To kill time the other day, Sophie and I walked through a Petco. We don't have any pets, but Sophie sure enjoys viewing them. As an unexpected bonus, she got to push her own cart around the store - their "Customer in Training" carts were available at the front entrance.
Boy was she proud to walk that thing around.
In other news, Sophie is now putting words together. Her first grouping was "Nana geeez" (Nana cheese). And this weekend, she learned to say "Ah-yee, doe doe doe" (Abby, no no no - while shaking her finger [at the dog, not me. we were housesitting])
La Parrilla Suiza, like Streets of New York, is an Arizona chain restaurant. We had never been before, but had heard good things about it, so we gave it a try. Both of our dishes were $9 & change, but dishes under $10 were a rarity on the menu. So really, expect to pay between $20 & $30 for 2 meals.
I got the fish tacos off of the appetizer menu, and I thought they were awful. Fried fish & cabbage in a tortilla - it just didn't work. Jake got something called a "Flat Taco", which is a Parrilla Suiza specialty. He said it was "good, but not great".
Despite my dislike for my dish, they did a good job with presentation and freshness, and everything seemed really authentic. La Parrilla Suiza is a Mexico City restaurant, so it's not the same type of food you usually get at a Mexican restaurant.
Our main problem with our dining experience was our portions. We both left feeling hungry. And for the prices we paid, we were both very surprised at how small our dishes were when they were brought to us. You probably won't see us in a La Parrilla Suiza again.
Alright, here's how I think it went down. But honestly, I don't quite remember.
I got an e-mail several weeks ago from Martha Stewart Living (I subscribe to the magazine), asking me to take a survey to win a prize. I was bored, so I took the survey. I found out that the prize was only offered to the first 100 people who took the survey, so after I took it, I just deleted the e-mail and figured it was just an act of service.
Fast forward to last Friday, and look what appeared on my front doorstep:
A "Living" apron, a silicon cupcake baking sheet, and "Martha Stewart's Cookies" cookbook. (No note or letter or anything accompanying it, and no e-mail telling me I had won.)
For Sophie's birthday, we decided to celebrate at the park. Sophie loves being outside, and she loves a good slide, so we figured that this would be perfect for her. We grilled hot dogs and invited family & friends, and we had a great time.
Sophie was happy almost every minute of it, she loved the food, and she even blew out her candles.
She also got some great presents, including some Mickey toys,
If you live in the greater Phoenix area, you may have noticed a bunch of new restaurants popping up with the word "Torta" on the front. The torta, Jake and I decided, is Mexico's answer to the hamburger. They are usually priced comparably to a 6" sub or a fancy burger from McDonalds. It's comprised of meat (carne asada, ham, chicken, etc) and your choice of veggies - lettuce, tomatoes, avacados, jalapeños, green chilis, etc.
Tortas are an awesome alternative to burgers & tacos for lunch. They can be very spicy if you get the chilis & jalapeños, or they can be nice & mild with just the tomatoes and avacados. I got all the veggies on my sandwich, and found it to be perfectly spiced. But for the Jakes of the world, my lunch also included a container of spicy red sauce.
El Chavo is a tiny strip mall food establishment in north Mesa. The 2 times I went to it, I found it to be basically empty. I've had better tortas, and I've had worse. This place is nice to go to because it's conveniently located to my house, and it's a nice and average place to eat.
However, the torta that I got this time was awful. The asada was fatty and chewy and the bread was soggy. I wasn't able to finish my sandwich. Lucky for them, I've been there before, so I know that they can produce good food, so I will go back.
Cyclo is a hip Vietnamese restaurant in Chandler. The owner, Justine, knows a lot of her customers by name, or at least, by appearance, and greets everyone personally. Newly remodeled, the restaurant is clean, open, & stylish.
Some notes about my ratings: I put the price of Cyclo in the $$$ category because of the dishes we chose, but there are plenty of choices on the menu under $10. Also, I only gave them 3 stars in value, not because they are expensive, but because it is expensive for Asian food. Cyclo is very competitive in price compared to other restaurants, but compared to other Vietnamese establishments, it's a little pricy.
I got the Seafood Phở (pronounced "fuh"). Phở is a traditional noodle soup that you flavor yourself with plum sauce and Sriracha chili sauce. The good thing about that is that it can be a mild or as spicy as you want. When we go out for Vietnamese food, we usually get a phở and another dish. It's one of my favorite soups. The seafood phở at Cyclo came with shrimp, scallops, and crab legs, all of which were delicious.
Jake ordered the Broken Rice Plate. It came with char-broiled pork, beef, shrimp, and a salad. He said the pork was some of the best pork he's ever had, and highly recommends it.
Others in our party ordered lettuce wraps, beef phở, pineapple curry, and vermicelli, all of which earned rave reviews from their respective orderers.
With its delicious food, fun atmosphere, and good company, I highly recommend Cyclo.
Sophie's in a "laying down" phase. No matter where she is, she thinks it's a good time to rest her head. She lays down in line at the store, whenever she wants to eat or drink anything, in the shopping cart, in the bathtub, on the toilet (we've been practicing), and to watch TV.
The only kid sized chair we had was an old schoolhouse type chair. She has figured out how to lay on that too. So we decided it was time to get her a soft kid chair, for all her lounging needs.