Friday, November 9, 2012

An Anniversary Finale


After a wonderful two days spent on our Anniversary Stay-cation, it was time to head home to reality. But first, we got to eat out for my favorite meal in a restaurant…breakfast.


Over Easy had been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, so we had a feeling that this place was going to be good. Though neither of us has seen the episode, we knew that Guy don’t lie.

Isn’t their menu adorable?! I love this look!


And there was a big selection, too. It was hard to choose, especially since I had heard so many wonderful things about the tater tots and sweet tater tots from all of the reviews. How is a girl to choose?

Over Easy to the rescue…they let me do half of each for my order. Thank goodness!


The café itself was cheerful and cute and casual. We sat ourselves at one of the few tables left. This place was busy, and that makes me happy. Good businesses deserve to do well.

This was probably the first time that I’ve eaten with cows hanging over me. What a thrill!


They had a cute little dining counter, too. If I was a local, I would probably sit here and enjoy breakfast as often as my little heart could handle.

IMG_5326The owner even came around talking to people, and we got a feel for how she started the place. She was a real sweetheart, and her mom also visited with all the guests like they were family. There were obviously lots of repeat customers. After we left here, we felt like family!

Hubby’s “Wolfpack” arrived…eggs and hash browns and bacon, oh my!


Needless to say, he was pretty excited.


We also shared a half-order of their seasonal Pumpkin Bread Cinnamon Toast. It brought a tear to my eye and was made even better with the butter caramel sauce on top.


I decided to get the highly-reviewed Crying Pig Omelet. And it made me oh-so happy. I didn’t cry once! It had bacon, sausage, onion, and Swiss cheese all folded into perfectly-cooked eggs. I have never had Swiss cheese in an omelet before, but it was really nice. An extra little tang that made my heart sing.

And the tots certainly didn’t disappoint, either. I got both types, of course, because I become incredibly indecisive during breakfast in a restaurant!


Breakfast really is the best way to start your day. Can we all agree on that?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eating…An Anniversary Done Right


After a wonderful afternoon spent at the Arizona State Fair, we headed to the hotel to check in. I had gotten us two nights with my hotel points at Hotel Indigo in Scottsdale.

The best part? Sprinkles Cupcakes was within walking distance. Ironically, this was also the worst part.


The hotel was really neat. It’s owned by the Holiday Inn family of hotel chains, and I just so happened to have enough points to score us two free nights.

Honestly, I don’t know what I will do someday when I have to pay for a hotel room!


You know that I love things with a modern twist, and this new hotel certainly didn’t disappoint. Especially when the front desk gal told me that we had been upgraded to the Executive Suite! Being a Gold Member in their points scale has lots of good things about it.

I guess it helps that I travel for a living, huh?


I loved this chandelier, which passed through three stories of the hotel lobby.

They look like little UFOs, huh?!


The room was beautiful…and had an entire living room inside as well. Bummer alert: we were right next to the elevator and got to enjoy lots of noise from returning drunkards around 2:30 AM each morning.


Maybe that’s our own stinkin’ fault for staying there so close to the weekend?


I loved how the suite had a giant living room next to the sleeping area. The bed wasn’t all that great, but we are spoiled at home with perfect support from our Sleep Number Bed, which we both love.


The bathroom was also spacious and simply beautiful. I loved the double vanity, though I don’t think that I would ever go with giant glass bowls for the sink vessels in my own home.

It worked very well in this setting, however!


And I love giant showers! Mine is microscopic at home (that might be a slight exaggeration, but it sure feels tiny), so this was a nice change.


The view from the hotel faced west, which meant that we had a gorgeous sunset two nights in a row. It was very pretty to have this open from a comfy chair in the “living room.”


And the pool was beautiful, just below our room. We both brought our swimming suits in case there was time to lounge around the pool. There wasn’t, but I enjoyed seeing it from above.


But, enough about a boring old room. Let’s go eat some dinner!

We tend to eat at the same type of places quite often. Because he is awesome at work, Hubby gets gift cards to several local restaurant chains (three in the last month alone!). It makes eating out nice and affordable, but we don’t often get to break out and eat somewhere different.


