Tucson Restaurants & Dining
Let’s start at the very beginning. Delivering Lodge on the Desert’s culinary vision of presenting restaurant diners as well as banquet, catering and weddings guests the highly valued farm-to-table experience, means beginning at the source. The farm. The ranch. The grove.
It is here where the passion for the product itself – as it grows, as it is cultivated, as it is fed, as it is nurtured – first matters. As well as the environment in which it matures under the watchful and caring eyes of equally responsible, equally dedicated and devoted resource partners.
Small area Arizona state farms, vendors and ranchers are carefully chosen for their commitment to offer to Lodge on the Desert hand-selected superior products direct from their fields, trees, groves or pastures.
Lodge on the Desert’s food and beverage vendor partners are similarly quality-driven devotees of responsible, sustainable, fair-trade practices. The lodge’s culinary team does business only with those who value as highly as do they – food’s tradition and its future.
Today’s diners live in an age where the majority of hotel restaurant and banquet operations focus on high productivity and low food cost (often resulting in the purchase of mass-produced, packaged, stored, shipped and dare we say often frozen food items). At Lodge on the Desert, Executive Chef Ryan Clark offers quality products with thoughtful preparation and appealing presentation. And doing so to the delight of diners while being socially responsible yet fiscally wise.
Read how just a few of Lodge on the Desert’s vendors share and support the overall food and beverage vision.
- Executive Chef Ryan Clark sources and incorporates only Double Check Ranch Natural Beef raised on the Double Check Ranch, 60 miles north of Tucson. It is a family operation, where three generations of the Schwennesen family live and work. Their beef is raised on their own and neighboring ranches, where they have produced wholesome grass-fed beef for over a decade. Chef Clark believes it’s “the best beef” available in Tucson.Their cattle are raised humanely and treated respectfully. They live on open range and eat only range and pasture grass. Hormones, antibiotics and animal byproducts are excluded from their diets. They live in familiar surroundings and are not stressed by repeated trucking.Their beef is distinctively lean and full-flavored. It is dry-aged for 14 days in Double Check Ranch’s aging room, tenderizing naturally and gaining its full-bodied flavor. The animals do not have the heavy marbled fat that develops on grain-fed animals. The unhurried finishing, aging and butchering process is what makes Double Check beef exceptional.Double Check’s operation is unique in that it owns the entire beef cycle. From “pasture to palate,” it controls every aspect of the product. Double Check Ranch consider its beef “Beyond Organic.”
- Sleeping Frog Farms, the source for Lodge’s local heirloom vegetables, is an intensive small-scale farm in northern Tucson. Using permaculture design and biodynamic growing principles, it harvests a diverse selection of produce daily and at its peak ripeness, in order to bring the finest tasting, nutritional products to restaurants and other food establishments in Southern Arizona.
- Family owned and operated, Snake River Farms crosses its premier Japanese Wagyu cattle with Black Angus cattle from its own herd, as well as its ranchers to create American Wagyu Beef served at Lodge on the Desert. Often called American Kobe Beef, the proprietary herd has developed into one of the most highly regarded groups of Wagyu/Angus crossed cattle in the world. Snake River Farms cattle are raised along the high plain of the Snake River in Eastern Idaho. To raise 100% natural beef, Snake River Farms adopted many aspects of the heritage-steeped Japanese feeding method, including a slow-paced and sustainable diet that includes Idaho potatoes, soft white wheat, corn and alfalfa hay. They do not use growth-promoting hormones or animal by-products in the feed. Their American Wagyu Beef cattle grow slowly, a process that can take up to four times as long as traditional U.S. cattle production methods. Wagyu cattle are genetically predisposed to a higher percentage of unsaturated fat (more than any other breed). That translates to less guilt on the part of meat lovers everywhere, including Lodge on the Desert!
- One of a few preferred Lodge seafood sources, Honolulu Fish Company provides Lodge on the Desert with day boat, wild caught sashimi grade fish, shipped fresh from Hawaii overnight directly to the restaurant. HFC helps keep the fresh in our fish . . . daily.
