A.T. Oasis, Brunch at Postino, Valentine’s day dinner at China Village, Julia Baker Chocolates

14 Mar

Valentine’s Day came and went very quickly. Jack gave me a pretty bouquet of colorful mums and carnations that smelled very nice and lasted a couple of weeks (we’re a couple that appreciates value!) and about a week before we were at Julia Baker Chocolates at Biltmore Fashion Park and he bought me a 6 piece box.

It’s a very decadent thing.

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Her chocolates are very rich and you only need to eat one at a time (well maybe two) to get the full effect. I like one or two with earl grey tea. There were light chocolate truffles with caramel, and dark chocolate truffles with hazelnuts. And some other flavors. They’re a blur now which means I need to go back for another box.

Julia Baker trained in Paris and she’s a local. Your chocolates are made in Scottsdale, a good thing.

The other thing that’s great about her place is that you can sit down in a fancy chair with a mirrored table and eat your chocolates. Yes, this is no joke. Or you can eat cake and have a port, an espresso or a latte. And she has melted european chocolate so if you are crafty (like moi) you can bring in your own croissant from AJ’s Fine Foods for dipping. There’s also champagne. It’s a lovely place to hang out on a Friday afternoon with your girlfriend (or solo, if she’s stood you up). I’ve taken my Dad there and Rob when he was visiting from South Carolina, and we all agree that Julia should sell us some stock in her place. We want little name tags on our individual tables.

For Valentine’s I did some shopping for my coworkers at A.T. Oasis, one of my favorite places to buy coffee. Look at the goodies I got there.

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Included in my great bounty was organic kiwi and strawberry tea for my friend Dana (she had recently gifted me a tin of matcha so we are now tea buds) and truffles for Linda. There were also some turkish delights (like gummy bears covered in powdered sugar except they are square) and chocolate truffles.

Let’s just say I was very popular at work on Valentine’s Day. I like to take care of my people. And support local business. A.T. Oasis is my go to place to get beans. They are organic ethiopian beans and you can also buy iced coffee there, along with ful, sandwiches and pastries. You won’t leave hungry, or uncaffinated, for that matter.

On Valentine’s Day eve we found ourselves hungry and tired (hangry almost) and Jack had been doing something physical in my mom’s toolshed…we were going to cook something (that means Jack was going to cook something) but when we got in the car to head back to our place we stumbled onto China Village and just decided to eat there instead. The asparagus could wait.

China Village is not impressive to look at. It is clean but the inside feels like the 60’s and 70’s. And that doesn’t bother me at all. One of my favorite Chinese restaurants, China Doll was kind of the same thing and their food was always good. So when I walked in, I wasn’t phased at all. Come to think of it, Autumn Court isn’t the most impressive interior either but their food is really good. Enough said.

We enjoyed drinks before dinner, a mai tai for me (potent) and a long island iced tea for Jack. That’s one of his favorite mixed drinks. Then we ordered potstickers which were generous, 8 to a portion, so there wasn’t an “embarrassing potsticker” to fight over. Delicious potstickers by the way. Pork, ginger and garlic flavors, the way we like ‘em. Our server was kind enough to bring us hot oil and white vinegar to put on top of them as we like to do, Hong Kong style. Or at least I think that’s Hong Kong style because at Mekong Palace they have hot oil and vinegar on the table for dumplings at dim sum. We love that place.

I digress. Our entrees were Happy Family (kind of a seafood/veg medley) and house chow fun with the wide rice noodle. The chow fun is one of my favorite dishes at chinese restaurants and I’m happy to report that China Village does a very nice chow fun. Lookie lookie.  I love the bean sprout, brown sauce and noodle combination. It’s very homey food.

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When Jack makes his version of Thai beef noodle soup he always has leftover rice noodles and makes me a big place of chow fun. It’s the best I’ve ever tried but I will stand by the chow fun at China Village as my backup. Also the chow fun at Mekong Palace and Autumn Court. Can you tell we really like our chinese food?

