Hi there. Here are some impressions from our recent visit to Arizona. Thanks to AZ hounds who posted their helpful tips on this board. So many places, so little time!
-Stockyards Restaurant-(5009 E. Washington, Phoenix. 602.273.7378)
For lunch it was down to Pane Bianco or Stockyards (we enjoyed Fry Bread House the last visit). Knowing we wanted to start out with a bang, the decision was rather easy.
Big place, copper door, saguaro cactus as you enter the bldg, beautiful leather booths. We order the steak soup (nice med. body beef broth, tender steak pieces, carrots, celery), prime rib (rare and very thinly sliced), mashed potatoes (underseasoned), and calf fries (deep fried, served with chipotle-roasted red pepper sauce. They tasted vaguely of liver and sweetbreads with a slightly spongey interior and crunchy exterior. The sauce added some necessary zip).
Dessert was fun. When the server explained that it was a root beer float with some Jack Daniel's, we didn't realize it was actually the reverse!Seriously, it was a nice mix of spicy, creamy, and boozy.
Scottsdale-Unfortunately we didn't have the appetite to try a Shamrock ice cream bar from the gift shop at Taliesin. The name Shamrock got me thinking about a blurb I had read that the Phoenix area has some significant Irish roots. More on Shamrock dairy products later on in Williams...
-The Coffee Pot Restaurant-(2050 W. Hwy 89A, Sedona. 928.282.6626)
A bit of civilization for us after camping. We ordered a green chile omelet (okay, a little dry/overcooked) with a good fluffy homemade biscuit (w/honeybutter?), chicken fried steak (very thin, dense, and possibly reheated), pleasantly smooooth coffee served in a big pot (also, table is preset with groovy modular coffee cups).
-Old Smoky's/alternate spelling is Smokey's-(624 W. Rte 66, Williams. 928.635.1915)
We really like Williams and Old Smoky's. The buttermilk pancakes come one at a time, slightly larger than the plate, and all you can eat. They're 1/2" thick and remind me of a tender coffee cake in the way it breaks away in airy forkfuls. Ask for real butter (it's from Shamrock dairy in Phoenix and comes in little 4 leaf shapes). The glass of milk I ordered was outstanding-incredibly frothy and rich (wonder if it too came from Shamrock).
-Hogan Restaurant-(Main St. & Moenave Rd, next to Quality Inn, Tuba City. 928.283.5260)
We started off with a lovely cup of green chile soup with pork, potatoes, and onion (a bit of peppery green heat, nicely spiced broth) and followed with Navajo tacos (puffy fry bread round topped with a juicy red chile-laced pinto & kidney bean mixture, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, garnished with green chile. As a donut lover, I enjoy a good piece of fried bread and this was nicely done-the menu also featured steak or hamburger wrapped in fry bread as well as a mutton buffet.
-Kate's Cafe-(Edgewater Dr & Main St, Tuba City. 928.283.4216)
We had planned on eating breakfast at the Tuba City Truck stop but someone at the Tuba City Trading Post told us it was gone. We spotted Kate's just down the street and took a chance as it appeared very busy. Right away it seemed pretty local with Native American families and an after church crowd.
I had a breakfast burrito (good, juicy mix of scrambled egg, green chiles, cheese, sausage bits wrapped in a thin flour tortilla) while Mr. Creosote had huevos rancheros (plain flour tortilla layered with 2 fried eggs, a pinto bean-chili like mixture, cheese, red salsa, diced green chiles set next to hash browns). Very comfy & solid cooking.
<Rolling into Window Rock on Sunday night, we discovered that our hotel restaurant was closed (doh! we should have eaten mutton stew while we had the chance at the Wagon Wheel in Kayenta) and we ended up at Church's Chicken (cringe), where the nearly jerkeyed pieces of long ago fried chicken reminded us of the beef jerky we ate for lunch in Monument Valley. So it goes. I consoled myself with some souvenir food shopping at nearby Basha's Mkt (New Mexican chiles, blue cornmeal, hatch chiles). Basha's had a lot of lard for sale (for fry bread I presume), spam, large bags of pintos & potatoes, really cool old style sacks of flour from Colorado, big slabs of longhorn colby cheese, corn nuts, etc. Could've spent more time browsing but Mr. Creosote was losing it at this point.
-Navajo Nation Inn Restaurant-(48 West Hwy 264, Window Rock. 602.298.0126)
Bright and early and open for business! A mutton skillet (darn tough but tasty (like goat) steak with scrambled eggs and AWESOME fried potatoes garnished with red & yellow sweet pepper strips) and a burrito (scrambled eggs, green chiles, a hot & piquant salsa wrapped in a thick flour tortilla). Probably should have ordered blue cornmeal cakes too but was getting full...
<On the way from Window Rock to Ganado, we spotted a roadside stand with a sign that announced roasted mutton. A definite stop for us next time!
-Joe & Aggie's-(120 W. Hopi Dr, Holbrook. 928.524.6540).
We hadn't been here in a couple years but it's still this perfect kind of chowplace: friendly owners (the Gallegos family), fun waitresses, locals (Native American families taking grandma out for a cup of chicken & rice soup), and most importantly delicious food.
Very hard decision making here. We settle on a ground beef & bean burro smothered green chile enchilada style for him and a ground beef sopa covered in red chile for me. Perfect spicing, deep chile flavor. And their chips are the essence of ground corn and crisp southwestern air.
-The Turquoise Room-(La Posada Hotel, 305 E. 2nd St, Winslow. 928.289.2888)
First off, we toasted the breaktaking beauty of the restored La Posada Hotel with prickly cactus margaritas (BIG, lemony, with salt to balance out the sweetness of the cactus syrup) from the Martini Lounge.
Next we studied the multi-ingredient menu. A pretty good read, as they source local ingredients like lamb raised on the Navajo Nation and grill over reclaimed fallen cedar and oak. Also a small section of dishes like the "Fred Harvey inspired" prime rib for the less adventurous diner.
We ordered the elk with blackcurrant sauce (tender, with the tang of the fruit sauce picking up just as the richness of the meat ends) and the slightly less harmonious Native cassoulet (beans, duck leg confit, spicy game sausage, smoky Navajo lamp chop, and fresh corn). Add a bottle of Russian River Pinot Noir and we were happy travelers.
The next morning we picked up two dainty housemade cinnamon rolls from the restaurant to enjoy on our balcony; earthy-sweet-spicy and still warm from the oven.
Pics below with a few extra places. Thanks if you're still reading this!