Confessions of a Baby Boomer Travel Writer
A clash of bad days?
This review has been the most difficult for me to get my fingers to move on.
Frankly, as I searched my impressions, motives, pride, and intentions, my 20 years of business ownership have taught me that my first impressions, if disconcerting, must always be thoughtfully pondered before opening one’s mouth.
Let me explain…
Vincent on Camelback was the eighth of nine restaurants we had lined up for our Arizona Restaurant Week 2010. This was certainly an aggressive schedule, but we are hard at work building our new enterprise and this was an excellent way to sample some of the Valley’s great restaurants.
Trust me, by the time you get to restaurant number eight, your enthusiasm starts to wane. To be honest, I was whining about eating another meal before we even left the house. “Who put this crazy schedule together”, I challenged my beautiful bride of 25 years. Being the strong, independent woman she is, she wasted no time reminding me that this vigorous schedule was of my own doing.
Yep! She was right.
To top this all off, we were also being hosted by the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa right in the middle of all of this gormandizing.
Get the picture?
I walked into the restaurant exhausted and with a bit of a chip on my shoulder.
Now, we had invited great friends to join us and they were already at the table when we arrived. Therefore, it’s time to put the game face on Mr. Roaming Boomer!
In spite of all of this, we really were looking forward to eating at Vincent Guerithault’s restaurant. Just look at this information from his website:
“Vincent was the first chef ever to receive a Citation of Excellence from the International Food & Wine Society. He has enjoyed countless commendations, including the James Beard award as “America’s Best Chef: Southwest” and the prestigious Chevalier de L’Ordre du Merite Agricole on behalf of the Republic of France. For more than a decade, Zagat has ranked his restaurant “most popular” and “best in area” and Mobil Travel Guide has awarded it four stars. Gourmet magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure all have lauded Vincent and his restaurant for his tempting food and attentive service. In 2003 Vincent’s on Camelback was placed 24th on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants by British based Restaurant Magazine.”
Besides all that, Vincent’s restaurant is currently listed by the James Beard Foundation as one of the semi-finalists for “Outstanding Restaurant”.
Back to my story…
As we began to study our Arizona Restaurant Week Prix Fixe $29 menu options, we mentioned to our waiter that we would love to get a shot of Chef Vincent for our article. We were quickly informed that Chef was too busy and that we should set an appointment to come back for a formal photograph session.
Harrumph, I thought to myself.
We have been to any number of fabulous restaurants, all over the continental United States, and every single chef has made a effort to take at least a brief few minutes to visit our table for a quick shot. After all, they knew we were coming and we had made them aware of our wishes.
To continue our fading experience our waiter mysteriously disappeared in the middle of our meal, my wife lost her credit card on our return home, and our friends, although enjoying the meal, found themselves disenchanted with the experience.
Rule #1 – outstanding product and outstanding service must be present to achieve a wonderful experience.
So, here’s my dilemma: am I going to take this likely clashing of bad days and write a seething review?
Nope! As a business owner, I can recall scores of times over the past two decades where I needed to put my hat in my hand and squirm out the words “I’m sorry”.
Further, I am in no way suggesting that Chef Vincent even owes us an apology. In my book, this was tired Mr. Roaming Boomer happening across a series of unfortunate events at one of the Valley’s most beloved restaurants.
Therefore, I desire that you understand a few things:
- We look forward to a return trip to sample Chef Vincent’s cuisine when we are less fatigued and will likely have a most delightful time.
- This review is not intended to reflect poorly on Vincent on Camelback, but rather, give you a behind the scenes peek into the life and times of The Roaming Boomers.
- Lastly, did I tell you how incredible their Bread Pudding with Jack Daniel’s Sauce was?
Check this out!