I’ll be the first to admit it, Prescott Arizona was not on my list of destinations. You see somewhere between my thirst for adventure and the end of 2018, my husband and I decided to embark on a road trip from our home in Southern California across state lines to Arizona. The “plan” (I use quotation marks because I am not entirely certain a trip with no lodging or destinations constitutes a plan) was to drive straight to Sedona, Arizona and find a place to stay. Sedona, as it turned out, was booked.
This foreign land of Prescott, Arizona would be where we would spend the next two days, for better or for worse. Before I proceed, I have a confession to make. My husband and I are opposites when it comes to travel. He is just as happy staying in a city, town or country that is relatively unknown. I often yearn for the wow factor of being in a place others have never seen but somehow convinced themselves they need to visit. I had never heard of Prescott but ended up loving the little city.
Downtown Prescott is a walkable stretch of old meets new. Part of you feels like you have been transformed back into the times of the old west with saloons and bars abound. Restaurants sit in updated buildings that still hold their old world charm; heavy wooden floors creak when you walk over them, walls feel secure yet drafty at the same time. In the heart of it, all sits Whiskey Row – an area once spanning over 100 blocks is not compacted into one foodie heaven and live music epicenter.
On the corner of Montezuma Street sits Bistro St. Michael. Heed my advice, eat here. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner this bar and eatery has been around since 1901. Reasonable prices meet a friendly wait staff who make you feel at home and relaxed. The tomato-zucchini bisque should not be missed nor should their spin on fish and chips.
A bright blue lake surrounded by granite boulders, Watson Lake has a stillness to it that can only be described as tranquil. Once you enter the park area (there is a $3.00 fee to enter), you want to continue to drive straight. Seems like an obvious thing to say but there are a few directional options presented to you. Once you reach the lake (trust me, you’ll know), get out of your car, and marvel in the stillness. Even in the dead of winter, it’s worth the shivers.
El Gato Azul
Situated a block off of Whiskey Row sits one of the best tapas places I have ever eaten at in any of my travels. El Gato Azul has a small, indoor dining area that holds much of the same charm you find scattered throughout Whiskey Row but with the addition of coziness. It’s the type of place you walk into (especially when it is cold) and want to stay forever. Just to the side of this quaint dining area sits their outdoor seating. Fully enclosed and heated, it somehow manages to encapsulate the same level of charm the interior does.
What I loved most about this place is the people who work there. They love their jobs and the food at their restaurant. Ask them as many questions as you like, they’ll fill you with recommendations. In addition, there is not the typical bustle you feel from restaurants in America – there is no rushing you from meal to meal so they can flip the table. Seems to me they appreciate the notion that food is an experience.
MUST TRY MENU ITEMS:
Fig & Goat Cheese (Goat Cheese, Cream Cheese, Roasted Garlic & Fig Preserves)
Lamb Chops (Herb Crusted, Grilled, Balsamic Reduction)
Tabouli & Pita (Bulgar Wheat, Tomatoes, Parsley, Garlic and Mint)
Gambas Espinaca (Shrimp, Spinach in a Spicy Goat Cheese Sauce)
Baked Brie “Nachos” (Jezebel Sauce, Warm Brie, Pickled Onion & Balsamic Reduction) Sticky Chicken (Marinated, Grilled and tossed with Hoisin Sesame Sauce)