If I had to rank my favorite foods of the world, I would definitely have to give serious consideration to Mexican cuisine. From my top Mexican and Latin restaurants in London, Ontario – Under the Volcano and El Ranchito, to various restaurants we’ve visited in our travels through Mexico and the American Southwest, the flavours and textures of good Mexican food is hard to beat. So when planning our culinary tour of Sedona, Arizona, the Elote Cafe was on the top of our list.
This has to be one of the most popular restaurants in Sedona. And the fact they don’t accept reservations means you should try to arrive early, or be prepared to sit outside on their back patio with a tasty beverage and wait for your name to be called. Now, the latter isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The patio features beautiful panoramic views of the Sedona red rock countryside. And there is a really fun and energetic atmosphere, with everyone enjoying a frosty Margarita or craft brew as they wait in anticipation for the next name to be called. And if its a bit chilly like on the evening we visited, you can always wrap yourself in one of the numerous Mexican blankets adorning the patio.
The decor at Elote Cafe has your typical Southwest/Mexican branding elements, but is classy and cosy at the same time. Beverage-wise, the Margaritas are excellent and there is also an interesting and eclectic mix of local and Mexican beers available. The Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA and Moose Drool Brown Ale (love the name and rustic logo) were the perfect compliment to the flavourful Mexican cuisine.
Speaking of food, I think I will start with our main courses and save the best for last. We went with one of the house specialties – the Lamb Adobo featuring braised Rosen Farms Colorado lamb shank, sweet and spicy Ancho chile sauce and cilantro crema. Super rich and flavourful dish with just the right amount of spice. We also went with the Carnitas – succulent slow-roasted all natural pork shoulder served with Arbol salsa, guacamole and pico de gallo. Another wonderful dish loaded with flavour.
One of things we love about Mexican food is ordering nacho chips, salsa and guacamole. I was really looking forward to trying their signature appetizer which also gives the restaurant its name – Elote. Rarely am I blown away by basically a dip, but this dish is incredibly delicious. Consisting of simple ingredients like fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime and Cotija cheese, we could not get enough of the stuff! We almost came to blows over the last couple of chip fulls and were tempted to order a second round. And the cool thing is, the restaurant offers a cookbook for sale – and the first dish I made sure was included was for Elote. I think it will become a regular offering at our home when entertaining over the summer. I know it will be a big hit. Highly recommended. For now, back to the cage.