Train whistles used to conjure up thoughts of hobos, but that was before I discovered "rail pints" on a recent visit to Barrio Brewing Company (800 E. 16th St.; 791-2739). If you're at Barrio and you hear a train whistle, you get a pint for $3 as long as the road blocks are down. It's a fun—and literally earth-shaking—way to enjoy one of the brewery's 11 beers.
Who doesn't love a Fourth of July picnic—especially when someone else handles all that tedious preparation? Delectables (533 N. Fourth Ave.) has pre-packed picnic goodies available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, July 4. 884-9289; delectables.com.
Red, White and ... Elvis?
Dr. Pepper marinades? Elvis impersonation? Welcome to the world of chef extraordinaire Janos Wilder. His Fourth of July buffet features 20 items ranging from street-vendor corn to Dr. Pepper-marinated pork shoulder, and entertainment by country crooner Bill Ganz, magician Steve Ehlers and an Elvis impersonator named Freddy G. It goes down at J BAR (3770 E. Sunrise Drive) at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, July 4. $29.95 adults; $14.95 for kids 12 and younger. Reservations are recommended. 615-6100; www.janos.com.
The Food Network is holding an open casting call in Scottsdale for The Next Food Network Star. Get over your stage fright, and show off those culinary skills at the Embassy Suites Phoenix (4415 E. Paradise Village Parkway; 602-765-5800) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 8.
Wine, Wine, Wine
Enjoy half-price bottles of wine at Wildflower (7037 N. Oracle Road; 219-4230) on Tuesdays; Montana Avenue (6390 E. Grant Road; 298-2020) on Wednesdays; and NoRTH (2995 E. Skyline Drive; 299-1600) on Sundays. The specials continue through Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Lodge on the Desert Temporarily Closing ...
Lodge on the Desert (306 N. Alvernon Way), which recently completed a $15 million renovation, has temporarily closed its restaurant, according to www.lodgeonthedesert.com. The online note says the eatery is "undergoing additional renovation and (a) concept change" and will reopen this fall.
... And a Red Lobster Opening
A Red Lobster is set to open at 11695 N. Oracle Road, Oro Valley. Dinner service starts at 4 p.m., Monday, July 6, with lunch getting underway at 11 a.m., Monday, July 13.