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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...