Thanksgiving and Holiday Hours

John Sharpe - Thursday, November 13, 2014

Greetings and Happy Holidays to everyone.

    This Thanksgiving day we open at 11.30 and serve dinner all day until 7.00 pm only. So if any of you are traveling through Winslow that day please know we will not be seating guests after 7.00 pm. I will have two kinds of turkey. First the locally grown birds from Ridge View Farms in the Prescott valley will be brought here fresh by farmer Byrnie. All natural and delicious. No hormones or antibiotics. These will be roasted fresh all day long and served in the traditional manner with stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and lots of wonderful sides. Locally grown yams. Red caboose mashed potatoes and lots more which you can find here.

 

Christmas and New Year’s Eve Menus.

    We will be open on Christmas Eve from 5.00 to 8.00 pm only. This allows our staff to get home a little earlier so as to be ready for Santa. Christmas Day we serve our dinner menu all day from 11.30 to 6.00 pm. So once again if you are traveling on Christmas Day and plan on spending the night here you will need to be sat by 6.00pm in order to have dinner.

    The same menu is served during both meal periods and many of the dishes will be on the menu Boxing Day and Saturday the 27th as well.

 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be the same a la carte menu. As many of you know I am English so I always celebrate the holidays with my Dickens Christmas Dinner Feast.

Featuring dishes from my early days of cooking in England as well as some of the great dishes served by Fred Harvey in the old days of the Harvey Houses. Fred Harvey by the way was also English!

Scotch Eggs – Devils on Horseback – Lobster Bisque Soup – John’s House Made cured meats.

Roast Goose – Prime Rib Roast – Filet and Lobster – The Windsor Mixed Grill – Smoked Pork Loin with La Posada Quince confit. Local fresh roast Turkey.

Christmas pudding with brandy sauce -  Mince pies – Sticky Toffee Pudding with local dates.

Special Holiday beverage menu 

Lots more for you to enjoy. If you have never visited us over the holidays then you deserve to treat yourselves to this wonderland of Christmas delights. The entire building is beautifully decorated for the holiday.

Hours of operation

Christmas Eve 5 to 8.00 pm for dinner

Christmas Day 11.30 to 6.00 pm Dinner menu served all day

December the 26th is Boxing Day in England so you can expect most of these holiday menu item to be still available on the Friday and the Saturday after Christmas Day. So If you stay at home on Christmas Day with family you can still enjoy my dishes on the 26th and 27th of December.

New Year’s Eve 5.00 to 9.15 pm Dinner menu

All menus are the same format as our regular dinner menus. A la carte so you can order whatever your heart desires.

New Year’s Eve is also a la carte and it will be the same menu. We will open for dinner at 5.00 and take reservations till 9.15 that night. There is no late night menu or fixed price menu.

 Reservations are recommended. They can also be made on our web site or by email at dine@theturquoiseroom.net. Or by calling us direct at 928.289.2888

 

Easter and Mothers Day

John Sharpe - Monday, March 31, 2014
News from the “Edge” while enjoying another day in paradise!

    Easter is just four weeks away, followed closely two weeks later by Mother's Day. How can that be some of you may be asking as you try to shake off “the winter to forget” and change clothes for the spring that is not yet here and the summer that is hopefully just around the corner.  

    It seems we left the winter that never was far behind us now that spring is well underway. Sorry – I am not trying to rub it in just sharing why it is simply another day in paradise.

    The trees are in full bloom the flowers are all coming through we've already had daffodils, Narcissus and the tulips are arriving. The Gardens this Easter will really look magnificent.

    So ladies don your favorite hats and gentlemen put on your favorite shirt and ties. Gather up the children, put the girls in their dresses and come out for a nice family Easter dinner. I was just thinking how nice it would be to have everyone dressed up in their Easter Sunday best walking around this beautiful historic hotel enjoying the gardens and the newly built features. A great meal and a memorable outing await you all.  

    Mother’s Day is always a big weekend for us with lots of large family tables, so if you are planning on bringing a large table please make your reservations early so we can get you in at the time of your choosing - the large table spots fill up quickly .

