Oak Creek and Page Springs Cellars

Well here we are in the middle of another summer in Arizona. This has always been the season I dread the most out of the whole year and it seems to last the longest. The 100+ degree weather lasts well into October making my favorite season very short 😕. This year I have decided to make the most of it and enjoy summer with all it has to offer. Honestly it’s not so bad thinking about the wonderful produce that comes out of these months, lazy afternoons lounging in a cool pool, monsoon storms rolling into the night and all the ice cream your belly can handle…it’s like being a kid again. Summer also means sneaking away on a road trip or two. As a kid, my family would spend some time in Oak Creek Canyon camping and hiking.

One of my favorite memories of summer is hiking through Oak Creek and swimming in the the many swimming holes along the way and picking the wild blackberries.

Last week we took Brayden to Rainbow Trout Farm off State Route 89A near Sedona.

He’s been experiencing a lot of “firsts” in his 3rd year and we took him fishing for the first time! At the farm, there is a large pond full of trout so you are almost guaranteed to catch one.

Brayden was very excited to catch his first fish!

For a small fee, they provide the bait, fishing poles, buckets and everything you need. They’ll even clean and package up your catch for fifty cents per fish. It was definitely a fun experience for him. We ended up with three fish! 🐟

On our way back down to Phoenix, we had to make a stop at Page Springs Cellars! I heard about it a few months back and with my growing interest in wine I couldn’t wait to check it out.

The winery is nestled in a valley east of Jerome that I never knew existed. It’s beautiful in there and so green!

On arrival we were starving and anxious to eat at the bistro they have on site.

We sat out on a patio deck overlooking the vineyards. Beautiful scenery while enjoying a glass of wine!

We ended up getting a few things to try…

To share, we ordered the House Cheese Board that had a few different cheeses on it. My favorite was the chive-horseradish havarti and the gruyere.

It also came with house made jams(that were delicious!), crackers and focaccia, nuts and fruit.

Brad got a Burrata salad that looked tasty(I didn’t try any).

I got the Mediterranean focaccia. It was a nice spread of roasted red pepper hummus, olive tapenade, white bean salad, house pickles and feta cheese with bread.

Brayden got a brick fired cheese pizza that was amazingly good!

Of course with all this food I had to do some wine, after all we were at a vineyard!

I did the Chilled Flight which were all whites. They have some very unusual varietals I have never heard of before. My favorite was the 2017 Vino de la Familia Blanca which is a blend of two white wines. It was tropical and sweet.

Page Springs is worth taking a visit to being its only about an hour and a half outside of Phoenix. Aside from the bistro and tasting room, they host several live music events and have a small local art gallery inside. It’s a very cool place!

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Pho Sho!

I think pho is my current food obsession. Asian is taking over as my new favorite flavor profile in food. Today for Mother’s Day, my mom and I went to Saigon Kitchen in Surprise, where I think they have some of the best pho in town! This was the third time I’ve been here and it’s now one of my go-to places for Asian cuisine. Saigon Kitchen opened a few years ago, half the size it is now and got some incredible reviews from Phoenix magazine right off the start. Since then, they have also been featured on a local TV show on PBS about the best places to dine around Phoenix. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting. They have nice modern looking decor and a large bar. There is a mix of tables and booths and have a really nice patio.

Let’s get right into the food…

On mine and Brads trip here a few weeks ago, we got the Saigon wings and spring rolls to start.

The spring rolls were very good and came with a peanut dipping sauce. Today, I got the Saigon wings again because I loved them so much the first time. The wings come in a sweet Asian chili sauce. The menu says they are spicy but are actually very mild.

When Brad and I came he got something in a clay pot.

It was actually just called the Clay Pot on the menu…lol. It’s your choice of meat (he got steak) over a bed of crispy rice, bok choy, mushrooms and carrots. You also get a side salad and some very yummy chicken-based soup broth to go with it.

On both occasions, I got the pho. Steak pho. And it is delicious! They bring a small plate of “fixings” you can stir into the soup. I love to add the jalapeño slices, basil and lime juice in mine.

I think the steak (it is thin slices of sirloin) is cooked right in the broth. The rice noodles are cooked to perfection and the broth is bursting with flavor!

Mom got the lemongrass shrimp over jasmine rice. I tried one and it too was very good! She got the same side salad and soup with her entree.

If you are in the Surprise area, I highly recommend going to Saigon Kitchen for lunch or dinner. You will not be disappointed!

