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Monday, June 27, 2011

Can't go to China? Try Mekong Palce.

Crispy duck skin with chopped duck/water chestnuts and pancakes.

House fried rice and house chow mein (soft noodle).

This picture came from Yelp's website,
in the spirit of full disclosure.
Mekong Palace is located in an indoor mall in
Mesa, where they have other restaurants, stores with clothing,
jewelry and a huge Asian supermarket.

Lychees (from the Asian supermarket) and mango.

After a wonderful afternoon with my mainsqueeze (!) watching Super 8 at Tempe Marketplace, we headed over to Mekong Palace in Mesa for some Chinese food.

Mekong Palace is a superior experience in Chinese dining, in the kitchen wench's humble opinion. The place is full of people, you are served quickly and the food is delicious and reasonable. What could else two foodies ask for?

They are having a Peking duck special right now - where you get the skin (crispy) atop shrimp chips and then they bring you the rest of the duck that has been cubed and prepared with water chestnuts. You get little "pancakes" and lettuce leaves so you can make little sandwiches with the crispy duck and lettuce wraps with the cubed duck. This is so delicious. If you don't try any other item at Mekong Palace, try the duck. Very juicy & rich. Love the crispy skin. All of this for about $13.

It will be time to get back on the treadmill soon. Hanging out with a fellow foodie will do this to you (expansion).

These guys also have dim sum. We're going back for that on the next pass!

I digress. We also had the house chow mein (soft noodles) and the house fried rice. Both have a combination of pork, beef and shimp with a few veggies thrown in for good measure. We also had potstickers (not pictured) which were spicy/juicy and we devoured them quickly.

I have a bento portion of the rice and chow mein to take with me for lunch today, which warms the cockles of my heart (or should I say my tummy).

My mainsqueeze just got his passport (the first one in his life) so he is anxious to explore other lands. Being the compliant companion (especially after a meal like this) I hope to be going to with him soon to try foods from Nogales and Rocky Point. Maybe if we can score some time off work what could be next. Maybe...Thailand?

To be continued!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Raspados and other yummies at Sonora Mesquite Grill

I worked a half day yesterday and promised my aunt I would take her to Sonora Mesquite Grill for lunch. We've both become fans, so when the $10 coupon offer ($20 value) via Living Social landed in my inbox, I didn't hesitate to get one. Maybe I should have gotten two.

We both had the barbacoa (tender shredded beef) tacos combo with rice and beans. The barbacoa is very delicious and the rice and beans have just the right amount of heat. The combo comes with 3 types of salsas that I believe are homemade, one is very chunky and a tad salty which I like, the other is a tomatillo and the last is a chipotle (smoky).

The nice lady behind the counter suggested we try a raspado (shaved ice with fruit) instead of our regular choice (lemonade) so that's what we did. My aunt got a peach flavored one and mine was lime. Oh my! It was nice and tart, and very refreshing for our hot summer day (was it 111 degrees yesterday?).

This is going to become one of my favorite raspado places this summer, I can tell.

We saw others file in as we were having our lunch and it looks like Living Social is helping Sonora Mesquite Grill get the word out. Hopefully the restaurant didn't have to take too much of a loss on issuing the coupons. The upswing is that it can be very good for advertising = repeat customers.

Count us in!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Crispy pork with Puerto Rican rice & beans

Crispy marinated pork cooked on a rotisserie.

Red beans with salt pork.

Rice with pigeon peas and salt pork. Pork fat rules!

I'm in a Puerto Rican coma right now. Seriously.

Last week Jack made plantains. I thought that was the ultimate.

Tonight, he made pork on a rotisserie, marinated with garlic and orange juice. On the side we had rice with gandules (pigeon peas) and salt pork. He also made a side of red beans with pork hocks.

Oh my goodness.


I've always aspired to fall for someone who knows what they are doing in the kitchen. I think that's happening right now. He has capers in his pantry, along with sea salt and manzanilla olives.

¡Dios mío!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

French toast with mango

The kitchen wench has been eating a lot of french toast lately, mostly's yummy.

Some choice phrases/quotes have recently come to mind: do what you do and the money will follow (don't know where that came from), don't be a victim (EST) and, No, I didn't sell the ms. pacman machine because I have known her longer than you (Weeds).

News flash: a guest chef (saucier?) has been in my life the past several weeks, and this is a good thing.

You know how sometimes we don't always feel super creative - I haven't felt bit by the creative bug in quite awhile. Last year I made some nice friends who garden, make beer, paint and write.

