I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I packed my fall to the brim with travel. It was unintentional, but honestly exciting...with a touch of exhausting (next up: SF, Cuba, central California & LA!) This weekend, though, I packed up my trusty duffel and hopped aboard a flight to Phoenix to visit my old work bestie, Katrina, her dog Duke and her husband Dan.
The weekend was unlike my last few vacations where I've stuffed as many activities into the trip as possible. Instead, we leisurely went about the weekend - doing yoga, sipping on kombucha and wine, shopping, napping, watching movies, exploring the farmer's market, watching the World Series, and so on. It was the perfect reset full of so much good food and even better company...and I wasn't dead by the time I arrived to work on Monday morning.
This trip is still top of mind for me (seeing as I flew back Monday before work - eek!), so here are my highlights in this week's travel-based Tuesday Ten!
1. Camelback Mountain
Camelback is the quintessential Phoenix hike, so I was excited to head there Sunday morning. The almost-5-mile hike was pretty difficult (we took the Cholla Trail)...lots of technical climbing at the end, but the view at the top was gorgeous - all 360 degrees of it. Words of caution: go early before it gets crazy crowded! We rewarded ourselves with flourless walnut pumpkin pancakes after! Yum.
2. Cartel Coffee Lab
I do one of two things when I visit a city (or both): find their best coffee shop or find a craft brewery. I opted for checking out a few of the area's better-known coffee shops. My favorite? Cartel Coffee Lab. Super high quality coffee, a really hipster vibe and friendly baristas (who actually were big fans of San Diego's Dark Horse!) I opted for a seasonal cold brew, served black. The taste of the coffee itself was delicious on its own.
3. Flower Child
Flower Child is one of my favorite healthy restaurants in San Diego, but the small chain started in Phoenix. So, naturally, I needed to fan girl and head to the original (which still had the same good vibes and colorful decor like Del Mar's location). The food at Flower Child is all organic, farm-fresh, local...and amazingly tasty and filling. During our lunch jaunt to Flower Child, I enjoyed a lavender kombucha and a Brussels & Squash salad (arugula, roasted brussels, butternut squash, apple, ancient grains, cranberry, goat cheese, almonds, chia seeds). YUM. I already am trying to re-create this salad for lunch this week.
4. Olive & Ivy
On my final evening in Scottsdale, we headed to Olive & Ivy, a place I'd heard nothing but positive things about. The menu is Mediterranean-influenced and the entire place is elegant with a huge patio. We started the night with a bruschetta sampler - prosciutto, brussel sprouts & mozzarella. For dinner, I opted for a Lasagna Bolognese, which was hands-down one of the best lasagnas I've ever had! I'm a fan and definitely want to try brunch here the next time I visit.
5. Kazimierz Wine Bar
After munching at Olive & Ivy, we headed to Kazimierz for a nightcap. The hidden wine bar is a cross between an underground club and a speakeasy. I opted for a Petit Syrah that was delicious - and enjoyed the awesome music choice. We missed it (because...Sunday night before a flight was not the time for this), but the bar offers live entertainment at 9 PM every night!
We stopped into Ruze on Sunday afternoon, craving something sweet. The cake house offers all local ingredients - and dozens of macaroons, drinks and desserts that don't need to be pre-ordered (unlike the cakes). I indulged in a signature Prickly Pear Macaroon and a special cookie butter chai tea boba (made with almond milk!). Both were divine...almost as divine as the entire vibe and place, which was decked out in pink, green, and rose gold. I could have lived in the store.
Against my better judgment, I tried out cryotherapy at Illumina Health with Katrina after a morning yoga practice. As someone who is perpetually cold, the idea terrified me a little, but off we went. The icy chamber reached -276 degrees during my three minute jaunt with the cold therapy. While the experience was hellish (ha, I get the irony), I felt fantastic after. I felt loose and limber...and was not sore at all from hiking the following day! I'm not sure I'll do it again...or maybe after some time has passed and I can forget how shockingly cold and painful it was!
8. Modern Market
It was a treat visiting Katrina, who eats as healthy as I do. For lunch on Saturday, we headed to Modern Market, a farm-fresh, everything-made-from-scratch eatery in Scottsdale. I am obsessed with the Wintergreen salad I nommed on - baby greens, apple, goat cheese, roasted potato, dates, walnuts and an agave herb dressing. So much yum.
9. Old Town Scottsdale
I've been to Old Town Scottsdale plenty of times, but this time, I finally felt of age to walk around and enjoy the scenery (without being a child complaining about the heat). Old Town is filled with dozens of cute boutiques and galleries. I'm still wishing I bought the cutest shirt that read "I'd hike that!" at the most adorable female-owned boutique.
10. Relaxing Weekends
Like I said, it was a weekend that wasn't full of places to be, things to do, deadlines to hit. It was filled with quality friend time...and lots of good eats (on top of all these places, we enjoyed so much popcorn, avo toast and pumpkin pancakes!). And, sometimes, that's my perfect weekend. Nothing fancy.