We spent most of our time in Scottsdale. And in a town called Paradise Valley. Our location was prime. Prime for being in what we were later told was a “safe” area, and also prime because we were so close to good food! And good food is not an afterthought for two people who enjoy good food. Robin is a true foodie, a fellow cheese lover, and knows about culinary trends more than any one else I know.
Before arriving, Robin had received some great tips about where to eat. First: From an episode of Diners, Dives and Drive-Ins, was The Paradise Valley Burger Company.
I ordered the Brûlée Burger. [Fried egg, bacon, onion, burnt sugar, havarti]
Zero regrets. This thing was super tasty. Do you see that brownish crust on inside of the bun lid? That would be brown sugar heated with the torch to make a crunchy sweet coating inside the bun. It was like, dessert and main course all in one.
I can’t wait to try making this burger myself – or some inspired version of it anyway.
On Saturday morning we opted for the restaurant on site. We enjoyed supurb coffee. At least three refills. (There is no shame in having a few cups of coffee when you’re in the mood.) And since it was more like “brunchtime” we chose to share a dish and eat “light” so we could enjoy the next miracle of culinary delights at The Mission later that afternoon.
Here we are with our fantastic coffee at Sprouts, the lovely outdoor patio restaurant at the resort.
Let’s move along to the afternoon. The good people at PV burger Co recommended The Mission in the old town part of Scottsdale, and it was no disappointment. We started with cocktails. I had the Aguacate (avocado) margarita. Because I like to try new things when I can! Avocado margarita? [cruz del sol tequila, avocado, triple sec & pressed lime] It was delicious.
— The restaurant reminded me a little of the long narrow seating set ups in so many Parisian restaurants, with the long seat agains the wall,and the smaller tables with chairs all in a row. And I absolutely love a restaurant where the tables are already set with glasses and silverware when you arrive.
— The appetizer was the guacamole they prepared from fresh ingredients right there at the table.
I have a picture of this:
I might have eaten more than my fair share…..
— The main course for me was this taco art. Look at it. It’s art. [Roasted organic butternut squash, Spicy black bean soffits, cumin, coriander, poblano, pickled jalapeño & cotija] These flavor combinations have never been near my lips before this day. A little heat. Lots of guacamole. Zero complaints.
The three inch corn tortillas are made from scratch and placed on a hot sea salt brick. I’ve never seen anything like it. Brilliant.
The Mission, in Scottsdale. We even snuck a peek into the actual church (foreground) to see the inside. (There were lots of candles and saint statues and pews.)
On Sunday for an early lunch, before our Taliesin West Tour, we ventured to an area of Scottsdale I will call “fancy” because there are no such “fancy” areas here in the town where I live. Robin found a highly rated foodie restaurant called Culinary Dropout. We started with an appetizer of cheeses (who doesn’t love cheese?!) and some Italian cured meats.
We could have stopped right there because it was so good. But nope. We had a main course too. I chose to have a big salad with salmon. Salmon in the desert? What? Don’t look at me that way. ;-)
The big finale… this one will blow your pants off.
So, because Robin is the queen of organization and planning, she also got a good recommendation for a great place for dinner. She booked reservations at Elements, the award winning restaurant at the Camelback resort Sanctuary, with a menu of artisrty by celebrity Chef Beau MacMillan. (Note to self: Return someday to this desert resort called Sanctuary, if for no other reason than the name.)
The seats were aligned perfectly so we could view the sun setting over the mountains in the west. So cool.
— Started with cocktails. This is the lip-lickingly good Corpse Reviver. [Arizona Distilling Desert Dry Gin + Cocchi Americano + Cointreau + Fresh Pressed Lemon Juice + Absinthe + Star Anise] Because I have a thing for licorice flavors. It was a little on the mild side – and whatever anyone says about absinthe, it did not happen to me. (Maybe I should’ve asked for a double?)
— There was crunchy chewy sourdough bread and rippled butter flaked with sea salt. (Exactly this beautiful can bread and butter be.)
— Squash blossoms. Another new to me thing. These were filled with something, I think it was cream cheese and maybe lobster? No matter, it was sooo good. I loved it. Could have eaten just squash blossoms the whole night and been satisfied.
— Another appetizer. Beet salad. [fennel | arugula | goat cheese | honey | hazelnut] Another perfect combination of flavors.
And the main event. The grand finale. This is a rib eye steak, with long skinny green beans, mushrooms, and a sauce that was liquid magic.
I think I am still full from this meal. It was more food than I had ever eaten at one setting, ever, including Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners! Man. And so good.
So, I tried to bring you along with us as we dined and enjoyed culinary adventures, and I hope you are now either laughing at my many food photos, and/or have a hankering to go out and try some good food at a new place near your neck of the woods.
Next up: Taliesin West!
Oh! I almost forgot! The dessert. We managed just a bite or two, but this Key Lime Tart with meringue and raspberry gelato was our accompaniment to the after dinner coffee. Coffee and key lime tart and conversation. There’s a trio that bears repeating.