Latest Food Adventures…

I can’t believe it’s almost April! The past couple months have been extremely busy in the Jones household! Birthday parties, anniversaries and a wedding. Not to mention the crazy spring cleaning I’ve been doing. Several trips made to Goodwill and it feels so good to purge everything that’s not being used or we’ve outgrown. I think every room in our house has been thoroughly reorganized. In between all that, we’ve made a couple trips out to explore new food territories. One was Taco Guild near 7th street and Osborn in Phoenix. This place was especially cool because it’s in an old church.

Inside there are stained glass windows, beamed ceilings, pews are now benches for the tables and the bar is were the pulpit used to be.

The other cool factor about this place is that it recently made a national list of where to find the best tacos in the country! You know Phoenix had to be on that list for sure.

I really liked the chips and salsa they brought out to start. The chips were still warm and they brought 4 salsas. 2 mild, hot, and a green avocado salsa. One of the mild ones had a sweetness to it, kind of like ketchup? 🤔

For dinner, I actually got chicken enchiladas instead of the tacos. They were very delicious! The corn tortillas I could tell were freshly made in house.

They came with the usual rice and red beans. The rice was really good and flavorful.

Brad got 2 tacos. The Peking duck taco with plum sauce, pablano pepper and Brie cheese and the Molina Lamb taco. Yes, a bit unconventional for Mexican food but he said they were a knockout.

All in all, I really enjoyed Taco Guild. They bring something new to traditional Mexican food and everything is fresh and full of flavor!

My favorite World Market food items. Part 1

I’m back this week to share my top 10 favorite World Market food and drink items. This was a couple weeks in the making, as I was sampling/testing several things. Some of these things I’ve been buying for years, as World Market is one of my absolute favorite stores. Most of you know, I’m now a World Market employee so my little employee discount sure does entice me to buy a lot more! This store does a great job finding the most unique items you don’t typically find in any grocery store so it’s really fun to search the aisles to see what’s in stock. I named this list a part 1 because I’m anticipating this list is going to grow. I’m also going to do a future post on my top 10 favorite non-food items as well but for now, here are my top 10…

1. Stroopwafels

These mini Danish cookies are so addicting! They are soft and a bit chewy. The wafel is slightly toasted with an incredible sweetness but not overly sweet with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. To die for! There is also a caramel and chocolate flavor.

2. El Sabroso jalepeno and cheddar tortilla chips

Okay forget Doritos. These were surprisingly really good. The chip is thin and crispy with really nice flavor. Not too spicy for those sensitive to spice and heat. I also like the salsa and guacamole flavors. No dip needed.

3. Kitchen of Love quinoa meal

If you are new to quinoa like myself, I promise you’ll like these. Because quinoa has so many health benefits, I’ve been trying to work it into my diet but let’s face it, it doesn’t always sound good. These little ready-to-go meals are easy to pack in a lunch on the go. No need to even heat them. You don’t need to add all the sauce, a little at a time so the quinoa isn’t drowning. The jalapeño and roasted pepper is my favorite.

4. My favorite Pancake Mix, Southern Pecan

We made these on Christmas morning. This mix is super easy to prepare with a little water and an egg. It has small bits of real pecans. I’ve never made pancakes before this and all of mine came out perfectly! I love the cinnamon and nutmeg flavor with a little nuttiness from the pecans. Some butter and a tiny bit of maple syrup is perfection!

5. Wine snacks

Wine snacks are a simple snack that were surprisingly addictive! They are long skinny breadsticks like those found in Italian restaurants. They are like a long crunchy cracker flavored with parmigiana cheese. The box shows suggestive wine pairings but they are good for any time. Would be good with marinara or pesto dipping sauce for a party 🍷

6. Sutter Buttes Meyer Lemon Infused Olive Oil

We only have this item in the minis section but you don’t need a lot. My favorite way to use this is to toss it with some freshly cooked pasta and fresh herbs.

7. Epic Meat stripes

Love gourmet jerky. These are great to keep in your purse for a protein packed snack while you’re out running errands all afternoon. It’s fun to find unusual meats like venison and wagyu beef.

8. Revolution Tea Sampler

Again these are only in the minis section but this is a wonderful selection of high-quality tea. They are very aromatic and come in lovely little satin pouches for steeping.

9. Urban Accents Veggie Roasters

I love to eat my vegetables roasted in the oven! Ever since I had roasted veggies at Zoe’s Kitchen, I had to do this at home every time. These come in 3-4 flavors depending on what you want to roast. I toss the veggies with a little of this seasoning and olive oil and roast them in oven. Always turn out great!

