The authentic dishes served at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa’s fine-dining restaurant, Kai, do much more than satisfy cravings for Native American cuisines; they tell stories through food and lead diners through epic flavor profiles into a true appreciation for the rich history, culture and agricultural traditions of the Gila River Indian Community. Kai, which in Pima means “seed,” treats groups with a contemporary approach to Native American cuisine in a rich yet relaxing atmosphere, and incorporates the essence of the Pima and Maricopa people into the menu with locally farmed ingredients from the Gila River Indian Community.
“A journey at Kai offers an authentic and innovative approach to Native American cuisine,” said Taren Buffington, public relations and marketing coordinator at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa. “It’s a one-of-a-kind cultural experience, especially since Kai’s menu changes seasonally. However, there are a few signature dishes that are staples on the menu. My favorite dish is the grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo. It melts in your mouth and is unlike anything I have ever experienced before.”
Not only has chef de cuisine Joshua Johnson helped Kai make history as the only Native American-owned property to receive both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Five-Star awards, but it is the only dining experience in Arizona to receive this exclusive combination of awards.
Mitsitam cafe Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian
The Mitsitam Native Foods Café is far more than a cafe; it is also an ever-changing exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian that represents the many native foods of the Western Hemisphere.
“We try not to claim to be authentic but instead use native indigenous ingredients from the areas we represent and put them together in a more contemporary way,” said Richard Hetzler, executive chef and food service director for Mitsitam Native Foods Café.
Hetzler’s favorite dish at the restaurant is the moles tacos because “they are quick, and I can eat on the go, and we have a lot of fun with the combinations of ingredients. We change our menu with each season so we are able to keep items fresh and seasonal.”
The cafe was recently the winner of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s “Best Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year”; but ask anyone where this restaurant’s true claim to fame lies, and they’ll advise you to reserve the Mitsitam Chefs Table for your group to hear from the chef himself about the origin of the maple-brined turkey or the house-ground buffalo duck burger.