BEST AUTHENTIC ARIZONA RESTAURANT Phoenix 2006 - Lon's at the Hermosa
We can't help but sigh when we think about Hermosa Inn and its beloved restaurant, Lon's. With its view of Camelback Mountain, its cozy patio fireplace, and trees and cactuses everywhere, the place oozes so much desert charm that we wish we could live there. (Yeah, only in our dreams . . . ) Of course, painter Lon Megargee did live there in the 1930s, and these days, the old-fashioned Arizona adobe ranch house that used to be his residence is home to one of the Valley's most memorable dining destinations. From the dining rooms to the intimate bar to the candlelit stone wine cellar, the ambiance is rustic and romantic, with antique Navajo rugs, wood-beamed ceilings, and Southwestern art throughout. And true to Megargee's artistic spirit, Lon's not only serves Friday night drink specials in Megargee's former art studio (a.k.a. "the Studio Lounge"), but also hosts its own artist-in-residence series, a four-course wine dinner and reception with a different talent every month. As for executive chef Michael Rusconi's creative menu, many of the ingredients are organic, locally grown, or even plucked straight out of the inn's own gardens. For a taste of the Southwest, try the moist cactus pear lacquered breast of duck, or the smoky, pepper-crusted pork tenderloin with prickly pear braised red cabbage. Mmm. We might not be able to move in, but on the bright side, we can't wear out our welcome at the dinner table, either.