Monthly Archives: November 2013

Review of the Mission in Scottsdale, AZ

I discovered The Mission while I was looking on the Internet for Southwestern restaurants in Scottsdale. It was surprisingly near my hotel, so near that I decided to walk there. There is a swank outdoor private patio with a large fireplace and screens that seclude you from the road. Inside is a bar and dining area that are a bit dark, so I prefer the patio. The food is quite good, but one of the most striking features of the restaurant is a great mix of Latin, hip-hop, and R & B, which created a very relaxed and cool atmosphere. It’s like being in a movie; if Don Johnson, Fifty Cents, a really sexy woman in her late 40’s, and some Cuban Mafia bosses had to agree on a restaurant, this would be it.

I chose a table on the patio and started out with a glass of Campo Viejo Tempranillo Grand Reserve from Spain. I sipped it slowly as I perused the menu and absorbed the hypnotic atmosphere. The wine was robust with a slight aroma of smoke or leather…It suggested to me the Pork Belly Pibil (pork belly with garnishes), which I ordered. I mixed the pork belly with each garnish, one by one, and enjoyed each unique blend of flavors–the pickled red onion, avocado, and banana habanero aioli included in this dish. For an entree, I ordered Chilean Salmon; the tomato jam was an unusual addition and, when paired with the salmon, created a blend of flavors like nothing I had ever tasted. I liked the restaurant so much that I returned several times to try more of their eclectic menu.

On another occasion, I had the pork shoulder tacos; it arrived with a side dish of red onion, cilantro, and pineapple glaze. They said it was for two people, but I set to work making tacos (they provided 10 corn tortillas). The pork was sweet but a bit spicy and soft. In general, at Mexican restaurants, the pork dishes are usually the most flavorful. On yet another visit, I sat at the bar and enjoyed the Diver Scallops; I talked with the Native American bartender about the food and Navajo culture. I asked him if he was from an earth clan or a water clan, and he quickly replied “water” before I even finished asking the question. It was great to hear some of his stories about strange happenings on the Reservation that could not be explained. People at the bar talked about other hot-spots in the Phoenix metro and mentioned some new, very trendy restaurants in North Phoenix that I intend to visit.

All in all, the Mission is a mesmerizing place to dive into the world of Latin fusion. Bring a friend and savor a few of the special dishes. Note to self: Don’t forget to bring your scuba gear if you want to try the Divers Scallops again.

Mission Accomplished!

Food & Joke Pairing

Have you heard of wine pairing? I have. Wine pairing is a procedure where a sommelier or wine buff pairs a half glass of wine with a particular dish.

The accompanying wine accentuates or compliments the food that it is with. My best experience was at Campanile on La Brea in Los Angeles. This was a few years ago, so I don’t remember the exact wine. We had the same wine from San Luis Obispo County — but, from three different years! Each year had a completely different character and brought out dramatic new life in the dishes it was paired with. There was a soup, beef in tomato sauce, and grilled pork rib. The way the wine made the tomato sauce interact with my palate was truly an experience. The grilled pork went perfectly with the other wine. And the soup — ah, the soup!

But, what about joke pairing? Nobody has ever heard of this, and probably doesn’t want to.

Friend: “Joke pairing? You must be joking!”
Me: “Well, actually, I’m being serious — I really mean it. You pair jokes with food or wine for entertainment purposes. It is something you might fondly remember years after the fact — (or joke).”

Let’s say, that you have a party, or a restaurant. Most people go to restaurants for the food, or the ambiance. But, few places offer an experience except for a few that hire actors as waiters, and a few Moroccan places that have belly dancers. But, what if you took the same approach as a 60’s style cafe. Perhaps Wednesday might be poetry night, and Thursday could be comedy night. Tuesday you could have amateur song writers sing their new compositions. So, on Thursday, you could have jokes paired with edibles!

If you had a dry joke, you could pair it with a dry wine. Even after the initial fun was over, it would be fun months or years after the fact to continue that bizarre tradition. A dirty joke could be paired with some dirty Mississippi mud cake for example. A musical joke could be paired with a Cabernet that had many subtle notes!

Sample Joke Pairing:
Pair a corny joke with Sopa De Elote: roast corn + smoked chicken + avocado + mostarda + crispy hominy

Where did I think of this idea? I was at a Thai restaurant in Ojai. They kept playing 80’s hits one after the other. I thought that it would be cool to pair 80’s songs with Thai dishes.

