After having oh-so-much-fun taking a food tour of Chicago this summer, I knew that the Husband and I had to squeeze in a food tour of Scottsdale.  The only issue with the Chicago food tour was it was rather meat-heavy and not vegetarian-friendly.  I gave Annie at Arizona Food Tours a call and asked if they could accommodate a vegetarian and a vegan, and I was totally surprised when she said yes.


Sign me up!


Cool factoid:  Arizona Food Tours was created by Annie just two seasons ago.  She was tired of working her dead-end journalism job and realized that a food tour company was a perfect way to combine her love of Scottsdale and passion for food.  Now, it’s the #1 activity on Trip Advisor for the area!  She’s so young, too – just goes to show all you need is a good idea and a lot of hard work!

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A food tour is a walking tour of an area with 5 or 6 stops at local restaurants, where you’re served samples of the restaurant’s best dishes.  


Our tour began in the Old Town Scottsdale walking mall, where we got to learn a little bit about the city’s history.


We walked across the street into a very Western-looking part of town for Stop #1:  Rusty Spur.


I have to admit that Rusty Spur probably did the worst job of accommodating vegetarians, but in their defense, it is a burger joint.


They served me a quesadilla (the Husband received a bean version, in case you’re wondering!):


Tasting, just kind of boring.


Stop #2 was just down the road:  Outrageous Oil Olives and Vinegars.  I wasn’t sure how this would work, but MAN – the oils were AMAZING.  We tried a blood orange-infused oil, as well as a basic balsamic.  Yum, yum! 


And yes, we took the tastings like straight-up shots!


We strolled through Old Town and entered the arts district.  Scottsdale has a huge art district – 100+ galleries!


Stop #3 was the only winery in Scottsdale, Su Vino.


I had two pours, a red and a white.  They were both very good, but I was hungry for more FOOD!


Luckily, Stop #4 was just what I was craving….


New Mexican food at Frank and Lupe’s!



We got serve the sopaipilla, which is a fried and stuffed pastry.  Normally, it’s filled with meat, but the vegetarians of the group got a veggie mix or a bean mix.  On top was a green chile sauce and a red chile sauce, which they referred to as ‘Christmas!’


Hubbers also talked me into the margarita.  We split it!


And, I must say, Stop #5 was my favorite.  We went to Cowboy Ciao and received the special Chef Salad, which was an amazing mix of grains, dried corn, pumpkin seeds, currants, arugula, and more.  The non-vegan option was served with salmon and a cream-based dressing.



And last… but not least…


Dessert at Stop #6, the Sugar Bowl.  A famous Scottsdale institution since the 1950s, the Sugar Bowl is pink, pink, pink – on the outside and the inside.



Dessert was a ice cream stuffed pastry drizzled in hot fudge.  OMG.  To die for!


The Husband got raspberry sherbet, which was just as good, if not better, than the ice cream.


All in all…


A very fun way to eat lunch and see the Old Town area!  If you’re ever in Scottsdale, I highly recommend this activity.



I think I need a nap.  🙂



  • Kelly January 19, 2011, 4:59 pm

    I want her job! 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 19, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Oh wow, this is like the IDEAL way to spend a day! I agree on your food tour tweet earlier this afternoon – if you opened that sort of company I’d be your most frequent customer!!

  • Pattie January 19, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Next time you’re in Chicago, you need to talk to my friends at They can set up a Chicago Food Tour for you that is both vegetarian and vegan friendly.

  • Anne@MyZenPulse January 19, 2011, 5:00 pm

    We had our rehearsal dinner at Frank and Lupe’s… they have AWESOME margaritas and I had a giant, yummy veg burrito to wash it down!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations January 19, 2011, 5:03 pm

    Looks like you had a great day… and so wonderful they could accommodate the dietary preferences. One never knows when traveling.

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 19, 2011, 5:04 pm

    That’s a really fun thing to do! I’m dying to go taste olive oils at this place nearby. I’m jealous!

  • Stephanie January 19, 2011, 5:07 pm

    That looks like fun! How genius of her!

  • Dorry January 19, 2011, 5:10 pm

    What a fun day! And with pretty weather. 🙂

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 19, 2011, 5:11 pm

    A food tour is such a great idea!! So is the walking part- probably needed after the first few stops 😉

  • Amanda (Eating Up) January 19, 2011, 5:11 pm

    Oh man, talk about food stamina!

  • OrlandoPaula @ Eat, Watch, Run January 19, 2011, 5:11 pm

    I loved reading your recap! That sounds like a lot of fun. I love traveling to new places so I may need to add that to the list.

  • Ameena January 19, 2011, 5:12 pm

    This would be my dream job – seriously.

    I love that they can accommodate vegetarians in more and more places – it makes life so much easier!