I'm not much of a gardener (my loofah seeds just died). I have painted (the inside of my Mom's house) and I enjoy drinking beer. I'm not sure if this blog qualifies as writing. It's a fun outlet, though.

It was tempting to put chamoy on my french toast this morning - it would have been a pretty garnish. That reminds me, I need to get over to Oasis Raspados' new location at 32nd St./Greenway for a chamoyada.

Un toque al día...I think that means something like "do this once every day." I will apply this to french toast and chamoyadas, maybe.

And ping pong.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Abrazos Rotos and chorizo

Pedro Almodóvar's films put me in the mood...for Spanish food.

Who knew that Cost Plus would have such
great chorizo? Economical, too.

Lately I've been enjoying Netflix courtesy of a good friend - tonight I found Abrazos Rotos and watched it with a bocadillo de chorizo (chorizo on a baguette). The chorizo is from Cost Plus. I highly recommend you go and get some. It is pretty authentic stuff, with a nice "chew" and flavor I remember of Spanish chorizo, even thought it is made here in the U.S. A good effort!

Most folks know I have a bit of a girl crush on Penelope Cruz...and for good reason. I mean, what talent (and what a body). Also the wine is courtesy of Cost Plus, Marquise Phillips granache. The winery is going out of business but you can still find a few bottles at Cost Plus and AJ's.

When I watch Pedro Almodóvar's films, they take me right back to the culture of Spain. Such amazing food, architecture, history and culture. Wanderlust.

I was telling my friend Nora from Peru that it's kind of pretentious to go back Spain without even visiting so much of my own continent. I mean, America (North, South and Central) is so vast and there is a lot to discover still.

Still, Spain beckons. To be continued...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Frozen treat: Oatmeal chocolate chip pecan ice cream sandwiches

The finished product...frozen goodness.
My mom and brother are
going to go bonkers over these.

Mmm pecans and chocolate chips...

What a great ice cream sandwich cookie looks like.

It is warming up in Phoenix, folks (like this is news to you). This time of year I have a yen for all things frozen and sweet, mainly ice cream bars like Dilly Bars (my favorite) and Eskimo Pies. They made Eskimo Pies one year with cherries in them covered with dark chocolate. Has anyone seen these lately? I need a box, bad...

In the meantime, I was thinking since it is warming up, and there was a line going out the door today almost at my favorite shaved ice joint Oasis Raspados, that it is time to start making some of these frozen treats in-house. I also like the idea that these yummies won't have all of the preservatives other frozen goodies in theory you can eat more of them (right?). I'm not going all the way and making my own ice cream (yet) but there is Breyers Vanilla in the freezer and it will do nicely.

I think that chocolate chips/oatmeal and pecans is a nice combination in a cookie - sweet and savory. Recently I saw a recipe that made me think I could add pecans in place of cranberries (thank you Ocean Spray for the recipe below).

Oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies

2/3 c butter
2/3 c brown sugar
2 lg eggs
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups craisins dried cranberries (you can use pecans for this)
2/3 white chocolate chunks/chips (I used semi sweet)

Combine butter and sugar, add eggs and combine. Add dry ingredients and combine. Stir in craisins and chocolate chips. These bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 12 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 3 dozen.

When your cookies have cooled, take one cookie and place a generous scoop of ice cream on top of it, then add another cookie. Wrap in tin foil and repeat until all of your cookies are gone. If there is an odd cookie, eat it right away.

If you want a decadent dessert (I am borrowing this from Ed Debevic's back in the day) pull out one of these ice cream sandwiches and serve it on a pretty plate covered with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Mmmm.

Make sure you have enough ice cream... more than one large container - I ran out. I was able to use 22 cookies = 11 ice cream sandwiches. Will have to buy more, or make a supreme sacrifice and eat them solo with a nice earl grey tea or latte. haha.

On a separate note, my aunt gave me a bag of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and I have no idea what to do with them except maybe crush them and put them on the sides of a chocolate frosted sponge cake. If you have a recipe that includes them, please shoot it my way. ¡Gracias!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Slice of Sicily

What's for dinner tonight (reprise of last night).

Slice of Sicily in Phoenix is one of those great mom & pop pizza places in my fact, it's my favorite. Last night Jack and I picked up a medium meat lovers pie that had Italian sausage, ground beef, Canadian bacon and pepperoni. This pizza is so flavorful, I'm glad we had leftovers (see picture) for my dinner tonight!

We also had a dozen hot wings which were very tasty. I told Jack that they make a Sicilian crust pizza too, you just have to order it 2 hours in advance.

