Archive | restaurants

Staple & Fancy with Friends

A few Sundays ago, Denise, Dana, Megan, Kristina and I headed out to Chef Ethan Stowell’s new restaurant: Staple & Fancy Mercantile.

Set in one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods, Ballard Avenue, one wouldn’t expect to find such a fancy restaurant when driving through that particular block. Walking along the sidewalk at night, the brick walls of this industrial area give way to faint amber lights, peeking through Staple & Fancy‘s glass-walled entrance.

We arrived early and gave in to the lure of the adjacent shop first. It was closed, but what we saw through the display window was enough to have us dreaming of cute old-style bicycles and a breath of Europe. We wanted to take them home if it weren’t for the price tag. Hah.

De La Louisianne: Rye, Benedictine, Pastis

Still in dreamland, we meandered back into the sea of tungsten lights, greeted by the host and…

Hello, bar!

We sidled into it, were offered the cocktail menu, and do what sensible gals do and order a different drink each to entertain us while we wait for our other partner in crime, Megan.

Mine was called De La Louisianne, which I picked for its Benedictine ingredient (a toast to my high school alma mater — odd reasoning, I know). It tasted faintly of Jägermeister. Yum.

I loved the cherry in it, which was smaller and darker than the usual bright red maraschinos. It tasted so much better than those, I couldn’t help but ask the bartender what kind it was.

“They’re from a brand called Toschi,” he said, and gave more for the whole gang to try. I inquired further, and the only things he could tell me was that they come in a big jar, and procured through their supplier. Of course.

We are wee alcohol minions, but I will get my hands on them at some point, you’ll see. That’s what the Internet is for. I’m just not sure if it was the amarena or vignola, but I’m betting on the former. Help.

A few minutes later, we were led to our table with the menus. The note on the rightmost column says:

“Thanks for joining us at Staple & Fancy Mercantile. Please feel free to order as much or as little food as you like. And, if you would like to avoid the trouble of ordering altogether, please feel free to hand your menu back to your server and let the kitchen prepare you a family style supper served in four courses for $45 per person. Participation by the entire table is required. We would also like to inform you that you really should do this.

It was the last evening of our girls retreat, and frankly, the less we have to think, the better. Chef’s tasting menu FTW (for the win)!

And boy did S&F not disappoint.

Let me just begin by saying we had a ton of food. Was it 10 courses? More. I can’t remember. We did pay over the cost stated above**, but really who wants to count? I wouldn’t be able to get all of that this side of the border. We were in dinner heaven.

[** I just want to clarify that in case you went there and wondered why you didn’t get as much food as we did!]

The lights were dim and the tables glowed in candlelight. It was relaxing. We were having fun, and when the food started coming to our table, we were in for a treat.

Deep fried clams

Liver paté...offalbulous!

The pretty vegetarian fare had us meat-eaters drooling

The pretty vegetarian fare had us meat-eaters drooling

Kari Brunson, formerly of Anticiplate.com., briefly left the kitchen and came by our table to bring an appetizer. At that point, we were bulging our eyes out with food. Kari, who some of you food bloggers know, retired from professional ballet to pursue her passion for cooking. Now that’s balls.

Deep fried peppers, which I was able to eat in spite of my low capsaicin.

Spotted prawns

What happens at S&FM, stays at S&FM. Or did not stay, I suppose. :D My lips are sealed.

Blue fish crostini

More vegetarian dishes

Green beans

Burrata

Chef Ethan Stowell was there, and so was his lovely wife and business partner, Angela, both of whom we’ve met the previous evening at the IFBC dinner. It’s always nice when the chef/owners take a moment to say Hi.

Chef Ethan Stowell

Chef Ethan Stowell

I’ll tell you now that my short term memory fails me, and that I enjoyed myself too much. Between talking and laughing our bellies off, my brain turned to mush and I fully relied on photos to help me recall the evening of food. So instead of trying to refresh a blurred memory of all the names of the dishes that we ate, I’ll let you be a spectator, a voyeur at the next table, and enjoy the photos. They’re not well lit, but I did my best. And hopefully I did their food justice.

