In Dining Out, Family Time, Travel/Arizona

The Westin Kierland has solved a huge issue for us with their awesome PlayDateNights! In our marriage date nights are very important. My husband and I try to get out together once a week (although sometimes we feel lucky if it happens once a month). The hinderance of date nights is often finding childcare, we simply haven’t found a sitter we can rely on.

Thanks to The Westin Kierland we can stick to our goal of having regular date nights and not worry about childcare. With the PlayDateNight program Jax will be in good hands at the resort’s Kid’s Club while we enjoy much needed adult time and a delicious dinner.

My family took advantage of PlayDateNight during our recent staycation at The Westin Kierland and we all agree it was one of the highlights of our stay. Jacquelyn wore her pajamas down to the Kid’s Club and proclaimed her evening was the “best night ever!”

She gave a full report and said she and her new friends played freeze dance, did crafts (including a pillow case she colored and got to bring home), made s’mores, watched a movie and had dinner. She was so excited and felt so grown up ordering  her own meal from the menu, which included kid-friendly options such as mac and cheese, chicken tender, and pizza.

In addition to being a fabulous time for kids and their parents, PlayDateNight is very affordable. The program is available to resort guests as well as local residents dining at the resort. It was designed to accommodate families with two children, ages 4-12 years old. The price is $120 and parents receive a $100 dining credit towards their dinner at deseo or Nellie Cashman’s! If the family has only one child than that child is welcome to bring a friend to join in on the fun! That is an incredible deal for a great, resort-quality dinner and childcare that includes fun and dinner for the kiddos as well.

Jax is an only child and so she went solo to the Kid’s Club pajama party adventure, but she made new friends and hand the time of her life…plus, her dad and I had piece of mind she was happy, safe and close by.

While Jax was pajama partying it up, my husband and I had a fabulous dinner at deseo, the Westin Kierland’s upscale restaurant featuring contemporary Latin cuisine, helmed by Chef de Cuisine, Derek Biazo. The ambiance has all the makings of a romantic dinner — warm lighting, attentive staff, impressive collection of South American wines and excellent food.

deseo is located on the lowest level of the resort and as you make your way down the stairs you immediately know you’re in for a truly special experience. Artwork by Nelson Garcia-Miranda adorns the space and compliments the Latino vibe. You may even catch Garcia-Miranda in action, creating colorful pieces in his unique style that embraces the culture of his Cuban heritage.

The cuisine at deseo is exceptional — fresh, flavorful and even a little exotic, yet still approachable. My husband isn’t an adventurous eater and has a pretty simple palate, but he enjoyed leaving his comfort zone by trying new flavors and dishes. We started with a few appetizers to wake up our taste buds and accompany our cocktails. We went with the Ceviche Mixto, Wagyu Beef Empanada, and at our servers reccomendation, the Strawberry Gazpacho.

The Mixto is a combination of shrimp, crab, sweet potato, canchita (Peruvian popcorn) and aji-amarillo leche de tigre (a Peruvian citrus marinade). This was a flavor and texture combination like no other. It was tangy from the citrus, sweet from the sweet potato and crab, the shrimp was tender, the canchita gave a little bit of chew. It was overall delicious and a great way to introduce ceviche to someone who has never had it before as all the elements are fully cooked.

One of our favorite dishes of the evening was the Wagyu Beef Empanada. A savory pastry crust wrapped around shreds of tender beef, topped with spiced tomato sofrito, green apple salsa verde and huitlacoche. This dish is just as pretty to look at as it was delicious to devour. The beef was perfectly seasoned, the pastry was flaky and the delightful green apple salsa added a bit of tart sweetness that complimented the entire dish.

The Strawberry Gazpacho was a true show-stopper. Vibrantly presented and vibrant in taste. Our server brought out a bowl with a mound of burrata crowned with fresh strawberry slices and pistachio pieces, then he poured the strawberry gazpacho over it. The burrata was creamy and smooth, the pistachios added a textural crunch and the strawberry was balanced with aged balsamic so it wasn’t overly sweet. The gazpacho was light and fresh, with all the components working together and helping to cleanse our palates for our next course.

As our main course my husband and I opted for a surf-and-turf entree meant for sharing – the Churrasco En Tabla. Three churrasco swords of sizzling Arizona prime beef tenderloin, jumbo shrimp, and kurobuta pork tenderloin arrive on a board with a selection of three chimichurri sauces and hot rock meant for keeping the meats sizzling hot. A spoon of course sea salt and a sprig of rosemary accompany the meats so you can season to your liking. All the meats were expertly cooked allowing the flavor to shine. The beef and pork were fork tender and the shrimp was some of the best we’ve had in a long time. The sauces were a nice addition and we enjoyed mixing and matching them to the meats. This was an impressive entree in presentation, size and taste.

Every great date night deal must end on a sweet note and for us it was in the form of the Dulce de Leche Cake Roll and deseo’s signature, Chocolate Cigar. The cake roll was fantastic, white cake rolled with sweet dulce de leche atop a bed of fresh mango, topped with almond slices. It was perfectly sweet and surprisingly light with the mangos adding fresh brightness.

The Chocolate Cigar is amazing! I’ve had this dessert before and I LOVE it. It’s fun and whimsy, accompanied by an edible candy match book (gah – the details!!) and sampling of cappuccino gelato. The Chocolate Cigar is a MUST when dining at deseo.

Our dinner date night at deseo was truly memorable. We enjoyed the food and loved the mood that the staff and atmosphere provide. It’s an ideal date night hot spot and we lingered there for hours, enjoying each other’s company and conversation.

After dinner we simply walked across the property to pick up Jacquelyn from the Kid’s Club. She was so happy to show us the pictures and pillow case she colored and to tell us all about the fun she had. Her enjoyment made my husband and I feel even better about our date night (sometimes we feel guilty leaving her).

Since that evening Jax has been begging us to go on another PlayDateNight and we will be back very soon.

Folks, there are so many reasons to adore The Westin Kierland and PlayDateNights adds one more reason to the endless list! And don’t forget, you don’t have to be a resort guest to take advantage of the program, so make your reservations at one of the restaurants today and enjoy!

PlayDateNight at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is available by reservation only and is subject to availability. For information, please call 480-624-1202.



Disclaimer: My family enjoyed a PlayDateNight at The Westin Kierland free of charge to help facilitate this post. All opinions are entirely my own. 

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