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Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Gluten-Free in Arizona

It’s been a long, cold winter in Denver so we were vulnerable.

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Snowstorms, the death of my father-in-law, family discord, and cabin fever weighed heavily upon us. Advertisements for warm, sunny skies beckoned on TV and in magazines, so hubbie and I eventually caved in and booked a last-minute trip to Scottsdale, AZ. We arrived at the Phoenix airport late at night, so we couldn’t see much but we could feel the warmth and it felt good.

Bougainville in Arizona

Bougainville in Arizona

But the next morning, wow!! Brilliant red bougainvillea was everywhere, birds were singing, and the grass was green. Surrounded by all this beauty and sunshine, I still wondered: How was I going to eat for the next 4 days?

Well, as it turns out, in the greater Phoenix area it is as easy to dine gluten-free as it is in my hometown of Denver. Of course, I checked GlutenFreeTravelSite.com and Findmeglutenfree.com before I left home. However, we were not always near the recommended restaurants, so I just “winged it” much of the time. Yet, I had some great meals. Read on for details.

Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas
This was our home for 4 nights and I was bowled over the first morning when the chef offered to order in gluten-free pancake mixes, etc. for me. As it turned out, I declined his offer because we had other breakfast plans but I was impressed at the customer service.

Tonto Bar & Grill, Cave Creek
The hotel concierge steered us to this restaurant, located on a golf course in Cave Creek, AZ—about 25 miles north of Phoenix.

Tacos at Tonto Bar & Grill

Tacos at Tonto Bar & Grill

Cave Creek is an old mining and ranching town and embodies the wild, wild west; it’s worth a visit. Tonto’s is famous for their “al fresco” dining, right on the golf course and the food was terrific. Both of us ordered the Puerto Nuevo tacos, with Mexican shrimp. The filling came in a sizzling-hot cast-iron bowl and we assembled our own tacos with corn tortillas that were gently steamed in a waxed paper so they stayed warm and moist throughout the meal.

Chocolate Cake at Tonto's Bar & Grill

Chocolate Cake at Tonto’s Bar & Grill

But they blew me away with dessert: Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Coconut Ice Cream.

Bink’s Kitchen + Bar, Scottsdale
I searched for James Beard-nominated chefs and found this restaurant just blocks from our hotel. Chef Kevin Binkley was a finalist for the “Best in the Southwest” award. Lots of vegetables on the menu, so I chose a Beet Salad for my first course, followed by Brussels Sprouts for my main course—both were divine.

Beet Salad at Bink's Kitchen + Bar

Beet Salad at Bink’s Kitchen + Bar

 

Brussels Sprouts at Bink's Kitchen + Bar

Brussels Sprouts at Bink’s Kitchen + Bar

Of course, I was feeling very virtuous after eating all those vegetables. A Starbucks latte for dessert, and I was a happy camper!

 

Picazzo’s Pizza, Sedona
Sedona is magical, mystical, and beautiful. If you are anywhere close, take the time to visit. It is about 2 hours north of Phoenix, but worth the drive. We had pizza at Picazzo’s; frankly, I like my own pizza crust better but it was fun to see what restaurants do with gluten-free pizza crust made in-house. But the real winner here was dessert: a huge Chocolate Brownie baked in its own cast-iron pan so it’s still warm when they bring it to the table. Wow!

Chocolate Brownie at Picazzo's

Chocolate Brownie at Picazzo’s

 

Gluten-Free Pizza at Picazzo's

Gluten-Free Pizza at Picazzo’s

 

Cartwright’s Sonoran Ranch House, Cave Creek
While at Tonto’s the previous day, we learned of this sister-restaurant just a mile away. So, on our way home from Sedona, we stopped there for dinner. It is named after a famous ranching family that settled in this area in the late 1800’s.

The restaurant was gorgeously decorated and offered an extensive gluten-free menu, but I was most impressed by the house-made 3-seed bread: quinoa, flax, and sunflower seeds. It was fabulous and I ate the whole loaf myself. I was still full from my huge pizza lunch in Sedona, so I just ordered a salad… but the bread completed my meal!

Cartwright's Gluten-Free 3-Seed Bread

Cartwright’s Gluten-Free 3-Seed Bread

 

ZincSalad2016

Zinc Salad

Zinc, Westin Kierland Shopping District, Scottsdale
We have eaten here before and loved it, drawn mainly by the Truffled French Fries which are drizzled in white truffle oil and dusted with Parmesan and fresh parsley. I could make a meal of this, but I complemented it with a light, crab salad which was perfect. Like most of the other restaurants we dined at in AZ, we ate outside because the weather was lovely.

Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Scottsdale
This was a last-minute decision, near our hotel, and easy to drive to so we took a chance. Well, it turned out to the happening spot….. packed so full that we had to wait 45 minutes for a table. But the tacos were great and I had no problem with gluten-free choices. I wouldn’t go here on a Friday night again (too busy and noisy) but I would go when it’s less busy.

What is the Best Meal of the Trip?
“What is the best meal of the trip?” That’s the question I pose to my husband on each and every trip. We agreed, hands down, that Tonto’s won. The tacos were superb, the outdoor dining was perfectly situation right off the beautiful golf course, and the service was terrific. I would go there again in a heartbeat.

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