After a weekend of fun with my family, it was time for a little retail therapy with my bestie, Doll Face. With over 250 stores and boutiques in Scottsdale, there is something for everyone…even picky shoppers like me! On a gorgeous, sunny day in March, Doll Face and I headed to one of our favorite North Scottsdale shopping centers, Kierland Commons!
Kierland is not your typical shopping mall, but it is uniquely Scottsdale: decadent upscale shops, unique restaurants, centralized office and loft space, all facing bougainvillea and palm tree-lined avenues. Curb-side parking is available throughout the center, as well as valet parking at various locations. Shops include Anthropologie, Z Gallery, Coach, Seven of All Mankind, BCBG Max Azria, Crate and Barrel, and Sur La Table.
It was a school day, so Doll Face and I only had a few hours to kill, before we had to pick up the kids, so we made it worth our time. Doll Face was up for anything, but I only had one store in mind…Sur La Table. As it happened, one of my favorite local olive farms, The Queen Creek Olive Mill, opened a new retail store next door to Sur La Table.
After meandering around the store for about 40 minutes, sampling the many fresh olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and tapenade flavors made at the mill, and sold at this store, we purchased a few items, and left to pop into Sur La Table.
I am sure those of you who are cooks/foodies like I am, feel the same way upon walking into a Sur La Table store. A bright light shines down from the heavens, angels start to sing in chorus, and the world becomes a little bit happier!
Okay…so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but I swear I can hear an angel or two when I walk in the door! Sur La Table has every kind of cooking/entertaining tool, appliance, linen, or gadget you would ever need in your lifetime…and then some…they even have a full collection of small appliances! It isn’t everyday that one finds a $5,000 espresso maker, which keeps milk chilled until ready to use, heats it up, then serves up a choice of cafe beverage, all with the flick of a digital switch. I know this, because Doll Face and I received a 10 minute demonstration for one of their DeLonghi automatic espresso machines, which ended with us receiving a steaming cup of latte and biscotti (the angels were tired of singing the Halleluiah Chorus by then, and switched to harps).
I was giddy by the time I hit linens, and ready to hyperventilate by the time I hit the small tools section. Poor Doll Face wasn’t sure whether to administer CPR or hand me a Valium! Fortunately (for my husbands wallet), I behaved myself, and left with a $27.99 package full of small goodies. (I can only image the damage I would do at Sur La Table if I were with my gadget-loving Mom!) All this thinking about cooking made Doll Face and I hungry, so we strolled across the street to Zinc Bistro.
Zinc Bistro…what words can I use to describe Zinc Bistro? Decadent? Opulent? Divine?
|Yes, the bar is made out of zinc!
All of the above! An upscale french bistro with a gorgeous zinc (naturally) bar inside, Zinc Bistro has a menu to kill for, and extravagant french cuisine to die for.
After perusing the menu about ten minutes (during which I changed my mind about fifty times), we decided on lunch. Doll Face ordered the grilled curry chicken salad sandwich, with huge chunks of fresh grilled chicken, sherried raisins, and marcona almonds. I ordered the Croque Madame-a richly buttered brioche, topped with ham, Gruyere cheese, and an over-easy egg.
We shared a a cone of truffle and Parmesan frites. (swoon!)
If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought we were sitting at an outdoor cafe on the Rue Montorgueil, not Scottsdale..yet as French as the food was, Zinc Bistro had Scottsdale posh written all over it. Neither of us could finish our lunches, yet the truffle and Parmesan frites were long gone. Although the dessert menu beckoned, we could not fit another bite. Valrhona Souffle? Lemon ricotta beignets? Next time, I am coming back for dessert only!
If we had a few more hours, I’m sure we’d have hit up Crate and Barrel, Soma, Coach, Papyrus, and Z Gallerie, but it was time to head home to our kids. Fortunately, we only live 30 minutes away, so there’s always tomorrow for us, but if you are visiting Scottsdale from out of town, you’d best save your energy for a full day of power shopping!
Kierland Commons is one of many shopping areas in the Scottsdale area. Other favorites include: Biltmore Fashion Park, El Pedregal, Market Street at DC Ranch, Scottsdale Quarter (across the street from Kierland Commons), and the piece de resistance, Scottsdale Fashion Square, with at least two full days of shopping experience in one place!
A few suggestions for shopping in Scottsdale….
- Many of the shopping areas are outdoor, so bring sunscreen and an umbrella, if rain is predicted.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes, and dress in versatile clothing that can take you from a chilly 55 degree morning, to a toasty 95 degree Scottsdale afternoon.
- Carry a bottle of water with you, as Arizona humidity is quite low. You can easily become dehydrated without realizing it, especially when out in the sun. When “they” say it’s a dry heat, they’re not kidding.
- Make certain you are know the area regulations when parking your car. Some parking areas offer 2-3 hours of free parking, some are more time-restrictive, and some offer valet-only parking. Some locations, such as Old Town Scottsdale, may offer free parking away from the shopping district, with trolley service into the shopping & restaurant areas.
- Bring your appetite, as every major shopping area offers a few one-of-a-kind restaurants, pastry and chocolate shops, cafes and tea rooms.
- If you run out of hands to carry all your packages, ask if the store will ship your package home for you. Even the smallest boutiques offer shipping services.
- A new trend is wine and cocktails as you shop. This is a lovely idea, but watch how much you drink, especially in warmer weather, when a cool cocktail can be so refreshing. The legal limit for drinking and driving in Arizona is .08%.
- Just because you shop at luxe boutiques does not mean you have to pay full price. Ask your hotel concierge for coupons to your favorite retailers, check shopping center websites, and check with the the shopping center service desk for coupons and discounts.
For more information about Kierland Commons, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information about Zinc Bistro, visit their website or find them on Facebook or Twitter.
For more information about shopping in Scottsdale, visit the Experience Scottsdale shopping guide online. You can find travel tips, including shopping on the Experience Scottsdale Facebook and Twitter pages.
(Disclosure: I received a gift card from Experience Scottsdale to use toward my weekend in Scottsdale. The places and activities chosen were strictly of our own choice, and my opinions and all photos used are 100% my own. Any suggestions offered are done so of my own accord; as a former corporate travel agent/meeting planner, I learned many “inside” tricks of travel, and love to share those with you.)