Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain
In the summer of 2012, Neighbor Roy and I took off in search of the most expensive lunch in Tucson. We wanted to do our part to contribute to the under-performing Tucson economy. I am delighted to report that we found it. Or, to put it another way, they saw us coming.
The Ritz Carlton is new to this area. I’ve stayed at a few over the years, and particularly enjoy the Ritz just south of Laguna Beach, CA. It sits magnificently on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a view of Santa Catalina Island 26 miles off shore. So I knew lunch at their new resort at Dove Mountain north of Tucson was not going to be cheap.
After a 40 minute drive from Downtown Tucson, we approached the lodge and both of us exclaimed almost in unison; “That’s the ugliest building in Tucson.” I’m sure whoever designed the exterior tried to make this very large hotel/resort blend in with its beautiful Tortalito Mountain backdrop. He or she did not succeed. The only hotel/resort that might have an uglier exterior is the new JW Marriott at Starr Pass. What were they thinking?
Ritz Carlton Resort, Dove Mountain
As we transferred the car to the valet and entered the main lobby, all thought of the exterior became inconsequential. WOW! Let me think of a better word. Dramatic. Tasteful. Artistic. Well, you get the idea.
The main restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner, but not lunch. So we had a choice: the Latin Grill on the other side of one of the biggest swimming pools I’ve ever seen; or the bar, which had a view of the pool and also the saguaro-covered hills. As we were already only a few yards from the bar, that was an easy choice. Read More
Kat approached and announced that she would be our server. And a damn good server she turned out to be. The Ritz is world-famous for the quality of their staff: knowledgeable, personable, attentive, efficient – just the best in every way. And this Ritz-In-The-Desert was no different.
Kat offered us menus. This would be the big test. Is the Ritz Carlton-Dove Mountain the most expensive lunch in Tucson? Roy and I glanced at our menus: $17 cheeseburgers. We knew we were in the right place. This definitely was not In-N-Out Burger.
Kat took our beverage order: we both ordered a house wine, the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s one of my favorites, which I can buy at Safeway for $11 a bottle. Here, it was $17 per half glass. Did we hit the jackpot or what?
While Kat was off getting our wine, we chatted amicably with the bartender. The conversation quickly turned to golf. The Ritz has 3 9-hole courses, which were designed for the Annual Accenture Match Play in February – a week-long duel to the death among the top 64 players in the world. Bartender thought this February (2012) might be the last time it’s played here. Sad. It’s a magnificent Jack Nicklaus course set in a grand saguaro forest.
Kat returned with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. We inquired as to her recommendations. She suggested the Buffalo tacos. We turned to the bartender. Buffalo tacos. Kat offered a detailed description of the exceptional qualities of this particular buffalo meat and the exotic ingredients used to marinate it for 3 days. We ordered buffalo tacos.
Patio Dining Near The Ritz Amazing Golf Course
I’ve had carne seca tacos; fish tacos, just about any kind of taco you can imagine, but never buffalo. Roy and I tried to imagine what such a morsel might taste like. We waited with anticipation. In the meantime, Kat had brought us a basket of fresh baked flat bread basted lightly with garlic and some yummy dip to enjoy with our wine. Roy and I were in no hurry. We chatted some more with the bartender. Everybody’s got an opinion about Tiger Woods.
The buffalo tacos came. Three small ones per plate. It was only going be a question of who said it first: “DELICIOUS”. No, I mean reeealy good. I thought the tacos at Blanco Taco + Tequila were good. But these … Neither Roy nor I were able to find the right words to express the flavor. They were small, off-the-scale exceptional.
We chatted with the friendly staff a little longer and Kat brought the check. I showed it to Roy. He agreed. Bravo! We had done it. The most expensive lunch in Tucson.
Leaving the bar area, we took a tour of this magnificent lobby. The art, the craftsmanship. Superb.
Ritz Golf Lounge
Understated elegance. Then we headed down the road a mile to check out the Pro Shop and Cayton’s Restaurant that overlooks the first fairway and the Valley beyond. At the Pro Shop, Roy found a nice casual silk shirt for only a $150. Nice find Roy. But I out did him. I spotted a pair of the most beautiful men’s golf shoes I have ever seen. I know. If I have to ask, I can’t afford them. I asked anyway. You don’t want to know.
We then wandered over to check out Cayton’s. The hostess graciously showed us around. WOW! Great views, particularly from the patio. Again, understated interior elegance. The lighting caught our attention as much as anything. If you go, check out the large mesquite table in the wine room with its inlaid turquoise. This is exceptional craftsmanship. Only the best at the Ritz.
Ritz – Cayton Restaurant on the Golf Course
Heading back home to reality, Neighbor Roy and I felt a certain sense of accomplishment. It had been a lovely outing and we both agreed; the food, the service, and the facility were exceptional – just as one expects from a Ritz.
The Bar @ the Ritz Carlton
15000 N Secret Springs Dr Marana
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