20 November, 2019, 22:59

Zipline & dine: Arizona Zipline Tours’ Peppersauce Kitchen cooks homemade goodness

Take a little trip to zip and dip.

Foodies and adrenaline junkies can both get their thrills at Peppersauce Kitchen.

Located at Arizona Zipline Tours just north of Mt. Lemmon, guests can zipline on 5 different lines, 80 feet high in the air over the magnificent high desert, then fill up on some award-winning tacos and salsa – or pizza, burgers, and soup – at the onsite restaurant with an onsite garden.

In September, Peppersauce Kitchen slayed it at the 2019 Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge in Tucson, a land filled with a glorious quantity of primo tacos and salsa. The victory was convincing too.

2019 Salsa, Tequila & Taco Challenge awards for Peppersauce Kitchen

  • Judges’ Choice 2nd Place Traditional Salsa – Roasted Pepper Salsa
  • Judges’ Choice 1st Place Taco – Garlic Chicken and Arugula Taco
  • People’s Choice 2nd Place Taco – Garlic Chicken and Arugula Taco

As you can see, their taco won the hearts of both judges and the overall audience. This caught our attention, so we planned a day to visit and see what they’re all about.

On Halloween, our office visited to zipline and dine.

While the drive through Oracle was already scenic, the zipline helped encapsulate the area marvelously.

Interior at Peppersauce Kitchen

Interior at Peppersauce Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The building combined rustic characteristics of a homestead along with luxurious amenities you’d expect from a premium Airbnb listing. The open dining space felt like a large cabin Arizona room with wood galore, barrel tables, and stained glass window accents. The arched windows and elevated patios provided a stunning view of the surrounding mountain terrain.

Although we arrived early and were among the first guests, it was easy to imagine the place liven up as a community hub at night.

We’re Tucson Foodie and not Tucson Zipline-ie, so we’ll keep the synopsis on the ziplining short; the staff and experience were both awesome. The light hiking was just enough to work up an appetite.

The food

Peppersauce Kitchen’s menu features only the tiniest of frills: truffle fries and filet mignon tacos. Otherwise, the approachable menu features staples such as burgers, sandwiches, and tacos.

Food at Peppersauce Kitchen

Food at Peppersauce Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The items themselves are hardly generic, however. While the award-winning Garlic Chicken Arugula Taco ($3) is the star, other taco options include rib eye, shredded beef, beer-battered fish, grilled tilapia, and shrimp. Tacos are served on a grilled corn tortilla with cabbage, pico de gallo, Cotija cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese.

Arizona Zipline Adventures partner Brandon Luthy whipped up a meal for our team with a soup and a variety of pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches. All were presented in a rustic manner with ceramic bowls and wooden pizza peels.

Soup at Peppersauce Kitchen

Soup at Peppersauce Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The soup caught us off guard; the humble presentation of a cob of corn, carrots, potatoes, celery, and cabbage didn’t set expectations too high. However, the vegetable broth was rich and balanced with the ideal amount of salt and subtle sweetness from the corn and carrots.

Next, the grilled cheese also caught us off guard. The sliced sandwich bread featured a melty blend of cheese with slices of bacon and onion for a savory, restrained addition. The pizza crust didn’t rise that day the way Luthy wanted, but we still enjoyed the garlicky exterior and well-seasoned tomato slices on top.

Grilled Cheese at Peppersauce Kitchen

Grilled Cheese at Peppersauce Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

As we ate, we casually chatted with Luthy on a wide range of topics ranging from musical instruments to his passion for proper burger size ratios. Like many of our readers, Luthy isn’t a fan of burgers so thick that they don’t cook evenly and you have to unhinge your jaw just to take a bite.

While we didn’t order burgers during our visit, we looked on their Facebook after our visit and found this photo of a burger special with diced rib eye, Hatch green chili sauce, grilled cheddar, cotija, and bacon. We messed up. We messed up good.

The Bad Boy Burger at Peppersauce Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Bad Boy Burger at Peppersauce Kitchen (Photo courtesy of Arizona Zipline Adventures)

Afterwards, Luthy gave us a tour of the rest of the property, which includes an onsite garden. While it was past prime harvesting season, we still marveled at the vine tomatoes and fish pond.

Brandon Luthy at the Peppersauce Kitchen onsite garden

Brandon Luthy at the Peppersauce Kitchen onsite garden (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Additional buzz

As it turns out, the tacos and salsas weren’t the business’ only award winners this year.

For the Women of Influence Awards, hosted by Tucson Local Media and Inside Tucson Business, Arizona Zipline Adventures partner Emily Goff won the business owner of the year award.

When we dug through their social media, we found this post:

View this post on Instagram

As you may remember, our very own Emily Goff was nominated and one of three finalists for Inside Tucson Business' Women of Influence Awards 2019 in the Business Owner of the Year Category. The awards ceremony was last night, and while all of us here at the zipline have known in our hearts for quite some time that Emily is the Business Owner of the Century, we are so excited to share that the rest of Tucson's business world agrees with us! She's built this business, quite literally, from the ground up alongside business partners Brandon Luthy (in photo) and Charley Goff and has been a huge advocate of giving back to our local community with every opportunity that comes her way. Emily has been a driving inspiration for us since day one, and we cannot be more thrilled that she is getting the recognition she deserves. #zipaza #ziparizona #zipline #ziplineadventure #girlboss #ladyboss #womenofinfluence #insidetucsonbusiness #tucsonbusiness #localbusiness #supportlocalbusiness #adventure #liveyourbestlife #adventureisoutthere #getoutside #optoutside #thisistucson #whyilovewhereilive #pinalcounty #oracleaz #arizona #visittucson #visitarizona #igsouthwest #igtucson #igarizona #igerstucson #igersarizona #bosslady #business

A post shared by Arizona Zipline Adventures (@ziparizona) on

With the business’ focus on community involvement, keep an eye out for their regular events such as Grill Your Own Steak Night.

Although Peppersauce Kitchen is about an hour further than our usual dining destinations, we’ll be back for sure. If you want to stay the night, check out the Oracle guest ranch and bed-and-breakfast options.

Peppersauce Kitchen and Arizona Zipline Adventures are located at 35406 S. Mt. Lemmon Rd. Oracle, AZ 85623. Keep up with Peppersauce Kitchen and Arizona Zipline Adventures on Facebook. For more information, visit ziparizona.com.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com.

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