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FARM REMODEL

we bought our farm a little over a year ago.  the land is amazing but the house was stuck in 1974.  not a thing had been updated since it was built.  we remodeled the entire house inside and out.  initially we were looking for a bigger house.  we weren’t sure if this 1800 sq. ft tiny house could fit all six of us.  but it does, perfectly.  we’ve lived in a lot of different houses ranging from 1,000 – 4,000 sq ft.  i’m realizing we like a smaller home.  it keeps us close.  it keeps my kids close.  this backyard keeps their imaginations going.  i really do like having less stuff and making more memories.  we really love farm life.

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the yard was the selling point of the house for us.  its a little over an acre in the heart of the city.  we have an orchard with 5 different kinds of oranges + a lemon tree + a pink grapefruit tree + 3 pecan trees.  we love bbq-ing and having friends over.  this yard is the perfect setting for both.

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ARIZONA CITY GUIDE

where to eat

mastro’s city hall steak house– my absolute favorite always consistent meal
-shrimp cocktail
-wedge salad
-Filet
-gorgonzola mac & cheese
-brussel sprouts
– warm butter cake, do not skip this!  Its pure heaven.  I’ve gone for this dessert only.  Trust me its worth it.

i’ve tried other salads and sides but this is my go to.  a lot of people like the lobster mashed potatoes. i’m not a fan of lobster its too chewy and tough but if you are, then go for it!

white Chocolate Grill
-tomato gin soup
-spit roasted turkey dip
-filet mignon cobb salad
-white chocolate banana cream pie, i would normally never order a slice of pie but this one has a graham cracker crust and is to die for.

houstons or hillstone (they’re pretty much the same, hillstone is usually not as busy and its close to last chance.  houston’s is closer to scottsdale mall.  If you want to walk off some of that food and get some retail therapy)
-house smoked salmon appetizer, toast with a mayo mixture and top with salmon.  i actually recreate this at home, its pretty great.
-cheeseburger with fries, the best cheeseburger you will ever have, get the spicy mayo.
-french dip aus jus, i ask for it cut lean.
-pan Seared Ahi Tuna
-center-Cut Filet
-chicken Salad, its not the one on the menu and its only at houston’s, it has chicken, egg, avocado, tomato and their house dressing.
-chicken Sandwich, it has a spicy mayo, cheese and tomato also not on the menu and only at hillstone.
-hot fudge sundae with sugared pecans

the original pancake house (not to be confuse with IHOP, barf)
this place is attached to a Motel 8 or 6 or some kind of motel.  its just west of scottsdale mall.
-2 eggs scrambled with patty sausage and either strawberry or pecan pancakes -that’s my jam
-the dutch baby is ivan’s favorite
-crepes are really good
-get the pancakes, any kind really, they’re all good!

bosa donuts – i don’t care what anyone says bosa has the best donuts.  the only donuts i like better are from doughnut plant in NYC.  go early in the morning while they’re hot.
-maple long john, you can’t go wrong
-buttermilk bar, i was hesitant when ivan told me to try these.  boy am I glad I did.

fractured prune
-sea salt + vanilla

burrito express
-i love their red salsa
-egg + potato + cheese breakfast burrito
-red chili and egg burrito

lee’s sandwiches
-egg + cheese + bacon breakfast sandwich on a croissant (ivan likes the baguette)
-french horn
-almond croissant

lolo’s chicken and waffles
another phoenix joint we’ve been going to since they were in the dumpy location south of the ballpark.  call me crazy but i actually loved that location.  something charming about a little hole in the wall that is constantly packed because its just that good (they now have several locations)
-the betty boop with a side of mac & cheese

LGO (la grande orange)
when ivan and i were first married we lived near here, before it was the crazy trendy place that it is.  man I love that neighborhood.  that area makes me feel at home.
-turkey breakfast sandwich with eggs and avocado on an english muffin
-artichoke appetizer
-cheese burger on an english muffin
-chicken wings with blue cheese (the blue cheese is so good, I could drink it)
-the pizzas are all pretty good
-i love the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookies, for some reason the last time I went they put waaay too much salt.  Which if you know me that’s nearly impossible, but there was.  So take a look before you get one.

rito’s
-green chili burrito with green chili sauce

carolina’s
the best tortillas this side of the border.
-machaca Burrito
do yourself a favor and get a pint of machaca to go and a dozen tortillas.  if not you’ll regret it when you get home and are craving more.  while you’re at it get a buttered tortilla for the drive.

mattas 
if you grew up in mesa you know.
-i like the hot and mild salsa mixed
-cheese crisp
-chili relleno
-chilaquiles casserole- fried egg, no onions, shredded beef, red sauce
-chicken burro enchilada style with red sauce

el charro
-usually people i meet like el charro or matta’s, i like both.
-homemade buttered tortilla (request this with everything you order or you’ll be stuck with a crappy store bought one)
-i like a homemade buttered tortilla with a side of rice and beans and I make my own little burrito
-mojado quesadilla, filled with beans and cheese

tum nak thai
-pad see iw -ive tried other dishes but i always go back to this.  its just so good.  i like it with chicken and medium spicy.

tamari sushi
-tuna poke
-surprise roll
– hot and saucy roll

sakana sushi
-boston Roll
-salmon Bomber
-rainbow Roll
-tootsie Roll
-red dragon roll

yoko bowl
-i get the number 6 and number 12.  one is yakisoba and the other is chicken.  i really have no idea which number is what.  i just order both.  i order the Yakisoba will all noodles and white meat chicken.
-get the red spicy sauce they keep in a squeeze bottle up front, its really good.