Now, that's a homemade pie!
Get yours tonight at 37th St./Indian School.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

La Fonda in Tempe

La Fonda is one of those Mexican Food places I see a lot but never quite make it inside. Until this week.

Jack and I went for dinner a few nights ago and had red chile burros (mine with beans) and we both enjoyed frozen margs with salt. The quality/price of the food are on target. Fresh & tasty chips/salsa.

We'll be back, I suspect.

There is some beautiful stained glass just above some of the booths which gives the place an artsy feel and there are also "mini bull" piñatas at the cash register that are super cute.

La Fonda has been around for +40 years and is very mom & pop, so when you are in Tempe around Scottsdale Road and the 101, get yourself down there for yummy Mexican eats.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Horchata recipe - via Hermosillo

Make some refreshing horchata today!

This recipe for Horchata comes from a dear friend in Hermosillo, via his Mom. The timing is appropriate, considering today is Mother's Day in Mexico.

¡A las Mamas!

Olivia's Horchata - 1 cup rice - 2-3 sticks cinnamon - 1 teaspoon vanilla - 1/2 cup condensed milk - 4 liters of water - 1-1/2 cups sugar Soak rice about 12 hours in a liter of water Blend it all together (minus the other 3 liters of water), very fine. Pass blend through fine sieve. Discard sieve sludge. Pour rest of water and sugar into blend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A fellow super taster

Wine (the remnants of), a latte (same) and
anisette with coffee beans (for good luck).

It appears that the kitchen wench has met a fellow super taster.

According to Wikipedia, a super taster is "a person who experiences the sense of taste with far greater intensity than average. Women are more likely to be supertasters,[1] as are individuals of Asian and African descent.[1] Among individuals of European descent, it is estimated that about 25% of the population are supertasters.[citation needed] The cause of this heightened response is currently unknown, although it is thought to be, at least in part, due to an increased number of fungiform papillae.[2] The evolutionary advantage to supertasting is unclear. In some environments, heightened taste response, particularly to bitterness, would represent an important advantage in avoiding potentially toxic plant alkaloids. However, in other environments, increased response to bitterness may have limited the range of palatable foods. In a modern, energy-rich environment, supertasting may be cardioprotective, due to decreased liking and intake of fat. It may be a cause of picky eating, but picky eaters are not necessarily supertasters, and vice versa."

Whew! That's a lot to take in. Specifically in this case, the super taster is a fan of ginger, lemongrass, espresso and rum...and hopefully anisette, red wine and chamoy, as is the kitchen wench. Last night this fellow super taster made the kitchen wench larb neu (Thai chicken salad) and spicy chicken with Thai basil. These dishes were very delicious and I had a chance to see all of the cooking first hand. Then, the chef said, "now you will now how to make these dishes!" Well, I appreciate the confidence this supertaster has towards myself. He may be slightly biased.


Tonight I am dining on pizza from my mum (happy mother's day, Mom!) and a Hershey bar, courtesy of my bro, Mike. Also I'm having some shiraz (or syrah, depending on which definition is your persuasion for wine) and a latte, plus an anisette with coffee beans (in the spirit of good luck).

The kitchen wench is feeling a bit smitten at the moment and watching The Motorcycle Diaries with Gael Garcia Bernal, one of her favorite actors. Depending on how the evening goes, she may also watch, Y Tu Mama Tambien, with the same actor. After all, he is a bit taco de ojo (easy on the eyes).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Zucchini muffins and new kitchen gadgets

People, people, must make these.
Now! Right now! Your kitchen will
smell like the bakery at Oscar Taylor's.

Your muffin batter will look like this.
I filled the muffin tins almost all the way full.

A new grater and garlic press are the latest additions
to the kitchen wench's menagerie.

It has been a bit overdue for me to buy two things, a garlic press and a grater. Tonight the grater is coming in handy, because I am making the zucchini muffins from that I said I was going to make some days back.

It appears that one large zucchini can yield 3 cups of grated zucchini. How is this possible? The math says I have one leftover zucchini (since I picked up 2 tonight at Food City) to make more muffins. Danger!

I found the garlic press at Standard Restaurant Supply. They said it is the best one they have and was around $12. I used it once last weekend when I made spaghetti and it did a pretty good job, except it is not easy to clean. For myself, I don't really need to use it since I don't mind big chunks of garlic. However...others (potential diners with the kitchen wench) have recently told me they don't like to "bite" into garlic, so... off to Standard Restaurant Supply I went.

The grater came from Food City (tonight) for about $1.50. The bargain of the century. Since it is plastic, it will not rust, and the kitchen wench will most likely not injure herself using it. Last year when I was slicing lemons, I sliced a good amount into my right index finger. Being uninsured, I took a chance and cleaned it well, put a bandaid on it and in about a week it was good to go again. Kitchen accidents are not recommended for the uninsured, at least in this country.

