You are all very sweet! Thank you for the kind comments on the wedding weekend and our DIY wedding details. I can’t wait to share more and will be creating a wedding page, too, after seeing so many of your awesome links on your own blogs. I think it will be great to have years from now – one of the many great things about blogging!
Today I want to share the food highlights from while I was home in Arizona back in late August. You can always count on a delicious meal or two or three when you are near Papa Bender. But this trip, I was way impressed by what Mama Bender came up with, too!
My first night in, we opted out of cooking and instead headed to Brio Tuscan Grille, an Italian restaurant in Scottsdale. We were first greeted by the bread basket, which had delicious, soft sourdough and a homemade flaxseed flatbread that the waitress swore by – for good reason! I loved the crunchy flaxseed mixed with a hint of cheese and spices. We gobbled it up quick!
My mom and I both started with a glass of Merlot. Who is that peeking out from my glass?!
With our dinners came a Brio Chopped Salad, made with chopped greens and tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumber and feta in a red wine vinaigrette. This tasted very fresh and light – exactly what I’m looking for in a salad before a bigger entree.
My entree was the Grilled Citrus Chicken with Orzo, a wonderfully tart dish with grilled asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, arugula and lemon. Although I loved the flavoring of the chicken, the orzo was by far my favorite part of this dish. I need to recreate it at home!
We left Brio feeling satisfied with our menu choices and promises of return. It’s nice to find an Italian restaurant that isn’t all heavy dishes – there are plenty of healthy, lighter options to choose from!
Another restaurant we enjoyed on the trip home was Sapporo. This Pan-Asian restaurant was also a big hit and satisfied our craving for sushi. We visited during happy hour, so I took advantage of the cheap drinks and ordered an amazing pear-flavored cocktail, made with sake!
We also started out with an order of edamame. I love the salt on top.
Dinner consisted of four different sushi rolls, all of which were very satisfying. The first one that came out was the Las Vegas Roll, made with toasted eel, crab, avocado and cream cheese.
The remaining three rolls came out together. From left to right, we have the Alaskan, consisting of crab mix and avocado topped with salmon; the Philadelphia, made with smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado; and the not-so-exciting California, made with imitation crab, avocado and cucumber.
By the time we finished these rolls, our bellies were full. But there is always room for dessert!
Especially when dessert is TASTI!!!!!!!
We don’t have one of these in Chicago – although apparently they are coming soon – and I didn’t have the chance to try it in New York, so I was delighted to see one in Arizona!
There were so many options to choose from, but eventually I settled upon the Chocolate Covered Strawberry topped with fresh blueberries, inspired by the blog header. 😉
It was excellent! It tasted more like chocolate than anything, but there was definitely a hint of strawberry in there and the blueberry topping accentuated the fruity flavor.
Back at home, Mama Bender went to work in the kitchen. In other words, she bought all the necessary “components” of a dish and then took five minutes to put it all together. I clearly get my Lazy Chef tendencies from her. But these dishes were very creative!
For lunch one day, she made a chicken cantaloupe salad. She combined chicken salad – with cranberries and walnuts – together with a slice of cantaloupe. The result was mouthwatering! I loved scooping tiny bites of cantaloupe with the chicken salad. The sweet and savory flavor was a winner.
Mama Bender also did a great job with this barbecue pulled shredded beef wrap. She used Flatout wraps to combine the shredded beef with banana peppers and Mexican cheese.
Another fabulous combination! The banana peppers gave the wrap an extra kick and I loved the added sweetness of the barbecue sauce. Kudos to the chef.
Last but not least, every proper trip home includes that ultimate Papa Bender dinner, which I first blogged about way back on June 12, 2008. Amazing how time flies, isn’t it?
I bet you can guess what it is.
Bobby and I are headed back to Arizona one more time later this month to meet with the priest and make sure that no detail is left undone. After that, the next time we will be there is when I add my own “r” (I suggest reading that post and letting Elise know how beautiful she looked)!
Question: What is your version of the highlights and/or comforts of home?