Friday, May 25, 2012

Food for Thought

Yes, I actually have a new card. Only took me two weeks to make it. Oh, not actually--I spent most of those two weeks reading some crazy books and catching up on TiVo. Anyway, I made a card for our sister-in-law, Wendy, as her birthday is next week. She lives in rural Minnesota, which is lovely in the summer and not so much fun in the winter! When she retires she hopes to come to Arizona in the winter to get out of the cold, and, of course, go back to Minnesota in the summer to get out of the desert heat. Best of both worlds.

This has been Restaurant Week in the Phoenix area. It started last Saturday and ends this Sunday. We decided to try some new places that were participating in providing specials for the week. Last Saturday we went to Posh in Scottsdale. This is an "improvisational" restaurant; they don't have a set menu. After you are seated, you fill out a card telling the staff if there are any proteins they have in their kitchen that you do not like. You also list any other foods you are allergic to or have a strong aversion to. OK, so I crossed off frog legs, soft-shell crab, foie gras, and lamb. I should have crossed off short ribs, as I don't really like them either, but I felt I was being too picky. Then I added "beets" to the list of things I could not eat, (beets literally make me gag).

We both ordered a glass of wine from the chef's recommended list and were very happy with what we got. Then it was on to the food. The first bite was an 'amuse bouche' of coconut ricotta with mango puree. Just one bite, but oh so good! Next was the first course and we received soups: I had a yummy leek soup and Gary had a delicious chilled carrot-ginger concoction. So far, so good. That came to a rather abrupt halt, though, as my next course was an improv disaster. They served me a wonderful scallop on a bed of BEETS, with BEET juice, and a small onion. I told them I hated beets, and they served them to me. What????? I should have sent it back, but I hate to make waves at restaurants, so I gagged down the beets. Then I took a bite of  the scallop, which was wonderful. And then I made the mistake of putting the onion in my mouth. It was RAW, People, RAW ONION! With a delicate scallop, it was a gastronomical disaster! I chewed the onion as fast as possible. Gary said I should have spit it out, but I thought that would gross out everybody around me. So I swallowed it--no easy feat, believe me! And found that I could no longer taste the rest of my scallop. The onion totally killed the scallop flavor. AAAARGH! Giant misstep on the chef's part, in my humble opinion! BTW, Gary's course was a yummy bowl of mussels and broth. Now why couldn't they have given that to me? Huh?

I figured that the next course would be short ribs for me, since I neglected to cross them off my list. Sure enough, that's what I got. And they were 'meh'. Edible, but I certainly couldn't rave about them--at least they removed most of the fat and deboned the meat. Gary had a lamb dish that he absolutely loved. OK, so next we had a cheese plate that Gary had ordered as a side dish. It was wonderful--great cheeses, delicious toast points, almonds, and figs. Success. The last course was dessert, which I had with a glass of great Muscat. I honestly cannot remember what was in my dessert, except that I inhaled it and nearly licked the plate clean. It was soooo good, and Gary enjoyed whatever he had as well. The bill came out with two small bags of mini-cookies to take home with us. (They were exceptionally good also.)

Gary had nothing but a great experience with Posh. Me, not so much. Some super hits and some nasty misses. I would go back again, but I would be very insistent about my "do-not-serve-me" list next time! (I will include raw onion with the beets!)

Sunday we went to Black Chile Mexican Grill in Phoenix. Now their menu had choices for three courses and included a Margarita. What they neglected to say on the menu was that you had to share your appetizer and dessert with your dinner partner. Cheesy, if you ask me. I'm sure that was because you got a free drink with the meal, but still. Gary asked the waitress what they would serve him if he came by himself. And she said they would give him all three courses. So it didn't make sense that a couple would have to share, but, oh well...