Panna cotta with peaches

People watching at Staple & Fancy Mercantile

There’s a story behind this photo of Denise and Dana, and forgive me, but I honestly forgot. Refresh my memory, ladies! ;-)

Denise and Dana

I can’t wait to hang out with my Seattle IFBC crew again. And go back to Staple & Fancy. Mmm…good food, good friends, good memories. Now that’s a wonderful dinner.

Posted in restaurants, travel2 Comments

Girls Re{treat} at Hotel Dana Treat and a Weekend of Eating

As hinted previously in my IFBC recap and blogging conference comparison, I’ll be posting next about the other part of my IFBC weekend — our re{treat}.

Since last year, a group of us who all met at BlogHer Food ’09 dreamed of going on a girls retreat. We’ve brainstormed places and time, but nothing really came out of it and sadly, the idea slipped through the cracks. Two months ago, by some stroke of luck, a girls re{treat} organically sprung from our friend Dana‘s generous offer to have us stay at her house. We’re not the same big group from last year, and in fact I’ve never met 2 of the girls, but we all love food — everything should be completely fine, right? I was excited and anxious, and the night before–sleepless for Seattle.

You might not be interested at all to read the rest of this post, but before you leave, at least consider this: make time for a fun weekend with just your girl friends (or guy friends). It doesn’t have to be a far away destination or be planned to the last minute. Just commit to have fun and promise yourselves to be in your best behavior. [We are the worst with the ones we love sometimes, and that is not the goal here. ;-)] From the past weekend, I can’t tell you enough how invigorating, exhilarating, fulfilling and refreshing it is! It’s just the shot of tequila my soul needed. Yeah, it comes with a hangover, but the good kind. Don’t get me wrong, family is great, but a girls re{treat} has its own sanity-saving merits, too.

Without further ado, here are the women who have collectively made that IFBC weekend so much more than just a trip to a conference (click on their names and check out their blogs):

  • Kristina, my BlogHer Food ’09 rockstar roommate, resource of all things tomato and leads this school of fish, flew in from Tennessee with 3 hours to make up for and a honking jar of Moonshine Cherries that will knock you out of your senses;
  • Denise, another sweet friend who I met (and also lives) in San Francisco, is half of ChezUs (say “cheez-us” only if you say “praise” first), organizes digital media workshops and heads an online video production company with her beau Lenny, baked and brought homemade cookies for us to try (that’s a food blogger for you);
  • Tracy, a cool bean with the hip haircut and adorable head accessories that hint at her Bay Area and artsy roots, will regale you with her quick wit and – get this — horoscope readings and analysis had us deep in conversation;
  • Cheryl, also from California, whose endearing candidness will stop you in your tracks, has a perfectly timed humor that could leave a roomful of tourists cracking up, is the kind of writer you wish you were; and
  • our hostess with the mostess, Dana, vegetarian personal chef extraordinaire who unknowingly broke her 20-plus years of vegetarianism with fine lard at Kate’s pie making class, and who showed us around Seattle, brought us to the city’s yummiest spots (with the time we have available), put us up in her gorgeous abode with warm beds, and kept us full (and punchy) with {dana} treats from her kitchen and cellar. [We’re also grateful for Dana’s husband who was a good sport about going to the island with their two adorable boys so we can have an estrogen-packed weekend.]

Ours is a kinship forged in car seat rotation program, good food and wine, laughter, cutting classes, hugs from (Dana’s) sweetest two boys (when they came back), and more laughter.

