Old Town Scottsdale

Friday, February 23rd, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Eats, Travel

After another Thursday of working late into the night, it wasn’t worth attempting to catch a scant couple hours of sleep before my flight. The SuperShuttle arrived at my front door promptly at 5:25AM for the ride out to JFK through dark, quiet Manhattan streets. The city always looks so beautiful right before dawn.

Left to my own devices, I’d probably end up racing like a maniac through the airport terminals, barely squeezing past the closing plane doors, but SuperShuttle was having none of that. I requested the latest possible pick-up time allowed, and still  arrived on site well over two hours in advance; even after checking in and passing through security (adhering strictly to the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule), I had plenty of time to savor my Venti Decaf Soy Chai Latte  before boarding. (Did I really order that? Ugh. Damn you, Starbucks.)

The flight to Phoenix was delayed not once, but twice: first when the pilot was late getting to the airport — a passenger’s heart attack(!) on his prior flight forced an emergency landing in Los Angeles — and then when we had to sit on the tarmac while mechanics checked out the plane, following an aborted take-off attempt. Not the most confidence-inspiring begininning. Still, these delays were nothing approaching Jet-Blue proportions, and after over 24 hours of wakefulness, I was passed out in my seat anyway, mercifully missing most of the in-flight movie, Marie Antoinette.

On the approach to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport:

AZ View

At the Rental Car Center, I was delayed by another hour when my reserved car was not available for pick-up, in a scenario strongly reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode. (“See, you know how to take  the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold   the reservation… and that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding.”) To compensate for the snafu, the agency offered me a free upgrade to a fierce-faced steel blue Dodge Charger, which appeared to have been driven directly from assembly line to rental lot, dealer stickers and all. As I slid into the driver’s seat, the odometer registered just 1 mile.

Oh, how I miss driving. Friday rush hour traffic, not so much.

Poor SC had been waiting for me at the resort most of the afternoon, so by the time I arrived, we were eager to make use of what remained of the day. After consulting briefly with the concierge, we were advised that after 6PM, our choices were pretty limited outside the local mall.

We decided to take our chances in Old Town Scottsdale instead. The concierge was not exaggerating: despite the temperate early evening climate, the public art-lined streets were eerily devoid of pedestrians, and as SC and I wandered among the few shops open “late” that night, the town’s near-empty shuttle bus inched past us several times, slowing to offer us rides along the six block stretch of galleries. Being New Yorkers, we declined.

Old Town Scottsdale

Scottsdale Gallery Walk

Scottsdale Gallery Walk

Back at home, it’s not unusual to stroll into a restaurant for dinner at 9 or 10PM, but we suspected that such nocturnal grazing might not fly here in Scottsdale. Some of the local hotspots seemed to be already hitting their peak… at 7PM! On a Friday night! (I had the exact opposite experience in Buenos Aires where the restaurants don’t start filling until at least 10PM.) Taking a tip from Rachael Ray, we decided to “ask a local” for a dinner recommendation. The sweet, but arithmetically-impaired cashier at one of the art district shops swore by her favorite special occasion restaurant, Sixth Avenue Bistrot. SC’s and my finding time in our schedules for this abbreviated getaway was deemed special enough, so off we went.

Tucked along a curvy, quiet street off the main thoroughfare, we entered the dimly lit restaurant to find just a few of the other candle-lit tables occupied. Hmm. Most of our fellow diners appeared to be devoted regulars, though — generally a good sign. We should not have doubted our local expert: as she promised, the service was attentive and charming, and we thoroughly enjoyed our classic dishes of bœuf bourguignon  and coq au vin. To Chef François, I say: Bravo!  To SC, I say: Merci beaucoup!

There are 2 Comments ... Old Town Scottsdale

March 10, 2007

Reading this almost feels like I’m there, though I’m glad I didn’t have to endure those delays delays delays.

March 13, 2007

After the somewhat nerve-wracking initial failed take-off attempt, I was just happy to touch down safe, if late.

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