“Eye of the Tiger” could be paired with Tiger shrimp. Every time someone ordered that dish, the minute the waiter came out with the finished product, they could play Eye of the Tiger.

“Another one bites the dust” could be paired with a dessert that had been showered with chocolate dust.

I had many other ideas for song and food pairing, and that will be in a separate blog entry!

Camp Verde, AZ (near Sedona) — a cursed city

I have driven to Arizona many times. But, I was never aware of the curse of Northern Arizona until 2009. That was the year my spiritual guru decided to do what in my opinion was “too much” spiritual cleaning all at once. I lost my head almost completely. I had already booked a trip to Arizona. I was to go to Tucson, Phoenix, and Camp Verde on my way to Sedona. Then, I was going to spend some time in the Navajo Nation. It is so pretty up there. I just wanted to get closer to the people.

I have driven through Northern Arizona many times. I have been to the petrified forest, the huge Meteor Crater, the Hopi nation, and the Native American shopping sites along the 40 near the New Mexico border. I never knew this area was cursed.

Going crazy
I was already going crazy from the minute the spiritual transmission hit me roughly 24 hours before I began to travel. I was having scary repetitive thoughts. I thought that my mother’s spirit was in trouble. I had visions of a toy clown with red eyes flashing endlessly. There were other terrifying thoughts and these thoughts just increased and increased in my head. I have never had anything like this before. I felt terror, paranoia, and dread.

The Tucson property
I drove all the way to Tucson to see some properties. They were not as great as I had expected, but it was good to do my homework. Then I saw a nice museum in Tucson and took a drive to the Tombstone area. I still remember all of the terrifying thoughts I had driving down the 10. But, the irony is that I drove down that road recently and my mind was completely peaceful. What a contrast! My trip took a turn for the worse when I went up North. I drove all the way up past Phoenix and up to Camp Verde. There was a Comfort Inn that was part of the Choice network. I typically stay at Choice hotels if I have a choice (no pun intended).

The bull
I looked around for hiking spots. There were some freaky looking people at the gas station. I didn’t know what type of drugs they were on, or if they were possessed! I took a little walk off a dirt road in Camp Verde. There was endless countryside, but no real trails unless you go to Sedona. It was scary. I was all alone. There my little Corolla was by the side of this dirt road with no humans around. I walked a bit as I value my exercise. Then, there were a few cows and a huge 3000 pound bull. Oh my god. I was far enough away. I made a scuffing sound with my foot to alert the bull that I was around. If you get too close and surprise them they might trample me! The animals took one look at me and ran far away into the bushes. I was afraid, but continued my walk for a little longer.

The hotel & my pounding heart
I got to the hotel. I had a 2-hour conversation with my friend on the phone as I walked around the hotel in circles. I was having trouble with my spiritual group and I was very upset. Then, I went up to my room. I watched TV for a while. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. My heart was pounding and my mind was racing. I was terrified. I think I slept two hours that night. All I could think of was that I needed some wine to calm myself down. I tried advil and aspirin, but nothing helped. I called my dad the next morning. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I knew I had to get out of there.

The maid
Then an intervention from the brighter world happened. The girl who was the maid knocked on my door. I clearly remember saying, “Tomorrow… Manana…” She heard me say some horrible profanity which I have never said to any maid in my life. She reported me to the front desk who told me they were going to call the fire marshall. Was this girl on drugs? Or were there spirits there playing tricks on her mind — or on my mind?

My customer
Years after the fact I learned that I had a customer who spent a night in Camp Verde and she felt like there were dozens of people in the room even though she was alone. The TV kept going on and off all night long showing only the static screen like you see in horror movies. The town is definitely haunted and cursed. The nearby town of Jerome is also documented as being haunted, but probably by Anglo spirits who are not as terrifying as Native American Witch spirits.

Cholesterol & caffeine
I also learned that I had a high cholesterol level that trip and that I was not taking enough lipitor. The energy of many parts of Arizona lends itself to higher heart rates, especially if you consume ANY caffeine or alcohol. But, with high cholesterol as well, it is suicide to even set foot there.