We headed to Matt’s in the Market after we skillfully arranged everybody’s luggage in the car, which was a movie-worthy feat in itself. Warmly greeted by their friendly staff, we couldn’t help but notice the outstretched arms of Seattle’s sunshine beckoning us through the restaurant’s half moon-shaped windows. It’s just the welcome weather we wanted. The deep honey-colored wooden tables, varnished with character, are the stuff of food bloggers wet (restaurant) dreams set in daylight. The usual lunch hour cacophony filled the relaxed and spacious nook on the third floor of the Corner Market Building. It’s a perfect place for casual first dates, drowning the awkward conversation in everyone’s blithe chatter–a sly hand to calm the nerves until dessert for two is served.

Each plate that passed through the open kitchen behind us made for a difficult choice after another. Should we order Pulled Pork? Banh Mi? Spicy Tuna Melt? Drinks and minutes later, salt-pepper chips – the common denominator of all our palate’s desires — crackled to eager synchronized bites, hushing our out-of-towner banter.

Stumptown BBQ pulled pork

Stumptown BBQ pulled pork

Before me was a mountain of super moist and tender pulled pork, topped with crunchy coleslaw, and nestled in crisp and light crusted soft brioche bun. And the Yukon gold potato salad that came with it? Moved me to reconsider my passive attitude towards potato salads.

Yukon Gold Potato Salad

Potato Salad

We shared each others food, sufficing our own curiosities. Ours was a lively table where Oohs and Mmms staccato-ed in mid-sentence.

Having sandwich envy

Having sandwich envy

Our server, Chris the Wine Guy, was one of the highlights of this meal. He captivated us with his oratorical description of sandwiches, and random stories, like eating the most amazing sandwich during his friend’s Bachelor Party Trip. Every restaurant needs its own Chris.

That kick-start meal was (hopefully? hypothetically?) burned off by leisurely strolling through Pike Place Market and admiring the endless row of affordable really cheap, but good quality, fresh flowers, gliding through the aisles of The Spanish Table, prancing around the Paris Grocery through Lillet-colored glasses, and lingering last in the World Spice Markets, where the concept of shaving a sea salt block with salt shaver left us wondering what we’re missing.

We were chauffeured to Hotel Dana Treat by the gracious hostess herself. Let me tell you, we were heaps better off there than at a hotel, plus the company can’t be beat! We settled in our respective rooms, toasted to French aperitif, and made our pact with the 100-proof Ole Tennesee Moonshine Cherries with our first “shots”. Zaps your brain to Neverland in record time is what it does.

After getting our IFBC badges and goodies at Hotel Monaco, looping in and out the maze of food and sea of fellow bloggers, looking for familiar faces (Hi Susan, John, Carrie, Arnold, Alice, Lori!) — and finding new ones (Hello Deseree, Jun, Jennifer, Leann!), during our brief meet and greet, we hopped back into the Dana Treat Mobile to catch our 7:30pm dinner reservation at Delancey.

Delancey Seattle

Delancy Seattle

We were joined by Mardi, Megan, Jen, and Sarah, the birthday girl.

Happy birthday, Sarah!

This further solidifies my belief that every dining party should have a birthday person. It’s fun. You get to sing to them and perhaps divide a pavlova dessert among ten.

Burrata, prosciutto, arugula and olive oil

Burrata, prosciutto, arugula and olive oil

Yes, that makes 10 of us, drinking beer and wine, and ordering — brace yourselves, because I kid you not — nine pizzas. That’s all flavors divided among ten brave, we’re-ready-with-our-fat-jeans women.

Cheryl attacking the margherita pizza

Don't ever mess with Cheryl. The margherita pizza laid helpless under her calculating hands.

Brave is the keyword here, as our eyeballs just about popped out after the 5th pizza. We tried as many flavors we could possibly stuff our face with, like amateur runners who are in over their heads having signed up for a half-marathon.

Crimini mushroom pizza

Crimini mushroom pizza

I tried all 9 with room for dessert, I can’t lie. The crowd favorite is the white pizza with fresh arugula. The padron-laden pie comes a close second.

The majority voted for the White Pie as their favorite. A sublime combination of housemade ricotta, fresh and aged mozarella, garlic and arugula won us over.