    A reminder that we now serve an a la carte dinner menu during the day from 11.30 to 9.00 pm. So you may choose whatever dishes you take a fancy too. There are four brunch menu dishes served from 11.30 to 2.00pm for those of you preferring a Sunday Brunch experience.  

You will find the menus for the Easter here, and for Mother's Day here.

     The same menu is being served starting on the Thursday night prior so if you are like us and have to work all the holidays you can still enjoy the food I am preparing and come in on a different evening for dinner. 

    We have a wonderful menu in store for you with lots of delicious fresh local dishes of organic produce from Bob McClendon's so don't miss out.

    I am happy and grateful to be singing a new tune this year when it comes to our staffing team.

    We have a great management team in place running the front of the house. Johnny, Jessica and Charley managing the dining rooms. Kelly helping Patricia in the office. Marcos Barreto is our chef des cuisine, the newest member of the management team. We welcome him to the family and hope that his family will be happy here in Winslow. He will be working daily with Jesus in the kitchen keeping the team focused on being the best they can be by serving you great food every time you visit. This is not an easy task.

    So as the year kicks into full gear we are grateful for all of the staff that will once again step up and provide you our guests with consistent great service and delicious food.  

    So as I sign off this short news-byte from the edge may your spring be just around the corner and the summer full of stars filling balmy nights.  

Happy Easter and Mother’s Day

From

John, Patricia and the staff.

Talking the talk – walking the walk! Which one are you?

John Sharpe - Friday, September 13, 2013

Talking the talk – walking the walk! Which one are you?

This question popped into my head after while ruminating on the challenges I have had recruiting a Chef des Cuisine for my restaurant.

I wonder if any of you can relate to this.

So you are asking, well who is this guy? I have been cooking since I was 15, starting my apprenticeship and catering school in Harrogate, England in the early 60s. Yes I have been around a while. I will not bore you with my story.

In the winter of 2000 we arrived in Winslow, Arizona which is some 160 miles north of Phoenix and 65 miles east of Flagstaff in the high desert lands of Northern Arizona. Many asked why? How could you leave the delights and pleasures of the OC? Yes as in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach.

Well we did. We came to open a fine dining destination restaurant in the historic La Posada Hotel. We are still here 13 years later with a staff of 40 operating 365 and open every day from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm! We survived 9-11 and the economic downturn of the past few years we keep on trucking! You can see us at theturquoiseroom.net 

So back to the question.

In the course of my ongoing search for a Chef des Cuisine I have learned that everyone is not either who they seem to be, or who they think they are! Sound familiar.

I have struggled over the past 13 years to bring the local bounty to my guests. Hauling organic produce from Bob McClendon’s Farm in Peoria some 180 miles away almost every week during the winter months. Churro lambs raised for me on the Navajo reservation require me to drive 11 hours round trip to pick them up at the processor in Durango. Our local farmers market in Flagstaff every Sunday morning at 8.00 am during the summer. I have had chefs come once or twice with me to the market but after that the novelty wears off very fast. Oh get up at 6.00 am to leave at 7.00 on a Sunday; I think not, church is a calling – yeh sure.

You get the picture. Then comes the inevitable question when I return with my refrigerated van loaded up with fresh veggies, fruits, foraged mushrooms, wild greens and so on. That looks nice what is it? What do we do with this stuff? Oh you are changing the menu again; I thought you just did that on Thursday!

As I say that is the fun and inspirational part of what I do on a weekly basis. It’s not the same as writing a menu and making up an order list to call in every day month in month out.

Sadly they do not “get it”. I have yet to find a chef that can embrace and appreciate what the challenge offers doing business like this. I am always so excited to see what’s on the market. It is the stuff that food dreams are made of. It gets my juices flowing early on a Sunday morning after a busy week. Looking to the week ahead and searching for the spark to light up the menu. So many choices so many ideas to sort through I don’t know where to stop. Always know where to start but then there always seem more goodies available than I can work with.

Always wanting to do more, remembering just how much “talent “I have on the team. Coming back down to earth so as to create a new dish or two and a same time staying in the now and knowing what we can accomplish with the players on the team. Knowing where to set the bar so they can get over it and feel good, rather than stressing them out and setting them up to fail.

Can you relate?

