CRUISING THE FOODIE TRAIL IN GREATER PHOENIX: Hotels

The Greater Phoenix area is well lauded for grand hotels and sprawling resorts. But these icons exude great culinary imagination as well.

Some travelers are shy about dining at hotels when they’re not overnighting there. Perhaps they don’t feel welcome without a room key, or they recall days when hotel restaurants were unremarkable afterthoughts for a weary and undiscerning clientele.  Not today. Hoteliers are more likely to bring in acclaimed chefs and architects. They have expanded their menus and venues to create enriched dining experiences for all. The welcome mat is out.

A recent media tour, sponsored by Visit Phoenix and Visit Mesa, led me to exceptional hotel meals. Here are the highlights:

 

PROOF, AN AMERICAN CANTEEN, FOUR SEASONS SCOTTSDALE

The newest restaurant at this mountain-nestled resort draws upon the area’s history as a stagecoach hitching post and the frontier spirit of the Wild West. The menu presents home-style comfort fare sourced from the 50 states. The relaxed nostalgic atmosphere feels like early Americana with a genuine soda fountain and scads of memorabilia from days gone by. The outdoor patio opens to views of the famed Pinnacle Peak.

Lunch spread, Proof American Canteen at Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale

Lunch spread, Proof American Canteen at Four Seasons Scottsdale

 

Proof is a dining spot popular with local residents as well as hotel guests.

I LOVED: Roasted tomato-fennel soup with grilled Arizona cheddar on multi-grain bread. It was paired with a salad (called Chop & Pop on the menu) of chopped veggies, parmesan, green goddess dressing and POPCORN!

The dessert trio of updated family classics consisted of s’more cookies, maple cheesecake and a mint milkshake.

Oh, and I can’t forget the freshly made pretzel knots with spicy cheese sauce. Good thing someone ordered them after I’d eaten my lunch, or I would have stopped there.

10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale

480-513-5085

www.proofcanteen.com

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IL TERRAZZO, THE PHOENICIAN

Il Terrazzo is a nouveau Italian restaurant that is as fancy or as casual as you want it to be. The formal indoor seating is accompanied by sweeping chandeliers and prim tablecloths. The covered al fresco patio overlooks the swimming pool and sundeck. (The birds are quite attentive–Don’t encourage them by sharing your lunch.)

Seasonal menus are thoughtfully and exclusively created with both locally and internationally sourced ingredients. Complementing the kitchen team are a butcher, bakers and pasta-makers.

As for libations, Il Terrazo offers private-label tequila and bourbon, and stocks its own working wine cellar.

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Crispy Judith Point calamari with lemon aioli, Il Terrazzo, The Phoenician

 

Maximize your lunchtime tasting experience with the Pranzo Veloce trio: a half of any sandwich, cup of barley minestrone soup and choice of petite kale and arugula or Caesar salad.

I LOVED: The Seafood Roll with lobster, shrimp and crab, heirloom tomatoes, butter lettuce, Marie Rose sauce and truffle potato chips. Also, try the olive-and-walnut artisanal bread if it’s available.

6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale

480-423-2530

www.thephoenician.com/il-terrazzo/

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KAI, SHERATON GRAND AT WILD HORSE PASS, CHANDLER

Kai, which means ‘seed’ in the Pima language, is an upscale Native American-inspired restaurant open for dinner only. The menu features indigenous ingredients locally farmed from the Gila River Indian Community and creatively transformed using French preparation methods. The dress code is smart business casual, and adults are preferred.

Cedar wrapped sea trout with Kumamoto oyster, agave fingerlime, black sand, kalettes, cactus escabeche

Cedar wrapped sea trout with Kumamoto oyster, agave fingerlime, black sand, kalettes, cactus escabeche; Kai, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

 

Our three-course meal was augmented with a trio of artisan breads and later, as a palate-cleanser, a mesquite coconut sorbet with banana hibiscus syrup. A special touch came before dessert, when servers placed before us large bowls nested with herbs and dry ice. Then they poured water into the bowls. The resulting aromatic mist delighted our senses!

