Stranded in Scottsdale
I will be hanging out in Scottsdale, staying at the Mondrian, for a few days next week while my husband is on a business trip. I don't know much about the layout of Scottsdale, but I'm hoping for dinner at Los Sombreros for sure, and maybe Cowboy Ciao. We're from San Francisco and are always up for food-related adventure and experiences. A couple of questions:
1) I'll be car-less during the day - is there anywhere near the Mondrian worth checking out for daytime food/drinks?
2) For dinner, any other recommendations? We are up for anything as long as it's REALLY good food, and not too stuffy/formal of an atmosphere.
3) For drinks, anywhere other than Elements (which sounds lovely)?
4) Phoenix Ranch Market - any recommendations for stuff to buy there (we can get a lot of the same at stores in SF, but I know there must be some great stuff to look out for)
Oh, hey. There's always Furio -- nice small plates, good wine by the glass list, and martini + manicure for $10 on Mondays. You're also near the Valley Ho, and Trader Vic's is built for cocktails.
There's a trolley system, not sure when exactly it runs, but you can get yourself around the art district & restaurant row (old town, roughly). Thursday evenings are the Art Walk, all the galleries stay open late. Good cheap date, lots to see.
Lunch, Arcadia Farms is nice. Then there's -- is it Tapino? For sangria and small plates, again. (I don't know about you but sometimes it's hard to eat big or heavy in the heat of the summer)
Kazbar (Kazimierz World Wine) has jazz a couple nights a week; it is associated with Ciao and Sea Saw, and while not obvious to find it is a nice cool escape from the sun. Opens earlier in the afternoon, too, now. And then Sea Saw is doing their four course omakase with wine pairings for $50 Sun-Weds through the rest of the summer. Small unstuffy place; sit at the counter and watch them work. Here are some of the courses:
1. Trio of Kunomoto oyster and sea urchin roe in tomato water; feta, mint, and the freshest, sweetest melon ever; and wasabi vichysoisse. Sake pairing, lovely floral fragrance.
2. Tuna tatake over a roasted beet puree, microgreens.
3. Yellowfin with avocado and grapefruit. Minerally sauv blanc pairing
4. Whitefish carpaccio with sizzling garlic oil and fresh thyme foccacia, pinot noir pairing
5. Sea bass, mushrooms, and demiglace en papilotte, Gamay pairing
6. Marinated Kobe shortribs self-seared on a blazing hot volcanic rock -- etc.
Just a short list of places you might enjoy. Hope you like it here!
You're going to be close to AZ88 at the Civic Center. It's great for drinks and noshing, especially later at night.
Wildfish is at the Waterfront project next to Fashion Square mall. My husband tells me the happy hour is great, with 1/2 price apps every night. He's an oyster lover, so cheap oysters will lure him anywhere.
For daytime you might want to try Pischke's, which is within walking distance from the hotel. www.pischkes.com
There's a bar you can eat at, which I always appreciate as a woman who travels alone a lot.
Across Scottsdale on Main is Malee's on Main for Thai. It would make a great lunch. It's subdued, so a nice place to dine alone.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the food at Phx Ranch Market. It can be a bit overwhelming because there is just so much to choose from. My personal favorite are the tacos because they're the real Mexican tacos - tiny little things with the crispy meat. Their licuados are fantastic too - horchata, sandia, fresa, tamarindo. They're so fresh and yummy.
)If you're going to Cowboy Ciao, you should check out Kazmierz wine bar next door.
You will basically be at Scottsdale Rd (7200 E block - you are at ~7300).
That said, you will be within walking distance of many good restaurants.
For drinks, I'd head to Kazimierz World Wine Bar (obscure little walkway, just to the north of SeaSaw and Cowboy Caio. Elements will be a cab ride away. I have no idea of what the cab rates are in Scottsdale.
Then you have SeaSaw and Cowboy Ciao, right there.
For Scottsdale, you are in the "heart" of things.
You're probably right that you can get most of the products found at Phoenix Ranch Market in your area; however, the real point of visiting the market is the total experience. I don't know of anything quite like them outside of Mexico -- even in LA, although the chain originates in the Bakersfield area, and I've never been to those stores. The best thing to do is go at lunch time (or breakfast) and sample some of the wonderful things in the food court. Also, if you go to the one at 16th St. and Roosevelt, which is the newest and closest to Scottsdale, I believe that the separate sit-down restaurant adjacent to the market has recently opened, but I have yet to try it. I was in one of the other markets last week and the PA system was announcing that the restaurant is now open. As for eating in the food court, English is not always spoken, but pointing works fairly well and sometimes my order has turned out to be something other than what I'd originally intended, but delicious nonetheless.
You're lucky you're staying right in the middle of touristy Old Town Scottsdale... The Italian place at the Mondrian itself is great for drinks and dinner. I think it's called La Trattoria? Romantic and trendy.
Def. do Roaring Fork for dinner. (next to the Scottsdale Fashion Square in the Finova office building) Depending on when your Hubby gets back, they have a great happy hour in the bar as well. I would drive there.
I've always enjoyed Rancho Pinot Grill in the Lincoln shopping center--Not stuffy, good food and wine list, not too far from downtown (dinner)
Update: We tried the following places:
- Elements bar: not so cool. Perhaps the massive construction everywhere on the Sanctuary site has something to do with it.
- Los Sombreros: Wonderful! We had the pepita crusted fish and the carnitas with oaxaca cheese. The guac was amazing, and a HUGE serving. Too full for dessert...
- Kazimierz Wine Bar: Totally amazing. I wish we had this place in San Francisco! Great service, vibe, selection... 10 out of 10.
- Cowboy Ciao: delicious, great vibe, great service. We had the mini mushroom signature dish, then the elk loin and the seared ahi/grilled prawns. Everything was fantastic.
- Phoenix Ranch Market: awesome lunch of ceviche, tacos, and gorditas. We were in HEAVEN.
Bogus! We were there about a month back, and everything was tip-top. Sorry about this. When one asks for recs. they should expect the locals to fill them in on recent developments. I missed my "station" there. Sorry. However, I'm glad that you liked Peter Kasperski's places, Cowboy Ciao, and KWB.
We will make up the elements problem, next time.
BTW, I just posted a req. on the SF board, for fine-dining in Union Sq Area for Oct. Any recs? Remember, don't hold the elements thing against me.
So sorry to hear about the construction at elements. That really stinks. I've only had great experiences here and only heard fabulous things from other, so I'm hoping this was an isolated instance due to the construction. Glad you enjoyed the other places!