That reminds me of a fun blog you must check out. Broke Ass Bitch (I am not making this up). You can read her blog at and it is hilarious. She talks about raising chickens and stretching out soup to last three days, made with one chicken. She also mentions what to keep in your pantry (and freezer) in terms of canned veg, grains and protein, so you have "go to" meals all the time. I think this is very practical.

So...tonight I'm making the muffins (finally). I added some jumbo raisin medley from Fresh & Easy to the recipe and a cup of pecans. My mechanic is getting the bulk of them tomorrow, since he is kindly replacing my compressor and there will be cold air again in my little beetle. Yea! The remainder of the muffins (along with a pair of checkered Vans) are going to Jason, whose birthday is tomorrow, and he deserves something yummy.

Happy Birthday Dood!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A proper lunch date at Thai Lahna

Green beans with chicken in a spicy sauce from Thai Lahna.

The kitchen wench had a proper date today (again) - gasp. It's going nicely, this hanging out with a like minded fun, friendly and apparently generous person.

Telling myself here not to get caught up or expecting the moon. Our emotions do that to us sometimes.

Today JP called and asked what was I doing (I was working) and did I want to join him for lunch. Did I?

He called two hours later to say he was heading my way and that we needed to find something tasty to eat. I suggested Thai, Indian (Native American) or Cambodian, all are fairly close to me. He opted for Thai, which I love and don't get enough of.

Around the corner from the kitchen wench is Thai Lahna. It is a simple mom and pop place, with a bursting (huge) menu. JP ordered for us (a nice touch I thought): chicken and green beans in a spicy sauce, pad thai with chicken and shrimp and todd munn (fish cakes). A thai tea for me and a thai coffee for him.

Lunch was tasty and leisurely. We are getting to know each other over food (and ballgames).

The kitchen wench could get used to this.

And I got to take home the green beans and rice. Yummy! It's spicy enough that if you have allergies like I do, they will clear you up, at least for an afternoon.

I have also tried their Tom Yum Gai (hot and sour soup with chicken) on a previous visit, this soup has mushrooms and lemongrass/lime/ginger and will pep up your spirits if you've had a rough day physically or emotionally.

Get your Thai "on" at Thai Lahna.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

McCafe shakes from McDonald's and zucchini muffins

I'm making these today. Having made similar versions in the
past, I am sure these will be good breakfast munching,
or just tasty snacks.

The "new" McCafe shake from you know who.
Is it really new or just pretty packaging?

This morning I was reading an Bill Maher interview in Rolling Stone magazine. Wow, he's such a genius. He makes me want to pay for cable, then on top of that, pay for HBO.

You can see his appearance on the David Letterman show here:

The kitchen wench has a new gig that starts on 5/9, so I may actually be able to afford HBO...soon! In the meantime, I'll be watching it on Jason's Samsung fancy dancy big screen tv. I have never seen a better picture on a tv. My 46" off brand tv is jealous.

There is an ad in the same issue of Rolling Stone magazine that boasts about the new McCafe shakes from McDonald's having a "new look and taste." Really? Is it a new shake recipe or is it repackaged in a smaller, cooler looking cup with some whipped cream on top? I'm thinking this is the case but I might not have the cojones to go and buy one myself to prove them wrong. I mean, I'd rather spend my soon to be hard earned $$ on a gelato shake from Gelato Spot or a chamoyada from Oasis Raspados. Just saying.

I guess reading Bill Maher got me going this morning. Feeling a little more snarky than usual.


Today I'll be making zucchini muffins for a potential mainsqueeze who mentioned he likes them a lot. In the meantime, the picture is borrowed from

  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the zucchini mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins or cranberries if using.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

Note, if you are including walnuts and dried fruit, you will likely have more batter than is needed for 12 muffins. I got about 14 muffins from this batch, and that included filling the muffin cups up as far as they could possibly go (above the surface of the muffin tin).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Krispy Kreme

I like the cow images at Krispy Kreme in downtown Phoenix -
for me it's the "cute" factor.

Breakfast today at Krispy Kreme.

This morning I was trying to remember where Lola Coffee was when I stumbled upon Krispy Kreme. It was fortuitous since my friend from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber was driving behind me and we were looking for a place to have a quick cup of coffee and chat.

As a rule I always choose an independent business, but in today's case I just could not remember which side of Central Avenue Lola's was on and I ended up doubling back, unable to find it. In the spirit of getting us off the road and to a place where we could actually talk to each other, we settled on Krispy Kreme.

