Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just a walk away

As I sit here today getting ready to take my daughter for a walk I started thinking of the places I wish were just a "walk away". A little less than a mile away is our "major" intersection leading to our residential area that consists of a Barro's Pizza, Good Will, Shell Gas Station, Day Care and a car wash on one corner and a Wing Stop, Dry Cleaners, UPS store and a few other office buildings along with several other empty commercial spaces. Often times I wish that I had a coffee shop that I could walk to in the morning and sip my favorite beverage while my daughter takes her morning nap. If I could choose my perfect corner that was Just A Walk Away it would include:

A Coffee Shop: Not really a chain like Starbucks or Tully's Coffee....but those would work. I'm thinking more of that mom and pop spot, where you can go get comfy on one of their couches or patio sets and catch up on the local gossip. Maybe even a morning acoustic guitarist or artist would be fun! Yes I would enjoy that.

A Bakery: Yes, a bakery is a must. Somewhere that I can stop in and get a specialty cupcake like at Cupcakes in Scottsdale  or Let Them Eat Cake in Phoenix. Or you know what would be wonderful is a full on bakery like at AJ's Fine Foods...I just love getting a freshly made Kuchen or Muffin. Like the coffee shop I'd be thrilled if it were mom and pop style but I'm good with pretty much any long as their products are made from scratch, with none of the yucky preservatives. Ugh.

Pita Jungle: Yum. If you haven't seen my post about Pita Jungle please read it. I love this place. Its perfect for when you are burnt out on all the fatty other "out to eat" joints.

Zoyo Yogurt: I will HOPEFULLY be posting about Zoyo Yogurt soon, but we haven't gotten over there for our weekly fix yet. I am so happy this frozen yogurt shop opened up down the road. (not a walk away unfortunately). We are definitely on a yogurt obsession right now...which is fine in my book!

And I think I'd be content with those 4 shops. A nice pond nearby would be nice too....but I have one of those already. See I'm not to picky. A girl can dream right?!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sweet Cakes

 Are you drooling yet??  ..... seriously....don't lick your screen.

These melt in your mouth, make you think of mom's cooking cinnamon rolls come from Sweet Cakes in downtown Mesa. Sweet Cakes was recently featured in TLC's "Best Food Ever" episode and their cinnamon rolls were definitely the best I've had from a bakery.

This past weekend I made the mistake of assuming that they opened early to serve up their cinnamon rolls, but we soon found out that they didn't open until 11:00 am on Saturday (not 9 when we arrived). But we hung out on their patio, walked the shops and waited for them to open --- THAT'S HOW GOOD IT IS!  My aunt from California had seen the episode that featured Sweet Cakes and asked me to stop by a few months ago while she was in town. I've been craving it ever since, so with Father's Day being last weekend I treated my hubby to one of these yummy goodnesses. (yep..just made that word up). They also serve up other baked goodies like Lemon Bars, Black & Whites, and several large cookies including: chocolate chip, gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin and other made from scratch goodies. While we were there on Saturday a few customers were ordering lunch and the bread for their sandwiches looked absolutely delish...I wonder if they make their own bread too?? They have a large dining area perfect for luncheons for bridal and baby showers. Oh and another addition that recently opened is that they serve Frozen Yogurt in one portion of their restaurant. I can't wait to go back. I'm craving some cinnamon rolls already!! And I just had them....MMMmmmmmm...I'm a sucker for cinnamon.

In - N - Out

Anyone who's anyone knows that In-N-Out has been dishing up the best burgers for years. Their simple menu keeps cars lined up from open to close. For years we would sink our teeth into their fresh burgers before we even knew about their "hidden menu". Grilled Cheese, Animal Style Fries and Burgers, Protein burger, lettuce wrap and I'm sure many more that I don't even know about. Many have said that the In-n-out lovers are some-what of a cult, craving and following this family tradition. I'm pretty sure our best high school homecoming dinners were spent in the white and red decorated dining room of In-N-Out on Mountain and the 60 in California. My fav from In-N-Out is a grilled cheese spread only, animal fries and a chocolate shake.....when I'm feeling "healthy" haha...I get the grilled cheese with grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, ketchup instead of spread and add pickles.....YUUUUMEEEEE. Oh and just regular fries and a pink lemonade or water.
Not only does In-N-Out have the food concept down but their customer service is phenomenal. And last I heard their managers make over 100 grand! Hello--major career. I would love to go through their training program just once to see what they teach their employees.

Ok seriously, do you see this picture over here....I'm salivating as we speak (or type rather). My brother in law pretty much plans all his trips around stopping at In-N-Out when they come into town. And how can you blame him? My husband will even text/call him whenever we're there just to rub it in his face that we have them in our state....oh the love between brothers!

