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The Scottsdale Resort debuts 4 new eateries with a focus on local ingredients

The McCormick Ranch resort and spa unveils new spots to eat and drink, from a healthy cafe to a moody speakeasy.
The dining room at La Fogata inside The Scottsdale.
The dining room at La Fogata inside The Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Resort & Spa
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Following a $40 million resort-wide renovation, The Scottsdale Resort & Spa has opened four new spots to eat and drink. They range from an all-day restaurant to a playful rec room and a Blue Zone-focused cafe to a Prohibition-style speakeasy. As Area Executive Chef Ken Arneson plotted how to remake the dining experience at The Scottsdale, he focused on featuring the history of the Sonoran Desert and the bounty of foodstuffs locally grown and made here.

The transformation is part of the evolution of this property, built in 1976 and billed as the country’s first conference resort. Now, the focus as it joins Hilton’s Curio Collection is on “the discerning traveler” as well as its neighbors in Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch, Arneson says.

“The original feel of all the food and beverage spaces was that Old World charm, cowboy-esque kind of feel,” Arneson says. “As we move to this new discerning diner, the idea is to focus on healthy cuisine in addition to what Arizona is – the Sonoran Desert and being able to focus on local products.”

Across the eateries, Arneson is making use of produce from Blue Sky Organic Farms, goat cheese from Crow’s Dairy, noodles from Sonoran Pasta Co., coffee from the Roastery of Cave Creek – ROC2 and Laura’s Gourmet Granola, among other Arizona-based makers and growers.

Here’s what to know about these new places including what to order, the vibe and when to visit.
click to enlarge The Chilean sea bass at La Fogata.
The Chilean sea bass, served at La Fogata, comes with a rich Thai khao soi curry beurre blanc, sweet coconut forbidden rice, wilted arugula and a sunnyside-up egg.
The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

La Fogata

Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
The centerpiece, all-day restaurant at the resort is La Fogata. Taking inspiration from the Spanish translation of open flame or campfire, the restaurant has a dual-fuel pizza oven and grill. Arneson opted to use both wood and gas to fuel the flames at La Fogata to be more efficient. The mesquite wood is soaked in Four Peaks Brewing Co.’s Kilt Lifter Scottish-style Ale to cut through some of the bitterness that wood-grilling can impart.

The menu draws from the products and past of the Sonoran Desert, using ingredients and techniques from Indigenous and Mexican forebears, as well as modern influences with a global touch inspired by Arneson’s travels.

“The Sonoran Desert lends an array of flavors and cuisines,” Arneson says.

Armeson highlights two of his favorite dishes. To make the bone marrow starter, a femur is roasted in the pizza oven and the marrow is scooped out and folded into braised oxtails “to give it a very unique richness,” Arneson says. The oxtails are finished with a birria-style broth, placed back in the bone and roasted again. It’s served alongside pickled vegetables and a piece of Noble Bread.

With the Chilean sea bass, Arneson aims to visually show the Arizona landscape on a plate while using flavors from around the world. The dish includes a rich Thai khao soi curry beurre blanc and sweet coconut forbidden rice, wilted arugula and a sunnyside-up egg.

“The color palette on it – with the bright yellow, bright black, bright green – when you look at the plate itself it reminds you of the Arizona landscape,” he says. “It’s probably one of my favorite dishes.”
click to enlarge Barnaby’s Café + Wine Bar at The Scottsdale Resort.
Barnaby’s Café + Wine Bar offers bites and drinks throughout the day, as well as a market featuring grab-and-go items and Arizona products.
The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

Barnaby’s Café + Wine Bar

Daily, 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
The Scottsdale Resort's other all-day, everyday spot is Barnaby's Cafe + Wine Bar.

“The cuisine in there is very much focused on holistic-style dining, or Blue Zone cuisine,” Arneson says, noting the trending, largely plant-based eating habit named for areas where people live longest around the world, dubbed “Blue Zones.”

At Barnaby’s, the menu includes five-grain coconut oatmeal and a citrus salad that uses local produce, pecans and tepary beans.

Barnaby’s is also a market, offering grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, as well as the option to take home a taste of Arizona – bags of ROC2 coffee and Laura’s granola, as well as Cutino Sauce Co. hot sauces and caramel corn made exclusively for the resort by Cerreta Candy Co. are for sale.

“We have a huge array of talent in the Valley,” Arneson says, calling it “unethical” to not find ways to partner with them.

In the evening, Barnaby’s transitions into a wine bar, offering flights based on a style or region, including a focus on Arizona and small-batch bottles, Arneson says. Wines can be sipped inside or out in the courtyard, formerly called Bennie’s in homage to the resort’s architect, Barnaby “Bennie” Gonzales. His namesake endures with Barnaby’s, which will also feature local acoustic music sets on the patio and tastings with vintners on Wednesdays.
click to enlarge Two gin cocktails on a table.
The Madam speakeasy takes cues from Prohibition-era cocktails, like the gin-based Cleared Conscious and Gatsby's Gambit.
The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

The Madam

Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight
This vintage speakeasy evokes the Prohibition era, from its decor to the drinks.

Dressed in ruddy reds, leather and cowhide, the lounge space is moody and candlelit. Behind the bar is the watchful eye of The Madam, a cameo-esque portrait of a woman with sweeping dark tresses and a red pearled necklace.

The bar will mix “classic prohibition cocktails with a modern twist,” Arneson says. An intimate space, The Madam seats around 20 guests, with the intention of allowing a “curated experience with our mixologist,” Arneson says.

That may mean guiding guests to an on-menu cocktail like Gatsby’s Gambit made with Bols Genever aged gin, lemon, praline pecan liqueur, amaro, dragon fruit and edible glitter, or to an off-menu option where bartenders craft a drink based on the guest’s preferences of spirit and flavor profile.

The Madam is only serving drinks right now, but Arneson says the kitchen will begin offering shareable plates in mid-February. Those bites will include A5 wagyu tacos, sweet soy pork belly and roasted cauliflower with savory granola and tepary bean hummus.

The Madam can be accessed through a false bookshelf in the Social Boardroom, and guests must have the secret password, which can be gleaned with a reservation or on the resort’s social media, Arneson says.
click to enlarge A lounge at The Scottsdale Resort.
Entertainment abounds in The Social Boardroom at The Scottsdale. The space includes pool, shuffleboard, a golf simulator, chess and a large TV for sports, as well as "greasy, fun food" and a curated selection of whiskeys.
The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

The Social Boardroom

Wednesday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-midnight
Calling the Social Boardroom a rec room or den belies the breezy lounge it has been transformed into, but a variety of activities and distractions abound. Try your hand at a game of pool, shuffleboard, a golf simulator or chess or kick back by the large TV for sports.

“It’s the hangout space,” Arneson says.

The Social Boardroom boasts a full bar, offering beer, wine and cocktails. But, Arneson says he’s most excited about the custom-made metal locker that will house the collection of whiskeys, bourbons and scotches – including Tucson's Whiskey del Bac and a special blend that Arneson will bottle at Woodford Reserve on Feb. 29 that he’s calling Leap Year.

For the food, Arneson says he stepped back from the perspective of Sonoran Desert-inspired eats and leaned into the playfulness of the space by featuring “greasy, fun food” in buckets. Think small pails brimming with wings; buckets of “cowboy nachos” made with kettle chips, pork belly, Oaxacan cheese and chile aioli; or a raft of fresh-made donuts dusted with cinnamon, sugar and a bit of red chile.

“You can carry it around, you can just have fun with it,” Arneson says.

The Scottsdale Resort & Spa

7700 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale

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