by Jenn (eating bender) on December 7, 2009

Thanks for all the well wishes and understanding as I took some time off from the blog! We had a wonderful weekend in Arizona. Friday was spent with my family and Saturday was devoted to Bobby’s co-workers and holiday event. He works with some really great people and we both had a nice time. The weather was a bit chilly – by AZ standards – but we weren’t complaining. Especially when we were greeted by a dusting of snow upon our return to Chicago. Hello winter, how are you?!

The most blogworthy meal of the entire trip was by far our family visit to T Cook’s for Sunday morning brunch. We arrived at the Royal Palms Resort and were greeted by a beautiful entryway.

Isn’t it lovely that there is somewhere on Earth that has mountains in the background of nearly every photo? I know there are many places in the world like this, but Chicago is not one of them!

The place settings inside where just as beautiful as the outside…

The restaurant boasts a review from Zagat that says, “…marvelous Mediterranean creations and the professional staff make the trip here a must for out-of-town guests and lots of locals alike.”

While the buffet was tempting, our family ultimately decided that we each wanted to try an entrée. But to start, I had some delicious coffee.

Which quickly turned into Coffee Cocoa when my brother ordered a gigantic pot of hot chocolate.

No matter where you go, there’s always room for makeshift Coffee Cocoa :mrgreen:

There were many mouthwatering entrée options to try, but ultimately I decided to go with the Green Eggs and Ham (Sam I Am), a three-egg omelette with basil pesto, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese. It was served with pork sausage and fresh fruit.

This was a savory sensation. I kid you not, I am slightly drooling just remembering it as I type this post (a wonderful image, I know). The saltiness of the prosciutto complemented the strong flavor of the Parmesan and basil pesto to bring three levels of flavor to otherwise “boring” eggs. Muy bien!

My mom and dad both decided to go with the Lemon Brioche French Toast served with a house made chicken sausage and more fresh fruit.

My mom offered me a bite of her toast and it was definitely a new twist on what I’m used to. The lemon gave it a nice zing of citrus that was definitely present and may not be for everyone. However, I did like it with a touch of maple syrup and the dense chewiness of the brioche bread. Trés bien!

Bobby and my brother got the buttermilk pancakes with blueberry compote and vanilla scented whipped
cream. Unfortunately, they ordered all the goodies on the side, which made for a boring photo. Oh boys…why must you be so picky? 😉 They were very fluffy and looked tasty!

In other news…

It’s the holiday season and I am…overwhelmed. I have yet to even start my holiday shopping and with several gifts on my giving list, I am at a loss as to where I should even begin!

Do you have any gift ideas to share? What is on YOUR holiday wish list?

My family is always the most difficult to shop for so if you have any ideas, send them my way! I’m also participating in the Bloggie Secret Santa. So excited for my blogger to get her gift. I’m going to shop for it this weekend. I still remember my delicious gift from Sarah last year. What a great blog tradition! Thanks to Heather and Danielle for leading the fun.

Be back soon with some chow – I actually cooked today 😯 Score one for the foodies!


1 melissa December 7, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Yum! I love savory breakfasts vs. sweet ones!

2 Fit Lizzio December 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm

was your server at T Cooks named Joe by any chance? haha he’s my good friend and has worked there for years!

3 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Haha, I can’t remember! That’s awesome though :)

4 The Foodie Diaries December 7, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I haven’t had eggs for breakfast in forever! I think they are going to make their comeback manana, thanks to you :)

Everything looks so amazing–especially the French toast, though I’d also probably have gone for the omelet and just banked on someone else ordering and sharing 😉

Glad you had a great time with la familia!

5 verbalriot December 7, 2009 at 10:45 pm

I absolutely love brunch, I think it should be a standard every day :)

I’m also participating in Blogger Secret Santa. Such a good idea!

6 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 7, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Beautiful foodie pics…and next time, yes, next time holla!

Secret Santa. I am off to check your linkage b/c I have seen people mention this AFTER the fact and darn it, I wish I coulda gotten in on this fun action!!!

BTW you got out of here just in time…It’s been pouring, blustery, and windy Seattle style.


7 Pure2Raw Twins December 7, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Wow… everything looks delicious! So beautiful! Glad you and your family had a great time!

