Travel Tips & Adventures

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Wild West Adventure at Rawhide – Howdy, Pardner! (And a recipe)

Looking for an Old West experience that’s fun for the family? Then, head to Rawhide, if you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

Come and Get It greets visitors at Rawhides entrance

"Come and Get It" greets visitors at Rawhide's entrance


There’s a lot to do and a great restaurant, too. (Actually, there are several restaurants, but in the summer, things slow down a little.)

Run by the Gila River Indian Community in an area just off I10 south of the Phoenix area, Rawhide is a cowboy showcase where you can find fun things to do with the family. From the moment you walk through the gate, they are out to entertain you! (No charge for entering Rawhide.)


Dutch greets a visitor at Rawhide

"Dutch" greets a visitor at Rawhide

First, there is a “bad guy” who winds up flat out dead on the street, the “Sheriff” hovering over him. The Sheriff offers to let you take photos with the “dead guy” – “You know you want to,” he says.

Shoot out at Rawhide

Shoot out at Rawhide

There are stores, where you can buy sweets, Western wear, and souvenirs. Burro rides, stagecoach rides, the mechanical bull and the Six Gun Theater are available for entertainment. There’s even gold panning. For the rides and the show, you can purchase a bracelet that gives you access to all of the fun, or pay for each individual one. (The bracelet is the better deal if you plan to try lots of the fun.)

A museum, also on view (no charge), has an authentic assortment of late 1800s items.

One of the most interesting crafts shown is by Devin Mace, a fourth generation blacksmith, who is plying his trade – at almost 3,000 degrees! – while he makes horseshoes, key chains, candle holders and the like. Using 150-year-old equipment, he proficiently demonstrates his craft as he works.

Devin Mace, Blacksmith

Devin Mace, Blacksmith

He customizes items so you can have your name on them and that rarity – something made in front of your eyes, right here in the USA!

Most of the year, Mace can be found in his Rawhide blacksmith shop. Sometimes, he heads up to the Grand Canyon to ply his trade, as well.

A revamping of Rawhide will be underway soon to make it more authentic to the 1880s. They also plan more live entertainment starting Fall 2009.

During the summer, the offerings are scaled down a little because it is so hot, but on July 4, over 5,000 people came to enjoy the fun and see the fireworks!

Rawhide’s Steakhouse

A massive dining room is meant to evoke a big cowboy hall. A three-piece country Western band plays recognizable favorites and invites people to dance, if they feel so inclined.

The steaks are wonderful. Hey, they are a steak house! I had their 8-ounce top sirloin – The Gunslinger Steak. It was probably the best steak I ever remember eating. Tender, lean, moist and delicious – every bite! Also, it was medium rare, as ordered. (Not a given at most restaurants.)


The salad, vegetables, garlic whipped potatoes, special green chili pepper cornbread muffins, and a spicy corn salad, which come with the meal, were no slouches either.

The cold things were cold; the hot items were hot. (Not always such at many restaurants,) Service was friendly and efficient. (I asked for my asparagus without fat and the server quickly brought my asparagus steamed.)

Even if you just want a good meal with a little Western ambience, the Rawhide Steakhouse is a fun diversion and offers a great meal at a reasonable price. Full steak dinners range from $20.50 to $29.50 (a 24 ounce steak!). There are also non-steak items such as red pepper ravioli, BBQ chicken, baby back ribs, and an assortment of other choices.

Rawhide is located in the vicinity of the award-winning Kai Restaurant at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.



(This is not Rawhide’s recipe, but got good reviews on


Serrano Chili And Cilantro Cornbread Muffins Recipe

2 small Serrano chilies (or 2 ounces canned green roasted chilies)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne
2/3 cup low-fat milk or soy milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or grape seed oil or softened butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soft butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Put the chilies on a baking pan on the top rack under the broiler until they blister and turn black. Turn them over and repeat. Remove them from the broiler and drop them into a brown bag to cool. The skin will become loose and flaky as they cool.
3. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the milk, eggs, oil or butter, maple syrup or sugar, and the cilantro in a separate bowl.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.
5. Take the chilies out of the bag and slice them in half, directly down the middle. Open them up, and remove the seeds and discard. Peel the skin off and discard. Cut the chilies into small pieces and stir them into the batter until they are completely mixed in.
6. Smear a little butter or oil on the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan or 12 muffin molds and pour the batter in. Bake 20 minutes if using a muffin pan, or 25 minutes if you’re using a baking pan. Remove from the oven and let cool.
7. Make the Honey Butter: Simply blend the softened honey and butter together in a bowl with a fork, whipping lightly to create a creamy spread. Scoop the spread into a ramekin and serve along with the cornbread.
Enjoy! (The restaurant is open Thursdays-Sundays during the summer months.)

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