5 of the worst (Ok, the best) places I’ve eaten in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Don’t go to any of them, but if you do, take me with you!

I don’t really consider myself a “foodie” per say, I do not have the refined gourmet sense about me, rather I am more food obsessed. I don’t take bites picking apart the subtle nuances of gourmet spices and cooking methods. I live for the bites that make me clap my hands and giggle with excitement over their deliciousness. I have more than just a few times, been so giddy over my meal or dessert (often dessert) that the tables near me inquire and order their own. I love food, I am serious about it, and I simply won’t bother if it doesn’t taste good. In my quest I have had some outstanding meals at some pretty awesome places in the greater Phoenix area. I’m sharing with you, but don’t tell anyone else, we don’t want the lines getting any longer. ( Yea right, haha!)

1. Little Miss BBQ – I waited in line for 30 minutes, just yesterday to have this miracle of BBQ. Don’t tell me you don’t like barbeque, I don’t hear you, and until you’ve tried this place, you can’t be sure. The Fatty Brisket ( I can’t believe I had to type fatty) left me speechless, it is incredible. You need to know the brisket usually sells out before 2, so if you think you’re going to try it, you better get there early.  This is no saucy BBQ joint, there is sauce if you need it, but their food sings on it’s own. I’ve had the pulled pork sandwich ( Scott the owner was visibly disappointed when I chose this over the brisket, but he didn’t know my lunch mate would literally order one of everything, so I was set) turkey, sausage and all of their sides, and just wow, every time. It’s teeny tiny and only open for like 10 min a day (11am – 4pm Tuesday through Saturday), the owners and their family make you feel welcome from your first moment in their line. We even got a smoker tour on this last visit. This is a hidden Phoenix gem, and I am in love. http://www.littlemissbbq.com/

2. Snooze – 3 words, Breakfast Pot Pie. You don’t know, there aren’t words, changed my life. This is literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten for breakfast. ever. That title used to belong to a fantastic little dive in San Francisco, who makes a dish called the Taylor Street Scramble, but now the champion has been over thrown. Last time I had the pot pie, I sold the tables on both sides of me on it, it’s that good. (Unless Flaky crust, and delicious sauce aren’t your thing) Next best, their pancake flight. That’s right, a pancake flight. Three pancakes off their menu of your choosing, it should be illegal. I’m talking Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes (sooooo good) Peanut Butter Chocolate pancakes, Sweet Potato Pancakes ( I don’t even like sweet potatoes, but dang I love these). I highly recommend, with two AZ  locations, Phoenix and Tempe. The wait can be a bit long and they don’t take reservations, but you should try it once, and then never again so it’s not too crowded. Don’t be part of the problem. 🙂  http://snoozeeatery.com/locations/town-country/

3. Coconuts Fish Café – I don’t really want you to know about this place, but sharing is caring and all that. Fish Taco fans, these are your people. This ultra casual North Scottsdale eatery serves up the freshest, tastiest fish I have ever had in the land locked state where fish consumption could be a gamble. Oh my the fish tacos. Like a party in my mouth with a mango chutney and an extravaganza of delectable flavors. They are enormous and they come two per order, so if you’re dorky like me, you’ll end up needing a knife and fork too. If fish isn’t your thing, I also love the steak tacos, absolutely delicious. There are currently only two locations, one here in AZ, the other in Hawaii. Save the airfare, take the drive to Scottsdale, and try these. It’s cool too if you don’t, shorter lines for me. http://www.coconutsfishcafe.com/home

4. DeFalco’s Italian Eatery and Grocery – This South Scottsdale restaurant/deli is certainly no secret but man oh man is it good!! I have literally been dreaming about my next opportunity to have their meat ravioli. I grew up in an Italian family, my whole childhood is stuffed with amazing Italian meals, and I am going to tell you, this is one of the most delicious dishes I have ever had. (Shhh, that’s just between us) It is perfect in every way, the pasta surrounding the meat is the ideal tender blanket for a filling so good, I had to take a minute to sigh into food heaven happiness. The pizza is also just OUTSTANDING! Crisp buttery crust, fresh flavorful toppings, so good. My only regret is that the last time I was there, I was leaving on an early flight the next morning, and couldn’t eat my leftovers. I mourned that situation, just ask the folks seated in 17 B and C. http://defalcosdeli.com/about.html

5. Tommy Bahama – I know what you’re thinking, they make over priced shirts right?  Oh but wait, in a few of their fancy pants stores around the country, there is a fancy pants restaurant attached. You’re thinking it’s cheesy right? It’s not. It’s like a mini vacation for your soul. Located in North Scottsdale, at Kierland, go sit on the patio on a beautiful evening and listen to the steel drums play as your sip your (kinda pricey) tropical cocktail (Coconut Cloud Martini for me) and tell me I’m wrong. You won’t, unless you’re grouchy, because it’s pretty awesome. The food is always fresh and flavorful, I love their tortilla soup and most of their appetizers, but it’s not about the entrée for me. It’s about dessert. I make it a rule to order dessert here first, and it’s worth it. My favorite? The Pineapple Crème Brule. This (and Del Frisco’s coconut cream pie but that’s another post) is what will be served in heaven by tiny cherubs. I think I heard the angels sing with my first bite, and every bite thereafter. Served in a pineapple with a perfect crisp sugar crust, I think it could aid in creating world peace. Did I mention I really love it? http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/Stores_Restaurants/Scottsdale.jsp

Those are just a few of my favorites, I’d love to hear about yours!

Categories: It's Local

No one wants to buy your crappy house. The blunt truth you need to hear if you want top dollar for your home!