The majority voted for the White Pie as their favorite. A sublime combination of housemade ricotta, fresh and aged mozarella, garlic and arugula won us over.

The crust is light and crispy, with bubbles I always tend to gravitate to when dissecting one. They are my personal joy. I have to tell you guys, Delancey makes really good thin crust pizza with fresh, flavorful ingredients, and that’s all a pizza lover really needs to know. The combination of ingredients is neither overkill nor pretentious, and they don’t try to put everything in one pie. You can taste each component, and you can linger with them for a while. I can honestly say that you don’t have to fly all the way down South to Pizzeria Bianco and line up for a good part of the day to eat the best pizza this side of the coast. That said, make reservations before going to Delancey. A great pizza comes with a good following, and you don’t want to be disappointed by coming hungry without calling in first.

The night was young, but we are not, so as much as we had wanted to pull an all-nighter to catch and drink up, we had to roll into bed for the first day of the conference. And this is just the first day.

To be continued with more food tales, and friends.

Here’s a quick reference of the places in Seattle I mentioned:

Matts in the Market
94 Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98101-2066, United States
(206) 467-7909

Delancey
1415 Northwest 70th Street
Seattle, WA 98117, United States
(206) 838-1960

Pike Place Market
(address to the parking garage:)
1531 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

The Spanish Table
1426 Western Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 682-2827

Paris Grocery
1418 Western Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 682-0679

World Spice Markets
World Spice Merchants
1509 Western Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
206.682.7274

Posted in events, restaurants, shoppes, travel11 Comments

Brunch with a View

Living in a gorgeous city like Vancouver, there is no shortage of good views. When it comes to choosing a place to enjoy Sunday brunch, it really is just a matter of thinking where you’d like to go to or what you’d like to do afterward. I love Stanley Park, I love walking or taking a leisurely bicycle ride along the seawall, and with running in mind, I suggested that the whole family have brunch there. I can push my personal agenda and make family time around it sound like fun. Haha. I’m kidding. Of course, there is something for everyone at Stanley Park, so there’s no need to make a case…

My favorite these days is the Teahouse, which offers a scenic view as you sip mimosas by the glass windows or glass-walled heated patio.

Weekend brunch is offered from 10:30am to 3:00pm. The freshly baked croissants with homemade jam (CAD$6.50) are not to be missed, and so is the mimosa to start. I’m such a lush.

I’ve tried their Belgian waffles, classic eggs benny, steak and eggs, but my favorite so far is what I ordered today: the Ferguson Point Benedict. Those wild mushrooms made me do a happy dance in my seat this afternoon because they were so good. And I always enjoy the roasted potatoes and tomatoes. Mmmmm.

Scrumptious brunch in the midst of a cool summer day is a treat I’ll take whenever I can, and I case I’ll make when no one in the family can make a decision over what to do on Sundays. Everybody can agree that today was a good day, and it all started with a delicious meal. That’s what it’s all about, right? :-)

P.S. I love seeing raccoons at the park. I find them so endearingly cute, and I really wish I could hug and take them home! [Yes, I do know better.]

What’s your favorite Sunday brunch spot? Do you cook at home? Do you eat out?

**Disclaimer: I do not work, and have not worked, for/with the Teahouse in Stanley Park, and have not received remuneration in any way, shape, or form to write this post. All views are personal, and all monies paid for food consumed were personal.

Posted in restaurants1 Comment

Dineout Vancouver: Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge

Guess who got her act together to make reservations for Dineout Vancouver? Yes, that’s right, me! And guess who’s finally in town? Sandy, a good ol’ pal who just moved here from Australia. Love her! We’ve known each other forever but never met until a couple of days ago. That’s the great thing about the Internet. :)

We headed to Bacchus for early dinner last Thursday. I was telling Sandy that I probably should have called ahead to check if we can request a seat by the window, because we ended up being escorted to what looked like the dungeon, the backroom, the place for those who didn’t appropriately dress in the wedding and were being hustled into the tables where people won’t see you. I didn’t even know that section existed because I usually sit by the window when I go there! The “cheapskate” section, Sandy joked. I…was not pleased.

