My visit to Arizona was a mixed bag of feelings. I can’t talk about a trip to Arizona without talking about The Grand Canyon. As you can probably imagine, The Grand Canyon is breathtaking and something everyone should experience at least once in their life. Although it was beautiful, there are a few things I could do without:
- Crazy parents who are more interested in taking the perfect selfie than watching their toddler crawl to the edge of the Grand Canyon
- Daredevils and risk-takers between the ages of 20-30 who are almost dangling off the edge of the cliffs to take their photos. (Did you know that according to Park Rangers, there is someone that falls off the cliffs every single day? Each rescue costs an average of $5,000! Unfortunately 27 people meet their deaths every year at the Grand Canyon—the two groups that are most commonly composing this statistic are males 22-30 who are in the midst of shenanigans or women who rent cars to re-enact Thelma & Louise. If you do visit, please be careful and leave the shenanigans at home!)
Other than that, it’s the most beautiful site you’ll ever see.
While we were there, we went to a restaurant called El Tovar, which I’d highly recommend for breakfast. Their breakfast was to die for. They have a stack of pancakes, with different kinds of corn (even blue corn!), served light and fluffy. It’s served with a prickly pear syrup—yum! The other dish that was outstanding was the smoked fish platter. Rather than Nova Scotia lox, it was actually thick pieces of salmon which were smoked and served with homemade herbed cream cheese and multigrain bagels. Talk about delicious!
I’m happy to report that I faced my fear of heights and hiked down the rim! Remember, just because you come face to face with your fear, doesn’t mean you conquer it 😉 I went down the rim about a half a mile and then came back up and was extremely proud of myself. That definitely takes something off my bucket list!
We also ate at Salt Rock, at the recommendation of my friend, Theresa from Food Hunter’s Guide. She’s a close friend of Chef Massimo and gave the restaurant rave reviews. The restaurant specializes in Southwestern cuisine. We were treated to the most delicious yucca fries sprinkled with cojito cheese. I accompanied this with a Mezcal margarita. If you’ve never had Mezcal, it adds a hint of smoke to whatever you’re drinking. To add to the lovely al fresco dining, there was a gentleman playing beautiful guitar music outside. The incredible staff was the final touch on a lovely overall experience.
Theresa’s next recommendation was L’Auberge. Though this place was rather expensive, Chef Rochelle did not disappoint. It was worth every penny. The ambiance was perfect—we dined right next to a running stream and every plate looked like a work of art! I was thinking that this restaurant would be the perfect place to get engaged, and sure enough, that’s exactly what happened at the table next to us! Congratulations to the happy couple!
Sedona was, by far, my favorite, favorite part of the trip! We stayed at a resort called Enchantment and this is absolutely the way to go. If you save money on the rest of your trip, this is definitely worth the splurge. Food wise, everything we tried was great! We ate at a restaurant called View 180 and ordered a cheese plate filled with brie, gorgonzola and manchego, dried cherries, raisins and honeycomb. We also enjoyed a Hamachi crudo plate with avocado and grapefruit. Super refreshing! Their Nova Scotia lox was also really fresh—I absolutely loved the presentation—it was served on a thick slab of wood.
There is plenty to do no matter what your interests are. My daughter and I took a dance class together and really bonded. The resort itself is actually in a canyon, which required us to hike up to the Kachina Stone, which was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever visited. The staff was also incredible and our time there was so relaxing. In fact, I had four massages during our stay! The resort is incredibly amenable and you can book everything from spa indulgences to outdoor tours through the resort and it’s charged right to your credit card. How easy is that?
If you have the opportunity to go, be sure to visit the Gulches. The Pink Jeep Tour came to pick us up and I challenged my fear of heights again, as they took us straight up the Gulches and then straight back down again. And as if that wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, I also faced my fear of heights with a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Luckily for me, we had the best pilot, who eased my fears so I could enjoy the beautiful view while floating above a National Forest. And as if the scenery wasn’t sweet enough, we were treated to mimosas when we landed, as well as an apple fritter and strawberries with homemade cream!
Next on the trip, we traveled to Phoenix Arizona. My husband found a pizza place called Pizzeria Bianco that Marc Vetri cited as the inspiration for his Pizzeria Vetri. Oh my goodness! They have three locations and I definitely recommend finding one! We went to the one located in Henderson Square and the food is out of this world! Though they don’t take reservations, they do have a bar and outside seating so you can enjoy wine or a beer while you wait for a seat. You’ll also enjoy stellar service from their staff. The chef not only makes his own mozzarella, but he grows his own tomatoes too! I can definitely see why Marc was inspired by his visit there.