Back To My Old Stomping Grounds

04. October 2016 Travel 0

I went to college at The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. One of my sister’s attended the school a few years before me which is why it was originally on my radar but I ended up choosing to go there as I was looking for hot weather and a big sports college. I have to say, I truly loved every minute of that place and made memories to last me a lifetime. I haven’t been back since 2010 so Tom decided to take me there for my birthday this year since he had never been there. Over the years he’s heard me rave about the college town and all my favorite spots so I think he was ready to check them all out in person.

From the moment we got into town, I felt like I was back home. It was a “cool” 85 degrees and we did a quick tour around campus before heading to my favorite spot, Beyond Bread. Now this place is definitely not your ordinary bakery/sandwich spot, it just goes way above that. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any sandwich that you order, but in case your curious, my favorite order is Bart’s Bag. Oh and also, their breakfast is pretty bomb to so don’t be surprised if you go for breakfast and find yourself back there for lunch a few hours later, I may or may not have been guilty of doing that a few times in college.

Mouthwatering Beyond Bread sandwich, Bart's Bag
Mouthwatering Beyond Bread sandwich, Bart’s Bag

During my time at UofA, besides going to Beyond Bread and randomly trying to find breakfast burritos, eating breakfast wasn’t a huge part of my day. This was mainly because during the week I usually had pretty early classes and on the weekends I was probably sleeping in pretty late and by the time I woke up and got my day started, I was more likely to be ready for lunch than for breakfast. Going back post-college, I’ve come to the realization that breakfast is a meal that I genuinely enjoy, however struggle to find places that live up to some of my favorites at home. I texted a friend of mine who still lives in Tucson and asked if he had any recommendations for me since I know a lot of new places have opened up over the years. He told me about this place, Prep & Pastry and fortunately it was a short drive from our hotel. We headed over there and immediately noticed the crowd and line of people waiting in front. Although waiting is never fun, having a large group of people at a restaurant usually means the place is great so I was actually kind of excited to check the spot out. We ended up ordering bloody mary’s at the bar while we waited for our table and wow, they were pretty awesome. Now, truth be told, they did partially use a bottled bloody mary mix, but they also juiced it up with some of their own ingredients. In addition, they included a small-ish shot of lager beer on the side that you have an option to either drink on its own or mix in with the bloody mary, we chose the latter. The drink was good both ways for sure, but we just thought it was so cool that this beer was given to us to we figured we’d throw it in with the whole drink.

How delicious does this bloody mary look?
How delicious does this bloody mary look?

We had a quick, 20 minute wait (we went on a Friday late morning) and we were seated at the bar. Tom and I are big fan’s of sitting at the bar of restaurants as you can see more and you can chat usually with the staff. Though it is a closed kitchen, they do have a large window where they keep their freshly baked pastries for the day. Now let me tell you, Tom and I both were eyeing the pastries while we were siting at the bar, they were that scrumptious looking. We also found out that only a set number of pastries are made everyday so whatever was left in the window, were the only remaining items for the day. Though we stayed strong and didn’t order one, we did tell our server that we were debating getting one since we were on vacation but weren’t sure we need the extra calories that came along with each item.

Monkey bread muffin, excuse the bite taken out of it, couldn't help myself before snapping the pic!
Monkey bread muffin, excuse the bite taken out of it, couldn’t help myself before snapping the pic!

Ok, let’s get to our ordering. Tom decided on the breakfast sandwich and I decided on the OFF-THE-GRILL omelet with egg-whites. It was a really difficult decision to make on what we were going to order because honestly, every single item looked better than the last. Our waitress was adorable and gave us the low-down on everything so we felt confident in our decisions. The food came out quickly and came out hot. I barely had time to snap a few pictures before devouring my dish and can honestly say, I sure do wish this spot was in Tucson while I was in college. Every bite of both our dishes was so good and we stuffed our bellies to the brim. We just loved everything about this darling restaurant and to top it off, our server ended up surprising us with a free pastry before we left since she knew we were on vacation. The picture above is the monkey-bread chocolate-chip muffin and it most certainly lived up to the hype. The customer service at this place was impeccable and I will absolutely be making a stop there again during my next visit. Now all I need to do is find a place like this in Denver!

Tom's breakfast sandwich
Tom’s breakfast sandwich
My breakfast, All Hail The Omelette
My breakfast, All Hail The Omelette

During our trip, we stayed at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa and had such a great time. I haven’t actually stayed at this resort before but I definitely used to sneak into their pool regularly during college since it’s so beautiful and wanted to use their pool. Although it’s a little far from campus, the grounds are beautiful and they have rockstar customer service that we couldn’t refrain from staying there. We had this great room that overlooked the golf course and we could not get enough of just sipping our coffee and tea every morning on our deck watching all the golfers, talk about a zen morning! During our days, we laid by the pool, choosing between being at the adult pool or the pool with a swim up bar (tough choice, I know). Fun fact I learned is that its the only hotel in Tucson with a swim up bar so that’s kind of cool, especially during summer when it’s brutally hot outside, so keep that in mind the next time you make your way to Tucson.

Overall, I have to say this was one of my favorite trips I’ve taken this summer. It’s always nice to go back to your college town, especially when it’s UofA since the whole city is so focused around the University. Tom enjoyed getting to see campus, buying some items from the bookstore so he could represent being an honorary wildcat, and just seeing where his wife spent four, very important years of her life. The town is definitely changing and adding many new restaurants, bars, and nightlife, and even though I don’t recognize a lot of the new additions, Tucson will always have a very, very special place in my heart.

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