Atlanta, Cafe Tacvba, Essence, Acacia Cafe, baking with Mom

22 Oct

Linda and I just got back from Atlanta. And we ate some really good food! (surprise)

While there we visited with Rob and Brad over sumptuous meals, one of which was at The Vortex. An enormous chili dog for me and fried plantains. Yes, that is a side there instead of french fries. I think I need to go to Atlanta more often. The front of the building looks like an open mouth skull. Cool, right?IMG952536

I didn’t pay attention to everyone else’s meals too much, since I was concentrating on my huge chili dog and local beer that they make at the Vortex. It was an amber and hit the spot.  There might have been a couple of burgers on our table and a reuben. That’s right, I remember Brad mentioned he liked sauerkraut, like me…you should check this place out when in Atlanta.

http://www.thevortexbarandgrill.com/pages/midtown

For the life of me I can’t remember the name of this bar/restaurant I ate this next dish at but there was dancing and live music. I’m sure that helps to narrow that down for you. They had crawfish etoufee on the menu and I had to have it. I will check with my partners in crime and find out the name of the restaurant for you. In the meantime, here’s my dinner.

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And I might have enjoyed a local beer also.

One of the reasons Linda and I went to Atlanta was to see the Mexican band, Cafe Tacvba. And wow, what a show (a sold out show, see picture below).

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The band was all over the stage, had a lot of energy and many costume changes. I cannot say enough about this band. Very creative! And lots of encores after we shouted “Culero!” and “otro!” The venue was Center Stage and I would go back there in a heartbeat. Every seat was a god one, there was a large area downstairs where one could see the band up closer, dance, mosh and be carried throughout the crowd. Since we are not teenagers, we took seats, and enjoyed our screwdriver and Corona.

Linda got all gussied up as usual for the show. She is a glamour queen! I did my best with what we have.

lol.

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One of the local beers I enjoyed mostly on our trip was Sweetwater 420.

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I found out about it at a local craft show where there were food vendors (yay!). It is very hoppy and since I am a fan of IPA beers, it worked quite well for me. I will look for it here, although when in AZ I usually drink Devils Ale from Santan Brewing Co. Gotta be true to my school!

While in Atlanta we had drinks at the W Midtown bar where there is a “couch swing” that Rob and Brad had to try. I think they are a very cute couple.

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I’m trying to find out where I can order this for me and Jack, and if there is room in our 650 square feet of living space to put it. :)

We have peeps at work who recommended places for us to visit in Atlanta (Thanks Crystal!). Otherwise we would have not been to Gladys Knights Chicken & Waffles, where we ate copious amounts of chicken and waffles, smothered chicken, fried green tomatoes, yams and mac and cheese.

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The remoulade for the fried green tomatoes was really spicy. Loved it.

http://gladysandron.net/

This is the place where I mention we didn’t stay at a local resort in Atlanta. But we tried to. There was no room at the inn. Maybe the band (and their large staff) was staying here? Regardless, next time we will stay at Artmore.

http://www.artmorehotel.com/

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it lately, but my Mom is a great baker. We like to hang out on the weekend, and most recently, have discovered selfies.

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This one might be too close, actually. I think you can see our pores.

We do have fun, though. My Mom is really goofy. We talk about all kinds of things like politics, injustices, baking, hair, makeup, relationships etc etc.

She was making oatmeal cookies a couple of weekends ago from a Costco cookbook. They turned out really delicious. Chewy. They didn’t have too much flour, just 1/2 cup, so they were mostly oatmeal. And walnuts. And raisins.

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Yum.

One of my favorite salads here in town is the Bistro salad at Acacia Cafe. Dad and I often go there for breakfast, and if I don’t have leftovers available for lunch, I get one of these.

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Chicken, spinach, slivered almonds, ruby red grapefruit, avocado and a homemade poppyseed dressing. They give you a little garlic toast too.

http://www.acaciacafe.net/

It’s a great deal for $6.50. And will help you maintain your girlish figure.

My chocolate eclair picture from Essence Bakery didn’t upload. So I will just tell you, it wasn’t big enough. And it was filled with rum creme. You need one.  This is why the kitchen wench needs to eat salads for lunch.

http://essencebakery.com/

Good works, Las Vegas weekend, BBQ Co, The Parlor, Da Vang, The Stand

7 Oct

Do you know someone who is out in the community doing good works? I do. Rob Adams. Lookie lookie.