- Conde Nast says Laughing Bird Shrimp is the shrimp that ‘can rock your world!’ With a super-sweet taste, purity, and cutting-edge environmental stewardship that give it one of the tiniest eco-footprints of any protein available. And now it is an item incorporated into items available on Lodge lunch and dinner menus. Prepare to be rocked!
- Skuna Bay Salmon is Chef Clark’s choice of salmon. It is Vancouver Island craft-raised… which means reared by the hand of an experienced craftsman farmer in its natural ocean environment. Glacier-fed waters, perfect salinity and strong tidal currents result in a great salmon. Skuna Bay Salmon is raised 3 – 4 years and tastes mild, tender, buttery, but always has a firm texture.
- Wild-caught Fisherman’s Daughter Shrimp has made its way onto Lodge on the Desert’s dinner menu. The Valdez-Cervantes family of Cortez, Mexico uses lighter nets, smaller doors and hydrodynamic design meaning less drag on the ocean floor; gear innovations resulting in a 30% reduction in fuel usage, significantly reducing the carbon footprint, larger mesh size and bycatch reduction devices thus reducing harvesting of non-targeted species by 50%, turtle excluder devices ensuring sea turtles can easily escape and no preservatives, salt or other additives. Can’t you imagine how much better these shrimp will taste for these reasons alone?
- What kind of an eclectic restaurant in Southern Arizona would dare be without a few items such as tortillas or tamales? Not an authentic one, for sure! And, if a Tucson restaurant does feature those items, it stands to reason they should be locally-made tortillas and tamales with authentic southwest flavors. And those used at Lodge on the Desert are indeed. Tamales are purchased from Tucson Tamale Company; tortillas from Alejandro’s Tortilla Factory.
- Chicago-based European Imports delivers Lodge on the Desert the finest imported and domestic cheeses. As well, they offer an array of specialty items and goods for the Lodge gift shop.
- As for the oils and vinegars the restaurant incorporates, Lodge supports local. Queen Creek Olive Mill is a sustainable farm producing Arizona’s only extra virgin olive oil from pesticide-free groves. Sixteen varieties of olive trees are grown with the Frantoio, Grappolo, Pendolino, Maurino, Moraiolo, Coratina, Taggiasca and Mission being the primary varieties planted.
- Lodge on the Desert showcases hydroponic produce including varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers from Eurofresh Farms, America’s largest greenhouse, located in Willcox, AZ. Tomatoes served at Lodge are certified pesticide-free with garden fresh flavor.
- Forever Yong Farm is an “all natural” family farm located in the pristine Southern Arizona borderlands where rich bottom land soil and pure water enable them to produce high quality garlic for planting stock and other Lodge on the Desert culinary uses. They also grow fresh chemical-free produce.
- The natural partnership between bees and citrus enhances both the harvest of the fruit and the flavor of the honey. This fragrant and pure uncooked raw Orange Blossom Honey comes straight from the hives at McClendon’s Select groves. Located in Peoria, AZ McClendon’s Select is also the source of certified organic citrus and dates incorporated into food and beverage items served at the Lodge.
- Fresh prickly pear syrups as well as specialty local candies used at Lodge on the Desert are purchased from Cheri’s Desert Harvest.
- Lodge on the Desert’s culinary team follows Seafood Watch principles that help keep the world’s oceans clean and healthy. Seafood Watch educates all interested parties to help the ecosystem by not over fishing and damaging their future.
- Chef Clark takes a made-to-order stance on charcuterie items that might normally be cured with harmful nitrates and chemicals. Lodge naturally cures its bacon, prosciutto and pastramis in-house so that its diners know what they are consuming.
- Top-notch local bakeries and patisseries (among them Beyond Bread, La Baguette, Le Delice, Bomelettes and La Brea) are the source for artisan breads, desserts and pastries served at Lodge on the Desert.
- And last, but certainly not least, Chef Clark makes multiple trips throughout the week to Tucson area farmer’s markets to secure the freshest and finest produce. With over ten weekly farmer’s markets, these are plentiful resources for fresh produce, meats and dairy.
With partnerships like these, is it any wonder Lodge on the Desert fulfills its mission of providing the ultimate farm-to-table experience?