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Meat the Vegetarian

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After the Grand Canyon, we headed down to Scottsdale.  We were staying at the Westin Kierland Villas, which we got for a GREAT deal.  Seriously, we got three nights for the price of one!  The hotel was AWESOME.  Our villa even had a golf course view.  The pools were close by, and looked lovely, but it was a little too chilly to swim.

We woke up sorta early the following day – we wanted to make it to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West before it got really crowded.  Well, that didn’t work out.  There were a lot of people there, but we still managed to get on the tour we wanted to!  We went all around the outside of the house, taking a ton of pictures, and we were able to see the inside – no pictures were allowed for pieces of the inside tour.  This compound was spectacular, especially for being built towards the end of Frankie’s life.  He was truly a man after my own heart – making ridiculous requests in the name of art!  These requests included: a call to the president re: the poorly placed power lines ruining his view, a perfect lawn in the middle of the desert, and cutting holes in the windows, because he didn’t want to move the urns two inches forward.  The tour was scheduled to take 90 minutes, but it took closer to two hours, due to the amount of detail the tour guide shared.  Max and I didn’t mind (although some people got all huffy and left); it was a wonderful place and a lovely tour.

After Frankie’s, we decided to take a trail ride in the desert.  We pulled up to MacDonald’s Ranch to see if they could accommodate the likes of us.  Max has only ever ridden a horse a few times, and I spent most of my childhood on horseback.  We signed up for the 3 pm ride, which lasted for two hours.  We got to see the sun setting on the desert- it was beautiful.  Max was a little apprehensive when he was assigned the horse named “Tequila”, mainly because he and real tequila just don’t mix.  Not to worry, all of the horses were perfectly trained and the wranglers (guides) were excellent at soothing even the most nervous beginner.

After riding, we started to think about dinner, we yelped the crap out of the area, and found a place called FnB.  It was so awesome, it gets its own post.

So, you will get the scoop on FnB tomorrow – Stay Tuned.

Interesting Links:

http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=5639

http://www.franklloydwright.org/web/Home.html

http://www.franklloydwright.org/web/Tours.html

http://www.macdonaldsranch.com/

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This past weekend, Max and I went to Arizona!  We had 4 days, and the first stop was the Grand Canyon.  We flew from NYC to Phoenix, rented a car, and drove a very scenic 4 hours to the Canyon.  The drive wasn’t that bad, especially because they upgraded us to a Camaro!

Well after sunset, we arrived at our hotel, the historic El Tovar.  Built in 1905, its visitors have included: Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and now, Max and Lindsay.  We stayed in the Fred Harvey suite – one of the only rooms in the hotel with a balcony overlooking the Canyon, which was absolutely gorgeous at sunrise. (More on that later.)  We dropped our bags and headed down to dinner in the El Tovar dining room.  This room probably hasn’t changed since 1905.  It was a HUGE room with fire places at either end, and we were cozy sitting next to one during dinner.  You are probably thinking, why would you need a fire place in Arizona?  Let me tell you, it was cold.  And that is coming from some one that can stand the NYC winters.  But, cold is nothing a fire and a bottle of wine can’t fix.  Max had an awesome steak with a side a fingerling potatoes.  I had a sad excuse for pasta – it was the only thing I could eat on the menu, besides a vegan stuffed mushroom.  I wasn’t bothered by it though– places like that don’t usually have any choices for me.

We woke up early for sunrise – about 7:30 am.  I thought it was going to be earlier, but hey – with the time difference, it was like waking up at 9:30 am.  Except, there was the two hours before the time of rise, where both Max and I woke up in a panic every 5 minutes thinking we missed it.  We took a short hike and a lot of pictures.  At about 9:30, we headed in for breakfast, in the El Tovar dining room, again.  Breakfast was AWESOME.  I had the pancake trio – which was way too big – the trio included a blue corn, a buckwheat, and a buttermilk pancake served with the most DELICIOUS prickly pear syrup.  Max had some beef hash thing with scrambled eggs and peppers.  I wasn’t really paying attention, because the pancakes were way too delicous to focus on anything else.

