ROYAL BEET BURGER: $16
Chef Lisa Dahl is adding another restaurant to her Sedona restaurant portfolio. Her newest creation? Butterfly Burger, slated to open this summer. And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you might not think that a restaurant with the word “burger” in the name wouldn’t have anything to offer you. But you’d be (pleasantly) surprised here. Dahl told us she’s always taken vegetarian and vegan menu items seriously. One of her veggie-centric creations? The Royal Beet Burger − a play on the “where’s the beef” or impossible burgers − burgers that taste real, but aren’t. The beet and quinoa “patty” is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, just like an authentic beef patty. The patty is then glazed with pomegranate teriyaki and chevre, topped with organic arugula salad and pickled red onion and served on a wholegrain toasted bun with fennel cilantro slaw.
BUTTERFLY BURGER, 6657 AZ-179 in the Village of Oak Creek (butterflyburger.com)
CORNED BEEF & CHUTNEY: $9
When you think of ways to cool down on a hot summer’s night, your first thought probably isn’t “eat a sandwich.” But that’s just because you’ve never tasted the Corned Beef & Chutney sandwich at Mooney’s Irish Pub. The entire sandwich is light, spicy and cold − perfect for summer’s sweltering months. This sandwich − a perfect addition to an Irish pub’s menu − features sliced and cold cut corned beef that served in a toasted ciabatta bun and served with organic salad greens and sliced tomato, with one special “twist.” The twist being a spicy habanero mango ginger chutney that’s smeared on the bun top in place of the more traditional sauerkraut. The chutney gives this sandwich a pleasant and surprising “kick.”
MOONEY’S IRISH PUB, 671 AZ-179 in Hillside Sedona (928-282-2331 / mooneysirishpubsedona.com)
BEEF AND ONIONS TAMALE: $7
Although not a sandwich in a traditional sense, a tamale is filling between masa. And our one and only criteria for a sandwich? Bread plus filling, which means tamales are close enough. And the filling in the beef and onions tamale is top quality. Owner and Chef Claudia Gonzalez told us her husband asked her to create a tamale with big, bold flavor. And here’s what she made: First, beef is prepared barbacoa-style and marinated for a whole night. Next, the beef is slow cooked for 12 hours in gold onions, red pepper and guajillo peppers (the chef’s father’s favorite). No oils. Not fried. Just pure beef. The beef filling is then topped with guajillo sauce and wrapped in an easy-to-hold-and-eat corn husk. Be sure to head to Tamaliza early to nab one; these frequently sell out.
TAMALIZA, 1115 W. AZ-89A in West Sedona (928-202-9056 / sedonatamaliza.com)
EGG SAMMIE: $9
The story of the Egg Sammie is really a love story. The Egg Sammie at Indian Gardens Café and Market was inspired by egg sandwiches at Kono’s Café, a spot in Pacific Beach, San Diego, where proprietor Daniel Garland Jr. and his wife Monica Garland first met. Nearly every Saturday the couple would ride their bikes or skateboard down to the beach to start their day off with a breakfast sandwich and Kono’s potatoes. When they moved back to Sedona, they wanted to bring a taste of Kono’s back to their home town. So they developed the Egg Sammie − scrambled egg, organic baby arugula, cheddar cheese, pesto mayo and house hot sauce served on a grilled English muffin with your choice of a side of potatoes or fruit. A perfect, hearty way to start the day, if we may say so ourselves.
INDIAN GARDENS CAFÉ AND MARKET, 3951 N. AZ-89A in Oak Creek Canyon (928-282-7702 / indiangardens.com)
FRENCH DIP : $12
PJ’s Village Pub has been in business since 1974. And this classic haunt serves up one of the most classic sandwiches around: the French Dip. General manager Nicole Lehnertz tell us that PJ’s best-selling French Dip is as fresh as can be. And she’s not exaggerating. PJ’s French Dip is made with Certified Angus Beef that’s sliced in house and cooked-to-order. PJ’s water- and beef-based au jus, the dip that accompanies this signature sandwich, is simmering in the kitchen all day. The sandwich is served on a generously sized eight-inch Hoagie roll that provides a good bread-to-meat ratio says Nicole. As the French would say, “très bien.”
PJ’S VILLAGE PUB, 40 W. Cortez Dr. in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-2250 / pjsvillagepub.com)
TURKEY SANDWICH: $13
Sure, you could just eat turkey sandwiches around Thanksgiving. Most people probably do. But why cheat yourself out of something so delicious by having it just once a year? The turkey sandwich on the menu at The Asylum Restaurant − part of the hospital-turned hotel, the Jerome Grand Hotel − has been serving its Turkey Sandwich for 18 years. And a sandwich doesn’t stay on the menu for that long unless it’s good. The turkey is roasted in house and then hand carved to keep the meat juicier and then topped with red onion, extra creamy cream cheese and crisp lettuce. Choice ingredients include: sweet and spicy chutney − made from an apricot reduction, chipotle chilies, dried apricot and a variety of fruit juices, herbs and vinegar. The sandwich is topped with watercress − a natural digestif and a leafy green that grows alongside Oak Creek. The dish is served with your choice of fresh seasonal fruit, cottage cheese or fries. If you’re lucky and can snag a seat by the windows at The Asylum Restaurant, you can enjoy this filling sandwich as you take in sweeping views of the Verde Valley.
