Enchantment is a good name for the resort, as much about the property enchants, especially the Sedona location in the midst of the awesome red rocks of Boynton Canyon and the sophisticated Southwest-style accommodations. But perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Enchantment is the resort’s spa, Miiamo, (pronounced: me ah’ mo).

The word “mii amo” comes from the Yuman (an Arizona Native American tribe) word for “journey,’ and the spa helps guests journey into well-being. Treatments focus on the Native American and Ayurvedic; classes cover everything from Qi Gong to photography; and a slew of activities include hiking and mountain biking in the glorious Arizona surroundings.

Enchantment guests can use Mii amo as a day spa, but Mii amo is also an inclusive destination spa, complete with its own accommodations, shop and café.  It’s the café that grabs my heart.

It would be a transgression to use the word deprivation in connection with Mii amo Café’s food. The dishes are intelligently low calorie, low cholesterol, and organic whenever possible, but dishes are also so packed with flavor and beautifully presented, that one feels not only satisfied eating them, but also privileged.

Lucky for home cooks who want to sample some of Mii amo’s food magic, Enchantment chefs have recently released A JOURNEY OF TASTE (Chronicle books, 144 pages, $35), a cookbook containing about 50 of the spa’s most requested recipes.

A Journey of Taste's book jacket

Mii amo doesn’t serve traditional restrictive spa food, and likewise, the book is not your ordinary cookbook.

The book’s introduction tells more about the history of the spa and a typical day at the spa than about preparing spa food. And snippets of introductory information are meant to inspire the cook, rather than educate. Consider:

“When each bite is a delight, less is more.”

Journey of Taste chefs whose recipes fill A Journey of Taste

Steve Sicinski and Steve Bernstein, chefs whose recipes fill A Journey of Taste

“High-quality ingredients can be used in smaller measures because their taste carries culinary weight.”

“Delicious food feeds not just the body, but the soul.”

Recipes form the core of the book and these are divided into four chapters: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert. Appetizers, sauces, side dishes and beverages are incorporated into each “meal” chapter.

The book offers one recipe per page. Some recipes such as the Dried Fruit Compote have only two ingredients and two instruction sentences leaving much empty white space on the 9-3/4 by 10-inch page. Other recipes are longer. The Vegetarian Chili instructions run five paragraphs and the ingredient list has 27 items–one of them a vegetable stock with its own complete sub recipe on a different page; the vegetable stock calls for 13 ingredients. But even the more complicated recipes have easy to follow instructions, although some dishes such as the Filet Mignon with Truffled Peruvian Potatoes and Wild Mushroom Demi-glace take a little time- juggling, easier for a restaurant cook than a home cook trying to get a meal on the table. All recipes come with a nutritional analysis and a note on serving size. Serving suggestions and presentation tips are incorporated into most recipes.

Not all recipes have photos, which is a shame, as photos add a reference for the cook. Beside Mii amo believes that “Food should look beautiful as well as taste fantastic,” and visuals are an essential part of Mii amo food’s appeal.

Another small objection to this book is the section offering menu suggestions: For example the book suggests serving Apple Cottage Griddle Cakes with a Mayan Breeze Smoothie and a Blueberry Muffin. The griddle cakes are so good they don’t need a muffin—and besides, it seems odd to pair dishes based on apples and blueberries—fruits with different peak periods.

A JOURNEY OF TASTE may not be the ultimate reference cookbook, but the recipes are worth having and should please anybody trying to eat well and stay well.

The book is available from Mii amo’s shop and a sneak preview is available here:


Serves 5

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 large tart green apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and coarsely grated

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 cup low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese

I teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

Shreds of tart apple add moisture as well as flavor to these popular griddle cakes. Serve them warm, drizzled lightly with honey or brown rice syrup, or topped with fresh seasonal fruit.

Preheat an electric or stovetop griddle to about 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk gently to blend.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and egg white until blended Stir in the apple and lemon zest. Add dry ingredients, folding until nearly blended. Fold in the cottage cheese.

Spray the hot griddle with the oil. Working in batches, spoon or ladle 1/4-cup portions of the batter onto the griddle, leaving about 2 inches between each griddle cake. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until bubbly and set around the edges. Turn over and cook 2 minutes longer, until cooked through and lightly golden. Keep the cooked griddle cakes warm while you cook the remaining batter. To serve, top as desired and serve warm.

251 cal. 4 g fat, 13 g prot, 45 g carb