And maybe I shouldn't say settled - we both enjoyed the .25 cent cup of coffee and a donut, and the grand total was less than three bucks, which is in the kitchen wench's budget.

So, when in downtown and you need a quick coffee, Krispy Kreme is not a bad place to be.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Urban Beans and Salon Embellish

Urban Beans has a very friendly patio that makes
you feel right at home.

Yummy pastries and tabbouleh/hummus plates await you
at Urban Beans. Coffee too!

It was nice to sit for awhile with a cool beverage
and enjoy my book.

Sometimes you are in between meetings (or errands) and you just need a place to crash for an hour and check your email (or catch up on reading) know what I mean. Today I found the perfect place to "hang my hat" - at Urban Beans just north of Osborn on 7th St. (west side).

They have yummy pastries, chocolate dipped strawberries and a hummus/tabbouleh plate. I also noticed their special today was a Caprese salad for $8. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

The inside is very urban feeling (hence the name of the place!) - the floors are concrete, which I really like. Outside there is a patio where you can hang (and there is wi-fi too) if you're not an a/c person (I'm not).

Urban Beans is hosting an event soon for the Greater Phoenix Chamber (on May 24 - 7:15 am) so if you are looking for new clients and want to check them out, this event might be your ticket.

Today I opted for an Arnold Palmer, they made me one with green/mint tea and lemonade. It was very refreshing. Urban Beans could become my go-to spot for a cup of java/pastry when I'm in the hood. It's dangerously close to my Mom's, and now that we have been "introduced," I have the perfect excuse to drop in, being nearby and all.

They are right around the corner from Salon Embellish, which I need to visit soon for some pampering (and get a hair cut, or two). Salon Embellish hosted our mixer tonight with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I was very impressed with their facility; they do massage, hair, aesthetics (waxing/facials) and also sell jewelry. They have Aveda products which I like very much. And... they give a generous discount to AZHCC members (become a member now, the AZHCC can help you meet your bottom line)!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

See's - the mecca for Easter goodies, and Orange Table

The remains of the day - my yogurt parfait, that is...
and a very spicy bloody mary.

Get your Easter "on" at See's!

It is easy to get distracted by all of the offerings here at See's.

See's is the place to fill your Easter basket. There are chocolate bunnies, chocolate filled eggs, jelly beans, dark chocolate California Brittle in little bags and all other kinds of yummies you didn't know you needed (but you do).

I was in Tempe this morning to have my car looked at. Jack determined my compressor has seen better days (RIP) so we are looking for a solution to replace it so my little beetle will have cold air this summer. He understands the solution we want is a "mexicanada" - or a Mexican way of saying, we're going to fix this thing with bailing wire for cheap but it's going to be a good fix so what we do will hopefully last a long time.

Anyways, his shop is just down the way from See's in downtown Scottsdale, so I was able to do some Easter shopping. Got a Mayfair egg for my Mum, bro and not to forget my auntie (she's having us for dinner tomorrow so I needed a hostess gift). The Mayfair eggs have a cherry and pecan filling covered in dark chocolate - not a bad thing!

Afterwards I met my little sis and her bf Dominic for a light breakfast at Orange Table, also in Scottsdale. Great food here, I can't wait to try their hummus. Dominic enjoyed a grilled cheese sammy on olive bread. (I know!) I'm not a fan of cheese but on this bread I have to tell you it looked so good. And there were tomatoes on it, which looked very pretty peeking out. We all had iced tea which tasted like apricots and I dined on a yogurt parfait with bananas and granola with the best darn bloody mary I have ever tried. You have got to get one of their bloody marys at Orange Table. They make their own bloody mary mix. Yes! That means lots (Lots) of horseradish. I like! Fran munched on a very yummy looking sammie on toasted whole wheat that had all kinds of veggies poking out. The bread slices are very thick and I am wondering where they get their bread. Do they make it? Or, where does it come from - I must find out.

Happy Easter!

The Cider Mill Root Beer, Dark 'n' Spicy and Emergen-C

The Cider Mill root beer and Emergen-C (the pink stuff).

I was inspired to write today's post after reading another blog, The Bitten Word, which I have been following for about a year and a half now. They have some great recipes, among which recently include ideas for making a yummy brunch. But, the inspiring post was not mimosas or blueberry muffins, but rather a drink called Dark 'n' Spicy which you can find here
The drink includes black rum and ginger beer. And ice. How good does that sound?

Speaking of drinks, yesterday I was at AJ's Fine Foods and a nice man from The Cider Mill was there giving samples of their artisan root beer and cream soda. Both are great! I brought home a large bottle of root beer and I plan to serve it to my little brother next week on top of vanilla ice cream a la root beer float. I'm still working on the entree. Or, maybe we will make extra large ones and that will be the entree.

The Cider Mill also makes sandwiches and isn't far from one of my favorite places, Iruña. So, I'll need to go check it out, soon!

Recently my Dad was visiting and gifted me a box of Emergen-C, it's a powder (supplement) that you put in a glass of water. I'm not sure it's giving me more energy (yet) but it is helping me stay hydrated, I can tell you that. And it doesn't taste too bad :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cookies in Bloom has caramel apples

I was at Cookies in Bloom today quite unexpectedly. With the best of intentions, I went to Fresh & Easy to take advantage of their sale on canned veg and I also needed some earl grey tea. Well, Cookies and Bloom enticed me with a sign that said they had freshly made caramel apples. That was all I needed to know!

I picked up a "double chocolate" caramel apple for $7.50. It was among the many varieties they have right now including some apples with chocolate/nuts, with butterfinger/chocolate and just plain caramel. They are all wrapped pretty with a bow and would make a nice Easter basket stuffer.

Word has it that the Cookies in Bloom folks are moving closer to the kitchen wench. The new location is 3931 E. Indian School Road, but until then you can find them at 40th St./Camelback.

Between these guys and the new location of Bosa Donuts, I'm going to need to spend more time on the treadmill.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Italian butterhorns, plantain chips, cinnamon almond granola and ginger snapdragons

The great bounty from this month's Foodzie tasting box.

Italian butterhorns! I've got to make these.

My Foodzie tasting box arrived a few days ago and I haven't really given it proper attention.

Today I dove into the Italian butterhorns, these are a very light rolled cookie with cinnamon. It's one of the best cookies I have ever tasted, so I'm determined to make them one of these days. Here's a recipe I just found on the internet

Or, you might just want to order them from the Foodzie folks at, I'm thinking this would be convenient for gift giving, especially to my bro and sis-in-law who live in California.

Other items in my Foodzie box this month are ginger snapdragons - get them here, cinnamon almond granola from and finally plantain chips from these guys I haven't tried the snapdragons or the granola yet but if appearances mean anything, they will be delicious. I have munched a bit on the plantain chips (with a nut brown ale) and they are not too sweet, crispy and lightly salted. I would buy them or give them as a gift.

Foodzie is cool. You can look on their website and see where stuff is made near you so you don't have to order too far from home (if you don't want to). The tasting box is $19.99 each month and includes postage. It is a fun way to try stuff you might not buy for yourself, but you might start buying it after trying it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oakville Grocery - downtown Phx!

Photo borrowed from Phoenix Business Journal.

It is very very very exciting that Oakvile Grocery is opening in downtown Phoenix. Especially for me, because I'm a foodie. They will carry yummy cheeses and charcuterie (I hope I'm spelling that right), fine wines, made to order sandwiches, olives, cookies, crackers and just about anything else gourmet "ish" you can think of. I'm thinking fancy mustards too, which the kitchen wench appreciates.

Oakville Grocery is also cool because they are looking for local purveyors of food to fill their shelves. How neat is that. According to their website, info needs to be submitted to them by April 30. Here's the link if you have are talented foodie-wise and want to sell your wares there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Celebration time...come on!

The kitchen wench is celebrating a clean bill of health today (for her business that is). The State of AZ audits financial type businesses every so many years and this usually causes hyperventilation on behalf of management (me). Well I came through with flying colors. Phew!

So I'm celebrating today with a chamoyada with mango (what else would you expect?) from Oasis Raspados on 32nd St./McDowell. Also I was telling Jason about the successful audit and he said to celebrate we're going to Iruña (on his dime - or should that be...euro) next week. Patatas bravas, here we come.


I have a free dessert coming from Iruña too. Just join their e-club and you will start off with a free pitcher of Sangria.

Nothing wrong with that...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oatmeal cookies with cranberries

Make these and your kitchen will smell amazing.
Cranberries, oatmeal and brown sugar isn't a bad combination!

The dough comes together nicely in this recipe.

The kitchen wench is cooking with cranberries today. I needed something sweet to serve a visitor tomorrow. This recipe comes from the Ocean Spray cranberry bag, modified today slightly since Walgreens didn't have any chocolate chips. Apparently they are a seasonal item. (Whaa?)

