In the past, I wouldn’t bother researching potential restaurants when I travel. It always seems like so much work, and perhaps too precious. Though, often enough, Hegui and I end up feeling disappointed by the less than stellar places that we happen upon randomly. Several friends, including our lovely blog-buddie, Devaki, have been actively working on me to change my lazy ways. And I’m happy to report that Heartline Café is the first of the fruit of my labor.
We spent four nights in Sedona a few weeks ago. We timed our visit with a destination wedding of two of our lovely New York friends, Aleks and Christian. They got married in City Hall last year but wanted to do something special. Naturally, an outdoor ceremony in Death Valley seemed the perfect way to say “I love you.” (I admit that I was incredibly skeptical about this plan initially. Late spring in Death Valley didn’t seem like a good idea. And it was hot! 119 degrees on the Valley floor. But the ceremony, held just before sunset at Dante’s View, a peak overlooking the magnificent park, was a breezy and pleasant 85F. We were all really moved. Several of us cried a bit.)
But back to the Heartline!
I surfed the ‘net for restaurants in Sedona and selected a few that got decent reviews and seemed to have several veggie or fish choices. Heartline Café met both criteria. And it turns out it was walking distance from our hotel—an added bonus in a town that really does require driving.
Sedona is breathtaking. The exposed red rocks are everywhere. This was our first day there, so we began it with a short hike in the Red Rock State Park followed by an afternoon at the spa. We both tried the local Sedona mud wrap followed by an hour long massage. This was my first mud wrap and I loved it! To me the very best part was when the therapist gently hosed the mud off my limbs with warm water. I felt like I was melting in a really excellent way. Afterward we did a bit of tourist-trap shopping, took a nap and freshened up for dinner.
I didn’t get a great pic of the restaurant exterior (there’s a really good one on their website.) I do like the one shown here with some of the rocks reflected in the windows. Naturally, it was a warm day. We sat inside though many folks seemed to be enjoying the open air patio.
The wine menu boasted several bottles from Arizona. I asked the waiter about it. He recommended we try the 2010 Arizona Stronghold Mangus red, a sort of super-Tuscan style wine. It was quite enjoyable and went well with our meal.
We started with the warm red cabbage salad with apple and chèvre as well as the house salad in a black pepper vinaigrette. Hegui thought the latter had too many dried cranberries for his taste though I liked it quite well.
For our main dishes we ordered the special pasta: bowties with shrimp and asparagus in a puttanesca sauce; and the special fish: marlin in achiote crust with avocado sauce, cilantro, rice and asparagus. The presentation of the fish was remarkably constructed. Hegui found it a bit dry though the flavor was good. The pasta was really good—almost like something that I’d make myself had I ever thought of it.
By then we were really stuffed, but I kept imagining what Heavenly would do here. So I ordered dessert. The mango sorbet sounded sufficiently light. Silly me! I forgot we weren’t in San Francisco and that portion size might be different. The sorbet was perfect if a bit massive. The mango flavor reminded me of Brazil.
So I liked Heartline. This isn’t avant garde but they serve reasonably creative, flavorful food in a comfortable environment. The staff was very approachable. I’d come back the next time I’m in Sedona.