Going to my spirit spot
I made up with the hotel staff and explained that I would never mistreat them, etc. They decided to let me stay, but I was going crazy and wanted to go to Sedona and then go home. So, I cancelled my Navajo Nation hotel stays and went to Sedona. I was able to purchase a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from a nice Palestinian wine merchant who was a social butterfly with everyone. Then I went to a spirit spot. A spirit who my healer and psychic knew had arranged for me to meet him in a wilderness spot in Sedona. He said that I would instinctively know where to go. It took a while, but I figured out where to go.

Crossing the river
I found a parking place near a hiking spot. But, couldn’t figure out how to cross the river. There were huge rocks that I could jump across. But, it was a criss-cross route across this wide river. I made it across. I waited for a while. The spirit was busy. He does healing on many people. He arrived a few minute later and started doing healing. But, there was a spirit woodpecker who was pecking at me. My astral vision and senses were on high, and it was driving me even more crazy than I was before. At the end of the session, the healer spirit said that he had not anticipated all of this trouble and that I should get out of there fast!

Back to Phoenix
I thanked the healer spirit and went to Phoenix. I had meditation with a friend. The crazy visions changed after the meditation. Old ones stopped, and new ones started. I had more than half a bottle of that wine to calm down. I saw him the next day and I felt a little better after even more meditation. Then, I drove back home. I contemplated how my life would be if I lost my mind. What if I had to be institutionalized? What if I lost my business? What if I lost everything? I was terrified.

Arriving in Los Angeles
My psychic gave me some tapping exercises that would help stablize my mind. After a week I was much better. It really took a few months to get over the trauma I felt from the spiritual work my Master did. I don’t know if was a mistake for him to do so much, but it was the worst experience of my life and completely beyond my control. I stopped meditating for about seven months. After that I began to feel a deep sense of calmness and started to meditate regularly. Now, I feel wonderful and meditate daily as well as taking spiritual trips to many places.

I’m banned from Northern Arizona
The spirit of my guru’s guru told me that I am forbidden from going to Northern Arizona and my psychic agreed with him. I learned that I had been tormented by some evil spirits who new me in a past life in Arizona (as Native Americans). These bad spirits had set up an astral cloud of evil in the air of Camp Verde with evil tormented spirits circling around. Sedona is more of a mixed bag with spirits. There are all types of spirits there — good, mediocre, and evil.

Returning to Northern Arizona
Since 2009, I went back to that general area (before I was banned). Not to Camp Verde, but to the Navajo Nation. I stayed at a hotel there in Tuba City. I tried to meditate, but my mind kept playing tricks on me. People thought it was Payote, but I never take anything like that. People thought there was something in the water. There is something astral in the air there from all of the black magic and drugs the locals do there. This can cause your mind to play tricks on you and experience bizarre thoughts. This is not a place for an outsider to come. Objects would move in my mind, and when I tried to move them back, I learned that my mind had lost control of my mental visions. Things would move on their own in my mind. Nothing physical was wrong, but this was like being on drugs without being on drugs! I got out of there and got better within hours, but what a scary experience.

My last time driving through
I went back one more time, just driving back from New Mexico. I noticed a horrible feeling when I was near Winslow on the 40. Then, once again driving near Camp Verde, I noticed some spirits of beings or people who were so dumb that they were like blogs. I felt very uncomfortable being near these spirits. It was after this experience that my guru’s guru told me not even to drive through this cursed region. He told me to take the Southern route through Arizona if I was going to New Mexico. It is more miles, but less curses!

I hope you enjoyed my real and really harrowing accounts of earlier trips to Northern Arizona. If you go to this cursed region you might find it hard to sleep, and might notice unexplainable things happening. Your heart might start racing, and weird arguments among friends might start that never happen back home. Be careful in this crazy region. My advice is to sleep in either Flagstaff or the Phoenix metro and maybe take a day trip to this area. That way you can get out fast if it gets weird!

Suncreen on your left arm and the spirits.

Suncreen on your left arm and the spirits. My experiences traveling to Arizona over the years.

It’s funny. Normally, when you grease up, you put sun screen on your arms, face, neck, and that’s about it if you are going hiking. But, when I drive to Arizona, my arms get very dry and irritated with the sun bearing down on them. My left arm and my right hand get hit the worst. So, I make it a tradition to put sun screen on my left arm whenever I visit Arizona or drive in the desert for extended periods of time.

Driving to Arizona has always been an experience, as long as I can remember. I will never forget one of my earliest trips to this mystical state. I was in a car with a bunch of friends from meditation. I remember three specific individuals of the four I was with which is not bad considering this was about twelve years ago.