Oatmeal cookies with cranberries

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups craisins
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Beat butter and brown sugar, add eggs and combine. Add dry ingredients (minus craisins and chocolate chips and combine). Once it all comes together you fold in your craisins and chocolate chips.

These bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. You will get about 3 dozen cookies.

After trying these I can tell you they are highly addictive, but not overly sweet...with a nice crumble. Make a batch today.

I plan to do a variation using walnuts. Will let you know how they turn out.

Happy baking!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken cacciatore with perciatelli a la Aunt Char

Tomorrow's lunch. Thank you Aunt Char!

My aunt called around 10:00 this morning and asked if I'd like to join her for lunch. She said she would be making chicken cacciatore with perciatelli. Would I? That is a totally loaded question.

Char makes the most delicious spaghetti sauce of anyone I've ever known. Her secret is salt pork, which some people do not like the idea of. For me, it makes total sense. Buy a small piece of it at the market and freeze it, then put it in your food processor until it resembles the size of peas. Put a couple of teaspoons of it in your red sauce the next time you make it, and you will understand.

It's an out of body experience.

We had some chicken drumettes from Sprouts, and she also served a romaine lettuce salad with a balsamic vinaigrette from Paul Newman. I like that he donates all of the proceeds from his salad dressings to charity. That is a cool thing.

Usually I eschew bottled dressings, but his balsamic vinaigrette is quite tasty. It sticks to the salad, which is not always the case with a standard vinaigrette.

I digress. The kitchen wench is sentimental when it comes to salad dressings, since I used to be a salad chef. In the spirit of full disclosure, this was a paid position...but, it was when I was around 10 years old. My Mom wanted me to feel empancipated in terms of receiving an allowance, so she gave me a job and "paid me for it." I was my family's salad chef.

My aunt and I also shared a bottle of Australian Syrah, but I can't tell you the name of it right now. It's one that you can find at most supermarkets and isn't over $7.00 a bottle.

We agreed that we need to eat in more often to save money. And that will allow us to have more wine with our meals. The kitchen wench is down with that!

French toast with apples and cranberries

What's for breakfast.

This is just a slight variation from a former post of french toast with apples. I cut up two apples (any kind will work), threw in a handful of dried cranberries and nuked it covered for 2 1/2 minutes. This is a great topper for french toast or pancakes. Or...waffles.

I might have to get a waffle iron soon. Rachael Ray has been making waffles lately in all forms. Sweet, savory (with bacon inside) and focaccia-style. OMG. Or, I could just take the lazy way out and go to Lolo's chicken & waffles or Overeasy. Ha.

I digress...On the cranberry bag there are many recipes - one I spotted is for white chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal and cranberries. A visitor is coming next week that I want to impress, and I've been told that serving something sweet and savory can soften a person. Anyways, I'm going to make these soon and post the picture/recipe so you can make them for yourself. Also I was just viewing Ocean Spray's website and they have recipes that use might want to check out, just click here.

This french toast recipe is the simplest (and perhaps laziest) one I know. I just cracked an egg in a bowl and sliced off 4 pieces from the demi baguette I was eating last night. Then I put two pinches of sugar in with the egg and dipped the bread in, without mixing it. Cook this in a medium high pan with butter - none of the fake stuff - and it will get nice and brown on both sides.

Lately I've been thinking about certain things in life - stresses and whatnot. I was talking to my Mom last night and she said, "You know Gwynne, in life we zig and zag, that's what we have to do to survive." I guess she's true. Moms always know stuff like this.

Happy breakfasting.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Candy Addict and Atlas Shrugged

The Candy Addict has these cool artisan truffles.
The kitchen wench couldn't resist taking home just a few.

They also have local products like Cerreta's candy,
specifically fudge. Yummy.

And, they have a big selection of foreign candies
like Curly Wurly, Malteasers and Crunchie. I'm in love.

Harkins Theatres gets the blame for my
hookey playing today. Valley Art is
the only Harkins location showing Atlas Shrugged.

A couple of months ago I emailed my Dad when I heard Atlas Shrugged had been turned into a movie. He has been reading Ayn Rand's work since he was a young man and admired her philosophy in life (objectivism=pursuit of one's happiness, respect for individual rights & capitalism). She led a pretty interesting life, apparently. She authored We The Living, which is her book that most resembles an autobiography. It's on my summer reading list. That means I'm going to be reading it soon, since it's going to be summer lickety split here in Phoenix (at least that is what the thermometer says).

Anyways, I was checking the Harkins website today (I do this once a week or so to see what's coming out, especially for foreign films) and lo and behold Atlas Shrugged was opening today. Whoohoo! I was able to make it to the first show and it was packed. By the time I got there it was almost 11:15 and just about every seat was full.

