Three restaurants in three nights; diet starts tomorrow

Rick and Eloise Baldauf agree with The Dunnery. Dine in Sedona at Rene’s was a treat.

Rick and Eloise Baldauf agree with The Dunnery. Dine in Sedona at Rene’s was a treat.

Many of our readers request reviews of restaurants outside the village limit. We took their requests to heart and outdid ourselves in June. First, on Sunday June 11, we attended Sedona Taste, a wonderful event held annually at Los Abrigados as a fundraiser for the Sedona Boys and Girls Clubs.

Many restaurants were represented there as well as several wineries, beverage suppliers and a catering company. We took notes and will be following up with visits to some of the entrants in the future.

During the last two weeks of June, Dine In Sedona was made available to the public. Nineteen restaurants participated by offering pre fixe three course menus at a modest ($19.95), classic ($29.95) or elegant (39.95) price. Marketplace Café and Grille at Shadowrock (Hilton) represented the village.

A website listed the menus for each entrant. We were pleased that every restaurant offered choices for each course. As we had only one of the two weeks open to attack this great deal, attack we did.

Our ground rules were 1) The restaurant had to be outside the village, 2) we had to like the menu choices and 3) we wanted to eat at restaurants that we don't ordinarily go to. Originally we were going to take in a restaurant from each price category, but we just couldn't pass up a chance to go to both Yavapai Restaurant at Enchantment and Rene at Tlaquepaque, both in the "elegant" category. We made reservations for those two and as the weather was perfect all week, we were able to take advantage of their patio dining.

Wednesday: Yavapai Restaurant at Enchantment Resort. Awed by the closeness of Boynton Canyon from the patio, we were greeted by server, Suzanne, who told us about the menu and explained that the excellent crusty rustic bread served with our meal was baked on sight using a formula from La Brea, Calif.

Remember how important great bread is to Suzie! Jeff started of with French Onion Soup, actually a duet of onion and apple soup, and followed it with medium rare Cedar River New York Strip. Suzie chose Organic Baby Spinach Salad finished with a light sherry vinaigrette and Pan-Seared Breast of Duck with Goat Cheese Gnocchi. Both appetizers and entrees were prepared exquisitely.

Finally, we were served the restaurant's signature dessert, Gold Leaf Chocolate Praline Raspberry Mousse & Passion Fruit Compote. Doesn't all that make your mouth water?

Jeff selected a known vintage, Campus Oak Zinfandel, to accompany our meal. While Suzie enjoyed an espresso, Restaurant Manager, Remazan Menekse shared with us his enthusiasm for Enchantment and its restaurants. We left with renewed "Red Rock Fever."

Thursday: Rene at Tlaquepaque. Our dear friends, Rick and Eloise Baldauf jumped at the chance to dine there with us. Hostess Debra seated us and server, Tony, enlightened us about the menu and wine offerings.

All agreed that AZ Stronghold Nachise would compliment our dinners. For appetizer, Jeff selected Escargot in Cabernet Butter while the rest of us had Seared Ostrich with Tri-Peppercorn Sauce.

For entrees, Eloise and Jeff had Tournedos Oscar, Suzie chose Poached Salmon with Raspberry Beurre Blanc and Rick had a delectable Mushroom Streudel. Tony earned an extra tip for getting Rick's order in for the last strudel available.

Again, we divided our dessert choices. Jeff and Suzie had Passion Fruit Panna Cotta (Italian cooked cream), Eloise, the Chocolate Mousse and Rick the Berries Gelato and Chambord (black raspberry liquor). We lingered over coffee, again commenting how wonderful the dining experience was.

Friday: Open Range Grill and Tavern. The restaurant located in the Sinaqua Plaza has vacillated between a Mexican Theme and an American bar/grill theme a couple times since we have lived here. This time it was the latter. The large dining room was cordoned off for a wedding reception this particular evening and the only patio table was occupied. We ate in the bar.

No problem. The staff was very attentive, good sports were on TV and everyone was chatty. First we shared Jalapeno Poppers and soup of the day, a tasty one called Baja Chicken Enchilada. We broke our promise to try different entrees because baby back ribs sounded too good. They were.

The half rack of ribs was accompanied by sides of fries or beans and cole slaw. Local brew fit the occasion.

Dessert was something we could have passed on, but we shared bites of apple cobbler and cheesecake. The meal was a good deal and we enjoyed being Uptown and mixing with our visitors.

Tomorrow: Diet. Seriously, early Saturday morning, we were off to Chama, New Mexico to be docents on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway. We worked off our poundage riding the rails for a week, but that's another story.

We really have appreciated the opportunity to sample so many meals from the great variety of restaurants that our area has to offer.

We hope our readers take note of these price conscious events and partake of them if and when they are offered. Thank you, restaurateurs for joining in on these special events. Thank you, Baldaufs. It is always a pleasure supping with you! To all our readers, health and happiness. Jeff and Suzie at The Dunnery.

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