Recently I had the pleasure of traveling back to Scottsdale, AZ to attend the 31st Annual Culinary Festival with Chef David Linville and his colleague, Chef Jake. I say back because I was there a year ago this past September for another conference in Phoenix.
A very kind friend had taken the time to show me Scottsdale's art galleries during a conference break at that time which helped me gain my bearings this time around. Thanks Dharma! Here's a sampling of some of the art galleries I visited this go round. Love their work, don't you? This one is called The Signature Gallery and Charles Pabst's work really spoke to me.
His collection is called Peace. Can you see why? Click on the link for more close-up images.
This gallery's artists were a little more whimsical and I enjoyed their work too. Isn't it fun? This gallery is called Leslie Levy Fine Art, Inc.
I also visited LeKAE Gallery which I especially liked due to the variety of blown glass art and fine art. Turns out a publicist friend of mine had represented them years back. I have good taste in art if I do say so myself.
This is one of my favorite flowers, isn't it gorgeous as a painting?
This trip to Arizona I knew a little bit better what to expect and packed lots of allergy medicine. If you're allergic to dust like I am, be warned that it's very prevalent out there because you're in the desert.
Chef David Linville was participating in the Cooks & Corks event that Saturday which meant since we arrived on Friday, we were free to enjoy the Eat, Drink, Be Pretty party happening that evening --a great way to start the weekend.
Here's a Cooks & Cork promo to whet your appetite. If you look closely, you'll see Chef Dave in the corner near the pretty blonde lady.
Due to my previous writing experience for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, I had met representatives from the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor's Bureau a few years ago who had been emailing me interesting information on Scottsdale for months.
It felt good to finally take advantage of what this western town had to offer. And I do mean Western. They have horse drawn carriages giving tours of Downtown Scottsdale, numerous western art galleries and all kinds of western statues, memorabilia and museums. I didn't have time to check them all out, but here's a few pictorial highlights.
There is also a trolley service that runs daily until about 6pm, but I didn't take any pix - just imagine an old-fashioned San Francisco trolley and you've imagined correctly. Here's their routing. I wish the City of Hermosa Beach would do something like this because it's a nice way to get around town quickly and easily.
Now this is a community who supports their Downtown business district!Three hour free parking, free trolley service, and lots of cute shops, art galleries in addition to the bars and restaurants. Even caught a Farmer's Market while we were there.
In talking to people who had traveled to Scottsdale before I knew that Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa was a place I wanted to visit. However, I was way too busy to go and also had received a wonderful invitation to experience the Mondrian Scottsdale which I couldn't refuse.
Having enjoyed the hip stylish ambiance of the Mondrian Los Angeles numerous times and the DelAno Miami this past Spring, I knew it was a perfect place to enjoy Scottsdale's Sexy Single's Scene. Say that fast three times.
According to the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau's press release and I quote, "Hollywood “It” girls like Jessica Alba, Kristin Cavallari and Vanessa Minnillo have
relaxed and partied alongside celebrity hunks Nick Lachey and Brody Jenner at Mondrian
The hotel also played host to Vice President Al Gore, who celebrated his win of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on global warming awareness at the urban resort. (You really must click the link to Al Gore's visit for a fun recap of that event.)
After staying there, I can see why it's so popular! What a lovely, lovely, lovely relaxing place to stay. I was hoping to have some official pix to share with you, but since I don't, enjoy the ones I took here ok?
My room, thank you very much. Isn't it to die for?:) I love modern contemporary spaces like this. Crisp and clean. Minimal, just like I like my men. HA HA!
Not one, but two flat screen TV's - and don't you just love the sitting room area? So relaxing, I can't begin to tell you.
The bed was so comfortable I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. Forgetting I was allergic to down, I have to admit I did wake up rather congested, but that's my own fault.
And to be honest, worth every dream filled delicious moments of sleep. I haven't slept that well in ages! Feather top mattresses make you feel like you're weightless they're so comfortable.
When I arrived there was vibey music playing loudly for guests enjoying the pool which was right outside my room making me wonder if it would be playing all night. Be warned, there is a party element due to the sophisticated stylish space geared towards young hipsters, but the hotel is always very accommodating which makes it fine.
When my room service arrived, the sweet girl assured me the music would end when the pool closed at dusk. Room service is one of those special treats I never get tired of. Especially when the person delivering your food is courteous, timely and professional like she was. My food was delivered hot and was very delicious.
She was right about the music ending soon. I was able to catch a quick catnap before getting ready for our evening out with a quick bath in this amazingly long tub. I'm tall for a woman - 5'10" to be exact and this was the first time I felt I could stretch all the way out and really relax in a tub. Amazing!
I liked the tile work and floral trim pattern which was repeated throughout the hotel in pathways and elsewhere. There was also a shower, another sink and mirror and toilet in an entirely separate adjacent area which was nice because if I'd been sharing it would have been easy for both of us to get ready.
As it was, I was solo on this trip. The chefs were staying off premise, but did enjoy the club and private bar with me afterwards before continuing their nightlife excursions long after I went to bed. Allergies always wipe me out and I need my rest.