I am looking forward to my trip to Charlotte and spending some time with chefs who can relate to what I do every week. If this gets sent out before the conference then maybe we can swap success stories and maybe the occasional horror story, after all it will be just after Halloween!

Just another day in Paradise!

John Sharpe – Chef – Owner – The Turquoise Room at La Posada, Winslow Arizona.

 

Chef John in McClendon’s farm prepare for Mother's Day Special Event

John Sharpe - Thursday, May 10, 2012

Another Day in Paradise – Chef John’s news from the edge!

 

 

 

Its summer time in Arizona! How do I know? I have squash blossoms for you to enjoy.

The first of the season from Bob and Marsha McClendon’s farm. I drove to pick them up this morning. Along with squash, salad greens, arugula, beets, radishes and some delicious micro green sprouts.

All will be available for you to enjoy over this coming Mother’s Day weekend.

We are open all day for dinner on Sunday.  The menu is a la carte so it is just like a regular dinner menu only with some different special dishes for you to enjoy.

The blossoms are always my biggest seller every year as an appetizer. The recipe for them is in the cookbook.

I stuff the flowers with a mixture of sweet corn tamale and Oaxaca cheese. They are then dipped in a beer batter and fried till they are crisp and a golden brown. They are then served on a bed of our green Chile tomatillo salsa with roasted squash salsa. I will have fresh Chinook salmon from the Columbia River caught by the Nez Perce tribal fisherman. Served with wild ramps and fiddlehead ferns foraged from the forests of Washington State.

In honor of Mother’s Day we will have Rhubarb and Strawberry pie a la mode. Rhubarb is very special to me as we always had a rhubarb patch in our garden in England when I was a young boy. My Mother loved to make Rhubarb and Ginger Jam. I can still smell it to this day.

Special days are always about sharing times with the people we care about. Remembering the wonderful times when things seemed so simple, family was all that mattered and the days were full of sunshine and the smell of flowers. I remember many days like that from my childhood in the north east of England. I was very lucky to have a Father that loved to garden. We spent a lot of our time together in the garden; we grew a lot of our own food. But my Dad loved his flowers that he grew so proudly for my Mother. So on this Mother’s Day I remember them both. I spent some time in my garden this week planting seeds and pottering around. I love to be in the garden. It keeps me centered and focused on what is important.

I hope you all have a safe and happy summer this year. May your travels bring you closer to the people you care about. May your dreams bring you closer to the goals you strive to achieve?

May you reach the top of every mountain, not forgetting to stop along the way the smell the wild flowers and the forest as you tread lightly through its domain!

We will be here in the high desert of Arizona, trains streaking by the hotel, our staff cooking up a storm for all of you that pays us a visit. Our wonderful service staff will always strive to make your stay with us a memorable one. We have some new staff members for you to meet. I am confident you will find them all helpful and friendly. Bob has now been our General Manager for over three months and he is settling in very well. Ezra and Jesus are hard at work in the kitchen with some really talented new cooks so I am very excited about the summer ahead.

Patricia and I sincerely hope to see you here in the Turquoise Room over the months ahead.

Yes, it’s another day in Paradise- with thoughts from the edge!

~ Chef John

Is this going to be a long hot summer in the high desert?

John Sharpe - Thursday, March 15, 2012

March 15th, 70 degrees and not a cloud in sight, the daffodils are blooming and I am wondering; is this going to be a long hot summer in the high desert?

 

After glancing at the weather page in my ever present iPhone I see a storm is approaching with the promise of rain and snow. Hurray is all I can say. Bring on the rain. We are already well into the Hopi bean dances, signifying the return of the Kachinas. They have spent the winter sequestered on the San Francisco Peaks, high above the bustle of Flagstaff, no doubt eagerly awaiting their day to arise from the Kiva and bring joy, hope and celebration to the people of their village. Rain and snow will be a most welcome sight on the Mesas after this dry winter.

 

The produce coming from McClendon’s is spectacular, asparagus, salad greens and herbs are a plenty. I have completed my Easter and Mother’s day menu plans. We are celebrating 100 years of statehood so I have combined that along with some food tributes with The Fred Harvey Company, The White Star Shipping Line and La Posada.

If you would like to know more as to how all of this fits together with my new dishes, you will have to proceed to my Blog where you can read the story and see the menus.