  • Kristina @ spabettie January 19, 2011, 5:12 pm

    we have several walking tours in Portland (founded by an old friend!!) and they are SO fun!

    I’m glad you guys are having an awesome time on vacation – ENJOY !!

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 19, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Oooh, I was tempted to do this during my recent trip to San Antonio, though I don’t know if they would have been so accomodating.

  • Carolyn @ Lovin' Losing January 19, 2011, 5:14 pm

    Fun! I did one here in Virginia Beach once and the food was great. Just wish the tour guide/owner/operator had had a little more personality.

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous January 19, 2011, 5:18 pm

    I definitely should NOT have looked at this post before dinner. Now I’m in the mood for everything…ESPECIALLY ice cream!

  • foodandfarm January 19, 2011, 5:21 pm

    What a creative way to see the town!

  • Melissa January 19, 2011, 5:23 pm

    Now I must go on one next time I go to New Orleans! Surely they have one.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:18 am

      Oh! that would be a really fun city to do a food tour in!!

  • Christine January 19, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I’ve been to a few places with fancy oils and vinegars to try — blood orange has been at all of them and is always one of my favorites!

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 19, 2011, 5:31 pm

    You know what would be cool? A vegan/vegetarian food tour in a city.

  • Erica January 19, 2011, 5:38 pm

    Yum Sugar Bowl! Even though I live here, I think it’d be a cool thing to do 🙂

  • jen @ taste life January 19, 2011, 5:40 pm

    How cool! I wonder if my little city does a food tour?

  • Meredith January 19, 2011, 5:42 pm

    Oye, oil, straight up? I think I’d have to smuggle in a loaf of bread.

    • Meredith January 19, 2011, 5:43 pm

      The salad looks fab though!

    • Kara January 19, 2011, 7:41 pm

      I agree, I don’t think I could do straight oil..bleg!

      • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:19 am

        It was SOOO good. I didn’t believe them but it was!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 19, 2011, 5:43 pm

    How fun! I’ve never been on a food tour but it sounds like SO MUCH FUN!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 19, 2011, 5:43 pm

    I have never been on a food tour, but I imagine it would be fun! It looks like a delicious day!

  • Sarah January 19, 2011, 5:43 pm

    What a fun way to check out a new city. Maybe with all your “free” time you could start up something similar here in Charlotte. 🙂

    Also, not to be Debbie Downer, but I’m pretty sure sherbet has eggs and milk in it (as opposed to sorbet). But I could definitely be wrong.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:19 am

      Hmmm maybe it was sorbet. I thought they were interchangable.

      • Stephanie C January 20, 2011, 3:47 am

        Sherbet is fruit based but almost always has either dairy or eggs in them. Sorbet doesn’t contain dairy.

  • kathleen January 19, 2011, 5:44 pm

    eating your way through a new town. what an awesome way to enjoy it!

  • Meghan@travelwinedine January 19, 2011, 5:50 pm

    I was marathon training when I visited Scottsdale and did a 13 mile run through the old town and along the canal. It was an awesome place to run! Followed by Cowboy Ciao. . . their wine list is to die for!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit January 19, 2011, 5:51 pm

    That looks like SO much fun!

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} January 19, 2011, 5:59 pm

    I’ve had that salad at Cowboy Ciao and it is AMAZING.

  • Sana January 19, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Amazinggg! I kinda want to go on a Baltimore food tour and I live 20 mins away! So neat!

  • Zo January 19, 2011, 6:09 pm

    Wow. I’m jealous of you, and incredibly jealous of Annie! Looks like you had a great trip.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 19, 2011, 6:16 pm

    That is like the best way to see a city – especially if you’re only there for a few days and want to hit up good restaurants!

  • Jill Will Run January 19, 2011, 6:16 pm

    I loved Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegars when I was there in November… my mom and I had so much fun there our first day, we went back a second day!

  • Vicky @ eat live spin January 19, 2011, 6:19 pm

    I love a good balsamic… fig is my fave and best combo is basil olive oil with fig balsamic!!! (Carter and Cavero brand)… didn’t they have bread to taste the oils and vinegars with??? I

  • Laurie January 19, 2011, 6:34 pm

    Awesome recap of an awesome day. That salad looks amazing. I’m wondering if that will be a do-over in the Caitlin kitchen?

  • maria @ Chasing the Now January 19, 2011, 6:35 pm

    That looks like so much fun! I would love to go through a city by food tour.

  • Gracie January 19, 2011, 6:47 pm

    HOW FUN!!! Food tours are pretty awesome 🙂

    I didn’t realize the hus was fully vegan now (is he?). Either way, he should do a guest post on the transition! I don’t get to a hear a guy’s perspective on veganism very often.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:20 am

      He does eat eggs and he isn’t SUPER strict about occasionally eating non-vegan desserts, especially if they are homemade.

