In my Tuesday Travel series I will be sharing with you a city that I have traveled to, what I enjoyed doing there, and what I loved to eat while I was there.
This week will focus on not one, but two amazing cities in Northern Arizona: Flagstaff and Sedona. I lived in Flagstaff for four years during college and it became my second home, and during those four years I found some spectacular restaurants and attractions in Northern Arizona. Here are some of my favorites:
Snowbowl area in Flagstaff during Autumn
Where to Eat in Flagstaff
Biffs Bagels is one of my favorite places to eat in Flagstaff. They have the best bagels in Flagstaff which has put them on the map. My favorite is their spinach bagel with artichoke spinach cream cheese and smoked salmon! Sometimes they’ll even put cucumbers on it for you. Biffs is in a central location between downtown and NAU campus, and they are right across the street from Macy’s (Macy’s coffee is featured in this image- I would frequently get Biffs to go and take it across the street to Macy’s to enjoy my coffee and bagel on their patio).
Macy’s European Coffee House
Macy’s coffee remains to be the best coffee that I’ve ever had in a coffee shop. You can’t enjoy Flagstaff’s cool mountain breeze without a warm Macy’s Special in hand; steamed hot chocolate and freshly brewed espresso with cocoa powder and house made whipped cream to top it off. Sometimes their baristas will even decorate your coffee with cute designs, as seen above. Macy’s is perfect on any day in Flagstaff, as the weather is never too warm. Check out their back patio for a little peace and quiet with your morning (or afternoon, or evening) coffee.
Little Thai Kitchen
Little Thai Kitchen was my all-time favorite restaurant all through college. Start with a smooth and creamy iced Thai tea. One of their specialties, The Evil Prince of the Wild Jungle, kept me coming back again and again. Its rich broth is scented with lemongrass, coconut milk and spices. Your choice of meat plus baby mushrooms complete the dish, but I like to sub snow peas instead of the mushrooms. Top it with crushed peanuts – it is the best.
Your order of an entree also comes with a tiny house salad with peanut dressing, which is the most flavorful and creamy peanut dressing I’ve ever had. They also have some great appetizers, like curry potato wontons and tiger rolls (wonton rolls with cream cheese and sweet and sour sauce). My second favorite dish is called Rambo and it is a vivacious, spicy dish full of vegetables and brilliant flavors.
Complete your meal with fried bananas – you won’t be disappointed!
Braised Mushrooms with goat cheese, leeks and herbs
UPDATE: Pizza Furiosa has unfortunately closed. I recommend Pizzicletta instead.
Pizza Furiosa was new to the Flagstaff dining scene right after I graduated, and I hope it has earned its rightful place by now. Pizza Furiosa has some of the best pizza and they even grow some of their ingredients! They offer gluten free crust as well, and some of their toppings are very unique.
Start your meal with a cool and refreshing strawberry lemonade. Pizza Furiosa’s strawberry lemonade is not out of a soda fountain or from a mix; you can actually see strawberry seeds in the lemonade! It is SO worth it. Trust me, I never order drinks at restaurants (except Thai tea), and I always order this when I dine at Pizza Furiosa.
Pizza of the Day
Next, sort your way through the tempting menu until you find the pizza just right for you. Do you love goat cheese? Pesto? Sausage? They have something just for you. Check out the special pizza of the day, sometimes these are the best (like the one above)! Not pictured- their meatball appetizer is delicious!
Sushi in Flagstaff is slim picking, especially good sushi. Although Karma can be on the expensive side for a college student’s budget, their sushi is incredible so the price didn’t keep us away. Aside from the sushi, the fried rice is THE BEST fried rice EVER. I don’t know what they put in it (oyster sauce, maybe? magic?), but it is awesome.
Everything at Karma is delicious. I adore the Firecracker Roll and the Green Dragon Roll. Looking back at the menu, I’m dying to try the Autumn Roll and the Bonsai Roll! Next time!
Flagstaff Chocolate Company
Do I really need to explain this one? I am a chocoholic, I admit it, and I am obsessed with Flagstaff Chocolate Company’s dark chocolate coconut clusters. They are divine. I have to say, I’ve had a lot of coconut clusters in my life, even at different chocolatiers in Flagstaff, but these are the best (I’m a big fan of coconut- have you tried my Toasted Coconut & Vanilla Popsicles?).
