Settling into our room overlooking saguaro cacti and desert boulders at the Four Seasons at Troon North, we looked forward to diverse dining adventures and a world-class spa experience. But my husband, Mr. Healthy, found it challenging to even think about leaving the room.
Located north of downtown Scottsdale in the foothills of Pinnacle Peaks, the resort features many local attractions. The Museum of Musical Instruments graphically displays the unique musical culture of 200 countries. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is close, too. For an active adventure, you can partake of the resort’s unique Sip, Cycle and Soar on a Sedona Wine Tour.
But on our first afternoon, our walked past brightly colored cacti on the winding path to the Onyx Bar and Lounge. Our mission was to relax on the patio with unobstructed views of the Sonoran Desert valley and Pinnacle Peaks.
Onyx Bar and Lounge
Everyone held a libation and a camera, and we joined the picture-taking frenzy at sunset. Onyx highlights several Arizona beers and wines, but we were attracted to the artisanal cocktails. Mr. Healthy’s attention was drawn to the Extended Stay cocktail with rum, Grand Marnier, and hazelnut orgeat (almond) syrup, while I had selected the refreshing Two Birds with One Stone with Hendricks gin, chamomile tea and orange marmalade.
As we sipped, we nibbled on the vegetarian tartine, a delightful textural surprise of toasted local bread, soft burrata cheese, crisp, roasted, Brussels sprouts leaves and pistachios. The Onyx tapas board with olives, spiced almonds and fried feta platters appeared on several neighboring tables.
As the sun sank behind the peaks, we moved to the adjoining Talavera restaurant for the winter citrus tasting menu dinner with much of the citrus picked on property.
The first evidence of citrus was grapefruit adorning the plate along with fried jamón, honeycomb, grapefruit, hazelnuts, dribbled fig balsamic and local bread—but the house made goat ricotta cheese was the star of this dish. Though Executive Chef Chuck Kazmer has only been on property for a month, already knew Wendell Crow, the owner of Crow’s Dairy, the source of the goats’ milk. The most memorable part of the meal was the duck breast with a lively spiced orange mole linked to the citrus theme of the meal.
For the main menu, Restaurant Chef Samantha Sanz also serves two other moles: a Oaxacan chocolate porter mole for the foie gras and a classic Oaxaqueño mole for the bacon-wrapped buffalo tenderloin. Also featured are Nebraska corn-fed beef, a 10-ounce pork tomahawk and adobo braised lamb shank. Vegetarian entrées are common these days, but Mr. Healthy quickly chose Sanz’s vegan specialty: House made pappardelle with wild mushrooms and walnut gremolata in a coconut milk alfredo. He reluctantly shared a taste, and we both declared it was one of the best vegetarian-vegan entrées we had ever been served.
After the well-conceived food and exceptional hospitality at Talavera, we were in for a major culinary surprise the next day. Proof Canteen breaks the rules for the proverbial “family” restaurant at a resort.
Chef Kazmer calls it “edgy” for a high-end resort in Arizona or anywhere, and I agreed. “We aim to serve uncomplicated and tasty food,” said the chef.
You can tour America with the menu highlighting shrimp and grits and Maine lobster roll, and the Pittsburgh sandwich stuffed with fries. Sous-Chef Dell Morris is smoker-in-chief for short ribs and chicken dishes. The fried chicken was light and savory; Mr. Healthy enjoyed his pistachio crusted cod with sweet potato purée, Brussels sprouts, and preserved lemon mayonnaise. The baked “hot chocolate,” a reimagined rendition of a “formal” chocolate soufflé with caramelized marshmallows and orange segments, was served in a coffee cup.
We aim to serve uncomplicated and tasty food,
Behind the bar was no ordinary mixologist. Award-winning bartender Jon Crone creates well-balanced drinks and specializes in American whiskeys. His “Fig-ure It Out” comprised of rum, fire-roasted apples, mint, lime, and brown sugar simple syrup delighted both of us—and I am not usually a rum fan. Another Proof surprise was the Candy and Soda Shop at the end of the bar. On Sundays, there are “Sundae” socials while Fridays are #PieDay.
Rather than pie-eating, I attended a Friday yoga class on the fitness lawn. Known as “Unwind and Wine,” you are handed a refreshing glass of wine after the yoga experience.
The Four Seasons Spa offers a wide-ranging menu of experiences. Under the guidance of an Alchemista at the Aroma Design Bar, you can customize a body butter or essential oil blend to use during your treatment.
As a newbie to the “Sticks and Stones” body treatment, I luxuriated in the combination of pressure and motion from warm salt stones and light bamboo sticks. My therapist was well-versed in many modalities and easily adapted to my special requests. Mr. Healthy returned from his treatment with smiles and a desert glow.
I didn’t have time to experience the cocoa mole energizing wrap which begins with a stimulating, antioxidant-rich, café mocha sugar scrub, but it sounds delicious. Next visit, I’ll hike up Pinnacle Peaks for fitness and photography of the beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape—and more of the menu at the Onyx Bar, Talavera, and Proof Canteen.