The minute we crossed the border, the atmosphere changed. The energy lightened. It was a different world we had entered. An elderly Indian spirit welcomed me. I thought at the time I was just imagining it because I was tuning into the Arizona energy. I pictured a Native American flute song as well. I have since learned that I lived in Arizona and New Mexico among other states in past lives and am deeply connected to the spirits there. It was not my imagination at all. It was real.

The air is much lighter in Arizona. Energy can pass through more quickly. I feel the energy of the land more in Arizona as well. The land seems to have a rhythem over there — a sort of deep humming. It is brighter there too. There is more energy in the air, and signs are brighter. Whenever I come back to Los Angeles, it takes my eyes 36 hours to readjust. It just seems really really dark. I guess my pupils get so contracted that they have trouble opening up when I come back to California.

The minute I cross that bridge over the Colorado river coming back to Los Angeles, there is a huge feeling of relaxation. Then, when I get to Indio, I notice how smoggy the air is. Phoenix has relatively pure air. Sure, I love Arizona, but the energy is too much to be there more than a few days.

In fact, the energy is so strong that I can’t have much coffee or alcohol — if any. It really depends on which hotel I stay at. Certain parts of the Phoenix metro are a little more relaxed in their energy, but when I stay in Old Town Scottsdale, my heart rate will get far too fast if I have ANY coffee or alcohol. In Los Angeles I can have lots, and my heart rate only goes up a little. Bizarre.

My final comment is that there is one nice thing about driving back home from Arizona at night. That is that I don’t have to put sunscreen on my left arm!

Have you ever taken a hill tour of Los Angeles, CA?

When many of us think of travel, we think of riding an elephant in Thailand, seeing the Taj Mahal, or seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But, there are plenty of travel opportunities where you live that you can enjoy without an airplane ticket or even a date with a friend.

I spend most of my time in the flat part of Los Angeles. I am aware that there are hills, beaches, deserts, mountains and more. It is just that I live here, work here, dine here and have appointments here in this urban sprawl. I have traveled to 17 countries in my life and been to many states as well. I am no stranger to travel. But, it finally dawned on me a few months ago that the hills of Los Angeles County are not only pretty — they are a different world. As a student of feng-shui, I try to visit different environments to see how they will affect my business, health and mood. I learned that there are some very auspicious spots in the hills around here. But, there are so many, that you could have an entire day devoted to driving up and down hills.

Beverly Glen
If you live in a middle-class part of Los Angeles County and then drive around Beverly Glen, you will notice that a lot of people are in a huge hurry. I joke about them having a bladder disorder that makes them have to tailgate so they get to the bathroom faster. Wealthy people sometimes are wealthy because they get more done than the rest of us, and those tight schedules can lead to agitated driving! But, once you get further up the hill, you enter a different world. Driving the twists and turns of Mulholland can look more like a Chinese painting than anything else. In many parts of the hills, you might feel like you are hundreds of miles away from downtown Los Angeles. There are also lots of interesting little parks on Mulholland with hiking spots and a few restaurants on Beverly Glen half a mile down from the peak of the hill.

Pacific Palisades
If you like to see the beach and meditate in the manicured gardens of Self-Realization Fellowship, this is a nice place to go. There is also wonderful hiking in Temescal Canyon — don’t feed the deer! There are lots of little hills to drive up and down around here with great scenery. This area is not far from Malibu which has amazing hills with spectacular views of the ocean!

Mount Washington
This is one of Los Angeles’ hidden gems. Few people know about this place that can transport you back to the 1920’s. I go up to meditate at the SRF facility at the top of the hill. The bottom of the hill is wall to wall slums equipped with gangs, bad traffic, low end eateries and narrow streets. Knowing which route to use to surmount this perilous hill is key. I prefer Mount Washington Blvd., but suit yourself. Don’t come here at night if you don’t know your way around. This hill offers great views of downtown Los Angeles. I also want to note that I hear 1920’s music in my mind whenever I get to the top of the hill. This was old school America in its heyday. There was staggering wealth, and I can picture them having a lively social life as well. SRF has yet another meditation garden facility at the top of the hill. It is a world of its own with a beautiful lawn, a library, chapel, and meditation gardens. You will feel like you are in a different world up there!

