With the temperatures still soaring in Phoenix, you might be looking for some gastronomical (and of course, economical) ways to stay cool. Here is a super surprising fact – spicy food can actually help you cool off! According to food scientists at Penn State University, eating spicy food when it’s hot outside will most likely make you sweat and there could be a natural cooling effect from the moisture on your face and body. Pretty cool, huh? Literally! So, if you’re looking for a way to beat the heat without beating up your wallet, follow me to some local spicy eateries!
If you’re on the prowl for a reasonably priced, upscale version of traditional Mexican food, make your way over to Fuego Bistro . The restaurant is small, with seating inside and (if you can brave the summer heat) a lovely outdoor courtyard with live jazz on Saturday evenings when the weather allows. The wait staff here is friendly and accommodating and the food is out of this world.
If you want to keep costs low, head to Fuego Bistro for lunch, where the to-die-for House Specialty Chile Relleno (a jumbo Pasillo pepper stuffed with natural chicken breast, black beans, jack cheese, cilantro, panko bread crumbs, covered with guajillo chile sauce) can be had for $11. Fuego Bistro also has a fantastic happy hour Tuesday thru Saturday beginning at 3pm. Choose from spicy bites such as Chicken Street Tacos ($6), Tortilla Soup ($4), House Special Mojitos ($5-7) and Scratch Made Sangria ($5). Fuego Bistro is located at 713 E. Palo Verde Drive in Phoenix, AZ. Visit www.fuegobistro.com for more information.
Authentic Thai isn’t easy to find in Arizona, but Wild Thaiger knows how to do it right. Family owned and operated, Wild Thaiger selects from the freshest seasonal ingredients and Chef Olashawn Hasadinratana-Weaver’s creations please both Thai aficionados and newcomers alike. The interior is cool and slightly dark, which offers a welcome respite from the heat. There is a patio for those lava lizards that prefer the outdoors.
Curry fan’s can enjoy the Beef Panang (hot and spicy red curry beef seasoned with zesty kaffir lime) for $9.95 and the Galee Gai (tender chicken and potatoes surrounded in tangy yellow curry, served with fresh cucumber chutney), also for $9.95. Meat lovers will gobble up the Thaiger Ribs (1/2 rack of grilled pork ribs marinated in Thai spices, served with sautéed Asian veggies and a side of chili garlic sauce) or the Holy Basil Chicken (specially blended Thai chili and garlic, flavored with aromatic holy basil make this dish explode with flavor), both for the same low price of $9.95. There are plenty of vegetarian options to choose from, as well as hot pots, rice and noodle dishes and tempting appetizers. Wild Thaiger has a full bar, offering unique cocktails, beer and wine from around the world. Wild Thaiger is located at 2631 N. Central Ave in Phoenix, AZ. You can find the full menus and more info at http://www.wildthaiger.com.
Nestled in a tiny cloister of shops in lovely Arcadia, Havana Café offers traditional Cuban fare with influences from Spain and Latin America. The key to keeping costs low at Havana Café, while still getting your fill of yummy, spicy food, is the tapas menu. House specialties include the delectable Datiles con Chorizo (medjool dates stuffed with spanish chorizo, wrapped in bacon for $7.95), Tamal Cubano (fresh young corn, pork, latin seasonings for $4.95) and Seviche (lime cooked seafood medley, habanero and bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado for $10.95). Add in Brazil’s favorite cocktail, a Caipirinha (cachaca – sugar cane liquor, sugar, lime juice for $7.50) or a glass of their homemade red wine, white wine or champagne sangria for $7.50 and you’ve got yourself a light and tasty meal. Havana Café offers Happy Hour from 3pm – 6pm daily where the prices are even lower, ranging from $3 – $6 for appetizers, $2 domestic and $3 imported beers and the house Mojito for $4. Havana Cafe is located at 4225 Camelback Rd in Arcadia, AZ. Visit http://www.havanacafe-az.com/ for more info.