Saturday, November 30, 2013

Elote Cafe

"You call it corn!" Remember that Native American-looking lady on TV who translated "maize" for us in the 70s? Well, maize may be the word for the corn plant (and it turns out, that lady must have been Mayan because the word comes from the Spanish), but "elote" is Spanish for the corn on the cob street food of Mexico, and based on dinner Friday night, it's a word everyone should know. Elote Cafe is pretty much the most highly recommended restaurant in Sedona, and the hour wait for our table was worth every minute. We had the specialty of the house appetizer which the restaurant is named for, but thankfully, the roasted corn had been shucked off the cob (I've had an aversion to corn on the cob since I was a teenager - all those years of wearing braces) before being mixed with spicy mayo, lime, and cotija cheese. We liked it so much that Christina bought the restaurant's cookbook just for the recipe - and the chef came out and signed it for her! Her halibut dish was as pretty as it was delicious, and my beef barbacoa quesadilla was fantastic, but once again, we stuffed ourselves to distraction.

Red Rocks and Pink Jeeps

This is what it looks like just driving around town. 
The drive from Phoenix to Sedona yesterday was spectacular, but it was getting dark by the time we got in; Sedona in the daylight is mind-blowing. We have our share of natural beauty in the Pacific Northwest, and I wouldn't trade our Seattle sound-mountain-lake views for anything, but the high desert is such an opposite kind of beauty, we couldn't stop exclaiming about it. "Ohmygod, this is SO pretty!!" was said many times during our morning hike north of town along West Fork Creek. We crossed the creek 13 times (or 26 RT) by walking on stones and logs, deep into a wide box canyon. It was deadly quiet and really cold, but the changing light along the red rock walls was amazing. Again, I wouldn't trade the mossy greens for the brilliant reds full-time, but this was new terrain for me, and it was impressive.

After our hike, we ate our leftovers for lunch on the roof-deck of the hotel, and then checked in for our Pink Jeep tour. Pink Jeep is the oldest and most prevalent jeep tour outfitter in the area, but the town of Sedona is built, island-like, in the midst of public land, so anyone with no regard for their 4-wheel drive vehicle can go wheeling around the many trails that are open to them. Our guide, Paul, installed Christina and me and a family of five into one of the jeeps and took off for the dirt. I booked the last tour of the day in order to catch the evening light, and one again, the scenery was amazing.
town of Sedona nestled below the rocks

ancient juniper tree

Traction... capital "T"

Agave plant; tequila is just a few steps away. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Dinner of Epic Proportions

I don't know if the pilgrims ate scallops with crispy pancetta and pear; prime rib with mushrooms, asparagus, sage butter and sour cream; or bourbon glazed pork chops with red cabbage braised in duck fat as they were celebrating bringing syphilis to the new world, or whatever they were doing that night in in Plymouth when Squanto came by for dinner, but too bad for them if they were chowing down on bland turkey instead.

Christina picked me up at the Phoenix airport around 3:30pm yesterday and we rolled into Sedona around 6. By 7:30 we were at the bar at the Enchantment Resort, and at 8 they seated us for dinner. Our meal consisted of the choices listed above and we stuffed ourselves mercilessly. Our options were part of the four course Thanksgiving menu, but the desserts listed were all pumpkin-based, and given that a) no one really likes pumpkin (this is my belief, I don't care what anyone says; no one in their right mind is going to choose pumpkin-anything over chocolate torte or creme brulee or any real dessert), and  b) Christina's birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year, and like any normal person, she did not want the pumpkin pie-in-a-jar (WTF?) or pumpkin gelato, or whatever the third [pumpkin] option was on the set menu, so we had a serious chat with our waiter who brought us two delectable chocolate desserts instead. Many leftovers were brought back to the hotel that night, and lunch was in the bag for the next day.

the name of the restaurant at the Enchantment Resort;
I think it means "no one likes pumpkin" in Anastazi.

scallops, panchetta, pear puree.

bourbon glazed pork chop

grilled prime rib
quite possibly the best chocolate cake I've ever had