Friday, October 4, 2013

The Outlawz Alcohol Markers World Animal Day Challenge

OK, we have a fun challenge for you this week. You need to feature an animal on your creation. How easy is that? Of course, I had trouble deciding which cute animal to use from my collection. In the end I chose Tiddy Inks Dragon Friend, selecting the dragon by itself.  I printed this on MICBC and colored it with the following Copics:

V09, V12, V15, V17, YG91, YG93, YG95, N0, N2

I added a bit of Copic Spica Lavender to the claws and spots on the dragon.

My DP is from the SEI Couture collection, distressed with my Zutter, and paired with Stampin' Up CS. And believe it or not, (ya, sure ting), I made some die cuts! I used the following dies:

Cheery Lynn Chrysanthemum Strip
  Cheery Lynn Japanese Garden Lace Oval
  Cheery Lynn Manon's Wedding Garland
  Spellbinders Grand Scalloped Oval
 Whimsy Mini Postage Stamp  

My sentiment was stamped using a Whimsy Everyday Mini Postage Stamp sentiment. Embellishments: a Stampin' Up brad, tulle, ribbon, lace, and a brass leaf charm. That's it. For my card, anyway.

Now to my last meals during Arizona Restaurant Week. Last Friday my sister, Merrilyn, and I went to Bink's Midtown for lunch. It was selected as the Restaurant of the Year in the Phoenix Magazine. And I thought we needed to try their food. And am I ever glad we did. Holy moly, Rocky!

The restaurant is so bright and cheerful. The interior is white and cream and filled with beautiful photographs of fruits and vegetables. Really lifts your spirits. The service, by really good-looking young men, (hey, I can look), is impeccable. Items were served quickly and dirty plates were removed promptly. We had fresh silverware with each dish. And what dishes we had!

We started with the most scrumptious jicama salad: with chick peas, dried tomatoes, cucumber, sesame, herbs, feta, chili and yogurt. Oh my. And it was a healthy salad, too. Love that combination!

We also opted for the dates platter, with arugula, chevre, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. This was so delicious--just wish there had been more of it!

For hot dishes we ordered a sweet onion tart, with a fabulous crust and oven-dried tomatoes, thyme, and ricotta filling. The onion was a slice about a half inch thick and so tender. Yum! 

We also had the summer squash gratin in a wonderful Parmesan sauce. Fabulous veggie dish! What a great way to get your vegetable portions for the day, huh?

And we split a strawberry shortcake dessert. Not your ordinary shortcake. Oh, no. This was deconstructed! The shortcake chunks, made out of old-fashioned shortcake biscuits, were sprinkled over macerated strawberries, and the whipped topping was actually sitting next to them. The topping had white chocolate in it. Can you say "awesome"? Oh, my, what a meal! So glad we went!

Now, I told you last week that we were to go to Vincent's on Camelback in Phoenix for dinner, which would have made me very happy. What I didn't tell you was that we were wait-listed for dinner at Binkley's in Cave Creek. We were second on the list, but made reservations at Vincent's just in case we couldn't get into Binkley's. 

Lo and behold, right after lunch was finished at Bink's Midtown, (another Kevin Binkley restaurant), Gary called to say that we could go to Binkley's for dinner, as there had been two cancellations for that evening. I laughed, because I was not expecting to go to both the midtown location and the flagship restaurant on the same day. How lucky was that? 

We had dinner with friends from our dinner club that night. They were all in favor of trying Binkley's, too! Who wouldn't be for the screaming deal of $40/pp for three courses? (Binkley's is a very expensive restaurant, which is one reason we have never been there. Another reason is that the restaurant is on the far north side of the Valley, and we are on the far south side. Miles, and miles, and miles apart! BTW, it was very dark driving up there. No lights at the north end of the desert, doncha know.) We opted for the wine pairings, (another $30), for the meal--there were four wonderful wines, which paired beautifully with the food we had. 

Actually three courses is a bit misleading. Because Binkley's doesn't just give you three dishes. Oh, no, not at all. You get to choose bread from an assortment, and get served as many times as you would like. And the brioche and whole wheat with fruit were fantastic. I had two helpings of each--little piggie that I am.

The other items were four Amuse Bouche, or as RK called them, "Amusing Bush". Take that however you like, but it did make all of us LOL. And I promised him that I would put that in my blog post. So there. (I did not photograph them--the Amuse Bouche, not the Amusing Bush--and kicked myself in the butt for that. Which wasn't easy to do, as I am not a pretzel.)

The first Amuse Bouche, (no, Spell-Checker, not douche!), was delivered in four parts: a tiny glass of yummy butternut squash soup, a large spoon of flash-frozen Greek salad--really tasty, but weird texture, a piece of fried okra in an aerated Ranch sauce (totally delicious), and a compressed miniature Muffaletta, (so, so good and gone in one bite).

Our first course was a crazy Chilled Plum Consomme. It was poured over a dish containing curry sweet shrimp, kiwi, avocado, radish, pomegranate, cilantro, and a bit of balsamic. OMG! Sweet and savory, and perfect for leading into the next course.

But first, an Amuse Bouche: a ginger-lime soda, which refreshed and cleansed our palates. 'Cuz you know we were all expecting that. Seriously. No, not really. JK.

Our second course, Braised Beef Short Rib Tips, with shitake mushroom, mire poix, fingerling potato, and wasabi, was indescribably delicious. (Which is really odd, as I don't care for short ribs. Kind of like those items at Kai that were so wonderful, but normally I wouldn't eat them. And Gary and I decided that Binkley's gives Kai a run for their money!)

And now for another Amuse Bouche: a lemon glazed donut hole. Wow. Loved it. The lemon flavoring was just perfect!