Recently the Postino folks were kind enough to email me that they liked my yelp review (I’ll never tell which one it was) and they sent me a buy one get one brunch coupon. And Jack hadn’t been there for brunch before, so it seemed like a good idea. I really like their french toast, so I had that, along with a mimosa and a french press. The coffee was a little too strong for Jack so they brought him a cup of drip that the spoon didn’t stand up in and that suited him just fine. He went with the egg and toast breakfast option pictured below.20150208_092350

It came with bacon and breakfast potatoes which he likes a lot. It was the perfect breakfast because the weather was beautiful that day, we were on the patio and I remember asking one of the servers if Walt Richardson was coming in that day to perform. And he said yes. And with my mimosa buzz and caffeine high I thought to myself what a wonderful world we live in where we can get a mimosa, a french press and see Walt Richardson all in the same place.

Remembering a friend

14 Feb

When a friend leaves his life too early, it makes you reflect on certain things. Sometimes I have a knee jerk reaction especially when it comes to self preservation. So in terms of Jason I could have done things differently. I could have been a better friend.

Jason entered my life through my brother in grade school, when I felt people younger than me were more of an irritation than anything else. So at that time I didn’t notice him. It wasn’t until after his car accident that I got to know him better and how funny, smart and classy he was. Emphasis on funny.

I think part of the reason he was so funny is that because if he didn’t laugh he would cry. He was in a lot of pain.

He liked to read. Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories were a couple of his favorites. And he liked Kurt Vonnegut.

I remember that when became friends he told me that I had an inferior education because I went to public school and he had it better because he had gone to Brophy. Well, maybe…I think it’s true he was exposed to things in school that I wasn’t, or maybe I just wasn’t interested or motivated in school.

He told me about his relationship with his grandfather (his Mom’s Dad) who used to have a house on a lake somewhere in Pennsylvania. His grandfather had a forge and he when he talked about him he said he was a renaissance man. He could do many things. He was a bookkeeper and might have been a friend of cosa nostra. I’m not sure if that was true or if Jason was just embellishing his past to impress me.

One of his favorite movies was The Big Lebowski. We used to watch it together and laugh. Not just laugh but we had big belly laughs. Like we fell off the bed we laughed so hard. There are only a few people in my lifetime so far I have laughed that way with.

We would eat teriyaki chicken bowls from Tokyo Express and watch The Sopranos together. This was when I was quite broke, not working and Jason had cable (specifically HBO). We enjoyed Bill Maher and I was always glad to be with someone who could laugh at religion and politics the same way I felt.

In a previous life we might have been married. But he really needed a girl with bigger boobs (his admission). I remember he told me once that if I got a boob job he would have married me. This made me laugh really hard.

I remember we went to The Herb Box in North Scottsdale (this is when he lived in that neck of the woods). We sat outside and ate our jerk pork sandwiches, drank tropical iced tea and felt fabulous among the good looking fabulous people.

Jason was actually fabulous looking. He was a great dresser and towards the end he enjoyed body ink. Over a couple of months, we would go to the Crawling Squid on Bethany Home Road, maybe once weekly and he would start shopping for a new tattoo. He had a question mark on one shoulder and an exclamation point on the other.

I wished that we could have taken a trip together. Especially when he was in better shape, because when he was feeling better he would have been fun to travel with. He appreciated good food, architecture and culture. He told me about a trip he took with my brother and his Mom to San Francisco and it was very opulent, they stayed somewhere very nice, I don’t remember the name of the place but the way he described the trip, I just knew it would have been a blast to have been there with them. I think he also said he and his family went once to Ireland, he has some roots there. I can imagine a photo of him there as a tweener in a fishermans sweater, with his blonde hair blowing in the wind, standing on a hilly bluff. With a goofy smile.

RIP my friend :)

 

Supporting my honey bunny, and recent eats at Chompies, Fry Bread House, Uptown Farmers Market, and Linda’s starting at First Fridays next month

24 Jan

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My sweetie has been through some serious stuff lately. He’s looking for work.

It’s been a complicated past week. When your loved one goes through the life changing stuff, well…you just want to do everything you can to support him.

But, even with all the recent hubub, we still have to eat. So lately, we’ve been to Chompies

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We love their pastrami sandwich.

Also I made a solo trip to The Fry Bread House. Red Chili beef. I should have ordered beans on this, but I forgot.

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No matter. It was delicious. Only when I have a savory frybread do I partake of the guilty pleasure of fountain Coke. Word on the street is that they are moving in April to 7th Avenue and Hazelwood. They purchased the building.