      I will ask him about doing a post!

  • sarah (the SHU box) January 19, 2011, 6:50 pm

    i am SO GLAD to get this preview for our trip in 1.5 weeks! same hotel and now same food tour 🙂 ours has been booked for a month – now i’m even more excited!!

  • Jenna @Eating Green, Staying Lean January 19, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Looks like fun! A food tour is SUCH a good idea…I haven’t heard of them before this. Very cool 🙂

  • Natalie @ Will Jog for Food January 19, 2011, 6:57 pm

    The sopapilla looks AWESOME!

    I love food tours…I took one when I went to New Orleans and it was so interesting and had great food. I am definitely a food nerd.

  • Ashley January 19, 2011, 7:06 pm

    That sounds wonderful. I wanna go on a food tour now. All of those look so good, except for the quesadilla I’m vegan and never was a big fan of cheese.

  • katalina January 19, 2011, 7:18 pm

    you should , I really mean you SHOULD check THE PHOENICIAN RESORT, go for lunch or dinner, it is so beautifull it is amazing, you can check their website and see!!:) I took my fiance there for his 25th birthday! 🙂

  • Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 19, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Looks like such a fun adventure! I second the Phoenician–it’s amazing.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 19, 2011, 7:29 pm

    it’s funny…i lived in scottsdale for 9 mos, and never did a food tour! i that you did it and had fun in places you went into.

    Oils…like shots. That is a BOLD move. You go girl! 🙂

    And I am orig from Chicago and have never done a formal tasting there.

  • Baking 'n' Books January 19, 2011, 7:29 pm

    So now I just want to got to Scottsdale…and I want a fried stuffed pastry. Thanks.

    😉 (Is this your first visit by the way?)

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:21 am

      Yup! First time ever in this part of the country!

  • Amber K January 19, 2011, 7:39 pm

    What a neat thing to do! I wonder what kind of food tour a vegetarian Celiac could find 😉

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 19, 2011, 7:45 pm

    Scottsdale is such a pretty town! You’re lucky to be there. 🙂

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 19, 2011, 7:49 pm

    I had no idea Scottsdale was so pretty! My grandmother lives near Phoenix, and although I’ve driven through Scottsdale, I’ve never seen the old town. Next time I’m there I’ll be checking it out!

  • Kristina @ Life as Kristina January 19, 2011, 7:53 pm

    Wow! Yummy! I’ve been getting the itch to visit Scottsdale-so this is def giving me the nudge to start planning (post honeymoon that is!)

  • Ashley January 19, 2011, 8:06 pm

    That sounds so fun! What a great idea for a business!

  • Kelly January 19, 2011, 8:12 pm

    Food tours seem like so much fun! I want to do one the next time I’m in a new city. Or maybe I’ll look one up in DC.. hmmmm

  • Kacy January 19, 2011, 8:13 pm

    I wish I wasn’t moving out of Oklahoma City, I’d try to start a food tour! How fun!

  • Jennifer January 19, 2011, 8:13 pm

    Cowboy Ciao is one of my favorite restaurants in Old Scottsdale!! I lived there for 2 years, and still go back to vist a couple of times a year. I hope you’re enjoying the nice weather. I miss AZ winters!

  • Jennifer January 19, 2011, 8:15 pm

    Oh, and I agree, the Phoenician is amazing. My GF’s and I did the Afternoon Tea and it was so great!! They also have a really cool cactus garden.

  • Megan January 19, 2011, 8:19 pm

    If you’re going to be in town for a while, definitely go to Blu Burger Grill it is AMAZING! It’s north Scottsdale towards Cave Creek/Carefree area. I’m from Cave Creek, I think it’s pretty awesome that you’re there! I wish I was, can’t wait for the next time I get to go home and visit =] Also in Scottsdale (might be considered Phoenix) is Pita Jungle which is fantastic if you have time.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:22 am

      I went to the Pita JUngle the other night – it was GREAT!! 🙂

  • Julie January 19, 2011, 8:32 pm

    That looks like a lot of fun! Hope you’re enjoying your vacation!

    Just wanted to update you, I went to my second bootcamp class tonight with my sister and it was even harder than last week… I worked as hard as I could though, and my legs are killing me from it! Thanks for cheering me on!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:22 am

      Hahah yay!!! you’re going great Julie! 🙂 Keep the updates coming.

  • Gina G January 19, 2011, 8:48 pm

    I grew up in Scottsdale and miss the Sugar Bowel! 🙂

  • Andrea January 19, 2011, 8:56 pm

    Yay Frank and Lupe’s rocks!

