If there was ever a place that looked like a tourist trap, it was the Cameron Trading Post in Cameron, Arizona, a dusty small town located near the eastern entrance to The Grand Canyon National Park. To even get to the restaurant, one had to walk through a shop filled with Indian trade goods of all levels of sophistication and authenticity. Nevertheless, the place was recommended to me by a woman who worked at The El Tovar Hotel in the Park. She said that it was a good trading post and a place to get a lunch on the way back to Phoenix. She described the Navajo Taco and even though it was 6:45 in the morning, just talking about it was making her drool.
She didn't lie. We sat down in a well appointed dining room to friendly serving staff, who immediately asked what we would like to drink. Being that we were in the desert, it was with some trepidation that I asked for water, though when it came, it tasted clean and pure. Before we ordered, we managed to see some plates brought to other diners. They were huge!
Navajo Vegetarian Taco
Our waiter was very helpful and accommodating. My wife and son were allowed to split a Vegetarian Navajo Taco, which consisted of Navajo fry bread, topped with "chili beans, mild green chile, cheese,
lettuce & tomato." Not wanting to order the same thing, I ordered the Navajo Hot Beef, "Golden Navajo fry bread covered with lean slices of juicy roast beef, homemade
gravy, grilled onion and mild green chili." When the plates came out, we were bowled over. It's a good thing my wife and son split the Taco. Each was still served an individual plate with a very ample piece of fry bread topped with all of the ingredients. My own platter was huge as well. The chili advertised as "mild" gave my dish a nice bite to go with the tender and tasty beef, the well-grilled onions and the smooth, beefy gravy. The fry bread was a perfect foil, providing crisp edges for textural contrast while acting as a thirsty sponge for the flavorful gravy. The taco was just as hearty and delicious. Unfortunately, with a lot of driving still in front of us, none of us could completely polish off our plates. Our waiter was even kind enough to give us an additional iced tea for the road.
Navajo Hot Beef
My Navajo Hot Beef is my Taste of the Week. A hugely pleasant surprise, it was hearty and delicious, just what one would hope for in a dish far away from home. It was also quite representative of real local cooking. Between the honestly good food, the reasonable prices and the warm service, I would recommend this place as a stopping point for anyone on the way to The Grand Canyon or to Lake Powell or if one just happened to find oneself in Cameron, Arizona.