8 devangeselle December 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

mmm i havent had BRUNCH in ages! this looks SO good :)

9 Erica December 8, 2009 at 5:19 am

I always somehow miss this blogger secret santa! Bummer :( Looks like a FABULOUS trip and a yummy brunch. Eggs+prosciutto? Josh would be in heaven.

In terms of gift ideas- shoot me an email if you want some additional ideas (I love helping people figure out fun gifts to get!). Let me know who you’re shopping for and their general interests :)

10 Jessica @ How Sweet December 8, 2009 at 5:59 am

I like making homemade gifts for people – like cookie mix in a jar. I buy gifts for most of my immediate family, but like giving the jars to other friends.

11 VeggieGirl December 8, 2009 at 6:07 am

Homemade gifts!

12 Lauren December 8, 2009 at 6:40 am

Awww, the brunch looks so wonderful! and Yummy! :)

Glad you had a great trip.

Don’t worry girl, you will get it all done. Christmas can be overwhelming but it is such a wonderful kind of overwhelming. 😉

Have a great week!

13 Kristie Lynn December 8, 2009 at 7:44 am

The fruit on your plate looks so ripe and delicious! When I get fruit on the side at this time of year it’s usually pretty unripe.

I’m giving my sisters homemade granola for Christmas this year, and making granola bars + mix CDs for my siblings in-law. It’s nice because I know everyone will like them (helps to have amazing recipes for granola and granola bars :)) and it won’t be as much $ as trying to find individual presents for everyone.

So excited about blogger secret Santa! Good luck with shopping for yours – I still need to do mine too 😀

14 Mara @ What's For Dinner? December 8, 2009 at 7:48 am

I somehow missed the Blogger Secret Santa memo in all the wedding craziness… oh well :(
Looks like you had a great trip, that’s an omelet to DIE for, and I CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU!!!!!!!

15 tangerinesandmarmalade December 8, 2009 at 7:48 am

I think brunch is the best meal ever created. Glad you had a good time in AZ!

16 MelissaNibbles December 8, 2009 at 7:57 am

That French toast is to die for!

Glad you had a great trip.

17 CertifiablyFit December 8, 2009 at 8:57 am

Ohhh those dishes at your brunch look wonderful….hmmm maybe I need to make a trip to AZ just to try out that place. Guess I could swing by and visit some friends out there too.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

18 brandi December 8, 2009 at 9:46 am

glad you had a good time with family, and that breakfast looks amazing!

We’re doing homemade gifts this year, so I won’t be of much help! We’re making spiced nuts, candies, chocolates, etc, and probably giving things like coffee, tea, honey/jams in baskets.

19 Shannon December 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

i just posted some xmas ideas, but on my list is the pasta maker attachment for my kitchenaid :)

glad you had a good time in az! yay family :)

20 Shannon (The Daily Balance) December 8, 2009 at 10:36 am

What a fantastic spot! Can’t go wrong with breakfast/brinch food and I love your makeshift coffee cocoa! 😉

21 jenngirl December 8, 2009 at 11:29 am

What an amazing meal! Your omelette sounds amazing :)

Good luck with the holiday shopping, that’s definitely on my to do list when I’m home after exams next week! I think I’m going to get my mom the movie “Julie & Julia” she really loved it!

22 Tracey December 8, 2009 at 12:43 pm

The restaurant looks fantastic! And you are so right about not having places like this in Chicago. However, Chicago has a charm of it’s own.

23 Karla December 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Mmm, brunch food is delish. That meal, and the view, look amazing! Glad to hear you had a good time in Arizona Jenn!!

I’m not so good with gift recommendations–I often go to Borders, Target, etc. and search around until I find the “just right” gift for whoever I’m shopping for. There’s something about giving a surprise instead of what they asked for that I find fun :) (And usually this doesn’t backfire!)

By the way, I’m super excited about blogger secret santa too! I’ll be shipping mine when I get home from school to my blogger. Here’s hoping it will get to them on time 😉

Have a fabulous day!

24 Amanda December 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Just finished up my xmas shopping and my trick is to do most of it online :) It really takes the stress out of shopping for me. Plus, I always google the store name + coupon code and often come up with discounts, or at least free shipping!

25 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Ooh, thanks for the tip on the coupons — you rock!

