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Meritage: Urban Tavern Offers Fresh Takes on Healthy Fare

The JW Marriott Desert Ridge values “togetherness” with the intent of cultivating and fostering a sincere sense of belonging, and Meritage embraces that tenfold with its communal tables, comfortable patios, lawn games and outdoor fire pits. The ambiance is warm and welcoming and appeals to families, couples, golfers, local residents and of course, resort guests. Look closer, though—the ingredients in their dishes and presentation are beyond compare, all beginning with natural sources found right on the grounds of the resort.

"Meritage’s menu is innovative American cuisine inspired by local ingredients sourced from Arizona farms and purveyors including Crow’s Dairy and McClendon Farms. Again, we stay true to the JW brand pillars of nourishment and bringing the outdoors in," says Dejan Djukic, Meritage's head chef. "Being sustainable is expected in this day and age, and utilizing the seasonality of our chef’s garden and hand-picking our own herbs and maintaining close relationships with those purveyors and farmers in the community is what helps us offer fresh, re-imagined flavors. This is one of the reasons why Meritage’s menu changes seasonally, because ingredients change by the season. We always keep beloved favorites on our menu too." 

The resort itself boasts a 21,000-square-foot organic Chef's Garden, where Dejan and other resort chefs carefully choose ingredients for that night's specialty salads or entrees. From asparagus, artichokes and a variety of peppers, lettuces or herbs, even the most discerning of palates will be impressed.  More than 10 different varieties of vegetables and herbs are grown per season based on culinary needs and trends.

"It is common for guests to seek fresh, healthy, organic and local influences in the foods they eat whether dining in or out, and we provide that at Meritage," Dejan says.

And what is even more impressive is the "sweet" selection you'll find on the menu at Meritage thanks to the bees housed on-site. They produce anywhere between 10 to 36 gallons of raw honey per year, and the fruits of their labor are sparingly and carefully utilized by the resort's culinary team in various salad dressings and recipes in the restaurants. The property is the only known resort property in Phoenix/Scottsdale that harvests its own honey bees and hosts actual "Bee Breaks" for small VIP groups.  

Meritage is the ideal spot to savor amazing dishes with local and seasonal touches and an unwavering healthful approach. 

Chef Djukic shares two spring dishes, packed with nutrients and flavor:

Tomato Burrata                                                                                                                    

Frisee | Kumato tomato | Fresh Burrata | Easter radish | Basil dust | Aged balsamic   

Kumato tomatoes are a natural source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. They’re also a good source of vitamin C and are only 25 calories. The Burrata is lower in calories than cheddar cheese and is a good source of calcium. One ounce supplies 15 percent of your daily calcium needs and 4 percent of your daily vitamin A needs.       

Day Boat Scallops       

Smoked tomato grits | Acorn squash | Walnuts | Cherry gastrique

Scallops are high in protein and low in fat, and a good source of both magnesium and potassium.  The acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B-6 and is a great source of vitamin C, while the walnuts provide fibers and proteins.