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Jaina’s guidebook

Jaina

Jaina’s guidebook

Our Favorite Restaurants
There are so many restaurants in the area, it's a foodie's dream. But here are just a few places we frequent in the area.
If you're looking for some authentic Italian food, this place can't be any more "legit". It's named after the former owner Salvator Gravano, more notoriously known as "Sammy the Bull." He's the mobster who dropped a few dimes on multiple mafiosos including John Gotti. This restaurant makes you feel like you just stepped into a filming of the Sopranos. It also can't be any closer to the condo.
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uncle sal's
3370 North Hayden Road
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If you're looking for some authentic Italian food, this place can't be any more "legit". It's named after the former owner Salvator Gravano, more notoriously known as "Sammy the Bull." He's the mobster who dropped a few dimes on multiple mafiosos including John Gotti. This restaurant makes you feel like you just stepped into a filming of the Sopranos. It also can't be any closer to the condo.
Great healthy food with multiple vegetarian, vegan, gluten free options. I'm a fan of the d'Veggie Bowl. The drive through line is always busy here, so order ahead and pick up or eat inside.
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D'Lite Healthy On The Go
2613 North Scottsdale Road
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Great healthy food with multiple vegetarian, vegan, gluten free options. I'm a fan of the d'Veggie Bowl. The drive through line is always busy here, so order ahead and pick up or eat inside.
For really good Vietnamese Food and Pho, I love this place. Even better it's not far from the condo at all. They started out as a food truck and was so popular that they had to open a restaurant.
Pho King Food Truck
8018 E Thomas Rd
For really good Vietnamese Food and Pho, I love this place. Even better it's not far from the condo at all. They started out as a food truck and was so popular that they had to open a restaurant.
Authentic New Mexican food. If you like it spicy, they do it right with real New Mexican Hatch Green Chiles. The restaurant also has a bat cave theme which is kitschy but cool.
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Carlsbad Tavern
3313 North Hayden Road
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Authentic New Mexican food. If you like it spicy, they do it right with real New Mexican Hatch Green Chiles. The restaurant also has a bat cave theme which is kitschy but cool.
In the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Farm and Craft boasts healthy, organic, gluten free and sustainable ingredients in their contemporary menu. We like coming here, not just for the food, but the people watching from their nice outdoor patio.
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Farm and Craft Scottsdale
4302 N Scottsdale Rd
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In the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, Farm and Craft boasts healthy, organic, gluten free and sustainable ingredients in their contemporary menu. We like coming here, not just for the food, but the people watching from their nice outdoor patio.
For a fancy night out, elements is a great place right at the foot of Camelback Mountain located on the beautiful Sanctuary Resort. Make reservations ahead of time to book a table on the patio. There's a cool view of the Praying Monk rock formation. Get there early to enjoy a cocktail at the Jade Bar. The Jade Bar also hosts Mixology 101 classes for $50 on Saturdays. Check the website for schedule and reservations.
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elements
5700 East McDonald Drive
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For a fancy night out, elements is a great place right at the foot of Camelback Mountain located on the beautiful Sanctuary Resort. Make reservations ahead of time to book a table on the patio. There's a cool view of the Praying Monk rock formation. Get there early to enjoy a cocktail at the Jade Bar. The Jade Bar also hosts Mixology 101 classes for $50 on Saturdays. Check the website for schedule and reservations.
Hiking
One of our favorite things to do in the valley is to take a hike. Here are some of our favorites, from the local hikes, to the ones that might be a few hours away. Please do your own research before taking on these hikes. Always bring enough water and use sunscreen. This is the desert, so shade is rare on these hikes
This is an Intermediate hike that can take 2-5 hours depending on fitness level and the number of pictures you want to take. 2.86 miles out and back trail. 1280 Ft elevation gain. There are two ways to the top which boasts a 360 degree view of the valley. If you're afraid of heights, it may not be for you. 1. Echo Canyon Trailhead - This way is a lot more scrambling over large boulders and has a short steep section with rails to help guide you up/down. 2. Chollo Trail Trailhead - This is a well maintained trail with less rock scrambling. If you go around Christmas time, the "Camelback Santa's" bring a Christmas tree at the top. Bring a Christmas ornament if you want to leave a piece of yourself up there. Parking is difficult so an Uber to the trailhead is a good option. Bring plenty of water. Don't hike if it's too hot or when it's too close to sunset. Many people have lost the trail in the dark and required helicopter rescue. It is possible to go up one way and go down the other if you don't have a car parked at the trailhead. You can just have the Uber pick you up at the other trailhead. Start your hike early to avoid crowds. This is a popular hike.
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Camelback Mountain
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This is an Intermediate hike that can take 2-5 hours depending on fitness level and the number of pictures you want to take. 2.86 miles out and back trail. 1280 Ft elevation gain. There are two ways to the top which boasts a 360 degree view of the valley. If you're afraid of heights, it may not be for you. 1. Echo Canyon Trailhead - This way is a lot more scrambling over large boulders and has a short steep section with rails to help guide you up/down. 2. Chollo Trail Trailhead - This is a well maintained trail with less rock scrambling. If you go around Christmas time, the "Camelback Santa's" bring a Christmas tree at the top. Bring a Christmas ornament if you want to leave a piece of yourself up there. Parking is difficult so an Uber to the trailhead is a good option. Bring plenty of water. Don't hike if it's too hot or when it's too close to sunset. Many people have lost the trail in the dark and required helicopter rescue. It is possible to go up one way and go down the other if you don't have a car parked at the trailhead. You can just have the Uber pick you up at the other trailhead. Start your hike early to avoid crowds. This is a popular hike.