After breakfast, we set out on a hike.  We were going to hike down into the Canyon, but the trails were ice impacted.  The safest bet was to hike around the Rim of the Canyon, following the trail that I have dubbed the Rim Job.  If you stayed on the path, it was an easy hike – it was also paved most of the way.  But, for the more adventurous view gazers, you could get EXTREMELY close to the Rim on the trail-ish area next to the designated Rim Job Path.  The views blew us away; we couldn’t stop taking pictures.  We hiked about 6 miles before returning to El Tovar to have a MUCH needed beer.  We each had a local beer, which were fine. I think they tasted really great, but only because we had been hiking for hours.

By then, it was about 4 pm, so we had to load up our gear and say goodbye.  We had a few more stops before we decided where to watch the sunset.  We drove out to Hopi Point, which was an over look, and then to Hermit’s Rest.  Hermit’s Rest (I forgot the name while we were driving there, so I just started calling it Hermit Crabs) had a couple of short hiking type trails, so we meandered around there for about an hour.  We headed back to Hopi Point, because the views were spectacular there.

Along the way, we came across some wildlife… Literally, we almost ran into it.  These things look like something out of Buck Hunter.  Seriously – does anyone know what they are?  I am open to sending a prize to someone who can tell me what these are…

Anyway, sunset was lovely.  We then popped in the car and headed to Scottsdale… More on that tomorrow!

Interesting Links:
http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/el-tovar-409.html
http://www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/upload/2011SRwinter-guide1103.pdf

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Giddy Up Cowboy and Say good-bye to my camera!  We went to the PBR bull riding event in Madison Square Garden.  It was awesome, until my camera bit the dust.

I was really weird to see so many fans of bull riding in the middle of NYC.  The stadium was pretty full.  It was also weird to see the floor covered with footing.  (For you non horse/rodeo people, that means dirt.)  We sat in the renovated section, which had great beers, that I drank out of a straw.  Drinking out of a straw is bad news.  BAD NEWS.  This is most likely the reason for my camera dying.  Granted, I have had the camera since 2004, and it made it all the way through college, study abroad in Europe, and many adventures in NYC.  I was said to see the old CyberShot go.  But, what a way to go out!

We didn’t fit in too well at the Rodeo, but we had an awesome time!!

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We had another great NYE at the Greenwich Tree House!  Thanks go to JGo for organizing everything!!  This year, we seemed to keep it a little more tame…  No one blew up the toilets or vommed on the floor.  These things are always a plus.  We ushered in the New Year in style, aka I drank Bud Lites ALL night.

Eating went as such: We went to a cute little Italian place in the village for dinner – props to anyone that can remember the name or find it again!  It was yummy, and a nice base… JGo got everyone treats at the bar for a midnight snack – I didn’t even get to see what was on the table– I just saw people diving for the pigs in a blanket!! Given the time it took to consume 4 tables worth of food, I am thinking everyone loved the bar food.  After the bar, a couple of us went to Papaya Dog, one of the random ones in the village – I couldn’t eat there, so I really can’t remember.  They do have pizza, but the last time I had it, it tasted like Hot Dogs.  So, I began the New Year right – with two slices and a soda for $2.75 from the best drunk pizza place on our block…. Two Bros!

Happy 2012 Everyone!!  May this year be filled with epic adventures in Food, Travels, and Parties!!

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If you can’t tell, I LOVE Indian food.  Max introduced me to it – I was very hesitant, at first.  As a vegetarian, it is so easy to fall in love with Indian food.  I love that I can go to a restaurant and I have choices.  I can order off the menu!!  I was nervous when I first tried Indian, though.  I was nervous because I have a very sensitive stomach.  Indian cuisine is the only cuisine that has NEVER bothered my stomach!!  Myth Busted.

So, for Max’s parents’ anniversary, he decided to take them to a fancy Indian restaurant, called Tamrind.  Spoiler Alert:  the food blew my mind.  Because it was such an upscale place, I decided to deviate from my normal Paneer Tika Masala (cheese cubes, like tofu almost, in tomato sauce) and I went with Pudine Wala Paneer, which was cheese marinated in yogurt, fresh mint, coriander, garam masala, and green chilies.  I couldn’t even pay attention to what anyone else had (it was all meat, all done perfectly, and everyone loved their’s), mine was so good.  It was a little pricey, though – it as priced like a good Italian restaurant.

