Last Saturday, I had a chance to take an Old Town Scottsdale food tour, sponsored by Cloud 9 Living. I booked the food tour through the Cloud 9 Living website, received confirmation from a local Cloud 9 Living representative, and was were ready to go. What a delightful day!
The morning of the tour, we had a little trouble finding the meeting place, but once we found it, we joined a group of ladies from Oregon, who took the tour with us. Thank goodness we wore comfortable shoes, as this is a walking tour, and we were scheduled to do a lot of walking. Our guide, Cody, handed each of us a bottle of water, gave us a brief history of Scottsdale, and away we went.
Although I’ve lived in the Phoenix area for twelve years, I discovered a few new things about Scottsdale that I never knew before. Did you know Scottsdale was originally called Orangedale? When Winfield and George Washington Scott became the first modern residents in the early 1880’s (the Hohokam and Pima Indians were the first occupants), they changed the name to Scottsdale, and successfully grew citrus fruits, potatoes, cotton, and peanuts in the area. In 1937, Frank Lloyd Wright chose Scottsdale as his winter residence, building the beautiful Taliesin West. In 1951, the city was incorporated. Scottsdale has grown quite a bit since the 1880’s, and is now a thriving city with world-class restaurants, shopping, and art.
Old Town Scottsdale Food Tour
Our first stop on the Scottsdale Food Tour was The Mission, a latin restaurant in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. We sampled a Pork Taco with Habenero, as well as their homemade salsa and chips. The menu at The Mission is extensive, with meat and seafood dishes, plus a full cocktail selection, including tequila bar. The guacamole, made fresh tableside, is to die for!
Our second stop was Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegar. We had a chance to sample several flavors of olive oil and vinegar, including an incredible wild mushroom-sage olive oil. We learned that olive oil should be kept in a dark bottle to keep it fresh, as well as a dark area of your kitchen, such as a pantry. Outrageous Olive Oils and Vinegar has over fifty different flavors of oils and vinegars, as well as locally made pastas. The owner, Rayna, was very knowledgeable about oil and vinegar pairings, and suggested unique ways to use olive oil, including in morning oatmeal!
After a nice walk, we arrived at Grimaldi’s, an authentic New York pizza place in the middle of Old Town Scottsdale. As a former New Yorker, finding good authentic pizza in Arizona has been a challenge. Many places call their pizza “New York style” but are lacking. Grimaldi’s is true New York pizza. The thin crust, the sauce, even the cheese tasted “New York”. It was fantastic!
We stopped at Malee’s on Main, an upscale Thai restaurant in the center of the art district. Here we sampled Tom Ka Gai, a flavorful spicy soup made with chicken, lemongrass, galanga root (a relative of the ginger root), and coconut milk. We also had a chance to sample their famous Crispy Basil Chicken, a moist, yet crispy chicken with a sweet and spicy garlic basil sauce!
Our last stop was to 5th and Wine for sangria and bruchetta. The sangria was chock full of fresh fruit and the bruchetta was made with several delightful toppings, including with apples, fig jam, and brie, as well as roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and tomato jam.
The entire tour took three hours, but felt longer. We were able to relax, get to know the other wonderful ladies in our group, eat & drink, and be very merry. We sampled wonderful Scottsdale cuisine, walked a beautiful path from Old Town Scottsdale through the art district, and learned more about Scottsdale history.
A few notes:
- I loved this tour! The Scottsdale food tour makes a great holiday gift for family and friends who enjoy gourmet food and are hard to shop for. My favorite stop was Malee’s on Main but I loved all the restaurants and shops!
- There is plenty of free parking nearby, but allow yourself time to walk from the parking areas to the meeting place. It is important that attendees arrive at the correct meeting time, because if you are late, you will hold up the rest of the tour group.
- There is a lot of walking on this tour, so do not give this as a gift to someone who may have trouble with mobility.
- Be sure to ask your Cloud 9 Living representative which food tour you are assigned to. There are three different tours available, depending on the day and time you prefer. The are two day time tours, visiting approximately six different restaurants on each tour. There is also a night time tour.
- Our tour guide, Cody, was extremely knowledgeable about each restaurant we visited, as well as the Scottsdale area. Be sure to tip your tour guide at the end of the tour, as gratuities are not included in the tour price.
Cloud 9 Living offers several food and wine experience gifts in the Phoenix area, as well as other cities. They also offer many once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as stock-car ride-alongs, and pilot training. For more information, visit Cloud 9 Living at their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: I was invited on a food tour to experience Cloud 9 Living, but received no monetary compensation. My opinions are 100% my own.