Chef David Linville worked for the Standard Hotel in Hollywood which has been described as a "Chic Mecca" by Vanity Fair, while Chef Jake throws amazing private parties with models as live food decorations up in Santa Barbara, CA, in addition to cooking for a variety of celebrity clients who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.
I know, crazy to be wearing a jacket, but again, allergies kicking my butt make me cold. Plus, it does get a little chilly at night in Scottsdale.
I'm wearing what Project Runway Style Guru, Tim Gunn, refers to as a faux fur chubby coat in his book,
Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style (Tim Gunn's Guide to Style) if I remember correctly. Read it and let me know if I got that one right.
In any case, here's some highlights from the actual Scottsdale Culinary Festival Eat, Drink, Be Pretty event we also attended earlier that night. What an amazing event. Scottsdale truly has some of the most beautiful people I've seen in a long time and they know how to party!:)
Our first stop, the Absolut Vodka bar, what can we say? Gotta love an Absolut pear vodka and soda. I really don't drink that much, but when I do, I enjoy a nice sweet drink.
Fruits & Passions Bodycare Fragrances Home was passing out products and these cute bags which were all the rage that night. Perfect for the beach or pool. Bliss Spa had wonderful spa items to share too. The oxygen mask is so soothing and refreshing.
Sexy devil, isn't he ladies? Whoops, did I just say that? I am his publicist after all. Guess I'm supposed to say that, but glad I mean it.
Lots of fashion shows going on inside and outside on the premises which was fun to watch.
And of course, wine tasting and dining. I liked this "New Age" wine the best because it was sweet and carbonated - an adult pop. My mom's from Ohio, can you tell?
Upon arrival you were given this plastic plate with attached cutlery and this cute souvenir wine glass you used throughout the evening while marking off the biz card with the amount of wine you had enjoyed.
These two women were the most unflappable organizers I've ever met. Kudos to you two for pulling off such a wonderful event with such gracious smiles and spirt.
On the way out we all received a beautiful red rose and program. Here's a close up for your viewing pleasure.
Here's some highlights from the next day too. This was the calm before the storm. Imagine it packed with people later on all wining and dining and you will be right.
Chef David Linville prepared CA Style Gazpacho. This weekend, he will be appearing at Grand Food & Wine Affair in Houston, TX. I make sure he keeps a busy schedule!
Back to the Scottsdale Mondrian. The next day I woke up early and decided to start my day by taking advantage of the Olympic size pool. Isn't this wonderful? I basically had it all to myself except for two business men discussing stocks in the hot tub and we mutually ignored each other.
Too early to schmooze and it's understood you want privacy when you stay at a place like this which is why I enjoyed my experience there so much.
This cabana space beats any I've seen at any of the luxury hotels I've visited in Hollywood hands down. Fireplace, flat screen TV anyone?
Later on in the day, I'm sure this would have been packed with guests, but for that moment in time, it was all mine. Pure relaxation and so peaceful. I loved it.
After swimming a few laps, showering and packing up, I went down to enjoy breakfast at the restaurant on site.
Here's a little tour to the restaurant.
Care for a ride? Numerous sports cars were lined up last night because this was the place to be after the Eat, Drink and Be Pretty event. We saw quite a few people from that event had wandered over as we were leaving.
Just outside the front lobby. Isn't that inviting? I enjoyed the pink and Western accents throughout the lobby too.
I loved how this room glowed with a soft pink light. So welcoming and sexy!
And for a completely different motif, check out the restaurant. I believe it's Asia de Cuba, but am afraid I forget which one I visited. Isn't it fun?
I didn't see anyone famous while staying there, but that wasn't the reason I chose to stay here. I appreciate quality, excellence and exquisite surroundings which this property definitely offers. The food was delicious and the ambiance perfect.
I would wager to say, almost more than my local LA version, but having never stayed there, only attended private parties, I can't say for sure.
Maybe that will be my next visit....
Here's some highlights of our drive home. The scenery is visually stunning, although have to admit after awhile it begins to all look the same. That said, I thought some of you who have never driven this route might appreciate seeing this great land through my eyes.
We didn't have time to stop and visit, but there is a General George S. Patton Museum out in the middle of nowhere you might want to catch. Apparently, the cafe next door is where Chef Anthony Bourdain stopped during one of his road trip shows.
Could be a fun rest stop. We wouldn't know, although we did share some food there.
There are windmills as far as the eye can see in certain sections of the freeway. If you can believe it, I took these pix while driving because we were only going 20 mph since Coachella was happening that weekend nearby too. Everyone was driving home at the same time. We made pretty good time considering the amount of people who attend that music festival each year.
Finally, we arrived in Los Angeles and were greeted by the most amazing sunset. (For the record, I did not take these pix. lol) I love LA. No matter where I travel and live, I will always call California home.
Questionable Politicians, taxation problems and all.:) That's all.
I hope you've enjoyed my tour of Scottsdale, AZ and have been enticed to visit this fascinating desert community. It's a quick getaway from Los Angeles and worth at least vacationing there once in your lifetime.
Have a good evening everyone. Thanks for stopping by. If you do stay at the Mondrian, tell 'em Joy sent you.:)