And, for our third course, dessert, we were given a Caramel Boston Creme Pie Parfait. Yeah, I died and went to heaven. It was white cake, caramel custard, and topped with lots of little dark chocolate bits. Who has the patience to make all these courses? I realize none of them were large, but you were able to comfortably eat each one without feeling stuffed. And, yes, we did get full. 

We were also served a fabulous basil/hibiscus tea. One of the best cups of tea I have ever had--which is saying something, as I drink lots of varieties of tea. They made it in the strangest contraption, and RK and I both took photos of the tea brewing. Doesn't this shot make RK look like an unknown food critic?

That should have been the end of the meal. But wait, there's more: yes, one more Amuse Bouche. It was a tiny macaroon filled with mint creme. Perfection!

We ate outside on the patio. The weather was a little cool in the desert that evening, but there were shades that sheltered us from the breeze, so it was really lovely out there. A fitting end to Restaurant Week. Doncha wish you ate like me? I would love to go back to Binkley's someday.

Big giggle here: I did go back to Bink's Midtown already. In fact, we went the very next day before our last Diamondbacks' game. We ordered that fabulous jicama salad, which Gary also loved. We also had a couple of new items: scrumptious mussels in a curry coconut broth, accompanied by scallion focaccia. Some of the best mussels we have ever eaten! Wow! We also had the fried red potatoes, with herbs, garlic, poached egg, brava sauce, and creme fraiche. Very, very good, but my least favorite dish of all I have tried there--which goes to show you that their food is superb! And then Gary wouldn't share a strawberry shortcake, so I ordered the cake donut holes with Mexican chocolate mousse, thinking it would be a smaller dessert. Not. They were huge pieces and about six of them. Really good, but the shortcake is better. I ended up taking half of my dessert, sans mousse, home with me. 

So Gary claims I am now "Binked out". Hey, I could go back anytime. Anyone want to take me? Pretty please, with sugar on it? Oh, be that way, then. Pfffffft!

Be sure to check out the wonderful creations by Carla, Dawn, Linda, Jen, and Tress this week! And then join us, won't you? Have a really great weekend!


  1. Penny, your card is adorable. Love the coloring of the purple - wow. That die is so intricate as well as that lace. You make the masterpieces not cards.

  2. Penny, by the way, you missed your calling to be a food critic.

  3. Penny the purple dragon looks awesome and love how you added a matching flower
    And Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my blog
    Dr Sonia

  4. Such a gorgeous card Penny. I love that image, your colouring looks amazing and the papers and details you have added look wonderful.
    hugs Sue xx

  5. Fabulous card, Penny! Love all the purple! Fab diecuts and awesome coloring! Amazing meals, too! Always love your foodie treks!

  6. Penny, what a darling image. I love the colors of your monster and love all the dies you used. Beautiful coloring and beautiful papers. Your meals sound so fabulous. There is nothing like that here in my little town. I love hearing about your eating adventures.

  7. fantastic card, love the colors and your amazing coloring

  8. Love your purple dragon. The bit of tulle is a stroke of genius. And, oh my, what an incredible meal. How do people come up with these things?

  9. Love, love, love this purple dragon! Such a fun card and take on this week's theme! Now for the important stuff...if you and hubby travel, we will have to meet up in some city and do a foodie tour! Our best culinary adventure to date was in Napa. Cannot wait to read more about your food forays!

  10. Good morning sweetie, this is absolutely gorgeous, a stunning creation, hugs Pops x

  11. Love your coloring as always! Lovely purple shading! Xo Kristina

  12. Wow! Do I ever love this purple dragon card!!! It is a knockout!!! Love all you did and just had to come by and tell you!!!

  13. Very cute card Penny!! beautiful layout and beautiful colors! Gorgeous border.

  14. Firstly the card looks gorgeous - fab colouring of that great dragon and a lovely choice of colours, topped off with your amazing dies!
    The food commentary was as detailed and hunger inducing as ever!! You must take notes as you're eating surely??? I'd never remember all the details!!

  15. Aww, look at that cute dragon! And he's purple! I choose to think that makes him a Minnesota Vikings dragon. :) Great design/composition on this card, Mom! And thanks for the heads up about you writing about Binkley's. I really intrigued by that tea set up! And it sounds like we'll love the food.

    And LOL at spell check wanting to change "bouche" to something else. :)

  16. Hi Penny,
    wow.. your card is so gorgeous! The dragon is cool - I love your coloration and the beautiful paper you used!
    Nice colors and wonderful dies!

  17. "Squeal"!!! I just LOVE this dragon Penny! The purple coloring is fantastic with your paper choice!

  18. Love purple dragons - they are so darn cute!!

  19. Darling card- love the purple dragon and the great DP you used. OMG, I would never have you over for dinner- you eat delicious foods- but I have never even heard of half of these! Yikes! Hehehe Your week of eating out sounds incredible!!!

  20. Hi Penny, aww what a cute purple dragon and love the background. Fab detailing.
    Sure sounds like you love to eat out hun. I've never even heard of half the food you were describing lol. Must watch more masterchef.
    Hugs Sue W.

  21. Penny, This is fantastic. Love your choice of colors. I keep having to go back and look at your card. This is so much fun!! Love the background you created. The dragon is amazing colored in purple and the added circle die cuts are wonderful, with the distress look along with the lace, love all the effects.
    Hugs, Pat

  22. Your dragon is perfect. He's absolutely adorable. The card is totally fabulous. I especially love the flower and the ribbon accent.

    Your meals sound absolutely divine. That restaurant must be spectacular to make short ribs tasty. I wonder if they can do the same thing for lima beans?

    I love reading your restaurant reviews. Such fun.


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