Western Travels: A Short Trip to Scottsdale

Last week I took a short trip to Arizona to visit my two sisters. One of my sisters lives in a little western town called Cave Creek, which is right above Scottsdale. Cave Creek has cacti galore, beautiful mountains and cute little shops, but not quite as much in the food department. Therefore, we ventured into Scottsdale to eat and found some awesome restaurants. Of course, I managed to stuff myself most days, as I do on any vacation!

 

On day one we went to a local pizza place called Pomo Pizzeria for lunch. This wasn’t just your average pizza joint, this was some serious authentic Italian-style pizza. The interior was modern and welcoming. There was a huge copper-steel oven in the open kitchen where all the magical pizza-cooking action takes place. They have a beautiful patio that would have been nice to sit out on, but unfortunately it was in the triple-digits that day (as is every day in Arizona in the summer), so we opted for a table inside.

Pomo

 

I went with a classic margherita pizza and a glass of white wine. Can I just say how much I love a small pizza that I get to eat all by myself and don’t have to share with anyone else? The pizza was unreal…thin crust cooked to perfection, sweet and tangy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella slices and fragrant basil leaves. If I could only eat one meal for the rest of my life, it might be really well-made margherita pizza, and this one certainly fell into that category.

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The next day our other sister drove in from Las Vegas to spend a couple of days with us. So we took this rare opportunity to have a sisters’ night out for dinner and drinks, which is something we haven’t done in many years. We went to Local Bistro, a swanky, modern restaurant known for their unique drinks and local, seasonal ingredients. I ended up having three cocktails that night, which is one more than I usually have, but there were just too many delicious concoctions to choose from. I had been to Local Bistro the last time I was in Arizona and remembered how much I loved it, so I was happy to be able to enjoy it again.

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Excuse the blurriness, this was taken after those three cocktails…

 

We started with a shared appetizer of the calamari fritti, which came with spicy peppers, candied lemon slices and a chili aioli dipping sauce. I can appreciate when fried calamari are done right, as it’s not always an easy task. These calamari were lightly fried, tender and not greasy. The candied lemons were a tasty addition as well. We also shared some of their house made ciabatta bread. I started off with a blueberry lavender mojito, which was really refreshing and flavorful.

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For my entree I had the pan roasted salmon, which came with pesto whipped potatoes, julienne vegetables and a lemon-caper beurre blanc. Good heavens, this was one tasty dish! The salmon was crispy on the outside and cooked to medium on the inside. The veggies were light, with a bit of crunch. But the star of the dish was the potatoes. Oh, the potatoes!  These were by far some of the most delicious and decadent potatoes I’d ever had, so full of garlic and herbs. And the accompanying sauce just brought everything together. I was actually angry that I couldn’t finish everything on my plate. But then my second cocktail, a tart rosemary cosmo, quickly turned my frown upside down.

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Anyone who knows me and my sisters knows that a major sweet tooth runs in our family. So, naturally dessert was a given. We held back our gluttony though and decided to split a tiramisu. And it’s a good thing we did, because it was quite massive. Layers upon layers of ladyfingers, espresso and marscarpone topped with cinnamon just make you feel all happy inside. My happiness also increased with my very strong and sweet chocolate martini. It was quite a fun and delicious girls’ night out.

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We love sweets so much that I couldn’t even get a picture of an untouched dessert.

 

On my last day in Arizona, we had a shopping day at Scottsdale Quarter, a modern outdoor shopping center with a large variety of stores and restaurants. I’ve been to the quarter twice, and both times I left wishing we had a shopping center like this in Charlotte. We stopped for lunch at True Food Kitchen, which is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. I ate here a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. Since then I’ve been wishing for a location to open in Charlotte, but my wish has not yet come true. While some may view TFK as “crunchy”, I love their use of healthy ingredients and selection of vegetarian dishes.

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I’m not very subtle in my photography…

I started with a honey lemonade, which was SO refreshing on another 100° day. You could immediately tell upon drinking it that they used fresh lemons and wildflower honey to make it. It wasn’t overly sweet and definitely not artificial tasting, like some other lemonades. The honey gave it a really different and unique flavor.

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For lunch I had the T.L.T., a fun take on a traditional B.L.T. that uses smoked tempeh strips instead of bacon. (For all you bacon lovers out there, sorry to disappoint you and feel free to bypass this section). The smoked tempeh against the fresh lettuce, tomato and avocado was a great combination. It was served on toasted multigrain bread with mayo and came with a side of sweet potato onion hash. Everything was so fresh and healthy that you actually feel good even if you stuff yourself, like I did.

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One very loaded T.L.T.!

 

We decided to skip dessert at TFK in favor of a macaron shop we passed on the way to lunch that we promised to walk back to. Le Macaron is an adorable little french pastry shop specializing in, you guessed it, macarons. Remember how I said my sisters and I had a sweet tooth? Well, we practically ran into this place with our tongues hanging out.

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Upon walking in, you see a variety of macarons in different flavors and colors. I’m not going to lie, this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in my life. How was I supposed to choose two out of over 15 flavors? Of course I could have bought more, but I wanted to have some willpower and savor the two flavors I decided on. Plus, macarons are not exactly cheap…I went with a basil white chocolate and a coconut creme macaron. My goodness, a good macaron is just divine: light, sweet, crispy and oh-so-decadent. I thought the infusion of basil was really unique and unlike anything I’d had in a macaron before. My sisters tried the salted caramel, lavender white chocolate and madagascar black vanilla flavors, and loved all of them as well.

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You can clearly see where my priorities lie in the number of pictures I take of desserts.

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They also had some beautiful gem-like chocolate truffles that were equally tempting

 

Early the next morning I headed back home to Charlotte. While I only spent a few days in Arizona, I managed to fill them with good eats and fun times with family. Now to find more macarons… 😉

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