Flagstaff Chocolate Company also sells a plethora of other fancy bonbons, brittles, and more, as can be expected. They also have fudge that melts in your mouth in a variety of flavors in addition to fresh gelato and ice creams. Simply, Flagstaff Chocolate Company is a must visit. It is conveniently located across from Heritage Square in Downtown Flagstaff among many quality restaurants and shopping destinations.
UPDATE: New Frontiers was bought out by Whole Foods. I heard they still carry some of the previously loved pre-made foods, but I’m not sure if that’s the case.
New Frontiers is a one-stop-shop for natural and organic groceries, snacks, fresh juice and even lunch! That’s right, much like Whole Foods, New Frontiers has a salad bar, soups, and a cold prepared foods section that actually puts Whole Foods to shame, in my opinion. Sometimes they have these half moon rice balls, which may sound weird but they’re fantastic. They also sell the best gazpacho I’ve ever had. The entire prepared foods bar at New Frontiers is amazing, I’ve never tried anything that I didn’t like. Everything is very unique. I love their juice bar, it is so affordable that it makes it hard to come back to Phoenix and pay $8 for a small sized juice. I highly recommend New Frontiers if you are looking for new snacks for the road, fresh juice, or a quick and healthy meal.
Fresh Juice from New Frontiers
What to do in Flagstaff
Snowbowl is a popular destination during all seasons. During the summer you can enjoy a scenic sky ride to the top of the mountain for cool, fresh mountain breezes and a view that cannot be beat. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, you never know what you’ll see! During the winter Snowbowl opens its ski lifts for fun snow-filled adventures.
Heritage Square & Downtown Flagstaff
Downtown Flagstaff is a great place to shop and dine. You can even catch a movie in the square on select Friday nights in the summer. The shops are the perfect place to purchase souvenirs, try on some crazy costumes, and learn about Flagstaff’s long history. Go ahead, buy some incense and natural soap- you know you want to, and it was likely locally made!
Flagstaff is one of few dark sky cities in the states, and Lowell Observatory is the perfect place to enjoy the results- a clear view of more stars than you ever knew existed. On most nights they have select telescopes set up to view planets, the moon, or other celestial beauties. I love Lowell, but the second best place to view the stars is Mormon Lake.
Where to Eat in Sedona
Espinaca con Queso, Chips & Salsa, Prickly Pear Lemonade
Great restaurants in Sedona are not easy to find, but Oaxaca is conveniently located on the lower end of the popular uptown shopping district. The views from Oaxaca’s patio are breathtaking. I love their espinaca con queso (as seen above) as well as their shrimp and green chili enchiladas when they have them on special. Oaxaca also has amazing drinks, like prickly pear lemonade. I recommend Oaxaca for lunch or dinner while visiting Sedona.
We stopped at Dan’s Bistro for a quick lunch on a chilly day in Sedona. My friends loved their soups and sandwiches, and I adored my grilled chicken salad. Dan’s Bistro menu is straightforward with crowd pleasing items like grilled turkey breast sandwich with melted gruyere and cranberries, a portobello burger, and the option to build your own deli plate. Their dinner menu is much different with classic dishes such as fettucini alfredo and bouillabaisse.
There is also a New Frontiers in Sedona, and as I mentioned before it is a convenient place to stop for lunch. Box up a fresh salad and take it to the creek to enjoy the great outdoors.
What to do in Sedona
Sedona is one of the most beautiful places to hike, and many hikes run along the scenic Oak Creek. Here you’ll find clear waters reflecting the impossibly beautiful red rocks that Sedona is famous for. This is the best way to enjoy Sedona’s magnificent beauty.
Uptown Sedona is home to some funky shops that will entertain you for hours. Glowing candles, beads with special properties, amazing frozen bananas, cheap sunglasses, unique jewelry, and some of my favorite artists are just a few of the things you’ll come across. It’s really an adventure, you never know what you’ll find!
Oak Creek Canyon keeps visitors coming to Sedona year round; in the spring, college students from NAU make the quick drive down to enjoy a lazy day by the water. Hikers enjoy the views during all seasons, and Autumn is the perfect time of year to set up camp right by the water. Camping in Sedona is one of the most classic ways to enjoy the area’s splendor.
Tlaquepaque is a beautiful shopping and art district surrounded by fountains, flowers, and a few picturesque resorts. Stop by here to explore some local art, sample some wine from the region, or grab lunch at one of the restaurants in the area.
I hope you find time to make it up to Northern Arizona soon. If you’re feeling up for an adventure, check out Fossil Creek as a day trip on your way up!
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