Last Saturday (or was it the Saturday before? this month is a blur) I was at the Uptown farmers market on Central Ave/Bethany Home (North Phoenix Baptist Church parking lot)

Lookie lookie.

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Local honey… and pickles!

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Jack is a huge fan of bread and butter pickles.

So I didn’t break the bank, about $23 all together.Could have spent a lot more on local produce and pottery. And more honey.

We had a Puerto Rican feast recently. Most of you know that Jack spent 3 years there before he came to the US. So yes, he learned Spanish and then English. I am always amazed at his journey to get here.

We started with fried plantains.

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And then moved onto a  picnic roasted pork.

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He also made rice in which a liberal amount of Spanish chorizo and Spam were used. And local olives from Queen Creek Olive Mill.

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Yes… life is rough when your boyfriend is a cheffie!

On New Years Eve we opened a bottle of wine we got in Napa in 2012 when we were there visiting Jack’s brother and sister.

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It is (was) a reisling from a winery called Trefethen. Anyways, if you can find a bottle, buy six. It is delicious. Fruity and effervescent.

I came across this picture of Jack from about 1 year ago when he was living in Tempe and he brought over a Fiat for me to test drive.

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His enthusiasm is contagious. And he does these random acts of kindness not just for me, for for his friends. It’s a fabulous thing.

We had a great happy hour last night at Arriba.

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Just know that the margaritas are 99 cents and I think appetizers are half price. We had mini beef and chicken chimichangas, guacamole and green chile with tortillas, rice and beans. And we spent about $20.

My friend Linda Kelliker displayed some of her paintings at Second Fridays in Mesa this month.

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Yup, that’s the one that generated the most interest. Anyways, now you can see her at First Fridays in Phoenix also, starting in February. This is very exciting news!

In celebration of Linda’s birthday this month (*sweet 16*) we had a potluck at work. I made my famous kahlua fudge cupcakes.

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When I try to bring something else, the natives get restless. So I go with what works.

I’m feeling sentimental today, so here’s the heart shaped schnitzel Jack made for me last Valentine’s Day.

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Not sure how he plans to top that this year!

Having the right tech support, Da Vang reprise, CityScape Phoenix, Phoenix Festival of the Arts, DeFalco’s Deli, LGK Creations, Christmas eve/Christmas day dinner and drinks at Royal Palms

5 Jan

Last year I had to get a new PC because my old one was acting up. And I had software issues…it was a bit of a to-do. However my brother Mike made it much less of a to-do than it might have been since he’s a whiz at tech support. And just last week after being fed up with my mouse I asked him to look at it and he said, “you need a new mouse, sis.”

Eureka, right?

It is good for me to have another person tell me what I need sometimes, because I don’t always realize things are broken or beyond repair. Anyways, he got me a new and improved mouse and also a keyboard since my last one only had a “tiny” back space. And now my machine feels like a new machine. Thanks bro! And he also builds websites. Reasonable rates.

If you need a hook up, let me know.

So it seems lately that we’ve been eating more Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese food than usual. Jack really likes Da Vang, we were there about a month ago and I had duck soup with ramen noodles and Jack gets his regular beef noodle soup (pho) with wide rice noodles.

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The broth of this soup is really ducky but not gamey. You should really try it. And Jack and I are both “bone” people so I was really glad to see little bonies that I can munch the meat off of.

Here is Jack’s soup. I think his soup has chunks of beef, tripe and tendon. He is a little more adventurous than me when it comes to “parts.”

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We especially like soup on a night when we’re feeling just okay or need a little pick me up.

The tamale festival was a couple of weeks ago in downtown Phoenix. We weren’t able to get close to the tamale vendors but the fry bread line was much shorter. So that was okay with us. Jack likes his with honey and powdered sugar and I like mine more savory, with beans or meat. Sorry no pictures, folks. But it was so tasty.

Also downtown this time of year there is an ice rink at City Scape. http://www.cityscapephoenix.com/ There is a bowling alley, some nice restaurants, a cvs (for the late nite muchers out there), clothing shops and a stand up comedy place. We don’t hang out downtown much, since being “arcadia lites” there is so much around us already…but when we do go downtown we try to do a few different things. So the day of the tamale festival we stopped by City Scape to see the ice rink and decorations. It was really pretty.

