The Hermosa Inn is one of the Valley’s hidden gems. Tucked away in a posh residential neighborhood of Paradise Valley, The Hermosa Inn is a historical desert hideaway with Southwestern charm, making them a special destination for locals and tourists alike since 1941. In addition, their on-site restaurant, LON’s at the Hermosa, is just as exceptional in its appeal. The restaurant is a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant renowned for its globally inspired Arizona fare. So, it is no wonder why the during the beautiful Arizona holiday season the restaurant is so busy. In fact, Executive Chef Jeremy Pacheco mentioned that LON’s was hosting 600 guests for Thanksgiving this year! During this time of year, the LON’s event calendar is filled with special dinners featuring guest chefs, beer and wine seminars, and cooking classes. It is truly an entertaining and delicious way to experience LON’s lauded culinary and wine program.
Holiday Cooking on the Grill
As part of their Art of Cooking Series this November, Chef Pacheco taught his annual holiday cooking class. The theme was how to cook an entire holiday meal on the grill, which I felt was ambitious. However, they proved me wrong. To begin, a gargantuan Cowboy Cauldron sat just outside the dining venue behind the demonstration table. Guests then followed along through a packet of recipes for every dish that day. Chef Pacheco and Chef Alejandro Martinez started the class with a whole uncooked turkey which they butchered and brined in front of us. And while the body of the turkey was cooking on the grill, chef put the leg and thigh meat through a meat grinder and made fresh turkey sausage. Chef Martinez also demonstrated how to prepare a rack of bone-in ribeye steaks. He frenched, loop-tied with twine and then grilled all seven ribs to perfection.
Next the chefs showed us how to make the side dishes. This included maple roasted sweet potatoes, turkey spoon bread (a soufflé-like stuffing), and Brussels sprouts. The chefs cooked all side dishes on the grill, as well. And of course, there was a cranberry sauce recipe. However, what was striking about it was the fact that it did not require cooking! What an incredible method! The only other no-cook dishes were a chimichurri dressing for the steak and a fennel, arugula, and citrus salad. The vinaigrette dressing for the salad featured a chocolate olive oil from local Queen Creek Olive Mill. The flavor was positively unexpected and rounded out the menu nicely.
During the class, Sommelier Scott Clore lead the wine pairing discussion and suggested wines suitable for multiple courses and group settings. By the end of the class, we sampled five complementary varietals and received a list of terrific holiday wines to add to our repertoire.
Effortless and Efficient
All in all, I was thoroughly impressed by how painless and fast this meal came together. Two chefs created a filling holiday meal feeding twelve guests, consisting of two main meats and several sides, all of which took two hours, start to finish. And the only main cooking source was from a single, albeit large, grill. It makes me question why I ever bothered dealing with an oven and spending half of the day cooking on Thanksgiving. Even though we did not have a crash course on holiday desserts, which can be a class on its own, I honestly did not have much room to consume any more. As a result, I walked away from this class full. Although I will be entering the holiday cooking season armed with great recipes and grilling tips.
LON’s offers this class only once a year and seating is limited. I highly recommend making reservations early of this class. For more information about future cooking classes and events at LON’s at the Hermosa, please visit their website: http://www.hermosainn.com & http://www.lons.com. For reservations, please call (602) 955-7878.
- Gingerbread House Cooking Class
- Saturday, December 17 & Sunday, December 18, 11am-1pm, $69 per house
- The Lovers’ Grill Cooking Class and Wine Seminar
- Saturday, February 4, 2017, 11am-1pm, $89++