Since our anniversary was a special occasion, we broke out of the mold and got to try a new place! This restaurant has been on my radar ever since I ate at its sister company, Olive and Ivy. You need to eat there, if you have the chance. What a great place!


Copper salt and pepper shakers? Come on.


I promise that the menu wasn’t blurry in real life…I think that I was just shaky from being hungry excited to be there. And, thanks to a special occasion evening, we decided to get an appetizer. That’s breaking out of our eating mold, too!

Look how spontaneous we can be!


I have driven by I don’t know how many times and seen these gorgeous chandeliers inside.

I said to myself, “Self, that’s a place that you need to try.”


Here we are to eat our fourth anniversary dinner! Yippeeee!


Our appetizer was homemade kettle-fried potato chips with onion dip. These were really yummy, but I tried to restrain myself for the rest of dinner, too. There is nothing worse than getting full on the filler!


But, just for the record, we were really glad that we tried these. They have an awesome selection of appetizers that aren’t at the run-of-the-mill restaurants that we frequently frequent.


On to the main event! Hubby was going to try their Chicken Curry, but the server said that it was pretty hot. Because he knew that I would want to try whatever he got, he ordered the Gnocchi with Sausage instead. Isn’t that a great husband?

This stuff was absolutely delicious. The gnocchi was out-of-this-world soft. You could tell that it had just been made. My only complaint is that the sausage was pretty strong next to such a delicate pasta. I think that a lighter meat would have been better, like maybe a grilled chicken. But I would have taken an order of just the pasta, too!


This was ziggy-piggy’s my meal. the Warm Italian Grinder. I didn’t know that it was going to come grilled Panini-style, but that made it even better. One of my favorite parts of this sandwich, which was really yummy, was the pickled sweet peppers. I’m always so proud of myself for trying something unusual.

The fries were good, too. We weren’t expecting those to come with it, but we were both glad when they did. Hubby ate half of my sandwich, as we planned. He was especially glad for that after he felt that his pasta dish was tiny.

And the little skinny male waiter said that he could hardly finish the dish! I guess he doesn’t know Hubby!


My sandwich was delicious. I would get it again in a heartbeat. But I would want to try a bunch of other things from the menu first. I really love trying new places! I asked Hubby if we could start doing that once a month for our Date Night.

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We weren’t lying to our server when we told him that we were too full to admire their dessert menu…we were. But we also has special dessert plans ahead of us. Just across the street from Culinary Dropout was Sprinkles Cupcakes, one of my favorite treats in the world.

We got a few to take with us to enjoy later in the evening. I was bummed that they were out of their Cinnamon Sugar, which blew me away last time I was there. But at least I got some Red Velvet goodness tonight!


A few hours later, when we could breathe again after eating such a delicious meal, we opened up the box of goodies.


Because it was late, lots of flavors had run out already. But we tried the Black and White Cupcake and the Red Velvet Cupcake tonight. Because it was dark Belgium chocolate on the bottom, the Black and White was really rich. A little too dark for me, but it was still an incredible Sprinkles Cupcake! I heart their frosting. It’s hard to find anything there that isn’t awesome.

Like always, the Red Velvet was simply divine.

It was a pretty great day with Hubby. The food was awesome, and so was the company. Four years…can you believe it?!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair


We celebrated our fourth anniversary in style this year. We had upcoming events during the weekend, so we enjoyed a Stay-cation in town. Hubby took work off so that we could spend some time together for this monumental holiday.


A friend of his told Hubby about chocolate-covered bacon at the State Fair this year, so all of a sudden there was a great urgency to see it in person.

Ironically, we didn’t even get any chocolate-covered bacon.


We were able to make it in time for the hour of free admission from noon to one o’clock. I love free stuff.


We stopped at the rodeo arena to see what action was taking place. The rodeo was ongoing, but our timing meant that they were prepping the arena for the next events. So we decided to go wander!


The rodeo was high school-level but was still fun to watch. We came back later, with full bellies, to watch some events.


For some reason, this sign caught my eye. And then I saw all of the giant dinosaur turkey legs underneath.


Did you just hear that angelic choir, or was it just me?!

Bacon-wrapped Turkey BBQ Legs. I think bacon was a theme at the fair this year.

I’m OK with that if you are.