Pita Jungle

Remember my post about Juanita's? And how I had said that when we moved from California to Arizona I was truly bummed that I could not longer eat at Juanita's whenever I pleased? Well that is exactly the way I feel about Pita Jungle. If we were to move away from Arizona I would crave their jalapeno hummus, 5 cheese quesadilla's, spinach pasta salad and yummy pita pizzas. This restaurant has seriously been one the BEST finds yet here in the Valley. I love how fresh their food is and how each location has its own vibe. Their staff walks around in their dreds, sporting their tattoo's and all have such a laid back, relaxed attitude. I love it! This place is always busy filled with everyone from college-aged, yoga moms, business men and women, senior citizens, and those like me who just found this wonderful spot and fell in love. As many of you know my parents own Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream in Wickenburg so when my mom meets me half way to catch up and for her to see her beautiful grand-daughter this is where you'll find us. Relaxing and gabbing at our fav spot Pita Jungle at the Arrowhead Town Center. This past trip we actually ate at the location in Mesa because my poor hubby had to be in the hospital over the weekend.

The two of us enjoyed their Spinach Pasta Salad which consists of fresh spinach, rotini pasta, tomatoes, mushrooms, pesto, and bell peppers, tossed in a lemon vinaigrette....can you say yum? We also split their specialty pizza which really I can't remember all of the ingredients but it was a Chipotle Chicken Pita Pizza with fresh mozzarella and green onions....and hmmm...I don't remember.....all I remember was my tongue sizzling and my belly jumping with sweet delight!


Chick-fil-A ... what can ya say? As many of you know I have been a vegetarian for going on 6 years now. Prior to that I loved meat: homemade meat balls from dad, pastrami sandwiches from The Hat, Pepperoni pizza from any pizza joint, you name it...everything but a hot dog. (ugh). Then one November all of a sudden I became grossed out by it. Really weird...I just didn't want it in my mouth, but I'd be more than happy to prepare it for anyone. So on it went --- adventure into become a vegetarian. Well, I was a pretty lazy vegetarian...not focusing on the amount of proteins I really was more of a cheese and bread diet. My mom calls me the "carbatarian". When I became pregnant with my daughter this past year the doctor was concerned with the amount of Protein I was consuming and went over a whole dietary list of what I should include if I was going to continue my vegetarian diet. Black beans, nuts, tofu (ugh) etc......I figured, since I wasn't going to really focus on that, the easy fix would be to include Chicken back into my diet. I ate Chicken and continue to eat it while nursing my daughter. I am still picky about it.....which brings me to my next restaurant.....CHICK-FIL-A ... delish!!!

They are by far the ONLY fast food joint that I will order a chicken sandwich from. Its perfect....the flavor, the texture....all the way down to the buttered bun they serve it on. I've even perfered a Chick-fil-a sandwich over some of the chicken I've ordered in restaurants. (Some are rubbery---yuck). I love that I can also enjoy their mouth quenching lemonade and that they throw in a perfect buttermint for dessert. I have to say though...I'm always so overwhelmed with my meal because I never know which taste I want to end on.

Friday, June 18, 2010



Panchero's is definitely the next HOT SPOT for all the valley lunch go'er's. There is only one so far in Arizona located off the 202 and Scottsdale/Rural right next to the In-N-Out and I must say....I fell in love at first bite!! Panchero's is a similar concept to Chipotle and other "make in front of you" mexican bars, but the unique part to Panchero's is that they make the tortilla right in front of you! Oh and the best part is that they mix up your burrito ingredients before rolling it. PERFECT! (My husband and I always talk how we don't like biting into a burrito and only getting rice or only getting cheese in a bite).

They also have a delicious queso dip, perfect addition to their blue corn tortilla chips. My camera phone seriously does not do these yummy's justice.

Panchero's also serves up quesadillas, taco's, salads, burrito bowls and many sides and additions to add to any of your meals. I've been.....I think about 4 times so far (in the past 3 weeks) and continue to get the's just so dang good. Maybe someday I'll venture out and get say a quesadilla or something.

So Delish!

Thursday, June 17, 2010




Need I say more???

I seriously don't think so......

If you've eaten there you know EXACTLY what I mean....

.....ok...if you insist! My mom is the one that opened my eyes to the this wonderful little hole-in-the-wall. In fact, her and her highschool girlfriends use to go eat here. Now, as her parents, I'm surprised that all these girls weren't forbidden to wait in the lines at both Juanita's locations due to the .... well lets just say...not so pleasant neighborhoods----but they still went and continue to go. Before becoming a vegetarian I use to LOVE their pork, rice and cheese burritos -- seriously what do you marinate the meat in??? Now I crave just a rice and cheese burrito with their homemade salsa. Ok -- call me crazy -- but my mom even flew a burrito out just for me!!! Moving away from Juanita's was truly disappointing -- Granted I love our home in Arizona, but I still get bummed when thinking of the places we once ate and enjoyed in our hometown of So. Cal. Our fav location is : 1209 East 4th Street, Ontario, CA 91764 -- There is also another off of Indian Hill (as shown in my pic).

