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.
I’ve found that many times my travel destinations are centered around food first, activities second. Although sometimes my travel destination is out of my control, like when I visit family, I always make the most of it… usually through food. Now I want to share with you my passion for travel along with my “must eat” locations in each city.
Why am I doing this, you might ask? Well, 6 weeks from today I’ll be landing in Tel Aviv, Israel for a 5 month adventure of food, friends, beaches, marketing, and more food. Because of this, the tone of my blog will stay the same, but the focus of the recipes and posts may slightly shift according to my access to a full or partial kitchen.
I’m going to miss cooking in this beautiful kitchen with my beautiful sister!
Before I launch into places I have traveled to, I want to first start with my home: Scottsdale, Arizona.
Whether you have been here, live here, or want to visit, hopefully this post will be somewhat of a mini guide. As I have lived here for most of my life, I could probably write a novel about my favorite restaurants in the city… I’ll spare you that and leave you with my top 5:
Where to eat in Phoenix & Scottsdale
Sweet Republic, hands down, sells the best ice cream in the valley. The. Best. They locally source all of their ingredients, from milk and cream to fresh mint right off the plant for their Real Mint Chip, which is one of my favorites. Their flavors rotate regularly, but keep your eyes open for Lavender, Bananas Foster, Basil Lime Sorbet, Strawberry Buttermilk, Horchata, and Huckleberry Swirl, just to name a few! Everything here is made in house, from their waffle cones to their candied bacon, which are both incredible and the difference is noticeable.
They have won many “best ice cream” awards around the valley and nationwide, which in my opinion are very well earned. Alton Brown featured them on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network. They’re just amazing. There is only one location, plus a food truck, and you can find pints of their ice creams in Whole Foods around the valley.
As I’ve mentioned before, Krua Thai is my favorite Thai restaurant in Phoenix. They have fantastic lunch specials for about $7-9 which include spring rolls and the best daily soup. In addition, their coconut ice cream is to die for! Krua Thai also has sweet Thai tea that is the best I’ve ever had… as a matter of fact, everything I’ve had at Krua has been the best! You can read my full review here.
St. Francis has a wood fired oven that delivers some of the best food that I’ve had in Phoenix. Their Fingerling Potatoes are to die for; they keep me coming back again and again. The Pork Chili Verde (pictured below) is perfectly spicy and bursting with flavor. St. Francis has perfected every course, from cocktails to dessert. The best part? They have happy hour every day!
Postino has the perfect balance of beautiful wines and amazing food. They are best known for their bruchetta because they have about 12 different types to choose from. You can choose 4 different ones or get 4 of the same type, it’s your choice! On Mondays and Tuesdays after 8pm they have a special which includes a bottle of wine and a board of bruchetta for only $20. They also have an awesome brunch on the weekends, my favorite part of which is the tomato salad that comes on the side of the Farm Scramble. Postino’s peach bellinis are also fantastic!
In addition to unique bruchetta combinations like Brie & Apples with Fig Spread, or Tomato Jam & Fresh Sheeps Milk Cheese (my two favorites), Postino also features a rustic patio filled with plants and a happy, modern vibe. Everyone who I’ve brought to Postino has loved it and I’m confident that you will, too!
Board of Bruchetta, from left to right: Brie & Apples with Fig Spread; Ricotta with Dates & Pistachios; Tomato Jam & Fresh Sheeps Milk Cheese; Prosciutto with Figs & Mascarpone
For the best chocolate souffle and fine dining French food, don’t miss Zinc Bistro at Kierland Commons. Their chocolate souffle is the most perfect expression of chocolate that there is, maybe even in the whole world. It takes about 25 minutes but it is well worth the wait. In fact, while you’re waiting, why don’t you enjoy some Zinc Fries, a perfect bowl of French Onion Soup, a Zinc House Salad, the spectacular Warm Dungeness Crab Crepe, or their popular Moules Marinieres (mussels with frites). Craving something a little more filling? Indulge in their Prime Flat Iron Steak, a dish no one could resist, perfected by Zinc’s brandy au poivre.
Zinc is popular for special occasions like anniversaries, proposals, and graduations, but for lunch their menu is not too pricy and still offers some of the incredible dinner fare. They also offer a simple brunch on the weekends with specialty pastries. Request a table in the romantic courtyard during the cooler months and enjoy twinkling candles, trickling water, and the feeling that you might actually be in Paris… not Phoenix.
Zinc’s Cocktail Area
Zinc Bistro Chocolate Souffle
Things to do in Phoenix & Scottsdale:
Phoenix is a great place to go hiking. Despite the heat, this activity doesn’t stop during the summer (it just slows down a considerable amount)! There are many different places to hike in Phoenix, including Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak. Make sure you bring water and sunscreen!
Salt River Tubing
Salt River Tubing is just one way that Phoenicians like to escape the heat during the summer months. For a few hours, enjoy a gentle float down the salt river on tubes or rafts. Bring a cooler with water and snacks and enjoy the ride!
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places in Phoenix. Their grounds are so beautiful and a visit is a great way to learn about native plants. In addition, the garden also frequently has events and featured artists, like the Chihuly exhibit shown below.
Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Garden
Arizona is home to many casinos, like Talking Stick Resort Casino, because Indian Reservations are allowed to have casinos on the land. Many popular ones have sprouted up throughout Arizona’s history and have become hot spots for tourists and locals alike. Casinos are a fun place to spend a night out with friends, and then bask by the pool the next morning.
Diamondbacks Baseball Game
I’ve always loved baseball so to me, Diamondbacks games are a fun way to spend a night out with friends. Spring training games are also very popular. It doesn’t even matter if you have the furthest seat away from the plate; grab a beer, maybe some nachos and enjoy the game! There’s just something about the atmosphere that makes it so fun, and you can find really affordable tickets to most home games.
There are many great places to shop in Phoenix and Scottsdale, including the above mentioned Kierland Commons. Kierland is a luxe shopping center that has amazing window shopping and great places to eat. They’re also home to the nearest Anthropoligie to my home… no further explanation necessary. Other good shopping areas:
- Scottsdale Quarter
- Fashion Square Mall
- Tempe Marketplace
- Anthem Outlets
Do you live in Phoenix? Share your favorite places in the comments!
Sick of the brutal Phoenix heat? Check out my Tuesday Travel post next week which will be all about Northern Arizona.
Update: Read the Northern Arizona post here, and check out even more travel posts with the link below:
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