Welcome to Arizona. The desert sun is gorgeous, but let’s be honest — it can get seriously hot, so you’ll probably want to head inside at some point. Everyone’s gotta eat, so why not do what everyone does in a desert and find an oasis indoors. Did someone say air conditioning?
Whether you’re staying here to perfect your backswing (FYI, this is America’s capital for desert golf) or just driving through, Kris from Virgin Holidays' Marketing team has put together some top picks for a bite and some respite:
Let’s start with a little taste of home, shall we? Cornish Pasty serves exactly what you’d expect. Founded by a Cornwall native back in 2005, Cornish Pasty is the real deal over here. With some fantastic choices on the menu, The Italian is a good place to start or if you’re feeling a little festive, go with The Pilgrim for a taste of Thanksgiving. Oh, and save room for dessert(s). The Sticky Toffee Pudding and Pavlova are both delightful.
Breakfasts in the States are legendary, and Arizona-based U.S. Egg is no egg-ception. (Sorry.)
While you can stop by for breakfast or lunch, having the first meal of the day here will set you up until dinner, so it’s great if you’re going to be out and about until evening. Go for the Half & Half option to get the best of both worlds of sweet and savoury on the menu. It’s a breakfast of champions, with two of their signature protein pancakes paired with half a skillet of your choice of meat or veggie options… and two eggs cooked your way. Tuck in and thank me later.
Bacon. If you’re a fan then this is your spot to pig out for breakfast or lunch. This isn’t just any bacon — choose from a total of eight kinds, including Applewood smoked, Sugar-cured and Hickory. You’ll find all your breakfast essentials here, but whatever you go for, treat the table—or yourself—to a Flight of Bacon (eight rashers of bacon to try the different kinds). I like to think of it as bacon roulette… there’s a jalapeño flavour.
Bored of In n’ Out? Culver’s is the place to go. Home of the butterburger and some to-die-for desserts and shakes, you can’t go wrong stopping by or driving thru’. Grab an ‘Original Butterburger’ or try one of their Concrete Mixers, made with their always-freshly-made signature frozen custard. Trust me, it’s the perfect way to cool off in the desert.
FWIW — the Oreo and brownie pieces mixer is the one.
Postino’s Wine Bar
Postino’s creates the happiest of happy hours with their Board and Bottle offering on Monday and Tuesday nights between 8-11pm. It’s a great way to unwind with a casual drink after a hard day’s holidaying. For just $20, you’ll get any house bottle of wine and a board of four bruschetta. No recommendations here — pick your bruschetta and simply enjoy your night with their fantastic selection of wines.
Cartwright’s Modern Cuisine
Let's finish off with something real special. Cartwright’s is a little out of the way (up in Cave Creek, north of Phoenix) but it’s worth the trip for some seriously good eating. Cartwright’s honours the old American West with their décor and uses local ingredients with the finest meat and seafood. Their whole menu had our mouths watering, but the steak definitely caught our eye when we were there. Go for the 12oz New York strip and you’ll be in meat-eating heaven.
If you fancy visiting Arizona for a spot of desert heat, have a browse of our Arizona hotels to take in the Valley of the Sun and beyond.
Kris works as a writer and editor for the Virgin Holidays blog, putting together some of their best tips and tricks from the holidays we all know and love. Recently returned from Arizona to see family, Kris aims to see a lot more of the desert, the USA and the world at large when he's not at his desk.