Mexican and Southwest
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
If you ventured all the way to Sedona to find some good Mexican food, look no further than Elote Cafe (771 Hwy. 179, 928/203-0105, 5–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat., $13–20). Chef Jeff Smedstad has traveled through Mexico for more than 15 years, creating a flavor distillation of the country’s diverse cuisine, which runs deeper than tacos and refried beans. Be gluttonous and order an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The elote is a must: fire-roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime, and cotija cheese. Try the jicama and orange salad, and follow it up with the sweet-and-spicy lamb adobo or the braised pork in a tomatillo and pumpkinseed mole, a savory chocolate sauce native to Puebla, Mexico. The restaurant’s flavors will make a lasting impression on you.
If you’re in the mood for classic tacos or quesadillas, try El Rincon (336 Hwy. 179, 928/282-4648, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon., $5–15). The Mexican village atmosphere of Tlaquepaque provides a pleasant backdrop for the classic Sonoran-style cuisine that most Americans will recognize, like shredded-beef burritos, green chile and cheese enchiladas, and sweet corn tamales, served enchilada style with red or green chile sauce. The combination platters are a convenient way to taste a few highlights from the menu—complemented by a prickly pear margarita or Mexican beer, of course.
Javelina Cantina (671 Hwy. 179, 928/203-9514, 11:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily, $10–17) serves the best fajitas in town. A pan of beef, chicken, fish, or shrimp is brought to your table sizzling and popping alongside sautéed onions and peppers. The dish is served with plenty of warm tortillas, guacamole, and crème fraîche. ¡Dios mio! The restaurant is large but gets busy with families and large parties around dinnertime. And it’s no wonder that business is booming—the restaurant’s patio provides views of the majestic red rocks.
Oaxaca Restaurant (321 N. Hwy. 89A, 928/282-4179, $8–14) boasts a healthy approach to south-of-the-border fare. The menu was designed by a dietician and provides many guilt-free entrées, like grilled Arizona cactus with a zesty sauce of roasted tomatoes, red peppers, chiles, and almonds. The restaurant’s patio offers stunning views of Sedona’s red rocks, and there is great people-watching along the city’s main drag. If you just want to sip a margarita while you feast on nature’s eye candy, this is the place, as the views are better than the food.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition