The Oink Cafe – Breakfast. Lunch. Bacon.

Hey friends,

I haven’t done a restaurant review in a while and I’m hesitant to do this one because The Oink Cafe is close to where we live and a review will just mean that more people will go there.  I’m kinda liking the place and not sure I want to share it with everyone in Phoenix.  But…I think you’ll like it and my mom taught me not to be selfish, so…here we go.

The Oink Cafe in PV

When driving down Cactus Road a few months ago, I noticed that one of the retail spaces near Paradise Valley Mall had a new sign outside.  This spot seems like a wonderful location, but has been somewhat of a revolving door in the past years, not retaining businesses for any length of time.  Hopefully, this will be the exception to that rule.

Anyway, you may remember that a few months ago I won a year’s supply of bacon so that treat has been forefront in my mind lately.  While driving by this new restaurant, the tag line made me do a double take. It reads “Breakfast. Lunch. Bacon.”   What!  A restaurant that features BACON!!! Wow! I’ve got to take my husband there!

This weekend we had the perfect opportunity to try it out.  We had family visiting from out-of-town and when we described it to them they were excited about the adventure.  So, our party of 5 headed there around 9:30 on a Saturday morning.  Phoenix restaurants can get pretty busy on weekends for breakfast, so we weren’t sure what we’d find.  We checked in at the hostess station, then moments later 2 more family members arrived, which increased our request to a party of 7.

Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Maple Bacon Donuts

While we were waiting we noticed all these amazing looking baked goods.  We didn’t get a chance to try any, but will definitely need to do that next time.  Take a look at all the bacon options.

The staff handled our larger party graciously.  And fortunately while it was already pretty busy, there were a few tables that cleared just minutes after we arrived and we were seated promptly.

We perused the menu and ordered a nice variety from our friendly food server.  Here are a few photos to enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One item of note:  At the time of this writing, they have 5 different flavors of bacon (applewood smoked, honey cured, sugar cured, peppered, &  jalapeno).  I enjoyed the applewood smoked bacon with breakfast and someone else at the table got an order of the jalepeno and gave me a taste.  It was delicious, especially for those who like that extra little kick of heat in their meal.

We mentioned to the server that they should have a flight of bacon that people could order to try a piece of each different kind.  She said that they have it, but upon checking the menu we couldn’t find it.  Hopefully they’ll add it to the menu or maybe to the list of “specials” so folks can check out all the different flavors.  Plus even though their logo is a pig, maybe they should consider adding turkey bacon for those who want to try to be a tad bit healthier.

Overall, everything was very tasty!  From the time we ordered till the time we got our food was a bit long, but since we were busy visiting it wasn’t too bad.  We’ll chalk that up to being relatively new to the breakfast scene and hope the timing improves.  It’s definitely a place that we’ll visit again…maybe for lunch next time.

Hey maybe they should offer an ultimate BLT with all the flavors of bacon!  I’d order it.  How about you?

What do you think ?  Does it sound promising?  Do you think you’ll try “The Oink Cafe” if you have the chance?

Advertisements

4th of July Ideas – Part 1 – Beverages

In looking for some refreshing summer beverages for the 4th of July, I was reminded of a delicious pitcher of Sangria that we had recently with some friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Tucson.  If you haven’t visited El Charro Cafe in Old Town Tucson, it’s a place that’s well worth your time.  This is a view of the welcoming courtyard. When the weather’s nice (as it is for over half the year in this part of Arizona) it’s the most relaxing place to enjoy dinner or even just a drink with friends.

El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ
El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ

Ryans and Hanns

We happened to be in Tucson for Terry and Bob (aka The Catfish Hunters) to play at the Tucson Folk Festival and we had a chance to enjoy a wonderful dinner here with Bob & Helen.

But I digress.  This post is supposed to be about beverages and one of the sweet parts of the evening was our Summertime Blackberry Sangria. Doesn’t it look delicious!  I can taste it now.  Imagine washing down your chips and salsa with that colorful concoction.

So to bring this full circle.  I’ve been enjoying Sangria at a variety of spots this year and thought I’d share a patriotic version and eye-catching recipe for serving a group without having to make individual drinks for everyone.

