Worth The Drive: The Painted Horse Cafe. Scottsdale, Arizona

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Why the Painted Horse Café is Worth the Trip

I’ve written about the Painted Horse Café before, but after my latest experience there, I just had to do it again.

The Painted Horse Café is by far, my most favorite place to eat.  If I am going to spend my out to dinner dollars anywhere, I want to be satisfied with the meal, as well as the service, and by dining at “TPH”, I know I will be more than happy with both.

Because we dine there so often, I have my usual menu selections already picked out.  We order the calamari with caper berries, the THP Caesar Salad, and I have the Chicken Breast stuffed with the tastiest cheese ever (I cannot remember the name of it just now….).  And for dessert, we again have one of our favorites, either the half baked chocolate chip cookie, or the toffee brownie.  Both are to die for.

But for this trip, I wanted something different.  We still had to have the calamari, my daughters’ favorite.  Instead of the Caesar, I had the Donnas’ Summer Salad, and I am so glad that I did!  Made on a bed of fresh baby greens, they combine walnuts, strawberries and fresh feta cheese with a very flavorful vinaigrette and even throw in two pieces of crispy bread. 

Because I was ordering different things, I also decided to try a different drink.  Usually, we order a bottle of wine from their fabulous wine collection.  But this time, our favorite bar tender Dusty, invited me to try his newest creation, a Basil and White Chocolate Martini.  I know, that doesn’t exactly sound like a great combination, but it was by far the best Martini I had ever had.  When you go, be sure to have one.  Dusty has assured me that he has taught the other bar tender, Jordan, how to make them.

Since we had had the calamari and the salad, which was pretty big, I thought I would keep dinner on the small side and ordered a cup of their homemade pumpkin soup and from the appetizer menu, the Tiger Shrimp. 

I do not ordinarily order soup, just not a big fan.  But this pumpkin soup left me wanting a double serving.  It was again, by far, the best soup I have ever had. This is definitely something Chef Bryan needs to market to the super markets, and sell year round.  Rich, creamy and incredibly satisfying, I felt like that Seinfeld episode where the woman makes all the moaning sounds over her food.  Even though I wanted more, I knew I would be too full if I had it. 

And the shrimp.  Five palm sized shrimp, with a piece of jalapeño pepper laced into their backs, then lightly breaded and pan fried, served over a surprise of fresh salsa with caper berries. This is something that will become our next favorite appetizer, next to the calamari.  Again with the singing. 

For dessert we had the Apple Tart and a piece of fresh made carrot cake.  Both were perfect in every way.  I am not usually a carrot cake fan, but if I could always have this kind, I would be.  Full of nuts and even raisins, with a creamy and flavorful frosting, absolutely perfect.  Laurie, the co-owner and wife to Chef Bryan told us to box it up what we couldn’t finish and have with coffee in the morning.  Her suggestion was right on, it made a fantastic sweet snack for us the next day.

I left there full and completely satisfied with my new found favorites.  My only sadness came when I realized that the pumpkin soup will only be offered for a short time.  Maybe if I buy up a bunch of pumpkins now while they are in season, I could talk Chef Bryan into making me a huge vat of the stuff so I can can it myself.    

I cannot say this enough!  If you live anywhere in the Phoenix or Scottsdale area, or are visiting, you must make the drive up to The Painted Horse Café.  I promise, no matter what you order to eat or drink, you will leave happily satisfied.


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