Red Rocks & Desert Land

The Bump – think hip, chest, or fist, not baby… Belly’s way to check in, say ”Hi,” and let you know what we’re up to

It’s no secret I love to travel. So, when I’m not in the studio I spend my time camping, ok.. ‘glamping’ and exploring the nearby mountains and desert.

This month I headed east to Scottsdale, AZ, for a mix of business and pleasure. The drive from LA to AZ is a straight shot. Although it’s an easy drive, I’m all about exploring new routes, so I did the deadhead on highway 10 to get there. But planned on taking a new route back. When I drive, I love to pretend I’m in my own video game with winding roads and varied terrains. I’ve always wanted to check out Sedona and Flagstaff. So, although a bit longer and out of the way, I thought it would be the better path for a fun adventure.

The drive to Sedona can be a straight shot up highway 179,but when looking for a more scenic route, it was suggested I take a slight detour through Wickenburg, Prescott and Jerome. And, I’m so glad I did! As my grandpa used to quote, “Cowboy jimmy yippy yippy yeah!!" Like him, I love all things cowboy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a horse… or my very own cowboy. So, If you’re into anything cowboy… and funky little towns, this drive is amazing and one you should check out. If timed correctly, you can get to Wickenburg just before lunch, then work up an appetite by walking Old Town. Be sure to visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum which is exceptionally well done. The Old Town is adorable, and everyone is super nice. I asked around for recommendations for lunch, and Nana’s Restaurant and a new local sandwich shop with homemade cured meats were suggested. Both looked very cute, and who doesn’t love Nana’s cooking? But, a friend suggested I check out Bedoian’s Bakery and Bistro. I’ll tell you… when I got to it I was a little skeptical of a Mediterranean restaurant in the middle of a desert cowboy town. But, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I can eat Greek salad until the cows come home. The Shish Kebab was recommended by my server – again I was skeptical. When my food arrived, the kebabs were clearly homemade and really tasty. The combo came with one beef and one chicken skewer both were delicious. The ‘yogurt sauce’ or tzatski (as your average foodie would call it) was really delicious, and the yogurt was even homemade. I was even more impressed to learn that the pita, lavash, kebabs, greek yogurt were all homemade. What a nice stop to break up my drive to Prescott for some antiquing and pints. But Nana’s, if I’m back in town, I’ll come see you next time.

And, then there was Prescott. When I arrived mid afternoon, I was still so full from my lunch I couldn’t think of having another bite.. but a beer, ah ya! I’m always down for a cold one. I decided I needed to soak in a little bit of the town before saddling up to the bar. I stumbled on the Milagro Art Center a really cool shared space, which if I lived close by I’d 100% be a member. The center offers creative access to a ton of art mediums, and with a monthly memberships, you can enjoy and create – AMAZING!! I then toured the downtown area. If you like antiquing, this town is for you. I found the prices to be reasonable and you can haggle some. I picked up some cool antlers (sorry Bambi), a butter pot, and some silver utensils. After my shopping, it was definitely time for a pint before hitting the road again. There are two local brewery’s right the in town center. I checked out Granite Mountain Brewery, the smaller one of the two. In my research, I’d read about an espresso porter which is my fav. Sadly, that brew is seasonal, so they didn’t have it. Stocked regularly, however, is their Black Cow Milk Stout — which is delicious if you’re into the darker beers. Prescott is so cute with loads of great walking and hiking trails that I considered spending the night, But in the end I decided I'd definitely be back one day… and carried on.

My next stop was Jerome. What a funky little town. For about a 15 minute drive, you feel like you’ve been transported to England or somewhere in Europe as the highway narrows and you wind your way down Cleopatra Hill. The buildings and houses are perched along the side of this hill.. they seem like their just hanging on. I was still full from lunch, so I didn’t eat anything.. But, there are loads of cute shops and galleries to be explored. It’s the cutest little hippie town with lots of racy history.

Next stop Sedona. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect drive, and then, my final destination was such a treat. What a magical little town with such beauty. I hiked everyday, meditated, met with with a healer, and as I do… ate and drank my way though town. The local brewery is the Oak Creek Brewing Company. I stopped in for lunch after shopping and checking out the arts at Tlaquepaque Village.

After, I hiking Devils Bridge, which has an epic view and seems like quite a long and challenging hike at times. When I was done, I was happy to stumble on Local Juicery to refuel with a delicious oak creek smoothie. I added some hemp seeds for a little protein action, and I was good to go! I took the Golden Milk (turmeric almond milk) for the following day and was so happy I found them!! My other favorite find was Natural Grocery, where I loaded up on good for you snacks and things.

I did stop by L'Auberge one afternoon and was planning to have lunch.. The setting is really something else. But, the hostess had some serious attitude, so I left. The menu really didn't blow me away, either. I'm all about service with a smile. Hold all attitude, thanks!

Before heading back to reality in LA, I drove to Flagstaff.. It was literally a cruise through. I had brunch at Brandy's Restaurant before cruising back to La La Land. It was a long drive. But, the scenery was nice, and I'm glad I tried a new route.

The best things I've eaten, drank, watched, or come across this month!

Scottsdale Faves

Eats | Roaring Fork:  Green Chilli Pork Stew & Margaritas

Eats, Drinks, Music, Nightlife | Handle Bar J's:  Ribs, Live music, dancing – cowboy atmosphere

Wickenberg Faves

Eats | Bedoian's Bakery and Bistro:  Mediterranean, Greek Salads, Kebabs

Sights | Desert Caballeros Western Museum:  Museum and Art Gallery

Sedona Faves

Eats | The Cowboy Grill:  Amazing beans, burger.. casual and delicious

Eats, Drinks | Local Juicery:  The perfect stop to refuel after hiking Devils Bridge

Eats | Natural Grocers:  Healthy Provisions

Eats | The Hudson:  Good lunch or dinner

Sights, Healing | Mystical Bazaar:  Readings, Healing, Stones

Sights | Chapel of the Holy Cross:  Amazing setting, get your Jesus on. According to my mum, every time you enter a new church you get to make 3 wishes!

Fresh Works – Nicole's most recent food styling creations

It's always a pleasure working with the best of the best. I've done a few events now with Phase One.. Not only is the camera top notch, everyone who works with the company is super nice!

This past weekend Samy's Camera put on Photocon LA at the The Reef downtown. everyone was there. There were products to demo, classes, seminars, and deals to be had - check with Samy's for the next event.

NICOLE KRUZICK

Food Stylist