T’was another relaxing day in the desert. We went to the gym at the resort and then did a driving tour of Phoenix because it was too hot for walking. We headed back to Scottsdale to try another fun restaurant. I actually picked this one because I read about Caitlin’s dining experience a while ago and remembered to put it on the list.
Culinary Dropout had a great beer selection, so Matt and I both ordered local brews to go with lunch. My amber ale was very refreshing, but a bit generic. I’ve liked all the AZ beer’s we’ve sampled so far, but nothing has been outstanding.
Three different people recommended the pretzel fondue (including a random we met at a bar), so we decided to give it a try. I thought it sounded a little lackluster, but I was wrong. The pretzels were homemade and fabulous – very fluffy on the inside, almost like ciabatta or focaccia.
The cheese was great as well because it was a blend of five and packed a lot of flavor into one bite.
It definitely exceeded my expectations! I ordered a salad with chicken, nuts, apples, and dried fruit for lunch, but it was nothing special. Matt’s pork belly cuban was very special though.
My afternoon was spent just like this!
Until cocktail hour, when Matt and I redeemed our drink card for FREE tropical drinks by the pool.
Mango daiquiri for him, Scottsdale rum punch for her.
I had to get in the pool almost every 15 minutes to keep from overheating.
Before dinner, we strolled around the Scottsdale waterfront. I got a kick out of it because there’s really only a teeny tiny bit of water, but I guess ‘the waterfront’ is a big deal in the desert:)
It was beautiful at sunset.
We couldn’t decide between the Herb Box and Cowboy Ciao for dinner, so we had tastes at both.
We sipped fresh blackberry mojitos and listened to live music at the Herb Box. I LOVED this restaurant and there are soo many things on the menu I want to go back and try.
We tried the chilled cilantro-lime crab dip with plantains and were impressed yet again. The portion was huge and the dip had big chunks of crab and a nice kick to it.
Over at Cowboy Ciao, we had to try the very famous Stetson Cob salad. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but I was happy I went with it. There were layers of avocado, couscous, cilantro and lettuce, pepitas, currants, and asiago, dried sweet corn, and marinated tomatoes. The waitress added peppercorn dressing and mixed it table-side.
Perfection. Matt and I split the salad and also split the restaurant’s other signature dish – cremini, button, oyster, cepe, lobster, black trumpet, shiitake, morel, yellow foot mushrooms in ancho cream over double-cooked polenta, topped with grilled portabellini, avocado, tomato and cotija cheese
I’m not a big mushroom person and probably never would have ordered this on my own, but it was quite tasty and I liked trying something different. Both restaurants were spot-on; I’m obsessed with the Scottsdale food scene.
We stopped by the famous Sprinkles cupcakes earlier in the afternoon and picked up a blueberry lemon and a pumpkin cupcake. I’m honestly not that into the cupcake craze (because I’d rather have a big piece of cake and eat it with a fork), but I do love the variety of flavors you can try in a smaller portion.
But these? These were delightful, and I might go as far to say that there were the best cupcakes (not cake in general, just cupcakes) that I’ve ever had. The difference was the actual cake part; both were really dense and more like the consistency of blueberry and pumpkins muffins and both had perfectly flavored cream cheese icing. These two fellas were the perfect night cap – another tasty ending to a delicious desert day.