26 ksgoodeats December 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

“Isn’t it lovely that there is somewhere on Earth that has mountains in the background of nearly every photo?” YES! When I went to Colorado I was so amazed by the mountains. They were everywhere! What a lovely meal! It sounds like a great restaurant.

I’m hoping that the holiday shopping fever will bite me one of these days – usually I LOVE buying Christmas gifts but this year I’m a little blah over it.

27 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Agreed on the holiday shopping fever…and the mountains!! :)

28 Stacy (Eating To Live Love Laugh Tri) December 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm

It sounds like you had a wonderful trip.
p.s. All of the great places in the world, have mountain views!

29 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Could not agree with you more :)

30 Chrysta December 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Looks like amazing trip. What great food and awesome scenery! As for gift ideas Im still trying to figure that one out. I have a few in mind. My mom is a big foodie too so Im sending her a spiralizer and some fresh chocolate along with some random other goodies. I esp. love this perfume by LaVanilla. No harsh chemicals and smells great. So outside of that I have no idea!! I love the home made gift idea though. Everything is so much more special when you make it yourself=) Have a great day!!

31 lowandbhold December 8, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Hi Jenn, thanks so much for the sweet comment yesterday. It really brightened up my afternoon.

I never realized how beautiful Arizona is. I’ve never been there but it looks like I need to go!

32 BroccoliHut December 8, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Gorgeous–both the resort and the food!
Interesting items on my list for others: monogrammed cake plate, running diary
On my list: Spiralizer :)

33 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I would love a spiralizer, too! Hope you get it…and much much more…for your bday, too!

34 Gena December 9, 2009 at 9:03 am

Wow, what a gorgeous vacay! I’m envious :)

Looks like I’ll be in Chicago in April, baby! Get excited.

35 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

My day just got so much better :) YES!

36 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) December 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Glad you had a great weekend!

Yum, the omelette and french toast look amazing!

P.S. If you or any of your readers are interested, I have a giveaway on my blog for a Plan a Meal bundle! Thanks!

37 Gelareh @ Orange Truffle December 9, 2009 at 5:19 pm

The place looks really nice and the food looks fab…

I stress so much over holiday gift giving.. This year though it was somehow different.. it was a bit easier!

I always love gifts that are part of a hobby.. this year I ask for cycling cloths

38 loveyourbread December 9, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Hey! I was randomly surfing through blogs and I came across yours. Everything looks so great! I’m actually going to try out your banana bread recipe tomorrow. Just wanted to say a quick hello, and your pics from your trip look amazing as well =]

39 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 2:04 pm

Hi there! Thanks for the nice comment about the blog — can’t wait to hear what you think of the banana bread :) Nice to “meet” you!

40 Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) December 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm

When I saw that first photo I thought it was Palm Springs!

Wow that french toast looked amazing. Not that your omelet didn’t, but OMG!

Not sure if I’ve commented before- but if not, “Hello!!”

41 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

HELLO, Deb! :) How are you? Nice to “meet” you!

42 glidingcalm December 9, 2009 at 11:10 pm

OOOOOOOOOOOOO arizona!! IM COLD, and it looks so inviting right now.

i cant wait for BSS! My package goes out tomorrowwwwwwwww! I hope she likes it!

stay warm pooh bear!!

43 Ashley December 10, 2009 at 9:24 am

Oh my goodness, have I finally found a Chicago blogger?

No friggin way!

I’m very jealous of the glorious Cali weather in that picture. It’s currently -5 out right now. Yay… not.

44 Jenn (eating bender) December 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm

You have, indeed! Are you from this brutally cold city as well?!

45 gina (fitnessista) December 10, 2009 at 10:41 am

i love the snow on your blog 😀
so awesome you went to az.. your posts always make me homesick. i love the mountains! i can’t wait to go, we’ll be there jan 7-11
i hear ya on the holiday shopping.. i haven’t done anything yet!

46 Emily December 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Jenn! You should look at http://www.etsy.com! Really unique and handmade gifts for those hard to shop for people. I’m buying a lot of my gifts from there or making them. :-)

47 Jenn (eating bender) January 13, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Thanks, Emily! Sorry for the delay on responding to you 😉 Hope your holidays were fabulous!

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