Eating elegant cuisine, like arguing in a foreign language, is a rigorous exercise for the tongue that can sometimes end with a face full of hollandaise sauce. Give glottal muscles a workout with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of contemporary southwestern fare at Ahnala Mesquite Room at the Radisson Fort McDowell Resort in Scottsdale.
Partnering with local vegetable, meat, and dairy farmers, Ahnala champions artisanal cooking within a vibrant dining room that reflects the landscape and culture of the Southwest. Chef de cuisine Joshua Dul concocts an elegant menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, beginning with morning munches such as anise-and-cinnamon-custard french toast ($8) or smoked-salmon hash nestled on a bed of poached eggs, dill, and a tasty throw pillow of crème fraîche ($11). Midday masticators can lavish through lighter fare such as hazelnut-crusted brie with lingonberry chutney ($9) or a baby-beet salad with arugula, fromage blanc, and orange filet fashioned into functional citrus booties ($8). As the sun passes over the specter of the nearby Four Peaks Mountain, Ahnala offers up eclectic international cuisine such as Mexican white prawns ($8), muscovy-duck breast ($25), and salmon roulade with shrimp-and-spinach stuffing ($22).
A roaring fireplace steals the spotlight of Ahnala's central dining room, with its large stone columns, handmade glass tiles designed by local Yavapai tribal youth, and fire-crackling renditions of "We Will Rock You." The eatery's walls host Old World tapestries strewn among natural colors and wood credenzas. Guests can enjoy the southwestern sunlight as it streams through Ahnala's floor-to-ceiling windows or step outside to the patio bedecked with indigenous vegetation and open-air ceiling fans.