Romanced by the Spring Menu at T.Cook’s at The Royal Palms


Photo from Royal Palms

Ah, the Royal Palms… it’s one of the most beautiful & iconic resort properties in Arizona, nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, and for good reason. Between its rich history & the beautiful setting, every experience here is memorable (even after a cocktail or three).

It was built back in 1929 as a summer retreat, and after being passed through the hands of a number of wealthy owners, the property underwent a multimillion dollar restoration & reopened in the summer of 1997, with a 2012 remodel of 30 of the resort’s casitas. The Royal Palms has more than 20,000 square feet of meeting space, absolutely gorgeous Spanish Colonial architecture, meticulous landscaping, and superb culinary & cocktail offerings at The Mix Up Bar and the award-winning T. Cook’s restaurant.

Photo from T. Cook’s restaurant

T. Cook’s Restaurant

T. Cook’s offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends, and the menus honor classical techniques while utilizing locally grown and sustainably raised foods (whenever possible). T. Cook’s culinary philosophy emphasizes the purity of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and this tradition lives on at T. Cook’s with Chef Todd Allison at the helm. I had the opportunity to sample from the new Spring menu, and wow, were we impressed!


We, of course, had to start with cocktails. We started with a classic Negroni, made with equal parts Plymouth Gin, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and, of course, Campari; and the El Vernadero cocktail, made with bourbon, Carpano Antica, Fernet Branca, cinnamon, & coffee spice dust. Cheers to a delicious meal! Here are a few of our favorites…

The spread of starters (Clockwise from top):
House-made Bread & Pesto, Fried Pacific Northwest Oysters, Seared Maine Diver Scallop (from March tasting menu), Hudson Valley Foie Gras crepe, Fresh Dungeness Crab & Fennel.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras:
duck confit, parsnip crepe, huckleberry gastrique

The Hudson Valley Foie Gras was seared, served atop a parsnip crepe stuffed with a rich duck confit, drizzled with a huckleberry gastrique. This dish was absolutely decadent, and worth every incredible calorie. The parsnip crepe gave the dish a beautiful contrast, as it was light & savory. Every bite melted in my mouth, and it’s definitely something I’d order again and again.

Greek Branzino Cioppino

I was really excited for the Greek Branzino Cioppino, as I love Branzino, and thanks to my dear friend Monica, have enjoyed Cioppino of many varieties on our travels… but to have them both together? WIN. The Branzino was deboned and cooked delicately, before being places atop a delicious jumble of fennel, mussels, clams, & potatoes, all swimming in a rich saffron broth. Absolutely incredible.

Grilled Petite Filet Mignon

The Grilled Petite Mignon was a special on the tasting menu for the month of March, and it did not disappoint! The flavors and textures were on point, with the steak resting atop chunks of fresh Maine lobster & a silky potato gnocchi. It was paired with a Summers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. So perfectly paired.




We ended with a nightcap of Manhattans to enjoy with our desserts–a special apple tart (a la mode is the only way to go!), and warm dark chocolate cake, served with brandied cherries & peppermint ice cream. Such a perfect way to end a delightful meal.

Be sure to stop in at T. Cook’s this spring to try out some of these delicious options, as well as many more! Check out the menu here.

T. Cooks is located at 5200 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix.

Disclosure: I was hosted by T. Cook’s restaurant to sample the spring dinner menu so to share with my followers. All opinions are my own.



Whip It Good: Chartreuse Hot Chocolate

A few years ago, I attended a Christmas in July party at a well-known–yet hidden–wine bar in Scottsdale, called Kazimierz, and while we won’t get into much further detail, there were some unique cocktails I tried that night that I … Continue reading

(Kentucky) Derby Drinkin’


photo by joanie simon

Back in the day, I celebrated all the big drinking holidays with gusto.

Cinco de Mayo? Bring out the sombreros and crappy beer! St. Patrick’s Day? Green beer, drunk crowds, and long lines to the bathroom–I got this! Valentine’s Day? Oh, wait…

So, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m sick of having my feet stomped on, seeing people puke in public places, and hey, can y’all stop trying to hump each other in public? It’s embarrassing. No, really. Especially if you get caught with your pants down on Instagram.

This year, I’m classing it up with my lovely lady of Restaurant Live AZ fame, Joanie Simon, at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Kentucky Derby. (No, I’m not wearing a ginormous hat. They’re fabulous, but I can’t see or hear ANYTHING, and no one likes hat-hair.) We’ll be on the Orchid Lawn at The Phoenician on May 3rd from 1-4pm, to watch the Kentucky Derby (and silently judge headgear). You can enter the Winner’s Circle Raffle, and enjoy a Woodford Reserve Mint Julep with us, with some classic Southern-style fare to help soak up pair with the bourbon. For more info and to make a reservation, check out Joanie’s blog post!

Feel like wearing your big, swanky hat at home and making your own cocktails? I’ve got you covered, sugar. Check out this great recipe below for a classic Mint Julep from one of my favorite men behind the bar, Micah Olson of Bar Crudo in Phoenix.

Mint Julep

  • 7 mint leaves
  • 2.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
  • Crushed Ice

Combine mint and simple syrup in the bottom of a silver julep cup (or highball glass) and lightly muddle the mint. Next, add the bourbon and fill the cup with crushed ice–make sure to pour off the excess water first. Garnish with a bunch of mint to make it is impossible to drink your mint julep without burying your nose in mint.

Cheers, and please, drink responsibly!