Sunday, May 14, 2006

So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

Okay, so this isn't about Frank Lloyd Wright, but I'm using that title anyway. My day did touch on his legacy, and I've had the Simon & Garfunkel song stuck in my head for many hours.

This afternoon I drove up to Taliesin West, where the famous architect lived and worked and taught. Named after a legendary bard, it's still a place where architects, school children and others go to learn. Unfortunately, I didn't have time for a tour, or even to take pictures; but I liked what little I saw. I'll have to come back someday and explore the place properly. Meanwhile, though, I was only able to rush into Taliesin's bookstore, meet Sarah and her parents, and rush out again with Sarah in tow. So long.

Patsy Grimaldi's in Scottsdale. You can just about see
the brick ovens in the background.

You know how I get obssessive about things sometimes. (Only sometimes?) I was determined to try a Scottsdale restaurant listed on AOL as having some of the best pizza in the country. Sarah agreed, as long as it didn't interfere with her making her flight on time. So we followed my Yahoo directions to Patsy Grimaldi's Pizzeria in Old Town Scottsdale, a historic, upscale shopping district that now features a Starbucks, a Schlotsky's Deli and other franchise outlets along with the places that were there fifty years ago, such as the Pink Pony and the Sugar Bowl.

Patsy Grimaldi's isn't one of the restaurants that have been in Scottsdale forever, but it has its own pedigree and traditions, derived from the original New York locations. The service at the Scottsdale Patsy Grimaldi's was excellent, the decor evocative (red and white tablecloths), and I could see the coal-fueled brick ovens that are supposed to deliver a superior, authentic crust with a flavor you can't get with a modern oven.

The last half-slice of pizza.

However, I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the pizza overall. It had too much tomato sauce for my taste, and far too little of each of the four toppings we ordered: red peppers, garlic, extra mozzarella and mushrooms. More veggie options would also have been nice, especially since Sarah is a vegetarian. Still, I suppose that traditional New York pizzas never used to involve spinach or zucchini.

Still, we enjoyed the food and the conversation. Sarah had just come from her sister's wedding in Sedona, which apparently went spectacularly well. Sarah also recently toured China with a mostly Chinese-speaking theatre troup. I had no such wonders to offer in my half of the conversation, but Sarah didn't mind. Afterward, Sarah got the waitress to take our picture with each of our cameras.

Karen and Sarah.

Soon it was time to head for Sky Harbor Airport. As with my Google directions for Tempe last week, the Yahoo ones from Scottsdale to Sky Harbor let us to a road closure, in this case a closed on ramp. Soon after this, I found myself back in the same construction as last week. Nevertheless, we continued on University, and Sarah managed to spot the airport turn-off through the late afternoon glare.

Picacho Peak just before sunset, as seen
from the Dairy Queen parking lot.

The Southwest terminal was easy to find. I dropped Sarah off and headed for home. It was early yet, so I was in no great hurry. I stopped off at Picacho Peak just before sunset and went into the Dairy Queen with the gift shop and stuffed jackalope. The parking lot was nearly full. A guy was standing on the flat bed of his pickup, offering free samples of...something. I didn't even want to know what that was about. Inside, the place was crowded, so I left without buying anything. Instead I accidentally-on-purpose headed east instead of west on the frontage road, hoping for a few good sunset photos and an on ramp a few miles closer to Tucson. No joy on the on ramp, but I got the sunset photos, and a few photos of a freight train as it rushed by.

Picacho Peak sunset, as seen from the frontage road.

Next weekend I'll probably stay home, despite John and I having our 27th wedding anniversary on Friday. But I've thoroughly enjoyed playing vagabond these last several weeks!


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Federico said...

Nice photo....


Carly said...

GORGEOUS! Sunsets are really becomming your photography signiture. :) You ROCK!

Gaboatman said...

The sunset shot is absolutely stunning! Well done! Happy anniversary to you and John this Friday!

DesLily said...

I'm definately in agreement about the beautiful sunset photo!!..

I wish you both a wonderful Anniversary!!..

Sarah said...

I never met a pizza that couldn't use more mushrooms. :)

Becky said...

Sarah looks like she could be your little sister. :-D And it's all about the sauce here in the NYC metro area. To really judge if a pizza is good, we order a plain pie. Toppings are added only if the pizza is fair to middlin. We don't do bad pizza. LOL