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And my subject material was very good, too. ;)

We also stopped at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts that day and Jack really liked the VW beetle that was made from sheet metal. Way cool!

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This was a really great event, young artists were painting murals that were for sale for $300.  A real steal, I thought. A lot of talented artistic young people are here in Phoenix. http://phoenixfestivalofthearts.org/

There were food trucks, local bands and a nice grassy open area to picnic.

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Jack made a wonderful soup a couple of weeks back with a chicken broth base, pasta shaped like a cone with ruffled edges, all kinds of veggies and meatballs made from chicken sausage and beef.

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It was so delicious. He usually makes enough so there is plenty for us to take to work the next day, and some to share.

In the lunch room last week at work one of my workmates was saying how great the food at DeFalco’s Deli is. I had to agree. It was just a week or so ago Jack and I ducked in there for a to go order and the place was really bustling. He was a little pressed for time so I just dropped him off at work and I came home to eat my sandwich. Lookie lookie.

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Their sausage sandwich is so good. And we get the marinated artichoke salad so this way we can say we ate our vegetables. Jack likes their salami sandwich. They also have plates of pasta available, great pizza and wine by the glass.

No, sadly I do not own any of their stock.

Recently Jack made a Thai beef salad for us. It came from a roast that he seared to about medium and then sliced it and added scallions, mint, cilantro, fish sauce, lime juice and rice powder.

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We ate it with cabbage. It was amazing.

One of Jack’s favorite ways to make this salad is with ground chicken. Sometimes he will take a chicken breast and use his cleavers on it until it resembles ground chicken. Then he just poaches the ground chicken and then adds the same ingredients to make a Thai chicken salad.

You should see him butcher a turkey. We have a whole turkey in our freezer now, in little ziplock bags. Brilliant!

I digress. I get excited about food. And I’m always impressed with Jack’s mad cleaver skills. It’s kind of sexy.

The boss gave us a little bubbly for Christmas so Linda came over on Christmas eve along with my bro, his friend Cindy and my mum. We made mimosas (thanks boss!) and drank a toast to world peace.

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Linda is so lovely. You know sometimes I get mushy when I talk about my family and friends.

Have you seen her website lately?  (done by my brother)

Yes I am pimping out her mad painting skills.

http://www.lgkcreations.com/

She can do a mural for you, too. For your kiddos room, your outside space, etc. Multitalented she is.

So here’s the ham Jack lovingly made for us on Christmas eve.

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It was all carmelized with whole cloves, and you will not believe how good the leftovers were. Amazing! We ate ham for a couple of days, put the bone in the freezer and divvied up the rest. That’s the way to make a ham friend.

And our sides were really tasty. We made a fruit salad with pineapple, kiwi, oranges and blackberries. Also a killer potato salad with dijon mustard and Jack’s famous beans with salt pork.

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Yup, he has convinced me that salt pork makes almost everything better.

Here is a selfie of most of us on the couch.

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We’re using the new selfie wand that Linda gave us. I might have been the one pressing the button, that’s why my head is so big?

And gifts! Yes we must have behaved last year since Santa came through, big time.

Jack gifted me with a beautiful white jewelry box.

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It feels excessive and sumptuous. I love it.

And my company gifted us with a smoker.

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Jack loves it. Smoked brisket, anyone?

The next day we were in the kitchen cooking for our Christmas day feast at my sister Fran’s.

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You could say our decorations were minimalist this year, Jack picked up a poinsettia plant and I appropriated some shiny balls from Rob Adams’ gift last year (thank you Rob for your shiny balls).

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Also I always put out the foghorn leghorn Christmas card he gave to me a few years back. It always makes me smile.

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And Lea gifted me with a “Santa pants” wine holder that holds two bottles.

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A real find. Thank you Lea!

So, back to being in the kitchen. I digressed again…made kahlua fudge cupcakes for our fabulous potluck dinner on Christmas day at Fran’s.

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They were so rich and frosted with Abuelita mexican chocolate. Kahlua went in the frosting too.

Chocolate on chocolate is always a crowd pleaser. This has also become my go to recipe for potlucks at work this past year.

