Monday, February 25, 2013

It Seems Like Just Yesterday…

that I wrote about our lunch at La Terraza at Hacienda del Sol. In fact, it was just yesterday. How long did you think I would wait before trying the buffalo chorizo Eggs Benedict at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol?

“Since its opening in 1997, The Grill at the Hacienda del Sol has attracted overnight guests and Tucsonans alike. Over the past ten years, The Grill has held a place on Wine Spectator’s ‘Best of’ Award for excellence. Recently, the restaurant was bestowed with Wine Enthusiast’s ‘Award of Ultimate Distinction,’ making it the only Arizona restaurant to be honored with the award. An extensive list of wines is offered, featuring over 2,000 labels and 25,000 bottles.

“’It’s a world class restaurant. It attracts people from everywhere. They come here because of the Grill,’ Jeff Timan, owner of the resort, said. The Grill’s head chef, Ramiro Scavo, competed in and won Tucson’s Iron Chef….

“The Grill sets itself apart from other restaurants in Tucson by using ingredients from their on-site garden in their dishes. Aside from its fresh ingredients, one of the major attractions to the Grill is its romantic nature. It currently holds the title of ‘Tucson’s Most Romantic Dining.’

“’Oftentimes, when people come into town for conventions or other meetings, they stay in the larger resorts. Yet, when they ask for good restaurants in town, we are almost always one of the first choices,’ Firth said” (

The Grill serves as a formal counterpoint to the warmer and more casual La Terraza. The walls are covered with colorful modern art. The tables are set—even at breakfast—with white and maroon linens. (And you know that a place is upscale when, instead of paper towels, the ladies room has a basket of terry towels.)

And four lucky diners can reserve The Grill’s equivalent of a “chef’s table.”

Like the lunch/dinner menu at La Terraza, The Grill’s breakfast menu is not overly long. Among the selections are: Hacienda Yogurt Parfait, served with fresh berries, Greek yogurt, and granola; Steel-cut Oatmeal with seasonal berries, golden raisins, brown sugar, and a choice of whole or soy milk; Build Your Own Omelet—three eggs with a choice of three ingredients, including ham, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, or cheese and served with a side of fruit, new potatoes, toast, and bacon or sausage; and a Belgian Waffle with maple syrup and butter and bacon or sausage. And many of the items are also listed as sides allowing the diner to “make his own” breakfast.

And that is just what Chuck did. He built for himself the “Carb Loading Special.” Menu item Number One was the short stack of two pancakes. He is very picky when it comes to pancakes. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, there is nothing he dislikes more that the over use of baking powder to achieve pancake puffiness. Here there was none of that almost sour taste even though these cakes were extremely light. The stack was topped with cinnamon enhanced sliced apples and the cakes were accompanied by a small pitcher of warm real maple syrup.

Menu item Number Two was a side order of French toast containing two slices of thick bread (I suspect that it may have been challah, which is a Jewish bread made with lots of egg.) that had been dipped in a flavored batter and, after grilling, artistically drizzled with a tart berry syrup. There was a slightly spicy note to the egg batter and our server told us that may be from the paprika used as one of the seasonings. This was delicious. So delicious that I kept slicing small pieces from the plate. Hey, I have to do research, don’t I?

And menu item Number Three was a side of home fries. You knew that potatoes would figure here somewhere, didn’t you? They were cubes of red skin potatoes, lightly browned, and tossed with parsley. Pretty good and I am not a home fry person.

But now for my breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like traditional Eggs Benedict, but let’s face it, there are more interesting foods than ham or Canadian bacon. So whenever I see a substitute used for either, I am intrigued. Here, The Grill’s house-made buffalo chorizo was the substitute—although not the only one. But the chorizo was—as is buffalo meat in general—very lean and was not really spicy, but interestingly hot. The eggs were poached a perfect medium and the English muffin was toasted just enough not to become soggy, but yet not overly crisp. But the real kicker was the charred tomato and jalapeno hollandaise that tasted a bit spicy and a bit smoky. And, for once, there was enough hollandaise. I do so hate it when a restaurant is skimpy on the hollandaise. Here there was enough for me to coat each potato (the same as with Chuck’s order) before popping them into my mouth.

Next time we are in Tucson, we may have to try The Grill’s prix fixe Sunday brunch complete with prime rib carving station. But for now, we both enjoyed our 5.0 Addie breakfast.

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

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