Noshing Around

Five Diamonds

The Ventana Room at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort has been awarded five diamonds by the American Automobile Association for 2006. The Ventana Room is the only restaurant in Arizona to be elevated from four to five diamonds. Only two other Arizona restaurants, the Marquesa and Mary Elaine's, both in Scottsdale, have retained their five-diamond status. In 2005, 46 restaurants in 19 states received the five-diamond distinction in the AAA TourBook guides.

Chef Philippe Trosch, director of food and beverage Ellen Burke Van Slyke and wine director Kevin Brady should be congratulated for their hard work. In honor of their lofty new status, they've created the canary cocktail ($17) made with Veuve Clicquot and Jose Cuervo La Famillia tequila, served in a sparkling bath of ice, dry ice and diamonds. A floating yellow diamond completes the cocktail at 7000 N. Resort Drive; 299-2020.

Diamonds in the Rough

Five local restaurants boast four stars: This is the first year for Acacia at St. Philip's, as well as Primo at the JW Marriott Star Pass Resort and Spa (which, by the way, will be re-creating food from the movie The Big Night at next week's Slow Food Film Festival). Anthony's in the Catalinas retains its four diamonds for the second year in a row, Janos for five years, and the Gold Room for a dozen years. According to the Auto Club News, five-diamond winners make up less than one half of 1 percent, while four-diamond winners make up 3 percent of the properties evaluated.

Manicure Mondays

Terra Cotta teams up with Spa One for the first Monday of the month through March for complimentary manicures paired with Drinkin' With Lincoln happy hours (4 to 7 p.m.), when house wine, margaritas and martinis can be sipped for a mere $5 along with awesome big and little plates of food (also $5). Try the beef short ribs with mashed potatoes and root vegetables. For $10 plus nice tips for the wait staff and manicurist, you can live richly for less at 3500 E. Sunrise Drive; 577-8100.

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