Magazine article Sunset

The Real Scottsdale: While Everyone Flocks to Phoenix for the Super Bowl, Eat, Shop, and Play Nearby in Arizona's Best Resort Town

Magazine article Sunset

The Real Scottsdale: While Everyone Flocks to Phoenix for the Super Bowl, Eat, Shop, and Play Nearby in Arizona's Best Resort Town

Article excerpt

SHOW ME THE DESERT

Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve

18333 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy.; medowell sonoran.org.

ACE BAILEY Up in the northern part of town, the preserve is the best place to get close and personal with the Sonoran Desert. It's more than 30,000 acres that fortunately have been preserved; there's so much development going on here that if we didn't have this set aside, I feel like we wouldn't have any desert. It has been 20 years in the making, and it has something like 130 miles of trails. Not to mention the most majestic saguaros.

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PAVLE MILIC If you're someone who's into trail running or bicycling or even just walking, the trails will blow you away. And the air is different, fresher somehow. Depending on the time of year, you might see lizards or the occasional rattlesnake.

BEST BRUNCH SPOT

Virtu

$$; 3701N. Marshall Way; virtuscottsdale. com.

AB It's in the Bespoke Inn, which is bicycle themed and one of many places that has indoor-outdoor dining. That's the great thing about Scottsdale: You can be outside so much of the year. We're really lucky

PM They do an awesome brunch every day from 10 to 2. I once had a duck confit Benedict that should come with a side of Lipitor. It had enough chutzpah to fix any damage from a night of a little too much libating. AB At dinner, the grilled octopus appetizer is fabulous. Octopus can be very tricky, but chef Gio Osso prepares it to perfection: grilled and served with fennel, arugula, lemon chickpeas, and Calabrese chile butter.

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FAVORITE ARCHITECTURAL GEM

Hotel Valley Ho

From $139; hotel valleyho.com.

AB The hotel was originally built in 1956, and it was almost torn down before it was preserved and renovated and reopened in 2005 under historic designation. Midcen-tury architecture is pretty unique to the Southwest, which was home to a lot of experimentation. Edward Varney, the hotel's architect, was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright's, and I think Varney just took it to the next level. Lots of concrete, cantilevered walkways. It's on a busy corner, but when you walk through the front doors and out to the courtyard, it's peaceful, magical.

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ART GALLERY, HOLD THE TURQUOISE

Art One Gallery

4130 N. Marshall Way; artonegallayinc.com.

PM Kraig Foote opened this place 21 years ago as a venue for high school and college art students to showcase their work. He features only local artists, and rarely will you see anything priced at more than $1,500. When you go in there, you get a sense of what a new generation is pursuing artistically. Best deal in town if you want to get something with an opinion that's distinctive. If ever I need a retreat from email and phone calls, I go over there and get inspired.

TOP FARMERS' MARKET

Singh Farms

8900 E. Thomas Rd.; (480) 225-7199.

PM Farmers Lee and Ken Singh created a canopy of trees and laid compost over the whole farm, so when you get there, it's 100 to 15[degrees] cooler than the rest of the valley. On Saturday mornings, it turns into a market, and in winter, produce like beets and mustard greens are available. There is always a barista with a local chef showcasing a seasonal dish. Plus dried goods like legumes to take back as a gift. …

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