My favorite place to stay in the Phoenix/Scottdsdale area is the Royal Palms - Bar None.
I love everything about this intimate hotel - from the luxurious spa to the gorgeous gardens and wonderful dining. The Royal Palms is a historic hotel that started off as a private residence. Built in the 1920's by Delos Willard Cooke at a cost of one million dollars. It was later converted into a hotel in 1948. Although it has been renovated a few times, it maintains much of the original landscape and architectural details.
The Royal Palms sits in the shadow of Camelback Mountain and is shaded by hundred of palms and orange trees.

In the 1960's a sign that advertised "Cocktails" hung over the front entry. Glass and metal doors have been replaced by these antique doors. The plaster on the buildings was done by Hopper Finishes. Hopper does really beautiful work, creating finishes that look as if they have been on the building for 100 years. He mixes paint and all manner of different things into the plaster to achieve just the right hue and modulation.
Pathways, gates, arches and outdoor rooms create an intimate feel in the gardens.

While seeming very intimate, this resort can host large events. It is a favorite place for weddings. We have stayed in both the cabanas and the regular rooms. I like both.

The restaurant at the Royal Palms is T. Cook's. The Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Celery Root Gratin and Roquefort is on of my favorite recipes from T. Cook's. I've made this many times for dinner parties - it is always a big hit.

Grilled Beef Tenderloin


4 Filets of beef, 6 oz each

Season the filets liberally with salt and pepper. Grill the filets over high heat on a BBQ on both sides until you reach medium rare, about ten to twelve minutes. Let rest for four to five minutes so the meat relaxes and retains its juices. Reserve.


2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced (1/8 inch thick)
1 celery root, peeled and sliced (1/8 inch thick)
1 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 cup heavy cream

In an oiled, nine-by six inch casserole dish, start with a layer of potatoes on the bottom. After the bottom is completely covered with potato, season with salt and pepper. Start a new layer of the celery root. When the celery root layer is complete, sprinkle half the crumbled Roquefort on top. Drizzle half the cream evenly over the entire dish.
Repeat the layering process with potatoes, celery root, cheese and cream. Finish with a layer of potatoes and cover with aluminum foil. Bake dish at 350 degrees for thirty-five to forth minutes or until a knife slides easily through all layers.

Roquefort Butter
1 lb. Softened butter - Room Temp
1/4 cup Roquefort Cheese, crumbled
1 tsp. Shallot, minced
1 tbsp fine herbs, chopped (equal parts chervil, Italian parsley, chives, tarragon)
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, Place butter on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it up like a cigar, twisting both ends. chill. Cut into 1/4 inch discs and keep chilled until ready for plating.

Demi-Glace & Vegetables
1 cup Veal demi-glace
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
Add 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to two separate hot sauté pans. Add the carrots to one and the celery to the other. Sauté for two to three minutes over high heat. Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock to pan to finish cooking the vegetables. Reduce the chicken stock until the pan is almost dry and season the vegetables with salt and pepper.

Composing the Dish:

Place a scoop of the gratin in the middle of the plate. Spoon some of the carrots and celery around the gratin. Drizzle some of the demi-glace around the vegetables. Place the beef on top of the gratin. Add a disc of the Roquefort butter onto the filet and serve.

My notes: I sometimes change up the carrot/celery and add baby squash as in the photo above.
Also, I have found that a mandolin is very helpful for slicing the celery root. Roquefort is quite a strong cheese. If I feel that I may have a guest that might not like Roquefort - I'll substitute a mild blue cheese. A biscuit cutter works quite well for cutting the gratin and looks elegant as well.

Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Sotto Il Monte Vineyards

Now for the wine ~ Silver Oak. I have served this with both the Napa and the Alexander Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. Both are beautiful wines. Silver Oak Winery focuses all their energy on making these two outstanding Cabs.
And the shoes? A pair of elegant sandals and some comfy loafers should suffice.