The base price for the Dineout pre-fixe dinner menu was $38. They offered a wine flight for dinner for $14, which I had, and that included wine for the appetizer and main course. I assumed that it was for the 3 courses, because as I recalled in my previous Dineout dinners, I always had wine with my desserts. When I asked how many wines were included, I received an almost stern response that the wine flight was for $14 (reiterated) and it was only for 2 glasses of wine. Uh, did I ask how much it was?

I also ordered the cheese plate. Now if you’ve been following me on Twitter, you might have noticed that since the previous weekend, I’ve been on a cheese binge. On the night of our dinner, it was no different. I wanted some cheese and I wanted it with my appetizer, to which the server asked me several times if I was sure, as if I was a complete moron. Really? Are you kidding me? Does it warrant such rudeness? I don’t think so. Oh my god, I should have ordered a glass of Coke with ice and then we’ll see who gets reported to the French culinary board for (gasp) not following the program.

On to to the menu (and you’ll have to excuse the crappily-lit photos…we were in the dungeon, remember?).

Citrus Cured & Lightly Smoked Lois Lake Steelhead Trout Micro Herbs & Cold Pressed Olive Oil -- 3.75 out of 5 stars -- Salmon was good, but nothing I can't buy on my own.

Navarin of Slow Braised Lamb Shank Potato & Soft Herb Gnocchi, Minted Jus -- 4.5 out of 5 stars -- probably my favorite dish of the night. Fall off the bone, flavorful meat. Gnocchi was not as melt-in-your-mouth as I had hoped.

Goat Cheese & Mascarpone Cheese Cake Rhubarb & Port Compote -- 4.5 out of 5 stars -- Extra creamy cheese cake that I would love to replicate at home.

The cheese plate (no photo) was an additional $12 – 3 out of 5 stars.
We should have received:
Poplar Grove Tiger Blue
3year Old Aged Quebec Cheddar
Little Qualicum Brie

The brie was missing on our cheeseplate and I didn’t notice until I checked the menu when I got back home. The aged cheddar is probably the same one I usually get, except I pick the 5yrs.

We had dinner at Cru last night, and we were comparing the HUGE difference great service makes. Overall, my dinner at Bacchus would be 4 out of 5 at best because of our experience. [The food was good. Sandy commented that her salad greens looked like it came from a pre-mixed salad bag. I hope not.] I usually come back to restaurants after Dineout Vancouver, but I would have reservations going back to Bacchus, even just for drinks. I’d have to say that of all the my dinners around town, my experience last week was probably the worse. I won’t say that you shouldn’t go there, but you should try it yourself and have your own opinion. I was just (ghastly) disappointed, if not utterly repulsed. For a $120+ dinner (not including tax), it’s not cheap and not over-the-top expensive, but I’ve had far better service where my meal cost much less. Yes, I understand it’s Dineout Vancouver, the staff is busy and the restaurant gets full. However, we were there early. There were not too many people seated in the Dineout Dungeon of Bacchus yet. Chalk it up to experience, I guess.

Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge
845 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1V1
(604) 608-5319
www.wedgewoodhotel.com

Posted in restaurants4 Comments

Review: Pizzeria Bianco

If you’ve heard of Bon Appétit’s Best American Restaurants episode from the Food Network, you will know that Pizzeria Bianco was named the best place in America to get a pizza. Between authenticity, taste, and quality of ingredients, it beat out countless thousands of  pizza chains and parlors in America. There is a great reason for it as well. Mr. Bianco himself is passionate about pizza as Joy and I are about eating it.

When we learned of this mecca of a pizza joint was in Phoenix, Joy and I planned for a date downtown. But this date did not come without setbacks. Our first challenge was getting there when it was open. We found that the restaurant is only open Tues-Sat. When we were able to get a night to do this, I wanted to verify my directions. In looking for them, I found a review and I thought I would cruise it. The review calls Pizzeria Bianco a low-rated location. His only argument? He had to wait 4 hours for a table. When I told Joy about this, she told me to call. The person who answered the phone confirmed. There was a 4 hour waiting list. This phone call took place at 4:05PM.

