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Long weekend in Scottsdale

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My husband and I are visiting from Boston in early June - first timers staying at the Camelback Inn. We are young 30s and love great food and drink. Open minded palates. We have two reservations at our hotel (Ritas Kitchen and BLT)...staying for four nights. Open to changing up our reservations. Ultimately looking for two nights of traditional Mexican or southwest fare and two other nights of great meals. Willing to spend on great food. Have read the boards and am overwhelmed with the many great choices.

Thoughts?

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  1. Your hotel is located in the Town of Paradise Valley, an affluent suburb nestled between Phoenix and Scottsdale. It's a nice location for upscale resort dining, but a bit more limited for what you've requested in terms of traditional Mexican or southwest fare. For those types of food, you'll sometimes get better results by spending less for authenticity rather than more for upscale interpretations.

    A few places I like:

    La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop -- one of my favorites for interior Mexican tacos with interesting fillings like mole. Great salsa bar -- not just the usual mild, medium, & hot, but also salsas based on peanut & jicama. Located in the Calle 16 area of Central Phoenix, it might be on your way to attractions like the Heard Museum or the Phoenix Art Museum.

    Sonoran Mesquite Grill -- Nice storefront places serving excellent carne asada and other tacos. On the way to and from the Airport off 44th St. Also more-or-less on the way to the Desert Botanical Garden from your hotel.

    Carolina's -- a board favorite for cheap, hearty burritos and other border fare. The divey original location on Mohave Street is near the airport rental car center.

    Los Taquitos -- the new location at 16th St & Glendale Ave (another name for the same street as Lincoln Drive where your hotel is located) served hearty burrito & taco platters. Easy drive 5 miles straight west from your hotel

    Tacos Atoyac -- have not been yet, but hearing consistent praise from trusted voices. Also on Glendale Ave -- about 7 miles straight west from your hotel

    Keep in mind that all places mentioned above are casual places where one orders at the counter. That's often where you'll get the best Mexican food. If you're looking for more of a fine-dining experience with full service and an extensive wine list, you'll want to try places like Vincent's on the east side of Phoenix and Cowboy Ciao in Old Town Scottsdale. What those places serve is not traditional southwestern, but instead a blend of southwestern ingredients with traditions from Europe and other American regions.

    -----
    Cowboy Ciao
    7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

    Los Taquitos
    4747 E Elliot Rd Ste 17, Phoenix, AZ 85044

    La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop
    1919 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85006

    Tacos Atoyac
    1830 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85015

    1. Thanks very much for those suggestions. We are willing to travel for great food!

      I think we are going to dine at Camelback Inn on Wednesday (we get in around 7) but then have 3 nights to explore. I would like 2 of those three night to be traditional mexican/southwest since we love it, and it's hard to get traditional food in Boston.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Erindesmar

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775569

        You might also like the New Mexican style breakfast at Dick's Hideaway.

        It, and all of the places in the link I posted are full service (at the time of this writing).

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        Dick's Hideaway
        6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

        1. re: johnseberg

          basically to state what others have said

          +1 for Dick's Hideaway it is awesome, if you like spicy and flavorful that is your spot - good spot for breakfast / brunch - $5 mimosa's and bloody mary's in the morning :)

          I would also 2nd the Cowboy Ciao recomendation, always fantastic - probably my fav resto in PHX

          Carolina's is great - not fancy (divey) but good mexican - if you are looking for something after you land before you go to the hotel would be on the way ish

          -----
          Cowboy Ciao
          7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Dick's Hideaway
          6008 N 16th St, Phoenix, AZ 85016

      2. Good recs. so far. To add to your confusion, I will add one more, and with some unique characteristics: Lon's at the Hermosa Inn, not too far away from you. It's a bit of a combo of general SW, but with a unique Phoenix element. It is "fine-dining," but anything but stuffy.

        Normally, I would also add Vincent's on Camelback, which is also near you, for a fusion of Classical French, and SW cuisine, but the menu and wine list have changed, and I still have not gotten my head around that. Again, fine dining (Arizona style), but with the changes, I need to dine at one of my favs. a bit more, just to see how things are shaping up, prior to making a rec.

        Most of all, enjoy,

        Hunt

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Thanks so much for the recommendations!

          Here's what I'm thinking - Wednesday (get in around 6) we dine at Rita's Kitchen or BLT at the Camelback; Thursday - Noca; Friday - Cowboy Ciao's; Saturday - Lon's at Hermosa.

          We'll also fit in some of the great recommendations on local fare for lunch on Friday.

          -----
          Cowboy Ciao
          7133 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

          Noca
          3118 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

          1. re: Erindesmar

            Have not dined at either Rita's Kitchen, or BLT, but otherwise it sounds great. Those two are probably wonderful, but I just cannot comment.

            Enjoy, and travel safely,

            Hunt