 

Progress is being made for the upcoming changes to the hotel. Our new offices are almost finished so we can vacate the “Spam Room” that we have been occupying for so many years. This is so it can be demolished to make room for the patio and adjoining chef’s garden.

All of the rooms will be completed very soon so we will have 53 to offer. If this winter in anything to go by I do expect we are in for a busy year. The spring break is well under way up here so we are already seeing an increase in traffic.

I do hope to see you soon. Safe travels.

 

Another day in paradise, thoughts from the edge!

 

John

 

Looking back 100 years...

John Sharpe - Tuesday, March 13, 2012

 

 What to do? 100 years of Arizona statehood, the White Star Shipping line, The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate, England and the Turquoise Room at La Posada has in common?

 Well, like most good tales it’s complicated yet I hope worthy of your time! So come with me and let’s take a stroll down this lane in history.

 When Fred Harvey started his dream in the late 1800s Arizona was not a state. The White Star Line was transporting people to America. The Majestic and La Posada were not yet built.

 However there was a common thread being woven into the world of travel. By sea or by train people needed to be fed. This posed some interesting challenges for the new breed of “caterer”.

 All of the great hotels in Europe and America were for the most part staffed with classically trained European Chefs. They all adhered to the classic guidelines set up first by the great French Chef Careme and then later by Escoffier. Many of the chefs that worked the White Star Line and for the Fred Harvey Company were trained in the great hotels of Europe.

 When I worked at the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz Switzerland in 1968-69 the Chef was Monsieur De France who at the time was almost 80. He had actually worked at the Ritz in Paris with Escoffier. We cooked very conservative French classic food. My apprenticeship at the Majestic in Harrogate was grounded in the same philosophy. The kitchen was organized by the “brigade” system created by Escoffier. We cooked many of the same dishes as the early shipping lines and the Fred Harvey Company.

 So now you can start to see where I am going with this tale of Arizona, two hotels and a shipping line.

 Re- reading “Appetite for America” by Stephen Fried I was struck once again by the style of the early menus served in Harvey Houses. This book is the consummate tale of this remarkable man, Fred Harvey, who came to America from England, no title, no wealth. By the turn of the century his company was the largest caterer in the world. He had created the first “chain” of restaurants and hotels on the planet. If you find this fascinating then get this book as it is full of some of the most wonderful characters and stories of early American business history. Well entwined with political intrigue. It’s a must read. In fact, while discussing this concept with Stephen he came up with an interesting phrase. I am sure he will not mind me sharing it with you. He coins the phrase – bi continental when referring to the cuisine created by the chefs of the Fred Harvey Company in the early part of the 20th century as they started to incorporate local foods into the established standard of the day. Looking at some of the menus you see the Mexican and early American influence starting to creep into their creations.

 So back to menus.

 All of this led me down a lane, at the bottom stands La Posada, The Turquoise Room and my quandary as to what new menu items should I come up with this year for Easter and Mothers Day weekends.

 The middle of April always reminds us of one of life’s inevitable, taxes. This year we remember that faithful night when The White Star line lost its pride and joy, The Titanic. There will be plenty on that topic in the news and at the movies so I will leave it at that.

 I will bring back some of the dishes that were served on the great ships of the White Star line as well as in the Fred Harvey Houses across the country. It is appropriate to look back and remember how “Continental Cuisine” started in America. I think Fred Harvey has to be credited with helping create this early “trend” if that’s the correct term. This may have been one of the first food trends that we can account for. Many of these dishes I have cooked over the years, from England to Switzerland and in my first years in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and Le Cellier restaurant in Santa Monica. I will place a couple of twists here and there so as to retain the local nature of my food; however I promise you a memorable journey down the lane of food history.

 

 

2012 James Beard Foundation Awards!

John Sharpe - Friday, February 24, 2012

http://www.jamesbeard.org/files/2012_JBF_SEMIFINALISTS.pdf

 

In addition to the nomination we are enjoying very warm weather so who knows if the winter will ever return to Winslow.

I will be finalizing Easter and Mothers Day menus this coming week so you can make your reservations early. We will be serving an a la carte menu each day with respective specials. NO fixed price menu. NO buffet.