We decided that we will brave the wait. It was the perfect night to do it. It was not that cold, not too hot. After finding the location and being told it was a 3 hour wait, we took a couple of couch seats in the bar until the sun went down and ordered from their appetizers. I recommend the meat platter! The ambiance of the bar is cozy and their music library is a great mix of R&B, lounge, and other mixes for a comfortable experience.

Three hours later, slightly starving, our name is called.  We were moved to a table in the corner of the main house and we knew exactly what we wanted. I ordered “Wiseguy” — a sausage and onion pizza,

Joy got the “Margherita” — the basil and tomato pizza. It was the most flavorful pizza we’ve ever had!

But, was it worth it? Was the opportunity cost worth the value of the pizza that we waited for? I think it was, but, I think some little things could have been changed to make the flow of customers better.  The bar where we stayed at was filled with tables and chairs which could have easily been used for patrons to get the pizza. The location does not take reservations, for obvious reasons, but you can make one if your party is 6 or more. I think if we go again, we’ll get a couple of friends together and make sure we can get them to experience this pizza as well because this is a pizza worth the price, but not so much the wait.

Posted in dailies, pizza, restaurants, reviews1 Comment

Review: T Cook’s

Joy’s birthday was last week and I wanted to give her something special. Joy got that something special, me. No, not like that, I proposed to her. Ring and all. In typical Gourmeted fashion, I made her a cake [Possibly posted later] with the question written on it. After a long pause and a ‘Are you Serious?,’ She said yes.

The dinner of her birthday was something to be special as well. She had hinted on T Cook’s of the Royal Palms here in Phoenix.  She said she heard about it from a few websites and friends that it is one of the more romantic dining spots in the Valley.  That’s a high standard to hold and I wanted her to remember her birthday forever.

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Posted in dailies, dining, restaurants, reviews8 Comments

Eating Out

Back here in Scottsdale, AZ it is hotter than perhaps, hell. Motivation to cook since I flew back was zilch. All I want to do is go to the nearest place with A/C that will give me food — and in these parts it’s mall, the movies (hello cinnamon pretzels!), or the restaurants. We trekked to all three.

We saw Wall-E the night I got back, and The Dark Knight last Friday. Wall-E was so adorable…I want my own cute personal robot that compacts trash and has a green thumb, but can also cook with me and play music while we do so. The Dark Knight was a brilliant masterpiece. I was initially hesitant to watch it because I just know I would be creeped out to see Heath there. But I just toughed it out and I’m glad I did. The lines last Friday night was probably the most disorganized ones I’ve experienced. And we almost witnessed a fight as one guy tried to “save” 8 seats and another guy was not going to have it. Lots of weekend action. Hah.

Aside from the movies, we’ve been eating out a lot. My first craving when I got back was Spinato’s pizza. Next night it was In and Out burger (send me a lifetime supply of their fries please), Friday was Vietnamese food by the cinema. I don’t know how authentic the food there is, but this pork barbecue sure was super tasty and it reminded me of Filipino barbecue.

For a late lunch on Saturday, we went to a pasta place that we frequently passed by but never tried: Pasta Pomodoro.

They have decent food, by the way. The bread and their pesto-ish olive oil dip was delicious. The minestrone soup was nice. The polenta with fontina cheese was good as well.

I ordered risotto for my meal but it was too salty for my taste so I settled for steamed mussels which did not disappoint.

I think that’s enough eating out for now. We’ve done our grocery shopping for the week and I’m ready to roll. Can’t wait to make ice cream! And flat bread! And other stuff. :) [Pardon this post as I’m drinking Peroni while typing this. ]

What have you guys been making? Where/What have you been eating? And most importantly — What have I been missing? I blame turning 30 this week for all the craziness.

