Wed, Nov. 13

Dining at Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek perfect for anniversary celebrations

Eloise Baldauf being served her entree of pork chop in kumquat glaze. Photo courtesy of The Dunnery

Eloise Baldauf being served her entree of pork chop in kumquat glaze. Photo courtesy of The Dunnery

Another year whizzed by. It’s anniversary time. Rick and Eloise Baldaufs’ 45th and our 55th called for a special dinner in a special place.

Our friends Serge Gomez and Toni Martin shared pictures of their recent dinner at Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek (formerly Garlands, up the canyon on Oak Creek, 8067 N SR89A, before the switchbacks) and exclaimed that they had the best meal ever in Sedona. From frequent diners, that is a recommendation, if we ever heard one.

Experience dining at Garlands many years ago urged us to make reservations three weeks in advance of June 20. It was too early to know the menu.

The new owners have made changes basically in table set up and service. Reservations are usually open almost up to the day.

On the phone, Kimberly Tedford told us a pre-fixe dinner was served at 7 with cocktail hour at 6. The menu would be posted closer to the date. We would have the option of strolling the grounds any time before or after dinner.

The weather was perfect that Thursday and driving through Uptown seemed like a breeze from the backseat with Rick driving. Upon arrival, we did stroll up the driveway to the orchard and gardens and were impressed by the size and variety of vegetables growing.

Our friend Paula Potter later told us that the Master Gardeners were responsible for developing the garden we see today. As we walked back, we watched nearby deer browsing on the loaded apple trees. We were told the grape vines we saw were Concord grapes to be harvested in the fall.

In the main dining room, we enjoyed the cocktail hour while visiting with other guests, several of whom were celebrating anniversaries.

The walls of room were filled with historical photos and the adjacent room was filled with scrapbooks and others focused on the canyon. Being adventurous, three of us ordered the specialty cocktails but decided on beer and wine for our meals. Jeff, because of his firsthand knowledge of it, opted for the suggested dinner wine, The Pillsbury 2016 Roan Red, Cochise Co, AZ.

The dinner bell sounded at 7 and many more people joined us, overnight guests of the resort. Cabin, without kitchen facilities are available at reasonable prices.

The resort will provide breakfast and dinner for these guests. Soon tables were served.

That evening’s menu began with delicious Rustic Sourdough and compound butter that incorporated the spice, mace. (Mace is the outer covering on nutmeg and gives a hint of nutmeg.)

The chef infuses East Indian spices in many dishes as evidenced in the next course, chilled Celery Soup. The highlight for Suzie was the Mixed Greens salad (all from the property) tossed with pickled Ruby Onion, Chevre, Teardrop Peppers, Shaved Fennel, and Pistachios in a Curry Carrot Vinaigrette.

Everyone enjoyed the entrée, a very generous sirloin Pork Chop with Kumquat Glaze accompanied by Black Barley Pilaf, Black Cumin Cashew and Summer Squash Noodle.

Even though the dessert of Angel Food cake and Champagne Soaked Strawberry was unexciting, we thought the dinner was memorable and we would do it again, especially with a better idea of menu selection. The previous evening, Grouper had been the entrée, but then the date would not have been the 20th. Choices, choices, what are you going to do?

More information about Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek and its menus can be found on Facebook. Included is some of the history of the property, dating well before Garlands ownership. Call 1-928-282-3343 for reservations.

To Your health and Happiness, Jeff and Suzie at The Dunnery

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