Chillin’ Like A Villain

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 18, 2012

Our first week as Arizona residents has proven to be quite an adventure. The desert wildlife has greeted us in some very unexpected ways. Namely:

  • A desert “roof rat” decided that our soy-coated Volkswagen wires (don’t ask me why they coat them in soy) looked delicious enough to chew through overnight. Literally between Tuesday night and Wednesday, our car went from being fit to drive 1,800 miles to warning light central. Fortunately the warning lights are not for real problems – it’s just the tricked wires. Unfortunately, fixing chewed wires is expensive! If there is a bright light in all of this, it is that our insurance will cover it and it makes for a pretty funny story. :)
  • I was greeted by a baby snake when walking out onto the porch yesterday. I quickly ran back inside and as a result, didn’t see where he went. A few minutes later my dad and brother came out and it appeared as though he was gone. That is, until our skinny little friend decided to show up again last night. Apparently he had been hiding in the water pipes (not unlike a basilisk…). We called and had someone come to pick him up and take him back to his desert home. Thankfully, he was able to reassure us that it wasn’t a rattler but rather a king snake.

Good times in the desert! We also saw a coyote on our way to the gym. We’ll never have adventures like these back in Chicago and I have to say that after the fact, they are hilarious.

On the positive side, we did some serious house searching last weekend and found a neighborhood we love! We’ll be going to look at a few more houses in the area tomorrow. Although we are not jumping into something by any means, it’s a lot of fun to start thinking about where we’ll end up.

I also had the opportunity to meet a fellow AZ blogger in person yesterday. Nicole is awesome and we chatted for a little over an hour about life here and everything there is to look forward to. She is also the co-creator of the Arizona Bloggers Network, which I can’t wait to sign up for!

And so ends the Arizona update for now. More to come soon!


One of our goals during our last week in Chicago was to finally pay a visit to our neighborhood bar, Villains. When we first moved to the South Loop three years ago, the running joke was that the bar was called Villains because we were a mere three blocks from a city jail. (We were in a very safe part of town, but it was the one block to avoid late at night.)

Eventually, we figured out that it was called Villains to commemorate all the old Chicago gangsters – Al Capone, Bugs Moran, John Dillinger and the like. We kept promising that we’d go in to see what it was all about, but it took a cross-country move to finally get us there.

I’m so glad it did, because this place was amazing! Between the eerie decor, antibiotic-free beef and extensive beer menu, Villains was a big hit. I can never resist a pumpkin beer (clearly), so I started out with the Southern Tier Pumking. It was a bit darker than I usually like but definitely tasty.

For dinner I went with “The Loot” burger, which came with Swiss cheese, sauteed mushrooms and red peppers. I ordered the tater tots on the side, which proved to be a yummy choice. This burger was amazing! (Please excuse the horrible flash photo – it was dark in there.)

At the end of the meal, I found myself wishing that we had come to Villains more often. And yet there is also something special about knowing that it was one of the last memories we’ll take with us from our time as South Loop residents.

The grass-fed beef is pretty good in Arizona, too.

Papa Bender made some delicious feta-stuffed burgers for us this past weekend. Combined with a fresh Caprese salad and veggies, I think it might have been a little healthier than the tots. But not getting them at Villains would have been a crime. 😉

What are you looking forward to this week?


1 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner September 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

Basilisks, gangsters, and villains–oh, my! That bar looks like a great haunt for a Halloween night.
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2 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Agreed! I bet they have fun costume parties to celebrate.

3 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City September 18, 2012 at 10:37 am

My boyfriend and I live near Villains and go there on those nights that neither of us feels like cooking and we both are in the mood for a beer. I remember being skeptical and a little scared before going the first time but I couldn’t have been more wrong, Villains is an awesome bar!
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4 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

That’s so awesome! Oh man, all this time we were neighbors?! It really is a great place.

5 emily (a nutritionist eats) September 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I love bars/restaurants like that. I will say that moving really got us to restaurants we had been wanting to visit for years and we felt the same way about some places – why hadn’t we gone earlier?!
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6 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

It’s amazing how having a deadline motivates you to go places, isn’t it?

7 Erica September 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

ahhh the southern part of the US does result in a lot more bugs and scary snakes- but its so worth it ;). The bar looks so fun. Love tater tots. Most looking forward to this week? We have a wedding and a supper party on Saturday. Kaylin got tubes put in her ears today, so I’m just glad that is over with!
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8 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Glad to hear Kaylin and you are feeling better! I agree – the south is definitely worth it, snakes and spiders and all. 😉

9 BroccoliHut September 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm

That looks like the ultimate burger! I agree with Erica–tater tots are the best!
This week I am looking forward to finally finding a house to rent. Seth and I have been looking forever but finally set up an appointment with an agent so we can find something to move into before the wedding.
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10 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I just had sweet potater tots (if that’s the right name, haha) today – those were incredible! Hope you had some luck finding a house to rent this week!

11 Wendy @ AROUNDMYFAMILYTABLE September 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Welcome to AZ. Where about a are you…I’m in Mesa! Looking forward to getting to know you here.
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12 Jenn (eating bender) September 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome, Wendy! We are currently in the Scottsdale area and are starting the home search process. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog, too!

13 Jess September 19, 2012 at 4:01 am

Congrats on such a big move!!! Sounds like the local wildlife has come out to welcome you! I hope you settle in smoothly!
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14 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thank you, Jess! It has been really exciting!

15 Cara (Twinthusiast) September 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Are you like Snow White or something beckoning all the local wildlife? Love Villains – glad you made it there!
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16 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Haha maybe I’m Snow White’s cousin Sand Brown? :)

17 Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie September 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

Okay so that Villains place sounds really really cool! I totally love the theme!

It was really great to meet you on Monday! I am so glad that you’re getting settled in!
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18 Jenn (eating bender) September 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm

So great to meet you, too, Nicole! Dinner was great last night. Looking forward to getting together again soon!

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