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Would make a cowboy proud…

November 1, 2010

Tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Paradise Valley is the charming Hermosa Inn, a boutique hotel that is all things wonderful about Arizona.  Built in the 1930’s the hotel is truly old Southwest, with terra cotta tiles, adobe fireplaces, wood-beamed ceilings.  The walkways are bordered with lush desert landscaping and views of the surrounding mountains are just above the rooftops.   I have long been enchanted with the Hermosa Inn.

The Hermosa Inn was originally the hideaway of a cowboy artist named Alonzo “Lon” Megargee who had claimed this plot of land as his own and built a one room home on it.   Over the years Lon studied Mexican and Spanish architecture and added to it, mixing adobe for the walls and using wooden beams from an old mine.   Stories of Lon are quite colorful.  He was an artist, poker player, bronco buster and a ladies man.  Over the years the home evolved into an guest ranch, Casa Hermosa or “Beautiful House”, that Lon used to keep income coming in while building his artistic career.  There are rumors that this quiet inn would often get quite rowdy with late night poker games, so much so that Lon had put in secret tunnels for guests to escape to the desert when sheriff”s deputies were called in to keep the peace.

Those days have long passed, but the original charm and architecture have since been lovingly restored at the Hermosa Inn, as has the peace and quiet.  The only thing you really will hear now is the hushed sounds coming from the bubbling fountain out front.  But Lon is still very present at the resort.  His namesake, LON’S restaurant, is lovingly filled with Megargee’s artwork, and the bar, The Last Drop Saloon, is named after one of his paintings.  It sounds like just the place he would have been proud to stop in for a libation.

Sean and I had an evening out at LON’S recently.  It was a perfect October evening, just cool enough to eat outside and the sky was clear enough to still make out the outlines of Camelback and Squaw Peak even after the sun had set.  Chef Jeremy Pacheco, a born and raised farm boy, has created a menu focused on a garden-to-plate experience.  He is so dedicated to local produce, that he oversees not just the kitchen, but the one acre garden at the Hermosa Inn as well.

Everything we tried that night felt like it was just plucked from the garden.  Their sommelier helped us find the perfect bottle of wine to go with our dinner.  I love seeking the advice of those who know how to truly pair wine with a meal.  Here is a little glimpse of some of what we enjoyed…

You know a restaurant has a winning menu when you see another well respected chef dining there as well.  I have learned that often the most discerning diners are other chefs.  Chef Pacheco has created a menu that truly highlights what is best in season right now, and his dishes feel just as lovingly prepared and authentic as the rest of Hermosa Inn.  I am sure that Lon would enjoy seeing what his one-room cowboy home has become.

LON’S at Hermosa Inn
5532 N. Palo Cristi Road
Paradise Valley, AZ

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