Grazing Arizona: Desert Sweet Shrimp

SURPRISE, Ariz.–Baseball’s spring training is certainly more about baseball than fine dining—at least it is in Surprise, Arizona. My baseball-writing friends have been scouring this area for a good meal for years and the other night they took me to a new find, Arrowhead Grill. It’s  a steaks-seafood-cocktails kind of place about 30 minutes from Surprise. Surprisingly (sorry) the food was great—steaks are hand-cut and, like my complexion, dry-aged. The waitress, Gretchen, is the kind of server you want every night.

Perusing the menu, I was intrigued by the use of current buzzword, LOCAL. We were dining in the desert. Tumbleweed salad or coyote pot pie I could envision. But “Desert Sweet Shrimp” stopped me cold. The shrimp was described as “farm-raised and locally-grown in Gila Bend’s mineral-rich well water, drawn directly from the desert’s deep and ancient sea beds. This combination of well water and the warm, Arizona sun make for a sweeter-tasting shrimp.” Curious, I asked Gretchen. “Oh, we quit carrying it because it is too expensive,” she said. So we ate mediocre onion rings, nice steaks, delicious hominy grilled with bacon (pictured), and salad with dried dates, figs, and candied pistachios. The next morning I researched the shrimp. Here’s the website that claiming “The World’s Best Shrimp.” Am I the only one who thinks this is weird?