This is where I mention again our wonderful dinner at Fran’s on Christmas eve. Her place was decorated so festively, there were ornaments hanging from underneath her staircase, and a pretty live tree decorated simply. She made some toasts with cheese and marmalade, dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with bacon, a veggie tray and a fruit salad. The whole thing just exuded class. I’m hoping she can give me some pointers.

And there were gifts!

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I think Santa was too generous this year. My sis gifted me with some pretty yoga pants from Lulemon and some anti glare glasses for the computer (needed those!) and Jack received a margarita set (much appreciated) and lavender lotion/soap set. And Dad gave us a cute mug set with two different kinds of cocoa and vanilla.

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We have been using the mugs a lot. We drink tea all the time and lately Jack has a hankering for cocoa with those little marshmallows.

Dad and I went to see a movie last week at Harkins Camelview 5 (my favorite theatre) and after we decided to grab a drink at the bar at Royal Palms Resort. http://www.royalpalmshotel.com/ It is one of the only places we can find that makes a hot buttered rum (one of Dad’s favorites). He also enjoyed an egg nog and I tried something with bourbon and cranberries. Because it’s that time of year.

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Cheers!

Thanksgiving in Santa Fe

28 Dec

I’m not winning at publishing this post. This is my third time so maybe I will get it right this time.

Save, save save! (your work)

One of my relatives asked me over dinner one night, “Why are you going to New Mexico for Thanksgiving?”

“It sounded like fun.” I said.

Also, Jack found a good price on air, hotel and rental car :)

Our flight to Albuquerque on Thanksgiving Day was uneventful, and Southwest Air treated us to an alcohol beverage of choice, very nice of them. We were also bringing our own drink coupons, courtesy of one of Jack’s friends who works for the airline. Friends with benefits!

We found our rental car, a Dodge Dart at the Alamo lot and unfortunately it had a recall, so we chose a Nissan Versa instead. Jack thought maybe this was a good thing since it would be cheaper on gas. The drive to Santa Fe was only 30 minutes.

Our home for a few nights, Best Western, was conveniently located across the street from Adelitas restaurant on Cerrillos Road. Thanksgiving had arrived.

It was a non-traditional dinner, but we really enjoyed our parrillada with carne asada and lengua. It came with baked potatoes, tortillas and grilled onions.

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With all of the salsas and marinated veggies we were glad our Mexican cokes were nearby.

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This is where I make a mention of my travel companion, boyfriend and partner in crime for life in general, Jack. He is such an easy traveler. He packs light, will go almost anywhere, almost anytime and doesn’t need a fixed itinerary to do it. What I mean is, we have a general idea of what we wanted to do in New Mexico but we both agreed if we skipped some things that would be okay. Opportunities to go back. I’m so thankful.

After dinner we found Owl Liquors nearby and loaded up on sweet and salty snacks, sodas and there might have been some liquor ;) We got back to the hotel and took a long nap. Our room was really nice.  There was a fridge, coffee maker and I have a vague memory of a microwave. For me, it’s important to have a place for leftovers, and be able to make tea before bedtime.

Friday we just drove around Santa Fe a little and found a pueblo museum that was closed. (The POEH Museum) The architecture was beautiful though so we just got out and started taking pictures.

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This looked like a fabulous place to have a picnic, if it hadn’t been so chilly!

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I made a friend.

You notice we’re bundled up. It was quite chilly and a little windy in some places, therefore the hat and scarf.

It’s nice to stop for a bit, see something and then get back in the car and start driving again to see something else. Jack likes a road trip. We found some pretty mountain scenery just outside Santa Fe.

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We drove through some Indian reservations and just enjoyed the long views. That’s one of my favorite parts about travel. Getting away from the city and seeing nature.

We came back to Santa Fe for an early dinner at Los Potrillos. Sorry there aren’t any pictures. Jack had a grilled steak with shrimp and I was excited to see gorditas on the menu so I ordered a trio: chicken, shredded beef and pork with green salsa. The pork with green salsa was my favorite. I had a michelada, one of my favorite drinks, with clamato and beer. It’s a very friendly place and has flan on the dessert menu, which made Jack happy. He took some back to the room for later. Jack had been there a few years back with his boss/workmates and was hoping we would be able to find it.

We did make it to Roswell on this trip. Day 3 we drove there from Santa Fe, about a 2 1/2 hour drive. It’s a really beautiful drive, by the way. There’s a lot of farming and ranching, and no tall buildings, so the sky is really visible. Occasionally I have a spiritual experience when I travel. That’s what the drive to Roswell did for me.