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He is taking classes at Greenville Tech and was installing a ramp yesterday with Habitat for Humanity. Woot woot!

We were in Las Vegas recently for a fabulous weekend of comedy, eats and swimmies.

We do enjoy road trips.

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Jennifer Coolidge (comedian/actress) was performing at the Venetian. You might remember her from movies like American Pie and All About Cats and Dogs. Most recently she has been in the TV Show Two Broke Girls which is one of my favorite roles she has done.

Her performance was super hilarious. Much of the time she talked about wanting to find a husband and her staff. And why all that is funny…you just have to go and see her yourself!

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Clearly, we were having a good time at her show. We stayed at the Rio. They give you a do not disturb tag for your door that is pretty silly.

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We kept it. (shocker!) I’m not an expert in all things Vegas, but after this trip I’m inclined to say it could be a good thing to stay in the downtown area. We walked around at night and took pictures of the neon signs.

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There are a lot of street performers and artists, free …unless you want to take pictures or buy something. There were also lowriders driving by since a car show was in town that weekend.

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People along the street were encouraging drivers to make their cars hop. We really got a kick out of that. There is a more independent vibe downtown that I really liked. Also, we did not know until this visit that Las Vegas has a (wait for it) Chinatown!

Yes, we were very excited about this because typically…the food in the other Chinatown we had been to (San Francisco) was good, abundant and cheap. The same can be said for Las Vegas Chinatown. For lunch, we enjoyed a whole fried flounder, water grass with garlic and house fried rice.

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There are dozens of restaurants, an asian supermarket and gift shops. We love asian supermarkets, and Jack is all about “try it before you buy it.” This fruit tasted like a sour apple and looks like a date. It was tasty.

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Chinatown was a good distraction from the Las Vegas we are used to.

Lunch during the work week can be a challenge. Especially for a girl on a budget. I don’t eat out a lot during the week. Mostly I bring leftovers (I’m lucky since my mainsqueeze is such a good cook). But once a week I like to get out of the office. Close to work I like BBQ Co (36th St. just north of Broadway). They had a bbq chicken sandwich lunch special last week that came with fries and a drink for $8. Not too shabby.

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Very good quality bbq. And nice buns!

I wasn’t able to post our soup picture at Da Vang (Vietnamese) restaurant from last weekend. But I can tell you what we had. Beef noodle soup (for Jack) and wonton soup for me. You can ask for the wide rice noodles in your beef noodle soup (normally they are spaghetti size) and that’s what Jack likes to do. The wonton soup has shrimp, fish ball, squid and wontons with ramen noodles. They are at 19th Avenue and Campbell. And one of our favorite places for soup lately.

Sometimes a girl (two girls in this case) needs a sumptuous lunch. Especially after payday. Linda and I went to The Parlor last Friday for beet salad, tagliatelle with meat sauce, sausage and sage pizza, tiramisu and pineapple fritters.

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It is one of my favorite places in central Phoenix. I tried Benedictine for the first time. It is made by monks, after all. And any help I can get to digest is a good thing. On Sunday Jack suggested we grab a bite at Taco Guild, and I was very excited…since I had just finished yoga at Madison Improvement Club, and was quite hungry.

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The restaurant is inside a former church at 7th St. and Osborn, and they make great (and unusual) tacos with pork, beef, fish, duck, etc. Jack tried a snapper curry and duck taco while I chose a grilled romaine salad with chicken. It had bacon bits and a creamy cilantro dressing that helped to cool down all that heat. It was amazing. I can’t wait to try it next with beef or shrimp. They also have a nice drink list (sangria/mexican beers/flights of tequila/margs) and desserts like tres leches cake and flan. So come hungry.

I was hungry on Saturday after work. So I stopped for a lentil fetoosh salad from Pita Jungle (not pictured) and a dulce de leche shake at The Stand.

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These guys have a good thing going. You have to try this shake.    Not too sweet. Very filling!