I LOVED: Cedar-wrapped sea trout with a Kumamoto oyster, agave fingerlime, black sand, kalettes and cactus escabeche.

5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler

602-385-5726

www.wildhorsepassresort.com

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KO’SIN, SHERATON GRAND AT WILD HORSE PASS, CHANDLER

Ko’Sin at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is a casual all-day dining option. The menu features a fusion of Native American and Arizona comfort food.  Seating is indoors or outdoors—either way you’ll have gorgeous views of the Sierra Estrella Mountain. Ko’Sin translates to “kitchen” in the Pima language.

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Lemon chia waffle with citrus curd, strawberries, chia seeds and vanilla whipped cream; Ko’Sin, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

 

Our breakfast began with a coconut prickly pear smoothie, a blend of banana, citrus, desert pear, mango, coconut and Greek yogurt. We had choices of seasonal fruit, native grains oatmeal, green chili port rancheros and eggs Benedict with smoked chili hollandaise.

Be sure to view the massive mosaic mural depicting Native American culture. It starts at the hostess stand and winds into the restaurant.

I LOVED: Lemon chia waffle, made with citrus curd, fresh strawberries, chia seeds and vanilla whipped cream. It came with syrup on the side, but the dish was satisfyingly sweet and tart without it.

5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler

602-225-0100

www.wildhorsepassresort.com/kosin

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AJI SPA CAFE, SHERATON GRAND AT WILD HORSE PASS, CHANDLER

After indulging in a Pima Medicine Massage or a Sacred Salt Wrap at the Aji Spa, extend the serenity with an afternoon of healthy lunching and poolside lounging.

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Avocado chicken lettuce cups and roasted carrot bean dip, Aji Spa Cafe, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass

 

The menu includes salads, avocado chicken lettuce cups, flatbread pizza, pork carnitas and grilled cheese with eggplant. An assortment of macarons provide a sweet ending. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available. All are prepared onsite with local ingredients.

I LOVED: Roasted carrot bean dip with garbanzo beans, cardamom and lavosh chips

5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler

602-385-5759

www.wildhorsepassresort.com/chandler-spa

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CANTINA DUE, SCOTTSDALE HYATT REGENCY RESORT AND SPA AT GAINEY RANCH

SWB, a southwest bistro, and Alto ristorante e bar are two distinct restaurants at the Hyatt Regency. SWB features wood-fired specialties made with fresh seasonal ingredients. Alto offers eclectic Italian cuisine. BUT, you can enjoy both menus at the open-air bar and open-air terrace AKA Cantina Due.

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Grilled New York Strip steak with espresso butter, roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, onion, Anaheim chili with a bacon tomato vinaigrette; SWB, a southwest bistro at Scottsdale Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch.

 

Bar life is vibrant here. Hand-crafted cocktails are made from freshly squeezed juices, artisan syrups and only natural and organic ingredients. While I was there in May, an in-season specialty was a cooler made from pureed watermelon, basil and gin. You might like to try the Copper City bourbon, Arizona’s first legally produced bourbon since Prohibition.

Alto diners are treated to complimentary gondola rides in the manmade lagoon. Say “pretty please” and your gondolier might burst into an aria.

I LOVED: Pollo Marinato, a pan-seared herb chicken with warm guanciale lentils and citrus-olive mostarda.

7500 E. Doubletree Ranch Road, Scottsdale

480-444-1234

www.scottsdale.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/cantinadue.html

www.visitphoenix.com

www.visitmesa.com

 

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One thought on “CRUISING THE FOODIE TRAIL IN GREATER PHOENIX: Hotels

  1. Pingback: SHERATON GRAND WILD HORSE PASS RESORT & SPA, Chandler AZ | All The Write Places

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