Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lessons in Columbian Street Food

Columbian street food in Sedona, Arizona? I’ll push through an aura-readers’ off-roading jeep tour for that.

Thanksgiving weekend was a blast. The day after making (and eating) untraditional Cornish hens, Brussels sprouts, German potato salad, and mom’s famous cheesecake, I went on a seven-mile hike in Sedona, Arizona, as penance for the weekend’s diet sins. “Of course there’s a flute player on the rocks.” He was perched on top of one of the red rock spires, probably for maximum volume projection. The rest of the time I could hear him, I spent making fun of Sedona in my mind. As a tour helicopter flew over, someone joked that it was probably a part-time resident on a Starbucks run. At the end of Boynton Canyon trail, the graffiti defacing the rocks was of a sun with a yin-yang symbol inside. It would be unwise to publish the rest of the stereotype-rich cracks at this point. I finished growing up around here, so I give myself a local's license.

In search of post-hike beer and food, we stumbled upon the antidote to the elite resorts, rock climbing flute soloists and crystal shops that make up a significant part of the cultural landscape of Sedona. At the Oak Creek Brewery, the bartender gave me a menu for the hot dog window I ignored in order to get inside the brewpub.

Lesson #1: Never, ever ignore a person who seems happy to be stuffed into in a hole-in-the-wall food establishment with an order window. He knows something you do not.

Simon, of Simon’s Gourmet Hot Dogs opened this closet-sized hot dog business a year and a half ago, and the fingerprints of his Columbian heritage are all over the comfort food on the menu. While looking at the menu, aloud, I reasoned that “I can get a chili dog anywhere, so I’ll have the maicitos instead.”

“You can’t get my chili dog anywhere.”

Lesson #2: Know better than to say “I can get that anywhere” to the person making, serving, cashiering and bussing your food, especially when the menu says “chili dog” followed by “family recipe”.

“I'll get both.” My loving compadre ordered the Loka brat, a brown mustard, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, and jalepeno-covered bratwurst. I ordered the chili dog and the maicitos, a corn, bacon and cream baked stew with white cheese and crushed potato chips on top.

The dogs came dressed in a soft, tangy roll. The beef chili was savory but had a sweetness of a clove or cinnamon-type spice. In a word, I suppose, it was balanced. And delicious.

The maicitos came with tortilla chips on the side, probably to prevent people from grabbing the entire bowl and drinking it, and contained the power to break whole sentences into shards, in public.

“Corn delicious sweet.”
“Bacony crack.”
“Love potato chips...”
“Cheese melty”
“Try… make this someday.”

Simon seemed as though he has seen this reaction before. He gave us a card, thanked us for ordering food, and beamed a soul-lifting smile.

If you are within 50 miles of Sedona, please make a special stop to go find Simon. For $20, you’ll receive two full bellies of killer Columbian-infused street food, no attitude, a great story, and a brilliant twist on the classic beer-and-brats combination. Over our country’s most hallowed food holiday, it was one of the best meals of the weekend.
2050 Yavapai Drive, Sedona, AZ, inside the Oak Creek Brewery
Plug the address into your gps; the brewery is located on a small street off highway 89A and is easy to miss.


  1. I'll be in Sedona this weekend! And yes, I will be a spa-indulging tourist from NYC. But I'll look for the colombian hot dog guy for sure :)

  2. Betsym- as much as I make fun of the place, Enchantment resort (among others) is a dreamy spot. Enjoy it! Sedona is one of my favorite places on the planet, jeep tours and helicopter rides aside.

  3. Love a good hole in the wall and to give them some attention. Perhaps the profusion of vortexes elevates his food a bit too!

    Did you stay at the Enchantment Resort (noted comment above)? I've stayed there twice. Gorgeous location. So many things to do in Sedona. I went on a trailride and learned Walt Disney had loved Sedona. It inspired a number of things for him including the shape of Mickey Mouse's ears which are fashioned after the shape of Prickly Pear cactus.

  4. Hey,hopped onto your blog from Lora's place!I was there in Sedona,AZ during Thanksgiving week - just that we didn't bump into each other;) Well, Sedona is one of the places that I found absolutely mystical and loved the quaint,mountainous village feel about the place - will remember my Sedona tour for a long time to come:)Nice meeting you!

  5. I am in Oak Creek Brewing Co, right now, and just finished eating a Cowboy hot dog and an order of maicitos. Oh my maicitos! Found your blog while searching for a recipe.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Stay positive!