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Lon's at the Hermosa Meet-and-Greet with Chef Jeremy Pacheco

Aji pepper-marinated royal red shrimp with garden citrus, avocado, shaved vegetables & yuzu vinaigrette
Aji pepper-marinated royal red shrimp with garden citrus, avocado, shaved vegetables & yuzu vinaigrette
Photo: Jennifer Woods

We walked into Lon's at the Hermosa Tuesday evening just as the sun was setting and turning a bright orange -- while everything else on the horizon turned into one big black silhouette. Lucky us. We were there for a media dinner, a chance to meet Chef Jeremy Pacheco and learn more about Lon's, by way of an intimate sampling of the restaurant's menu surrounded by stacks of books and gilded framed cowboy art.

Lon's was quick to create us a fancy non-alcoholic libation, which arrived as a perfect sweet pulpy cooler with muddled strawberry, basil and grapefruit.
Lon's was quick to create us a fancy non-alcoholic libation, which arrived as a perfect sweet pulpy cooler with muddled strawberry, basil and grapefruit.
Photo: Jennifer Woods

Lon's history as a cowboy artist's home is long (since the 1930s), but the hotel and restaurant as we know them have been around only since the late 90's. But this is definitely Old Arizona -- in a good way.

Lon's at the Hermosa Meet-and-Greet with Chef Jeremy Pacheco

We were presented with a choice of entrees; the rest of the menu was served family-style, served with wine pairings from Arizona's own Pillsbury Wine Company.

This was the razzle-dazzle dish of cook-to-your-liking ahi tuni presented on a screaming hot Himalayan sea salt brick. Chef Pacheco poured the sauce over the fish to demonstrate just how sizzling-hot the salt slab remained after being pulled out of the oven.
This was the razzle-dazzle dish of cook-to-your-liking ahi tuni presented on a screaming hot Himalayan sea salt brick. Chef Pacheco poured the sauce over the fish to demonstrate just how sizzling-hot the salt slab remained after being pulled out of the oven.
Photo: Jennifer Woods

Since becoming executive chef about a year ago, Jeremy Pacheco, who is a ninth generation (crazy, huh?!) Arizonan, grew up eating farm-to-table before it was oh-so-trendy, making fresh masa for tamales using fresh sweet corn on his family farm in Marana, near Tucson. In fact, Lon's sources wheat from Pacheco's father's farm to make Lon's house gnocchi. Lon's on-site chef's garden soon will be planted with the help of Singh Farms, which has wisely incorporated its compost/chef garden program at many restaurants around the Valley.

 

Above angle of the tangled shaved vegetables with sweet and soft rock shrimp starter.
Above angle of the tangled shaved vegetables with sweet and soft rock shrimp starter.
Photo: Jennifer Woods

Our whole roasted snapper came with the tail and skin on, stuffed with whole fresh herb leaves and brightly flavored acidic additions of braised fennel, artichoke, peppers and black olives in a flavorful broth.

We ordered the whole roasted yellowtail snapper with braised fennel, artichoke, peppers, olives and garden herb salad.
We ordered the whole roasted yellowtail snapper with braised fennel, artichoke, peppers, olives and garden herb salad.
Photo: Jennifer Woods

An order of every side was prepared and available for tasting at the table. All would be nice choices with a meal, but the standouts for us were the truffle goat cheese macaroni and the A-1 Beer-battered maitake mushroom with soy ketchup. The macaroni was light but left us begging for more bites, as you would expect from truffled anything. The mushroom had a unique form (maitake mushrooms have a thin, ruffled shape) that lent itself nicely to a crispy coating with the deeply flavored soy ketchup sauce.

Never too stuffed for dessert, we sampled offerings including tiramisu, huckleberry pie with creme fraiche ice cream, and apple fritters with ginger ice cream.

The whimsically presented tiramisu served in a thin chocolate "coffee mug."
The whimsically presented tiramisu served in a thin chocolate "coffee mug."
Photo: Bethany Dinoffria
Blood Orange Tres Leche Cake with garden mint puree and blood orange sauce. The goat's milk caramel (cajeta) in this dessert was from goat's milk sourced locally and the citrus from Lon's garden and Bob McClendon.
Blood Orange Tres Leche Cake with garden mint puree and blood orange sauce. The goat's milk caramel (cajeta) in this dessert was from goat's milk sourced locally and the citrus from Lon's garden and Bob McClendon.
Photo: Jennifer Woods

Lon's feels special without being fussy and Chef Pacheco clearly is taking the food seriously -- but he appears to really enjoy what he does and doesn't take himself too seriously. Guests took home a gift bag of infused chocolate (we imagine these might be placed on the guest room pillows), a take home Himalayan rock salt brick and bottle Queen Creek Olive Mill Mexican Lime Olive Oil and a recipe to recreate the dish at home.

Himalayan Salt Rock Curing Technique Chef Jeremy Pacheco, Lon's at the Hermosa Inn

Procedure Before using the salt rock for the first time its needs to be cured.

Place the salt on a baking pan in a cool oven. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees. Let salt sit at 200 degrees for 30 minutes; turn the oven up to 450 degrees and let it come to temperature for 45 minutes.

Salt is ready to cook on. Place raw fish on top and allow cooking to desired doneness.

Let salt cool down and rinse with cool water, using a brush to remove debris. Dry with towel. The salt can be used many times in hot or cold applications.

Ceviche Sauce Chef Jeremy Pacheco, Lon's at the Hermosa Inn

Ingredients 2 limes, juiced and zested 1 t. sugar 1 ea. garlic 1/2 ea. jalapeno 1 T. cilantro, chopped 1 t. Dijon mustard 2 T. soy sauce 1 cup Mexican lime oil

Procedure Place all ingredients except the lime oil in a blender. Puree all ingredients until smooth; slowly pour in the lime oil to emulsify.

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Lon's at the Hermosa

5532 N. Palo Cristi Road
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

602-955-7878

www.hermosainn.com/lons


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