The trip we took was supposed to be 5 days but my husband had a last minute meeting so it was knocked down to four. We left Thursday night after work and headed out intending to miss the traffic and knowing we would get there late. We arrived at our first hotel in Phoenix, The Clarendon Hotel around 11:30. We were happily satisfied by this artsy boutique hotel. We had bid on a night at this hotel at a fundraiser so we weren't really sure what we were getting ourselves into. We went right to bed and woke up in the morning ready to hit our first stop.
The breakfast special at Over Easy is called Waffle Dogs. What is a waffle dog you might be asking... heaven dripping in a special heavenly nectar. But really, it is sausage dipped in waffle batter and fried. Then they serve it with syrup mixed with Tabasco. So so good!! We ordered this in addition to our meals. Yes, laugh now. I don't know what we were thinking. Hubby ordered a typical eggs and waffle plate, which he said was very good. I had to go for something more unique. And I do not regret my caramelized banana and pecan brioche french toast. Not at all.
After our heavy but delicious breakfast we decided it would be a good idea to put our bathing suits on... oh yeah we don't care, food babies and all, we headed to the pool.
Ready for lunch we looked up the next place on our list. Los Taquitos was the winner, and I can always go for Mexican food. This place was not what I expected. We went to the 16th street location and it was nice and clean just more of a middle grade restaurant. But mostly the people were not friendly or helpful. Whatever, you can't win every time. But the food was good. I had the shrimp street tacos.
For dinner we went to another place my hubby had gone on his first trip. In downtown Scottsdale there is a very popular restaurant called Culinary Dropout.
As a comparison for something I am familiar with in SoCal, I would say Culinary Dropout is on par with the feel, size, and decor of a Macaroni Grill but I don't believe it is a big chain so the food was really good! We started with the soft pretzels and provolone fondue. Yum. After we ate we walked around the mall a bit but it was closing up already so we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.
The next morning we were still full from dinner so we grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and then headed up to Sedona, stopping for some river rafting along the way. We opted for Tubing Madness through Sedona Adventure Tours. It is suggested to make reservations, not needed. Not on a Saturday in mid June anyway. The adventure here began in finding the "office" to purchase our tickets and get directions to the launch site. The office was NOT easy to find. It is more like a hut in a rough part of Camp Verde (still 45 minutes from Sedona fyi). Once we checked in and paid the $28 per person we drove down to the launch site. Which would be difficult to find if not for their little signs.
When we arrived there were two hippie chicks and a pile of tubes. You grab one and jump in the not so mad river. Not to say that we didn't enjoy ourselves but this was a VERY lazy river. At certain points we had to do a hand waddle in the water (that special paddle you can't do while awkwardly sitting on a tube) to keep moving. There were two "rough" parts that lasted about a minute each. I have rafted the Truckee river in Tahoe, no helmets or guide or anything so it wasn't crazy intense but still something. The rough parts here were the equivalent of when my sister tries to stand in the dingy to get into the ice chest... Anyway after our meander down the river, with lots of laughs and sunshine, we dried off and headed up to Sedona. You can take a second trip down the river after the van at the bottom takes you back to the top if it is within the allotted window of rafting time but 2-3 hours was good for us.
We made it up to Sedona with our tummies growling so we had one mission in mind, FOOD! We drove through the gorgeous red rock mountains and through many of roundabouts, a new thing for me, and found ourselves a great little bakery with the help of Urbanspoon. Wildflower Bread Company, an Arizona chain, I will compare it to Corner Bakery or Panera Bread. It was super fresh and the perfect post sunshine and river lunch. We shared the Tuscan Minestrone, good but not my thing. And I had the Wildflower grilled cheese, not your typical grilled cheese. Gourmet cheeses with a slice of tomato. After lunch we took some touristy pictures and headed back down a little south of Scottsdale to our second hotel, the Wild Horse Pass Resort.
