Sweet Eats

Continued (page 3 of 4)

Profiteroles at Mesa Grill

The Sedona Airport’s Mesa Grill might be the new kid on the block when it comes to Sedona restaurants, but chefs Gonzalo Ramirez and Alberto M. Anaya have already made a big splash with the profiteroles dessert. Three homemade puff pasties are filled with mango, vanilla-bean and chocolate gelatos. Chocolate, caramel and raspberry sauces are drizzled on the plate, and the dessert is garnished with fresh mango, blackberries and raspberries. In a word: irresistible.

The mango gelato is our favorite, but it’s the puff pastries that are the star of this dessert. The puffs are fluffy and light as air, making this treat a cool and refreshing way to end your meal. On the plate, the colorful profiteroles resembles a dessert version of sliders – despite the elegant name, this is not a pretentious dessert. “It’s our signature dessert,” says Marc Battistini, Mesa Grill’s owner. “We are an American grill, but we like to be creative. Later this year, we are going to add Grand Marnier and chocolate soufflés to our menu.” Our mouths are watering already!

Mesa Grill, 1185 Airport Mesa Road in West Sedona (928-282-2400)

Goat Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Cream and Tropical Fruit Salsa at René at Tlaquepaque

Cheesecake is cheesecake, right? Not in the hands of Executive Chef Walter Paulson, who has been creating culinary masterpieces at René at Tlaquepaque for 19 years. Last New Year’s Eve, on the heels of his very popular margarita cheesecake, Walter debuted his latest creation: Goat Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Cream and Tropical Fruit Salsa. It was such a hit he brought it back for Valentine’s Day and then again this summer and fall. “All of our desserts are made in-house,” says Deborah Leatherwood, restaurant owner. “We took the goat cheesecake off the menu for a while, and our local clientele asked us to bring it back. Walter doesn’t get out of the kitchen very often – he doesn’t realize we think he makes something more special than the average cheesecake.

Walter uses cream cheese, sour cream, chèvre and lime juice for the cheesecake – the crust is a moist concoction of vanilla wafer cookies and butter. It all adds up to the lightest, creamiest cheesecake we’ve tasted. The goat cheese and lime juice cut the sweetness and give the dessert a pleasant tartness while the passion-fruit cream and the fruit salsa (strawberries, pineapple and papaya) are pleasantly sweet. The chèvre is subtle but unmistakable, and it’s what makes the cake truly memorable. But Walter will tell you it’s not the goat cheese that has made this dessert a local’s favorite. “The most important ingredient is love,” he says.

René at Tlaquepaque, 336 SR 179 at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (928-282-9225)

Chocolate Chimichanga at The Grille at ShadowRock

In keeping with its theme of Southwest cuisine with a twist, The Grille at ShadowRock at the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa offers a decadent chocolate chimichanga dessert. The treat was the brainchild of former sous chef Shannon Plowman who created it six years ago. A large chocolate tortilla is stuffed with cream cheese, fire-roasted apples and cinnamon. The sweet burrito is then rolled in cinnamon and sugar, and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Creamy-smooth dulce de leche ice cream is served on the side. “It’s definitely one of our top-selling desserts,” says Senior Sous Chef Michael Osterman.

The combination of sweet and salty plus the different textures is what makes this one of our favorite desserts. The tortilla is flaky and crisp thanks to the cinnamon crust while the tart cream cheese filling melts in your mouth. Large chunks of plump apples are tucked inside the cream cheese and make for an unexpected treat. The dulce de leche ice cream adds just the right amount of sweetness and truly completes the dessert. For those with an especially large sweet tooth, listen up: This dessert is big – two people can easily share it and still leave a little on the plate (well, maybe).

The Grille at ShadowRock at the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, 90 Ridge Trail Drive in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-4040)

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