The Margaritas we had were quite tasty, as we ordered ones with upgraded tequila. Our first course was guacamole and chips. Now, there is guacamole, and then there is guacamole. This was so average. Good, but very average. If you really want great guac in this area you can get it at The Barrio, The Mission, or even Cantina Laredo. Don't expect it at Black Chile, OK? I ordered the Red Snapper tacos for my main course--which came with borracho beans and sticky rice. Sticky rice? At a Mexican restaurant? But, I'll tell ya, it was really good; it had corn and other bits in it and such a great flavor! The beans were also very good, as were the fish tacos. So I was very happy with my main course. Gary had chicken fajitas and he said they were good, but he didn't rave about them. Dessert was whipped cream served with a scoop of fried ice cream. Good grief! We left half a bowl of whipped cream after we shared the scoop of ice cream. Not impressed.

Overall, it was an OK meal, but I won't be rushing back there to eat again. There are too many exceptional Mexican restaurants in the Valley of the Sun to choose from, and Black Chile just isn't one of them.

Our third eating adventure was Tuesday night. We went to Petite Maison in Scottsdale, which was voted one of the best new restaurants in 2010 by Phoenix Magazine. They were serving wine with each course as part of the "special" dinner. You could upgrade to better wines, but we chose not to. Good choice, as the three different wines we had were very good! They start you off with a petite popover, which was just too yummy. I could have eaten a baker's dozen! Our first course took a very, very long time to get. Like 45 minutes. I was almost ready to walk out when they served us. The waitress apologized, saying that my scallops, (yes, I got them again, are you surprised?), were not prepared properly so she made them restart the order. I was OK with that, but it would have been nice to have had a "heads-up". My scallops were absolutely delicious (and were not served with a raw onion)! Gary had a smoked salmon crepe, which he loved. The sommelier gave us a little extra wine for the first course since we had to wait so long for our food. That was a nice touch. And then he gave us a complimentary glass of the upgraded, second-course wine to try. I had the monk-fish wrapped in prosciutto and served with beans for my second course. Gary had steak topped with crab-meat and served with asparagus. Both of us were extremely happy with our meals. For dessert, we were each served a Nutella souffle. OMG! Just to die for!

Overall, the meal was fantabulous, in spite of the glitch with the first course. We will definitely go back there. Hopefully sometime soon! :^)

Tonight we are going to try Iron Chef Jose Garces' new restaurant, Distrito. The menu looks very intriguing, and it is the Mexican restaurant I wanted to try this week. (Gary called Black Chile, not knowing that I was hell-bent on eating at Distrito. Ergo, we get to try both! HAHAHA!) I will try to remember to blog about it next week.

Back to Wendy's birthday card. I chose a Mayzy digi, Bibi Balloons, to print out on Cryogen CS. My color scheme was selected using Basic Grey Euphoria and Indie Bloom patterned paper. I paired these with Stampin' Up CS. I used bling from MS Birthstone Gem Stickers, flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts, and some miscellaneous ribbon I had in my stash. The sentiment is from SU Occasional Quotes and is punched out with a SU Modern Punch. I used Glossy Accents on the balloons and Bibi's mouth, eyes, earring, and bracelet. Star Dust Stickles were applied to the Spellbinders die-cut leaves, the Cheery Lynn die-cut Fanciful Flourish, and all the bows in the image. Copic Opaque White was used to accent the image. Finally, the image was colored with the following Copics: B0000, B000, B32, B34, Y11, Y15, Y18, V000, V20, V22, V25, R000, R81, R83, R85, E000, E00, E11.

I am entering this card into:

MayzyArt May Flowers Challenge
Wild Orchid Anything Goes Challenge
Basic Grey Anything Goes Challenge

I'm wishing Wendy a Happy Birthday next week, and hoping everyone everywhere has a wonderful weekend!





28 comments:

  1. You have done a fab job Penny. Love the colors and the flowers are beautiful. I'm sure your SIL will love it. Thanks for joining us at MayzyArt.

