The weather is just about perfect now in Phoenix, so we decided to head out to the Desert Botanical Garden for some nice scenery and a walk. During our visit we were able to visit the Monarch Butterfly Exhibit, which will be wrapping up soon since it’s getting too cold outside for the butterflies. Gavin had a lot of fun searching for items on the kid’s scavenger hunt, and picked a big plastic ant as his prize for completing it! The garden is a great place and we’ll definitely be heading back soon!
OK, so Grandma visited in late October and I’m a little behind with the updates!
Gavin had a lot of fun hanging out with his Grandma! We ate at In-N-Out, relaxed at home, and went to the Arizona State Fair (for the 2nd time during the year). Here are the pictures!
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We finally got a look at our baby this past Monday (May 12, 2008) during an ultrasound. Click the pictures for a larger view.
It was a really cool thing that I think only expectant parents can truly understand. Up until that point we’d read all about the development and the different things that have been going on inside the tummy. But, when we first saw the moving images of our real live baby we were so happy and are already starting to feel like parents.
The best part of the experience was seeing the baby’s heart beat for the first time. Every time we watch the video our hearts pitter-patter a bit.
And, of course, we even have some videos:
In this next one you can see the heart beating. It’s a little dark spot that looks like it has some movement. How cool is that?!
About a month ago my job took me to Albuquerque for a quick trip. When it came time to schedule the next trip Chanin and I decided we’d both go so we could spend some time exploring the city.
Instead of flying out like I normally would when traveling by myself we decided to drive. The drive was really nice and very scenic and gave us the chance to see a lot more of Arizona. Our route took us North to Flagstaff and then directly East all the way to Albuquerque. The total driving time was about 6.5 hours with just a couple of quick stops.
I had to work during the week (Darn!) but we had plenty of time during the weekend to explore the area. First, we visited Old Town Albuquerque which is a historic village with a lot of character and history. We spent our time doing a little shopping and walking around the shops in the area. For lunch we ended up at the Church Street Cafe, which came highly recommended by several people, and is located in a house (Casa de Ruiz) that was built sometime after 1706. The food was excellent and the environment was really cool since Casa de Ruiz is possibly the oldest residence in Albuquerque.
The biggest attraction to Old Town is probably the San Felipe de Neri church which is Albuquerque’s oldest Catholic Parish. It was constructed in 1793 and has been kept up really well. If you’re interested in more of the history of the church you can read about it here. We took a few pictures of the church and also took a peek inside.
After visiting Old Town we planned on taking a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway but we ran out of time. We attempted to go another day but it was windy and the tram wasn’t operating. Oh well, maybe next time!
The next day we spent some time driving around town and ended up at the Sandia Casino. The casino was pretty nice and is located close to the base of the Sandia Mountain range. We’re not big gamblers so we hit the slots for a little while then ended up taking off before we lost all of our pennies.
There were a few other places we would’ve liked to visit but the weather wasn’t great and we even got a little snow. So, to pass the time we ate! We both love Mexican food so we really enjoyed the New Mexican food. There are a lot of similarities between the two but New Mexican food contains a lot of green chilies and of course they have their own specialty dishes. My favorite dish was probably the Carne Adovada which is pork cooked in red chilie. Here are our impressions from some of the places we ate:
- Papa Felipes
- Decent food but nothing too special. Reminded us of typical Mexican food. However, the chips and salsa and the appetizer (Botana Crispeante) were really good.
- Little Anita’s
- New Mexican food with locations in New Mexico and Colorado. We really enjoyed Little Anita’s and wish we could’ve gone back to try more of the dishes. The food was fresh, well seasoned, and pretty cheap.
- The Carne Adovada at Sadie’s reigns supreme! This is probably my favorite dish from the trip. The pork was nice and tender and the sauce was spicy. At Sadie’s the “carne” is served with papitas (little fried potatoes) and pinto beans and I chose to have green chilie on top. Chanin had the combo place consisting of a tamale, taco, and enchilada with green chili (yes, there were leftovers) which she really enjoyed as well. The chips and salsa were tasty but a tad too spicy for our taste.
- Church Street Cafe
- This is a neat restaurant located in a house that was built in the early 18th century. We had eaten a big breakfast so we just shared the Nachos de Rio Grande. We love nachos and these were up there with the best of them. Oh yeah, they also had great chips and salsa here.
- Rudy’s BBQ
- A BBQ chain with locations in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. You buy the meat by weight and it includes white bread to eat with the meal. We went a couple times and tried the pulled pork, lean brisket, green chili stew, cole slaw, and homemade banana pudding. The sauce at Rudy’s is really good and now I wish we had bought a bottle to bring back home!
- Golden Crown Bakery
- We saw a flier for this bakery in the hotel and figured we should give it a try (it was on a special on Food Network also). They make homemade Biscochitos, which they call “New Mexico’s Favorite Cookie,” and they also make a green chili bread. We really wanted to try the bread but they were all sold out and we weren’t able to arrange a time to order one and pick it up at a later time. However, we did buy some Biscochitos and they were really tasty.
- Subway Sandwiches
- OK, it’s just Subway but they have green chilie as a condiment to put on your sandwich so I thought that was cool.
We had a nice time in Albuquerque but next time we’ll need to visit during a nicer time of the year so we can do some more outdoor activities. The food was probably the best part about the trip and we’re going to start trying some of the recipes here at home!