Wednesday, October 23, 2013


So alright, already.  I had a routine doctor's appointment today and after it, SWMBO and I headed for the Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park in Phoenix.  First stop was Gertrude's, a first class restaurant which opened this year on the grounds of the park.  It's named after Gertrude Divine Webster who founded DBG back in 1939. The restaurant has been getting raves and even though we were just lunching we soon found out why.  

SWMBO had the Sonoran Dog, a bacon wrapped Schreiner's beef hot dog, topped with avocado, tepary beans, Cotija, and tomatillo relish on a poppy seed bun.  (In keeping with his locavore style, Chef Stephen Eldredge uses tepary beans, which have been grown in the Southwestern United States and Mexico by native people since pre-Columbian times.)

As for me, I was drawn to the "3 Napkin Smoked Sow".  It was smoked pork and Arizona Cheese Company jack accompanied by cilantro, pickled apple and pickled onion on a ciabatta bun.  A red chile jus was there for dipping and, as Emeril might say, "to kick it up a notch."

Both sandwiches were delicious but the triple fried potatoes with sea salt were the stars of the show.  Yum!

So, bellies full, it was on to walk some of it off.  The Desert Botanical Garden is a wonderland of cacti (or cactuses, if you must) and native plants.  It is mysterious and spectacular, no lie.

The ones just above are said to be endemic to Argentina and reminded me of nothing more than a nest of rattlesnakes, I'm sorry to say.  Fascinating, though.

Then it was on to a special exhibit that had brought us here today: the Mariposa Monarca butterfly exhibit.  Here's a short video I shot.

And to give you a better look, here's a photo of one of the Monarch butterflies.  They were brought over from California and will live the rest of their brief lives in this exhibit space.

The native monarchs winter in the state of Michoacan in Mexico and migrate north as far as Canada.

On our way out of the park today, I spotted one of my favorite cacti.

Looks soft and fluffy like a bunch of rolled socks but I wouldn't want to get too close to those prickly spines.

SWMBO spotted what she called a Pregnant Barrel Cactus.

See?  I'm not the only one in the family who makes oddball observations!