From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast one-third fewer calories than regular smoothies.
Robeks uses the freshest ingredients to craft made-to-order drinks and eats that will make you feel guilt-free about grabbing a quick bite. Join the berry party with berry smoothies such as the Banzai Blueberry, Strawnana Berry, and Cranberry Quest, all of which pulverize fruit together with all-natural juice, non-fat yogurt or sherbet, and ice ($3.49 junior, $4.49 regular, $5.49 large). For more pulchritudinous pulverized pulp, energize your day with power smoothies, including the Cardio Cooler (with a base of passion fruit and mango juice), which blend juices, non-fat yogurt or sherbets, soy or whey protein, and vitamin boosters ($5.29 regular, $6.29 large) into an elixir that that will revitalize even the most workout-withered body. Bites include protein-packed Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels such as tomato parmesan or spinach feta ($2.49 each), and the hair-raising goodness of Lenny & Larry's power muffins or cookies with flavors such as oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed, and more ($1.99 each).
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.
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.
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.