Staycations in Tucson (El Charro/Saigon Pho/Los Portales) and Phoenix (The Clarendon/Gallo Blanco), Hazelwoods First Place, The Stand, Essence, Cowboy Ciao and Piggly’s

6 Sep

It’s been a nice summer (actually with our weather it still feels like summer). We’re thankful to have been able to take some relaxing staycations right here in AZ.
The Clarendon, close to us in Central Phoenix, is my new favorite hotel/resort. What a relaxing time we had! They have an amazing pool, comfortable rooms and a great restaurant, Gallo Blanco. It has a very organic and simple environment. We started our staycation by eating there right away.
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We enjoyed the ceviche, inca salad and tacos.
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At The Clarendon, they have a saltwater pool, with cabanas and little shade “pagodas.”
My Dad and sister Fran showed up so we could all partake of strong/fruity drinks and the cool water.
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And they have free snacks at the front desk. Candy bars, chips, sodas and water. You just have to ask. :) We are all about the “free.”
Just recently we made it to Cowboy Ciao’s for lunch. I love that area in Scottsdale next to Barrio Queen and Herb Box. The reuben sandwich made with short rib and chopped salad disappeared quickly.
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I look forward to going back and trying their fried green tomatoes and hawaiian bread pudding.
Dad and I enjoy our weekly breakfasts. It had been awhile since we were at Essence and a couple weeks back we were both craving croissants and french toast. They make a banana caramel sauce for the french toast that is not too sweet.
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From the pictures you can see why we like going there so much. Also, I love the architecture and natural light that comes inside. It is a relaxing spot.
Piggly’s is a place that Jack really likes because of their “fair food.” All fried things. For lunch a couple of weeks back we shared fried zucchini and an enormous corn dog.
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They have cute artwork, mostly related to pigs. I liked this picture of a cute pig jumping into a lake.
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We like dinner at The Stand a couple of times a month because their burgers are really fresh and they are within walking distance. The last time we visited, Jack tried the tacos and Mexican corn.
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I’m a purist, so I stayed with the burger. They also make hand spun milkshakes, which I’m dying to try.
Last weekend we were in Tucson, we had both been wanting to go for awhile now and the universe was working with us. Great food in Tucson. We started out on Saturday at El Charro for lunch. Look at this enormous ceviche.
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It was very fresh and delicious. We both love marinated fish/shrimp with soda crackers and tortilla chips. Then our entrees arrived. A “G” burrito for me (it had grilled veggies, avocados and green corn tamal) and a Jack chose the original El Charro taco x 2 – described on their website as “Seasoned ground beef patty prepared original style in a crisp shell,with salsa basico, peas, radish & Queso Casero.”
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Delicious food with a great environment and friendly service. We simply could not move after lunch.
We checked into our hotel and took a long nap.
In the evening we headed to Sentinel Peak, for a hike to “A” Mountain. It was almost sunset. We took some beautiful pictures. No, we didn’t paint the “A.”
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It’s really something to get away out of the city and see nature. We needed it.
After our hike we drove to Main Gate Square, an outdoor shopping area right outside of the U of A campus. It’s a great spot because there are shops and restaurants side by side. Very independent/local feeling. I spotted Saigon Pho, a Vietnamese restaurant and by that time we were hungry again (shocker!) so we decided to give it a try.
One of Jack’s favorite meals is soup. He had a big bowl of pho, and really liked it.
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Sometimes I want something a little lighter so I picked a bowl of vermicelli with bbq pork. It came with little bits of spring roll and crunchy herbs/vegetables that gave a nice contrast to the noodles.
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We both felt the food was very fresh, reasonable and authentic.
Sometimes you want your vacation to last and sometimes you are just ready to get back home. We decided to leave our hotel early on Sunday so we could get a good breakfast and beat the holiday traffic. We stumbled upon a fabulous place – Los Portales. I’m so glad we did. When we walked in there was a group of mariachis playing, mostly very young people in beautiful turquoise outfits. The music and singing was so inspiring and it really added to a great meal. I ordered cocido – a soup with beef ribs, cabbage, corn, zucchini and carrots. The broth was not overly salty and tasted like something my mother would have made, if she were to make cocido.
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Jack is a menudo fan, so when he found out their buffet included it, he dove in, so he could also get a full monty of chorizo/eggs, a tiny tamale (the cutest tamale I have ever seen, even wrapped in the husk and tied with a tiny husk string), mini chimi and beans/rice.
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I wish I had gotten a picture of that mini tamale for you, unfortunately it’s just his mendo. In my defense I was distracted by my enormous bowl of cocido.
Breakfast, being the most important meal of the day, is something we will mention again here (segue). We didn’t even realize until this morning that Hazelwoods (First Place) makes breakfast. A $5.00 breakfast with bacon, eggs, potatoes and english muffin no less. And they have a $3.00 bloody mary bar. And, they will make you a blt (not on the breakfast menu) if you ask for it. So that’s what we did this morning. Jack bellied up to the bar and shook me up a great bloody mary.

