So my stuff arrived in Arizona from Australia. We picked it up yesterday, running around the airport area getting Customs stamps and paying import fees, and then finally being allowed to load my 400 pounds of cookbooks and a few assorted clothing items into the car.
After unpacking a few boxes and realising how sleep deprived I must have been when I packed the boxes, I gave up and left everything all over my room and went out. It was friday after all! My friends were amused by the stuff I had deemed necessary to bring to America. I was a little confused myself when I found wheat sandwich wraps, seaweed, dried ginger and scrap pieces of paper in one box. My calendar was so hectic in my last month in Melbourne I think I was a little too sleep deprived. My friend Mike sent this picture around, just so everyone knows how crazy I was… thanks.
We went back to what is fast becoming our local for dinner, Hillside Spot. When we were here on wednesday the guy was telling us they do fish and chips on friday nights. Glad to see fish and chips are becoming a thing in the US! But, as battered fish is less of a novelty for me, I couldn’t go past something from their mesquite grill. The past few days I had been eyeing off the 1/2 mesquite grilled chicken on mushroom hunter penne with three cheeses. And of course I didn’t bring my camera! I’ve been particularly unphotographical the past week.
We finished up with apple pie, and spent a while trying to determine the chef’s ‘secret ingredient’. There was definitely nutmeg in the crust, but we were thinking that they used key lime or orange in the filling. Regardless, verdict: yum.
We dropped past Total Wine on the way home to grab some beers. I love living in a new place and learning the new craft beer scene. Arizona has a very interesting one – the most popular beer amongst my friends seems to be the Kiltlifter by Four Peaks Brewery, a scottish-style ale with malty sweetness and a hint of smoke. We picked up some of the Four Peaks Peach Ale, a delicious light beer with a smack in the face aftertaste of sweet peach. I am liking all of the Four Peaks stuff – planning on heading out to the brewery soon.
This was definitely coming in as one of the top beers I had ever drunk, until we opened the banana bread beer.
Oh. My. God. Sweet, rich, banana flavoured and mildly nutty, it tasted like liquid banana bread. Made with real fair trade bananas, it feels like a light, refreshing dessert. If only beer didn’t have calories, this would be what I had for breakfast if I was craving banana cake. What is even more exciting for me – it is made in the UK. So I will definitely be able to buy it once I get there.
Next morning, what did we do? Went back to Hillside Spot. If I was the kind of person who got embarrassed, I would probably be embarrassed. Some of the staff from 12 hours before were there again… but I just don’t care. I wanted a breakfast burrito. And they play SUCH COOL MUSIC. Did I mention they have a fire??
Pumpkin spice lattes and spinach, mushroom, tomato and avocado scrambled egg burritos with Cholula hot sauce. It was a good start to a day of searching for drawers and hangers and boxes for my room, and searching for a pig stamp to use to mark off the restaurants I have visited in my Where Chefs Eat book as I travel.
In the afternoon we head over to meet up with Chris and Jasmine and went to Joyride, the new taco and cocktail bar in Gilbert town centre. I’d been wanting to try for a while, so we sat there during pretty much the whole of happy hour (which goes from 3-6PM) and ate tacos, black beans, salsa, guacamole and tamales.
We also all had a few too many of their ridiculously amazing cocktails such as the Key Largo: house vanilla vodka, coconut cream and lime with a cinnamon sugar rim. Or the Cucumber Serrano: green tea syrup, cucumber, tequila, fresh lime, cilantro and Serrano chilli. Or the Blood Orange Margarita with triple sec, house blood orange sour, tequila and hibiscus syrup.
After getting mildly drunk before 4PM on a saturday afternoon, we decided on a fairly low key evening. We head down to Mill Ave in Tempe for ice cream sandwiches, where I made up the half brownie half cookie ice cream sandwich with butter pecan ice cream. Brownie AND cookie AND ice cream? Heaven.