A couple weeks ago, Chevrolet gave my fiancée, Sarah, and me the opportunity to road trip out to Scottsdale for Spring Training and we both had a genuinely incredible time. Admittedly it was a little hot (okay, it was a lot hot), but between the area, the events, and the car everything else was going too perfectly for us to notice.
I feel it’s important to preface this part of the post by telling you that I’m usually not the biggest fan of being in a car for long periods of time. Even when I get stuck in traffic going down the street to the grocery store (though it is a little worse than most places, given that I live in LA) I get antsy thinking about all of the things I could be doing with my time instead.
Okay, now to the point. For the trip out to Scottsdale, Arizona, Chevrolet was nice enough to hook us up with the new 2017 Chevrolet Malibu to review. Let me tell you, any reservations I would typically have about being in a vehicle that long were wiped away. Now I could say this is because of the cruise control that always felt the same no matter if you were on a hill or flat land, or the lumbar support and individual air control that kept me way more comfortable than I’m used to being sitting in one spot for long periods of time, or even the fact that we only had to gas up once and it was just $20—but I won’t. Don’t get me wrong, these features made the driving part of the trip better than any I’ve ever experienced, but we’re forgetting why I hate being in a car in the first place. The reason the Malibu is my new go-to car for road trips: all of this, plus it has Wi-Fi.
I could go on about why I loved this car so much that it actually kind of surprised me (and I intend to in another post soon), but the real icing on the cake for me was that I could get work done while Sarah drove. All I had to do was pop a motion sickness pill and any thoughts I had about lack of productivity were left in the dust of that ice blue champion of a car.
Witnessing Spring Training Live
Neither of us had ever been to Spring Training before, so we really weren’t sure about what to expect. When we got to our first game it was immediately clear that things were much more casual than the typical ones I was used to attending. This, coupled with the fact that just about everyone there was pretttty serious about their baseball (which isn’t a crazy concept when you consider that they probably traveled a bit to get there), made for a pretty awesome atmosphere. Then there were our seats… to be completely honest with you, I don’t know that I’ll ever have seats this good at a baseball game again. We were RIGHT behind home plate. The seats were so close to everything that was happening that we barely noticed the fact that it was over 90° outside.
As for the games, we got to see the LA Dodgers vs. the Chicago Cubs and LA Angels vs. the Texas Rangers. If I had to choose, I think the former was the most fun to watch, just because Sarah went to school in Chicago and I’ve been living in LA for the last 15 years so we had a good rivalry going the whole time. Not a bad way to spend our first game together—something we only realized once we’d gotten there.
Thinking about it now, this trip was actually full of a lot of firsts: first time going on a road trip I didn’t hate, first time at Spring Training, first time going to a ballgame with my fiancée, and my first time visiting Scottsdale. Actually, let’s add one more; first time having a trip full of firsts where all of them were pretty awesome.
We stayed at The Saguaro in Old Town, which I don’t quite know if I would categorize as more of a hotel or mini resort. Whatever it is, I couldn’t recommend it enough. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in our room, but they had just been renovated so everything was crisp, clean and relaxing. Each came with it’s own outdoor space which would have been amazing if I had been working as much as I maybe should have been. Instead, when I did have time to be hanging around the hotel, it was spent laying in the sun by one of their two pools, probably sipping one of their signature frozen drinks. It was a rough trip.
Honestly, I think I could have spent the entire trip at The Saguaro and been perfectly happy. I’d start every day with a cold brew from their coffee shop, stop by their gym (which was massive for a hotel of its size, by the way) for about an hour, grab breakfast from the restaurant, then go hang by the pool until it was time for the games. Everything about the place was simultaneously vibrant and relaxed and always well done.
Lucky for the two of us, we did decide to venture out of the hotel. As a result, we ended up finding a new favorite restaurant—we’re currently lobbying to have them open a location in LA, as we’re just not committed to purchasing a house in Scottsdale at the moment (though Zillow was pulled up a few times while we were there)—as well as some amazing galleries, shops, and bars.
The name of the restaurant/gastropub is Citizen Public House. You wouldn’t know it by passing it on the street, as the outside is totally unassuming, but they have the. best. food. We actually popped in for one of their signature, also unbelievably good, barrel-aged cocktails one evening and ended up staying for dinner.
We had the scallops with corn grits, saffron risotto, pub pork cheeks, and the OMFG salad (shown below). And, yes, the salad is aptly named. The salad has its own Instagram. The salad has its own website. The salad is the best you’ll ever have. I really couldn’t speak more highly of this place. In fact, we kind of had a hard time talking about anything else for a solid week after we ate there. Everything was so delectable that I almost don’t want to tell you to eat there, unless you live in Scottsdale, because you too will have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t have their food anytime you want, and that is very sad.
So, we went back for lunch and drinks the next day.
Believe it or not, we did end up eating somewhere else during our stay, mostly because we were a little worried that we starting to come off as stalkers. This actually turned out to be a good thing because, as it just so happens, Old Town Scottsdale is not light on the prime dining experiences, guys. This time it was to FnB, an upscale farm-to-table gastropub with some seriously imaginative American fare. We had a bit of a hard time picking out exactly what to try, so we decided to let our server steer (the service here was most definitely top-notch). This was absolutely the right decision. From the wine pairing to the dessert, everything we had was beyond excellent. Ingredient selection, menu curation, dish preparation—if there’s one thing to be said about this place it’s that they take great care in everything they do.
Of course it wouldn’t be right not to mention the other things we did. Before dinner we had cocktails at a fun bar called Second Story, grabbed some espressos at Cartel Coffee Lab, and did a little shopping. And we got to everything on foot. My best advice for you is to just walk around and explore the area. It really doesn’t matter what your cup of tea is, they’ve got lots for you to do.
So I think it’s safe to say that we both had a pretty fantastic time on our trip. If you ever have the opportunity to get out to Scottsdale for Spring Training, I would highly suggest it. It really was the ideal, low-key mini vacation. Personally, I think Sarah and I have both been entertaining the idea of making it a tradition since the moment we got back. Perhaps Chevrolet will also make it a tradition to give us one of their awesome road tripping vehicles each Spring Training season.