There were tons of food vendors, and we wandered for quite a while trying to decide where to start. It was already 1:30 PM, and we had fun dinner plans later tonight for our anniversary. So we didn’t want to get too full, if you know what I mean.


There were so many edible choices, but we opted to try an order of curly fries made-to-order. They were delicious, but most potatoes are.


We took a walk through some of the fair displays and found this incredible gingerbread house. I love little stuff like this, and every detail was covered. No wonder it won grand prize!


I also liked this cake…simple, pretty, and elegant. And I wouldn’t think that a black cake with little pumpkins all over it could fall into those descriptions, but it works!

Look at how even the inside of the flower is a little pumpkin. So cute!


My nose sniffed out a giant homemade fudge shop, so you know that I got some. I am kind of a purist when it comes to fudge. I don’t mess around with silly flavors…just give me milk chocolate fudge with walnuts, and I’m good.


With fudge in hand, we timed it perfectly to watch some pig races. These pigs were trained to run around the track, and they even jumped over some hurdles. It was really fun to watch.


As the last part of their show, the baby pigs, who are still training to enter the water, were given a chance to show their stuff. As you can see, there was some slight trepidation at first.


But then they all dove in, and it was hilarious and adorable. Pigs are the ninth-most intelligent creatures on planet earth. Did you know that? I didn’t!


Then we watched a family of Native American dancers. This reminded me of being a kid when we attended lots of pow wows in the Uintah Basin of Utah. It was fun to watch, and the kids were really good.

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Next, we had a stare-down contest. Guess who won?


I would have to say that the animal pavilions were my favorite thing about today’s visit to the fair. We even stopped to see the petting zoo, where baby miniature goats were bouncing around. It was too cute for words…and for my camera, apparently.


Somewhere in there are some eyes. I removed his straw for him, and he thanked me.


Wow, lots of sheep pictures. I loved these guy’s horns and thought that you would, too. Perhaps I should reconnect with my readers, huh, to realize that not everyone loves to admire sheep horns?

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This poor little thing needed a hair cut. Especially in the bangs area. But luckily, this owner was demonstrating the old-fashioned way of clipping away wool.

Hand clippers, everyone! I didn’t even know that these still existed!


Enough about sheep. Let’s move onto pigeons, which was a massive display for the fair. An entire room was just chock-full of pigeons. Who knew?


Have I mentioned how much I love my camera? Even if I usually lack the confidence to try manual modes in most situations?


I was told that this is how they breathe…they take in a big breath and just work on it for a while. But I personally think that he looks like Phantom of the Opera who is about to throw open his cape for all the world to see.

No? (crickets)


I was trying to get some pigeon pictures (how many times I haven’t been able to say that in my life), and this guy randomly started opening cages for me to get better shots.


Luckily, he had the authority to do it, since he was there to judge the little buggers. And I got some nice shots because of him!

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Some of these pigeons needed an attitude adjustment, though. I’m just sayin’…


Alrighty then…enough with the birds. Let’s go see some entries for flower gardens!


Even though they only got second place, I thought that these oranges were lovely. Did you know that oranges are bright green until they begin to ripen? I loved their ingenious way to support these oranges while still allowing the branch to get a drink of water.


These were my favorite flowers…and I loved the milk jar underneath!


Hey, I said that we were done with pigeons…not animals in general. These little smelly guys had been playing too hard this morning and were all tuckered out.


We had chicken for dinner just last night. Coincidence?


Next we walked back through the fair to arrive at the fairgrounds once again. This time, the exciting event of goat tying was taking place.


Girls run their giant horses at little goats (which are tied to a stake), then dismount and continue to run towards the goat at full-speed. Then, they throw the goat and tie its feet, which have to remain tied for five seconds or a disqualification happens.


You didn’t know that I knew so much about goat-tying sports, did you? I don’t know what else you would expect from a girl who grew up in small-town, Utah!


In the late 1940s, the Arizona train team was assembled. So a bunch of cute, little, old men come to play with trains every day. Of course, they had it up and running for all to enjoy during the fair.


It was actually really fascinating. Someone has spent a lot of time and money to make it look incredible!


It was a really nice day. I love fairs, if only just to watch people. And there was quite the display of fair people to watch at this event today!

Can you believe that we’ve been married for four years?!


Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.

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