Saturday, October 6, 2012

Here Were Our Choices

For lunch, I mean. We could drive about twenty-five miles south to Kayenta, AZ. We could drive about twenty-five miles north to Mexican Hat, UT. We could go back to the Goulding’s complex and eat at the Lodge. Or we could stay within Monument Valley and eat at the restaurant at the View Hotel with its wall of windows promising spectacular views of the valley.
Even though I am always dubious about restaurants within major scenic attractions, the choice was a “no-brainer.”

“The View Hotel is a Navajo-owned business located within the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Park at Monument Valley. Opened in December 2008, we feature carefully designed accommodations that serve the needs of visitors from around the world while blending with the environment so as not to detract from the beauty of Monument Valley…. Unique to The View is the authentic Native American décor with a locally woven Navajo Rug, traditional Navajo dye chart, and other Native American inspired decorations.

“’Job creation on Tribal land means economic opportunity, but also translates into cultural preservation. When family members can find employment close to their traditional homes, they stay connected with their culture and their language. This fosters an environment where traditional ways of the Navajo people can be passed from generation to generation. The View Hotel in Monument Valley will provide opportunity in a very needed region,’ says Joe Shirley, Navajo Nation President” (

I regret not having taken a few minutes to investigate the hotel’s lobby, so we missed the Navajo Rug and dye chart. Rather, we walked through the gift shop (or trading post) to reach the restaurant, which is “…under the helm of MacNeal Crank who was also born in Monument Valley. The menu features a great mix of Navajo and American cuisine. The American part of the menu has themed dishes named after famous actors in Western movies (most of which were shot at Monument Valley). Some examples are the John Wayne and the Jimmy Stewart. The Navajo part of the menu is the one to stick with. It is inspired by local cuisine…. Do try the light and airy Navajo Fry Bread…” (

Still reeling from our very bumpy—make that very, very bumpy ride–-I decided to eat light. So, again, I looked to that most boring of menu items—the Jack Seltzer Green Chile Cheese Quesadilla. Except this one was anything but boring. First, the green chiles were from Hatch, NM, home of the very best green chiles. And for added flavor, the dish was accompanied by a small cup of fresh, spicy, and very good house-made salsa and an equally good cup of guacamole.

(And if you are wondering just who is Jack Seltzer—darned if I know. I could only find references to a golfer from Michigan and a man from Pennsylvania who founded the Lebanon Bologna Company. I doubt if either of these is the man referred to here.)

Chuck heeded The Restaurant Fairy’s advice and ordered the Navajo Taco appetizer which the menu promised would be a smaller version of the entrée Navajo Taco. You must be kidding! Just how large is this entrée? The appetizer contained three rounds of blue corn fry bread each at least three inches in diameter and buried under layers of shredded seasoned beef, beans, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and cheese.
While the fry bread was thicker than usual, it was light and puffy and not at all heavy. And the use of shredded beef as opposed to ground beef was a welcome change to the customary ground beef.

This proved to be a surprisingly satisfactory lunch and, when coupled with the view of the valley, earns the Restaurant at the View Hotel 3.5 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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