Check out this Red, White and Blue Sangria from Recipe Girl!  (and she’s having a giveaway too)

She used pineapple for her stars, but I think I’d try star fruit since it already has the shape you need.   I LOVE the red strawberries, “white” (kinda) pineapple or star fruit, and blue-berries to carry through the patriotic theme.  Just imagine your giant glass beverage dispenser filled to the brim with all these summery ingredients.  It’s a party waiting to happen.  In case you haven’t seen it before, this is what star fruit looks like and here’s some more info about it too.  Hey, think about adding star fruit to your salads on the 4th as well!

…now where are the fireworks.

Let me know your plans for the 4th.  I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Stay tuned for parts 2 (food) and 3 (DIY crafts and decorations) for the 4th of July series in the coming days.

Happy Anniversary Andy & Julie!

Just wanted to give a shout out to our precious friends, Andy & Julie and wish them a happy happy anniversary!  I don’t normally do this, but I just happened to be going thru some old photos on Saturday for a different project and came across this one, which is one of my favorites of them.  And it just HAPPENS to be their anniversary today.

The photo was taken in Sedona in 2004 in the Fall (as you can tell).  Sedona is one of my favorite places to be in Autumn, since it has some amazing color, especially considering you’re in Arizona after all.  And since Andy & Julie are one of my favorite couples, it makes the photo that much more special.

So, I hope you two have an amazing year ahead!  Thanks for being such great friends.

We love you guys!

Better Blog Content 2.0

O.k., so its clear that you’re probably not getting much inspiration from me lately, but I do have a recommendation for you to check out someone who is a prolific blogger.  And this week, she’s running an online Blogging Workshop on “Lemon and Raspberry” called Better Blog Content 2.0.  You can find all the details here.

Full disclosure: she happens to be my daughter, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have great stuff to share and to help you in the blogging world.  In fact this might just inspire me to start posting again.  See, this post is proof that it’s working already. 🙂  I love this picture of her from some recent “outtakes” at her  home photo shoot.  Note the raspberry lemonade in the photo for her “Lemon and Raspberry” blog.  Clever huh?

But, it’s getting more and more difficult for me to choose what to blog about.  We just added a few more events to the list.  Last week I helped my dear friend, Linda on a photo shoot with her daughter-in-law and granddaughters, which was a blast!  I’ll post more on that.

Then I went with my husband and the Ryans to Tucson to hear my husband and Bob perform at the Tucson Folk Festival.  I promise, soon I’ll post about that trip, as well as an awesome Mexican restaurant that we visited there.  It’s a place that you won’t want to miss if you’re in the Tucson area and are hungry for Mexican food.  Stay tuned for all that and more to come.

Thanks for hanging in there with me during this busy time of life.

The Catfish Hunters are on the road again!

This time they’re not going as far as Bosnia, but The Catfish Hunters are scheduled to perform at the 26th Anniversary Tucson Folk Festival.  The Festival is a FREE two-day event offering over 20 hours of music, dance, and entertainment.  Spread the word!  We’d love to see you all there.

Terry and Bob will be playing at 1:30 PM on Sunday, May 1st on the Museum Stage at the Tucson Museum of Art.  If you’re looking for a fun day trip or even a weekend getaway, come on down and see them and dozens of other artists perform.  Be sure to arrive early so you can get to the stage in plenty of time to find a seat.

The center of Festival activity, including the TKMA Kitchen Store (where performer CDs and T-shirts are sold) food & craft vendors, is in El Presidio Park in old town Tucson.

Here are a few pics of the Festival last year when Terry had the privilege of accompanying his friend, Dave Argentati who was one of 10 finalists in the songwriters contest.

Snow Storm – A Happy Ending

So…in case you were wondering, we did make it out of the mountains on Monday last week.  But not before we enjoyed dozens of quiet hours together by a warm crackling fire, watched all 10 episodes of the mini-series “The Pacific”, and had a chance to take some shots of the beautiful aftermath of the storm.  (Don’t forget to click to enlarge the pictures.)

I loved these icicles, especially against the blue sky!

Every once in a while I need to set up the tri-pod so that we can have proof that I was actually on our trips.

This is what it looked like after the snow plow came through to clear the long driveway.  Our car is buried under the snow there on the right.  We still had a little more digging out to do.