  • VeggieGirl January 19, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Cute area!!!

  • Maddie (Healthy Maddie) January 19, 2011, 9:31 pm

    The tasting sounds fun! I love the idea of getting samples from many different restaurants.

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 19, 2011, 9:32 pm

    A food tour sounds like SO much fun! I remember reading some of the bloggers who did one in Chicago back during HLS 2010 (totally jealous, btw… I want to go this year!)

    Do you know if they have a food tour in Charlotte?! Maaaaybe all the Charlotte bloggers could get one up and running, how fun would THAT be?!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:23 am

      We were talking about that during the tour! But what stops would our tour include?? You could do East and Providence.

      • Allison @ Happy Tales January 20, 2011, 12:45 am

        Hmm… maybe South End/Dilworth/Myers Park tour.. (which would include Dilworth and the restaurants on East/Park/South Blvd near uptown). Maybe a Plaza Midwood/Elizabeth tour? And then there could be a tour for Uptown restaurants, as well as one for the South Park area? Oh! And of course, a NoDa tour! Lol, we’d need a shuttle to scoot everyone around. I don’t think a walking tour would work unless it was done be super-individualized areas. I don’t venture into South Charlotte that often at all…so I have no clue about that area.

  • Rae @ Forays in the Kitchen January 19, 2011, 9:46 pm

    That’s fantastic! I was just there last May and we ate at the SugarBowl. YUM 🙂 I had no idea about the food tour, next time we’re in town, I’m all on that!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit January 19, 2011, 9:52 pm

    I must remember these places when I go to Arizona this summer!! Or to just do a food tour in general! Looks fun, and delicious. Perfect for vacation 🙂

  • Lee January 19, 2011, 10:00 pm

    Someone just sent me an email about a walking tour, but I was hesitant to do it because I didn’t know if it’d be highly meat based. I didn’t actually think to ask if they could accommodate a vegetarian for some reason!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef January 19, 2011, 10:08 pm

    what a fun activity! i’d definitely love to do something like that.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 19, 2011, 10:12 pm

    That’s such a fun way to try out a ton of different restaurants in a short time!

    I LOVE fancy oils and vinegars. That blood orange infused oil would be amazing for salad dressings!

  • Camille January 19, 2011, 10:15 pm

    Oh my goodness, so much food! What an awesome idea!
    I officially have a reason to visit Scottsdale 🙂

  • Heather January 19, 2011, 10:19 pm

    OMG, my boyfriend works at Frank & Lupe’s!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:24 am

      He does??? So fun!!!

  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious) January 19, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Ohh the only sopapillas I’ve ever had were fried, UNstuffed pieces of dough that you drizzled with honey…they were dessert! Normally I’m not a fan of honey but on sopapillas, it’s perfection. Those savory ones look good though. (:

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 19, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I’ve always wanted to do a food tour! Seems like a unique way to explore a city! 😀

  • Nicole - yuppie yogini January 19, 2011, 11:07 pm

    Seeing pictures of you two makes me miss you more! #codependent

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 12:24 am


  • Sophia @ Raven Waves January 20, 2011, 12:15 am

    This sounds like such a fun idea!! I’ve been to Scottsdale once before (about 8 years ago), and loved it! It was during March so the weather was perfect! If I ever return, this is a must-try! 🙂

  • Raya January 20, 2011, 12:58 am

    My mom and I were planning on exploring Scottsdale tomorrow or Friday so this post was perfect timing! We will now be making up our own “food tour” following a few of these restaurants. (I tried to book the actual food tour but it was sold out for those days). So glad you had fun!!

  • Kathie @ Frugal, Fit and Fabulous January 20, 2011, 9:14 am

    What a fun day! And with pretty weather

  • Mary Allison January 20, 2011, 12:21 pm

    Oh my goodness! Isn’t Frank & Lupe’s DIVINE!!!!!!

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing January 20, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Running a food tour company would be a dreamy job!!! Perhaps I can start one up here in DC ;).

  • Lacey @ Lake Life January 20, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I would love to do a food tour, it looks so fun!

  • Nicole January 20, 2011, 4:12 pm

    My mom lives in Chandler AZ (just outside of Phoenix) and the Rusty Spur is one of our favorite places to go to. Every time I visit her we go there. It’s so much fun! I love it out there and I wish I could live there too but the economy has forced us to be in DC. It’s cold here too and the traffic sucks. We’re going back in April and I can’t WAIT!!!

  • Felix March 19, 2011, 7:35 pm

    This sounds so good, I think Pita Jungle is one of the best places to eat if you like the art of healthy eating. We have some delicious dishes on their menu for vegetarians, vegans and meet lovers. Here is a link to the menu at Pita Jungle: .

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