Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scottsdale, Arizona

The kids had a week off for Spring Break and we were looking to get away.  Friends of ours had visited the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona and raved about how much fun they had.  The husband has a gluten sensitivity and they told us about the gluten free menu and gluten free bread that was served during their stay.

So I looked into the hotel and found that their main restaurant Il Terrazzo has a gluten free menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The restaurant has a special area for GF food preparation even its own GF toaster.  If you choose to eat at one of their other restaurants, or by the pool, the food can be ordered through the main restaurant and brought to you.

The bread is from a local GF bakery called Gluten Free Creations.  The resort also gets GF chocolate chip cookies and I believe some other baked goods that are offered on the GF menu.

When we arrived in Scottsdale we stopped for lunch at Picazzos.  This is a chain of "Organic Italian Kitchen(s)" in Arizona.  They are over 90% Gluten Free.  All of their pasta, bread, sauces are gluten free.  They do serve regular crust pizza but also offer a GF crust.  It is all cooked in the same oven but I did not inquire about the pizza toppings (sauce, cheese, etc) to find out if they were separate or shared.  I had the Chipotle chicken pasta and a side salad.  It was delicious and the waitress was knowledgeable and put me at ease.

We then headed over and checked in at the Hotel.  Very friendly and helpful staff with tons of activities.  We planned on spending most of our time at the pool - and that's what we did.  One evening they had a birds of prey show that we went to before dinner.  The lawn areas had croquette, lawn bowling and jumbo Jenga (essentially Jenga with 2x4s) that the kids enjoyed.  We hiked Camelback Mountain one morning too as the resort backs right up to the mountain.  The kids enjoyed feeding the Koi each morning at 9:30.  Other activities that we did not have time to enjoy included golf, tennis, bikes, yoga, pilates, fitness center, photography school - should I go on.

For meals at Il Terrazzo the staff was great.  Only one time I mentioned that I had celiac and the waiter looked confused;  "I have an allergy to gluten" was my go to and they totally understood and conveyed with the kitchen.  Overall, the staff was great.  The bread service offered bread for the family and with my allergy he would always return with a fresh glove and a plate from the kitchen with GF bread.  I honestly could not believe the number of choices on the GF menu.

Our first dinner I had the octopus salad and for my entree I had the Salmon.  Both were delicious and brought to the table with the added "this is gluten free."

The third night we returned to Il Terrazzo.  I ordered the Octopus again (it was really good) and for my entree I had the pork medallions with roasted pears.  Each night I was given GF bread from Gluten Free Creations that was toasted and delivered to the table warm.  If you have kids that need to observe a GF diet they have a large selection too.

One night for dinner we ate upstairs at J&G Steakhouse which is the creation of Chef Jean George Vongerichten.  They do not have a separate GF menu but they said they could accommodate me.  My waiter seemed to be very aware and knowledgeable.  I started with the beet salad.  It was served by the runner and when I asked if it was GF he said "I believe so."  I looked - beets, yogurt, fried things??  I asked and was told by the server it was fried shallots and they fry them in the fryer.  I ask for the waiter and he honestly looked nervous when I pointed out the fried shallots.  He returned after speaking with the chef who cooked them himself in a separate pan with fresh oil.  It was delicious but another great reason for communication between waitstaff, the kitchen AND the servers.  For dinner I had their special a bone in bison steak - very delicious.

Breakfast was a special treat.  I had eggs benedict.  They serve it on the toasted GF bread and it was delicious.  I used to love eggs benedict but I honestly don't believe I have had it in a long time.

Lunch was a nice treat too.  We ate at the pool each day and I was able to order from the GF lunch menu from Il Terrazzo.  I had this amazing BLT with chicken, avocado and a fried egg on the GF bread with baked french fries.  It was so nice sitting at the pool and having a GF sandwich.

While we were there it was hot.  One afternoon we took the kids to the Musical Instrument Museum.  They have thousands of instruments from all over the world.  After a while the kids got bored as kids do so we took them to the interactive room.  In that room the kids got to play all sorts of instruments and they had tons of fun - the parents may have played a few instruments too.

On our last day we had breakfast and hit the pool.  The pool was fun - a water-slide for the kids, hot tubs, pools and pools and pools.  The main pool had a volleyball net, basketball net and a series of roped foam pads to walk/run across if you were agile enough.  They also just opened the padded water-fountain, water cannon play area for the kids.

After checking out we stopped for lunch before the drive home.  We ate at Nourish.  All of their dishes are GF, soy free and dairy free.  We started with the Sweet Potato and Avocado salad - it was simple and refreshing.  I then had the duck spring-rolls (but it was actually chicken).  These were very tasty.

For my entree I had the Teriyaki Wild Rice Bowl - this was delicious and my wife almost stole if from me.  The broth of coconut with ginger was a hit and it was topped with carrot, broccoli and cashews.

My daughter had the burger on a GF bun with sweet potato fries.  Its a shame they don't have a Nourish in San Diego.

Unfortunately, it was time to drive home.  We had a great time, the kids (and parents) are exhausted but relaxed.  We will definitely go back for the great service we had at The Phoenician and all of the great GF food I had in Scottsdale.

Safe Travels,

The Un-Gluten Guy

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