Monday, June 2, 2014

Arizona, I Love You

Memorial Day Weekend in Arizona was awesome. Relaxing, restful, gorgeous weather, no real plans... exactly what we needed!

We arrived late Friday night and after a couple issues with the rental car place (I will never use Fox Rent-A-Car ever again! Grrrrr...), we hustled off to find some food. Owning to the fact that it was late and we were tired and hungry, I knew just the place... OREGANOS! This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants from my college days and I knew Ram would love it. We snarfed up some pesto bruschetta and of course, their famous pizookie = high fives all around.

This year, we decided to try a new hotel. We usually stay at The Four Seasons at Troon and while absolutely beautiful, it's very far from town and the fun restaurants and stores we like to visit. I did a fair amount of research - there are a ton of beautiful resorts in Scottsdale. We ended up at The Omni Montelucia and I highly recommend it - it was absolutely stunning, with gorgeous Mediterranean architecture and features. 

The room was spacious and the air conditioning was a real champ :) (very important to me... I have packed up and left hotels in the middle of the night when the air conditioning was not up to par!) When we made the reservation a while back, we mentioned that we were newly engaged, and when we checked into our room, there was a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries waiting with a personal note of congratulations!

I particularly appreciated that their adult pool was extremely large and had plenty of chaises, towels, umbrellas, etc, and I was also pleasantly surprised by their cafe menu. Usually food served to you by the pool is mediocre and just "eh," but the Montelucia's food was delicious and always served hot, while the drinks were refreshed often and always ice cold. The service was great, too. It was just a very pleasant experience all three days we were there, since the only thing we did was lay on our chaises, read, apply sunscreen, and occasionally hop in the water to cool off!

On Saturday we were joined by our friend Rachel, who in a happy coincidence was also visiting Scottsdale that weekend. She hung with us by the pool for a bit, then the three of us headed out to see X-Men in what is possibly... the nicest movie theater I've ever been to? We thought it was just a regular AMC but it had recently been upgraded with those amazing couch/recliner chairs... let me tell ya'll, I didn't hate it! 

Saturday night the three of us dined at an old standby, Cowboy Ciao. It was good, but not great - I think if you're planning a trip to Arizona, there are plenty of better places... like the place we went to Sunday night! Esquire Magazine chose Virtu as one of its 2013 Best New Restaurants in America, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint! In a fantastic bit of luck, we happened to be visiting AZ over Restaurant Week, and as a result, had an absolutely fantastic meal at Virtu consisting of most of their "greatest hits"...

Behold: buratta with proscuitto and pickled peaches, grilled octopus with seared chickpeas and chile butter, grilled asparagus with feta, bacon, and a truffle hollandaise, a beautiful fresh duck egg pasta, and a ridiculous porkchop with an heirloom tomato salad:

We were sad to leave on Monday... we caught a couple more hours of sun by the pool, hit up Barrio Queen for some tiny tacos (another strong recommendation!) and then it was off to the Apple Store as Ram's phone accidentally fried itself in the hot AZ sun, this time for good :( He is now the proud owner of a new iPhone 5S and I am the proud owner of a medium base tan. Win win for everyone! 

Scottsdale is very special to us because it was the very first vacation we took together as a couple. I love going every year during Memorial Day Weekend and hope we continue doing it for a long, long time - I already can't wait to go back! 


Elizabeth Dietz said...

Looks like you had so much fun! So sad I never made it to AZ when one of my bffs was down there for grad school! Oh well it is still on my list of places to visit one day!

GailRG said...

I am a native LA girls but live in AZ for past 20 years (following 94 earthquake) and read your blog religiously. You picked the greatest resort and restaurants during your stay. Glad you enjoyed our little oasis.