Wednesday, January 4, 2012

winter break 2011

i know i havent blogged in forever and i am not promising that i will be any better at it anytime in the near future. but i did want to post about my lovely little winter break just so i have a record of where i went, what i saw, how i was with and of course what i ate.

1. the getty 2. redondo beach 3. the food: a. heuvos racheros - montelucia b. french toast - ocean diner c. chinatown

my winter break started with a little road trip. my sister and i went down to LA for a couple of days. on saturday, we were able to attend the lovely amber's wedding, check out the grad show at art center and enjoy pasadena's yummy 21 choices. seriously the greatest frozen yogurt ever. on sunday, we had breakfast on the pier in redondo beach at polly's on the pier. good food aka sure to clog your arteries. but man the banana pancakes shan ordered were the best i've ever had. we then headed to the getty center. we didnt know what to expect and we were both blown away. we enjoyed exploring and appreciating the art, the architecture and the views. that evening we went down to chinatown for some authentic grub and meandered through the little shops and of course walked away with a few souvenirs. on monday, we got up and took a bike ride down the beach. thanks to the free bike rentals at the portofino hotel and yatch club. it was so nice to ride alongside the ocean. we eventually ditched the bikes and got our feet sandy. for breakfast we tried out another diner, ocean's diner. where i had some awesome french toast. it was good and i usually hate french toast. after filling our bellies we loaded up in the car and headed to arizona.

1. scottsdale 2. a. the sugar bowl b. the mim c. christmas sugar cookies
it was nice to spend christmas at home with the family. we of course frequented some of our usual favorite places but we found some new gems too.

grimaldi's pizza

this place is an england family favorite. we have been going here for years and when we were in new york this summer we had to make the trip to brooklyn to taste the original. the arizona counterpart is just as tasty but perhaps a second less in the oven would make for a softer crust.

the parlor

the parlor is a pizza place. i first visited when i was out in scottsdale for the aiga pivot conference. the pies were creative and tasty. the menu is exciting and the interior is great. i think it might be a new englad family thing.

the musical instrument museum

this museum opened soon after i left arizona, so it was fun to come back and appreciate the completed work. the museum highlights music and instruments from throughout the world. every country has it's own exhibition space. it was a fun experience. and great for my brother who is the budding musician in the family. the kid plays the sax, the piano, and goofs around on the guitar.

jalepeno's inferno

this place has the best tamales and the worst key lime pie. well everything is good except for the key lime pie. for christmas eve dinner this year my mother ordered a slew of tamales to feed us and it was scrumptious and fun for a change. the green corn is the best.

the desert botanical gardens

we have been hearing about this place since we moved to arizona. however, the view from our own backyard is so great, we wondered what more the botanical gardens could offer. we attended the las noches de las luminaries. the gardens were lit with 8000 luminaries and 10 different musical groups were playing throughout the gardens. when we lived in saratoga, we attended christmas in the park in san jose every year. since moving to arizona we have been looking for something comparable and i think this year we found it. the desert botanical gardens offered an experience that was truly arizonian and festive in it own right with music and lights.

last chance

this is the place where all the good from nordstrom rack go or where the returns from nordstroms end up. we hit it at a great time and my sister and i walked out of the store with a little over 1000 dollars for goods for only 200 dollars. i bought myself 3 pairs of boots! this place is just one of the many reasons for you to fall in love with scottsdale.


this is the residence of paulo soleri, the famed architect of arcosanti, and bell workshop. we came to explore and as luck would have it there were casting bronze bells right as we got there. some of the pieces they were casting were signed soleri orginals and so we even got to see the man come check on his work. it was a great experience and fun to check out the architecture.

soleri bells
the montelucia

while visiting us in arizona, my grandma treated us to a few nights at this lovely resort. the resort just opened three years ago and took inspiration from spain's moorish architecture into the design. the place was beautiful with an amazing view of camelback mountain. the weather was so nice we spent some quality time lounging by the pool.


before the thursday night artwalk in old town scottsdale we all needed to get a little something to eat. we decided to try this place. and yes it is another pizza place. we sure know how to pick em. i ordered a caprese to start and the mozzarella was some of the best i have had in awhile.

the sugar bowl

this place is just a downtown scottsdale staple. you have to come for the historic charm. but the treaties really are nothing to special. if you really want to know its dreyers ice cream and costco pies, but knowing that really kinda ruins the fun.

culinary dropout

this was a place that was new for me. this restaurant has more of like a gastropub feel. i was expecting a really adventurous menu but instead found a menu full of culinary staples. i ordered the fried chicken and it was finger lickin good. the chicken was served with honey drizzled on top which really did just set it apart.

rainbow ryders

while at breakfast one morning i was talking about how i had always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. my sweet dad then surprised me the next morning with a hot air balloon ride. the balloons are so huge in person. you really have no idea how large the are until you see them being blown up. when we took off i was amazed at how smooth the ride was. honestly if you didnt look down you would think you were still on the ground. i was so beautiful overlooking the desert on a beautiful clear morning. and i ever earned myself a pair of wings.

perhaps later i will share some of my projects as of late or some of the gifts i handcrafted for our england homemade christmas!

or if i get super ambitious i might share my goals for 2012. ill letcha know when i make em...

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