A couple weeks ago Christina and I went to Scottsdale, AZ to take care of some top secret personal business (IYKYK) and for a quick little vacay. It was our first time visiting, but for some reason it seemed like everyone we talked to leading up to the trip had already been themselves, or knew someone that had visited recently. It made us feel like we’re late to the party or something.
We landed on a Wednesday, and the first thing we did upon landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was wait 1.5 hours to get our rental car. It definitely wasn’t the funnest of activities, but I high key kept telling myself, “This is a practice in patience and mindfulness,” over and over again so that I wouldn’t get crabby, and truth be told it actually worked.
When we finally made it to the front of the line, the Budget rental guy saw we had booked a Ford Edge. After he checked us in, he told us, “Sorry for the wait, there’s like 5 people ahead of you in the system before we can get your car.”
“No worries,” we replied.
Budget Rental Guy then said, “I can get y’all a Jeep Wrangler faster, do y’all want that instead?”
“Is it an additional charge?” asked Christina.
“Yeah it’s more than the Edge,” said Budget Rental Guy.
We declined the offer for the Jeep at an additional charge, but after doing so Budget Rental Guy decided to give us the upgrade for free.
[Side note: Now that I’m typing this out and thinking about it, I just realized Budget Rental Guy was probably trying to finesse us for an upsell by saying we’d have to wait for the Ford Edge but he could get us the Jeep right away for an additional charge. Well too bad Budget Rental Guy…your games didn’t work on us!]
If we’re being honest, few vehicles are as appropriate to drive in Arizona’s mountainous desert as a Jeep Wrangler, amirighhhht? We could even take the top off, which we were particularly excited about, so I can’t be mad because it all worked out.
We stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows (#notanad, but #sendthecheck anyways), which was such a beautiful resort. Shortly after checking in, you know the first thing we had to do was lounge by the pool for a meal and some cocktails.
For dinner that night the plan was to hit up Toca Modera. From online reviews this place seemed to be popular, and from the pics the decor looked pretty cool. Reservations were booked solid, so what we usually try to do when this happens is just go to the restaurant and try to get a seat at the bar.
When we got to the restaurant we were surprised to find a door guy to meet us at the door, just like a Vegas club (he even had a head set). He radio’ed somebody on the inside to see if they could accommodate us at the bar, but the response was that they were completely full and to try again later. So at that we decided to walk around and check out a few other places nearby, before returning to Toca about an hour later.
When we got back to Toca, Mr. Doorman radio’ed in again, and fortunately this time they had a few spots at one of the bars. He opened up the door, and upon entering we were greeted by 2 or 3 hostesses. We followed one of them toward the back bar, winding past several tables in the large venue. The whole experience 1000% reminded me of a Vegas club and how they escort your group to the table after holding you at the door.
I couldn’t fault anyone that would characterize Toca as “douchey” or “extra”, but Christina and I were actually into it. For one, the service we got from the bartender that was taking care of us was top notch. Moreover, the food was actually good. I ordered the Chicken Al Pastor, and Christina got the Exotic Mushroom tacos.
The next morning we hit up a cute coffeeshop / bakery called Berdena’s before being tourists and checking out the sites around the Scottsdale Civic Center.
In the evening we had plans to hit up another popular and highly recommended restaurant, Maple & Ash. Again, reservations were pretty booked up, but we were able to get a late slot for 9:30p. Since we had some extra time before our late dinner, we decided to get drinks at the Canal Club at The Scott Hotel beforehand.
We weren’t expecting it, but when we got to Maple & Ash it felt like another club, just like Toca Modera did. Again, I wasn’t mad at it, and I personally liked the Tomahawk Steak and Truffle and Lobster Mac and Cheese. Full disclosure, though, Christina thought the meal wasn’t bad but not great either.
To start out our next day we found a cool coffeeshop called Provision (which also serves cocktails later in the day). Then, we made our way to the Frank Lloyd Wright home known as Taliesin West.
Taliesin West was the famous architect’s winter home and design laboratory. In the 1930’s Wright, along with his family and his apprentices, had begun migrating to Arizona to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters for Wright's health on his doctor's advice. It served as his winter home until his death in 1959. Many of Wright's most famous buildings were designed in the drafting room at Taliesin West, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and Grady Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University in Tempe.
After Taliesin West, we made a quick stop at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) to check out the James Turrell Skyspace “Knight Rise”.
By the time we were done visiting SMoCA, it was mid-afternoon and we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, so we decided to find some grub. Christina and I will crave Asian food at least once or twice a week no matter where we are, so it was only a matter of time until these cravings caught up with us in Scottsdale. We did some searching online and Christina randomly found a Thai joint called Glai Baan, so we decided to head that way.
Let’s be honest - Scottsdale isn’t necessarily known for its cultural diversity. And whenever we’re in a non-diverse city, we don’t expect much from the Asian food (especially coming from Houston.) But bruh…Glai Baan was legit. We ordered dumplings, Peek gai tod (chicken wings), Kapro gai kai dao (minced chicken stir fried with onion, garlic, chili, and Thai basil served with egg & rice), and beef Panang curry. Everything was delicious. Even though we spent wayyyyy more at the fancier restaurants like Toca Modera and Maple & Ash, our lunch at Glai Baan was our favorite meal of the trip.
Next, we made our way around Downtown Phoenix for a couple of quick drinks at the Churchill food court before heading back to the hotel.
That evening was originally supposed to be our last night of the trip. For dinner we had reservations at an Italian restaurant named Fat Ox. For once, this restaurant felt like a normal restaurant and not a club.
Saturday was the day we were originally scheduled to fly back to Houston. Our flight wasn’t until late afternoon, so in the morning we decided to have breakfast by the hotel pool in an attempt to milk every last drop of the Sonoran sunshine that we could.
I brought my laptop to breakfast to answer emails, schedule showings, and to get a jump on getting back into the normal work flow. As I’m doing this, Christina looks at me and says, “I think I want to stay another day.”
I, understanding that the adage “Happy wife, happy life” is still valid and applicable to me even though we won’t be married until next year, quickly agree by saying, “Whatever you want, my love.”
We spent the next 30-45 minutes making arrangements to change our flight, find a new (cheaper) hotel for the extra night, and extend our Jeep rental. After that I did a little more work on the laptop while we kicked it by the pool a little while longer before it was time to check out.
The new hotel was closer to Downtown Phoenix, so that night we made plans to check out some of the bars around the Roosevelt Row Arts District.
Sunday arrives, and it’s really about that time for us to get back home and back to our normal schedule. But we couldn’t leave Arizona without doing something outdoorsy. That’s like going to Vegas and not gambling. So we made plans that day to go on an an easy novice-level hike to see the “Hole-in-the-Rock” formation at Papago Park before heading to the airport and heading back home.
But before that….you already know the first thing on the itinerary was to find coffee and sustenance. Christina found this cute neighborhood bakery / market called called La Grande Orange Bake Shop, so we stopped by there to fuel up before heading to Papago Park.
After Papago Park, we headed straight to the airport to come back home to Houston.
We had a lot of fun on our trip to Scottsdale and Phoenix, and we’ll definitely be making our way back out there again in the near future =)
November 16, 2023
November 16, 2023
November 16, 2023
November 16, 2023
While you may be tempted to overhaul your space entirely, strategic touch-ups can be far more beneficial.
August 21, 2023
June 23, 2023
Our expansive network and white-glove service ensure a bespoke experience for both buyers and sellers. Let our top producing team find your dream home today.