Monday, November 23, 2009

The Trip

SWMBO and I made a trip to Phoenix this past weekend. Once in awhile, we decide to go to the big city and "blow it out". This was one of those trips. It will take a while for our waist lines and our budget to recover but it was worth it. A great trip.

The main reason for going was to attend a reunion party of present and former employees of KPNX-TV in Phoenix. I worked there from 1972 to 1985 so I was not expecting a lot of people from my era. What a surprise! The party drew about 275 people, including probably 20 to 30 from my days at the station. It was great fun and I had a fabulous time renewing acquaintances with many former co-employees.

But after the party, we still had things to do. Sunday we went to a very well-juried art fair at City Center North . . . in far north Phoenix. Great art.

One young lady had a great time pulling the towels off the bottom of several of these wire sculptures to see what was underneath!

Since they're pushing up to Christmas, there were even some carolers.

The day before that, we decided to ride the new Light Rail system and got on it at Central and Camelback in Phoenix and rode for nearly an hour to Mesa, then back again. The system is very smooth and convenient and travels directly through central Phoenix, with stops at museums, downtown, and sports stadiums . . both in Phoenix and on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. It's a great addition to the city.

Here are some photos from the train. The first, a nice view of the historic Tovrea Castle.
I felt like we were in San Francisco or Seattle as several riders wheeled their bicycles on board and hung them up vertically on rails.

There were some fabulous sculptures alongside the stations.

And a great view of Tempe Town Lake as we crossed the water.

Now let me tell you about the food.

On the way down to the city, a stop at Rock Springs for huge cheeseburgers and patty melts.

Friday night a wonderful meal at Steamers' restaurant in the Biltmore Shopping Center. Just forget about the S'mores dessert. After a huge prawn appetizer and a seared Sea Bass for me and a wonderful Calamari in Thai Sauce appetizer for SWMBO topped off with Swordfish, the dessert was extremely amateurish. But the rest of the meal, the restaurant and the service was fantastic.

Saturday early afternoon, we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory, where SWMBO dined on a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Flatiron Steak, par excellence. My steak was not thin like the Flatirons I had had in another restaurant, but more like a New York strip. Perfectly done and tender. We shared a great signature dessert which combined Red Velvet cake and cheesecake.

Sunday was careful. Just some snacking from our own hotel cooler until dinner at night. Then we went to an old favorite, Tomaso's Italian Cuisine. Owner Tommy Maggiore was in the house and I told him we had been coming there since he first opened the restaurant back in the 1970's. I had Clams Casino and SWMBO Stracciatella soup for appetizers, then she had Veal Marsala and I dined on Veal Osso Buco, which I had enjoyed there before. The risotto was marvelous and our shared Cannoli with some Lemon Gelato topped the meal, along with Tomaso's special Cappucinos.

Today was a coming-home day so we made the traditional trip to Trader Joe's market, checked out AJ's market (way too expensive for us) and went to a Miracle Mile delicatessen for Straw sandwiches before heading for home.

A quick stop when we were about 25 miles from home to finish off the trip with iced mochas.

And now the diet starts.

Well, actually, that may not be until Friday. After all, Thursday is Thanksgiving!


Warren said...

great pics! sounds like you all had a fun trip, glad you got to try out the light rail

Granny J said...

What a grand time! Now tell me the difference between light rail and streetcars...

Catalyst said...

Warren - Yes it was a truly great trip, one we don't take much these days.

Julie - Light rail is more like a train, with several cars and travels on rails, very smoothly. As I recall, streetcars are guided by an overhead cable and usually were just one car at a time.

quilteddogs said...

Glad you had a good trip to my part of Arizona. See, Phoenix is not the evil empire it is made out to be. :-)

Catalyst said...

QD - Oh, I love Phoenix and lived there for 15 years. Still a little hot through the summer but it was perfect in November.

Jarart said...

Fun! I love to ride the light rail. So much to do. Getting nice down there now, we might have to go.

Catalyst said...

Judy - We loved the light rail and it is so convenient. And, yes, the weather was perfect. I love seeing young women running around on the streets in November in shorts! :-)

Steve said...

Sounds like a grand weekend and the mention of the eats makes me want to visit.

Catalyst said...

Steve - Bring lots of money! ;->

Meggie said...

Green with envy here. It all sounds wonderful... especially the food! But not only the food, of course!! Ahem!

Catalyst said...

It was a grand trip but now we can't afford to go to the mailbox for another year! Expensive but well worth it!