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It was a thing of beauty. Was as in past tense. Long gone!

Home cooking, Bluewater Grill, Urban Cookies, Hava Java, The Gladly, Carniceria/Panaderia Los Alamos

5 Aug

We made lamb burgers this weekend. And fried (previously frozen) artichoke hearts, with fried portobello mushrooms and latkes. Lookie.
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Amazing meal. Jack likes to put an italian sausage with the lamb to give it extra texture and flavor. And they were made on the grill. With love, of course…
Urban Cookies, one of my favorite sweet places, recently participated in cupcake wars and made some wonderful/interesting flavors. Olive oil/rosewater, birthday cake chocolate frosted, lemon, coconut…the list was long. I picked up four (since they sent me a buy 3 get one free coupon) and took them to my aunt and Dad for snacks last weekend (not pictured). They will also make an ice cream sandwich for you with your choice of cookies for $4.99.
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I think it’s the bees knees. I have tried them before and it’s not something you can have after a meal. It is the meal.
Recently we were at Bluewater Grill for din-din and Jack was able to take advantage of their losbster special. It comes with corn, potatoes and steamed clams.
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I went after the crab arugula salad with gusto. It has a citrus vinaigrette that is fresh and delicious.
After dinner on our way home we stopped at Hava Java for coffee. We normally do french press on the weekends and we were out of beans. Their staff is very friendly and will recommend a coffee for you.
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The Gladly has a super happy hour. They do a special drink for $5.00 and last friday it was a pisco. Very refreshing. There might have been some bourbon in it. :)
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We also enjoyed wings, spicy yummy nuts, pickled pork temple (this was interesting, a cold potted dish served with toast) and sausage with pretzel bread. These guys also own Citizen Public House, which I haven’t visited yet, but plan to very soon.
More home cooking. Jack made pasta last week with ground lamb, olive oil, garlic portobello mushrooms and those multicolor “snacking” peppers. This was a great dish!
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There was enough to share with my bestie at work.
So it’s still hot out there, I highly recommend you try a mangoneada at Tropical Snowflake.
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It is frozen mango with fruit juices, chamoy, serpentina candy and fresh mango. You have gotta try this. I’m sending their kids to college. ;)
Unrelated to food, my bro sent a picture of my niece and nephew swimming last weekend. Sweet kiddos!
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When Jack gets home late (I almost always get home late) we sometimes need a quick feed. Los Alamos is our place. 36th St./McDowell.
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You get a whole roasted chicken, beans, rice, tortillas, salsa and a 2 liter bottle of coke for $10.99. A huge ganga!

San Francisco eats, The Break Room, Jay’s Gyros and Red Devil

23 Jul

We were so glad to be able to take a trip to San Francisco to visit Jack’s sister, brother and their families this summer. His sister Apple put us up (or put up with us rather) for 3 nights and then we spent a night at a tiny hotel just outside of Chinatown. As you can see here, Jack’s sister is …fabulous! She is standing in front of her husband Alfonso’s low rider Impala. We rode in it. And yes, it goes up and down :)

