Tag: phoenix

Sketch 47

The biggest thing I did this past weekend was my trip to Phoenix.  Besides dinner at Pizzeria Bianco, it was a pretty low key visit.  I did go to church with my friend and her family on Sunday morning.  It was a non-denominational style church (though technically they have a denomination of some sort apparently).  The guy giving the sermon referenced the fast spreading coffee chain “Dutch Brothers” from Oregon.  He had gone there while in Oregon for a funeral.  He used the enthusiasm of the employees he encountered at Dutch Brothers as a good example of how we could be a “REP” for Jesus.  I found it a little amusing, because a bunch of my friends referred to the Dutch Brothers employees as “coffee tweakers” because they always seemed to be way hopped up on caffeine.  Other than that, I found the service mainly fluff, with little substance.  Basically, Jesus is cool and we are cool cuz we love Jesus.

Last night, a friend and I went and saw Spring Awakening at the Ahmanson Theatre here in LA.  It was the big musical winner at the 2007 Tony awards.  From wikipedia: “The musical is based on the controversial 1891 German play of the same title by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-nineteenth century Germany, it concerns teenagers who are discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. The original play was banned in Germany due to its portrayal of masturbation, abortion, rape and suicide.”  I thought the musical was enjoyable, and it was nice to dress up and see a show.

I’m still not really sure what I’ll be doing for Thanksgiving.  Perhaps a smallish dinner at home with a friend or two.  Perhaps nothing.  Who knows.

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Pizzeria Bianco

There are a few places that everyone talks about, when talking about the best pizza in America. Apizza Scholls in Portland, Pizzeria Mozza in LA and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.  (I know I’m leaving Chicago out…but its a different style of pizza.  I’m also leaving NY out, because I’m not really sure what is NY-Style pizza of the big places or something that would fit in with the three above.)

A friend of mine works for an airline and is from Phoenix, so we were able to take a quick overnight trip this past weekend.  My first thought was, “Can we go to Pizzeria Bianco?”  We hopped on a flight to Phoenix a little before noon on Saturday and were on our way.  After dropping off our stuff at her parents house, we headed downtown to get on the list for dinner.  The blogs all talked about the 2 hour average wait, so we were prepared for a little wait (or at least I was).  We arrived at the restaurant around 5.30pm, where there was a line just to put your name on the list.  Once we got up to the front of the line, we were informed that we were looking at a three and a half hour wait (though depending on turnover could be sooner).  So we walked around downtown Phoenix some, had a couple beers at Bar Bianco next door and waited.  Shortly before 8pm we were seated (a little over an hour earlier than estimated).

We started our meal with a salad and appetizer.
Farmers Market Salad
The Farmers Market Salad of the day was Arugula (tossed in a
Vinaigrette), Apples, Pomegranate, and (Fontina?) Cheese.  The salad
was quite tasty.  Pomegranate makes a great salad ingrediant and the
cheese gave the salad a little “meat” to its bones.

The Spiedini, was a skewer of Italian Fontina wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma.  I was looking forward to this after reading a blog entry from a friend of one of my housemates.  It did not disappoint.  Wow, just yum!

For pizzas we got the Rosa and the Sonny Boy.
The Rosa is Red Onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, Rosemary, AZ Pistachios.  I
surprisingly liked this pizza despite the presence of Pistachios (I’m
not a big nut person).  The crust was well cooked, the slice held up to
the center, and the flavors of the toppings complimented each other. 
This was a sauceless pizza, which probably helped the slice’s stiffness.
The Sonny Boy is Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, Salami, Gaeta Olives.  I liked this pizza quite a bit.  The ingredients were top notch (as expected).  The only negative was I thought there was perhaps a little too much Salami on the pizza.  Because of that, there was enough excess moisture that the center of the slices were a little flimsy (and that first bite needed the aid of a fork).

Was it worth the long wait?  Definitely.  I already want to go back, so I can try some of the other pizzas.  As compared to the other two, its actually pretty difficult to compare.  Mozza’s pizza are a little more untraditional in topping choice, but the same size as Bianco’s.  In terms of standard toppings, Apizza Scholls and Bianco are most alike.  But Apizza Scholls serves pies that are about twice the size of the pizzas at Bianco and Mozza.  In the end, I don’t think its that important to pick one as “the best,” because each Pizzeria has such good pizza it really doesn’t matter.

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Sketch 11

I find myself often overwhelmed and lost living in a city the size of Los Angeles.  So when a friend offered a chance to not only get out of Los Angeles for a couple days, but to get out of the state, I jumped on it.  My friend was trying to convince me that Phoenix is a cool place, because I had made fun of it in the past.  Mainly the thing I don’t like about Phoenix is the sprawl of urban mess, covering way more ground than is needed (and can be supported by natural water sources in the area).  Because we were flying on a seat available basis, we quickly found out that our chances of getting out of LAX were slim to none, however if we drove down to Long Beach, we’d have better luck.  So braving the Friday evening rush hour traffic, we set off for Long Beach in our quest for seats on a plane.

With plenty of time to spare, we managed to get through the rigorous security at Long Beach, and get on the plane.

On Saturday we went for a 5.8 mile hike on the Go John Trail outside of Cave Creek, AZ.  A relatively short drive from Phoenix, away from most of the sprawl that makes up the Phoenix Metro Area.

The wildflowers were in full force and it was just nice to actually get out into nature for a change.  There are more pictures here.Sunday night was the monthly dinner group I’m a part of.  I think that all nine of us ended up showing up this week.  It was a great evening of food, wine, laughing, and discussion.  I made a Guinness Cheesecake for dessert.  It was a great time for sure.

It’s spring break here, so the majority of the students are gone, and I can mainly work from home this week.  I’ve got a lot of personal projects to work on, as well as a couple work projects.  I’m hoping I can make some headway on the personal projects this week.  Good news is that I’ve got my resume updated, so now its just sending it out for jobs and what not.

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