Also it was fun to see the International UFO Museum. Jack is big on UFO’s so Roswell was a must see for us (he saw one back in San Francisco with one of his buddies a long time ago). All of the news articles, pictures, videos and alien figures are enough to make you think it is possible.

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I think I believe now.

We were happy to find a chinese buffet in Roswell. Again, sorry no pictures. It’s one of our preferred methods of consuming mass quantities of chinese food. The China King Super Buffet took care of us with all of the usual offerings and gave us a free calendar to take home. A souvenir for my Dad.

Score!

The drive back to Santa Fe was done mostly by me…and the sunset was just amazing. At first it was blue, grey purple and pink and then it was orange and yellow. With very little ambient light it was quite different for us to see a sunset on the road.

My impressions of Santa Fe are that it is unmanicured, unpretentious, brown (I’m down with brown) and unspoiled. Clearly that review won’t get me any points with Arizona Highways Magazine, but I just found the simple beauty of the place really amazing. Like it wasn’t trying too hard if you know what I mean. And all the people we met were very friendly. I was told recently that there is a very rich community there, but apparently we didn’t run into it.

Our last day in Santa Fe we packed up and headed to Albuquerque for a night. I took some pictures on the way. It’s always funny to take pictures of the driver, I don’t know why but I always like to do it. Maybe because the subject material is so good.

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In Albuquerque we wanted to do a little shopping, and the touristy shops there were very fun.

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I found some wooden wick candles for Mom and Mike, a candy shop (for me), some red butterfly earrings for Linda, a día de los muertos magnet (me again) and quite a bit of Breaking Bad merchandise. We bought Jack an apron that says Cooking with Heisenberg.

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We couldn’t get away from it. It was actually a good surprise because we both liked the series so much.

Flight home the next day made even better with our drink coupons. Jack has a photo of me in his phone drinking a screwdriver with a goofy smile.

It was fun to go someplace new.

Cheesecake a la Linda, Tres Leches cake from Taco Guild, Authentic Thai lunch at Thai e- San, 150 Salad from Juic’d, Crawfish at Angry Crab, Volk Stock 2014

8 Nov

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My super-talented, funny and artistic friend Linda made us a cheesecake this week. I think she uses sour cream in her recipe. All I can tell you is that it is creamy and not too sweet. And the crust is perfect. I just love it when she makes cheesecake. It’s very good for breakfast. Jack prefers it for dessert. ;)

She also gifted us with some wild boar, which we are very excited to try. If anyone out there has made it before, your tips are appreciated.

We are thinking a marinade/grilling might be just the trick.

Last weekend on our way to Da Vang we stumbled upon a Thai restaurant we had never tried before, Thai E- San.  Being a fairly adventurous couple, we decided to detour and give this place a try. Without recommendation or reading any reviews. Sometimes to go in blind is a good thing.

We started with Thai egg rolls which were fried and crispy, and simply delicious. Be careful, though as they come out of the kitchen very hot. Next we tried a papaya salad, one of our favorite dishes. It is made with strands of green papaya, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp and magic fairy dust (the stuff I don’t know about).

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The papaya is crunchy and has a very clean flavor. This is one of my favorite Thai salads.

Also we enjoyed Rad Nah, a wide rice noodle smothered in gravy, with broccoli. We added chicken. Lookie lookie.

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Needless to say, with the quality of the food, we are planning our next meal there. Fish cakes and pineapple fried rice, probably.

Just like us. Always planning our next meal…

http://www.thaiesanaz.com/menu.html

Halloween was pretty uneventful for us this year, as most years. No parties or trick or treaters. But that’s okay. I did dress up for our work Halloween costume contest as a (wait for it)

Sanborn’s waitress!

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I should mention here that I have never been to a Sanborn’s. It is a massive chain of restaurants in Mexico. It was first introduced to me in a conversation with a former flame (yes there’s at least one) who lived in Hermosillo at the time. He said not only is it a restaurant, there is a gift shop. He used to go there to read their magazines and books, on the free. He intimated it was better than a library. He was learning English at the time.  I found that an endearing story.