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    1. Thanks so much, Jo! It was fun to create with a Mayzy image! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  2. Wow! Fabulous card, Penny! You did an amazing job with the fun Mayzy image! I thoroughly enjoyed your restaurant descriptions and critiques! I am a true foodie and wino (lol)! Sure wish I was nearby to check out the places you gave a good review! Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Carla! I had fun with trying a new style image. :^)
      Oh, you are a foodie and a wino, too? Cool! Too bad you can't try our restaurants--we finally have a really nice selection in the Phoenix area--not so much when we moved here in 1979! LOL!
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  3. Another wonderful card Penny - those Mayzy Art images are so cute and I love all the purple on this. The balloons look great too - I only have one complaint.........I'm flippin' hungry now!!!!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Dawn! I love the Mayzy images, too. And sorry about making you hungry! I just got back from another new restaurant and I am so stuffed! ;^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  4. Beautiful coloring of that super-cute image. I love all design and embellishments too!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathi! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  5. Oh. I forgot to mention that your descriptions of the food made me hungry. I agree with you about the raw onion. Really odd that they'd serve that.

    I'm curious about tonight's dinner at Jose Garces' new restaurant.

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    1. Kathi, you aren't the first to feel hungry after reading this. Imagine writing it! LOL! And glad you understand about the raw onion!

      I will post later about Jose Garces' restaurant, but I give it two thumbs up! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  6. Such a cute card! Love the Stickles on the leaves. So pretty!

    Sounds like some mixed experiences at the restaurant. That scallop/beet/onion dish is truly horrifying. And then of course you got the short ribs. Meanwhile there's Dad, loving everything. LOL because Jon and I have had similar experiences, usually ones in which I get the better entree and his is so-so, and he wishes he'd ordered what I ordered.

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    1. Thank you, my DD!
      Yes, it was a mixed bag at Posh, but I would go again, because what was good was REALLY good! :^)
      Hugs,
      Mom

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  7. Such a cute card! My favorite is the little bow and rose in the top right corner.

    Thanks for joining the MayzyArt Challenge!

    ~Mayzy

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    1. Thank you, Mayzy! Glad you stopped by! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  8. Penny, this is a beautiful card. I love everything about it, so beautiful and beautifully colored and designed.
    Awesome!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Linda, so very much! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  9. Beautiful design. Love how you've colored her up and all the flowers are just scrumptious. Thanks for joining us at MayzyArts

    Shelby

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    1. Thank you very much, Shelby! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  10. Lovely card :) Thanks for joining inwith us at WOC this week♥

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  11. Love all the restaurant reviews as I can remember Phoenix has a lot of fantastic restaurants. I do miss going down their as my Dad lived their for 45 years and would visit in the winter.
    Love your card Penny, lots of glitter, wonderful colors and your coloring is awesome. Wanted to thank you for stopping at my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I hope you enjoyed Color Me Creative Blog Hop. All the girls did such a stunning job on their cards. Good luck on all the prizes.
    Hugs, Patricia

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the reviews, Pat! :^)
      Thank you so much for the nice comment! I really appreciate it.
      Love the Blog Hop--so much inspiration!
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  12. Wowee, Penny! I love the spray of flowers and the glittery die cuts you have here! You have coloured her up perfectly to match your layout! Love it! Thanks for joining us at MayzyArt

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    1. Thanks so much, Darlene! :^)
      Hugs,
      Penny

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  13. Stunningly designed beauty! Coloring is wonderful and the fab embellishments are perfect! Thanks for playing with us at MayzyArt.

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  14. Thank you so much for your kind comments, Shari! :^)
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  15. Hi Penny,
    Well , I’m back and I have the rest of today free so as to catch up on everyone’s creations since I have been away refurbishing my old house.
    I adore reading the blog’s and looking at all the lovely cards and projects, almost as much as making the cards myself.
    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog , its so nice to keep in touch.
    This card is fab I love her expression such a great image and the design is lovely, I also love the Mothers day card below how fab is that one, the heart die can be used as a butterfly, turn it upside down and you will see the butterfly with its antenna, you will have to cut out a few side pieces, but it works.
    Great work well done ,
    Hugs Elaine

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    1. Hey, Elaine! Thank you for the sweet comments as well! And thanks for the tip about the heart die--never thought of that, but it will be fun to try! :^)
      Hugs back,
      Penny

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Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate the kind comments more than I can say! :^)
Hugs, Penny