Sunday, October 14, 2007

A full weekend

For brunch on Saturday we went to the Market at Vincent's. The market (held every Saturday from 9am-1pm) just resumed operation last week, after being closed for the summer.
Saturday Market @ Vincent's - sign
We decided to share a panino and crepe.

The panini are made to order w/ your choice of the following: shrimp, chicken, basil, tomato, mozzarella, peppers, onions, pesto (these are the ones I remember...I know I'm forgetting a few). We ordered a shrimp panino with pretty much all of the available ingredients. The panino was great. Patty thought it was even better than the panino we had eaten the night before at Andreoli. They were very different so I don't know if I would compare them directly. Overall, Vincent's panini had more flavor (as there were many more ingredients), but I really loved the beef at Andreoli. Andreoli's panino was a very simple sandwich (beef, fontina, and bread), where the flavor of the beef was the main focus.
Saturday Market @ Vincent's - panini
For the crepe, I decided on a mixed berry filling (blackberry, strawberry, and blueberry).
The crepe itself was very good but the fruit filling was extremely sweet (like eating straight sugar syrup). We ended up removing most of the filling from the crepe. The residual filling still provided more than enough sweetness. Next time we'll try one with ice cream instead.
Saturday Market @ Vincent's - crepe
We both really liked the market. We'll be back soon...

After brunch, we met up with Al, Linda, and Selena to see Lust, Caution. For those of you have never heard of this movie before, it was directed by Ang Lee (director of Brokeback Mountain) and won a Golden Lion for best film at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Patty had been anxiously waiting for this movie to come out. I thought it was a great movie. It's a espionage thriller set during the time of the Japanese occupation of China. Many critics have given it pretty mediocre reviews while regular viewers all seem to love the movie. The critics all seem to be focusing on the rather explicit sex scenes (the film is rated NC-17) and probably don't understand all of the cultural issues and history behind the story.
Poster for Lust, Caution
After the movie, Al, Linda, Patty and I went to Mandala Tea Room for dinner. This was the first visit there for all of us.

Mandala is an organic vegan cafe located in Old Town Scottsdale. Although I've read about this place a few times, I had forgotten about the vegan part when I suggested it....oops. =)

We ordered a few teas, soup of the day - African Peanut Soup, curry vermicelli rice noodle bowl ("asian inspired dish with cold vermicelli rice noodles topped with grilled tempeh, chilled organic veggies + almonds - served with a hot coconut curry sauce"), and mandala macro platter ("complete balanced meal - brown rice, house adzuki beans + sauteed seasonal organic veggies + fresh green side salad served with dressing infusion of choice on side").

Here are some pictures:
Mandala Tea Room - teaMandala Tea Room - African Peanut SoupMandala Tea Room - curry vermicelli rice noodle bowlMandala Tea Room - mandala macro platter
I thought the soup and teas were good. The soup was the best tasting thing that we ordered. It basically tasted like a butternut squash soup w/ a bit of curry and finely crushed peanuts thrown in.

The main dishes to say it nicely...a bit bland? The noodles were decent but the macro platter was basically a plateful of beans, rice, and lettuce. Without the accompanying "dressing infusion", it would have been pretty hard to finish.

Although I did feel quite healthy after our meal, I thought the main dishes were way overpriced ($13 each). The food cost of each dish is probably less than a dollar. Oh yeah - it's organic...make that two dollars. I think a price of around seven to eight dollars would be reasonable.

I'm still glad we tried it, but I wouldn't go back for the food. Maybe for a tea if I was in the area.

After dinner, Patty and I headed to the Greater Phoenix Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. This was our first time going to this festival. I was surprised at how many people were least a few thousand people. We watched some dancing performances and then had an after dinner "snack" - a gyro and a bottle of greek beer. Both were good.

Here are some pictures:
Greater Phoenix Greek FestivalGreater Phoenix Greek FestivalGreater Phoenix Greek Festival - gyro and beer
On Sunday we made pumpkin pie (using this recipe) for the first time. Although I kept reminding Patty that there was such a thing as canned pumpkin filling, she insisted on making the filling from scratch...for the "experience". We did use a pre-made crust though.

Here's a picture of one of our "victims":
The pie turned out pretty good. It wasn't overly sweet (we modified the recipe amounts a bit) and the level of spice was just right.

Here's the finished pie...minus a sample slice. =)
pumpkin pie
We also made roasted pumpkin seeds w/ melted butter, salt, cinnamon, sugar. Yum...
roasted pumpkin seeds

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