Then I saw a picture of a Sanborn’s waitress in Saveur magazine, I think it was last year. She was so pretty and I thought, I could duplicate that costume.

So how did I do?

Being a foodie it felt very natural to carry a tray with burritos that would eventually become my lunch. Then after work Jack put a bottle of tequila on the tray and took that picture you see above. Then our neighbor walked into the complex, and we offered him a shot.  I told him that it wouldn’t be a normal Friday occurrence.

Jack made a beautiful spicy chicken soup for us last week.

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Tom Yum Gai. He makes this soup a lot. It is especially aromatic, with lemongrass, ginger and lime. There was enough leftover that I could bring some to my Dad, who likes it with rice.

Jack is so sweet. Normally I go to yoga now on Sundays at Madison Improvement Club and last weekend he brought home some BoSa donuts so we we could eat them with french press coffee. Sometimes he will go to Filibertos and get menudo and bring me home a strawberry filled churro. That is also always appreciated.

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I think that was the last of our coffee from Hava Java. We grind the beans ourselves, and when you pour hot water over them the smell is amazing.

This is where I say again how thankful I am to be in a relationship with someone who likes and appreciates good food as much as I do.

Being a person who appreciates good food and also baked goods, I was happy to see that Bertha’s Cafe is doing pumpkin whoopie pies for the holidays.

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I’m also lover of their mango gazpacho when it’s in season, and also their chicken curry salad.  They do gluten free bakery items too in case you don’t do flour.

We were very excited to have the Angry Crab Shack and BBQ open just down the street recently. It is in the plaza where the Manuels and Sprouts are, on 28th Street and Indian School.

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We went in for dinner and they were really busy. So we sat at the bar. I love a restaurant where you can sit at the bar. Not pretentious at all.

We were glad to see they have local beers and all kinds of seafood offerings. Crawfish, crab, shrimp…all kinds of things they put in a bag and boil for you with your choice of sauces and heat choices. Be warned! We chose a garlic #2 sauce and it was very spicy. You can add red potatoes and corn to your bag, which we did. Our server told us the crawfish were frozen since they are out of season now, and we would not have known since they arrived so perfectly cooked, moist and the consistency was just right. And spicy. Did I say spicy? Very garlicky. Next time we need to order to the trifecta sauce, that was recommended to us by friends at work Villa and John.  They also have po boy sandwiches and bbq which we will try trying on another visit. So glad to have them close to home.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/angry-crab-shack-and-bbq-phoenix

Jack heard from a friend that the Volk Stock VW show was coming to Phoenix last month and we felt we needed to be there. Especially since we both love the brand so much, and Jack learned how to work on air cooled VWs before he came to Arizona. Air cooled VWs are his favorite.

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He has worked on Beetles, Busses, Karman, Squarebacks and probably more models I don’t know about.

We couldn’t get enough of all of the Busses displayed.

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Peace out!

I don’t normally mentioned non-local restaurants here but Dad and I had drinks a few weeks back at Henry. We had been to a movie at Harkins and now I can’t remember the name of it. Does that happen to you? We do have alzheimers in our family…so there’s that.

When I visited my friends in Vitoria, Spain some years back they introduced me to sweet vermouth with olives and orange slices.

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This has become one of my favorite drinks. Very bright. And I wasn’t influenced by the movie Groundhog Day. Although…it is a good thing to drink a sweet vermouth and toast to world peace.

Their avocado toast is delicious (not pictured).

http://www.foxrc.com/restaurants/the-henry/

My picture from the 150 salad Dad and I enjoyed at Juic’d didn’t download. So I’ll just mention here it is a great salad with a creamy curry dressing and it’s supposed to have over 150 ingredients, most of which are veggies. There are lentils too, and I think, barley. Get this salad. We had ours at the Scottsdale Fashion Park location, they are also at Biltmore Fashion Park. Tasty juices too! Mine was green and had ginger in it. Very refreshing.

http://www.juicdlife.com/

Thankfully my tres leches cake picture from Taco Guild did download. We ate their a few weeks back and Jack is just crazy about their tacos and I’m a huge fan of their grilled romaine salad with chicken, bacon and creamy cilantro dressing. This was my breafkast the next day. They make theirs with mango and cinnamon. It’s delicious.

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They also make flan.

http://tacoguild.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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/

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