Barro's Pizza

Can you see that cheese....baked to perfection? Ya...that's hard to come by. When my husband and I first moved to Arizona we were seeking out a Pizza and Beer joint. Now you have to realize, my husband comes from a family where every Wednesday was Pizza Night. This started when they were young and still continues to this day. In So. Cal it was real easy to find that "sports team" feel of a joint, but here we were really struggling (or looking in all the wrong places). But then.......there it was....Barro's Pizza
PIZZA AND BEER! Oh and a huge plus----TV's with the Game on. Hello?--- Cha-Ching! Money in the bank -- we found it! I have different classifications for my pizza -- and it all depends on what type of mood I'm in, but for that quick pizza fix (that is not a chain-fast food type--YUCK) Barro's is our go to place. Its like that favorite lipstick you have --- sure its not hot pink or classic red (like some other pizza bistro's that you might go to on a special night) but its your go to, looks good with everything shade of lipstick that never fails! (if you're a man reading my might not get my little analogy... but for you get it....right??!) Oh yes...and how could I forget---they have the BEST PRICES EVER!! My hubby and I can get away with a small pizza and large salad for less than $12!!! You spend more than that at fast food and feel crummy afterwards.

Barro's --- Try It --- I'm tellin go-to lipstick -- I mean Pizza you'll ever try!


Can you say YUM?? This 1/2 specialty pizza consisted of chicken, pepperoncini's, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella and green olives slathered in a tomato pesto pizza sauce accompanied by a pepperoni and Canadian bacon perfection! So gooey, so cheesy, so delicious.

This wonderful pizza came from a pizza joint that has caught my eye on a few occasions and my hubby and I finally stopped in last weekend. To say its a pizza joint is actually an understatement. Its quite cozy inside and smells delicious. Alright, alright, I'll tell you the name.....this gooey goodness came from Florencia Pizza Bistro located at: 3646 East Ray Road, Suite 20, Ahwatukee, AZ 85044. It actually took us about 15-20 minutes just to decide which pizza we wanted to sink our teeth in to because they all sounded so delicious. Florencia's also has sandwiches, salads and appetizers that were teasing our eyes as well. I highly recommend Florencia's. Even after choosing a specialty pizza and a salad our bill was only a bit over $20!! So good...I think I'm craving it again just typing about it. Yum

Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream

You'd be silly if you thought I wasn't going to start off my FOOD BLOG without posting about my parents first! My parents, Tony and Pam Rovida, purchased Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream in the summer of 2009. Chaparral has been serving up homemade ice cream for over 30 years and my parents now have the honor of continuing on the tradition. My dad enjoys being able to come up with new flavors while mom perfects her baked goodies, as well as homemade caramel, hot fudge and chocolate sauces. They also have a wonderful gift area featuring yours truly with my first cookbook, Our First Year - Cost Effective Recipes from the Home of Newlyweds. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I actually just did a cooking demo for Good Morning Arizona which can be viewed at:

Alright alright....back to Chaparral. My parents also introduced a full lunch and dinner menu featuring the Jail Tree Cheese Steak Sandwich, Brawty Sandwich with caramelized boysenberry onions, fresh salads and personal pizzas. I always create some sort of specialty that leaves my dad confused. I've included a few photo's below from treats I've had at their parlor. (One is from when I was pregnant with my daughter).







Starting of the food blog

I have officially decided to start a food blog. First and for most, I LOVE FOOD!! I mean who doesn't? We all have different likes and dislikes, but when it comes right down to it....we ALL love food. I'm planning to give a small write up of some of the places that I love and eat often and to those that I've tried for the very first time and fell in love at first bite. I am not here to bash on restaurants for their quality or customer service, so will only be posting about those that I would recommend. I watched a TV segment once about how all these chef's were mad or irritated at all these "suzy-homemakers" who gave poor reviews on their blogs about the food and posting horrible pictures after already consuming half the dish. I do feel bad for these chefs in part because there is a lot that happens from the kitchen to the table, not to mention the poor quality camera's and camera phones that these so called "reviewers" are using. So, let me just lay it out there -- I will only post postive comments about the food and I am not claiming to have great photos of the food so please don't judge the place by the picture.

So now on to the real purpose of the blog: Sure, I'd like to believe that I have millions of followers who read my blog and try out restaurants based on my opinion, but when you get right down to it, I'm just a mom with a beautiful daughter who spends her baby's nap-times blogging about what she loves.

Hope you enjoy what I have to say. (If anyone is reading...hah)