Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ainey Climbing the Screen Door

Our Ainey is a little monkey dressed in a kitten outfit... Here's my proof.

Mimi's Cafe Round-Up

After two days of sitting out, burning under the Spring sun, with our yard sale to raise money for our upcoming Temple Sealing*; I was exhausted just from the whole "working" aspect of sitting on my butt for two days, but also had a pretty good case of heat exhaustion coupled with lack of sleep exhaustion.

So last night, there was no way I was going to get up and head into the kitchen and make something to eat. Not only that, but an unexpected "run-in" with someone who had donated some things had me pretty upset. The women on my mother's side of the family have long said that an upset woman will make bitter food, so I thought it best that we head out for dinner.

I don't know about you, but when I am in need of "comfort food", I tend to turn to cheese. Of course, most times "comfort food" for me is something Chinese or Asian; but last night, all I wanted was something cheesy.

Setting out in search for something cheesey, we decided on "Mimi's Cafe" based on a Food Network show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate - Cheese" recommendation for their 5-cheese grilled sandwich. We drove all the way out to Chandler Blvd and the 101 only to find that they'd closed at 9PM last night for a "scheduled maintenance". I was not a happy camper and was close to giving into to... *gasp* McDonald's or another unappetizing fast food store scattered around on almost every street corner. But, my dear husband convinced me to persevere... So I did, all the way to Mimi's on Shea and the 101. While they were on opposite ends of world, or there abouts, the drive back to Scottsdale and up to Shea was worth it.

We pulled up to the cottage-like Mimi's Cafe, and walked in to a restaurant that resembled a family living room than a corporate chain restaurant. We were lead into a room with high ceilings and were instantly transported to some quaint place in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

While it was late, and we were (at that time) the only patrons in the restaurant, we were immediately welcomed by Katia (pronounced like Shania [as in Twain]), who took our orders for drinks.

The menu is very extensive with lots of "comfort foods" screaming out to be tested out.

Katia brought us a basket of fresh baked sour-dough rolls, and slices of carrot walnut bread which I could have easily enjoyed as a meal in itself; those alone are worth the trip out to Mimi's.

As I looked over the menu, immediately I was attracted to the Fried Cheese; which consisted of five slices of Parmesan breaded fresh mozzarella cheese served over warmed marinara with fresh Romano cheese grated over top. And it was delicious, although sharing a plate of five slices with a hungry husband did feel very much like a terribly small portion. We were both disappointed with only having 2 1/2 slices of cheese each especially for the price we paid.

Next we moved on to the dinner salad, which I had with blue cheese dressing and crumbled blue cheese on top. As far as salads go, there was nothing outstanding about that, and was rather disappointed that the cucumbers were bitter. Possibly using English hot house cukes would have corrected that.

But again, upon first seeing the salad, we were disappointed with the size; but strangely we began getting filled half-way through the salad.

Following our salad, we each had a cup of the soup of the day, split pea and ham. Now this impressed me because it tasted very much like my own split pea and ham only much thicker like a paste. Now THAT stuck to our bones; it was hearty, delicious, and I totally recommend the split pea and ham on Monday's.

Now for the piece de resistance; I ordered the Chicken Piccata with Asparagus off of the "Comfort Food" menu; this consisted of two broiled chicken breasts smothered with garlic mushrooms and a lemon caper butter. It was served with mashed potatoes and grilled citrus marinated asparagus. Ben ordered the Jambalaya off of the "Pasta" menu; which had good size chunks of chicken breast, a "dusting" of plump shrimp, Cajun sausage, and pork loin in a creole tomato sauce, which was served over penne pasta.

Mine arrived and was a picture of perfection; in fact to such a degree that I took a photo. The jambalaya arrived as if it were something I would serve at home, not necessarily picture perfect but it still looked good enough to warrant a photo.

I very rarely, if ever, send my compliments back to the chef for the food I eat. Not because the food is not good, but I have a pretty high regard for taste, and unless something is absolutely sublime and makes an impact on my taste buds leaving a lasting impression, I don't usually bother. After trying my first mouthful of the chicken piccata, I entered a state of bliss where my surroundings literally disappeared and all that was left was me with this plate of absolute delight.

The initial burst of flavour was that of capers, followed by citrus. The chicken had a hint of flavour, but not so overpowered that it was not identifiable. The asparagus was grilled to perfection and in itself had a burst of flavour. The mashed potatoes were nothing to really write home about and I suspect were a mix of real and instant potatoes.

Ben's jambalaya was also a burst of flavours in the mouth and was an absolutely delightful tasting experience. We both agree that it could have had more shrimp, but the balance of the spice and tomatoes was perfect. In the past, my jambalaya experience has not been pleasant, but Mimi's delivered last night and has restored my faith in trying it again.

We ended up bringing home doggie bags, and a little gift of four muffins that Mimi's makes from Katia, and not walking but rather waddling out.

Our total bill for a starter which we shared, two starter salads, soup of the day, main course, and soft drinks for both of us came to just over $50; which was not too bad for all that we ate and we've still go another meal each.

So next trip; and believe me, there will be a next trip, I'm planning to try the French Market Onion Soup and the Special Grilled 5-Cheese sandwich.

While we were disappointed on the outset with the portion size, the food is hearty and really does stick to your bones and is very misleading even for seasoned over eaters.