This is a super easy hike with even better reward. Best ROI from any hike on my guidebook. 0.3 mile out and back 32 foot elevation gain This is located in Papago Park and you can see the Phoenix zoo from here. If you have people in your group that aren't ready to take on Camelback Mountain, you can still come here to appreciate the red rock and interesting rock formations that Arizona is known for. This is very close to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and the Phoenix Zoo, so a great place for a quick stop before or after you go to either of these venues.
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Hole in the Rock
625 North Galvin Parkway
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This is a super easy hike with even better reward. Best ROI from any hike on my guidebook. 0.3 mile out and back 32 foot elevation gain This is located in Papago Park and you can see the Phoenix zoo from here. If you have people in your group that aren't ready to take on Camelback Mountain, you can still come here to appreciate the red rock and interesting rock formations that Arizona is known for. This is very close to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens and the Phoenix Zoo, so a great place for a quick stop before or after you go to either of these venues.
Difficulty: Intermediate 3.5 miles out-and-back hike Total cumulative elevation gain 1300 ft I say cumulative, because the trail goes up and down two very substantial hills, which means 4 hills when you consider the trip back. You actually never get to the peak for this hike, but you can see it from the trail. I like this hike because it's a great work out, is well maintained trail, there are beautiful views of North Scottsdale and the only place I've seen a Gila Monster. Since it is an out and back trail, you can turn around at any time. Some good turn around points are either one of the two lookouts near the highest point and first hill of the hike. Another turn around point is on the second hill, there is a sign that says "Strenuous Beyond This Point". This sign is on the downhill and is basically warning you that if you go down here, don't forget you need to come back up! Parking can be a problem. If you get there later on a weekend, you might need to park on the street and add some extra distance to your hike. After the hike check out The Thumb BBQ to refuel. Great BBQ place in an upscale car wash/gas station that was featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TV Show.
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Pinnacle Peak
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Difficulty: Intermediate 3.5 miles out-and-back hike Total cumulative elevation gain 1300 ft I say cumulative, because the trail goes up and down two very substantial hills, which means 4 hills when you consider the trip back. You actually never get to the peak for this hike, but you can see it from the trail. I like this hike because it's a great work out, is well maintained trail, there are beautiful views of North Scottsdale and the only place I've seen a Gila Monster. Since it is an out and back trail, you can turn around at any time. Some good turn around points are either one of the two lookouts near the highest point and first hill of the hike. Another turn around point is on the second hill, there is a sign that says "Strenuous Beyond This Point". This sign is on the downhill and is basically warning you that if you go down here, don't forget you need to come back up! Parking can be a problem. If you get there later on a weekend, you might need to park on the street and add some extra distance to your hike. After the hike check out The Thumb BBQ to refuel. Great BBQ place in an upscale car wash/gas station that was featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives TV Show.
Unique Experiences
If you want to try something off the beaten path, here are some suggestions.
Just about 30 minutes North in a quaint town called Cave Creek, the Buffalo Chip Saloon is the true Wild West. I actually saw one guest ride up to the restaurant on horseback. They have Bull Riding on Wednesdays (7:30PM) and Fridays (8:00PM). After the first Bull Riding Session on Fridays, they have Mutton Busting. That's where kids ages 4-7 sign up, put on helmets, get up on a sheep and wrap their arms around the sheep's neck. They then let the sheep loose to see how long the kid can hang on! It's fun to watch. Go here on other nights for free Line Dancing Lessons. If you're a fan of Wisconsin teams, this is where Green Bay Packer and Wisconsin Badgers watch the games. Order the s'mores and you can roast your marshmallows on any of the open fire pits.
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Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse
6823 East Cave Creek Road
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Just about 30 minutes North in a quaint town called Cave Creek, the Buffalo Chip Saloon is the true Wild West. I actually saw one guest ride up to the restaurant on horseback. They have Bull Riding on Wednesdays (7:30PM) and Fridays (8:00PM). After the first Bull Riding Session on Fridays, they have Mutton Busting. That's where kids ages 4-7 sign up, put on helmets, get up on a sheep and wrap their arms around the sheep's neck. They then let the sheep loose to see how long the kid can hang on! It's fun to watch. Go here on other nights for free Line Dancing Lessons. If you're a fan of Wisconsin teams, this is where Green Bay Packer and Wisconsin Badgers watch the games. Order the s'mores and you can roast your marshmallows on any of the open fire pits.
If you want to try your hand at Disc Golf (Frisbee Golf), the park next to Spinners on the Green has a full, free 18 hole course, Vista Del Camino Park. Spinners has some cheap, used discs you can buy. They'll be happy to give you some beginner tips and pointers. Ask Spinners for the course score card to keep score and follow the map. Shorten the course and avoid the water holes if you're a beginner so you don't lose your disc in the lake. When you're done, check out the restaurant Dukes Sports Bar in the same strip mall. Nice view of the park from the patio, plenty of TV's to watch sports, pool tables, foosball and shuffleboard.
Spinners on the Green - Disc Golf Store
7607 E McDowell Rd
If you want to try your hand at Disc Golf (Frisbee Golf), the park next to Spinners on the Green has a full, free 18 hole course, Vista Del Camino Park. Spinners has some cheap, used discs you can buy. They'll be happy to give you some beginner tips and pointers. Ask Spinners for the course score card to keep score and follow the map. Shorten the course and avoid the water holes if you're a beginner so you don't lose your disc in the lake. When you're done, check out the restaurant Dukes Sports Bar in the same strip mall. Nice view of the park from the patio, plenty of TV's to watch sports, pool tables, foosball and shuffleboard.