Monthly Archives: January 2012

And Then There Were Two


You know why I’m happy today?  Because it’s Friday.  And because tonight I am taking a road trip with my sweetie to Sedona 🙂  After using him as my personal punching bag  last night (not literally, figuratively) due to a day/week of stress, it is time for us both to relax and enjoy the beauty of the red rocks and all the charm of the Wild West.   [Insert apology to Chris here]

Long and short of all of this?  Look for great pics and reviews of our favorite places and spaces in Sedona come next week… and surprise!  We are soon going to have Chris, the “semi-pro” photographer, join the Paint the Desert Red staff (ahem, me) in this blogging endeavor.  We have decided that I love writing, he loves taking photos and we both love traveling and trying new food… so why not come together for this project of life in the Southwest?  Brilliant, I say.  Hopefully you’ll notice these exciting changes in the coming weeks.  And before long, we’ll be zipping around the world a la Anthony Bourdain (at least we hope).

Now I’m sure you are just chomping at the bit to hear what we’ve been up to (I flatter myself, I know).  Well, I made a brief mention of Melissa’s visit to Scottsdale two weeks ago and I neglected to go into exciting detail about what we did! Three great new places for you guys to try –

1) The Mission

Oh my lord, divine… between the roaring fireplace, walls of layered Himalayan salt bricks, twinkle lights and spectacular Latin cuisine, I was beyond thrilled (and stuffed).  With a unique and rather bizarre variety of drink specials, it was hard to choose but I ended up taking our server’s recommendation and indulged in an avocado margarita.  Now let me tell you, I love avocados more than most things in life but even I was a bit skeptical at the idea of drinking one with tequila.  HOWEVER.  There was something about the light, creamy texture and savory sweetness of it that meshed oh so nicely with the salty, lime drink.  I would highly recommend it – especially to you more adventurous folk.

For dinner we all shared the tacos – a variety of pork shoulder and mahi mahi.  The pork shoulder was so tender that you didn’t even need a knife to cut it.  The mahi mahi was wonderful as well, but meat won best entree award at this dinner.  And, of course, the tortillas were homemade and warm… oh and might I add, delicious enough to eat a stack with nothing on them.

We wrapped things up with a round of desserts including chocolate churros with espresso ice cream, fried plantains that melted in your mouth, and warm, sugary, ooey gooey bread pudding.  Please note, I am the girl with the “Heart Healthy Tuesday” addition to the blog who has also been on Weight Watchers since October.  Worth the points and guilt, you ask?  Absolutely.

2) Kazmierz World Wine Bar  

Ok, when I say to you all that this place is my #1 favorite new bar in Scottsdale, that is not an exaggeration.   Modeled after a speak easy, it’s hard to even know where the entrance is.  Roam around an alleyway in Old Town and you will find a sign on a camouflaged door that reads “The Truth Is Inside.”  And it is… in the form of a Moscow mule and out-of-this world jazz.  Don’t blast through the door and expect to chug a beer and leave; let your eyes adjust to the dim lighting and cozy candled alcoves and belly up the bar… if you can.  This place is the perfect location for a romantic date (guys, your girlfriend will think you are a stellar human being for sure if you take her here)… kick back, relax and transport yourself to the era of passwords, quartets and fedoras.  This is NOT to be missed.  (NOPE, not giving you any pictures on this one… you need to get there and see for yourself).

3) Rita’s Kitchen at Camelback Inn

This would appear to be yet another restaurant critique, but let me throw a curve your way… while the food at this fine establishment is delightful, it is the ambiance that gets you every time.  Imagine filling your belly with delicious Southwest cuisine and then heading over to snuggle on a big comfy chair with a large fire pit warming your toes as you sip a cocktail and listen to live music under a blanket of stars.  This places sets you in the “there is nothing better in the world than this moment” trance and is such a fun place to hit up on a date or with good friends.  Relax and enjoy 🙂

Alright, my loyal readers… like I said, check back next week for exciting new photos and features and welcome Chris on as the newest member to my team!  (Gosh, I am kind of ridiculous).

XOXO and all sorts of good stuff.


The Southwest Meets East and West


Hi friends… a Happy New Year to you all!  I hope your holidays were fun, stress-free and wonderful 🙂

It’s been awhile since I’ve really written about the travels and adventures I’ve been having out here in the wild west, but that’s because I’ve basically been living on airplanes and packing and unpacking the same little suitcase for the past month.


It all started the first weekend in December when Chris and I drove to LA to spend a weekend visiting with his family and going to a Sara Bareilles concert.  First off, the concert was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.  I have been DYIIIINNNGGG to see Sara B. since I first heard her voice about five years ago and I finally got a chance to!  That girl can SING!  The rest of the weekend was great as well – Chris’s grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins are completely lovely people and touring LA and Hollywood was great.  The whole “placing your hands over cemented celebrity prints” never gets old.  Plus, we had an Ellen Degeneres sighting!!!!!  Beside a shooting in Hollywood and horrific traffic, it was a relaxing weekend of starlets, piers, music and meet ups.  OOO and the best burger I’ve ever eaten – check out Umami Burger next time you’re there!

Well, when we got back from LA we hardly had a chance to go home before we were back on a plane to San Fran and Napa for a fun family vacation with Chris’s parents and sisters.  For a girl who loves the ocean, cities and good wine (well, any wine really), it could not have been more perfect.  We stayed in an adorable cottage at RiverPointe and traipsed around from Napa to Sausalito to San Fran.  Since I grew up on the Maine coast, being close to water and sailboats was a real treat.  Plus, the hills and artistic flair of the city were breathtaking.  We rode a cable car, hung out at Pier 39 and listended to barking sea lions!  However, wine tasting in Napa was undoubtedly my favorite part of the trip.  We were able to visit quite a few wineries including Orin Swift, V. Sattui, and Truchard  for tastings… we even did a tasting at Castello di Amorosa – a legit castle!  Yes, the one where the Bachelor was filmed… or was it the Bachelorette?  Oh who knows.  Plus, we had lunch at Bottega and I swear to you, Chef Chiarello knows the way to a woman’s heart.  The lamb risotto was one of the top 3 dishes I have ever eaten in my LIFE.  You must try it if you go.

Whew… and last but certainly not least was a quick three day jaunt to Maine for Christmas.  Exhausted from racing from one side of the country to the other, it was still a beautiful Christmas and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I just love being with my family in a state where the beauty and magic of the holiday season is present in every breath you take in the snowy outdoors or while you are cozy inside by the tree.  The best part of the trip was knowing that my sisters were (SURPRISE!) coming back to AZ with us for a week… and that only a few weeks later, Melissa C. was on her way for a visit as well (just dropped her at the airport a few hours ago, actually…. *tears*).  It’s so fun to have people come to us and to be able to take time to show them around this new place we call home 🙂 Hint, hint: COME SEE US!!!!!!

So that’s a little bit of insight into the crazy life of M + C this past month and a half.  I am truly resolving to write more frequently and to work towards my dream of one day becoming Sam Brown, who has the BEST travel show on TV!

Lots of love and best wishes for a Happy 2012 🙂 XO!

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