My round up, I highly recommend Mimi's Cafe, but I've been warned to stay away from the steak menu. The roast turkey is the most ordered food on the menu and I was assured that it is the best thing on the menu... Maybe another trip... after our next visit.

Chicken Piccata with Asparagus


* Celestial marriage (also called Temple Sealing, Temple Marriage, New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage and Eternal Marriage) is a doctrine unique to Mormonism, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). http://www.lightplanet.com/family/marriage/eternal_marriage.html

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dealing with Husbands, Lessons Learned from a Neurotic Budgie...

So the last few days have been interesting...

On Tuesday, we were out and the car started to overheat. We stopped in at a gas station and put in some water (which usually does the trick), but the gauge was still nearing the HIGH level. As we were in the area, we stopped in at an old Scout Master of Ben's, Gary Heffner who has a garage over on Center Road in Mesa (little plug there); after a nice catch-up-chat, we were given the dire news... The head gasket's are cracked which is causing carbon monoxide to enter into the radiator and whole lotta of other mumbo jumbo but basically, its not doing the job of cooling the car down.

Okay, so I am so not mechanical and the fact that I even remember "head gaskets" has me pretty super-impressed with myself.

So to fix it, it'll cost us over $2,000 and we've got a 1998 Ford Explorer SUV with near 200,000 miles on it... I am told that this is pretty good and that basically she has "given up the ghost", and the best thing for us is to trade her in for a newer model.

After a gallon and a half of water directly into the radiator, we're right to go... but with the dire warning to not take the freeways, but go for the slower side roads; no air-conditioning... OK so Arizona has not hit the heat yet, but c'mon! The sun shines here 300 days of the year and when sun hits the vehicle, I don't care HOW cold it gets, it gets darn hot inside!

So my brilliant husband decides that this problem is actually not something new and we can probably take it for another six months or so. Lets hope I'll not be flagging anyone down to help give us a ride if his "theory" is proven wrong! That'll sure be a blog and a half.

Well the stress of all that "excitement" had me falling asleep in the car; which really is so rare for me. By the time we arrived home and I wake up, I am in a full-blown fibromyalgia flare-up. The pain is so severe I can hardly walk to the house from the car.

Most people who I meet have no idea what Fibromyalgia is, so here is the "Google Health" definition to help you out:

"Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety."

WOW! It's common! Gone are the days when it seemed to be this rare dis-ease that plagued women and was mostly mis-diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue. So, I guess I am not that "unique" after all... oh well, who wants to be unique when it comes to such illness of the body, right? Quite frankly, you can take the darn dis-ease and shove it up... Well, I am sure you get the idea.

So with the flare-up this week, which BTW has been one of the worst I have ever had, came on so suddenly and I've never had it flare-up like that before; I've not been able to do much of anything but sit and ponder life. (The last time I did that, it lent to Ben shaving off his beard after over ten years! A good thing? Who knows anymore... Side note: Be VERY careful what you wish for, ask for a new man and you might just get the shock of your life. Gone with the beard are a lot of little things which added up to a lotta big things, he really is a new man, and I'm still getting used to him... Topic for another blog somewhere down the line. Possibly.)

And one thing I have realised in my endless hours of pondering life... waiting for a budgie to lay an egg is like waiting for a Tsunami to hit Hawaii, only to be fraught with disappointment... or relief depending on how you look at it.

I have literally sat for hours watching this neurotic budgie hop from perch to perch, into her nesting box, throwing everything out of her nesting box, then knock on her food dish until it too becomes dislodged and lands on the cage floor. I have seen her take the grit perch covering, which is about twice as long as she is; and try to pop it into her nesting box... cos you know, when those babies hatch, they'll be just making a mad dash for the grit. I've watched her twist off a metal nut and bolt which is attaching her nesting box to the cage; and I've seen her bite off the ties which are holding the cage doors down, and sit there lifting the doors wide open, much to the delight and hope of the cats sat watching her. She has near destroyed the box which contains her nesting material, only to take the material and throw it about the cage, then attempt to push it out of the cage. Of course none of this stuff is making its way in to the nesting box.

And poor Peter, our male budgie, tries so desperately to help Lucy out, only to get shut down and shut out time and time again. You can literally see her having a mood swing and having "words" with him. And boy she can scream at him with the best of them. And poor Peter, he sits and takes it; one can visually see his head getting lower as she chastises him. Then, he hops off and tries to do something else to please her, and of course is met with further disdain on Lucy's part.

Yep, in this past week of trying to alleviate my pain in my arm chair, spending too many countless hours watching these budgies with the fascination of a child viewing life for the first time; I have come to realise something... That is this, no matter what species we are, women will always find a way to have a mood swing and put our men in their places; and no matter how hard they try to please us, we never seem to find that satisfaction in them, even if we think we do.

So, I publicly wish to apologise to my dear husband for all the fault I've found in him over this past week and want him to know that I really DO appreciate him, even if he doesn't move fast enough or have sonar hearing, or can read my mind and just do what I want him to do without having to ask. For all those "faults", I love him dearly and am so incredibly grateful that he is my husband and my "burden"; and I am so grateful that each time I overheat, he adds a little bit of water and takes me a little further together with him. I just hope that he won't be looking at trading me in for a "newer model" anytime soon.

Am I promising to not ill-treat him again, well yes... until my next mood swing. ;-)