Griffith Park
There are so many roads going through Griffith Park. So many things to do, and so many stories. There is a train museum, an observatory, a zoo, the old zoo is still there if you like to walk around. There is endless hiking. There are also holiday events. Horse rentals are also possible at this location. I once went to a very unique Mars exhibition about nine years ago (which was out of this world). There were detailed pictures of what the surface of the red planet looked like. If you need a favorite hiking spot — this is it. Watch out for coyotes and an occassional rattle snake. Enjoy great views on all sides of the hill, and night hiking is the norm until about 9pm almost every night!

Runyan Canyon
This is a great hiking place with great views. Near the top of the hill there is a house with horses that seems to be a favorite for movie producers. I’ve seen that house in at least one movie so far and they are always shooting around there! There are a few choices of trails, and the paths go up to Mulholland, and a few hikers cross over to hike on the other side too — don’t get lost! This is a popular place for people in their 20’s, 30’s and those who want to walk their dogs (annoying). Perhaps the most densely populated hiking trail in Los Angeles, you should come here at least once to see what it is like. Read the signs when parking on the streets below!

Silver Lake
There is lots of driving around to do in the hills of Silver Lake. See the beautiful lake from different angles in the hills. Be careful! The streets can be twisty and narrow. It is also easy to be on the wrong street since there are so many condensed together. There are many fun coffee houses and places to eat too, so enjoy. Cafe Tropical is my all-time favorite destination in Silver Lake as well as Tribal Cafe which is on the other side of the 101.

West Hollywood
This is not exactly in the hills yet, at least not on Sunset Strip. But, if you go to the Sky Lounge, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city while sipping your Cabernet or Martini. Just don’t go when they are shooting a movie there, or they might not let you in!

Review of Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine: Los Angeles, CA

Review of Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine

This restaurant has been on my list since 2005 if you can believe that. Parking in downtown Los Angeles is so hard, and this is a type of place you want to visit with a friend. Food review is a hobby that I only pursue occasionally, so it is easy to see how this restaurant escaped me for so long.

I went with a friend. We originally wanted to go to a haunted house two blocks away. They were open, but were having a VIP night that was not discussed on their website. So, I suggested that we dine at Roy’s instead for an unusual experience.

Upon arrival, I learned that they had a new chef who liked to try unusual cooking techniques. I liked that idea. After all, I have the same type of food daily. It is fun to try something completely new. I looked over the menu. As a lamb lover, I decided to try a lamb appetizer. I also wanted to try the Macadamia Mahi Mahi as well as a Macadamia Cremeaux for dessert.

The lamb appetizer
The lamb was very unusual in that it was brought to me on a very peculiar see-through three dimensional glass object with a hole in the middle. You have to be careful, or the lamb will fall into the hole. The lamb came with mushrooms and flowers. I was advised that the Hawaiian flowers were edible. So, I tried a mushroom, and it tasted exactly like lamb, and had a similar texture as well. How interesting! The flowers had a very uplifting and “floral” quality to them. The lamb was tender and delicious. What an unusual appetizer!

Next I tried the Macadamia Fish.
This Mahi Mahi had been cooked in a crust of crushed Macadamia nuts. It was served with asparagus, sliced red potatoes, mashed potatoes with lobster sauce, and a sauce.

What I first noticed was that there were too many white objects with white tastes and an excess of blandness. The elongated green objects added some color, but didn’t really belong with this dish. It is tradition to have spinach, asparagus, or green beans with a fancy dish, but the flavors didn’t mesh in this case. For my taste, the encrustment was too thin, the sauce too light. But, the sliced potatoes cooked in butter were a delight. The best part of the dish was the mashed potatoes with the lobster sauce, but you only get about three tablespoons of it, so it doesn’t go far.

The pineapple coconut upside-down cake
My friend ordered this contraption. Very delicious and a hit among customers. It had a pleasant texture where you really feel all of the quarter-inch chunks of cooked pineapple. Very unusual.

The Macadamia Cremeaux
I loved our waiter. He had such a great personality! We discussed whether it was a cremeaux or a cremoix! I don’t know the difference and can barely pronounce French as well. This soft and exquisite dessert is like nothing other I have ever had. I would drive two hours to savor it again. Paired with blueberries and a berry compote foundation, the richness of this dessert was amazing. It really brought out the flavor of Macadamias in an environment of sweetness and smoothness which contrasts greatly to eating it raw which is merely crunchy.

Next time
When I go back to Roy’s, I want to try their lobster pot-stickers. I’m a lover of Asian dumplings and have had almost every type from almost every Asian country that exists, and a few from Asian countries that don’t exist!