Tamrind is easily in my top 5 favorite Indian Restaurants…. it might even be number 1.

http://www.tamarinde22.com/flatiron/home.html

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After Christmas, I was lucky enough to have my mom drive me in to the City.  After last year, I wasn’t going to try to take the train, again.  Last year, I decided I was only going to suffer once, and I was going to load up all my crap and bring it in at once on the train.  Well, I suffered.  I had a bazillion bags, and almost immediately, one of the handles broke.  The train was so packed, the conductor had to help me find a seat… which happened to be right across the aisle from a kid who made high school horrible for me.  (I pretended I didn’t see him.) When I got to NYC, it was SNOWING.  I had to wait in a cab line, which I NEVER do.  My bags got so filled with snow, the bottoms blew out.  I got home and I felt like crying.  So, this year, mom felt bad and drove me in.

When we go in to the City, and got all my wonderful presents up stairs, we felt like a snack.  It was too early to call it dinner and too late to call it lunch.  We went to Kati Roll (more formally called “The Kati Roll Company”), and got 3 rolls.  They are pretty small.  Generally, when I go I get two rolls for dinner (each roll is $5.50 or 2 for $10), but for a man appetite I would suggest starting with two, you always have the option of getting a third.  No matter how many rolls you get, it is still a good value for your money.

It was packed.  We were surprised at how many Indian families were in the restaurant.  For me, it is always a good sign when people of that ethnicity are eating at an ethnic restaurant.  I thought Kati Roll was delicious, but I was glad to see my thought validated by the crowd!  I had an Achari Paneer Roll and Mom had a Chana Masala Roll.  We split another paneer roll.  It was so yummy!

Check out their site: http://www.thekatirollcompany.com/

Thank God Mom drove me in and fed me!!  She is the best.

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Oh my Goodness, this past Christmas Day was the best Christmas Day I have had in a very long time.  Previous years, the day had been filled with the stress of a changing family, but this year everything settled down.

Santa came to my mom’s house.  My brother’s girlfriend was a little confused.  She asked when we all had found out the truth about Santa; we all asked her what she was talking about.  Santa is real, he lives in your heart and in the North Pole.  Santa’s magic comes from a place of giving without the expectation of receiving.  Santa is a reminder that good deeds live on forever in the memories of the people touched by kindness.  How could you ever question that reality?

Anyway, I ate and ate and ate.  It was all sugar.  I started the morning with cinnamon rolls and cookies.  My mom makes the best cookies.  My favorite are a more recent recipe given to me by a fellow blogger.  (Check her out!  http://whitneyandjared.com/)  The are chocolate cookies with a pinch of pepper and then they are dipped in white chocolate.  Holy Moly.  Mom just knows how to make them perfectly!  She also makes peanut butter balls, chocolate chip cookies, and layer cookies.  She makes other kinds too, but those are the staples.  This year,  I helped make some.  I am slowly learning the secrets– including how to make the best candied pecans EVER.

After breakfast, we went to my Nanny’s house.  It is also her birthday on Christmas, so we get together as a birthday party for her, too!  Nan’s house was crazy.  There are cousins of all ages.  I mean all ages- from 33 years to 3 months old.  I caught a cold because I was wrestling with a 2 year old and a 4 year old, and drool ended up in my eye.  It is pure, excited, wild chaos.  Santa was at Nan’s, too.  There were presents and toys every where.  Kids never cease to amaze me, out of all the expensive presents, the easy favorite was a grabber!  It grabbed wrapping paper, small boxes, and even some noses.

My Pile of Presents

After presents, we had a feast, which filled everyone’s bellies.  Even if I only ate mashed potatoes, peas, rolls, cranberry sauce, and beets.  Everyone else had smoked turkey, ham, stuffing, and a bunch of casseroles I really don’t like.  I’m sorry, but string bean casserole looks/smells/tastes like vomit.  Sitting in the car with it for a half hour to Nan’s house made me sick to my stomach.   Any way, I had room for dessert, which meant…. MORE COOKIES!!!!  There was birthday cake too, but all I wanted were COOKIES!!!!

Merry Christmas to All! May this year be filled with delicious treats– like cookies!

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