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.
If drinking tea makes one wise, WhiteAugust has more wisdom than a microfiche containing two centuries of Greek philosophy. Green teas such as the Meyer-lemon-infused Playful Daydream ($5.50 for 50g, $10.50 for 100g) and the raspberry- and pomegranate-flavored Morning Geisha ($9.25/$17.75) satisfy the greenest cravings, while spicily colorful Kaleidoscope ($5.95/$9.95) and bold, vanilla-beaned Constellations ($15/$29.95) represent the richness of moderately caffeinated black teas. Whites, oolongs, herbal reme-teas, and the audacious new Camellia Sin teas help round out an impressive collection of rejuvenating extracts that will soon overflow and overwhelm the earth with pungent potabilities.
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).
Twisted Cultures Yogurt Bar cools off arid mouths with active culture frozen yogurt blended with flavors such as caramel, peanut butter, and strawberry. Traditional recipes and treats churned without sugar, fat, gluten, or dairy swirl into damask-patterned paper cups at a self-serve station before sliding down a buffet of toppings housing marshmallows, cookies, nuts, and fruit. In a nod to both its name and yogurt ingredients, Twisted Cultures takes a "multicultural" approach to its decorating scheme, adorning its walls with international artwork and glamour shots of Ban Ki-moon.
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.