Open from 11.30 to 8.00pm each day all day long. No lunch menu will be served on those days. Only the a la carte dinner menu. There will be three brunch items to choose from available 11.30 to 2.00pm.

Bob Carr, the General Manager is settling in and has already met quite a few of you so when next you visit make sure you make yourselves know to him. I am sharing the hosting duties with him for the next few weeks along with Linda who many of you already know.

Kitchen staffing is improving. I will release all the details about that when I post the holiday menus.

I will be at the Home and Garden Show in Flagstaff for three days at noon each day. This will take place in the Dome at NAU and the dates are March 22nd to the 24th. So stop by and say hello. I will give a different demo each day followed by samples.

From here on the edge, where it is another day in paradise!

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

John Sharpe - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. We are finally experiencing some real weather with the promise of some snow later today. However it has been a very dry winter so far.

Here are a few photos of this week’s special menu that I have been running in celebration of Valentine’s Day.

The Killer Vegetable Plate, with the Romesco cauliflower from McClendon’s looks really nice. There is a photo of the Wild platter, the Sturgeon with Moro Blood oranges and the Lobster Raviolis with Maine Lobster meat and organic asparagus. Click here for full version of our special menus.

I will be publishing the Easter and Mothers Day menus towards the end of this month. These special days will be upon us soon.  

On the 28th and 29th of this month I will be at the Shamrock food show in Phoenix to see what they have been able to do with “local food”. They are making an attempt to source more produce in state. This is a good move for all of us. Especially the farmers. For years most of our produce here has been coming from out of state, lots of it from Mexico. Those of us that are Slow Food members have been trying to encourage this kind of buying for years. Well, that’s why it’s called “Slow Food”.

Just another day in paradise, news from the edge!

~  Chef John

 

 

 

McClendon's Select Farmer's Market Phoenix - Feb 8th, 2012

John Sharpe - Saturday, February 11, 2012

 

 

I had a really nice visit to the Farmers Market in Phoenix this week. Picked up some delicious produce. Salad greens, Tuscan kale, arugula, edible calendula flowers,   Cheddar cauliflower, purple cauliflower as well as the unique Romanesco variety. Meyer lemons, Moro blood oranges, cosmic carrots and lots more. Fresh basil, tarragon, mint and sage.

Great to see Bob, Sean and Kate McClendon. Kate took some photos of the three of us. It was also nice to see some of our loyal customers at the market. We hope to see you in Winslow soon.

All of this will be on the Valentines Week Menus.  Angels on horseback at the oysters wrapped in jalapeno bacon and served over arugula. Columbia River smoked salmon served with the asparagus that has been grilled, tossed in Meyer lemon vinaigrette that is served over the smoked salmon.

A lovely salad made with fresh Moro Blood Orange vinaigrette with beets, pomegranate seeds and petals from the calendulas.

We have the Fresh Columbia River White Sturgeon served over a slaw of fennel, carrot, Asian pear, snow peas and mild Japanese turnips tossed in a light broth of carrot juice and blood oranges.

I have a new Lamb dish that includes the roast leg seasoned with fresh mint and garlic, a grilled green chile lamb sausage all served with a sauté of brown tepary beans with winter squash, beets, Watermelon radish and baby green beans tossed in a lamb broth with mint and garlic.

The asparagus is served with Main Lobster Raviolis. Tarragon scented Lobster sauce.

Lots of chocolate dessert to finish off the meal.

This menu will run through next Thursday so if you miss Valentine’s Day you can still enjoy some of the special dishes.

The hotel is now adding the outside staircase for the east wing. This will allow for the completion of the last 4 rooms. Looks like we will have all of this ready by spring.

We are still awaiting our winter snow and rain, it was the Hopi Bean Dance today so that may trigger the weather gods to send us the moisture we need not only to help get the bean plants off to a good start but also our own gardens.

Till next time, stay off the edge and enjoy your days in paradise!

~ Chef John

School in session!

John Sharpe - Monday, February 06, 2012

 

 

No i am not in school! Working on learning how to blog and set up my social media information.

Stay in touch, lots of news, tips, photos and more on the way soon.I will keep you posted on my trip to McClendons this week.

Chef John