I always think of food as a huge part of the culture when traveling to a new destination. During our family vacation to Arizona last summer, I said "Wow!" more times than I could count. The food scene is completely different than I am used to on the East Coast. Local food production is a big part of their life and it has to be with the extreme temperatures and weather patterns. We tried new foods that I've never experienced before, as well as familiar foods that are grown a bit differently which adds to their flavor.
Here are five of my new favorite tastes and food discoveries.
My number one new taste I discovered is the prickly pear. And it's surprisingly very good for you. Prickly pear is known for its healing properties, including antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It's high in fiber, antioxidants, and carotenoids. Many people believe it can be used for treating diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and even hangovers. With a gorgeous pink color, this cactus fruit is sweet and used in many refreshing culinary specialties. We tried prickly pear margaritas and lemonade at Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock and prickly pear sorbet at Rocky RD Ice Cream, also in Sedona. We became so obsessed with it, we left with prickly pear syrup and candy. I'm not sure about the healing properties but it's delicious!
I was truly surprised how much citrus is growing in Arizona. I always thought citrus needed an overzealous amount of water to grow but citrus happens to be one of Arizona's biggest producers. There are acres and acres of orange and citrus groves found in many areas. Even on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa they have a variety of beautiful lime trees growing right on the property. They use them in their restaurants and don't miss sampling them in the guacamole!
PB&J Brisket sandwich?!
You are making a face, right? This is a taste you have to try! At Jalapeno Bucks in Mesa, Arizona, they serve this creative brisket sandwich and it's a hit. It may sound odd but think smoky tender brisket with a creamy nutty and fruity sauce set on a buttery bun. There you have it! It's an original mouthwatering taste you'll want to keep coming back for.
Foodie Tip: You'll need to ask for this specialty since you won't find it on the menu.
Wine for breakfast? Well, if that's how they do it in Arizona, I'm in!
Garage-East in the Barnone Craftsman community of Gilbert, Arizona makes a refreshing citrus flavored wine. It's not really meant to drink for breakfast but it beautifully compliments a brunch or light meal. AND it comes in a can!
Who would think that you'd come to Arizona to eat seafood? It's not full of fishing villages or vast beaches. But the seafood is phenomenal everywhere we went. From a seafood tower in Scottsdale to lobster and various shellfish in Sedona, it was amazingly flavorful and fresh. I had more lobster in Sedona than I usually enjoy on the East Coast. Don't hesitate to order the seafood when dining at Mariposa, Latin Inspired Grill or Cucina Rustica in Sedona, Arizona. It's wonderfully decadent and prepared perfectly!
We loved all of our new food experiences while visiting Arizona. But we barely scratched the surface of what this gorgeous state has to offer and we can't wait to get back to taste more.
One of the best ways to discover new foods and tastes when visiting a new destination is to take a food tour. We discovered a fabulous tour given by VisitMesa. They provide a history and hearty sampling of many kinds of new food. Definitely hop on the Fresh Foodie Trail if you visit Mesa, Arizona.
Do you have a favorite food from Arizona? Leave it in the comments below...I'd love to hear!
My Virtual Vacations Blog
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Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, with a family including two teenage boys, we still need family friendly and comfortable.
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Time flies! We are quickly moving into warmer months and that means summer is on the way. We are SO excited to announce we are planning some incredible summer adventures. First, we are heading to south Florida and then we'll be expanding our travel to luxury destinations in the west. Visits to Scottsdale and Sedona, AZ are in the works. If you have suggestions for My Virtual Vacations to visit, reach out to us on our Submission Form. We'd love to hear from you!
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