Thursday, January 21, 2016

Grand Canyon & Flagstaff

I had to head back to Arizona (lucky me!) for work, so Dan and I headed out early to spend a long weekend with Sissy and her fiancĂ©, JA.  Since it was Dan's first trip to Arizona, we had to make it special... so we drove out to the Grand Canyon to show him why it's considered one of the wonders of the world!

Once we got out of Phoenix, the scenery changed dramatically into a winder wonderland!  All along the road, people were pulled over to go sledding and romp in the snow.  It almost didn't look real!

The snow made it all the more beautiful and stunning!  Sure, it was cold... but it was a bright and sunny day to be out experiencing the park.  This post is photo-heavy and light on my narration, but that's because I think the photos just speak for themselves.

I think that Dan found the Grand Canyon to be surprisingly impressive...  That is, people build it up in talk to be this big thing, but most things in life end up a little disappointing when you have those expectations.  The Grand Canyon, however, doesn't disappoint.  Even after more than one visit, I'm still in awe that it exists.  And, as Dan pointed out, how long it took to form such a stunningly deep impression into the earth.

After our visit to the Grand Canyon, we drove to Flagstaff for the night.  We stayed at the historic (and reputedly haunted) Hotel Monte Vista.  While the hotel itself is a bit past its prime (it used to host very famous guests), we found our suite to be clean and suitable for the night!  The hotel also has a couple of pretty decent bars, and it was walking distance to the main downtown drag.

After checking in, we walked to local ramen joint SoSoBa for some food.  It was a cold and snowy day, so a bowl of hot noodles and broth sounded perfect.  There were a good number of other folks in the tiny restaurant, a good sign.  Service was solid, beer and drink options plentiful, and hipsters galore.

We started with Balls of Fire, their housemade fried mac 'n' cheese balls with spicy sauce.  Dan liked these so much, he wished he'd ordered a few more for his meal!

For my main dish, I had The Mic Drop: udon noodles, pork belly, carnitas, chicharron, sliced ham, bacon, kim chi, veggies, and a tonkatsu pork broth.  Basically, a creative bowl of carnivorous "ramen" that really hit the spot.  It was definitely tasty, despite being a departure from traditional ramen.  

After eating, we browsed some boutiques (mostly outdoorsy places) and had a couple of drinks at the hotel bar before turning in.  In the morning, we had a delicious breakfast at the popular (judging from its line) Macy's European Coffeehouse and Bakery, a vegetarian spot that served me a cider and breakfast sandwich so delicious, I didn't remember to take any photos before devouring!

All in all, it was a great road trip from Phoenix.  I think Dan liked Flagstaff even more than Phoenix, though both boast a lot of craft beer!  We'd definitely come back, and now we know why Sissy loves it for a quick getaway from the desert.

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