What recession?

It was a great flick, I highly recommend you go and see it. You can get details on the cast and story here:

Afterwards I spent some time on Mill Avenue (doing a bit of marketing for my day job). I stumbled on Candy Addict, which has the most amazing selection of commercial candy we all know and like (M&M's, Snickers, Kit Kat), and then they have a big section of foreign candies that you don't see unless you're abroad, which I think is kind of neat. Then they also carry fudge from Cerreta's (local stuff!) and some delicious looking artisan truffles.

If you have a sweet tooth, Candy Addict is the place for you. They also have a "cavity club" card that you get with your purchase. After 4 stamps ($5 purchase) you get 1/4 pound of candy free.
Danger! I fully understand why they call it Candy Addict.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Women's Financial Group - Wine Women & Worth

Annie Groth, author and motivational speaker shared
motivational tips to WFG last night. She has participated
in triathalons and is getting ready to bicycle from San Fran
to Los Angeles. Really!

If you look closely you will see the flower arrangements
on the tables included peeps. How cute is that?

The kitchen wench has been attending WFG meetings for the past year or so. I really like the format. Typically there is networking for the first half hour, then a motivational speaker comes on (and sometimes has a book for sale) and finally there is more time for networking (and eating).

One of my clients usually attends and introduces me around. Lately I have been inviting new people to the group and introducing them around as well. I figure, we all need to help each other out these days. Last night I was speaking to Stella from Uruguay and another nice realtor (who works for the competition) and they were talking about fees and how much it can cost to hang your 'shingle' at an office in that line of work. I had no idea. The kitchen wench likes to learn, and is humbled by this new information.

National Bank of AZ sponsors this group. They don't self-promote too much, so you don't feel like you have to be a customer at the bank to attend the meetings. I like that. They also really create a forum that is conducive to networking, there are lots of tables where you stand and munch on yummy eats (courtesy of WFG) like cut veggies, chocolate almonds, chicken salad croissant sandwiches and mini cupcakes. I know! And you get to choose from a selection of wines with your meal. The kitchen wench appreciates that. I mean, specifically for the medicinal qualities. Anti-oxidants and all (riiiiight!).

Our speaker last night was Annie Groth, she wrote "A Call to Action, What's Yours" and I took copious notes. Now I just need to parlay them into my actual life.

The decorations last night were so cute, they were done in an Easter theme, so there were peeps, jelly beans and blue M&M's. We were also given a small bag at meetings end to "fill up" and take home. I brought my sweet booty to my brother last night, whose eyes lit up and was pleased to get some Easter treats. Since WFG always gives a gift bag at the end of the meeting, I was able to give my Mom a pretty "see through" pink jewelery bag that was filled with gum (she's an ex smoker so she chews a lot), chapstick and a dark chocolate.

I'm keeping the card holder they gave away last night. Needed one. Thanks, WFG!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chicken fried steak @ Hazelwood's bar

The special at Hazelwood's today was
chicken fried steak. Yummy!

My friend Lizzy who also volunteered recently at the Black & White Ball (AZ Hispanic Chamber) invited me to lunch today.

For joy!

In the spirit of not driving all over creation to find somewhere to eat, we chose to eat at Hazelwood's. It was smart, since it's right in front of where I live. About 500 feet. Very practical.

Especially practical if you enjoy trivia night and don't want to drive home after a few black and tans!

We both had the chicken fried steak (cube steak) with mashed potatoes. The whole mess was smothered in a cream gravy with buttered green beans on the side. All for $6.99. I think that's a steal. And I have half leftover for lunch tomorrow, which the frugal kitchen wench appreciates.

Hazelwoods also has pizza, amazing hot wings and tasty/crispy fried zucchini & mushrooms. It's a great spot to grab a bite and have a beer if you want to watch the game - they have lots of TVs inside and outside where there is an enclosed patio. Sometimes there is also live music!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bun Cumpleani Postino! (happy birthday, Postino!)

My Dad is a fan of Postino, so we try
to visit when he is in town.

Postino Celebrates it's 10 year anniversary this month. Happy Birthday, Postino!

They sent me a coupon for a free board of bruschetta (join their e-club to get one) and last night I was there with my Dad and my little sister. We had a combination of salami/pesto, fig/prosciutto and mozzarella/tomato. Then we dove into salads (a Barbara salad for me and I'm not sure what my little sister had but it looked yummy, with arugula I think) and my Dad had a glass of port and him and my sis had creme brulee. And I had an espresso.


The best way to celebrate a Postino!