El Gato Azul in Prescott

ElGatoAzulSome mornings I wake up and the hot breath of the desert that encases me in a sticky film of loathing threatens to initiate a murderous rampage that will decimate everything in sight. On those days, I try to get out of town and cool off in some nearby locale where summer doesn’t equal hell.

Prescott has long been a favored destination of mine for the summertime rages brought on by the unrelenting heat of the Valley. Picnicking on the the lush lawns of the town square, antiquing for knickknacks, or romping along a nature hike, Prescott has enough small town quaintness to chase away any big city blues. And, recently, I discovered another gem tucked into the heart of our friendly northern neighbor – El Gato Azul.

Serving lunch, dinner, tapas, and (on some gentle evenings) Jazz, El Gato Azul is Prescott’s home to hip that will have visiting foodies, jazzhounds, and localistas all buzzing. I was casually walking the downtown area of Prescott on a rage-to-sage adventure up north when I heard live jazz of the smooth variety merging with the sounds of trees and wind. Following the sound, we ended up dining al fresco at El Gato Azul where the performance was engaging and the tapas selection rivaled any big city establishment.

Salmon Bruschetta with Goat Cheese & Almonds, Herb Crusted Lambchops with Balsamic Reduction, even Escargot can be found on the menu. And, they offer an extensive array of vegetarian tapas (which we’re big fans of here) including Saffron Croquettes and Baked Brie Nachos. El Gato Azul’s Chorizo has earned a bit of a local reputation so if you’re a fan I suggest trying the Chorizo Meatballs with Parmesan Au gratin or Barry’s Chorizo Hash.

Now would also be a good time to mention Barry, jazz aficionado and restaurateur.  We first noticed him because he was singing with the jazz ensemble while we were taking our seats and and ordering tapas. When the band took a short break, he was talking to folks and bringing out dishes from the kitchen. Only then did we discover that El Gato Azul, like the famed Chorizo, is Barry’s undertaking. We’re just thankful that this man of many talents has a public forum to showcase both his musical and culinary skills.

Make El Gato Azul you’re cool get-away this summer. I recommend stopping by on a Thursday, Friday, or Sunday when they usually have a musical performance. Jazz on Sundays is a personal favorite. For the complete menu and performance schedule, check out their website here.