This was a stay under another work deal. It also happened to be the home of another restaurant on our list. The Kai restaurant, something I stumbled across in my research on The Food Network website. As we checked in we asked if we needed a reservation, they said yes and that denim wasn't preferred...hmm. Well we made our reservation. Hunted for the nicest things we brought, besides the dress I was saving for our anniversary dinner the next night. I ended up having to buy a blouse in the gift shop... and settle for my nicest jeans.
When we arrived for our reservation we were seated in a holding type lounge area and made specialty drinks while they got our table ready. As we were guided to our table around the mysterious corner I knew I was in for way more than I expected (we later acquired the knowledge that Kai is AAA 5 diamond restaurant...yeah). So we sat down with our full wait staff at one of maybe 15 tables. We opened the menu and instantly asked my Husband if we should go and he said no so there we were. Me in my nicest denim, yep, and my gift store blouse in a five diamond restaurant. The menu isn't too extensive but at the bottom there is a "tasting' menu with a "short story" option and a "journey" option, either are to be shared by the entire table. We chose the journey, of course. Our motto "if you're gonna do it, you might as well go all the way". The problem here is I can't tell you anything I ate because I have no idea what it was called or what it was. Even though I looked at the menu I was suffering from severe sticker shock and only know that I remember having a lot of seafood. But what you need to know is that this was the most elaborate, delicious meal I have ever experienced. Even though it was three courses there were really like ten. Because there was a starter, each course, a pallet cleaner between each course, and a dessert. Oh yeah! You totally get your money's worth! Best of all you leave stuffed and feeling like God's dinner was accidentally served to you this evening. I do remember that our chocolate ice cream dessert was made from coco that came from some exotic place that this Chef buys the entire crop of each year. So you can literally not have that chocolate anywhere else. May be a ploy but it sounds cool.
So if you happen to have nicer clothes and are prepared to drop $250 on dinner, this would be a very enjoyable experience! Note- if you are not comfortable in really fancy situations where you have five servers per table then either seriously prepare yourself or maybe skip this place. If I could go back again I would be more relaxed but being served upon in this manner is a little uncomfortable for me.
After our extravagant dinner we went to bed and woke up to our 1 year wedding anniversary. This was the night my Husband had been waiting for, we were finally going to Roka Akor. We spent our day watching a double feature at the local theater and eating popcorn to tide us over but save room for our dinner to come. When it came time to go we put our actual fancy clothes on, I know you girls understand I couldn't where the same outfit two nights in a row. Off to dinner we went.
Again I am no help to what we ate because my husband ordered the Omakase. Which basically means the Chef cooks you whatever he feels like. I have to say I was a little disappointed with this experience. Not because the food wasn't good. It was but they had a hard act to follow. Though comparing it to Kai seems completely unfair. What disappointed was the food the Chef selected. I love sushi and sashimi but this place is also a steak house so it was a lot of meats and stuff. Which is just not my thing. They did treat us well though and bring out a very nice anniversary dessert platter. The night was great because I got to spend it with my Husband, and I did get a bit of notable bling as well.
The next morning we woke up with one location left on our list we had a small room service breakfast, laid by the pool a bit, and got on the road. Our mission was to consume the Sasquatch Burger at The Lodge. We arrived to a relatively empty restaurant. But it was a Monday afternoon. We ordered our Sasquatch Burger, to share, and started in. This burger's buns are two grilled cheese sandwiches and the burger is stacked so high you have to eat it sideways. No worries we succeeded. With our tasty mission complete we headed on the highway back to la. About two hours into our drive we managed to lock our selves out of the running car. Not because I wanted to take a picture by a road sign or anything. Thank goodness for a kind strange (yep both cell phones were in there too) and OnStar.
On our way again we made it another hour till the Hubby was complaining of stomach cramps. Uh Oh. By the time we got home he was reliving our last AZ meal. I didn't have any problems. But I include this for fair warning that the Sasquatch burger may only be for those of us with an iron stomach.
Arizona was a success! We ate tons of good food, had a perfect road trip mishap, and enjoyed the rays of the AZ sunshine for a long weekend. Happy Anniversary to us!
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