My mouth started watering to the point where I was literally drooling as he placed a plate of street tacos in the middle of our table. My mind started racing. “How long do I have to wait before I can grab one without looking rude?” “Can I stuff the whole thing in my mouth in one go?” “Do you think the group would notice if I stole more than one?”.
The tender, succulent meat had been smoked & slow braised for 12 hours, and was sitting in plated of me with pineapple and habanero glaze on a hand-made corn tortilla. Nothing this sensational had touched my lips in well, forever…don’t tell my husband!
We were at The Mission on a lunch tour of Old Town Scottsdale with Arizona Food Tours – and while the remainder of the menu at the Mission (modern Latin cuisine) was also putting me dangerously on the edge of drooling in public, we were quickly whisked from the chic and sophisticated dimly lit lounge for another taste sensation.
Ranked one of the top activities in Phoenix, the “Taste of Old Town Scottsdale” is the original Scottsdale food tour. I had purposely not eaten breakfast in preparation for a three hour adventure through what was once the wild west, which included the heavy consumption of distinctive food and wine from some of Scottsdale’s unique restaurants and shops.
The second stop of our tour took in a tasting at Outrageous Olive Oils & Vingears, and until this point I had never thought twice about olive oils as an enhancement to a meal.
Blown away by (a) the freshest and highest quality extra virgin olive oils, (b) the diverse range of flavors of olive oils and Balsamic Vinegars in existence, and (c) that there was so much to consider when choosing to purchase an olive oil, my life will never be the same again!
A wealth of information, Heather gave us the run down about what makes a good olive oil, the conditions of an olive harvest, and the unique ways to add a flavorful burst to a usually bland dish with the many different varieties of olive oil!
We sampled everything from singular olive oils, to those mixed with a vinaigrette, and even yogurt topped with an espresso vinaigrette, which was amazingly delicious. There was then time to browse the store, full of great gift options for family and friends, with some of the freshest and highest quality olive oils from around the world on sale.
Following this, we exited the “old west” area of Old Town and continued on towards the art district for some tantalizing Thai starters at Malee’s Thai Cuisine.
Something you should know about me: I’m happy to engage in completely unethical behavior if we’re talking about a good spring roll.
While the group was going crazy over the famous Tom Ka Gai soup (a hot & sour soup made with chicken, mushrooms, fresh lemon grass, galanga root, kefir lime leaf & coconut milk), I took that as an opportunity to devour the plate of spring rolls.
After I realized just how unbelievable these were, I “took one for the team” and volunteered to continue tasting on behalf of Sam from Forget Someday who had a gluten allergy (which Arizona Food Tours were very accommodating with – our guide Zach would call each restaurant ahead of time to confirm there were gluten free options available).
Filled with egg, celery, carrot, glass noodles and Thai spices, these spring rolls were easily the best I have tasted in my life. Juicy, succulent and with just the right amount of flavor – my next lunch date is in Scottsdale at Malee’s.
After consuming as many spring rolls as were served, we moved from the art district to the fashion district, where we hit up 5th & Wine for a sangria toast – with live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, this is Scottsdale’s favorite restaurant, disguised as a wine bar.
Priding themselves on serving a wide array of simple, flavorful, food at moderate prices, we were presented with quite a selection of appetizers including hummus, tzatziki and cucumbers, two types of bruschetta, homemade meatballs, burrata caprese, and fried pickles!
Everything was, of course, delicious. Click to enlarge individual photos.
But wait, there’s more! Our tour continued on for stops at the well known Cowboy Ciao, (an eclectic restaurant offering New American meals with Southwestern accents dished out in funky environs decorated with cowboy art), and Super Chunk Sweets and Treats where we gorged on their unique cookie creations and home made ice-cream for desert.
Though what was fascinating beyond the tantalizing tastes Old Scottsdale had to offer, was learning of her history along the way.
While the tour is a solid food tour, we learned more about the history than most regular walking tours of the city are likely to offer. We truly benefited from our guides knowledge (try and get on a tour with Zach Egedy) about the area, as he told tales of how Socttsdale was established, how the town has changed over the years, and of course all of the great things Scottsdale has to offer today.
I can highly recommend Arizona Food Tours as a fantastic way to kick start your visit – a walking tour which opens your mind and palette with tales full of rich history.
Tip: When coming to Phoenix book this tour for the beginning of your visit. It is a fantastic introduction to the city, and you will really benefit from your guides knowledgeable suggestions for activities, restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
Toccara and Sam from Forget Someday went on the same tour! Check out their account and photos as well!
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Arizona Food Tours partnered with Mapping Megan to provide us with a complimentary food tour. All opinions are our own – 5 spring rolls were harmed for the completion of this post. Arizona Food Tours runs a variety of different lunch and dinner tours – head over to their website to book your tour today!