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When Espiritu opened last January, it was cast as a bar not a restaurant, a let’s-get-crazy play place for drinkers unashamed to admit they like getting a little toasty. Under the short cocktail menu (five regular cocktails and one daily special) is a section called “Shots & Other Mistakes,” featuring nine possibly bad decisions (their verbiage, not mine). Here, you’ll find wild concoctions given hilarious names and descriptions, including Yeetlejuice (Jaeger cold brew, pineapple amaro,...

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  Photo courtesy Buck &Rider   THE SCENE “I don’t eat seafood in landlocked states.” That sentence – along with its cousin, “Seafood in the desert? Pass.” – is up there on the list of trite refrains I regularly field from friends and relatives about dining in the Valley. When I hear someone say it, I have to fight a visceral urge to shake them and bellow, “Do you think we’re still in the 1950s?!” In a time before overnight shipping and advanced packing and cooling techniques, sure, you would have...

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Grilled Maine Lobster | Photo by Madison Rutherford   A serpentine stroll through We-Ko-Pa will take you to a calm corner of the casino that doesn’t feel like you’re in a casino at all. Such is the charm of Ember, the casino and resort’s new fine dining destination – a culinary oasis that is well worth the trek to far-flung Fort McDowell. The kitchen is helmed by critically acclaimed chef Richard E. Pelz, who places...

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“Houston’s for seafood fans.” That was my Yelp-assisted initial impression of this high-toned California import, which debuted in upper Scottsdale’s Gainey Village area in November. It’s the latest and most-inland (by far) location in the emerging chain, which has found success delivering highly repeatable, upscale-but-not-astronomically-priced cuisine to diners in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. For his Arizona landfall, owner David Cortina – a part-time Chandler resident who, interestingly, was arrested in Taiwan two years ago...

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Call me extra, but I believe that dining out should be an experience. Sure, the food could be fantastic, but if it’s not paired with a personable server, a fun atmosphere, eclectic environs or other fanciful flourishes, I personally feel that it’s not worth it. That’s why I’m so intrigued with the concept of “dinnertainment” a la Medieval Times. It’s also why I was over the moon when I got an invite for a hosted...

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It’s finally October, and there’s much more to this month than apple pie and pumpkin spice. October is also National Seafood Month and there’s a slew of local spots serving up fishy fare. Here are a few of our favorites: Angry Crab Shack This lively Valley staple is known for its spicy seafood boils served in plastic bags. During the month of October, guests can add a lobster tail to their bag for just $10....