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But this is what you want to know, right? Here’s what we ate:
Seafood at the Wharf…including calamari, sourdough bread and shrimp cocktail.
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The bread at Boudin, also at the Wharf is a must eat. I was eating a half baguette of raisin/chocolate bread. I wish we would have stayed a few more days so I could eat several of these.
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We also took pictures of their bread made into animals. We spied turtles and a crab. Very creative!
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Near the Wharf is Buena Vista bar. It has been there since the late 1800’s, so we felt we had to visit. They are famous for their irish coffee (Jack’s choice) and I tried to impress the bartender with my knowledge of liqueurs and ordered an Aperol (he was unimpressed). But the drinks did produce a nice buzz all the same.
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In North Beach, we had dessert at a restaurant called Mona Lisa that has a vintage Fiat convertible in front of it. The owner is genius because he lets you sit in it to take pictures and then lures you into his restaurant. Smart! I need one of these. Jack really liked this car.
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Here’s the fancy desserts we ate there. Lemon ice for me (in a lemon no less) and tiramisu for Jack.
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Across the street from Mona Lisa there is a candy shop where Jack found some enormous jaw breakers. We didn’t eat anything there but it is one of those old timey places that is fun and nostalgic.
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We really enjoyed the Castro District. Drinks at Twin Peaks and then snacks at Hot Cookie. Their enormous cookies are really delicioius (not pictured). Mine had pecans and chocolate chips. And Apple had something called a Sexy bar. I’m not old enough for one of those…however, we did buy a pair of the red underwear for a dear friend in SC (you know who you are!)
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And when we got home we discovered we still had to eat. Haha. That’s my segue.

One of my favorite places to eat near work is Jay’s Gyros. Last week Linda and I were there and I had a chicken sandwich with onions and peppers. Lookie lookie.
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I was impressed by the quality of the bun, for me the bread needs to be perfect if it is going to be a good sandwich. These guys have a great little place on 48th St./Broadway. Also I have tried their gyro salad and it is very tasty and a good value.
Recently I was with my bro Mike, Cindy and Linda at Red Devil at 31st St. and McDowell. We enjoyed their zucchini and mushrooms, combo pizza (they will make a thick crust pizza for you if you ask) and dessert. Make note, that their desserts are really worth the trip. I had spumoni, while Linda and Mike chose cannoli and Cindy ordered cheesecake. No complaints from anyone at the table. In fact, it got really quiet. You can see why.
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After dinner Linda and I went over to her daughter’s bar, The Break Room. http://www.yelp.com/biz/breakroom-bar-and-grill-phoenix-2 The lovely Adrian (not pictured) will make you a drink called a rusty fox.
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Watch out, though, because it’s potent. It’s a good scene, there are pool tables, darts, karaoke and juke box. And a kitchen! The menu which I haven’t had a chance to enjoy in about a year and a half, has changed (new ownership), it’s very big, with sandwiches and appetizers. I’m getting back there soon for a bite. And a drink, of course.

McAlpines, Herb Box, First Draft (Changing Hands), The Henry, Khyber Halal

30 Jun

Mom invited us over for tacos today. Her translation of tacos is flautas, typically made with a beef roast, but today she made them with chicken. She fries the corn tortillas and then bakes the filled flautas in the oven. It is a recipe she learned from her Mom, grandma Sutherland, when they lived in Yuma. The flautas are magical. Afterwards, we treated her and my bro Mike to dessert at McAlpines. Jack and I were recently there for lunch and we were impressed with the quality, environment and the price. Mike and I both enjoyed chocolate malts. Mom ordered the “Parisian” and Jack (not pictured) chose a hot fudge sundae.

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The service is friendly and it’s a wonderful place to go and cool off this summer for something sweet. Also you can buy vintage clothes. Jack picked up a green hawaiian shirt with yellow pineapples on it the last time we were there. Very Hawaii 5-0!

We went to see Chef today. If you’ve ever been at a crossroads in your life (I’m sure that has never been me haha) you will appreciate this movie. A great performance by Sofia Vegara. I really enjoyed the story. If you are into the food truck scene at all, you should also go and see this.

Speaking of movies, I recently bought a DVD set of I’m So Excited! It’s one of my favorite movies right now by director Pedro Almodóvar. I wanted to give a copy to my friend Rob in South Carolina and also I promised a copy to a friend at work.

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The director is a little out there so I’m going to have to give her a disclaimer. But most people know I’m pretty goofy so hopefully she expecting a movie from me that reflects that. ;)

Thursday we worked a half day so I decided to have lunch at Herb Box and see a movie at Camelview 5. I tried Avocado Love, which is avocado, arugula and fennel on whole grain toast.

