Dining at The Turquoise Room in Winslow, Arizona
If you find yourself standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, then a visit to the award-winning Turquoise Room Restaurant is an absolute must.
In fact, if you find yourself anywhere in Northern Arizona, do yourself a favor and make a reservation to sample the cuisine of one of the southwest’s most sought-after chefs.
A semi-finalist nominated by the James Beard Foundation as “Best Chef: Southwest” in 2012, Chef John Sharpe had earned an illustrious reputation with a string of very successful restaurants in Orange County, California before chucking it all to leave “the congested and hectic life of Southern California”.
While visiting friends, who had been asking him for the past few years to come to Winslow, he and his wife Patricia decided to move to Winslow and open The Turquoise Room Restaurant inside of the historic La Posada Hotel.
It quickly became one of the finest restaurants in Northern Arizona drawing a clientele from far and wide.
Chef John is committed to the cause of both the Slow Foods movement (alternative to fast food) and the Chef’s Collaborative (promoting sustainable cuisine).
A delightful first impression of dining at The Turquoise Room is certain to be that it is housed within the historic La Posada Hotel.
La Posada is “the last great railroad hotel” built in 1929 by the Santa Fe Railway for the Fred Harvey Company, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel’s architect, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, famous for her magnificent buildings at the Grand Canyon, considered La Posada her masterpiece.
Alright, let’s get down to our dining experience.
We started our gastronomical journey with Piki Bread with Hopi Hummus.
Piki (or piki bread) is a rolled bread made by the Hopi with nixtamalized corn meal. Blue corn and culinary ash give it a dark grayish-blue color. The light, thin sheets are dry to the point of brittleness and have a delicate corn flavor. It is considered the Hopi version of the tortilla. (via wikipedia)
Our waiter instructed us that the piki breads were hand-rolled on hot rocks by Joyce Saufkie of Second Mesa, a nearby Hopi Reservation. Although their brittleness made them a bit difficult to eat, we enjoyed sampling such a unique appetizer crafted by local artisans.
Accompanying our piki bread was Chef John’s version of Bad-dap-suki. A hummus made with reservation grown Tepary beans, pit roasted corn, and sunflower oils.
Not to be missed is Chef John’s Signature Soup (creamy sweet corn in the same bowl with smooth and spicy black bean topped with a signature of spicy chile cream).
Wow! Absolutely delish!
As we were traveling with friends, we have three entrées to share with you.
First up is Grilled Chicken Breast with Tomatillo Sauce and Tamale (grilled breast of chicken with a green chile, tomatillo sauce,
their famous sweet corn tamale, black beans and fresh vegetables). The chicken was an 8oz all natural skin-on drumstick and attached breast, and was hormone and antibiotic free by “Harvest Land”.
Not only was it tasty, but it was beautiful to look at. And oh, the tamale might just have been a show stealer!
Our friend Bob prefers heart-healthy options, and greatly enjoyed the Killer Vegetable Platter (steamed fresh vegetables, grilled tofu, sweet corn tamale, red caboose mashed potatoes, grilled fresh corn, grilled mild chili stuffed with three cheeses, wild mushroom corn custard and a crispy fried egg roll filled with red, brown and black sticky rice, roasted chile and jicama).
There was no shortage of smiles coming from Bob’s direction. In fact, I don’t think he said a word until he cleaned his plate clean!
As I (David) enjoy a little adventure in my dining experiences, I opted for Navajo Churro Lamb, a Three-way Sampler (green chile lamb from the shoulder served over sweet corn tamale, a small bowl of posole topped with lamb sausage, a grilled medallion served on a mound of Gilfeather Rutabaga purée with mint and garlic jus).
Oh my sweet Lord in heaven, that was good. So many flavors to enjoy.
Now, we were all starting to get very full bellies, but waiter Richard insisted that we sample The Turquoise Room’s famous Double Chocolate Grand Marnier Soufflé.
My photograph says it all, right! Pure heaven!
What an absolutely delightful and delicious experience.
Dear friends, as I mentioned above, if you find yourself on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, make certain that you get yourselves to The Turquoise Room. It’s such a fine dining experience “to see”.
The Turquoise Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Link: The Turquoise Room
Disclosure: our wonderful dining experience was provided by the kind folks at The Turquoise Room. Thanks!
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