Sunday, October 11, 2009

Since I have been on this food journey, for lack of a better term, I think it has accomplished one of the goals I had set for myself. I wanted to look at food differently. I wanted to stop using it as a crutch, or use it to fill time when I was bored, and any other psychological reason I have for eating. But I especially wanted to stop eating more than I needed. I am still working on all these but I will credit myself with the fact that food does not have the same seduction. That said I still enjoy finding new places and yummy morsels.

A couple weeks ago, Allison suggested we should eat at Liberty Market in downtown Gilbert. Not that it is so far from where we live but I just don’t get to downtown Gilbert very often. A few years back Gilbert was home and driving down Gilbert Road occurred regularly. We even ate at some of the other restaurants. After a brief discussion we decided after church on Sunday morning we would head east and check it out. I have to tell you I couldn’t have been happier with our decision.

The morning was beautiful and we were pleasantly surprised to find a great patio at Liberty Market. I was a bit confused on what to do when we first walked in but there were helpful professional service staff moving about. Allison and I desperately needed coffee and Drew decided he wanted hot chocolate. We were not disappointed. I am a big fan of scones and they had apricot as a choice decided we should give it a try. It came with a side of clotted cream and raspberry jam. Delish! It came out before our main selections which was perfect to nibble on while we waited. Drew decided on the American Standard - three scrambled eggs, Liberty potatoes, biscuit, and his meat choice was bacon. He couldn’t finish it all. Allison and I decided to split the Grilled Vegetable Scramble - scrambled eggs with grilled zucchini, Portobello, onions, red pepper, goat cheese, Liberty potatoes, biscuit. A treat for the taste buds.

Food was great and definitely well worth the time and travel. But the experience is what made it memorable. It is comfortable, the kind of place you want to sit and just enjoy the moment. The beverages are self serve so you are not waiting for someone to come and take care of you. At the same time the professional service staff were very helpful, pleasant and from what we saw very efficient. I was impressed that the tip jar was at the cash register with a note that said that tips are divided equally between those said professionals. The Liberty Market has a great history which is worth the read on the website.

Everyone who has probably been there has probably commented on the restrooms. I also had some really great pictures but upgraded my phone yesterday and now they are not accessible. So you will just have to check it out for yourself.

The next week we decided to go downtown Chandler and eat at Kokopelli Winery & Bistro. It didn’t wow me so I am not going take up time talking about it. Allison liked it okay and might try it again. Me…uhm….well…no. The food was good but just didn't make me want to sing - figuratively not literally, of course. After a walk around the square I determined there are other places of interest just down the street that I have a hankering to try.

This week while driving down Indian School Road in Phoenix to my hair appointment I saw a little place called Acacia Café and decided I would like to pop in soon and give it a taste. They too have outside seating and this Sunday was a perfect day to be outside. Drew ordered honey bbq chicken with melted provolone on a ciabatta bun. He was quite pleased which pleased me since he isn‘t the “try new places kind of guy”. Allison settled on egg salad sandwich on whole wheat and I ordered a veggie panini which I believe was about the best I have ever had. We traded a half so we could try both. The whole wheat had a variety of seeds on the crust which is baked on the premises and was outstanding. They also make fresh soup every morning during the week. The beverages are self serve fountain drinks along with coffee and iced tea. I was not disappointed with the flavored iced tea I chose. They also offer some bottled juices and soda pop. Drew savored the flavor of a Jones Grape Soda. I just think when you are drinking grape soda out of a bottle you have to savor the flavor. Also available were baked items and after lunch we sampled their fresh pumpkin cookies. Scrumptious! Would have loved to take time out to sit with coffee and a cookie.

It’s the kind of place where regulars show up week after week and if it were in my neck of the asphalt jungle I would be a familiar face on their patio.

Too often, we humans find ourselves scurrying here and there. To quote the well worn lyric to Cheers theme song, Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? We enjoy vacations for that very reason, to get away, see and try new things, and to hopefully stop scurrying for a moment. My criteria on choosing a place to eat is not just to leave with my stomach satisfied but to give my mind and soul a mini get-away. To  enjoy, learn and explore. Relaxing and chatting with the kids over a meal feeds more than just our physiological needs.

Eating at home is still my favorite place to eat, but it appears we are creating a pattern on Sunday. So apart from the apparent goal to stop the rumblings in our tumbly, as Christopher Robin would say about Winnie the Pooh, we are setting out to get away for our customary and feast on a delicious new find now and again.

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