Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 recap

Wanted to get this out before the end of the year...I'll go back in and add more details and links...

Best movie: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Books:
The Billionaire Who Wasn't - How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away A Fortune
Three Cups of Tea
A Thousand Splendid Suns

Best meal:
Sim Ba La (two locations in the Los Angeles area) - Taiwanese foods - fried pork chop, beef noodle soup, shaved ice, etc.

Other notable eats:
Cowboy Ciao (Scottsdale, AZ)
Mi Cocina, Mi Pais (Glendale, AZ) - Ecuadorean restaurant; excellent coconut flan (best dessert I had in '08)
True Food (Phoenix, AZ)
Pizza a Metro (Phoenix, AZ) - pizza, gnocchi
Cibo (Phoenix, AZ) - pizza and crepes
Sweet Republic (Scottsdale, AZ) - artisinal ice cream
juju berri (Peoria, AZ) - the best frozen yogurt in AZ; excellent green tea yogurt
Noca (Phoenix, AZ)
Skye (Peoria, AZ) - steaks, etc.
Tin Angel (Salt Lake City, UT) - braised short rib gnocchi, soup
Settebello (Salt Lake City, UT) - VPN pizza
Tony Caputo's (Salt Lake City) - great market and sandwich
Breadbar (Los Angeles, CA) - the best french toast!
Nanbankan (Los Angeles) - yakitori
Roscoe's (Los Angeles) - my first chicken & waffles experience!
Yogurt World (San Diego, CA) - fantastic green coconut yogurt
Alan Wong's Pineapple Room (Honolulu, HI) - less expensive (and some say even better food) than his flagship restaurant (Alan Wong's); we had a fantastic meal there.
Shirokiya food court (Honolulu, HI) - heaven...
Parallel 59 (Vancouver, BC) - double almond croissant
Go Fish (Vancouver, BC) - fish and chips on the water's edge
Guu (Vancouver, BC) - izakaya; probably my most memorable dining experience of '08
Origins (Las Vegas, NV) - great Indian restaurant located just off the Strip
Jaleo (Washington D.C.) - tapas; chef/owner Jose Andres was standing next to our table for part of the meal (he was talking to other customers)
Bonita (Brooklyn, NY) - fish tacos
Max Brenner (New York, NY) - all things chocolate...
Spice Market (New York, NY)
Peshawari @ the Sheraton Rajputana Hotel (Jaipur, India) - incredible marinated chicken
24/7 @ The Lalit (New Delhi, India) - biryani
Taj President (Bangalore) and Taj Deccan (Hyderabad) - masala dosas (the thing I miss the most from my travels in India)
Thai Pavillion @ the Taj President (Bangalore)

Ruth's Chris (Phoenix, AZ) - bleh...
Chez Panisse Cafe (Berkeley, CA) - bland, overpriced food
Bistro Bernard (Goodyear, AZ)
Metro (Scottsdale, AZ)
Over Easy (Phoenix, AZ)

blu sushi (Litchfield Park, AZ)

Worst meal of 2008:
McGrath's (Salt Lake City)

Restaurants to try in '09:
The Mission
Racho Pinot Grill
Roka Akor
Atlas Bistro
Sol y Sombra
Don and Charlie's
Daily Dose
Jug 'N Barrel
Arrowhead Grill
Tutti Santi
Pasta Bar

Friday, December 19, 2008

CityNorth a dud?

Long time no blog...

Stopped by CityNorth a few weeks ago (on a Saturday night). The first phase, called "High Street", just opened a month ago (on Nov. 13). What an incredibly unfortunate time to open a new mall! The place was an absolute ghost-town. Just prior to going there, we were at Kierland Commons, and it was such a contrast. Don't know how to describe it better, but Kierland has a much "warmer" feeling compared to CityNorth. The retail mix at CityNorth also puzzles me. We spent less than 10 minutes walking from one end of the street to the other and none of the stores appealed to us, so we left. I'm guessing we won't be back anytime soon...

CityNorth seems like a dud to me - similar to my opinion of Westgate and Tempe Marketplace.

I wonder if we will ever have anything here similar to any of the following:
The Grove (Los Angeles, CA)
The Americana at Brand (Glendale, CA)
Victoria Gardens (Ontario, CA)

BTW, I got a kick out of this recent article in the paper:
Westgate remains safe despite shooting, Glendale officials stress (AZ Republic)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Automaker bailout

Funny stuff! Make sure you read the fine print...

(from The Beast)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy to have my car back!

About a month ago, Patty had the sudden urge to crash my car into the cement base of a light pole (after a long day at work, she accidentally had the car in "Drive", instead of "Reverse").

After many weeks of driving her car, while my car was in the shop, I was finally able to pick up my car today!

Here's the "before":
Ouch! ~$4,000 worth of damage...

and after:
Much better...back to "normal"!