THE ASYLUM RESTAURANT, 200 Hill St. in Jerome (928-639-3197 / asylumrestaurant.com)
AVOCADO HERB SANDWICH: $12
We love a good veggie sandwich, and ChocolaTree’s avocado herb sandwich is loaded with healthy greens. This sandwich has been on the menu since shortly after the restaurant opened back in 2009. And like most of the food on the restaurant’s entire menu, the sandwich’s creation was largely organic. Restaurant co-creator Radhika Jen Marie’s signature onion flat bread was gaining popularity. Clover sprouts were popping up in the restaurant’s garden. That same garden was overflowing with herbs and led Chef Joy Honeybee Light to create the herb pate that’s made with thyme and parsley. Put it all together and what do you have: creamy herbed pate, avocado, sliced tomatoes, clover sprouts and seasonal greens sandwiched between onion flat bread − and one downright delicious sandwich.
CHOCOLATREE ORGANIC OASIS, 1595 W. AZ-89A in West Sedona (928-282-2997 / chocolatree.com)
SOUTHWEST STEAK SANDWICH: $16
Thomas Bruge, director of food and beverage for Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, wanted to put a Southwestern spin on a traditional sandwich. His creation? A steak sandwich that he described as the “best sandwich” on the menu at the hotel’s restaurant REDS. The kitchen crew takes quality scraps from prime New York strip, filet mignon and choice sirloin − and then sautées the entire blend on the grill to create the filling. The sandwich is completed with onions, Poblano peppers, red peppers, Havarti cheese and horseradish aioli that’s served on a baguette from Village Baker in Flagstaff.
REDS RESTAURANT, 2250 W. AZ-89A at Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa in West Sedona (928-340-5321 / sedonarouge.com)
THE REUBEN: $14
You can (almost) never go wrong with a classic. And when it comes to sandwiches, it doesn’t get more classic than a Reuben. And Steakhouse89’s Reuben has been on the menu since the steakhouse’s early days. Customers can look forward to smoked-in-house brisket for the corned beef, an old fashioned Russian dressing (it’s a secret recipe that’s similar to a Thousand Island) and real German sauerkraut that’s all served on a marble rye. Quality ingredients plus one classic sandwich recipe equals one sure-to-satisfy entree.
STEAKHOUSE89, 2620 W. AZ-89A in West Sedona (928-204-2000 / steakhouse89.com)
AHI TUNA BURGER: $17
Fish sandwiches are vastly underrated and underrepresented, in our humble opinion. And that’s why we’re thrilled that Chef Mercer Mohr has an Ahi Tuna Burger on his Creekside menu. Mercer told us that tuna tartar was very popular when he moved to Sedona back in 2008. One day, he pressed the diced and spiced tuna tartar into a metal-ring mold, seared it on a hot griddle and − and much to diners’ future delights − a tuna burger patty was born. Fish is flown in fresh from Hawaii twice per week. The seared rare tuna burger is made with green onion, fresh ginger, shallots, ponzu and wasabi aioli and served with French fries. Wrap it in lettuce to make it keto-friendly. But no matter how you order it, enjoy the fish.
CREEKSIDE SEDONA, 251 AZ-179 in Sedona (928-282-1705 / creeksidesedona.com)
WE ASKED LOCAL SANDWICH MAKERS
WHAT MAKES A GREAT SANDWICH?
“Some people say that a sandwich is only as good as its bread, and on some level, I’d have to agree. While we don’t have the facility to bake all of our own bread, we do bake a naturally leavened rustic sourdough loaf every day. We sell it in our market and offer as a substitute for all of our sandwiches. My wife, Monica, would tell you that a great sandwich has equal distribution of all ingredients, so that you can enjoy all of the flavors in every bite, and I think that is a great take too. Personally, I think the best sandwiches are made of a combination of ingredients that hit most of the basic taste sensations−sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami.”
-Daniel Garland Jr., proprietor of Indian Gardens Cafe & Market
“Simply put? People like tasty, delicious, nutritious foods.”
– Radhika Jen Marie, co-creator of ChocolaTree
“When I was a teenager, I had a hippy avocado sandwich stand and sold my unique veggie sandwiches at music concerts. Wherever I sold them, people would stand in line for my veggie delights, and back then, vegetarian was certainly not all the rage.
Since then, I have carried the same philosophy as I have now. A sandwich is a metaphor of culinary perfection. Every single layer matters. For me, it’s about taking each ingredient and giving it its own personality to achieve the “OMG effect.”
I believe that I have won the Scottsdale Culinary Festival’s Burger Battle because I take every detail of creating my tantalizing burgers as seriously as a heart attack. It doesn’t matter if it’s a roasted vegetable panini or a gourmet burger, I think of sandwichmaking as an art form of its own. I believe in customizing the special seasoning and sauces for each sandwich to shine on its own. It’s serious business, and I like being in the game.”
– Lisa Dahl, chef of Butterfly Burger
“A good sandwich is like a whole balanced meal in one unit. That’s why they can be so satisfying: you have salad and cheese, veggies, proteins from legumes, fish and a variety of meats, fats (from spreads and the like), basically lots of layered flavors and textures, and of course, a good bread you love.”
-Richard Pasich, chef and owner of The Asylum Restaurant