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  • Diana Brandt

JW Mariott Desert Ridge Staycation


This staycation was a tad nostalgic for me because around this time 6 years ago, I started working with the World Pastry Forum and Championship and it was held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. This is where I spent weeks at a time, day in and day out meeting some inspirational people in the industry from around the world, people that I still call friends today. This event was the reason I fell into Arizona Foodie. This was the event that sparked my passion for what goes on behind the scenes and this is the place where I fell in love with watching the pros do their craft. I wish that we could do a reunion, one last dance party at the Cherry Club (we hosted the last Pastry Championship in Vegas)!

Anyways, you can see why the JW Marriott Desert Ridge will always hold a dear spot in my heart and I was thrilled to be able to spend a night there with the family. We checked in quickly and headed to our room which was facing the pools. My son immediately wanted to head down because who really cares about 110 degree weather? Did I mention that this was during our excessive heat warning, when the heat reached like 117. I thought it was going to be terrible but in fact, it was not so bad, we ended up having such an enjoyable time at the pool that night. Kellan and I did the water slide about 5 times and then floated the lazy river while sipping a refreshing strawberry smoothie.

When we went back to our room, they had left us some snacks to refuel with, which was most appreciated. We had some crackers with a couple cheese options, honey, trail mix and a few sparkling water drinks. Before long it was time to head down with the entire family to Stonegrill. We started dinner with the crispy chili lime calamari with cilantro crema, at the request of my son, whom ate most of it because he loves eating the tiny squids

I couldn't resist ordering the braised beef short rib with celeriac root potato puree, carrots and wild mushroom jus. My son wanted to try some of the short rib, so they accommodated us by preparing some for him that would be free of dairy. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned, my favorite dish of the night and my son's. In fact, he didn't want to eat any of his dinner because he was only interested in the short rib.

My husband had the Aji Amarillo marinated mahi-mahi with poblano quinoa risotto, sofrito and crispy avocado. I will say that this was quite delicious too and it was my husband's favorite dish. Light and vibrant flavors created a perfect summer meal. For dessert, we inhaled the fruit cobbler with bourbon creme anglaise, pecan crumble and sour cream ice cream. My son got to enjoy a vegan chocolate mousse with mango. He never gets to have dessert when we go out to eat, so this was a big deal for him and he ate the entire thing!

After dinner, we took the kids to the splash pad, which was perfect for the little one and tired both of them out for bedtime. Before we headed out the following day, I had to order breakfast in bed because I can't help myself, it's a must no matter where I go. After sipping coffee on the balcony and slowly enjoying my breakfast, we headed down to the pool for an afternoon of splashing around and eating burgers under the umbrellas by the water.

For those of you traveling with children, they do have the kid's club and you can do it during the week in the morning. However, the weekend has a bunch of activities for the kids at the kid's club and at the pool, so weekends would be best if you are looking for a break. Staying during the week was nice because it wasn't super busy at the pool but there was still enough kids for my son to hang out with, if he wanted to but if you don't have kids, there was plenty of pool area and other pools that didn't have any children in them.

JW Marriott Desert Ridge

5350 E Marriott Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85054


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