10. Nyakers Ginger Snaps

You may have recognized this big red tin sold during Christmas time but we actually sell these year round in a smaller blue tin. There honestly is no other gingersnap like them. Thin, crunchy and delicious. I heard someone say they crush these to make a pie crust! I may have to try that someday…

Okay, I’m going to have to add one more…

11. World Market Bourbon Pecan coffee

This one is only seasonal during Christmas. When you see it, stock up! I don’t usually drink my coffee black but this one is good enough to do so! It’s so smooth and has a good rich flavor. No cream even needed ☕️

Hopefully, you had fun with list list. I hope to share more soon. In the mean time, happy eating! 😋

Barrett-Jackson

Today we went to the Barrett-Jackson car auction. This is an annual event that happens in Scottsdale every January. Honestly, I’m not exactly a car enthusiast, but this was pretty cool!

People from all over the country flock into town to get a chance to see and buy some pretty amazing cars! As soon as you walk in, there is a beautiful showroom of all these gorgeous sports cars, trucks, SUV’s, I mean this is legit nice stuff.

Brayden of course had a blast because he’s so into cars right now. Especially when he saw a life size version of a Hot Wheel car. My favorite though had to be all of the early 20th century refurbished cars they had. Like this 1914 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost.

It’s very common to have celebrity cars and boats in the showroom. Occasionally, you might even have a celebrity sighting. Jay Leno has been known to frequent Barrett-Jackson and last year Burt Reynolds sold a car here.

After grabbing lunch at one of the many food establishments, we went to watch part of the actual auction taking place in one of the tents. It’s so exciting! Seeing these cars roll up on stage, one after another and people are just bidding away, spending sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, the energy is just thrilling!

Even if you are not that into cars, I recommend this as a thing to put on your Phoenix bucket list because there is so much to see and I’m pretty sure you’ll find some excitement in it.

Verrado Coffee Company

A few days ago, we went out to the gorgeous community of Verrado in Buckeye, AZ to do a little exploring. Verrado is about a 25 minute drive from where we live now. The community is so picturesque with its tree-lined streets and town square. For lunch, we ate at Ciao Grazie which we’ve eaten a couple times before. The pizza is so good! On my top five pizza joints in all of Phoenix! But for today’s post, I want to talk about the Verrado Coffee Company. Probably one of the cutest, best looking coffeehouses I’ve been too. It’s right off Verrado Way when you come in off the I-10 and it doubles as a community information center.

This place is cool because there is so much to look at. It’s really pretty inside, the way they decorated it. There is a lot of seating and they have books on the shelfs you can read or look at. Many of them are art books, design books and cookbooks.

There is also a little children’s nook for kids to sit and read or play.

For the coffee, I had higher hopes. I got an iced mocha and it was a little on the weak side for me. Almost like drinking chocolate milk 😕 I prefer a really dark, strong roast. Brad seemed to enjoys his coffee though. I’ll give it another chance. It’s a really cool spot just to hang out in.

Until next time, ✌🏻

Phoenix Foodie

So as a part of this blog, I want to share my reviews and experiences with places I visit around Phoenix. As a Phoenix native, I believe I can provide a lot of insight on the coolest, best places around town to stay, shop and eat! I definitely consider myself to be a “Foodie”. Wikipedia defines a Foodie as “a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A Foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger”. Over the past several years, my friends, family and I have had the pleasure of dining at some fabulous places and it’s time I start sharing. My first highlight is a charming little eatery called Lucy’s at the Orchard.

Lucy’s is established in a historic ranch style home in central Phoenix. I think they are known for their breakfast but last week, Brad and I went for lunch. The place was pretty easy to find, right off of Glendale and 12th St. It feels like your right in a neighborhood. Inside, it’s very cozy with a cool gift shop. They have indoor and outdoor seating. The temperature was a perfect 75 degrees so of course we sat outside. It’s like being in someone’s backyard with all the trees.

For lunch, I had the courtyard club with pasta salad and Brad had a burger and fries. The fries were delicious! Some of the best I ever had, and I’m not a big fry person.

We really had a nice time and the food was good and very fresh. Next door, there is a ice cream/candy shop, Splurge and another restaurant called Pomelo that share the same grounds. This is definitely a cool spot to check out for breakfast or lunch. I’ll be back for sure!