Last week I went to Phoenix on business. Haven't been doing a lot of business travel the last several years. Think I'm averaging once a year.
The night I got there I gave a call to uoggb
. Maybe we'll connect IRL my next trip out your way. Or even give you a call again in the not-too-distant future. :)
Though I have several friends in Arizona, I decided to spend time with one who's also a co-worker. D works in Chandler (where she moved a couple of years ago) and she drove to downtown Phoenix Thursday night to have dinner w/me and a couple other folks. Matador had okay food and good margaritas.
On the way to her place D apologized profusely that her air conditioning had broken down and she wasn't able to get someone to fix it (she rents a house) until the next morning. I think it was the coolest night in a week, but it was still over 80 degrees F at 11pm. I didn't have much trouble getting to sleep, though.
We didn't have a plan for the weekend (both D & I had taken Friday off) except to relax and catch up. Some thoughts were to go up to Sedona or down to Tucson. Didn't do either during the weekend. Watched DVDS: "Hannibal Rising," "American Dreamz," and "Children of Men." Did some urban hiking (malls) -- eye candy! -- and I even accomplished some clothes shopping.
I hadn't been outside downtown Phoenix in a long time. I still remember when there was only one freeway. There are many, many big box stores in addition to malls, which I suppose isn't surprising since I think I read the Phoenix area is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S. Public transportation seems to be minimal at best where D and I drove around.
Within easy walking distance of D's place (and we did walk!) was A.J.'s, a more upscale supermarket line of a larger grocery chain. The coffee and baked goods were yum, and as we walked through the wine aisle I was amazed at the California presence, including a couple I had specifically looked for and couldn't find in shops where I live. We ended up speaking with Sharon, the store "cellar master" who turned out to be from Sonoma (right next to Napa). Wine talk fun ensued! And yes, the night before I left for home I went back to get a bottle of California wine.
We also went to Kokopelli Winery & Bistro, where we tasted some fun and some not-so-good locally-made wine. The best part of that experience was the opportunity to speak at length with the owner/winemaker, Dennis, who happened by and gave us an extra taste of a not-yet-bottled Cab Sauv (it was good; I hope that means the quality is improving). Dennis was enthusiastic and charming; D and I later agreed we found him easy on the eyes as well.
D & I talked and talked and talked. It was great. I helped her w/her iMac and she was thrilled to be able to use iTunes again. We also dined at Pita Jungle (mediterranean - good, not unique or extraordinary), The Good Egg (standard brunchy foods were decent, biscuit & gravy was good), Priya (generic, not bad Indian) and Voodoo Daddy (seemed more cajun than creole. Jambalaya & fried green tomatoes were uninteresting, alligator sausage was good, both seafood & non-seafood gumbos were very good as was the red beans & rice and the housemade potato chips. I'd definitely return!).
Lastly, I was very happy to visit Changing Hands Bookstore!