Blog Category Archives

Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge

It’s my favorite time of the year in Arizona, when cool temperatures reign and everyone is outdoors enjoying the sunshine while the rest of the country freezes.  It’s also that time of the year for the Girl Scout Cookie Dessert Challenge, now in its fifth year.  From Feb. 1 – 28, pastry chefs across the Valley and Flagstaff compete to create a winning dessert using …

Get Ready for Crêpe Day at The Crêpe Club

La Chandeleur (also known as Candlemas or Crêpe Day) is celebrated in France on February 2, forty days after Christmas Day.  The origins of the celebration date to ancient Rome, when it was a celebration to honor Pan, the god of shepherds and flocks.  In AD 494, the pagan tradition was adapted by the Catholic Church to celebrate the presentation of Jesus to the temple …

Crowded House and Catalina Sounds Winery

The earliest record of grape domestication dates back to approximately 6000 B.C. in what is the present-day Republic of Georgia. A couple thousand years later, wine is cultivated in over 70 countries across the globe and is the 6th most consumed beverage after tea, coffee, beer, soft drinks and vodka. At the furthest point from the origin of the common grape vine known as Vitis …

Six Reasons to Add Truffle Hunting to Your Bucket List

“It is true that all men are pigs. The trick is to tame one who knows how to find truffles.”    – Lev L. Spiro “The truffle is the very diamond of gastronomy”    – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin   Following on the heels of my “My Favorite Dishes of 2017”, I thought I would spend some time on our white truffle hunt in Tuscany, after …

My Favorite Dishes of 2017

I know I’m supposed to do these “best of the year” wrap-ups before the year actually ends.  With the craziness of the holiday season, I’m just glad I made it through to 2018 in one piece, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself.  Looking back, we traveled quite a bit – Savoie (France), Alaska, New York, Santa Barbara, Dallas, San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, …

The Sicilian Butcher

Are you craving Italian food but in the mood for something innovative? Time to check out The Sicilian Butcher Craft Meatballs and Charcuterie Bar at 15530 N. Tatum which opened early December. The Sicilian Butcher is a meatball and charcuterie inspired concept that has a build-your-own-meal experience. What does that mean? You can design your meal essentially. From the menu, you can build your own …

J’s Kaiyo Sushi + Bar

NOTE: J’s Kaiyo was sold in 2018 and rebranded as Wok ‘N Roll Chinese-Sushi-SW Asian. The menu has expanded to include Chinese inspired dishes, but you will still find a few of the same sushi items such as Colleen’s Roll. You will not find Echigo beer, sadly. I may strike you as a meat and potatoes girl, and you would be right.  However, I do …

Where to Drink, Eat and Sleep in the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California North, Mexico

Less than a two-hour drive south of San Diego, down the scenic coastal Mexican Federal Highway No. 1, lies the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s burgeoning wine region. While you may associate beer and tequila as the quintessential beverages of Mexico, the popularity of wine is growing at a tremendous rate, close to 15% last year.  We don’t see Mexican wines in the States because Mexican …

Get Tiki With Me at UnderTow

My middle name should have been Fog Cutter. That’s what my father used to say. Jim Billups, or simply “The General” was a commanding figure to be sure. Everything about him was larger than life, including his stories. One of his favorites had to do with my mother’s pregnancy with yours truly. They were living in Colorado Springs and my father had just retired from …

Bloodies, Bubbles and Brunch at Hash Kitchen

“I looked at it (vodka), sniffed it. It was pretty pungent and smelled like rotten potatoes. ‘Hell, what have we got to lose? Get me some Worcestershire sauce, some tomato juice, and lemon; That ought to kill the smell.’ “ George Jessel, “The World I Lived In” Whether you believe the Bloody Mary cocktail was named for Mary Tudor who burned hundreds of religious dissenters …