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Often times when I eat out I feel like I need some kind of meat/chicken/fish protein, but at Herb Box I never miss it. It’s because everything they make there is fresh and seasoned so well. They know about acid/salt/bitter/sweet balance. Sometimes I get the Veggie Nosh which is a trio of a beet salad, hummus and chick pea/quinoa salad. They usually will substitute the tzatziki for hummus for me and it’s one of the first dishes I tried there that I fell in love with. Yes I use the love word a little too much when I talk about food. But there it is.

Jack has been grilling a lot since we moved back to Phoenix. The complex has a fancy gas grill that heats up quick. Recently he put some steaks on the barbie and they were amazing.

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He’s very photogenic, no?

On Saturday we made a trip to Bluewater Grill for lunch and it’s becoming one of my favorite places to eat because their seafood louie salad is substantial and fresh. I really like their louie dressing. The salad has shrimp, crabmeat, a variety of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and egg. Jack decided on oysters, and something from the lunch menu; white clam chowder and a shrimp louie salad.

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Did I mention he’s photogenic? lol

The lunch menu is very reasonable, so it’s a nice way to go if you are a newbie.

A parcel arrived from South Carolina last week with some goodies from Rob. He has been to many estate sales and is a great shopper. He also seems to know my size. Lookie lookie.

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I felt very glam in this dress. Kind of Audrey Hepburnish.

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This suit makes me feel like Katherine Deneuve (without the hat).

There was also an Asian style dress in my care package, and a stripey summer short sleeve sweater that reminded me of something that Liz Claiborne might have designed. Rob is the ultimate shopper. If you ever need a personal shopper and want to fly him out from Greenville, SC I’m sure he would be up for it. He can also remodel your kitchen, bathroom and put in a bamboo floor. His portfolio has recently grown so there’s a lot he can do that I’m not even aware of. A total professional, this one.

Last weekend I was with Mom, Mike and Cindy at First Draft having a iced coffee.Image

 

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I learned of Daniel Alarcón just recently and read his earlier book Lost City Radio. I enjoyed it so much that I had to order his latest novel. Changing Hands was happy to do this for me.

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Normally I don’t mention restaurants here unless they are local. I don’t think The Henry is local but I’m giving them a mention because their location at 44th Street and Camelback has beautiful architecture and I’ve had breakfast there twice now with my Dad and it has been very enjoyable. Here’s the inside of the place.

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They make a steel cut oatmeal that both Dad and I have tried and it’s very tasty.

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It comes with some type of chutney that is not too sweet.

Also I noticed they have avocado toast on their afternoon menu and I’ve asked them to put it on the breakfast menu, since I’m trying to go a little healthier these days. I’ll keep you posted on this.

Jack and I really enjoy middle-eastern food. Recently we tried Afghani food at Khyber Halal on 24th Street, just south of Indian School. It is very reasonable and fresh tasting. Since Jack is a big fan of lamb, he chose lamb shank and I tried the chicken briyani.

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It is a rice dish that comes with big chunks of chicken and is spicy. Thankfully it comes with a cucumber salad to cool you down. The staff is very friendly and will explain any dish to you. We also tried the hummus and it was delicious. We also brought home some baklava and I shared it with my friends at work and one of them said it’s the best he ever tried.  There was so much food we had leftovers for the next day, which makes us very happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herb Box, TeePee, Hazelwoods, Autumn Court, Desert Jade, Tropical Snowflake, Essence

16 Jun

We’ve been eating out a bit more lately. Partly because Jack’s the main cook and he’s been thrown under the bus recently. If you’ve ever seen your sweetie suffer stress at work, you know it’s tough. I get out pretty late at work so sometimes getting a meal out seems more practical.

Since Jack came over to this side of town, we’re spending more time at restaurants in the Arcadia area…this weekend we were at TeePee (41st street/Thomas) where he enjoyed chorizo with eggs and I had the green chile burrito with red sauce. Spicy. We liked everything we ate (which typically we do).

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After lunch we went to Tropical Snowflake (32nd St/McDowell). Mango raspado with ice cream for Jack and frozen strawberries with cream for me. Love this place.

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Desert Jade is a Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood we have been to recently – twice in fact. The first time we ordered house fried rice, spicy beef with vegetables and potstickers. Then the next day we went back for some more house fried rice – since Jack was going to eat the leftovers from the previous day, and was out of rice. It’s reliable and inexpensive.  We’ll be there often.

