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6 Unique Dining Experiences In Arizona

The complete article was published in Travel Awaits on  July 2. 2021.

For me, a unique dining experience is not
just about food; it is also about the place. Is there a majestic
mountain, a flowing river, a refreshing lake, a sunny beach, etc. as a backdrop? Here are six places we recommend.

1. The Dolly Steamboat (headline photo)

The Dolly
on Canyon Lake offers
dinners onboard the boat. “They were actually replaced by wine cruises with
live music during the days of Covid but the Twilight Dinner Cruise has now
since resumed at 5 pm every day. Imagine having dinner (and wine) while you
cruise around the lake, viewing great vistas, admiring desert plants that grow
among the rocks, and spotting wildlife that is taking a peek at you whatever
else is happening below…
 dinner served buffet-style was always bountiful…An added
bonus is that you get a different view of the lake and its surroundings on the
way back after the sun goes down.”

2. Cress on Oak Creek

by Oak Creek

But the
dining experience I will never forget we discovered when we were invited to
have lunch by an Australian friend when she was part of an art program offered by L’Auberge, a
group of cottages “nestled under a canopy of sycamore trees” in Sedona, Arizona. Cress on Oak Creek is known for creekside dining since its tables are right
beside Oak Creek where birds chirp while you delight in an exquisite meal. The
following year, my husband brought me back there for a magical tenth
Anniversary lunch.” The only drawback is 
Cress is a fine
dining restaurant with an expensive price range. 

3. Mariposa Latin-Inspired

the garden at Mariposa

The other Sedona dining place you should visit is the Mariposa Latin-Inspired Grille. “It is perched atop a scenic bluff giving panoramic
views of the majestic rocks to every table. My husband thought it was good
enough for our 11th-anniversary dinner. The spacious 6,500
square-foot restaurant has a 1,000-lb door crafted from African and South
American stones. There are also two glass-enclosed wine vaults with more
than 600 wine bottles, including many rare South American varieties. At the
heart of the restaurant, are a wood-fired grill and wood-burning oven. And Chef
Dahl creates a unique South American-inspired cuisine inspired by her travels
to Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile.” There is 
a dress code (Resort
Casual) or sit at the expansive
patio that leads right into the wide well-manicured grass lawn in a huge
garden that looks out to the red rocks unobstructed. We had an anniversary “photoshoot” there!

4. Salt Cellar

the only thing above ground

“For our
ninth anniversary, my husband looked hard for a seafood place because that is
my favorite, having grown up in the Philippine islands. Luckily, he found one
that was always part of the “Best of Seafood” lists in the Phoenix Metropolitan
area since 1971. But there is another draw to this place. Salt Cellar is the only underground restaurant in Arizona. Decorated
as a “snug seaside hideaway,” this dining place is located below ground on the
posh side of the valley, in upscale Scottsdale. When you descend the antique
wooden three flights of stairs to the select tables below, you will be welcomed
into a world far removed from the desert.”

5. Wrigley’s Mansion

the view from Wrigley Mansion 

We were able to dine at the elegant Wrigley Mansion because a friend is a member. “Wrigley’s Mansion is a renowned Phoenix
landmark built by the chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in 1932 as a 50th-anniversary gift to his beloved wife. It looks very similar to the Wrigley
Mansion on Catalina Island off the Los Angeles coast which was another gift of
Wrigley to his wife. Both sit atop a hill, commanding dramatic views of the
mountains and the city (island). Inspired by architectural elements from Spain,
California Monterey, and the Mediterranean, the original tiles that were
shipped from the Wrigley family’s tile factory on Catalina Island are still
Mansion also offers tours of the elegant house. See the sweeping
grand staircase, fabulous first-class décor, and even a vintage telephone

6. Market Cafe

the Father celebrating

‘My husband
saw an ad mentioning dining by a waterfall in the desert that is Phoenix.
However, during the Covid lockdown, Market
in The Buttes of Marriott was only
open for breakfast, from 6: 30-10:30 am. We decided to begin his 2021 Father’s
Day celebration with a special morning meal, even if that meant waking up early.
We just had to make sure that — even with the 30-minute trip from our home — we
could get a table on the row closest to the unique scene.”



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