Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sweet Republc Ice Cream & Oak Canyon Village

I watched Dirt! The Movie in our hotel room this morning to help me think about the article I'm writing for the next issue of Edible SB. This trip through the deserts of the Southwest brings me new appreciation for the beauty and resilience of the dirt that feeds our plants the nutrients that are needed to sustain their lives and ours.

On our way out of Scottsdale we stopped at Trader Joe's to get some bread, cheese, and nuts to carry in the car. Then we set GPS lady to the task of finding the ice cream shop I'd read about in Edible Phoenix.

The important thing about this photo is the word "OPEN." We'd waited until the shop opened at noon to include this stop in our plans. It was worth it. Sweet Republic uses local milk and cream from independent dairies, local honey, and as many other fresh ingredients as they can find locally.

We tasted:
  • Brownie Swirl: Rich chocolate brownie chunks and chocolate swirls in creamy vanilla
  • Honey Blue Cheese: Creamy savory combination of blue cheese and local honey
  • Salted Butter Caramel: Soft buttery caramel ribbons in creamy vanilla with a sprinkle of salt
  • Maple Pecan: Real maple syrup laced ice cream with toasted pecan chunks

Dave decided on a cup of the salted caramel and I had the brownie swirl in a freshly made cone. Afterwards we realized that the flat cookies we'd seen cooling are used to make ice cream sandwiches filled with the ice cream of your choice. Great idea!

They also make their own salted caramels, English toffee, brownies, almond brittle, and bacon brittle. I really wanted to taste the bacon brittle but wasn't sure I'd want to eat a whole bag, so I bought the salted caramels instead.

Then we left the perfectly manicured streets of Scottsdale to head for the red hills of Sedona. Both places are very upscale and quite beautiful. The only car dealerships that have closed in Scottsdale are the low-end manufacturers. Lexus and Lotus seem to be doing great. It's rare to see an older car in a parking lot, even at Trader Joe's.

We made a lunch stop at Camp Verde to eat at the restaurant in the Cliff Castle Casino Hotel. Their menu features items like squash blossom cream puffs with chipotle sauce, saguero (cactus) glazed quail, and chollo (cactus) bud risotto. Alas, we were too late for lunch. We should have realized that when we saw all the people from the shuttle bus pushing their walkers back into the casino with happy smiles on their faces.

Good thing we had bread and trail mix in the car.

On my friend Catherine's recommendation, we'd booked a room in Oak Canyon Village rather than Sedona. It's close-by, cheaper than rooms in Sedona, and has less of a focus on boutique shopping. Here's what we saw as we approached Oak Canyon Village.

Our hotel is nestled among these amazing rock formations.

And I thought Santa Barbara was beautiful! Well, it is, but these are breathtaking.

We drove to Sedona (about 15 minutes north) for dinner. It would be easy to spend a lot of money in Sedona and then wonder where you are going to hang all those crystals. I'm glad we're staying in Oak Canyon Village instead.

We found a bakery nearby that we'll visit in the morning before we get on the road to the Grand Canyon. We're booked at the Grand Hotel, on Wolfgang's recommendation. I like that I can email Germany to find out where to stay in Arizona.

(Thanks Catherine and Wolfgang!)

No comments: