At Hog Wild Restaurant, Dawn and Mike West marinate their baby back ribs for hours and slow-smoke their beef brisket and pork. It’s this Chicago-style “low-and-slow” cooking method that has helped the couple—who opened a pair of restaurants in the Windy City before relocating to Cottonwood—repeatedly win the Verde Valley Readers’ Choice Award for Best Barbecue in the Verde Independent. And the good press doesn’t end there; in 2009, the eatery earned recognition as one of the top six barbecue places in Arizona from the Arizona Republic, which praised the cooks for their “unforgettable” baby back ribs with “pitch-perfect sweet sauce.”
Hog Wild supplements its tender beef brisket, pulled pork, and ribs with nonbarbecue items, fittingly from the Wests’ hometown. Italian beef sandwiched between Chicago’s soft Gonnella bread, Italian sausages, and hot dogs topped with very specific fixings round out the menu.
In about a century's time, the city of Cottonwood has gone from mining to artisan cheese making, Al Capone to craft beers. Once known as the bootleg capital of Arizona, it later served as a location for Wild West films before becoming a destination for fine foods. Old Town fixture Crema Cafe reaches out to neighborhood pubs, bistros, bakeries, and chocolatiers to assemble afternoons of strolling, sipping, snacking, and soaking up history for vacationers and hungry locals alike.
The Orion Bread Co.'s bakers craft natural, additive-free breads with an involved bread-making process. The Taylor family's hefty ovens churn out white french bread, challah, three types of rye bread, and six styles of loaf derived from a redrock sourdough base. The Old Town bakery also operates a café, where it serves pastries, espresso drinks, and sandwiches piled betwixt slices of fresh bread.
The Taylor family has a running joke that the Orion constellation wields a baguette and peel instead of a sword and shield. More than lending the shop his name and guiding bakers lost at sea, Orion holds a special meaning for the Taylors. Coowner Ryan grew up under the aegis of Orion, and it was that celestial hunter that shone in the sky in 2006 when his wife, Trecia, gave birth to their first son, Eron Dee Orion Taylor. The Taylor family itself forms a loving constellation that sustains the natural bakery from day to day—behind the scenes, Ryan's parents, Mark and Hellga, knead bread side by side with their son and Trecia.
The Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa seduces sojourners with lavish quarters, boutique-style hotel amenities, and a full-service spa on premises. Rekindle old flames in one of the deluxe Sedona guest rooms, which boast Spanish- and Mediterranean-inspired interiors and lush linens. The overhead rain-shower in the private bathroom cascades gentle drops, complimentary WiFi hovers in the atmosphere, and most rooms are outfitted with a patio or step-out Euro-balcony overlooking the garden or pool. After a soothing sleepover in a king- or two queen-sized beds topped with super plush pillow-top mattresses and covered with down comforters, feast upon mouthwatering comfort foods at Red’s Restaurant, which boasts live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday evenings.
Sunlight spills across Sedona's red rocks, causing the sandstone to glow with brilliant reds and oranges. Shugrues Hillside Grill sits by a nearby hill, its walls of windows and its outdoor patio enveloping customers in the area's natural beauty. This scenic locale is the workplace of Chef Michael Mullins, his wife Shelly, and two of their children, but it’s also home to the chef’s critically acclaimed seafood menu. Inside, visitors can peek at the restaurant's Best Seafood of Sedona Awards, which its website claims it has won more than 20 years in a row. It’s an impressive feat, but perhaps not a surprise to anyone who's met Chef Mullins, or snuck a surveillance device into his chef's hat.
To complete his menu, the chef flies in fish from around the world, bringing a taste of the sea to Arizona. On any given night, he can be seen grilling, sautéing, and blackening ahi tuna, or stuffing fried tilapia with crab, though diners aren't restricted to seafood. He also braises racks of lamb, grills steaks, and whips up a full weekend brunch menu with favorites such as buttermilk biscuits and gravy. Imported wines, beer, and specialty cocktails also complement each dining experience.