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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Arizona: From Tucson to Phoenix to Sedona to Jerome….plus a few side trips thrown in

Posted: October 14, 2011
by: Mark Stine

In the last three years I have made several almost identical trips to Arizona, largely because there is such much to enjoy there  with great scenery and wonderful cuisines….Starting in Tucson to visit long term friends Lyn and David we headed to dinner at our favorite spot Gavi…

 Piazza Gavi

Gavi…located near the foothills

Located near the foothills…the Italian fare is excellent and the views are memorable...even better at night in the cooler months when the multiple fireplaces are roaring…but certainly not outdone on the enclosed patio area with the large windows thrown open during a summer thunderstorm in summer…the smell of creosote permeating the air.

Lyn and David have a great upper deck patio with views of the Rincon mountains…a favorite spot for catching up …before or after dinner….and as a graduate of the UofA …it always nice to go “home.”


Before or after dinner views…

From Tucson to Phoenix….another favorite spot in Phoenix is the  Desert Botanical Garden…I caught a Chihuly exhibition there a few years ago…


A Chihuly grows in the desert

a true visual delight among the giant Saguaro cactus….and the friendly quail. You can grab a casual lunch under the cooling boughs of mesquite and palo verde trees…and watch the quail com a begging!

Hungry quail..up close and in person

Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway



Stopped  for dinner in Scottsdale…but before dinner…my dining companion wanted to check out some Southwest jewelry stores…Scottsdale is scenic…upscale and a great place to shop.

When the hunger pangs hit…or you finish shopping among the great Scottsdale boutiques…give “Cowboy Ciao” a try…”modern American cuisine”…and grazing through their appetizers, I was fond of the seared scallops and beet risotto, although the wild boar meatballs with chanterelle mushrooms looked intriguing as well…next time!.


Cowboy Ciao

7133 East Stetson Drive

Scottsdale, AZ 85251



After a few nights in Phoenix it was off to Sedona for some hiking among the vortexes….


“If you go hiking…make sure your hiking companion does not wear cowboy boots…the result can be “slip slidin away”


And a short drive from Sedona is the legendary old mining town of Jerome…

“From a roaring mining boom town to ghost town to a vibrant art colony”….

Jerome is a national historic landmark and my favorite dining spot in Jerome is the “Asylum”….at the Jerome Grand Hotel….. “As the highest public building in the entire Verde Valley, the views from the Hotel are breathtaking. The restoration of the five story Spanish Mission structure started in 1994 by the Altherr Family and continues today.” Check out their website listed below for more information on the hotel where Asylum is located..


Seek Asylum…you’ll be glad you did

The Asylum offers great fare and views…formerly part of the United Verde Hospital in its earlier incarnation..circa 1927….Every time I visit I order the Famous Asylum Butternut Squash Soup…the first time I had it, I asked for the recipe, assuming there is no way they would release it. I was surprised when they pointed me to their website…and I am glad to pass it along.




You’ll want two bowls…it is that good!

Recipe By Richard D. Pasich Executive Chef/Owner

Servings: 6 Preparation Time :2:00



2 large whole butternut squash -- roasted

1 each white onion -- chopped

2 each poblano peppers or green chili equivalent -- roasted, peeled

6 ounces Oak Creek Amber beer or similar

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon garlic -- minced

1 pinch cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

1 serrano chili -- minced fine

1 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste


Preparation Method

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Place in shallow roasting pans with water and roast at 400 until very tender, apx. 45 minutes or more. Remove from oven and cool. Roast, peel and de-seed poblano chiles. Preheat skillet until scorching hot. Saute onions and chilies, then de glaze with beer. Add chicken stock, peeled squash, and remaining ingredients except for the cream. Simmer together for 30 minutes then puree. Remove from heat and slowly fold in the heavy cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.


On this particular visit my dining companion, Colleen and I were able to meet the proprietors, Rich Pasich and Jen Nagel…friendly and devoted restaurateurs, they make sure your dining experience is special!




Jerome is close to Sedona-Prescott-Flagstaff and with art galleries and hikes in the local mountains behind the town, you can easily occupy a three day weekend . Check out the : Jerome Art walk every first  Saturday too.


Spend a weekend….enjoy the ghosts, the history and the food of Jerome…a lot of entertainment packed into an old mining town!

 A hospital from the past becomes a haunted hotel television sensation…


Jerome Grand Hotel

200 Hill St.

The Asylum Rest.



Next stop for me will be Flagstaff this coming February…for a little Grand Canyon…a little Arizona Snow Bowl skiing and a little meteor crater.


Can’t get enough of Arizona…a four seasons state…for your peace of mind.


An ethereal light show in Sedona….