This was just crazy!  When we walked to the end of the driveway we found this SUV parked in the middle of the road right where we needed to drive to get out.  As we walked around trying to figure out why it might have been left there we noticed that the doors were unlocked and the keys were still in it.  AND we saw clear evidence that someone (presumably the driver) had taken a pee in the snow by the side of the road.  So….what would you guess was the scenario there?  We have no idea.  Fortunately, when it was time for us to leave the car was gone and we’re hoping that it was driven away by the owner.

This was a view from under a covered patio where the snow and ice from the roof was in the process of sliding off.  The ice was really thick, so it’s not a place that you would want to be when it finally landed.

I just love the contrast of the blue sky to the snow covered trees in this one.

I had some roses left from Valentine’s Day and Terry suggested that I take a few pictures of them in the snow.  This is one of my favorites.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.  We had an amazing time!

How do you feel about snow?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Have you ever been snowed in?

Sequestered Again…

…but for much more wonderful reasons…

Cabin

On Thursday my husband and I came up to use a friend’s cabin in Forest Lakes, Arizona with another couple.  These first two photos are courtesy of my friend, Julie.

We enjoyed some deep conversation and one of our favorite card games of Nertz.

We have been playing Nertz with some of our best friends since the 70’s and love it! Funny thing, just as I was typing this I decided to look up Nertz rules so you could play the game yourself and I discovered that there’s a National Nertz Association AND that we’ve been playing it incorrectly all along.  Oh well, we’ve had so much fun and the difference is negligible.  We’ll have to try to play the “right” way the next time though.

It started snowing on Friday night just as Andy & Julie were leaving.  We went to bed with some light snowfall and by this morning it didn’t look safe enough to drive out.

We had other friends who were hoping to come up today, but the drive is too dangerous, so it’s just the two of us now.

Forest Lakes Picture Window

I’m sitting at the kitchen table looking out at this gorgeous view of the snow gently falling.  An instrumental version of “Christmas Time is Here” just started playing on the iPod (just like the version in A Charlie Brown Christmas).  Even though we’re well into February it feels appropriate somehow.  Snowfall always reminds me of the holidays.  Growing up in Ohio, we always dreamed of a white Christmas.  I continue to long for the confluence of snow and the winter holidays especially now that we live in Phoenix and have to travel to the mountains to enjoy it.

Today the snow fluctuates from a light dusting, to big fluffy flakes, then when the wind kicks up it starts to swirl between the trees.  At times it turns to a slushy rain, then back to snow.  Even though it’s after 2pm, the sky is dark and gray.  We’ve heard that this is just the beginning of the storm that’s supposed to last through tonight and well into tomorrow.  Worst case scenario is over 20 inches of snow in this storm, but because it seems to be wet (for now) it doesn’t seem to be accumulating as quickly as we’d expected.

We had a power outage this morning and for some reason the back up generator didn’t turn on.  We were ready to brave the storm and hit the roads, but while we were weighing our options, packing, etc. the power came back on, so we decided to stay where we’re safe and sound inside the warm, cozy house.

We’re in a neighborhood reached only by dirt roads and we talked to a neighbor who said that they almost slid into a ditch in their truck with snow tires this morning, so we’re not going to take a chance on the drive out and down the Mogollon Rim Highway.  Neither of us have driven much in the snow and our car doesn’t have snow tires or chains so we’ll settle in here.  We were planning to stay until Sunday anyway and we have plenty of food, even if we have to stay for an extra day or so to wait for the snow plows to come around.

Now all that’s left is to enjoy the quiet solitude with my sweetie, open a bottle of wine, light a fire in the fireplace and pray that the power stays on…oh, wait.  We might want to conserve that firewood just in case we do lose power again.Terry reading in Forest Lakes

Terry’s working on finishing the book, Atlas Shrugged.  1069 pages. He’s almost there.

Fortunately we have an ample supply of books, magazines, DVDs, blogs, photo projects and writing utensils so we aren’t lacking for things to do. In fact, it’s kind of nice to be forced to sit still for a while.  Might be fun to plan a snow trip like this every year…

Click to enlarge this pic to get a little bit of an idea of the snowfall.  It changes second by second and the photos really don’t do it justice.  It’s absolutely amazing!  I’m not sure I’ll ever get out of this spot.  It’s like watching a real life snow globe, only much more magical.

2011.02.19 Afternoon Snow