Dressed to Chill

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Three Bites Issue: July 2018
Group Free

Get your recommended monthly allowance of heat-beating gazpacho.

photo by Angelina Aragon

Cafe Forte
7032 E. Main St., Scottsdale
480-994-1331, cafeforte.com
Gazpacho is one of those “classic” dishes that’s open to wild interpretation. Some chefs add diced cucumbers and morsels of jalapeño to the cold, tomato-based Spanish soup; less commonly, you might see it embellished with chunks of watermelon and bits of black olives. At Cafe Forte, chef/owner Grace Rubel has been dishing up the same gazpacho recipe for 22 years – a zesty elixir ($5.50 cup, $8 bowl; pictured) mating several fresh garden veggies with cilantro, basil and a dash of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor. She pulses the mixture with extra virgin olive oil in a food processor, making sure to leave a few whole vegetable pieces intact, and adds house-made ciabatta crumbs to lend a thicker texture, similar to applesauce. “It’s almost like having a liquid salad, and it’s so healthy,” Rubel says. “I think it’s a great starter that opens up all your taste buds."


Delux
3146 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
602-522-2288, deluxburger.com
Best known for its transcendent burgers and boffo beer list, this Biltmore-area restaurant also takes its gazpacho very seriously. Most gazpacho is blended and served as a thick purée, but Delux serves it much like chefs in the northern Spanish community of Castilla y León, leaving the vegetables in chunks – akin to a salsa – and topping the bowl with a mountain of buttery avocado wedges and clumps of creamy goat cheese. The cold soup ($7.95) is loaded with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers and onions in a light tomato broth with hints of basil and oregano fired up with red chile flakes. Delux’s gazpacho started out as a soup of the day, but customers requested it so often that owner Lenny Rosenberg made the summery soup a menu staple.

Rita’s Kitchen
5402 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale
480-948-1700, marriott.com
Rita’s Kitchen at the JW Marriott Scotts-dale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa uses golden tomatoes in place of the more common red variety because they’re sweeter and make the dish unique, according to executive chef Paul Millist. Make no mistake, it’s still gazpacho – some primeval versions of the dish in Spain have no tomatoes at all. Millist’s golden version ($7 cup; $12 bowl) is a mix of juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, jicama, shallots, garlic, white wine vinegar and cilantro blended in a food processor and passed through a strainer to produce a delicate, golden-colored soup with a pulpy texture, not unlike puréed watermelon. Golden tomatoes lend a milder flavor to the soup and are less acidic than their deep red cousins. “It’s just a very fresh summer dish that works perfectly for Arizona,” Millist says.