rolberto’s 
-i know it seems like all ‘berto’s” are the same but i’m here to tell you they’re not!  rolberto’s has the best bean and cheese burrito’s ever.  i do mean ever!  it’s on main just west of country club in mesa.  don’t eat there just go through the drive thru and eat it in your car because its too good to wait until you get home.

betitos
-quesadilla
-3 rolled tacos + guac.

honey bears bbq
-pulled pork sandwich + side or coleslaw (to put on top of your sandwich)

the bagel man
-everything bagel + scallion cream cheese

A few more places you should check out
-jp mcgurkee’s
-grimaldi’s pizza
-chelsea’s kitchen
-republica empanada
-tee pee mexican food
-defalcos great italian food + sandwiches
-cheba hut
-burger house in globe, az for green chili burros
-el ray also in globe green chili quesadilla. their homemade chips and salsa are great

where to stay
scottsdale is where all the resorts are. some of our favorite are
montelucia
westin kierland
arizona grand– great for kids
scottsdale princess

what to do 
scottsdale mall for shopping
scottsdale quarter + kierland commons- across the street from each other and both are great for shopping.  they both also have splash pads. quarters splash pad is better but kierlands is less busy.
tpc- golfing
camelback mountain- hiking
science museum- great for kids
phoenix childrens museum- my kids love this place, its huge and has tons of stuff to do.
phoenix zoo
butterfly wonderland
tempe town lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GERMAN PANCAKES

german pancakes are super easy to make and really delicious.  i love being able to make them all at once so i can sit at the table with the kids rather than stand at the stove flipping pancakes.  our family loves these.

 

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ingredients

 

12 eggs

1/2 c. butter

2 c. flour

2 c. milk

1/4 tsp. salt

 

preheat oven to 375

 

dice 1/4 c. butter and distribute into 2 muffin pans (i like to use large muffin pans but regular size will work too)

heat the pans in the oven and melt the butter until bubbling (do not skip this step)

 

in a blender combine eggs + flour + 1/4 c. melted butter + milk + 1/4 tsp. salt

 

pour batter into hot muffin pans and cook for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

 

top with powdered sugar + a squeeze of lemon + my favorite buttermilk syrup found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON D.C. CITY GUIDE

where to stay

 

georgetown

dupont circle

 

both are really great areas + very safe.  dupont circle is pretty centrally located.  georgetown is quant and charming.  lots of shopping and of course baked and wired.

 

how to get around

 

we took a cab from the airport to our hotel. i typically take public transportation but since this was our first time in the city we decided on a cab to get us to the hotel.

metro- we took the metro once. it was very easy to navigate and they have plenty of trains so we didn’t have to wait long. i’ve heard it can get a little congested so be aware of the time of day you’re getting on and plan accordingly.

walking- we walked the whole rest of the time. i love walking and we probably did 8+ miles a day.  if you like to walk, this city is definitely manageable.

 

my best advice is navigate ahead of time what you want to see.  if you plan on breakfast in eastern market don’t plan lunch in georgetown.  i typically start my planning with what I’m eating on the trip.  yep, i love food that much!  then i figure out what restaurants are in that same area for lunch and possibly dinner along with what we plan on doing for the day. this saves you a lot of walking across town or missing out on places you wanted to go.

 

what to do

 

the national mall- covers pretty much all the monuments

white house

us capitol

abraham lincoln, mlk, jefferson, roosevelt monuments

washington monument

us treasury

you could spend an entire day here and not see it all

smithsonian- made up of 19 museums.  all free. i loved the art museum but i wouldn’t recommend taking kids.  the air and space museum and natural history museum are great for little ones.

eastern market- its not huge but fun to walk around.  they have a flea market sunday mornings.

georgetown- m street and wisconsin ave have really great shopping.

arlington national cemetery

 

what to eat

 

founding farmers- great breakfast, fresh farm to table.

2 amys- pizza. i didn’t make it here but i’ve heard amazing things and i really wished i had tried it.

baked and wired- i went twice.  i like the vanilla vanilla cupcake.

georgetown cupcakes- good cupcakes, not as good as baked and wired.

shake shack- love the shake burger + cheese fries. do. not. forget. the. cheese. fries. and a shake, i get the black and white unless the flavor of the week is really good.

old ebbitt grill- my sister got the lentil cakes and loved them.  i got the crab cakes, they’re known for the crab cakes so i had to. they were pretty good. the restaurant is something like 130 years old and looks out to the treasury. that alone is enough reason to visit.

amsterdam falafel shop- really really good falafel.  tons of toppings.

sweetgreen- great for a fresh + light salad.  after all the junk i just told you to eat.  lemonade is good too.

pitango gelato- this was also on the list but i didn’t make it. try it out and tell me what you thing.

little serow- we saw a huge line and no sign on the restaurant. so i asked someone what they were waiting for. apparently its amazing thai food.  you stand in line and they seat two groups.  you wait hours, so if you have kids with you i don’t advise this place. he told me the food is out of this world. we were going try it the next night but after reading that they don’t give you food options you get a 7 course meal they prepare the same for everyone we didn’t go. my sister is vegetarian and she would have only been able to eat maybe 2 of the courses. he also told me its super spicy. being so close to az, nothing is super spicy to me, so take that for what its worth.

komi- the nice man i met at little serow told me komi is the best place to eat in dc but you must make reservations months in advance.

eastern market- the blue buckwheat pancakes are worth the wait.

 

a few other places i wanted to try but didn’t-

matchbox chinatown burgers

busboys and poets

good stuff eatery

cake sandwiches

takorean

farmers fishers bakers

 

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