Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exploring Scottsdale on the way to The Boulders

It was time to leave our beautiful casita at Sanctuary at Camelback and head to The Boulders, but before we checked in there, we were going to make a stop to check out some of Scottsdale.

I had been intrigued when I read about Chef Jose Garces creating three complimentary food spaces at the new Saguaro Hotel and had arranged for my fellow writer and companion Susan and I to have lunch there.

We enjoyed walking through the Saguaro Hotel to get to Distrito. The d├ęcor was contemporary and eclectic so we seemed to constantly be stopping to look at things such as a Hello Kitty poster or an advertisement for Twinkies and Ding Dongs.  

The food venues at Saguaro Hotel included a coffee shop and a whiskey bar, featuring more brands than even I knew existed.  Distrito matched the style of the rest of the building. Even the menu was minimalistic, but it had all we really needed.

The weather was beautiful so we decided to take an outside table. There was an event going on in the square and we listened to some Indian chanting while enjoying the Red Sangria, made from red wine, tequila, blackberry brandy and simple syrup. We drank it with a tasty guacamole with cotija.

Our next course was called a quesadilla, but looked more like an empanada. It was filled with squash blossoms and was really delicious. Next, came the Tacos de Carnitos. These were a combination of pulled pork, beans and pineapple salsa.

Before a dessert platter of vanilla flan, almond cake and a mango dulce de leche (as well as some churros with chocolate sauce) we tasted the white sangria. It was a blend of white wine, tequila, apricot brandy and simple syrup and was as good as the red.

After lunch we took some time to walk around in Old Scottsdale and burn off some calories while we explored. It’s a great area with a nice cross between touristy (which I have to admit I still enjoy) and cowboy in the desert.  We left town after about an hour and took the ride up to The Boulders.

I had never been to Scottsdale, but it did remind me quite a bit of Tucson, Arizona, with a combination of open desert land and strip malls. The mountains were also spectacular. It was about 4:00 pm by the time we settled into our Boulders Casita, a studio with a small porch that looked at some of the most breathtaking parts of this resort – the cacti, mountains and, of course, boulders.

I was still battling a sinus infection so I headed to the spa for some time in the steam room. I was blown away by the size and amenities at this Golden Door Spa and couldn’t wait to see more of it in the morning.

We had a relaxing dinner in the lounge, where I just had a burger and a Bouldertini (a Bellini everywhere else). We took a shuttle to the Spotted Donkey for a Prickly Pear Margarita nightcap and then went back to the casita in preparation for a busy day exploring The Boulders before we would settle into the spa. 


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