Happy Monday! My road trip is officially coming to a close as I head back home to Nashville today. Life has been a whirlwind these past six weeks and I'm so excited to finally sit down and share so many incredible places with you guys! It's my hope that it will inspire you to plan some adventures of your own.
I've already shared two of my three Arizona stops (Sedona and The Grand Canyon) so today, let's start discussing Scottsdale. Whether you want to relax and be pampered, get outdoors and explore, or eat and drink with friends-- this vibrant desert town has something for everyone.
For all intents and purposes, I wanted to split this destination into a few posts based on various interests. So let's start with something we can all agree on: food + drinks. MAN, Scottsdale excels in this department. Not only was everything that I experienced delicious, but the atmosphere of each location slayed.
Lunch at The Saguaro was our very first action item when we rolled into Scottsdale. It piqued my interest while doing some research on the area because I had already booked a room at their Palm Springs location for another trip I had a few weeks later. Naturally, any hotel that's a rainbow of colors is bound to grab your attention, but this place lives up to the hype. Both Saguaro properties (Scottsdale and Palm Springs- which I'll get to in a few weeks) were vibrant, Modernist, light-hearted and fun. So regardless of wherever you decide to stay in Scottsdale, be sure you at least pop in here for some food + drinks so you can gush over this property.
The cocktails (which are as vibrant as the hotel surroundings) were delicious. We loved the Jungle Bird (Campari, rum, pineapple juice, lime + simple syrup) and the Oaxaca Old Fashioned (Reposado tequila, mezcal, agave + angostura bitters).
Since I have to keep some balance and not always overeat whilst traveling, we stuck with salads to share for our main course. Both the Big Kale (complete with quinoa, cranberries, almonds, tomato, watermelon radish + champagne vinaigrette) and the Seafood Cobb (including shrimp, crab, blue cheese, mango, avocado, bacon, tomato, egg + balsamic vinaigrette) were light, fresh and delicious.
And since we were like, super healthy- we treated ourselves to some chips and guac too (because that's always worth every calorie, am I right?)
Stay tuned for more about The Saguaro hotel + pool later this week when we discuss places to stay...
If I ever say no to great Mexican food, it's a day for the history books. I'm also *shamelessly* a sucker for any business with great decor + branding (my Insta feed does a happy dance whenever I stumble upon these spots). Couple the two, and you've got Diego Pops: a modern Mexican diner in the heart of downtown Scottsdale that offers a tropical + cosmopolitan twist. We arrived during happy hour and the bar was buzzing with people sipping on some of the most beautiful cocktails I've ever seen.
Not only is the aesthetic of the decor and drinks lovely, but the food will rock your world. Try a variety of the delicious taco flavors like Braised Pineapple Pork, Beef Machacha or Green Chili Chicken. For sides, I loved their unique options like fried plantains, jicama + cucumber and coconut rice. But my hands down favorite option of everything we tried were the Brussels Sprout Nachos (tortilla chips topped with brussels sprouts, street corn queso, queso Oaxaca, fresno chili, pickled onion, roasted garlic beet crema and a fried egg.) These were gone in a flash and my friend and I both agreed we would eat these until our stomach exploded.
After needing to be rolled out of the restaurant after our meal, we all but begged Cory (the restaurant manager and our new friend) to open another location in Nashville. We assured him that someplace with such great ambiance, food and reasonable prices wouldn't ever have an empty seat if opened in our city (although he certainly wasn't having an issue with too many vacant chairs in Scottsdale either). I'm crossing my fingers (and my toes) that he'll take our piece of advice.
Start with the Pretzel Knots + Spicy Cheese Sauce or the Mango-Coconut Ahi Poke with Pineapple, Kimchee, Sesame, Avocado, Yuzu-Ginger Ponzu and Sweet Potato Chips. For your main, try a salad with delicious Arizona Grown veggies, or if you're in the mood for something a bit heartier, try Smoked Babe on a Bun (which has 5 Hour Slow Cooked Pork and House Made Pickles on a pretzel bun). And be sure to save room for dessert, because the S'mores Sunday with chocolate fudge ripple ice cream, chocolate sauce, graham crackers and vanilla marshmallows will leave you with a full belly and a smile on your face.
I'll speak more about my time at this property in some of the Scottsdale posts to come, but dining at Proof is something everyone should do regardless of where you stay. Not only is the property gorgeous and the views sweeping, but the service and quality of food at every Four Seasons restaurant I've ever dined in is truly exceptional and worth experiencing for yourself.
These are my 3 top picks for a delicious meal whilst visiting Scottsdale, but I've no doubt there are plenty more. Another place I know to be amazing? ZuZu Restaurant at Hotel Valley Ho (we only were able to eat breakfast here due to some scheduling conflicts but it was so delicious!) I have lots more to say about this particular property, which I'll touch on later this week when we talk about the best hotels and pools in Scottsdale- stay tuned!
Until then, I am heading home! Can't wait to squeeze my friends AND meet my family's new puppy they got while I was gone (I mean, how cute is he!?)
Have a great Monday, friends!