There was an intense fire in Phoenix this past weekend.
Luckily, said fire was contained at the W Hotel in Scottsdale and its nearby surroundings. The fire also did not cause any damage or casualty. And, at the end of the weekend, the fire was extinguished by none other than Lil Jon...with a bottle of champagne.
...yes, more on that later.
I had the opportunity to attend this year's Hotel Thrillist, a weekend long celebration filled with extravagant day and night parties with great music, mouthwatering food and drinks, and selfie-worthy celebrities. Organized by Thrillist, a leading men's digital lifestyle brand, Hotel Thrillist took over the entire W in Scottsdale for the weekend to host fun people from all over the country who brought the heat to Phoenix.
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: ARRIVAL IN PHX
Upon arriving at the hotel, Sam and I were greeted with a whiskey shot of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire to ignite the flame to our wild weekend. We also received a gift bag filled with goodies from the event's sponsors, including Starbucks Doubleshot, Tabasco, and Jack Fire. After getting settled in the hotel room, we checked out the "Hospitality Suite," a sanctuary replete with snacks and beverages for guests throughout the weekend, as well as an amazing view overlooking the pool deck.
FRIDAY EVENING: TASTE OF THRILLIST
The first official event of Hotel Thrillist began with a red carpet entrance to the Wet Pool Deck, where the hottest restaurants in Phoenix set up stations to showcase the best of what they have to offer. The foodie nerd in me was thrilled to spot local celebrity chef Beau MacMillan who stars in shows like "Iron Chef," "Worst Cooks in America," and "Guy's Grocery Games."
Picking some of my favorite bites from Taste of Thrillist is like answering the "Who do you like more - Mommy or Daddy?" question, but if I had to choose...
Chilled Sweet Corn Soup from Central Bistro
A spoonful of this creamy and rich, yet refreshing chilled corn soup brought so much happiness in my mouth. The soup packed incredible amount of flavor and texture from the plump shrimp that somehow tasted like juicy lobster, buttery mushroom, salty bits of popcorn, and a sprinkle of parsley.
Festival Taco from Gadzooks
This innovative taco fused the flavors of American South and Mexico by bringing together roasted tomatillo chicken, sweet and spicy cornbread, and honey vinaigrette slaw. The tasty taco was drizzled with jalapeno ranch and cotija cheese, all atop a fresh corn and flour tortilla that was perfectly crispy on the outside and doughy on the inside.
Boss Hog Burger from Hopdoddy Burger Bar
If you injected a burger with steroid, it would look like the Boss Hog Burger. Part pulled pork sandwich and part bacon cheeseburger, the grandiose Boss Hog Burger packed a beef patty with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, BBQ house pulled pork, creamy coleslaw, and sweet mustard BBQ sauce all in between toasted egg bun.
Knowing that Thrillist throws some of the most epic parties I have been to, the night's event won't be complete without Tabasco-spiced chocolate fountain, a drone flying in the air, and electronic violinist performing on a stage on top of the pool with mermaids (yes, mermaids) splashing in the water.
FRIDAY NIGHT: JACK FIRE AFTER PARTY & BAR CRAWL
As I became increasingly sluggish from food coma, all of the lights suddenly flickered in red to signal the start of the Jack Fire After Party. A fire breather led a full marching band out to the pool, while a group of "firefighters" paraded everyone down the street to a nearby bar to spread the fire across the hottest night scene Scottsdale. With multiple bars to crawl throughout the night, it was certainly a long day especially given the 3-hour time difference from New York to Arizona.
SATURDAY MORNING: BRUNCH ON WHEELS
Thrillist took the idea of brunch to a whole new level. Sam and I hopped on a 12-seater bike + car hybrid to pedal our way to delicious brunch spots around the area. At each of our stop, we received a generous serving of tasty bites like Breakfast Burrito from Daily Dose, Cap'n Crunch Crusted French Toast from Culinary Dropout, and Pastrami Hash from Hi Fi Kitchen + Cocktails to fuel us.
While the scorching sun beaming down at us was a bit exhausting, I enjoyed the balance of savory and sweet entrees that we consumed throughout the ride. My favorite was the Pastrami Hash - an over easy egg and perfectly smoked and tender slices of pastrami atop a bed of well-seasoned potato hash.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: POOL PARTY AT THE WET POOL DECK
This was far from a neighborhood pool party you have experienced in childhood. There were inflatable pizza, pretzel, and donuts in the pool, mechanical shark by the poolside, and plenty of delicious bites and drinks throughout the event.
Oh, and did I mention the party was hosted by Grammy award-winning rapper, producer and DJ Lil Jon? The partiers were repeating "Turn down for what?" as they made waves in the pool, sipped drinks on the lounge chairs, played cornhole and giant Jenga.
SATURDAY NIGHT: AFTER DARK FINALE
The culminating event of the weekend's festivities was the After Dark Finale at Maya Day + Nightclub. Lil Jon once again took the stage to entertain the guests all night long. The highlight for me (and I am sure for a lot of people) was when Lil Jon popped a bottle of champagne and sprayed it to the dancing crowd.
Hotel Thrillist - one of the most outlandish, over-the-top parties I have ever attended - successfully ignited Phoenix for the weekend, and I am already counting down the days until next year's event. Wherever it will be (previous Hotel Thrillst have been held in Miami, Chicago, LA, and San Diego), I will be ready to bring on the heat.
Photo courtesy of Thrillist and Jacob Tyler Dunn
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