This report is the next in a periodic series I have been posting as we travel to Sedona while my wife and I are in the process of building a house there. As opposed to past trips where we flew into PHX and just drove right to Sedona, this trip started in Las Vegas where I was on some business. We left Vegas on the morning of the 25th with plans to stop along the way at some landmarks on old Route 66. Our first stop was Kingman where we visited some museums. These were OK but nothing spectacular to write about. Our next stop was Seligman where we had lunch at Westside Lilo’s. Now this, on the other hand, was well worth a stop! We had read about this restaurant on some blogs and a book about Rte 66. I was afraid it would be touristy; expensive and mediocre. Fortunately, it was neither. The food was really good and the portions HUGE. If they have the pork green chili, don’t think twice…just order it. The special that day was that chili in a quesadilla complete with homemade refried beans. For desert they are famous for their carrot cake. We weren’t really hungry so ordered it to go. The brick of cake that came out was so large, we had to cut it in half and eat some just to get it to fit the takeout box. Really a lot of fun and food.
The rest of the drive to Sedona was uneventful with the exception of experiencing our first monsoon storms just west of Flagstaff. One second you are driving along in dry weather, and the next you can’t see in front of you. Quite impressive. Equally impressive were the the temperature changes. We left Vegas in >100 degree heat, dropped to the low 50s in the storm and entered a sunny, dry Sedona in the mid 80s. Once again we stayed at L’Auberge which we are beginning to think of as our home away from home. I have detected no changes whatsoever in the top level of service or the quality since the new owners took over. Still our favorite place to stay and highly recommended. That night we ate at Reds to meet some friends and hear Paolo Scardina sing in the lounge. If you are free on a Thursday evening, I recommend this even if you just go for drinks and not dinner.
Friday was spent in Cottonwood shopping for granite, tiles and the such. We weren’t particularly hungry by lunch time and tried to find some frozen yogurt or similar. Using another web travel review site, I was unable to locate anything in town other than a Dairy Queen. Instead, I just searched for restaurants and came up with Crema Café right in Old Town Cottonwood. This was a good find. They had a light menu, homemade gelato, a very nice patio for outdoor seating and one of the best homemade brownies I have ever tasted (and I DO consider myself an authority on the subject!) My wife and I split an egg and chili rubbed bacon sandwich which was quite good. The experience was only slightly diminished by a rather spaced out waiter whom we had to ask for everything about 3 times before it came. Friday evening we met some friends at Grapes in Jerome. This was another really enjoyable place. The menu tends towards lighter fare like sandwiches, pizza, burgers and the like. Mon-Fri they have a special for $5 glasses of wine which you can choose from an international selection of about 25 types. I understand that Thursday evening they do $5 pizzas. The food was excellent, as was the wine, for a really unbeatable price.
Saturday morning we decided to try a new hike. As it was sunny and hot, based on some of the input on this forum, we decided to try Fay Canyon. It is an easy 1.2 miles in, so just under 2.5 miles roundtrip. The terrain is totally flat and the majority of the hike is tree covered and shaded. I recommend this for a summer, short easy hike. We did Westfork in May and although having the Creek to cross does add to that experience, the walls of Fay Canyon are the classic Sedona Red Rocks making it quite beautiful whereas Westfork is, IMHO, less impressive. The rest of the day was pretty much down time at L’Auberge. Saturday night we tried the Spinach White Pizza at A Pizza Heaven. This had recently been written up in Sedona Monthly magazine as one of the top pizzas in town. We have to agree with that. Spinach, garlic, mozzarella and EVOO…what can be bad. The crust was a very thin NY style which makes sense when we found out that the owner is from Connecticut.
Sunday morning we drove down to Montezuma’s Castle and Well. We had been to the Well with our kids about 14 years ago but this was the first time at the Castle. I know that some of the folks on this forum prefer, and recommend the Well, but, frankly, we found the Castle a bit more interesting. Both are close to each other and the Well is free, the Castle costs $5 per person, so both are worth seeing if you have the chance.
Along with brownies, one of my gastro-hobbies is tea. Sedona has, quite surprisingly given the population, been missing a really fine tea purveyor. This has now changed. Eileen and Dan, computer folks from Chicago, recently gave up the corporate race and opened Trailhead Tea in the Creekside Plaza near the “Y”. We happened upon this 3 month old shop and I was impressed by the selection of black, white, green and even yellow teas along with the herbal and fruit infusions formally known as “tisanes”. They even had a gold tip Yunnan that I search for all over the country. My wife and I spent a pleasant hour or so talking tea, home building in Sedona and trying some of their product. I am a big believer in supporting local businesses and I want this one to survive so please check it out.
Sunday night we had dinner with friends at Dahl & DiLuca. This was our second time and again, had an excellent meal. D&D consistently comed up as one of the top restaurants in town for good reason. Some of it may have to do with the consistent presence of the owner, Lisa Dahl going from table to table checking up on things.
On our last day, Monday, we primarily took it easy, relaxing for breakfast creekside at L’Auberge and doing more home building business. The only thing to report was dinner at Pisa Lisa, Lisa Dahl’s newest restaurant. Some locals with whom we spoke had shaky experiences with the service here in the first few weeks of after opening. There was no sign of this on a rather quiet Monday evening were we had very good service and pizza. I highly recommend the White Siciliana which was an unusual and surprisingly refreshing mix of white pizza topped with very thin lemon slices cooked into the cheese and topped with fresh arugula. Both the lemon rind and the arugula add a bit of a bitter tang. It sounds a bit odd but works well.
Sorry for going on for so long but it was a 5 night trip and I wanted to cover highlights for anyone planning a visit.