Hearth '61

Stunning food optics are on nightly display at this upscale restaurant at Mountain Shadows Resort. "Food is a composition," executive chef Charles Wiley said last fall. "Your eye moves around the plate like a painting." Wiley's plating style veers classic. More of the visual fireworks here come from the aesthetics of Alfred Muro, chef de cuisine. Hearth '61's plates of food have explosive color. They have texture and smoothness and three-dimensionality. They are done up without being overdone. Salads snake through canyons of jagged rice crisps, and scallops stud orange seas of romesco. And yes, taste matches appearance.

They say you eat with your eyes first, which is to say that merely seeing food that looks appealing can make you hungry. Which might explain why we always leave Ruze Cake House with a pile of treats. The Old Town Scottsdale bakery continues to make some of the loveliest goodies in town. On any given day, you might find smooth, perfectly round macarons topped with chocolate and nuts, adorned with icing, or painted with a design; flawlessly decorated cookies (the bakery's Instagram account reveals themes like floral, stars and stripes, and marbled with gold accents); and eye-popping cakes for special occasions. Ruze recently began offering a limited brunch menu, and it's no surprise they do beautiful meals just as well as they do gorgeous desserts. And don't worry: When it's time to dig in, everything we've encountered has tasted just as good as it looks.

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