No one likes to be told what to do, I get it, but if you want to get top dollar for your home, let me be the boss of you for just a few minutes.

First thing’s first, get a good realtor. I am not talking about the realtor who constantly sends you mail, or has his/her face on your grocery cart, this is a mistake I see people make all the time. When you hire the big name realtor, all too often, you end up with their associate, not the big shot you wanted to hire. Get a referral, ask your friends, see what their experiences were like.  If you happen to be in the greater phoenix area, I would like to refer myself! I want to interview for the job.  Once you find your agent, for the love of god, LISTEN to them. if you chose a great agent, they know what they are talking about, staging experience is a must.

 

Moving on, whether you took my first advice or not, take the rest…

1. Curb Appeal – You have mere seconds to make a first impression, and that’s the one that sticks. Get in your car, drive up to your own home and be brutally honest with yourself. If your trim is peeling fix it, if your front door is blah, paint it. Add flowers, a bench, potted plants, a wreath to the door. These are small things that go a long way. Remove any unnecessary items such as hoses, toys, gnomes (that’s right, I said it). Don’t skip this step, this is your first chance to show your buyer that your home is “worth it”

2. Get your crap out, no one wants to see it. I know that the porcelain clown collection from your great aunt Thelma is worth a bundle and you really love it, but it needs to go. Take anything and everything that you can live without out of the house. I recommend getting a storage unit. Yes this step is a hassle, but de-cluttering your home will not only make it feel more open,  it will allow buyers to picture their own stuff there.

3. You’re the only one that likes that color scheme. Once the crap is out, it’s time to neutralize! I totally get that your walls coordinated beautifully with your tastes and your furniture, but we are trying to sell your house to someone else. That means we want a neutral canvas. Once you’ve taken your home to a neutral place, add pops of color here and there to brighten things up and add interest.

4. Staging, live with it. Occasionally people don’t want to stage their homes, because they don’t like the idea of changes being made to the way they live. I usually suggest that moving out will also be a pretty big change, and well, lets make that easier to do. I stage my client’s homes, it adds space, and helps buyer’s to visualize possibilities. It’s an important step.

5. Smell, smell, smell. It’s hard to tell what your home smells like because you live there. I assure you it has a smell, good or bad, it has one. Give your house a deep top to bottom clean, and then give your house a subtle scent. My favorite is the clean cotton collection from Yankee candle. It’s a subtle fresh laundry smell, I love it. A light lemon scent is also nice. You can do this using candles (one or two, don’t go crazy) scent warmers, plug in’s whatever you prefer.

I find that my clients often “name” the homes we look at. Don’t let your house be, “The house that smells like salmon” or “The house with the Sprite can color scheme”. This of course is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have questions, shoot me a note, I am always happy to give advice.

 

 

 

Categories: Real Estate

Get the Tinsel and lights back out, Starbucks has saved Christmas (After they tried to ruin it)

Crisis averted, get your tinsel and lights back out, Christmas is back on! Last Week, I shared with you the horrible news that Starbucks had gotten rid of the Eggnog Latte. While I realize that on a 1 to 10 scale of real problems, this “problem” actually ranks in the negative, I was still highly displeased. It’s my favorite, I wait for it all year, and I want to have it damn it. Well…it’s coming back my friends. Apparently I was not the only one rising up in protest, oh no there was a movement, a petition. Starbucks has heard the collective cries of the social media machine and has given in to our demands for eggnog representation. As of November 17, the Eggnog Latte will once again be available at your local Starbucks.

My favorite quote comes from the USA today article on the subject, Even I could’ve told them this… Starbucks has learned its lesson, says Mills. Many consumers have a very emotional connection to the holidays, “and Starbucks is a part of that tradition.” To read the full article from USA today, check it out here:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/11/05/starbucks-fast-food-restaurants-eggnog-lattes-holiday-sales-retail/18546821/

So folks, there you go, you are free to once again enjoy this delicious holiday beverage.

Hallelujah, I will get my $5.02 ready for my Grande drink.

Categories: Sanity Check

No Eggnog Latte?! Thanks Starbucks, Christmas is ruined!

The Starbucks red holiday cups are back as of November 1st in most areas. You know what that means, the tasty holiday treat you’ve been waiting for all year is yours! But wait…this year there are some changes. They’ve added their first new holiday drink in 5 years. It’s an espresso with steamed milk, combined with some caramelized chestnut action and spices. Of course I’m sure there is whipped cream to insure it’s a million Starbucks calories. Now the tragic news, they have taken away the beloved Egg Nog Latte from most locations. Word is that it exists regionally in a few places. It does not appear to be in my region however. Oh greater Phoenix area…why have we been stripped of this wondrous holiday beverage?! Now, I certainly was no marketing major but common sense tells me that if they stopped selling it here in Phoenix, it’s probably because Phoenicians weren’t buying it, but there have to be a few of you out there like me, who love this delicious concoction and for you….I took to Pinterest, my favorite way to spend (waste) time to see if I can find a decent alternative to end our suffering. Nothing there is quite as easy as ordering from the drive through window, but here’s what I’ve found

 

Eggnog Latte

Ingredients:

2 shots espresso, or strong coffee
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup eggnog
freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Directions:

1. Brew coffee. Add milk and eggnog to a cup to steam on espresso machine, or to a saucepan to heat on the stove-top, or heat in a coffee mug in the microwave.

2. Add espresso and milk and eggnog to a coffee mug and top with whipped cream if desired an garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

 

I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I will give this recipe a try. If you try it, let me know, I am dying to hear how it turns out. In the meantime, I shall mourn my sweet Egg Nog Latte along with my other first world problems.

Categories: Sanity Check, Uncategorized