo and roasted, steamed or stewed. In Phoenix, it’s most commonly served as chunks or shreds of meat in a large bowl of ruddy, intensely flavored consommé, brimming with chiles, spices and fresh herbs. Served with a plate of diced onion, shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro and lime wedges for last-moment seasoning, birria’s spicy broth will get the taste buds and the hypothalamus working overtime. Excellent bowls of birria can be found here:

Birrieria Obregón - two locations
3146 W. Van Buren St., Phoenix, 602-442-5142
2500 N. 35th Ave., Phoenix, 602-445-9070

Birrieria y Taqueria Del Yaqui
2920 N. 43rd Ave., Phoenix, 602-269-0611

Taqueria y Birrieria Jalisco
615 W. Broadway Rd., Phoenix, 602-268-1020