Review of Popeye’s in Blythe, CA

I went into Popeye’s and ordered Chicken and Jambalaya. The chicken was crisp and firey; there was a crunch in every peppery bite–moist on the inside, crispy on the outside. Maybe they should call it Sabra fried chicken…

The Jambalaya was a mildly spiced rice and chicken mixture and my biscuit had the pungent flavor of buttermilk in every bite. There were murals of New Orleans in the late 1800’s (not bad for a fast-food restaurant), and the mid-2000’s soda machine (a great centerpiece) created a “this could be anywhere” ambiance that seamlessly brought these two non-consecutive centuries together.

The shrimp popcorn is crunchily exquisite…and I don’t want to say anything more about it. It’s just like the chicken…except that it’s shrimp.

I enjoy this restaurant thoroughly and visit every time I drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles

Let’s finish this review with a quick song entitled, “If I had a Po’ Boy” based on a song in Fiddler on the Roof.

If I had a Po Boy…
yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda –YO!
All day long I’d be chillin’ with ma girl
If I was a poorer boy.
I wouldn’t have to study hard…
yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda yadda ya– whateva’
If I was a biddy biddy po’
yadda yadda yadda yadda boy!

I’d build a shanty with cardboard rooms by the dozen
right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with laminate dirt floors below.
There would be one cardboard staircase going to the roof
and one even longer coming down
and one more going nowhere–what the hell?!

A review of Hampton Inn — Scottsdale, AZ

I was excited because I was able to stay at a Hilton brand hotel for $79 a night with my AAA discount. I had never been to the Phoenix area in the summer, but I go to Phoenix regularly to energize myself: a short visit to Arizona can recharge me for two or three weeks.

Score of Hampton Inn — Scottsdale, AZ
Overall: A-
Cost: $$
Room: B+
Front Desk: A
Housekeeping: A
Breakfast: A
Other Services: B+
Location: A

The staff was professional and friendly (housekeeping, front desk, restaurant). I asked the woman at the desk some questions about the humidity. Not only did she give me some excellent answers, but she slid a printout under my door with weather info on upcoming days–without my having to ask her for it. Very considerate.

My room was immaculate and the carpets and paint were new. I had a single King room facing the pool. There was an extremely comfortable chair where I was able to sit and meditate. There were two quirks: the toilet seat would slam down on its own (you could not put it all the way up). I jokingly told myself perhaps this was the work of a playful female ghost who didn’t like men leaving the seat up. Another small issue was that the sheet on the bed was not wide enough to be tucked in, so it came completely off by the third day. Strange.

The hotel has a beautiful breakfast room with a vaulted ceiling. Breakfast was open until 10– very thoughtful. Excellent lean ham and eggs with a choice of juices, cereal, breakfast potatoes, and the usual assortment of goodies.

There is also a pleasant fitness room and business room. I used the business room quite a bit and enjoyed the well-functioning computers, but then on the third day the mouse mysteriously stopped working…perhaps done by the same imaginary ghost who put down the toilet seat in my room. Maybe she doesn’t like to see men overworking on vacation. However, computer # 2’s mouse did work, so I was able to finish my emails and updates for my newsletter.

This hotel is conveniently located near a wide assortment of top-notch restaurants. I dined at The Persian Room and had a lamb and rice pilaf dish; the portions were big and the service was excellent. This hotel is 8 miles North of historic Old Town Scottsdale, known for its art galleries, fine shops, restaurants, and bars. In general, Scottsdale has a greater variety of high-end restaurants per square mile than perhaps anywhere else in the world. You will find many of the same high-end restaurants that you find in the Beverly Hills area, yet there are more fine restaurants in Scottsdale, per square mile, than in any other place in the U.S. You will find familiar restaurants such as PF Chang’s, Sushi Roku, Benehada’s, Fogodechao, Buca de Beppo, Il Fornaio, Houston’s. There are also many unique restaurants (not part of a chain) and bars in Scottsdale of a caliber hard to find in any other area.

This particular Hampton Inn is in Northern Scottsdale near Bell Road and earns an A- . Apart from three relatively small issues, this was a very comfortable, considerate, and thoughtfully-run hotel. For the very small price they charged me, I received a very high quality hotel experience, and the best hotel in this price range–with the exception of hotels connected to casinos.