Saturday, February 27, 2010

i heart ... spinato's

awhile back i was at the park.
i overheard these two women talking.
one was going on and on about this
kind of secret italian restaurant.
she was like, "it's hard to find.
it's in this dark industrial complex.
you would never know it was there
unless someone told you how to get there."

and then she said,
"i'm from new jersey and i've had amazing authentic italian food
but this is the best i've ever had!"
at that point i was sold!
but i didn't know the name of the restaurant
and the directions she gave the other woman were fuzzy -
and i didn't want her to know i was eavesdropping
so i didn't dare ask her any details.

but then last wednesday i got a lucky break.
while at joe's farm grill with my friends
one of my friends started talking about this
mysterious italian restaurant
in this obscure industrial complex
and i said "hold it right there!
i need names and directions!"
it's called spinato's!

so today i went!
my cousin jennie was in town
and asked me where i would like to go for lunch.
i knew just the place!

we started with the bruschetta
(fresh roma tomatoes, fresh basil, diced garlic, evoo, and balsamic vinegar)
super good!

jennie's baby, journie,
shared some bruschetta sans tomatoes and stuff.
she wasn't loving the balsamic vinegar!

i ordered the baked spaghetti calzone -
yes, a calzone stuffed with spaghetti!
i want to kiss who every thought of this!
jennie ordered the
fresh spinach pizza
(fresh baby spinach carefully marinated in "secret seasonings”
then baked with fresh roma tomatoes, diced garlic, and mozzarella cheese)

and finally for dessert
we had the
pumpkin gelato and peppermint gelato.

journie loved it
and i think that is a good enough recommendation!

sadly, as it turns out,
spinato's is not as mysterious as people thought it was.
it felt mysterious
because, yes, it was hard to find,
and in a totally obscure location,
and in an unfinished building...
but there are actually 3 other locations
in the phoenix area.
it was sooooooo good
and i'm just going to keep on pretending
it's a special little secret place!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

i heart ... stephen's candy cane cocoa

is my very favorite hot chocolate!
but it's hard to find in arizona.
amazingly my brother brad had a can of it
and i was like what?
how in the heck did you get your hands on that?
i still don't know exactly how he got it.
he doesn't easily reveal his secrets.
but what really matters is that today
he surprised me with
four cans of my very own!!!
he is the nicest brother ever!
(just don't tell my other brothers)


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

i heart ... these surprise visitors

today the doorbell rang
and look who it was!
my nieces, paulina & natalia

i love it when they surprise me!
paulina had ridden over on her dora bike
(which is funny 'cause she kinda looks like dora
and she's riding a dora bike!
get it?)
and natalie pushed a stroller full of, like,
a gazillion stuffed animals!

but do you think they were coming to see me?
oh no.
they don't come to see me anymore.
they come to see lucy!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

i heart ... this weather

it was rainy over the weekend.
you know how i feel about that!
look at those ginormous raindrops.
that's how the rain is in az.

and my heart melted when i got in my car
and saw this beautiful sunset
through my wet windshield.

with all this rain
the wildflowers in the desert
are going to be amazing this year!
i can't wait!!!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

i heart ... joe's farm grill

last night for visiting teaching
i met some friends at joe's farm grill.

the whole experience was fun.
it was fun being with my friends...
the atmosphere of the restaurant was fun...
even the food was fun!
i had the
grilled peanut butter & banana split sandwich
(p.b., chocolate chips, crushed pineapple,
fresh strawberries and bananas)
it was just as good as it sounds!

now here was something interesting...
my friends said,
"have you seen the bathrooms?
oh, you have to see the bathrooms!"

barbies and g.i. joes
and some weird puppet movie playing.
your guess is as good as mine.


this guy's been there too!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

i heart ... zinc bistro

in honor of president's day
my bff brook and i had lunch at zinc bistro.
okay, not really in honor of president's day
but really in honor of having the day off.
(no disrespect to washington & lincoln. love them!)

to start we shared the
onion soup gratinee loved the gruyere!

for my main course
i had the
crab and truffle omelette
with bearnaise and straw potatoesit was perfection.
nice and simple and light
after the very flavorful onion soup.

our plan for dessert was
tahitian vanilla bean creme brulee
but they were out of some of the ingredients!
oh well.
that just means we have to go back.
so instead we went to grand lux cafe
no complaints!!!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

i heart ... encanto-palmcroft & willo

saturday was vnsa.
one of the things i look forward to about vnsa
is the drive home.
i always make sure to take a drive through the
encanto-palmcroft & willo neighborhoods
in downtown phoenix.
i love these old houses!
and i love that the owners love their houses
and take such good care of them.


Friday, February 12, 2010

i heart ... my life in france

this book is just delightful,
as my aunt raylene would say.
i enjoyed it so much!
paris, marseilles, germany, norway...
i loved hearing about the places julia child and her husband lived.
and of course, the food.

she really was an amazing person.
she didn't start out an expert chef,
even though we think she was born that way.
she had to learn like the rest of us.
she even made mistakes.
lots of them!
and she wasn't afraid to make them either.

i liked reading of the painstaking way
in which she translated classic french recipes
into recipes that can be used in an american kitchen.
all of her hard work and integrity in that process
made me respect her even more!

i also loved reading about her relationship with her husband.
if there is such a thing as a perfect marriage
then theirs was it.
they more than loved each other,
they actually liked each other.

my favorite quote from my life in france is:
"remember, nothing is more important than people.
friendship is the most important thing -
not career, or housework, or one's fatigue.
(friendship) needs to be tended and nurtured."

the recipe that i have to try
after reading this book is
boy did julia love a good sole meuniere!
it was her first meal in france
and she never got over it.
she mentioned it over and over throughout the book.

so as you can see i totally loved this book.
it's one of those few books that i could read
again and again.

as julia would say,
bon appetit!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

i heart ... this pied-à-terre

image from tongue in cheek

i would kill
(seriously, i would kill
so watch out!)
to be here right now!


Saturday, February 6, 2010

i heart ... pan-fried onion dip

image from

i just made
for the super bowl tomorrow
and oh my!
i cannot wait until tomorrow to eat more of it!
i want to eat all of it right now!
but i also want everyone to try it
so i'll have to control myself.
wish me luck!


i would like to change the name of this dip.
it doesn't sound all that appetizing.
how about
caramelized onion dip?
much better, i think.

so the game is over
(and my team won! yay!)
and guess what?
so sad,
but the dip is not as good the second day.
but it was amazing right when i made it.
so do you know what that means?
eat this dip immediately!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

i heart ... my picture book of songs

when i was a child my mom would sing to me
and my brothers and sisters
from my picture book of songs.
and now my nieces and nephews are enjoying the same songs.
thomas especially loves these songs!
i can't tell you how often he grabs my hand
and pulls me to the piano.

this is his favorite page:

i think the above is his favorite page
because he loves the picture,
not just the songs.

i love the pictures in this book too!

(look at his cute little hand turning the page!)