Time to Kill…in Scottsdale
Sometimes you've just got to get out of dodge. That was the case for me last week, when after another day of Vancouver autumn rain I just couldn't take it anymore. So I hopped a plane to the closest place I knew would be sunny: Scottsdale Arizona.
To be honest, it isn’t the most exciting place on earth. (If that’s what you want, go to South Beach.) But if you like to eat, shop and sit by a pool it’s not a bad way to wait out a Canadian chill.
The best meal I had on this jaunt was at Mastro’s Steakhouse (photo below). Book a table in the lounge where it’s always lively. This visit was particularly exciting as the lounge singer, who was taking requests, belted out “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen much to the delight of my young nieces. (One of them actually believed that was Elsa singing to her.) That, and the ribeye was perfectly medium rare (and I’m the toughest critic when it comes to meat) and the black truffle gnocchi was so delicious and indulgent I just couldn’t share.
It might be hard to believe there’s good sushi to be had in the desert, but trust me when I tell you Roka Akur will not disappoint. Some of the best sushi anywhere can be found where I live in Vancouver (Blue Water Cafe and Cafe Zen) so again, I’m a tough critic. (Are you seeing a theme?) Bon Appetit magazine put it in the “top 10 sushi spots in the US.” If you’re feeling adventurous (and rich) you can say “omakase”, which means “I’ll leave it to you” for your menu.
If you find yourself shopping at Kierland Commons stop for lunch at Zinc, a bustling French bistro. The Ham and Gruyere Omelette is a winner (and you know what they say about omelettes; they are a good measure of a chef’s abilities) and will fill you up for an afternoon of hitting the shops.
Mojo’s Morning Joint became my a.m. ritual on this trip. Good coffee, excellent smoothies and a breakfast sandwich that will soak up anything extra you drank the night before. I loved the patio as there’s nothing like enjoying my latte under the early morning sunshine!
At the outdoor shopping district of Kierland Commons my first stop for fashion is Intermix, where, on this visit I found the fedora I’ve been searching for. Many of the big retailers are here, like Michael Kors, Eileen Fisher and J.Crew. But I like it for the retailers I didn’t already know like Cos Bar for cosmetics and Optical Store of Aspen for a wide selection of sunglasses and frames.
If you’ve got the wherewithal for a big shopping mall, make your way to Scottsdale Fashion Square. But I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re either a) alone or b) with someone who seriously likes to shop and is ready to put in the time. Because not only are the biggies of Barney’s, Nordstroms and Macy’s here but so are over 200 other retailers at this one of the largest shopping centres in the US. Wear comfortable shoes.
I’m not much of a golfer, but if you are then you already know all that Scottsdale has to offer you. My flight was filled with people heading there for golf, golf and only golf.
If architecture’s your thing then you can’t miss a visit to Taliesin West (photo below), which was architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home in the desert between 1937 and 1959. Today it is the main campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. It’s a cool spot and you’ll learn something about the history of the region.
If you’re like me then you will appreciate a rigorous hike around the McDowell Mountain. There are lots of trails to choose from, but be sure to do your research before you set out and pack accordingly with water, sunscreen, footwear, etc.