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We have been to Hazelwoods twice also recently (36th st/Indian school). They have dinner specials every night. Last Thursday Jack had the steak special with green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy. I was feeling on the lighter side and enjoyed a greek salad with chicken. The quality of the food is really surprising, for a sports bar.

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Their fried zucchini and wings are also delicious. They have a great selection of draft beers, too.  And lots ot TV’s. So you can watch soccer, baseball and basketball all at once.  I used to go there for trivia night and that was fun. Lots of brainiacs.

Another local Chinese place we have been to this month is Autumn Court (37th street/Indian school). I seem to remember the owner is (was?) a relative of the China Doll people (used to be on 7th St./Osborn and we used to eat there a lot as a family; there were fabulous egg rolls). We really liked the food at Autumn Court although I don’t remember exactly what we ate. Potstickers maybe with some type of beef dish and rice. Jack remarked that the rice was very good quality. He is a bit of a rice man. Buys it in 20 pound bags. He will twitch if he doesn’t have some at least every three days (not really. I do tease him a little though). They have a nice drink selection. I will try something with vodka and lychees next time. They were out of sticky rice with mango and Jack said he was going to give the owner a hard time about it the next time we go.  :)

Dad and I celebrated Father’s day a little early last Friday (when I work a half day I tend to employ my dad as my partner in crime, sometimes at Otro, The Parlor, AT Oasis…the list grows). We went to Herb Box, one of my favorite restaurants in old town Scottsdale. Dad chose the butternut squash enchiladas and a couple of mango boozy drinks that looked very refreshing. I opted for the veggie nosh which includes chick peas with quinoa, hummus and a beet salad. They will usually substitute tzatziki for the hummus for me, which is my favorite thing they make. They use a homemade yogurt that has a good dose of fresh dill. For me it just presses the right buttons. I also ordered some sweet potato chips and a cucumber basil mojito. All good choices.

I’m not sure about you, but I really notice flooring and architecture at restaurants. The Herb Box has one of the best bathroom floors, as far as I can tell. We have a concrete floor at home and if we don’t recover it with bamboo, I would like to have this done.

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Around the corner of Herb Box there is a little store called Garage. It’s filled with cute clothes for girls, boys, women and a few guys things. Pricy. There are purses, jewelry, beautiful colored scarves and a lot of ridiculous things. I found these key chains that shoot balls out of their mouths.

Can you tell I’m in the easily amused department?

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Another place Dad and I were at recently is the First Draft Book Bar (at Changing Hands Bookstore’s new location on 3rd Ave/Camelback). They get their pastries from local bakers and there are wines and local beers. I bought three books (two new and one used and one more for my mom) and Dad and I enjoyed some drinks. I tried a pretzel from MJ Bakery and Dad had a muffin which he said was very moist.

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The bookstore also has gifts and one of my favorite things.

Puppets!

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Essence is one of mine and Dad’s favorites (38th St/Indian school). I always take pictures of the pastries when I go there because they are so pretty…although I don’t always order one. Trying to maintain my girlish figure you know. Her eclairs sometimes have boozy fillings.

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I really like their homemade granola that comes with dates and seasonal fruits. Dad likes the huevos frencheros (french style scrambled eggs) that come with little baked potatoes that I usually snatch away from him since he says it’s too much food.

Recently the owner/chef Eugenia gave Dad and me both an organic apple turnover.  Her pastry is so light and the apples were not too sweet. I think I will have to bring some of these to Mom this week.

One of the places Jack and I will always go regardless of where we live (if we ever decide to move to Thailand that might be the exception) is Mekong Palace.

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We love all of their restaurants that serve great Chinese food, dim sum (see picture above), smoothies with boba, pho and most of all there is a huge asian/international market with produce, fish (where they clean and cook it for you if you want), a butcher with meats from every animal with every part such as duck heads (beaks included) and you can also buy the things on your regular grocery list like milk and eggs. And they have a good beer selection. I wish we lived closer to them because I would be there every day. The last time we were there we saw these baby mangoes. Aren’t they cute?

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Jack had recently bought some regular sized mangoes of the same variety at Ranch 44 market – now called Super L Ranch Market so we didn’t take any of these home (yes we also shop the competition).

 

 

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