Phoenix and Scottsdale Dining

A couple years back, Randy Petersen treated Flyertalk’s member-elected Board to dinner at Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale. I much enjoyed the meal and decided to return for lunch.

Here’s the menu:

As an appetizer I ordered the Crispy Mac ‘n Cheese with white cheddar, bacon, tomato/chile salsa. It could have used a bit of salt, but was otherwise good. The salsa strangely reminded me of Pace Picante Sauce, though with a slight kick.

I ordered a sandwich to follow the entrée, but the waitress misheard and thought I ordered the risotto. She was most apologetic, but left the Short Rib Risotto with asparagus, pecorino romano, and truffle oil rather than bringing it back to the kitchen so that I could try it. Again, a bit undersalted but otherwise interesting, creative, and delicious. I ate many 20% of the dish while waiting for my sandwich.

Then the source of the confusion, my Short Rib Supreme sandwich with gruyere and pickled onions, served with aus jus and truffled chips, came out and it was excellent. And wow, those truffled homemade potato chips were awesome!

Lunch was reasonably priced and delicious, I’m glad I returned, and glad that Randy introduced me to the place a couple of years back.

The next day we had lunch at True Food in Phoenix.

We started with their Hummus

And their daily special appetizer of tuna sashimi

Then some shrimp dumplings

And we shared two entrees, they happily split them and served half to each of us, a Tuna burger and steak taco.

They offered us their dessert menu but we’d overeaten already and didn’t partake.

With all the eating we were doing we decided to walk off property for a meal, just a couple of blocks down the street from the Intercontinental over to the JW Marriott. We were so close, a drive wasn’t necessary, and it gave me the chance to check out another resort. And we ate at their Rita’s Kitchen restaurant.

Approaching the JW Marriott

I’m somewhat skeptical of their motto, “In all the world only one.” Now, strictly speaking it’s true — there’s only one Camelback Inn Scottsdale that’s a JW Marriott Resort. But presumably that’s not what they mean. It’s like Checkers hamburger commercials. Yes, “Ya Gotta Eat” and I suppose that Checkers serves food… so it’s not like they’re technically over-claiming. But still…

I did make a reservation on Opentable, so that I’d get my 100 points. And of course I need to re-up my Opentable VIP status (hah! It offers literally no incremental benefit). But there was not a single other person in the restaurant. The resort itself seemed deserted, even though our property was hoppin’. I guess the JW Marriott hasn’t been offering $75 or less room nights?

Here’s the menu, nothing on here that would normally bring me out to eat here if I wasn’t staying next door and didn’t feel like a walk.

They did do a decent job with the tableside guacamole, though a bit more spice and even lime might have been in order.

Though I am a sucker for bread with a meal when it’s freshly baked brioche

They were pushing the day’s special, short ribs, pretty hard and promised that they were truly outstanding, the manager on duty came over to tell us she had them for dinner and how great they were. They were alright

It was great to have a walk back after dinner, it’s about all the exercise I had over the weekend…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I can’t believe you didn’t eat at BLT @ Camelback Inn instead. One of the best restaurants anywhere.

  2. @Vagy, well (1) there’s a BLT in my home town, didn’t feel like I needed to do it in Scottsdale and (2) wanted a bit lighter fare in the afternoon after all the other eating I’d done.

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