Have a great week everyone!

Posted in dailies, restaurants5 Comments

Review: Sauce

Sausage and Pepperoni Pizza

You have heard us comment about the place, now it is time for me to review the place that we have referenced about: Sauce! It’s the pizza and wine restaurant concept from Fox Restaurants (No relation to the Rupert Murdoch corporation) that offers a variety of specialty flat-bread pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and pastas.

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Posted in dailies, dining, fun, pizza, restaurants, reviews5 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Feel loved, feel special, and single or not, enjoy the day and give yourself a treat. We all deserve it.

Chocolate from the Fairmont Empress Afternoon Tea

{democracy:5}

So what’s cooking tonight? Where are you having dinner?

Addendum: Duh, I forgot. Here are some ideas for homemade dinner tonight if you haven’t decided on the menu yet:

Here at Chez Gourmeted we skipped the long line for dinner reservations and opted to prepare a nice meal at home: salad, cheese, seared scallops, steak, chocolate-y desserts, and wine. I’ve prepped my homemade strawberry marshmallow-filled ice cream cones that I’m going to dip in chocolate later. I was hoping the marshmallow goo would stay up so it would actually look like ice cream swirl peaks, but alas, it wont to be. I guess I’ll just have to find a way to make it work later. ;-)

Not much going on here, unless you think I should celebrate because at one year short of 30, I finally drove by myself last night. [Oh wait, I will.] Dan expects me to drive in the middle of Phoenix’s rush hour tomorrow as I drop him off at work, proceed to the the nearby mall’s cafe and do my own work, and then meet him later in the afternoon to head straight to beautiful Sedona for the weekend. Can’t wait!

We’re busy with that and Valentine’s so instead of giving you some picture-filled recipe I’m posting a photo of one of the chocolates I had at the Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress last year in Victoria, B.C. Have you ever been there? It’s so very lovely. If you are within the vicinity and you haven’t been or haven’t considered going, you are missing out. Right in front of the harbor, in the middle of the tourist bustle that surrounds Victoria all year long, is a place of perfect harmony and pampering with tea fit for a queen. I never thought having afternoon tea served, and whose ritual is explained, by such dignified, polite, and well-mannered people, dining with ornate chairs and tables, and on fine china could be so…relaxing. It was such a nice ‘distraction’ from the fast paced life…

Here’s to you and I, and our S.O.’s: I hope we all enjoy a nice and relaxing distraction from our daily lives today. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in dailies, dining, restaurants3 Comments

Review: Tea Light Cafe

If you want to eat something that is not the usual, in Phoenix it is not that hard to do. Once you go outside city limits it becomes less and less likely you will find something unique. Tea Light Cafe has been around the Valley for almost a year now in North Scottsdale and we enjoyed our dining experience there every time.

You may think we are nuts, but Tea Light Cafe is another restaurant in the North Scottsdale 101 shopping center. (We have a few more places to review in this place, the rest are just fast food places.) What makes this place different is that it is Vietnamese dishes. We tried to find a website before this post, but it did not happen. They have none. A simple Google search will give many other site reviews. I think I will add one more to that list now.

Unique is a great name to describe this little cafe off the beaten path. They have a cute little setup for seating a few families only because of the small space they have for sitting. Don’t let the small place fool you, however, Tea Light Cafe is full of flavors. Pho, Chicken, brisket, and more.

Don’t let the Pho scare you. Simply speaking, it a giant bowl of beef and noodle soup. There are obviously other flavors in the bowl, but I recommend you try it out! When we visited on Friday, I tried the chicken sandwich. An unbelievable change of pace that was perfect for a night out. I wish I knew what it was about the chicken’s flavor and the dressing because it was neither bland or mayo.

Come on over to this North Scottsdale location for lunch or dinner. You will not be disappointed. I hope to see you there soon. Enjoy!

Posted in dailies, dining, restaurants, reviews3 Comments