Sedona is a beautiful, red rocked sanctuary of spiritual energy and with the ever changing light of the evening sun, it is easy to get distracted whilst driving the winding roads around the rocky cliffs. That is until the car we're hiring starts having a warning alert frenzy, throwing out flood warnings every 2 minutes, I mean come on, we have only just left drought ridden California, how can the weather change so dramatically?! Luckily we only experienced a mahoosive thunder storm and got a teensy bit wet in the tent, that we then had to sit with for an hour the next morning, waiting for it to dry before we could pack it back into Steve's rucksack.
The Chocola Tree Organic Oasis is such a spiritual restaurant, it resonates a very strong message of love for the earth and Mother Nature. We have never come across a place that is so intent on offering you the most sustainable, ethical, purest meal possible.
The whole menu is entirely homemade by their 'food magicians' and is organic, vegan (mostly), seasonal, gluten free, GMO free and locally sourced, except for their cacao which they get directly from Equadorian farmers. I had to ask the waiter to repeat himself when he brought over the tap water as he referred to it as 'artisan spring fed pure water'. It is collected from a local spring and contains no chlorine or fluoride and the staff use only this specific water for preparing and cooking foods in the kitchen.
We grab some drinks ; a ginger lemonade sweetened with raw honey and a cacao almond milk with pure maple, before wandering around the little shop ajoined to the restaurant selling seeds, crystals, even locally made clothing and art work.
To take our order, the waiter asks us 'what would you love' not like...I love this! We over order as standard because everything sounds so delicious and wholesome, the live spring rolls are a thin curry wrap made of chia seeds, courgette and coconut sugar, filled with refreshing raw grated carrot, red cabbage and cress, they come with a thai dip which we like so much they let us see the ingredients list because they want to us to be able to experience that pleasure again..need to get my hands on some almond butter.
Our Moroccan sweet potato stew has a delicate sweetness with hearty spiced quinoa and sesame seeds filling the depths of the bowl. The house salad is a rainbow of seasonal vegetables tossed in a coriander vinagarette and topped with a vegan Parmesan crumble.
We have dessert after eyeing up the selection in the cold cabinet, a mixture of raw and baked sweet treats. The raw tiramisu has layers of blitzed dates, almonds and coconut, a maple chocolate sauce and coconut cream that zig zag across the plate and the waiter proudly names it 'trippin on LSD'. It has an intense mix of pleasing textures and the chocolate sauce is better than a cream based one we would make at home. I also have one of their blue corn doughnuts, it has a light but cakey bite and we receive a free lesson on it's ingredients. Blue corn was originally developed by the Hopi people (a native American tribe) and the corn meal gives a nuttier, sweeter taste to traditional corn, it also has nutritional advantages (higher protein) over the GMO varieties that are more widely used in America.
The evening ends with a Buddhist monk quote from the waiter. 'Preparing food is not just about yourself and others. It is about everything!'
After packing up at the campsite, we realise this is our last camping trip of our USA journey. No more bears or hiking, it's quite sad but Steve is more upset about giving back the hire car, we have grown quite accustomed to driving on the right and I'm not sure how we're going to adjust back in the UK. Is there a sticker you can get for your car that says ' watch out we may start driving on the wrong side and forget what roundabouts are?'
We head into flagstaff for some breakfast as we have a few hours to kill before catching the next bus.
Macys Europian Coffee House is full of locals and has been going for over 30 years, it is locally owned and has an all veggie menu. We have become a bit addicted to sweet breakfasts and so the wholewheat waffles select themselves. Drenched in pure maple and topped with some lightly macerated berries, the waffle tastes like a doughnut, can't get better than that. Massive cup of rich roasted coffee with 3 shots of espresso as standard, happy!
Incase you guys hadn't realised, we've been sticking to veggie options and restaurants this week, basically to prepare ourselves for Texas and it's meat madness, Santa Fe next up.
G & S xxx