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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.

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….



Father's Day Dinner Gift - Americana All The Way

Posted: May 27, 2008
by: T.Alexander

In the early days of GourmetStation it seemed that most of our dinner gifts were sent to the ladies of the household…especially on special occasions like Mother’s Day. After all, the ladies of the house have cooked for many of us for many years. Then one day someone suggested that GourmetStation needed more “guy food.” In concept “guy food” seemed like a good idea, but how to make meat and potatoes gourmet was the big challenge.

2007 was a year filled with new product development…a whole new menu line was designed for….well, “guys.” Since other GourmetStation menus center around exotic regions known for their cuisine, we decided to develop the new menu around authentic American cuisine. The first attempt was Father’s Day 2007 - our Americana 4 course dinner gift for two and it was an immediate success. We selected New England clam chowder and rustic beef & mushroom soup for starters. While the Big Sky Beef Ribs and Glazed Pork Chops are the most popular entrees, many of our new male gift recipients ventured to try Pecan Encrusted Trout and Manchester Quail.

So how do we top the success of the Father’s Day 2007 Americana menu? With an all new Father’s Day 2008 Americana Menu – 3 delicious courses featuring 4 new entrees, a new dessert and free shipping. Chef’s pick for this delicious menu is below. If you have one of those Dad’s who has it all and you’re seeking a unique experience, give Dad dinners from field, sky & steam – true Americana fare.

Chef’s Pick – New Father’s Day 2008 Americana Menu

Handmade Appetizers: Gorgonzola & Cranberry Pastry & Artichoke Hearts
Entrée 1: Beef Tips - Tender beef slow cooked in a rich burgundy wine sauce
Entrée 2: Lemon Dill Salmon - Generous salmon fillet with beurre blanc dill sauce
Dessert: Apple Spice Cheesecake


GourmetStation is your trusted merchant for food gifts for Father's Day including gourmet dinner gifts, meals delivered and a line up of Father's Day gift certificates that allow Dad to select his favorite menu and convenient delivery location.

Thanksgiving Dinner Delivered

Posted: October 20, 2007
by: T.Alexander

Wait a minute - it's October 20th. How did that happen? It's not too early to start thinking about the "T" word. Thanksgiving.

This year is about tradition - for the 3rd year in a row we've offered a Thanksgiving dinner gift and this year will be no exception. We've spared no detail this year in preparing a Thanksgiving dinner delivered that will make a lasting impression...delicious cuisine plus they'll receive 4 gifts: leaf floating candle for the Thanksgiving dinner table, an extra dessert (bake your own double chocolate caramel cookies), organic tea & a Thanksgiving table prayer. Our Thanksgiving dinner delivered is designed for quality & convenience and generously serves two. For wine suggestions to accompany turkey, visit our blog. It’s not too early to start thinking about holiday food gifts, and GourmetStation is the right destination.

Thanksgiving dinner gift.

Thanksgiving dinner delivered

Thanksgiving food gifts

American Specialty Foods - Visit American Feast

Posted: September 8, 2007
by: T.Alexander

GourmetStation menu recipes were consumer tested in 1998, almost 10 years ago. Two themes were tested, an international spin with menus from four regions and a home-town spin, menus from the famous Aunt Bee’s Kitchen from The Andy Griffith Show. The international menus won the research by a landslide so GourmetStation launched in 2000 with Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun & Asian-Fusion menus. In 2006 a GourmetStation affiliate said, “why don’t you launch an Americana style menu”? With the passing time since the consumer research and the very different political climate almost 10 years later, we decided to give Americana a try. The menu personality was branded with a great outdoors theme, entrees from field, sky & stream and is now climbing into #3 position in terms of popularity. Now what does all that say? Consumers are returning to their roots? They are realizing that there are exciting culinary experiences right at home? Appreciation for Americana fare has come full circle? How about all of the above!


This back-story brings me to the point of this post. I have discovered a web site and blog that will bring you all the warmth, excitement and variety you could imagine – American Feast. Now we’re not just talking Americana style recipes and the like….we’re talking about a holistic approach to American food from the sustainable family farm to the table – something you will not find in any other online or offline location. American Feast is the brainchild of Jeff Deasy. Here’s what Jeff says about his concept – “Our new company is dedicated to presenting our customers with the best possible selection of specialty foods from all regions of the United States. We want to give our customers the best of American fare for the joy of home cooking and entertaining family and friends.” Jeff gets our vote for achieving his goal.

I won’t steal all the thunder from your site visit, but would like to point out a few items that I found of special interest. First is the whole notion of sustainable foods and sustainable agriculture. American Feast does a great job in this blog post of informing us about the official definition of sustainable agriculture as Congress defined it in the Farm Bill in 1990. I think we all understand in general that we’re talking about balance between human demand, environmental concerns, renewable resources, economics and sustainability of the American farm lifestyle.  American Feast gently reminds us that the successful implementation of the philosophy depends upon consumers and the choices they make every day…..purchasing from those sources that practice sustainable agriculture as often as we can will determine the quality and potential of the food supply we leave our children. Bravo American Feast. (You can also purchase books such as Is Our Food Safe: A Consumer’s Guide To Protecting Your Health and Environment.)

You can also shop at American Feast. The sweets caught my eye – first the Schoolyard Sugarbush organic maple syrup from upstate New York. Not to mention Ghana’s organic chocolate. I’m going to make a purchase as soon as I finish this post.  You can keep up with food news on American Feast blog where there are many categories to browse such as organics and tips for travelers and vegetarians. For American Specialty Foods, check it out – American Feast. Congratulations Jeff & Team. Job well done!